If you own a Digital Video Recorder, such as TiVo, or a DVR from a Cable or Satellite provider, then you know you can record to the device's hard drive to view TV shows at a later time, much like the old VCR. However, saving those TV shows becomes difficult as the Hard Drive starts to fill up. The answer to saving your shows is to record them to DVD! This can be accomplished easily by hooking up a DVD Recorder to your DVR.
Time Required: Depends on length of source video
- Record a TV show on your DVR that you want to save to DVD!
- Turn on the DVR, DVD Recorder and the TV that the DVD Recorder is connected to. In my case, I have my Samsung DVD Recorder (no hard drive) hooked up to my TV via an RCA Audio/Video cable from the rear outputs on the DVD Recorder to the rear RCA inputs on my TV. I use a seperate DVD Player for playing DVDs, but if you use your DVD Recorder as a player as well, use the best cable connections you can to connect to the TV. See the article Types of A/V Cables for more info.
- Connect an S-Video or RCA video cable and composite stereo cables (red and white RCA plugs) from the DVR to the inputs on your DVD Recorder. If your TV has Component inputs, connect the Component Out from the DVD Recorder to the Component In on the TV, otherwise you can use S-Video or Composite. You will still need to use RCA audio with your video connection.
- Change the input on your DVD Recorder to match the inputs you are using. Since I'm using the rear S-Video input, I change my input to "L1", which is the input for recording using the rear S-Video input. If I was recording using the front analog cables it would be "L2", the front Firewire input, "DV". The input select can typically be changed using the DVD Recorder remote.
- You'll also need to change the input select on the TV to match the inputs you are using to connect the DVD Recorder. In my case, I'm using rear inputs that correspond to "Video 2". This allows me to view what I'm recording.
- You can now perform a test to make sure the video signal is coming through to the DVD Recorder and the TV. Simply start playing the recorded TV show back from the Digital Video Recorder and see if the video and audio is being played back on the TV. If you have everything connected properly, and the correct input select, you should be seeing and hearing your video. If not, check your cable connections, power, and input select.
- Now you're ready to record! First, determine the type of disc you'll need, either DVD+R/RW or DVD-R/RW. For more info on Recordable DVDs read the article Types of Recordable DVD Formats. Second, change the record speed to the desired setting. For me it's "SP", which allows up to two hours of record time.
- Place the recordable DVD into the DVD Recorder.
- Start playing the Recorded TV Show back while pressing record on either the DVD Recorder itself, or by using the remote. If you want to record more than one show on a DVD, just pause the recorder while you switch to the other show, and then resume by hitting pause on the recorder or remote a second time after you start playing the next tape. However, make sure you have enough space on the disc for the shows you are recording.
- Once you have recorded your TV show (or shows) hit stop on the recorder or the remote. DVD Recorders require that you "finalize" the DVD in order to make it a DVD-Video, capable of playback in other devices. The method for finalizing varies by DVD Recorder, so consult the owner's manual for information on this step.
- Once your DVD is finalized, it is now ready for playback.
- While you can purchase a DVR that includes a built-in DVD Recorder, those can be expensive. By hooking up a seperate DVD Recorder, you can save some money, while taking advantage of backing up you TV shows to DVD, without the need for a DVR with a built-in DVD Recorder.
- On the other hand, having the convenience of a built-in DVD Recorder is the right choice for those who don't want to hook up an extra A/V device to their home theater set-up.
- Make sure you use the DVD format that works with your DVD Recorder.
- When using analog cables to record from a Digital Video Recorder to a DVD Recorder make sure you use highest quality cables that the DVD Recorder accepts, and that the DVR outputs.
- When selecting a recording speed on the DVD Recorder use 1 hour or 2 hour mode. The 4 and 6 hour modes should only be used when recording TV shows you don't plan to keep, or long sporting events.
- Make sure you set the correct input select for the inputs you are using on the DVD Recorder. Typically, DV for a Firewire connection and L1 and L2 for analog inputs.
- Make sure to Finalize your DVD for playback in other DVD devices.
What You Need
- DVD Recorder
- Digital Video Recorder - such as TiVo
- Audio/Video Cables
- DVD Recordable Media of the correct format
- TV hooked up to the DVD Recorder to monitor the recording