How can I make a digital copy of my own?

I can no longer keep recordings from my TV, and I know there must be a way. I don’t have a recording DVD player - I had one for a while, but lost it when I went to Bluray. So I record things with my DVR, but I have no way of making a copy. I’m sure there’s a way to do this, but for now I’m stumped. How do I make a digital copy from a DVR?

There isn’t yet a good, single-source way to make a “digital video jukebox” but there are some ways around it. You can copy the content of the DVD (The AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS folders) to equivalent folders on a hard drive and there are some media players that will handle it as a DVD.

If you have a TiVo DVR you can often transfer recorded programs to your computer and then burn them to either DVD or Blu-ray. Often, but not always. It depends on whether or not the content provider (i.e. the TV network) sets the copyright ‘bit’ or not, and as far as I know there’s no way to hack a TiVo (or anything else) to get around it (yet). When I had FiOS nothing was restricted, but I think that was just because they were new and hadn’t gotten around to doing it yet. I currently have Optimum Cablevision and, like I said, I can transfer some stuff but not all. There’s no real pattern to it, movies vs series vs new stuff vs old stuff etc. it’s all on a case by case basis.

BTW, I also have a component DVD recorder and if a show’s copy ‘bit’ is set to ‘not allow’ those recorders won’t record it either. I’m sure Blu-ray burners work just the same.


They are not that easy to find as they used to be, but I went to my local Fry’s Electronics (you can probably go to Amazon) and bought a DVD (non-blu ray) player/recorder. I think it cost me about $150.

I have it set up to record directly from my DVR.

I can record shows/movies I have on the DVR, or I can record a film from OnDemand as I watch it.

I send some of these to friends in Germany who like to watch the occasional TV series here, or some special movie/concert.

Pretty easy set up, not all that expensive, and blank DVD’s cost literally pennies now.

Many of them don’t handle widescreen very well, and HD not at all. We really have gone backwards in some respects when it comes to home video management and capabilities.

You have to get the files off the DVR and onto a PC first! :smiley:

As I said above, depending on your content provider set-top disc burners won’t always record everything. Actually, I don’t think it’s the copyright bit they detect, but simply Macrovison. It’s existence screws up old analog VCRs from recording, and simply signals newer digital disc burners: “DO NOT RECORD THIS”. Legally required in all component disc burners (thank you DMCA).

The upshot of all this is everything’s moving to ‘the cloud’, i.e. streaming. Blu-ray will be the last physical medium video content is released on.

Until HoloCube™ Technology hits the market in the summer of 2042.

Magnavox has a couple of HD/DVD recorders that will record in SD.

With a SCART cable.

Check the Things You’ll Need box with Show (4) More.

Neat stuff! Only thing is are you in the UK or Europe? Because I don’t think many cablevision DVR boxes here in the US have a SCART output. Or even if they do it isn’t enabled.

Just to note if the OP (or anyone else) has a TiVo.

There are several programs to download (non-flagged) shows off a TiVo. TiVo’s own is called TiVo Desktop. It comes in free and pay versions (the pay also does format conversions). Note that the free version is “going away” as of June 5th. It also allows uploads. Warning: It installs Apples Beacon service whether you want it or not.

Other possibilities for TiVo’s include TiVoPlayList and some other Python-based stuff.

Note that there is a date error glitch in the current TiVo DVR software that requires using the newest or patched software.

Also, the files are going to be in “.tivo” format, which requires a simple tool to decode to mpeg format.

The resulting file for digital TiVos are the same as what is sent over your cable. The same resolution, quality, etc.

Unfortunately, no TiVo for me - I have a Dish DVR.
There’s a lot of good info in this thread. Hopefully I’ll be bringing home a new TV soon. I’ll bookmark this thread and apply it to whatever I end up with. Thanks everybody!


There’s going to be another physical medium. Physical (stamped) media are still the cheapest way to transmit huge amounts of bits long distances, and the resolution of TVs is going up as fast as network bandwidth is increasing, so the need will still exist. They’re starting to sell 4K TVs…

That said, I doubt future formats will be bigger than DVD was (as far as percentage of market penetration). But they’ll certainly exist.

