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  1. Member
    Join Date: May 2014
    Location: sonoma, california
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    I transferred programming from my DISH DVR to a Western Digital My Book 2tb ED. By next week, I will have to use a Comcast DVR. Will it be able to access the programming on the ED? (I'm not worried about what Comcast will or won't allow to be transferred off its DVR - just accessing the already existing programming on the ED that was transferred from the DISH DVR.) The DISH DVR reformatted the drive in order to download the programming. In 5 days I won't have access to the DISH DVR anymore. Or can I transfer the programming to my MacBook Pro, and then transfer it back to the ED if Comcast reformatts the ed to be compatible with its DVR?
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  2. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: Freedonia
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    SOME but NOT ALL Comcast DVRs can use external drives. There is only one model drive that they guarantee to work and they sell it. If you try to use any other model, and your 2TB drive qualifies as "any other model" (only a specific 1TB drive is supported), I can't say what will happen. Maybe nothing. If Comcast can somehow use your model, yes, they will reformat it. They say that you CANNOT watch recordings on the external drive on ANY other device but the DVR it is attached to. They clearly say that attaching the drive to a PC or even a different DVR from Comcast will NOT allow you to watch anything on the drive.

    Comcast doesn't say, but you should expect a Comcast DVR to not be able to play any Dish recordings on your drive. Comcast legally has to allow you to make recordings of shows within your cable package, but they don't have any legal obligation to make it easy to do, to let you watch the recordings elsewhere, or to play anybody else's recordings.
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  3. Member
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    By the way, as a former Comcast customer, don't be surprised if you VERY deeply regret leaving Dish. Comcast's customer service is horrible. Most of their technicians are bad too. Comcast also has ways to get you so that the price you pay isn't really as good as it seems. Don't be surprised if the devil you knew (Dish) ends up being better than the devil you don't know (Comcast). I dumped them for AT&T's Uverse and I can't imagine any circumstances, not even price, in which I'd ever go back.

    If you have problems with the technician they sent out not knowing what he is doing, ask to speak to a manager and demand someone else. My experience is that about 10% of the employees in the entire company know what they are doing and 90% do not, so the odds are you will get a 90% person. They churn employees like you would not believe, which is one of the reasons that so few employees know what they are doing. Few experienced people stay with them.
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  4. Member
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    A Comcast box will only play the recordings it makes, plus Comcast broadcasts use MPEG-2 not H.264 like Dish.

    Most recording devices that paid services provide encrypt their recordings so you can only play them using the providers own equipment. I would be very surprised if anything other than another Dish DVR can make use of the recordings stored on an external drive by your current receiver.
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  5. Member
    Join Date: May 2014
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    Thank you for your replies. Is there a way I could transfer the programming data from the ED to my MacBookPro, and then reformat the ED with the Comcast DVR, and then, even if one by one, transfer the programming from the Mac to the ED, and then be able to access the programming on the ED from the Comcast DVR?
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  6. Member
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    Originally Posted by tamaramac View Post
    Thank you for your replies. Is there a way I could transfer the programming data from the ED to my MacBookPro, and then reformat the ED with the Comcast DVR, and then, even if one by one, transfer the programming from the Mac to the ED, and then be able to access the programming on the ED from the Comcast DVR?
    I thought I already answered this questions. You can't convert your Dish DVR recordings put them back on a reformatted drive and play them with a Comcast DVR. A Comcast DVR won't play any recordings it did not create. ...and those recordings are encrypted and likely use some odd proprietary or Linux file system. Anybody clever enough to figure out how reproduce the encryption and recreate the file system to do what you want to do undoubtedly has better things to do with their time than waste it on such a project.

    The only people who might be able to tell you how to copy your recordings from your Dish ED and convert them so that you can play with something else (NOT a Comcast DVR) are here: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/PVRExplorer/info
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  7. Member
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    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    I thought I already answered this questions.
    I did too. The reason I said "you should expect a Comcast DVR to not be able to play any Dish recordings on your drive" is because I don't have Comcast or Dish so I have no way to test this and say definitively that it won't work, but no, it shouldn't work. Unfortunately the OP focused on the 1 part of the 1 in a million chance that it be possible.
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  8. I have a U-Verse DVR with some stuff on it I'd like to keep, I've been trying to figure out how to get it for some time now. I don't think that ATT offer an external drive of any sort.
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  9. Member
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    Originally Posted by hanshotfirst1138 View Post
    I have a U-Verse DVR with some stuff on it I'd like to keep, I've been trying to figure out how to get it for some time now. I don't think that ATT offer an external drive of any sort.
    Neither pay TV service providers nor the media companies that supply the programming want their customers to have direct access to the recordings on a DVR. They encrypt recordings and use odd file systems to make direct copying from the hard drive very difficult.

