February 27, 2007

Transfer Comcast HD DVR content to Mac OSX

This is a quick how to Record Shows from your Comcast HD DVR onto your Mac .

How to get the video off of it and onto your Mac. This is a quick summary from this site (

Here is what you need to get started:
  1. Motorola Dual Tuner DVR High-Definition Set-Top DCT6412 or similar unit.
  2. Then you will need a Mac and a standard firewire cable (six pin to six pin). NOTE: New Macbook Pro do not have 6 pin input
  3. Download the FireWire SDK 26 for Mac OS X from Apple.
    This developers tool kit provides a cool app called AVCVideoCap.
Now you have everything that you need to get started. As a safety measure you may want to shutdown you computer and DVR before you connect them with the firewire cable.

  1. Connect the the DVR and the Mac with the firewire cable.
  2. Open the AVCVideoCap application. (it is located in the developer tools folder [Developer/FireWireSDK22/Applications/]
  3. If all is good with the world you should see your DVR listed in the device window, select it. In the image above there is no device listed, so if your screen looks like that, there is a problem.
  4. Turn your DVR to the channel that you want to record (you can also do this through the computer in the next step).
  5. Note the EMI status. This is what will tell you if the video is copy protected or not.

    • Copy Freely means that you can record it no problem.
    • Copy Once, means that you can copy it, but you will not be able to view it.
  6. Select the capture from device button, you get a dialog box with some more options. They are pretty much self explanatory, so fill them out and start recording.

The file that you will record is a MPEG-2 transport stream. So you will have a file that will end in .m2t. Since these are not really common file type they can be a bit complicated to play. The best app to use to view these files is the VLC media Player. This app should play these files without any issues.

And that is it. While it might sound kind of complicated it is rather easy and fun. It is really cool to be able to view these high definitions videos on the computer. I will let you know what I think.


  1. Are you willing to help me? I'm in Chicago, I have NO clue how to transfer previously recorded news segments from my DVR to my Mac Laptop. I'd love your help!

  2. tamara,

    were you able to follow the steps and do you have the right cables.

    Also note that not all the shows can be copied to your Mac. some shows have restriction on them.

    let me know where are you stick and I might be able to help.

  3. I do have the fire wire. I downloaded the Firewire 26 b/c 22 wasn't available. Plugged it in, it came up in the window, said "copy once" and then it started to copy. (at least i think...didn't see the tv on my computer) i then downloaded vlc media player but i don't know what to do to open the file. the file is named" test2.m2t and when i try to open it, i get the box "warning - no navigation data-file detected"...the option is "continue without navi or "create navi data" clue now!

    I heard about eyetv or something. What is it?

  4. ah...

    note this in the posting

    "# Note the EMI status. This is what will tell you if the video is copy protected or not. Copy Freely means that you can record it no problem. Copy Once, means that you can copy it, but you will not be able to view it."

    it is the way the cable company and the network can protect the shows..

  5. i did this but got no audio? is there something i am doing wrong? i have all the codecs through growl or perian i forget which one is what. when the transfer is taking place the numbers are moving and nothing is showing on my tv? any ideas?

  6. The only time i have an issue with Audio is when i try to skip sections of the recording... then i lose it..

    Are you just not having any audio at all?

  7. yes beautiful picture but no sound. If u want I could send u a small video to see If I am missing anything. My DVD is full from previous recordings and the election last night. Please help. I also have an external hard drive with esata. Is there anyway I can just record just straight to that?

  8. sorry i'm not sure what it could be... make sure you are using something like VLC to view the video.

  9. awe ur killin me. Of course I am using vlc. Do u transfer it directly to ur mac because I have my external hd as the middle man

  10. everything works pretty good....but has anyone tried to copy video already stored on the DVR hard drive?

    when i tried to copy what i already had recorded, it froze up the entire comcast box, until i unplugged the firewire cord...

    had anyone else run into this and if so, does anyone know of a work around?

  11. Ryan,

    The way i tried to do my DVR stuff is to start the recording and follow the same proecess and it worked for me.

    The issue i had is that at some videos you can't skip ahead without missing up the audio.