View Full Version : Any way to extract recorded programming from my Cable Box DVR?

01-22-2009, 06:48 PM
I have a Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8300HD cable box with DVR.

Like the thread title says, I'd like to figure out a way to extract data directly from the hard drive of my cable DVR.

I've been googling for a while (off and on all day). The consensus answer seems to be: Buy a USB video input for your laptop and save the file that way... basically, use my laptop as a glorified VCR.

Any ideas?

01-22-2009, 07:00 PM
Firewire is the only way I've ever heard of. The data on the HD is encrypted I believe.

01-22-2009, 07:05 PM
Depends on the channel/show, but not all the data is always encrypted.

But yeah, Firewire... if the data is not encrypted. You'll then need the right software to convert the video to a more common standard.

01-22-2009, 07:43 PM
I have the exact same DVR. There is no way to get the file off. The SA8300HD uses an unique file system not recognized by Windows. I never tried in Linux. You can transfer them. However, the FireWire interface only works on unencrypted channels and you really need a Mac otherwise the FireWire transfer is not perfect. The only way to get a perfect transfer is the Hauppage HD PVR. I have it, and with enough patience you can fit an entire HD movie on 8.5 GB DVD.

01-23-2009, 11:12 AM

I finally worked my way up to a Time Warner guru... He said there was NO way to extract the files off the hard drive, even through the firewire jack. You can hook up an external hard drive to expand your recording capabilities but since TWC uses a proprietary encoding scheme, if you try to hook that hard drive up to your PC you won't be able to read the files. He claims there is no conversion software available to convert their files into something useful.

So the answer is no.

01-23-2009, 12:26 PM
Originally posted by: Whoozyerdaddy

I finally worked my way up to a Time Warner guru... He said there was NO way to extract the files off the hard drive, even through the firewire jack. You can hook up an external hard drive to expand your recording capabilities but since TWC uses a proprietary encoding scheme, if you try to hook that hard drive up to your PC you won't be able to read the files. He claims there is no conversion software available to convert their files into something useful.

So the answer is no.


I've already extracted stuff off my 8300HD using Firewire to my Mac. Not the actual files, but the original digital HD video stream... for unencrypted shows. (I'm on Rogers Cable.)

AlexWade has done the same with his 8300HD.

01-23-2009, 09:43 PM

04-21-2009, 12:25 PM
Hi, I see there are some input receptacles in the explorer 8300HD, there is also this USB port and was wondering if I could just attach an external USB HD to this port and extract the video I am needing to it for later editing. Is there a another way to get the recorded programs ?



04-21-2009, 01:53 PM
There is a reason you cannot do this - or if you can, its likely a mistake or will someday be closed. The Firewire trick will work for regional providers - most comcast owned equipment has this port disabled.

The USB port is for service updates, not a disk drive.

The best way to get programs off your encrypted and crippled garbage DVR is to intercept the component output stream with the Hauppauge HD-PVR.

Short answer Teeh = no.

Long answer = Get a Tivo - They have a program that allows you to transfer recordings at will.

04-21-2009, 04:17 PM
You can get the information. It would just be a chore.
You have to remove the drive from the DVR which will break the seal letting them know you have been in the receiver, so be prepared to pay for a new one when you return that one. Most companies have a , seal is broken ? You bought it policy.
95% of DVR boxes run some form of linux so that is what you need to access the partitions. The drives are sometimes password protected so that they will not even spin up till the proper password is sent. You can get around that by editing the drives firmware, I've done it with DVR hard drives . Once sent the drive spins up like usual and you can read the partitions. Everything is encrypted except simple stuff like log files. So you can read things like cpu usage, memory, errors, etc , but no video files. The video files can now be copied to the pc. You can now try to crack the encryption which uses a different key for each file. So unless you have a supercomputer, and even if you did, you would have to use it on every single file.

Not worth it.

Also if you attach a external drive to most DVR to add storage space, it usually formats the entire drive, and the files are still encrypted.

Someone already gave the alternative.

Hook up that to your pc and DVR.