    If you want copies of your recordings, get a capture device for your computer and re-record the programs in real time as you play them back. Seriously, in most cases this is the only means available for getting portable copies of the recordings on a DVR.
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  10. Member
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    I think where people get confused on this issue is that a pvr type setup is a proprietary closed system. As such, it's actually pretty simple to use encryption that's extremely difficult if not impossible to crack.

    There may be people skilled enough to do it but they, as mentioned, have better things to do with their time. AFAIK no one's ever done it.

    It may well use a linux file system ... I suspect a lot of those boxes run linux. The file system used is the least of your worries in this case.
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  11. Member
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    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    If you want copies of your recordings, get a capture device for your computer and re-record the programs in real time as you play them back. Seriously, in most cases this is the only means available for getting portable copies of the recordings on a DVR.
    This.

    I have AT&T Uverse and I do this all the time with stuff I want to keep.

    One of the problems with Uverse is that after a certain random period of time between 6-12 hours (usually, but it can sooner) while watching TV, the Uverse box will put itself into a "pause" type mode where you have to push OK on the remote to get it to display TV again. This WILL ruin your recordings. Because of this, which CANNOT be turned off or set to happen at specific times by consumers, I find it safest to just use the DVR for everything I want to keep because Uverse does not interrupt DVR recordings with this nonsense.
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  12. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    A Comcast box will only play the recordings it makes, plus Comcast broadcasts use MPEG-2 not H.264 like Dish.

    Most recording devices that paid services provide encrypt their recordings so you can only play them using the providers own equipment. I would be very surprised if anything other than another Dish DVR can make use of the recordings stored on an external drive by your current receiver.
    That's not quite true. Some Comcast boxes use MPEG2, some record using MPEG4 (not sure if it was ASP or h.264). I know because at my last address, I had 2 Comcast boxes, one older-but-nicer (rec'd MPEG2) and one clunkier looking & working but newer and used MPEG4. They both had the same HDD size (as per their on-screen specs), yet the newer box could hold over twice as much stuff as the older box, AND it was better quality (so it wasn't a matter of just bitrate lowering).

    Don't remember the boxes right now, but could look them up if necessary...

    ***********************

    I went from Comcast to TimeWarner. Talk about going from the frying pan into the fire! I just wish I still had Comcast (not available in this new area I moved to), because as bothersome as it was, it was much better than TWC. Both hardware, software, user interface/remote (ugh!), customer service, AND service interruptions. Guess it won't even matter now that they're going to be merging.
    And from what I hear from my friends, AT&T Uverse isn't much better.

    (More reasons why I won't give up physical media) - sorry to go OT.

    Scott
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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  13. Member
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    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    A Comcast box will only play the recordings it makes, plus Comcast broadcasts use MPEG-2 not H.264 like Dish.

    Most recording devices that paid services provide encrypt their recordings so you can only play them using the providers own equipment. I would be very surprised if anything other than another Dish DVR can make use of the recordings stored on an external drive by your current receiver.
    That's not quite true. Some Comcast boxes use MPEG2, some record using MPEG4 (not sure if it was ASP or h.264). I know because at my last address, I had 2 Comcast boxes, one older-but-nicer (rec'd MPEG2) and one clunkier looking & working but newer and used MPEG4. They both had the same HDD size (as per their on-screen specs), yet the newer box could hold over twice as much stuff as the older box, AND it was better quality (so it wasn't a matter of just bitrate lowering).

    Don't remember the boxes right now, but could look them up if necessary...
    Illinois, where you used to live, was one of the first areas to have Comcast's X1 service, which is IP-based and uses H.264. They advertise it here. but I don't know anyone who has it, and never bothered to find out about the differences. I guess eventually IP will replace Comcast's current digital cable delivery system and allow Comcast to do away with CableCARDs and pretty much thumb their nose at the FCC.
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  14. Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    Originally Posted by hanshotfirst1138 View Post
    I have a U-Verse DVR with some stuff on it I'd like to keep, I've been trying to figure out how to get it for some time now. I don't think that ATT offer an external drive of any sort.
    Neither pay TV service providers nor the media companies that supply the programming want their customers to have direct access to the recordings on a DVR. They encrypt recordings and use odd file systems to make direct copying from the hard drive very difficult.

