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  1. Member
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    Hi,

    I have a Motorola DCX-3501 HD DVR, Comcast service, a Dell Latitude E6420laptop running Windows 7 Pro 64-bit, with a firewire card and cable. I haverecorded about 500 GB of Olympics in HD on the DVR and would like to copy someof the files onto my laptop for later viewing, to make room for new recordingson the DVR. The Comcast person told me the DVR is not expandable with externalHDs, even though there's an eSATA port (I'm guessing it's disabled). But hesaid I could copy the unencrypted files from the DVR to my laptop usingfirewire.

    I plugged in the card, Windows Update found a driver and installed it justfine. I plugged the cable into the DVR but Windows Update was only able to find2 of the 5 drivers, so nothing showed up in File Manager. LMy Internet researches tell me I could use CapDVHS if I was running Windows XP.When I launch capDVHS.exe, the app comes up (to Win 7ís credit) but itcomplains of not seeing any capture device.

    So, what else can I try? Iím thinking of creating a Virtual Box instance,loading Windows XP and hoping the virtual image can communicate through the firewireport. Alternatively, I could open the DVR, take out the HD, drop it in adesktop and hope Win 7 recognizes it without either deleting data or making theHD unable to operate in the DVR.

    Can anybody help me? Many thanks!
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  2. You can try running capdvhs in xp compatibility mode

    Here are some links for more info
    http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-windows_install/xp-compatib...5-161d433c6965

    But are you sure the guy said that? Most data is encrypted on Motorola DVR's , and even if it's not encrypted, most ports are usually disabled
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  3. Member lacywest's Avatar
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    If and it is not ... the file system on the Motorola DVR used Windows filing system ... then you would be in luck ... most likely the system is something similar to Linux.

    My method at my home is to use a DVD Recorder ... I have a Panasonic EH50 and I can record stuff from my Directv HR10 250 ... using the S-VHS connections. But I have since then switched to U-Verse ... barely a week ago ... and the same connections are on it too ... so I can go that route.

    But I also have WIN 7 Media Center with an Antenna on my roof and I recorded the 4 Hour Opening Ceremony on my PC ... used up 26 Gigs of hard drive space in HD.

    I have not yet removed the commercials of the 4 hour recording and made a permanent copy for archiving purposes.

    My PC work station is in the garage ... no air conditioning ... currently the air circulating around my PC is 100 Degrees ... yesterday ... the air was 103 Degrees ... to process 3.5 hours of HD material [commercials removed] will take several hours ... and most likely my PC will shut down.

    My CPU temp is 113 Degrees right now and if I fire up my video editing programs ... the CPU temp will jump up to 126 Degrees.
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    There are no 64 bit Win 7 firewire drivers for any cable box so that's why Win 7 can't see the device. People have actually tried to pay someone to write drivers out of desperation and EVERY attempt has been abandoned. The guy who wrote the original 32 bit drivers that many use for Windows seemingly has no interest in producing 64 bit drivers.

    It is correct that CapDVHS and the 32 bit drivers will work under 32 bit XP. However, do note that you cannot run this XP in a virtual machine as no virtual machine technology supports firewire at all.

    The data on your Comcast box is almost certainly encrypted. Hollywood demands that DVRs do this to prevent consumers from doing exactly what you propose. I've never heard of a cable provider that didn't do that. Hollywood can't legally stop you from recording stuff but they can legally make it incredibly difficult for you to save that video to another format or to another machine. I think you are confusing the fact that your Olympics videos are indeed unencrypted in terms of broadcast with the fact that the DVR itself encrypted the videos when it recorded them. Try what you propose if you don't believe me and you will see I am right.
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  5. Member lacywest's Avatar
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    Here is some info for you to read ...

    http://www.avsforum.com/t/1324274/motorola-dcx-3501-m-new-dvr-questions

    Quote:Originally Posted by PickleDude

    1) Can I download content from my DCX 3501-M DVR to my Home Server?


    In theory, yes. All cable boxes are required by law to have a Firewire (IEEE1394) output. And it must be enabled (in other words, it is illegal for the cable company to turn that port off).

    This port allows for the transfer of the MPEG2 Transport Stream that the cable company sends to the cable box. The FCC law was intended to allow consumers to buy a Digital VCR (DVHS) and connect it to the cable box via Firewire in order to capture High-Def television onto DVHS video tapes. But DVHS never caught on and hasn't been sold since 2005 or 2006. The law still requires that every cable box have a working firewire port.

