How to transfer DVR recordings onto a computer

Updated February 21, 2017

Transferring DVR recordings to a computer or laptop can free up the memory space on the DVR so more television programming can be recorded. Once copied to the computer, the recording can be stored on the hard drive or burnt to a DVD for archiving. The PC or laptop needs a video capture card and software for viewing the content from the DVR, plus standard audio/video cables.

Connect the DVR to the computer with AV cables. When using composite cables, plug the yellow cable into the DVR's Video Out jack, and the white and red plugs into the left and right Audio Out jacks. Insert the plugs on the other ends into the colour-coded jacks on the computer's videocard, located on the back of the central processing unit (CPU). If using a USB cable, simply plug each end into a free USB port on the DVR and the PC.

Open the video recording software on the computer by double-clicking the name of the program, then select the "File" tab and choose the recording source, which will be the videocard.

Select the recorded program to transfer from the DVR by using the up and down arrows on the remote to scroll through the menu and choose a file.

Press "Play" on the DVR or its remote control.

Click the "Record" button on the computer software. This is traditionally a button with a red circle in the centre.

Click "Stop" on the PC when finished recording from the DVR, then select the "File" tab, choose "Save As" and type a name for the transferred recording. Click "OK" to save the new file.


Digital video can quickly fill a computer hard drive, so keep a supply of recordable DVDs handy for burning video files to disc.


Disconnect the equipment from the power while hooking up AV cables.

Things You'll Need

  • DVR
  • Computer with video capture card and software for viewing video
  • Compatible audio/video cables
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About the Author

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.