March 05, 2016

Recording From DVR to DVD

First of all I am making this as a separate post for two reasons.

The story that goes along with the process may help some readers that would like to take their programs they have recorded on the DVR, in my case it is the Directv HD DVR, and move them off of the DVR onto a DVD disc.

I am also writing this to me, as a reference that I can look back on in the future if I need to. I will be able to see how to connect the equipment, what will or will not work and the correct cables to use in case in the future I change equipment or lose my mind.

Currently I have used 90% of my DVR hard drive memory so if I wanted to keep those ballgames, a couple of movies or the last 3 years of the Indy500 Race I am going to have to move them to DVDs. My current DVD has 500Gb of memory and Directv's new Genie DVR has 1 Tb of memory. I have thought about upgrading to that machine for more memory where all the shows recorded would stay in HD quality.

From everything I've read, looked at on YouTube and talked to tech reps on the phone, the files on the HD DVR cannot be moved to the new Genie DVR like you can with a new computer. Either way, I have to move programs that I wanted to keep for future viewing onto DVDs. If I decide to go with the new DVR model, then I have a lot more memory to use.

In the past I had this same Toshiba DVD Recorder and I did tape programs from my DVR to DVDs ... so I knew it could be done.

The problem was I had forgot how to do the process from 3-4 years ago. I thought maybe the HDMI cables could be used in recording and keeping the file in HD format. (I was hoping) This might be something all of you run into ... each tech rep or customer service rep on the phone will give you a different answer to the same question. I am sure their answers are based on their experience. Also consider what I write here is just what I have found from talking to reps on the phone, read on forums for satellite tv and/or searched on Google and read for myself.

I'll try not to go into a lot of detail in this story but I will say that 2 out of 3 reps at Directv told me I could not record any programs on my DVR to a DVD disc. Maybe they were confused by my questions? Or were they thinking HD programs?

Right off the bat I will say that with the common user (me) and the $100 recorder you cannot record in HD because the $100 recorder does not have an "input" for HDMI cables. I am sure if I were an electronics expert and a top-of-the-line recorder for hundreds of dollars more .. it could be possible. I'm not an electronics expert and I have a recorder that cost me about $100 a few years ago. So the quality of the picture is not HD quality but still good viewing quality and I am freeing up hard drive space on my recorder.

My last Directv Technical Rep did say it was possible to do what I wanted to do, but could not tell me how to hook up the equipment so that it would work.

Here are the cable options:
  • HDMI cables - are only 'output' capable only on the equipment and 'input' on your tv
  • S-Video Cable - A single connection for all 3 signals - 'output' only and 'input' on your tv
  • RCA Video Cable - 3 connections color coded red, white and yellow - has the only 'input' on the recorder
The 'Quick Install' Guide from the Toshiba Recorder showed connections of all 3 cables but they did not tell you that ONLY the RCA Cables were the only option to RECORD. I tried recording using each cable in the order the cables are listed. That was out of the box effort and before I called anyone or read any information online.

The HDMI cable is connected from the recorder to the tv and will not be an issue with recording as it is used strictly for playback. When I tried the S-Video Cable my tv did not recognize the recorder as one of many devices connected to my tv. Using the RCA video cables, the tv did recognize my recorder as a device.

Just like the older VCR recorders, you can set up the dvd recording modes of XP, SP, LP, EP and SLP - anywhere from 1-4 hours in length. Even though I am using the DVD-R disc I found that I could still record over any testing I had done unless of course the disc had been "finalized".

I am sure the younger blog readers and other media experts reading this are saying WHY BOTHER???? ... everything is now on YouTube, Amazon tv, Netflix or 'the cloud' and there is no reason for cabinets of DVD's. In fact in a few years DVDs may not even be sold. That is all true UNLESS you live in 'the tropics' of rural small town USA and have only satellite internet as your provider with a limited amount of data per month.

When I was looking at YouTube videos on just a couple of recording options ... my data graphs on my Activity Monitor screen were maxed out and the MB of data received were increasing so fast I thought I was looking at the gas pump when I fill up the FJ. Those videos were only 5-10 minutes in length.

So THAT is why I am having to go 'old school' by taping to DVDs and storing them in my media library. Like most of you I have changed from cassette tapes to CD's for music and still have some electronically on my computer. I just have too much music to convert everything electronically. Then it was VCR tapes to DVDs and hearing  yourself say "I'll never buy a new machine nor any of those new CD's or DVDs .... I HAVE TAPES!!!"  LOL

So .... in summary
  • You can record programs from your DVR to a DVD disc -- just not in HD quality
    • You can only record these in "real time" - meaning if it is a 3 hour race it will take 3 hours to record
  • Owner's manuals, tech reps on the phone, customer service reps on the phone, forum experts, will all have different ways of doing this. Nothing is clear and easy to understand.
  • Unless you have a very expensive recorder you will not have an "input" connection for your HDMI cable.
  • It will record and shut off automatically if you tape long 3-4 hour programs as you sleep
    • You can set your disc to "auto finalize' when the disc is full or when the specific time has elapsed
  • The tv can be turned off during recording for those times you are taping while you sleep
  • Sadie and Stella are more than happy to put their heads where you have yours to make sure you connect it correctly
If there are any electronic 'geeks' reading this and I know there is at least one reader that fits that description, feel free to comment and correct any information that is wrong ... or any suggestions that might make the process more efficient.

The hounds haven't done to much today ... it's foggy, overcast and a little cool. I believe Heidi and I will be making a visit to the vet this afternoon as the vet is only there today for a couple of hours.

A lot to do today in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.

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