    There does exist a Windows tool called CapDVHS which emulates a DVHS VCR. You can connect your x86 (32-bit) Windows 2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista/Home Server/2008 Server/Win7 computer to the cable box and transfer shows to it (You can not do this with any x64 64-bit versions of Windows...there are only drivers for the 32-bit versions). I've created a Windows Installer MSI package that bundles CapDVHS with the required drivers and properly installs them...you can download it from here. *Note: There is a bug that causes the install to fail on Windows 7 with SP1. I've identified the cause and have a fix, but am adding other new stuff before I release it. In the meantime, I discuss a verified workarond here.

    Now for the bad news: The Motorola DCX3400 (and earlier DCX cable boxes) have always suffered from a bug which makes the Firewire output unstable. The story behind this is that Motorola changed hardware vendors for the Firewire chipset when moving from their DCH cable boxes to the DCX cable boxes...apparently they aren't very good at coding the required Firewire firmware for the new chipset. However, there is a recent rumor that Motorola has finished and released a new version of the firmware which they believe fixes the problem...nobody here has confirmed this. (You could be the first!)

    To my knowledge, nobody has reported about whether the firewire firmware bug has been fixed in the DCX3501...one of the issues is that nearly nobody understands the firewire stuff (90+% of consumers have no idea what that port is and have never tried to hook their computer to it)



    Quote:Originally Posted by PickleDude

    2) If Yes to 1, what is the format?


    It creates a .ts file. You can rename it to .mpg and quite a lot of software will recognize it. It is the very same format that is transmitted to your cable box. It is also the same format broadcast by Over-The-Air networks, such as NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, etc.


    Quote:Originally Posted by PickleDude

    3) Has anyone tried to utilize this content on a Digital Media Server (DMS) - and then make it available remotely, using say,.... an iPad, iPhone or Laptop?


    No doubt. I haven't bothered to do this, but it would be trivial to script a re-encode that would wind up in the appropriate format and container.
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  6. Member lacywest's Avatar
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    I myself discovered that it is a good thing to keep WIN XP around ... so ... when I put a PC together ... I do a Dual Boot ... install WIN XP first and then create a second partition and install WIN 7 x64.

    I do have a friend who scouts out potential computer customers for me and he himself ... only wants WIN XP installed but for me I use the Media Center in WIN 7 Ultimate x64 ... and it works very well. But for editing the videos in WIN 7 ... I sometimes use ... TMPGEnc Authoring Works 4 and it doesn't work right in WIN 7 ... so that is when I do a reboot and start up WIN XP
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  7. Member lacywest's Avatar
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    Is this what the back of your Motorola unit looks like ??

    Click image for larger version

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    You could use a Hauppauge HD PVR ... cost more than 100 bucks to buy one ... I've got one and it does work with WIN 7 x64
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    Originally Posted by nfurlong View Post
    Hi,

    I have a Motorola DCX-3501 HD DVR, Comcast service, a Dell Latitude E6420laptop running Windows 7 Pro 64-bit, with a firewire card and cable. I haverecorded about 500 GB of Olympics in HD on the DVR and would like to copy someof the files onto my laptop for later viewing, to make room for new recordingson the DVR. The Comcast person told me the DVR is not expandable with externalHDs, even though there's an eSATA port (I'm guessing it's disabled). But hesaid I could copy the unencrypted files from the DVR to my laptop usingfirewire.

    I plugged in the card, Windows Update found a driver and installed it justfine. I plugged the cable into the DVR but Windows Update was only able to find2 of the 5 drivers, so nothing showed up in File Manager. LMy Internet researches tell me I could use CapDVHS if I was running Windows XP.When I launch capDVHS.exe, the app comes up (to Win 7’s credit) but itcomplains of not seeing any capture device.

    So, what else can I try? I’m thinking of creating a Virtual Box instance,loading Windows XP and hoping the virtual image can communicate through the firewireport. Alternatively, I could open the DVR, take out the HD, drop it in adesktop and hope Win 7 recognizes it without either deleting data or making theHD unable to operate in the DVR.

    Can anybody help me? Many thanks!


    I would buy a cheap notebook hard drive and temporarily swap it out for your Windows 7 64-bit drive. Install Windows XP 32bit with the DVR drivers and CapDVHS. Transfer all the videos from the DVR box to your PC via firewire. When you are done, take the XP drive out and put the Windows 7 drive back in. Then, when you want to transfer more videos in the future swap out the drives again.
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  9. Member lacywest's Avatar
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    Buy a cheap notebook hard drive ... Thats a good idea ... go to Newegg and check out their selections ... do you have a old PC laying around with a WIN XP sticker on the back or the side panel ... you can use the CD Key to install it ... as for me ... I have other working methods. But I do have a bunch of old PCs laying around with valid CD Keys on them.
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    Wow, post a note, go to a toddler's birthday party and when you get back all your life's problems are answered! Sweet. I think my next post should be more philosophical.