04-22-2009, 12:24 PM
Hi again, I am looking at the back of the Explorer 8300 HD there are this two 1394 Firefire outputs but I do not recognize the kack, I also looked into google and the jacks I found are smaller than this ones, any idea what kind of cable should use to connect the Explorer 8300 HD to my Laptop, also what name should I look for this cable.
Really confusing this video extraction thing. I just need to extract a two minute video I recorded from a local Tv station.


06-09-2011, 11:37 AM
I finally got this to work using Ubuntu. My firewire says disabled in the service menu, but no problems capturing from Paladia content that was DVR'd.

Here is my solution from the AVS thread:


After reading through this entire thread, I have found the best to capture video from my 8300HD after much trial and error.

I used a Dell E5410 with Windows 7 Enterprise 32bit with the following results:

I tried VLC. It worked, but choppy video and sound.
I tried TSReader Lite. Same issues with choppy video and sound
I got a demo of Adobe Premier Elements. I couldn't even get it to capture without crashing.

I then thought about Linux since I have Ubuntu 11.04 dual booting on this machine. I am no means an linux expert, but was able to capture flawless 1080i video with test-mpeg2.

Ubuntu 11.04 should come with the necessary components to make this work. Being a linux novice, it took me several days to realize my problems when trying to use test-mpeg2.

You should have a folder named libiec61883-1.2.0. If you don't download it's tar from the web and extract it wherever.

Once extracted open terminal and go to the extracted libiec61883-1.2.0 folder. Then do a ./configure and make. Then go to examples folder in libiec61883-1.2.0. This is where test-mpeg2 resides.

Connect your 8300hd and type plugreport in the terminal window under libiec61883-1.0.0/example.

You should see the firewire nodes. My device was under node 1.

I then issued the following command ./test-mpeg2 -r 1 > test.m2ts .
Then I saw starting to receive below. To stop capturing hit ctrl+c .

At that point I viewed the file with VLC in linux. I got concerned because it was choppy with image tearing. I then copied that test.m2ts to my windows C:\ drive . Then booted into Windows 7 and it played 100% flawlessly.

test-mpeg2 is rather crude with its command line operation, but it is the best method I have found for the 8300HD.

02-08-2014, 07:19 AM
I've already extracted [] the original digital HD video stream [] (I'm on Rogers Cable.)

Hi Eug,

I'm also a Rogers customer. I need to extract some recordings that have been saved in my 8300HD for years. I'm PC-based, but on the 64-bit version of Windows 7, which means there are no drivers available for the 8300HD. I can, however, dual-boot into Ubununtu and that's where my research has focused.

Unfortunately, it's tough to find good instructions in the mass of "nope, doesn't work if you try this" threads. I can't get anything to work. Not even the used DV camera I bought shows anything coming out of the Rogers box.

I may be doing something wrong, or perhaps the Firewire port has been disabled at some point through the years. As a successful 8300HD video extractor yourself, can you tell me if this is the case? If the port is still active, can you share your capture recipe with me?

These videos, of me on TV, are priceless. I could easily buy a Hauppauge HD box and extract via the component outputs, but I want to extract the best quality possible; that means grabbing the TS stream from the box, rather than recompressing the video if done through the component outputs.

I'm at the end of my rope. More TV appearances are coming this week and the box is getting fuller and fuller. Any help or pointers you could give me would be much appreciated.

02-10-2014, 03:49 PM
I think your "solution" to use the component out is the only viable one at this time. But, I thought only the composite out was not locked down. If you can get it from component out you're not really losing anything quality wise.

02-10-2014, 03:58 PM
There's also this thing. No idea how well it works.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815100049 (http://redirect.anandtech.com/r?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newegg.com%2FProduct%2FProd uct.aspx%3FItem%3DN82E16815100049&user=u00000687)

02-11-2014, 02:06 PM
I have same DVR... I record anything off the DVR using an inexpensive Combo VHS/DVD Recorder purchased from Wal-Mart. Hookup is simply using RCA connections Red/White for R/L Audio and Yellow for Video. I go to "List" on DVR, find recorded program, Press play on DVR and Press Record on the DVD Burner. I use DVD-RW discs... +RW's Don't work on my Magnavox unit. Of course this inexpensive way does not result in HD DVD Copy. I finalize the disc while its still in DVD unit then I take the Disc I just burned to my laptop and use free program DVDShrink to Edit/Process to a final recording.