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Before the Personal Video Recorder is replaced, I should like to
copy to DVD some old TV programmes on its hard drive.  If I just connect
the PVR to the Win7 laptop via HDMI, will I see the PVR hard drive
on the laptop?

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)


Don Phillipson wrote:
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A laptop does not have HDMI input. It has HDMI output.
You would be connecting two outputs together ("logical smoke!").


Ways to get stuff from a PVR:

1) Output to component, composite, S-Video, HDMI, at least
    as long as there is no Macrovison, Do_Not_Copy bit and so on.
    Use a capture card on a desktop computer, to capture the video output.
    Connect the sound output of PVR, to computer sound input.
    Recording rate is 1X and will take forever. (200 hours for
    200 hours PVR.)

2) On old PVRs, you could pull the hard drive, slave to a computer
    and read off the files. The file system might be a bit odd, but
    the files were not encrypted on the first PVRs. The odds of this
    happening with modern equipment is basically... zero. Transfer rate
    would be very fast compared to (1).

3) Modern PVRs use encryption to protect the content recorded
    on the disk. For each incoming channel marked with Do Not Copy
    or similar protections, the recorder keeps track of the status.
    The recorder is willing to decrypt and play the content from its
    hard drive, on the component, composite, S-Video or HDMI video outputs.
    The recorder is not generally willing to give digital copies.

Now, to the particular question you have. You have a PVR with
an HDMI video output. These can be up to 1080p60 HD say. There
are HDMI "recording cards" available, that will do 1080i60 (interleaved)
or 1080p30 (progressive, half frame rate), which will not record
just any HDMI signal. The top HD resolution is not supported.
In addition, HDMI recording cards do not have HDCP keys, and
cannot record a video signal from any device, which uses HDCP
protection. HDCP means the digital bits on the HDMI cable are
encrypted, and the key scheme allows a qualified receiving device
to decrypt the digital stream on the HDMI. If a recording card
supports that, that is a violation of DMCA (attempt to circumvent
the equivalent of Do No Copy). The existence of DMCA legislation,
is what prevents advances in hardware recording technology, which
could easily record just about anything given half a chance.

Even the HDMI capture cards are disappearing from Newegg. They're
touted as "Streaming Devices" now, rather than as simple recording
devices. I don't know what is driving this change in design objective.

A couple year old "capture" card $90 ... something to capture the PVR ...


to be replaced by this "streaming" card for $190 - silly.


The first HDMI capture card was this one, but it's a bit cranky
when it comes to capturing. The price has come down since initial

Blackmagic Design Intensity Pro $190

Read the customer reviews to see if the home-brew MJPEG
compressor was replaced, might be advisable. There were more
reviews for this card in the past, and there are only two
reviews in the current Newegg entry.

http://images17.newegg.com/is/image/newegg/15-710-002-Z03 ?$S640W$

The Intensity Pro has a breakout cable, and that's how you
connect the YPbPr cables.

http://images17.newegg.com/is/image/newegg/15-710-002-Z05 ?$S640W$

None of the cards will break resolution limits. One of the cards,
there was a trick for defeating some equivalent of Do Not Copy.
I think the "good days" of these cards are just about done.
However, if you have component YPbPr, perhaps you can still
do a decent job of capture that way. The picture quality is
probably still good enough that way. Capture speed 1X, so
it'll take 200 hours to transfer 200 hours of content.

If your PVR uses HDCP, then those capture cards will see "snow".
If your PVR has component YPbPr, about the only thing they could
use on that, would be some flavor of MacroVision (sync trick ?).
I don't know if there is a Do Not Copy feature in component signaling
or not. There should be. And if the capture card only treats it in
software, sometimes a bypass is offered.

The problems all start at the TV station. Many times, protection
bits are asserted for content where it isn't justified, so the
content is "overprotected". And a modern PVR is duty-bound by
DMCA legislation, to continue to protect the "overprotected" content.
For example, you might even find the local nightly news, has the
bit asserted. Which is silly, in terms of the value of the content (zero).


If you absolutely *had* to use a laptop to do this capture,
you'd want the Intensity Shuttle. And this would only work
if the laptop had the "real, high performance" version of USB3.
How this used to work, is the installed software would
do a "performance test" and reject any computer that only
does the "half rate" flavor of USB3. Half rate USB3 happens
when USB3 chips are connected to 250MB/sec PCI Express x1 lanes,
instead of to a 500MB/sec PCI Express x1 lane. You need
reasonably modern equipment for all the ingredients to be
there and working. Older equipment, the 250MB/sec PCI Express
lane prevents the Shuttle from capturing properly at the highest
resolution settings.




Paul wrote:
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Good writeup.    I did some of mine by running the signals through a  
DVD/VCR recorder and then to the TV (for monitoring and editing).  
Recorded the program on DVD without any problem other than some loss  
of sharpness.

 GW Ross 

 A beautiful woman will enrich your     
 life soon.                             


G. Ross wrote:
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That's a good way to do it. Takes some of the "computer stuff" out
of the process.



On Fri, 4 Oct 2013 13:11:54 -0400, Don Phillipson wrote:

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I connected this:


or shrunk:

to my computer via USB and to the cable box via component. Note: I mean
the HD Pro version, not the standard version.

It works pretty well with the included software.

It would not accept HDMI because of DRM copy protection.

I tried a bunch of other USB capture devices, none of which were
satisfactory to me.
Gene E. Bloch (Stumbling Bloch)


Quoted text here. Click to load it
(As others have said, you can't connect to the HDMI on your laptop -  
that's an output not an input.)

Are these prog.s HD anyway, or is the PVR's HDMI just upscaling? If so,  
I'd avoid it, and use some capture device on the ordinary output.  
Depending on the source, it may have been composite (NTSC or PAL) in the  
first place anyway: when you say "old TV programmes", were they from  
analogue TV back in the day, or what?

How old is the PVR?

Would he have anything to _lose_ by trying to connect its hard drive  
directly (worth the hassle for speed of access, unless there are only a  
few hours wanted). I can't see that it would _harm_ anything, other than  
glue and/or screws etc. if it's fixed in some unusual manner.
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G()AL-IS-Ch++(p)Ar@T+H+Sh0!:`)DNAf

... the pleasure of the mind is an amazing thing. My life has been driven by
the satisfaction of curiosity. - Jeremy Paxman (being interviewed by Anne
Widdecombe), Radio Times, 2-8 July 2011.


On 2013-10-04 5:31 PM, J. P. Gilliver (John) wrote:
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Apart from the issue of preserving old programs, another path is to use  
an external drive connected via USB. My ISP's manual kindly informed me  
that I could connect a drive via the USB port on the satellite receiver.  
It had to have 7200RPM spindle speed, it so happened that I had a 1TB  
one. It's been working nicely ever since. Doesn't have the bells and  
whistles, such as automagic commercial skip, but it has about 150 hours  
of HD recording capacity.


Wolf K


Quoted text here. Click to load it

Now there's a thought . . . !  Many thanks.
(Paul earlier hugely advanced my tech. education, but not so
as to encourage copying as in the OP)

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada).  


Wolf, would be please be so kind as to advise if you can shut the PVR off, disconnect the drive, connect it to a PC or Mac and access the recordings on the computer?  

Thank you kindly, sir.

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