Should I Install Linux onto My Old Windows XP for DVR Purposes?


Episode 1603

Mark from Pittsburgh, PA

Mark has an old Windows 7 / XP machine with Windows Media Center and is looking to repurpose it. Mark is wondering if he should pull the hard drive and install Linux onto the drive and use MythTV DVR application on it? Leo says that it should be fine, but warns Mark of using the machine for more than just a DVR machine. Leo says that there are risks using an XP machine since there haven't been new updates for XP machines in some time, it could be infected with viruses passively when going online.

How can I archive shows recorded on my DVR?

Episode 899

Chris from Livermore, CA

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".

Can I get videos off of my DVR so I can archive them?

Episode 884

Andy from Prince George, Canada

Leo says that DVRs are heavily encrypted. He could use something like TIVO to GO, but there are higher fees and limitations that go along with that. There’s always the analog hole, where he could plug his DVR into a PC via a video capture card and an RCA composite cable that would normally go into a TV. It won’t be digital, but it’s better than nothing.

Is there a way to save the content on my DISH Networks DVR to something else?

Episode 879

Jeff from Florida

Often times it's not possible to do this because cable or satellite providers such as DISH are worried that people will pirate their content. DISH has a new "hopper" HD DVR that may have an option for getting the content off of the DVR. Jeff may want to inquire about that. He can also simply plug in a VCR or computer into the DVR and record while the DVR plays back the video in real time. This is called the "analog hole", and is one way to get around the digital restrictions.