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.
Dan is getting rid of his cable box and is looking for an analog to digital converter for his over-the-air antenna. Leo recommends the ChannelMaster. It's like a TIVO for an antenna. This is a great option for cable cutters.
How can Robert move from component to HDMI? Leo says that component is the last bastion of analog and he'll need a digitizing box to move to the digital signal of HDMI. But that's only half the problem. Robert may have an issue with copy protection as well with HDCP. There could also be sync issues.
If you have old VHS video tapes, it's a good idea to convert them to a digital format. There are services that will convert these tapes for you, and send back a DVD, which may be the easiest option. ScanCafe.com will convert VHS, VHS-C, SVHS, Hi8, Digital 8, and MiniDV to DVD for $19.99 per tape. This is also a good option if you're dealing with Hi8 tapes and don't have a playback device.
Scott Wilkinson went to see the world premiere of the Johnny Depp film "Transcendence," which was shown in Dolby Atmos, which is able to steer the sound in ways that aren't channel based and go way beyond 5.1 or even 7.1. It was shot in film and then converted to digital, which is becoming more and more rare. But it has some wonderful grain and dynamic range. Leo wonders when it became noteworthy that film is being used over digital? How did that happen? Scott says it's a philosophical choice.
Mike would like to know more about the RGB analog video signal. Scott says that RGB has four connectors (red, green, and blue) plus one for the sync signal. RGB is a professional spec that was used back before HDTVs when CRTs had better resolution and color - especially in black levels.
Leo says that is a reasonable thing to want to do, but Hollywood doesn't want anyone to have access to that pure digital signal. DirecTV and DISH scramble and encode the signal which leaves users with only one choice - the analog hole.
Chris will have to connect the DVR to a video capture card on his computer. Then he can play back the shows and record them into the computer. This is called the "analog hole".