    If you want copies of your recordings, get a capture device for your computer and re-record the programs in real time as you play them back. Seriously, in most cases this is the only means available for getting portable copies of the recordings on a DVR.
    What kind of capture program do you suggest? I'll have to get myself that laptop I've been putting off either way-my PC is so ancient that it doesn't play back HD. I think the only thing I have which can record is VLC Media Player. I obviously assume that newer technology can record in HD? The odd thing is, I can connect it to my old VCR and record with that. Maybe they consider analog recording so low-priority that they didn't bother much with it.

    Originally Posted by jman98 View Post
    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    If you want copies of your recordings, get a capture device for your computer and re-record the programs in real time as you play them back. Seriously, in most cases this is the only means available for getting portable copies of the recordings on a DVR.
    This.

    I have AT&T Uverse and I do this all the time with stuff I want to keep.
    Like I said, if the stuff was something I was capable of buying, I certainly would. What do you record on? A HDD or just on Blu/DVD? I have to figure out some way of doing this to free up some space. So much good stuff on TCM....

    One of the problems with Uverse is that after a certain random period of time between 6-12 hours (usually, but it can sooner) while watching TV, the Uverse box will put itself into a "pause" type mode where you have to push OK on the remote to get it to display TV again. This WILL ruin your recordings. Because of this, which CANNOT be turned off or set to happen at specific times by consumers, I find it safest to just use the DVR for everything I want to keep because Uverse does not interrupt DVR recordings with this nonsense.
    I actually have seen this happen. It's incredibly stupid. We still have a coaxial cable as input as opposed to Ethernet from what I can tell, but we can receive HD anyhow.
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  15. Member
    Join Date: May 2004
    Location: New Zealand
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    Most set top boxes (especially those with external drive functionality) encrypt their recordings. The only reliable way to get material off them is to capture to a computer from the STB's outputs which, unfortunately, has to be done in real time. A laptop is most convenient.

    - For standard definition(*) you need a capture unit and, almost certainly, a video stabiliser to deal with macrovision and/or CGMS/A copy protection as well.
    - For HD, if your STB supports HD over component, then get a Hauppauge HD PVR.
    - For HD, if your STB doesn't support HD over component, then get a Hauppauge HD PVR and an HDFury, or, get a Hauppague HD PVR 2 and an HDCP stripper. There are other threads on units that remove HDCP.

    * A DVD recorder would also work instead of a laptop and capture device. You will still need the stabiliser though.
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  16. Member
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    Originally Posted by hanshotfirst1138 View Post
    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    Originally Posted by hanshotfirst1138 View Post
    I have a U-Verse DVR with some stuff on it I'd like to keep, I've been trying to figure out how to get it for some time now. I don't think that ATT offer an external drive of any sort.
    Neither pay TV service providers nor the media companies that supply the programming want their customers to have direct access to the recordings on a DVR. They encrypt recordings and use odd file systems to make direct copying from the hard drive very difficult.

    If you want copies of your recordings, get a capture device for your computer and re-record the programs in real time as you play them back. Seriously, in most cases this is the only means available for getting portable copies of the recordings on a DVR.
    What kind of capture program do you suggest? I'll have to get myself that laptop I've been putting off either way-my PC is so ancient that it doesn't play back HD. I think the only thing I have which can record is VLC Media Player. I obviously assume that newer technology can record in HD? The odd thing is, I can connect it to my old VCR and record with that. Maybe they consider analog recording so low-priority that they didn't bother much with it.

    Originally Posted by jman98 View Post
    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    If you want copies of your recordings, get a capture device for your computer and re-record the programs in real time as you play them back. Seriously, in most cases this is the only means available for getting portable copies of the recordings on a DVR.
    This.

    I have AT&T Uverse and I do this all the time with stuff I want to keep.
    Like I said, if the stuff was something I was capable of buying, I certainly would. What do you record on? A HDD or just on Blu/DVD? I have to figure out some way of doing this to free up some space. So much good stuff on TCM....

    One of the problems with Uverse is that after a certain random period of time between 6-12 hours (usually, but it can sooner) while watching TV, the Uverse box will put itself into a "pause" type mode where you have to push OK on the remote to get it to display TV again. This WILL ruin your recordings. Because of this, which CANNOT be turned off or set to happen at specific times by consumers, I find it safest to just use the DVR for everything I want to keep because Uverse does not interrupt DVR recordings with this nonsense.
    I actually have seen this happen. It's incredibly stupid. We still have a coaxial cable as input as opposed to Ethernet from what I can tell, but we can receive HD anyhow.
    A decent HD capture setup is not going to be cheap and there is a learning curve.

