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Can I Buy a DVD Recorder With HDMI Input?

Updated February 21, 2017

Because of rampant movie pirating, as the technology for high-definition television advances, so does that for copyright protection. Manufacturers must include a copy protection scheme into their products to get HDMI certification, making copying of digital HD videodiscs impossible. For that reason, you can't buy a DVD player with an HDMI input. But for legally copying signals onto a disc, you can convert HDMI to another format and then record it.

HDMI Signals

High Definition Multimedia Interface carries all the video signals in a digital format, along with up to eight audio channels and an Ethernet channel to provide Internet support for any device in the system that uses it. It also carries various control signals that provide one-touch operation, turning on associated equipment with a single command, along with automatic set-up for related equipment. It provides the simplest connection, using only one cable instead of various cables for signals and controls. HDMI has built-in technology to prevent recording high definition signals.

High-Definition Copy Protection

Hollywood producers and HDMI Licensing, LLC -- the company that controls use of the HDMI logo -- agreed to require manufacturers to include High Definition Copy Protection (HDCP) in all HDMI devices to be certified to use the HDMI logo. With HDCP, signals become unrecordable. In these cases, an HDMI input port on a recording device would serve no useful purpose. HDMI input ports only appear on viewing screens, AV receivers for distribution, and on repeaters, to amplify the signal for cable runs longer than 30 feet.

DVD Recorder Inputs

The input jacks on a DVD recorder dictate the formats they can accept. Analogue HD signals travel on three separate cables for component video and only very few DVD recorders have such inputs. The most common inputs are composite video, which uses one RCA push-in connector colour coded yellow for the video signal, and S-video, which uses a four-pin round connector. DVD recorders also have audio inputs on RCA connectors, colour-coded red for right audio and white for left.

Recording From HDMI

Recording copyrighted material is illegal and the users have the responsibility of knowing what they can legally record. For legal recording of an HDMI signal, use an HDMI converter to change the signal to either composite video or S-video and sound. Then connect the converter to the DVD recorder with a composite or S-video cable. Since the S-video has separate colour and synchronisation signals, it makes the best picture. But neither format will make the recording in high definition.

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About the Author

Richard Asmus was a writer and producer of television commercials in Phoenix, Arizona, and now is retired in Peru. After founding a small telecommunications engineering corporation and visiting 37 countries, Asmus studied broadcasting at Arizona State University and earned his Master of Fine Arts at Brooklyn College in New York.