Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How To Record TV/HDTV to your Computer

When it comes to recording digitally you have a couple options:
  1. Using a a DVR you can: record shows and pause LIVE tv. The DVR box is usually supplied by your cable company.
  2. Use a Set top DVD Recorder, records your shows to DVD, then you can transfer to a PC or view in a DVD player.
  3. Record directly to PC.
DVR's are fairly simple to use and come with an inbuilt hard drive.
Recording directly to PC you have more control over your hard drive availability, and you can do more with the material, like editing etc.

Recording TV Programs with a DVR

DVR's, supplied by your cable company, are similar to VCR's in that they record TV, but they use no tapes.
Instead they have an inbuilt hard drive, so there is no quality loss.
You can set up timed programming for your shows just like a VCR but with more on screen options.
They also give you a neat overview or menu for browsing your channels, and you can usually set your favorite channels, watch several channels at once etc.

With DVR's you can pause and rewind live television, the running show is stored on a tuner.
If the DVR has two (or more) tuners you can record one show while watching another.
The amount of shows you can record before having to delete old ones are limited to the size of the hard drive. You can usually have a couple movies and some episodes.

Use A Set Top DVD Recorder

DVD recorders are like VCR's but you need to buy empty DVD's instead of tapes. They are fairly cheap anyway and can hold much more footage, and in way better quality.
The high rated DVD recorder below is the best one you can get for that price, also includes a VCR. As well as HD functions for recording from your HDTV.

and another one slightly cheaper, no VCR but with similar functions and HD:

Recording TV Programs to your computer

There are a couple of ways to do this. With a TV tuner card you can watch TV on your computer.

THe TV Tuner card you chose should come with all the instructions, but here are some anyway so you'll get an idea:
Install the TV tuner card like any graphics card. (open your computer and install it in the slot next to the graphic card, the thing your monitor cable went into) Then install it with whatever software that came with it. It should come with a software to change channels on your computer and record onto your harddrive.

Then connect the cable from your cable company or dish/antenna etc. into the back of the TV tuner card. (back of your PC)
Here are some good TV tuner cards.

Both are high rated cards, first one is the most affordable with basic options, the second one has HD options and recording.

Make sure you have enough space on your harddrive, recording videos takes up a lot of space. Having an external hard drive is always good. Not only for this but also for keeping backups of all your important stuff. Or when you need to reinstall your system (as often happens with Windows)