DVRs

How can I record a month's worth of security video?

Episode 1410

Mike from Fremont, CA
Swann Security Camera

Mike has a Swan surveillance camera with a hard drive recording option that archives for seven days before it loops around. He'd like to expand that to a month. Can he? Leo says he might be able to with a larger hard drive, but it may be specially locked down to prevent upgrading or hacking it to his liking. It largely depends on the DVR.

What's a good alternative DVR to TIVO?

Episode 1407

Lott from Ft. Lauderdale, FL
ChannelMaster DVR

Lot has a TIVO Series 3 and he did a a required update, but now it won't work when rescanning. So he's in a constant reboot loop. Leo says he can try going back to factory settings, but if that doesn't work, then the update is incompatible with that TIVO and it's more or less bricked his device. Leo would advise contacting TIVO and demanding they fix it or replace it.

How can I backup programs from my DVR?

Episode 1402

Chris from Burbank, CA
DVR

Chris has a DVR with a lot of programs on it. Can he back them up before he changes companies? Leo says no. The programming is heavily encrypted because of copy protection. The only real way he can do it is by exploiting the analog hole. If his DVR has an analog connection, he can put a VCR in between the DVR and the TV connection. But he'll be recording in real time and it won't be in HD.

How can I get my TV shows off an old DVR?

Episode 1391

Bob from Leonia, NJ
Series 2 TiVo back

Bob was a Time Warner Cable client, but now he's with Spectrum and his "enhanced DVR" box is starting to fail. Leo says that chances are, it's the hard drive that's starting to fail. How can he get the shows off before he returns them? They say there's no way to do it since the data is encrypted. Leo says that the cable won't help him get those off because they are afraid of piracy. If it's a cloud based DVR, then he'd be OK. If not, he's out of luck.

Can I get a DVR for my TV antenna?

Episode 1376

Bill from Denver, CO
Tablo 2-Tuner

Bill cut the cable and is now using an antenna again. He'd like a DVR for it, and is wondering about the Tablo 2-Tuner DVR?

If Bill couldn't get over the air television, streaming would be his only real option if he's cutting the cord. But if he's within line of site of stations, Leo says the Silicon Dust HD HomeRun and the Channel Master are his best bets. Leo doesn't know much about the Tablo, and he recommends ChannelMaster, but the Tablo looks OK.

Is the Channel Master a good DVR for over-the-air broadcasts?

Episode 1318

Tim from Denver, CO
Channel Master DVR

Tim wants to know Leo's thoughts on Channel Master. Leo says it's a DVR for over-the-air antenna broadcasts. Leo doesn't get over-the-air broadcast TV because of where he lives, but he hears good things. Now he's learned that Channel Master will also stream video through Roku. That's pretty cool. If he's in the city and can get a good over-the-air signal, he will get the best broadcast quality because it's uncompressed. The key is to be close and within line of site of the main channels.