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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.

Playing Mobile Device Videos on Your Computer

Question: I emailed myself a video I took from my blackberry curve. When i try to play the video on my computer it says it can't find the file extension. What is the deal?

Answer: The deal is that you either need a program installed on your computer that can play the video file, or a program that will convert it to a common video format like Quicktime or Windows Media.

I'll cover both approaches, and will introduce you to some free and low-cost programs that'll handle the video viewing and converting. I'll also show you how to convert Quicktime or Windows Media videos into a format that can be viewed on a Blackberry, iPhone, or virtually any mobile device that supports video.

Video Players

Most computers come with some form of a video player, such as Windows Media Player that plays video files with a .wmv extension. You can also get the Quicktime video player for free from Apple that plays .mp4 video files.

However, videos that are recorded from a mobile device will usually have a different file extension, such as .3GP for movies recorded on Motorola RAZR phones. These videos won't play in Quicktime or Windows Media.

You'll need a video player designed to read the video format that your specific mobile device uses, or better yet - one that can play a wide range of video formats so that you'll still be in luck if you switch phones in the future.

Rather then look for a universal video file player, look for a video file converter. Not only will you get the ability to view all kinds of video files, but you'll be able to convert them to be viewable on other devices or other computer systems like a Macintosh. Two for the price of one.

Video Converters

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