How to record shows from a Comcast DVR to a PC

I love my Comcast DVR because it lets me record all my favorite TV shows and then fast forward through all the obnoxious commercials. It has a limited amount of storage space however, so we're continually deciding between which shows will stay recorded and which shows will get deleted.

There have also been many times when I've wanted to save a show to my computer, or to make a DVD for friends to watch - such as the time my friend's son was interviewed on a fund raiser for MD that was hosted by one of our local news stations.

I was able to copy recorded shows from my Comcast DVR to my Windows XP computer fairly easily using a FireWire cable, a few software drivers, and a free video streaming program.

How to record shows from a Comcast DVR to a PC

1. Download software drivers and streaming video recorder.

You can download the necessary drivers and a free streaming video recorder called CapDVHS from this link (with many thanks to the AV Science Forum).

Unzip the drivers and CapDVHS recorder to a folder of your choice on your computer. You will use these in the next step after you connect your DVR to your PC.

You'll also need a software program to view the recorded video file, and the free VLC Media Player handles this nicely.

2. Connect the DVR to your PC with a Firewire cable.

My Comcast DVR is a Motorola DCT6412 that supports dual channel high definition (HD) digital recording. There are 2 Firewire ports on the back side that let you connect to your PC using a standard IEEE-1394 FireWire cable.

You can buy a FireWire cable at your local Radio Shack for $39, or here on Amazon for about $15. Make sure your computer has a FireWire port, which will either be a small 4-pin port or the regular 6-pin port that looks the same as the port on the back of the DVR itself.

With your Comcast DVR and computer both running, connect the FireWire cables to both ends. I had to use the right-side port on the DVR since the port on the left side didn't work.

Windows will recognize the connection and will prompt you with it's built-in Hardware Connection wizard. Cancel the hardware connection wizard as we will need to install the drivers individually. You'll be prompted three times with the hardware connection wizard - cancel all three of them.

Next, open the Windows Device Manager by right-clicking on "My Computer" on the Windows Start menu, selecting "Properties" and then clicking the "Device Manager" button on the "Hardware" tab. Lots of clicks, but you'll get there :-)

In the Device Manager you'll see a "Other devices" section with a yellow question mark. Right-click on the first "AV/C Panel" entry and select "Update Driver".

The Windows Hardware Update Wizard will pop up again, and this time select the option to "Install from a list or specific location (Advanced)".

Click "Next" and then select the option to "Include this location in the search". Click the "Browse" button and navigate to the folder where you saved the software drivers back in Step 1.

Click "Next" and you'll be prompted to verify the installation, with a warning indicating that the driver has not passed the Windows Logo testing (which is harmless in this case).

Click "Continue Anyway" to install the driver, and then repeat these steps to install the drivers for the AV/C Tuner device (right-click on "AV/C Tuner" in the Device Manager, select "Update Driver", etc).

For the remaining "Unknown Device" in the Device Manager, you can just right-click and select "Disable" as we won't need this one. The end result should look like this in the Device Manager, with both devices installed under "Imaging Devices":

You're on the home stretch if you've made it this far, and are ready to start recording your Comcast DVR shows.

3. Record your shows.

Run the CapDVHS program that you downloaded in Step 1 above, and select the "Setting" tab to configure the location of saved video files. I also changed the output file extensions to .ts based on recommendations from the AVS Forum.

With your device drivers installed and your computer connected to your Comcast DVR with the FireWire cable, find the show you'd like to record using "My DVR" on your Comcast remote.

Start the show and then click the "Rec" button in the CapDVHS program's "Data Info" tab to start the recording.

Make sure you have plenty of hard drive space available. I recorded a 5 minute clip of Apollo winning the Olympic bronze medal last night and it created 600,000 MB file. A full HDTV show will easily take up several GB of space, which is why the Comcast DVR's 120 GB hard drive can only store a limited number of HD shows.

Once you're finished recording, click the "Stop" button in CapDVHS and then open Windows Explorer to view the resulting .ts video file (using the location you defined on the "Setting" tab).

You can double-click on the .ts file if you've already installed the VLC Media Player and you'll be able to view the recorded show on your computer.