    The capture device determines the software, not the other way around. Laptops tend to have less powerful CPUs than desktops, which limits your choice of capture devices. If you plan to record high-definition channels using a laptop, a USB 2.0 capture device that does hardware encoding is your only choice. [Edit]They all use H.264 for video. Most use AAC for audio.[End Edit]

    There aren't many choices for capture software. A few of these devices only work with the software provided by the manufacturer. (Elgato's Game Capture HD is one.) Advanced computer users can set up GraphStudio or GraphEdit to capture the output of some HD capture device devices, but not all of them. Some of Hauppauge's HD-PVR series devices work with Capture4Me, NextPVR and Windows 7's Media Center as well as Hauppauge's bundled software.

    For the new laptop computer, a 2GHz dual core CPU is the minimum requirement for most of the capture software supplied with HD capture devices, but it is wiser to get a laptop with a CPU that is at least a little faster than the minimum. An Intel i3 or AMD A6 (or better) would be desirable. A second hard drive to use for capturing video is very helpful. However, laptops nearly always have only one hard drive. That being the case, a laptop that is used for video capture should have a USB 3.0 or eSATA port to connect a external hard drive for capturing video. Laptop Blu-Ray drives are often not great quality, so you may find you need to buy an external drive. Panasonic BD-R (the best) and Verbatim HTL (next best) BD-R discs burn reliably and have reasonably good longevity. Expect to pay at least $1.50 per disc for Panasonic BD media and $1.00 per disc for Verbatim BD media.

    [Edit] I forgot to say that there is no direct to Blu-Ray capture option for PCs that I am aware of. Capturing to a hard drive makes more sense anyway. If the capture fails for some reason, you haven't wasted a disc. BD-R is merely what some people want for storage and playback. It is not a requirement, only a preference. Plenty of other people prefer using hard drives for everything. [End Edit]

    Chopmeister recommended DVD recorders. That option can certainly work, and it is less difficult for beginners. However, they only capture in standard definition and just a handful of models are available for sale new in the USA. A model with a hard drive will make some things easier. Magnavox makes the only ones designed specifically for the US market (sold by Walmart and Amazon). These have digital tuners and can record over-the-air broadcast TV. Some specialty retailers offer international model Panasonic DVD recorders with a hard drive. These have better picture quality, and more recording options, but no manufacturer warranty since they are not made for sale in the USA. Warranties may be provided by the seller but can be purchased separately. They have no tuner for US TV, but can record the output of a set-top box. [Edit] In case you were wondering, there are no stand-alone Blu-Ray recorders available in the USA that can capture high definition video from a set-top box. [End Edit]
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 2nd Jun 2014 at 14:48. Reason: Added more to post.
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  17. Damn. This sounds like an expensive proposition, but I have to get that stuff off of there somehow.
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  18. Member
    Join Date: May 2004
    Location: New Zealand
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    I mostly agree with usually_quiet's commentary. Except that if you buy an external HD capture device (like the Hauppauge HD PVR) then you shouldn't need a very powerful laptop, and USB 2.0 should be OK. As it encodes in hardware and transfers the already encoded data over USB, it doesn't require a hugely powerful CPU or a massive data transfer rate. Heck, even an old Celeron should be able to cope provided it has a decent hard drive?

    From memory my HDFury (model 2) cost around $US130 from Monoprice a couple of years ago. The Hauppauge unit (which I bought in NZ) worked out to the equivalent of around $US180. So if you already have an OK laptop, you should be looking at circa $300. That isn't an absurd sum of money.

    It also means that once you have rescued the material you want, you also retain the capturing capability for all time. You can then move material off any STB, in HD, whenever you want. As well as dealing with full hard drives that you haven't got around to watching, this means that you can put material on a NAS server, stream it over your network, put it on a tablet or laptop when you are travelling - or whatever. Personally, I think that's worth the comparatively small investment.

    My next step will be to re-purpose an old computer, and run my STB etc through an HDMI matrix splitter, so that I have a capture solution permanently wired in place.
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  19. Member
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    Originally Posted by Chopmeister View Post
    I mostly agree with usually_quiet's commentary. Except that if you buy an external HD capture device (like the Hauppauge HD PVR) then you shouldn't need a very powerful laptop, and USB 2.0 should be OK. As it encodes in hardware and transfers the already encoded data over USB, it doesn't require a hugely powerful CPU or a massive data transfer rate. Heck, even an old Celeron should be able to cope provided it has a decent hard drive?

    From memory my HDFury (model 2) cost around $US130 from Monoprice a couple of years ago. The Hauppauge unit (which I bought in NZ) worked out to the equivalent of around $US180. So if you already have an OK laptop, you should be looking at circa $300. That isn't an absurd sum of money.

