How can I preserve this recording?
March 5, 2012 1:33 PM   Subscribe

Is there a way to copy a recording from a Verizon FiOS DVR to a disc, thumb drive, or anything like that? Is this actually possible? I was on the New Year's Eve in New York broadcast multiple times and at length, so I would like to somehow keep this recording. What would I need to do?
posted by signondiego to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Does said DVR have anything but an HDMI out? If so, you could play the recording and have the output pass through a VCR or a computer with a capture card. Unfortunately for the consumer, all of the DVRs from cable/content companies are designed to make permanently archiving a copy of something they record very challenging, and impossible to do without bringing more equipment into the mix.
posted by barc0001 at 1:56 PM on March 5, 2012

I'm not familiar with the FiOS DVR, but the easiest way to do this might be to find a cable that connects the non-HDMI output of the FiOS DVR (so, perhaps the RCA or component outputs) to either a camcorder, dedicated DVD-Recorder, or computer video interface box.

I can't imagine that FiOS lets you just take video off the device with a thumb drive, but the unencrypted outputs on the box itself can be fed into a recording device without issue.

It's also possible that you might be able to pull the video off the box and into a computer via FireWire.
posted by jeffch at 1:56 PM on March 5, 2012

The standard FIOS DVR has composite and s-video out, that's gonna be the best way to get a copy of video off the set-top box and on to something else. You could buy something like this and make a copy of the New Years Eve broadcast by playing it back on your DVR while the capture device is connected to your computer, and some video capture software (no doubt included with the tuner device) is running. You'd probably be able to see the video on the TV and capture it at the same time.

Trying to get the video off of the DVR like you'd get a file off of a computer is not a route to go down. Those boxes are locked up tight and you're not likely to find any way outside an 'official' way blessed by Verizon, none of which exist at the moment.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 2:07 PM on March 5, 2012

I think FiOS allows for an external hard drive now. If so, you can save it to that. I would call Vz and ask them about external hard drives, not about copying programs.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:08 PM on March 5, 2012

Does said DVR have anything but an HDMI out? If so, you could play the recording and have the output pass through a VCR or a computer with a capture card.

I'm going to bet the FIOS box is using HDCP over it's HDMI connection, so you're not likely to be able capture any video coming out of HDMI without an HDCP compliant capture card, which would probably be very hard to find.

Although apparently you can now get them from China, so maybe they're not so hard to find.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 2:14 PM on March 5, 2012

Re JohnnyGunn's answer: I (sadly) see that Verizon encrypts the DVR data on any external drive - from the page he linked to:

What happens if I disconnect my eSATA device from my DVR and plug it into my computer or another DVR?
When you remove your eSATA device from a connected DVR and attempt to plug it into a computer or another DVR, the drive is not recognized and will likely prompt you to reformat the drive, whereby all recorded content will be lost.
You can disconnect the eSATA device from the DVR and reconnect to the same DVR without reformatting or losing data. The DVR encrypts data onto the eSATA drive and that data can only be viewed from the original DVR device.

Which suggests that the data on the DVR is encrypted too, right? Even if you were able to pull it off somehow...

Sounds like recording from playback, as a couple people have suggested, is your best option.

Here's a dude who did it using a different DVR, but it gives you an idea of what to look for (a newer card than the one he describes in 2005, I hope!).

Or, y'know - you could BitTorrent the broadcast, if you are okay with that - someone probably put it out there. Probably easiest way to go if you're not going to do this a lot.
posted by snoe at 5:09 PM on March 5, 2012

Is it this model? I've had success using the playback method via a firewire cable. I had to install a driver on my laptop when I connected to the machine and I used some video capture program, I think most would work.
posted by sarae at 6:27 PM on March 5, 2012

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