This approach will work with several other types of Motorola DVRs as well: Motorola DCH-3200 Motorola DCH-3416 Motorola DCT-3412 Motorola DCT-3416 Motorola DCH-6200 Motorola DCT-6200 Motorola QIP-6200 Motorola DCT-6208 Motorola DCH-6416 Motorola DCT-6412 Motorola DCT-6416 Motorola QIP-6416 Motorola 9012 Motorola 9022

Hi Rick, I hope you can point me in the right direction. You seem to be the guru here. I am trying to record my son's golden gloves fight onto my pc (Gateway - I3, 1 Terabyte HD, 6G RAM, 1 HDMI - (Output only I think?)1 Firewire port). Anyway, I have tried everything I can think of - 1. The firewire drivers won't install cuz I have Windows 7. 2. Sata is disabled on 8240 3. USB is disabled on 8240. 4. I tried the AverMedia Coax to USB and I get all the channels, even HD on LIVE, except when I connect the COAX thru the 8240, I cannot pick up the "fixed" output channel from "ON Demand". I think it is because the output is analog, not digital. But I have to go thru the Cable box in order to get the fight. I even tried to go thru my HD video camera, but I don't think it will accept an "in", just output HDMI, same as my PC. Do you have any suggestions Rick? Thanks for your time, Robert

Hello, I have tried your procedure with a Comcast/Motorola DCX-3400 to a PC running Windows 7. The Tuner driver loaded fine but the panel driver did not load. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you much! Marshall

Need to know where I can get drivers for Windows 7 for my DVR. My HP with Windows 7 does not recognize any drivers for XP, Vista etc..and doesn't connect to any site on the internet for the drivers. Any workarounds? Thanks

hi, i am trying to figure out how to get the shows off my dvr to be able to put on dvds so i can watch them in my semi. i also need to exchange the 80 g dvr to the 120 they say and i dont want to loose what is on there. Can you help me with this and tell me what to do.

Can I use a Cat 6 Ethernet cord and Windows 7 starter to records my shows from my Motorola DCT3416 to my Net-book?

Can I use a Catagory 6 Ethernet cord, Windows 7 starter Net-book to records my shows from a Motorola DCT3416?

I need to return my DVR to my cable company because it has random audio drop outs but I did not want to lose my recordings of The Pacific from HBO. At first the Player did not show up in device manager so I right click/scanned for new hardware and then it popped up and loaded the drivers. Recording now. Thanks for the help!

Thank you Ricky...this worked for me and it was so easy because of your clear instructions. You are talented man!

Do you have any solution for extract this videos using a mac computer? i dont have windows

I have a motorola dcx3400 and can't seem to get the drivers for it. my computer is running vista. any solutions?

I tried this with a two different XP machines with the drivers Rick posted in his instructions. I have a Motorola DCT-3416 and the computer never acknowledged the dvr. How are you ppl getting this to work?

thank you big time for this very well written instructional page. worked like a charm! but what's this? now when i hook up to cable box it freaks out and then say's dvr not available or disabled? concact cable co. Are they on to this? I was just getting ready to archive some stuff NOT available in ANY format!!??? any other cases like this? is there a solution? hope so and thanks!

Did you ever figure out what happened & get it fixed? Did the recording transfer work? Thanks

did you try to use the other firewire port on STB? I have the same issue, and I noticed the same thing when I reboot my PC. However, STB gets the grip in a minute, so I think it's okay.

The link for the product at Amazon, above, now has a 25.00 price on it. That's nuts. Try a place called Monoprice for cables. You can get a 15 foot Firewire cable for about 5 bucks. http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=103&cp_id=10301 I do not work for them, I am just a satisfied customer...

This works fine, except that you can't transfer any movies from the higher comcast channels 150+ and 300+, actually I can grab & save them, but can't seem to be able to play them, at least not on the VLC Player. You can transfer them with an analog to digital converter like the canopus 300, so I guess I'll not be getting rid of that anytime soon.