    #poisondeathray: I'll look up XP compat mode and see if I can get it to work. Yes, that's wha the guy said, but who knows whether he knows what he's talking about. I'm pretty sure the brain trust here is an order of magnitude more reliable. I believe I read somewhere else that the premium channels encrypt, but not the network channels, but that's about 4th or 5th hand now.

    #jman: thanks, I won't waste my time installing XP in a virtual machine.

    #lacywest: Clearly you've put a lot of thought into this and I'm deeply in your debt. I'll pick up a spare notebook HD and see if I can't find an old copy of XP lying around. I work at MS so getting a CD won't be an issue. And if you need a copy of the latest OS at cost, just say the word. I have the capDVHS.exe and driver driectory already so I probably don't need the msi install package.

    Yes, that's what the back of my DVR looks like. But with the PVR solutions, besides the expense, wouldn't I have to transfer each file in real time to the PVR? I admit this is the best of the real-time solutions since playing the videos to a DVD recorder necessarily downgrades the HD files to SD and I don't have an Blu-Ray recorder. I do have a BD recorder on my Win 7 desktop.

    Thanks!
    Norman
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  11. Member lacywest's Avatar
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    To transfer to a DVD recorder or the Hauppauge HD-PVR ... you do have to play the video in question ... LIVE ... to make a copy.
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  12. Member lacywest's Avatar
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    After looking at the back of your unit I looked at mine ... I only have a esata and a USB ... but no Firewire and the technician said some people have tried to get access to the videos on the hard drive ... through the esata and the USB and only screwed things up
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  13. I have a Time Warner Motorola DCX3400 box and have switched to U-Verse. I would like to transfer about 40 hours of DVR programs from the DCX3400 to my laptop (HP Pavilion dm4 Notebook, running Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium) or an external drive before I give the box back to TW; but I can't get my computer to recognize the cable box. I've tried HDMI, ethernet and USB connections, as well as a variety of freeware video capture software programs but no luck. I don't have a firewire port on my laptop. Ideally, I'd like to transfer the files (instead of live capture), if possible; but since I can't get my laptop to recognize the cable box, I am stuck. I've read the preceding posts but they don't seem to directly address my issue so I thought I'd try this post. Any guidance is appreciated.
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    Originally Posted by mglazer View Post
    I have a Time Warner Motorola DCX3400 box and have switched to U-Verse. I would like to transfer about 40 hours of DVR programs from the DCX3400 to my laptop (HP Pavilion dm4 Notebook, running Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium) or an external drive before I give the box back to TW; but I can't get my computer to recognize the cable box. I've tried HDMI, ethernet and USB connections, as well as a variety of freeware video capture software programs but no luck. I don't have a firewire port on my laptop. Ideally, I'd like to transfer the files (instead of live capture), if possible; but since I can't get my laptop to recognize the cable box, I am stuck. I've read the preceding posts but they don't seem to directly address my issue so I thought I'd try this post. Any guidance is appreciated.
    The ethernet and USB connections on your DVR cannot be used to transfer files. They are either not active at all, or only useful for other purposes. Plus, even if they did work it isn't possible copy your recordings directly from the DVR's hard drive and get anything useful. The files on the DVR are encrypted and nobody has ever posted a decryption method.

    If your laptop happens to have an ExpressCard slot, you could add a firewire card that way and possibly transfer files in real time, assuming they do not have additional copy protection applied which prevents firewire output. Otherwise, whether you like it or not, your only option is to re-record the output from the DVR using a USB analog video capture device and appropriate capture software.

    [Edit]I forgot about the lack of 64-bit drivers that permit firewire transfer from Motorola cable boxes. Your current hardware and OS only give you the option of re-recording the output from the DVR using a USB analog video capture device and appropriate capture software.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 2nd Dec 2012 at 16:50.
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  15. Formerly 'vaporeon800' Brad's Avatar
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    Has anyone ever actually tried hooking up the internal HDD of one of these DVRs to see how the files are stored? I thought someone once said the DCT models stored TSP files on a regular ext3 partition. But I think the files themselves were encrypted with an unknown method.
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  16. Thanks for the guidance and prompt replies. It looks like I'm either in for some long watching/recording sessions or otherwise out of luck. Any additional input is appreciated.
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