    It also means that once you have rescued the material you want, you also retain the capturing capability for all time. You can then move material off any STB, in HD, whenever you want. As well as dealing with full hard drives that you haven't got around to watching, this means that you can put material on a NAS server, stream it over your network, put it on a tablet or laptop when you are travelling - or whatever. Personally, I think that's worth the comparatively small investment.

    My next step will be to re-purpose an old computer, and run my STB etc through an HDMI matrix splitter, so that I have a capture solution permanently wired in place.
    Hauppauge says this in the HD-PVR's hardware requirements "Processor Requirements (minimum): Dual core CPU 2.0GHz or faster". The 2GHz requirement is for the software that the HD-PVR uses to record and edit video, not the hardware. Now if you personally are successfully running their provided capture software on a PC that just has old Celeron, maybe you should share that information with Hauppauge. If you use other capture and editing software for the HD-PVR that that runs perfectly on a PC that just has old Celeron, I'm sure hanshotfirst1138 would like to know about it.

    hanshotfirst1138 says he says can't play HD video on his present computer, so a new PC of some description is definitely needed.

    Also, since hanshotfirst1138 lives in the USA, for 3 years now HDFury's devices can't legally be sold in the USA, so no retailers here (including Monoprice) carry them and they must be ordered from overseas.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 3rd Jun 2014 at 08:26.
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  20. Member
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    Fair enough - that was why I put a question mark in the statement.

    I use an old laptop (early i3) and it works fine.

    Not too up on US legal changes, since I don't live there and it is several years since I purchased my Fury. However, when I did, Monoprice sold them.
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  21. Member
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    Originally Posted by Chopmeister View Post
    Fair enough - that was why I put a question mark in the statement.

    I use an old laptop (early i3) and it works fine.

    Not too up on US legal changes, since I don't live there and it is several years since I purchased my Fury. However, when I did, Monoprice sold them.
    The laws here didn't change. What changed three years ago were the terms of the license that allows manufacturers to use HDMI technology in their products. Making a device that "strips" HDCP wasn't allowed by the new terms, so HDFury lost their HDMI license, and their now unlicensed products could no longer be offered for sale. HDMI.org made sure of that.
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  22. Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    Originally Posted by Chopmeister View Post
    I mostly agree with usually_quiet's commentary. Except that if you buy an external HD capture device (like the Hauppauge HD PVR) then you shouldn't need a very powerful laptop, and USB 2.0 should be OK. As it encodes in hardware and transfers the already encoded data over USB, it doesn't require a hugely powerful CPU or a massive data transfer rate. Heck, even an old Celeron should be able to cope provided it has a decent hard drive?

    From memory my HDFury (model 2) cost around $US130 from Monoprice a couple of years ago. The Hauppauge unit (which I bought in NZ) worked out to the equivalent of around $US180. So if you already have an OK laptop, you should be looking at circa $300. That isn't an absurd sum of money.

    It also means that once you have rescued the material you want, you also retain the capturing capability for all time. You can then move material off any STB, in HD, whenever you want. As well as dealing with full hard drives that you haven't got around to watching, this means that you can put material on a NAS server, stream it over your network, put it on a tablet or laptop when you are travelling - or whatever. Personally, I think that's worth the comparatively small investment.

    My next step will be to re-purpose an old computer, and run my STB etc through an HDMI matrix splitter, so that I have a capture solution permanently wired in place.
    Hauppauge says this in the HD-PVR's hardware requirements "Processor Requirements (minimum): Dual core CPU 2.0GHz or faster". The 2GHz requirement is for the software that the HD-PVR uses to record and edit video, not the hardware. Now if you personally are successfully running their provided capture software on a PC that just has old Celeron, maybe you should share that information with Hauppauge. If you use other capture and editing software for the HD-PVR that that runs perfectly on a PC that just has old Celeron, I'm sure hanshotfirst1138 would like to know about it.

    hanshotfirst1138 says he says can't play HD video on his present computer, so a new PC of some description is definitely needed.

    Also, since hanshotfirst1138 lives in the USA, for 3 years now HDFury's devices can't legally be sold in the USA, so no retailers here (including Monoprice) carry them and they must be ordered from overseas.

    Thanks for all of info, everybody. Sounds more complicated than I anticipated! I'm long, long overdue for getting a laptop, so ideally it'd be a "two birds" situation. I've been talking to a brother and a friend of mine about it who are considerably more tech savvy and equipped than I am, so I'll see what they say as well. If the blasted things were on DVD, I'd much rather but them than do this, though I'm sure that's no consolation to the studios .
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