I have an HP G-61 32OUS Notebook laptop PC running a WINDOWS 7 OS and I wanted to move the saved shows off the hard drive on a Motorola DCX 3400 DVR. The notebook has USB and the USB on the DVR doesn't work and the notebook does not have firewire either so I bought an adapter and hooked it to a USB cable and plugged in the other end to the notebook USB and firewire port of the DVR. I follwed Ricky's instructions and downloaded CapDVHS and extracted it, went through the above steps and in WIN7 device mgr there is NO Other Devices Categories. When I plugged in the USB cable Windows said it did not recognize the device and when I tried to load the drivers per the instructions Windows blocks the attempt saying it has determined that the best drivers are already loaded for this USB port so then I disabled the USB drivers and tried to overide to download the driver per the instructions and it still blocked me from doing this, I believe it said error code 43 and 10. So, any clues on how to get past this Windows 7 block???? For those looking for any kind of cables to include custom built, I get mine from Cables to Go in Ohio, great cables and prices are decent, service is very prompt( for example I got a 6 pin/6 pin firewire cable 2m 6.5 feet for $13). Remember you get what you pay for cheaper is not always better as it effects the streaming speed, quality in materials used. Thanks

hello there ricky! work in radio and i am very happy i found this website. i hope you will be able to help me or direct me to someone that can. when comcast sent out those converters awhile back they screwed up my world here in radio. so maybe you can help. how does one take a program that was recorded on a comcast box and burn a dvd of it from another dvr component ( not a pc )? thoughts? by the way, do you call people? would love to talk about this if you would be comfortable with it. help! my desk number: (303) 370-1445. would appreicate it!

Al, Have you gotten anywhere with this? I have a DCX3400 and I'm looking to do the same. Please let me know if you've been able to do this.

I have Vista and was able to load the TUNER but not the PANEL. It doe's not even find any drivers for it. I am this close, what can I do?

Hi: I don't have the Comcast DVR you use, but I still followed the same directions. Things begin to copy properly for the first 10-11 seconds and then stop. I get a message that the CAPDVHS program needs to close. Can you advise what is going on and how to resolve? I've tried it on both ports from the DVR and I get the same result.

I followed the instructions, but when I got to step where you update the drivers under device manager, it says "wizard cannot find the appropriate software." Any suggestions of what to do next? Thanks

I have a motorola DCH 3416 A/V, I followed all the instructions and windows still says it can't find the device driver software. I have win vista.

Can this be done if i have a Mac book Pro??

Excellent directions. My only problem is when I get to "Step 3," and run the CAPDVHS program, only some of the toolbars work, and search isn't one of them. What could be wrong? Thanks.

Are there any drivers for the Motorola DCX3400?

I, too, am trying to find the drivers for the Motorola DCX-3440 DVR. I would like to download the programs from the DVR to the Win 7 PC. ANy suggestions as to where to find the drivers? The instructions are great otherwise.

I don't know offhand where to find drivers for the Motorola DCX-3440 DVR, but have posted here on twitter to see if anyone else knows where they can be downloaded.

Ricky: Is possible to obtain the driver for the Motorola DCX-3400. I can´t find in the WEB. I have a Windows 7 64 bit. Thanks

Thanks!!!! This worked like a dream!

I am getting this error 800705AA: Cannot start capture. Can you help.

In Win 7, try replacing your Firewire driver with the legacy driver: 1- Click the Start Button, type devmgmt.msc in the “Start Search” box and press Enter. 2- Expand the "IEEE 1394 Bus Host Controllers" node in the device tree on the right hand pane 3- Right click the host controller node select "Update driver software ..." 4- Select "Browse my computer for driver software" 5- Select "let me pick from a list of device driver on my computer ..." and Check the box before “Show compatible hardware”. 6. Choose the second option---1394 OHCI Compliant Host Controller (Legacy), and click next to update the driver. In WinXP: See if the XP SP2 firewire patch fixes it: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=13952

I am also getting the error message 800705AA: Cannot start capture although I am using XP service pack 3. Can anyone help me?

I too get the error message 800705AA: Cannot start capture although I am using XP service pack 3. Anyone can help me?

Rick, did you get any responses to the Motorola DCX-3440 DVR drivers?

Great instructions! Worked like a charm but for one hitch: when I play back the TS file, it is blank. VLC just shows the traffic cone -- I see the playback counter advancing but no video or audio. I have a Motorola 3416. Three reasons I can think of: 1. STB blacked out the video coming out of the FireWire port without disabling the port 2. VLC has a driver/other playback issue 3. Premium channel content (I'm recording from HBO HD) can't be copied Anyone else experience this? Any pointers would be appreciated. Thanks!

Experienced the same thing Firewire and SDK cannot decode Copy Once - EMI filter data. Oh well, cannot record from premium channels. Still trying...

Ricky, These are great instructions! Unfortunately, though I have the described DCT6412 model and have followed the steps carefully, it fails on "updating the driver(s)" from those downloaded. It says "Windows could not find driver software for your device". It says that on all three devices. I'm using Windows 7 (64-bit) but your write-up lists Windows 7 as one of the OS's. Is this only for 32-bit Windows 7? I also tried it in a "Windows XP Virtual Machine" and had no better luck installing the drivers.

Did you ever find drivers that would work for Windows 7 64 bit? I was able to get the other drivers to work with my firewire port on my older XP Home machine, but not my newer i7 Windows 7 computer with firewire input.

Thank you for the great post. I am currently a Dish subscriber, but I am going to be switching to Comcast shortly. I have not heard of a similar process to that you describe for Comcast that is workable with Dish. Dish, however, has a company supported process by which you can transfer recordings from the DVR to multiple external HDs, thereby freeing up space on the DVR and allowing for the buildup of an extensive library on the external HDs. Because the external HD is formatted with Dish proprietary software the recordings can only be watched with a Dish DVR and cannot be transferred to, or recognized by, a PC. Can you use the same or similar procedure you describe for Comcast to offload/transfer recordings from the Comcast DVR onto an external HD with a FireWire connection? If so, would you then be able to take the external HD and plug it into your PC to transfer those recordings to the PC (so that you would be able to watch them on the PC) via the same software, rather than having to connect the DVR to the PC? Any thoughts or suggestions you may have accomplish this goal would be appreciated.

Simply connect your external hardrive to your computer and select external hard drive as the destination for your recordings

You have to connect your comcast dvr to the computer via firewire and software, then under step 3 (record your shows) select your extermal hard drive as your (SAVE FOLDER) under the settings tab, then you can use your external hard drive to play recordings on your computer saving space on your computers hard drive

I have the Motorola DCH3416 with Comcast. My PC is a Windows 2003 server desktop machine that I use as a big file server and web server. The box was immediately identified, and I had no problems installing the driver. Capture worked fine. The only limitation with Comcast was that the DVR had to be hooked to the cable service to be able to access the shows that were recorded, so that leaves out friends bringing over their DVR... I'll have to take my machine to their box (I'm pretty sure I can't hook a friends box to my service). Too bad you just can't copy files off the hard drive, because obviously this process is time consuming, since you have to play back the show at normal speed, but it's better than nothing!

One other thing: If you find yourself wanting to do this a lot, you might as well get a card for your computer and use that as your DVR in the first place.

I'm running windows 7, got all installed with aa few trys and the system starts to record, but creates a -0- length .ts file. I would like to copy off DVR rather than record at "watching" speed and then burn to a DVD for future use in a Blu-ray or DVD player. Is there a concersion process for that format? .ts to DVD format?

I copied the zipfile from the site and extracted the files. When updating the drivers, my computer accepted the one for AV/C Tuner with no problem. But for the AV/C panel, it displays a message saying that the file cannot be located. Any ideas why this is happening? Is there another site where I can get these driver files? Thanks. Sefton

I've followed your directions but at: Click "Next" and then select the option to "Include this location in the search". Click the "Browse" button and navigate to the folder where you saved the software drivers back in Step 1. I can't load the driver for AV/C Panel from F:\Documents and Settings\Bette\My Documents\My Videos\CapDVHS It can't find it. Need your help. Thanks.

Can you use a firewire to usb cord and will it still work? thank you

I am able to send the DVR video directly to my laptop and play it using the VLC Media Player. However, the playback files are too "wavy" and a little "strobey" throughout the playback. Any reason why this happened? My DVR feed is super clean but the end results are not visually "perfect". Help! jay@jayterrien.com

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