Ah, now that high speed internet has reached critical mass stamped media are *already *more expensive than streaming. By an order of magnitude. No high-tech factories to mass produce the media, no physical transportation-distribution system for the discs themselves, no circular send/return cycle for the renting of them either.

And unlike HD in general those 4K TVs are going to remain niche products for a long time, it’s VHS vs Beta again (Beta *was *slightly better resolution but VHS was more than good enough). Even 3D TVs, while becoming slightly more than niche, are still not going to become even close to mainstream until they can eliminate those goofy (and expensive) glasses you have to wear (and I don’t see that happening for quite awhile).

And almost everyone with an HDTV (of any kind) is going to have cablevision (or to a lesser extent satellite) in order to get an HD signal. And all the cable companies can now bundle high speed internet with TV. Pretty soon, instead of having to connect your smart TV to both an HD cablebox and a cable modem they’ll combine internet streaming right into the cablebox itself (they both use the same coax line).

So no, I still maintain that Blu-ray will be the last physical, *consumer *video medium format. The next big jump will be going from wired streaming to ubiquitous *wireless *streaming (which practically already exists for smartphones).

I don’t think that’s true, by a long shot. Also, you’re not comparing apples to apples either, by only accounting for the hardware costs of physical distribution, and not of digital. It’s not like the internet is running on magic; it’s got switches and servers and RAM and hard drives and all those things have to manufactured in high-tech factories and distributed to physical locations.

If you want to get a half-million copies of a 25G movie from, say, LA to New York, sending a shipping container full of Blurays on a truck is still cheaper and faster than sending over the internet. By a lot.

Movies for theaters are often distributed in digital format now, but not over the internet; they’re shipped on hard drives. Pretty sure they’re doing that because it’s cheaper to do so.

Sure, it’s much cheaper at the last mile to stream a single movie than to drive to a store and buy a single DVD. But en masse, physical distribution is not completely out for the count.

Also, note that streaming is generally lower quality. A Bluray is 20+ GB. An “HD” streamed movie is generally less than 5. A little of that is better compression. But most of it is just lost quality.

It is possible for some DVRs (I have done it) but it is a long multi-step process requiring special software. It is not a simple file copy operation of dragging it from the DVR to the PC.

You have to be able to connect your DVR and PC via a Firewire cable (not all DVRs or PCs can do this) and play the program on the DVR and run a PC program to record it again in real time on the PC. That will produce a 'digitial transport stream (a .TS file on the PC). These are large files - several gigabytes per hour of program.

Depending on the channel you recorded, the recording may be flagged as ‘record once’ on the DVR. Meaning it cannot be recorded again to your PC from the DVR. Most cable channels do this. Then you have to have software to be able to convert (and optionally edit) the TS file into a DVD or Bluray format to burn to disc.

If you want to tackle something like this, there are plenty of web sites out there that discuss this process in detail and the software required.

Yes, but those costs have been, and are still being, amortized over time and an enormous number of different entities, because the internet is a general-purpose utility and not merely a proprietary, Hollywood media-distribution system.

Why? If it’s completely electronic you’re not really ‘sending’ 500,000 copies, but merely one. And again, the internet is an established & fully functional infrastructure.

I would bet that security from pirating is still the primary concern of studios, and their main reason for doing it that way. Consider how incredibly, densely valuable a pre-release major motion picture can be today (potentially hundreds of millions of dollars worth in one tiny, compact, infinitely replicatable digital device!)

Streaming has changed and will continue to change the whole concept of media ‘ownership’. IOW people don’t really care if they physically own a copy of the content or can simply buy the ‘rights’ to stream it whenever & where ever they like (the so-called ‘cloud’).

Meh, this is just VHS & Beta all over again, i.e. I don’t think the majority of consumers notice the difference in quality so much as they do the difference in cost & convenience. And besides, this is simply a case of increasing bandwidth which will continue.

Again, unless you have a TiVo DVR! :smiley: