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Record video from a Motorola DCT 6412 PVR Other Hardware
You can use your Mac to record from the Motorola DCT-6412 Personal Video Recorder. Most of the ports on the DCT-6412 are not active (Ethernet, USB, etc.), but the FireWire ports are still active on some cable systems (Shaw and Comcast, for example). Using that knowledge, here's how to record stuff from the box to your Mac. You'll need the following:
  1. OS X10.4.9 (only version I tested; it may work on others)
  2. FireWire SDK #23 from Apple's Developer website (free account required to download).
  3. VLC (Video Lan player for Mac) or MPEG Streamclip
Read on for the step-by-steop directions...

Here's what I did to make this work:
  1. Connect the DCT to your Mac with a FireWire cable.
  2. Check System Profiler's FireWire section; the DCT should be listed as connected. If it is not listed, then your box probably has the FireWire ports disabled -- talk to your cable company.
  3. Download and install FireWire SDK #23 and either VLC or / and MPEGStreamclip
  4. Locate and start AVCBrowser from the SDK.
  5. Click "Open device - control panel".
  6. Select the Plugs tab.
  7. Click "Open Device." The text should change to "Opened by this app = Yes".
  8. There are two channel settings on the plugs screen, set them both to channel 63 and click both Connect buttons.
  9. Start Virtual DVHS from the SDK and click the Connect button.
  10. Click "Set recording path" to tell the program where to save files.
You can click the Record button now to record what the cable box is sending to the TV. I hope you have a lot of disk space -- a 30 minute show with a 4:3 aspect ratio requires 1gb of drive space. Click Stop when done recording. The file that DVHS saves will have a .m2t extension. You can watch this file with the VLC player. Use File » Open, as double-clicking the m2t file won't work. Alternatively, you could use MPEG Stream Clip to convert the mpeg2 stream to a different format like QuickTime, avi, etc.

Note: Some programs will not record properly as they are encrypted (pay per view), but the regular broadcast channels should be clear. Please respect copyrights and only record stuff for personal use.

[robg adds: I don't have this machine, so I can't test this one...]
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Record video from a Motorola DCT 6412 PVR | 14 comments | Create New Account
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Record video from a Motorola DCT 6412 PVR
Authored by: nvdingo on Jun 11, '07 07:46:27AM

VLC can also transcode files to other formats without watching them. Depending on your machine, this can be faster than realtime. Of course, on a really old machine, this may be MUCH slower than real time, But it will do it.

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Record video from a Motorola DCT 6412 PVR
Authored by: comboprime on Jun 11, '07 08:23:17AM
I've followed this setup, and it works quite well. Note that MPEG Streamclip cannot play or convert m2t without Apple's QuickTime MPEG-2 Playback Component ($20). From the Streamclip website:
For MPEG-2 playback and conversion, you need the QuickTime MPEG-2 Playback Component. You can buy it from Apple ( If you have either Final Cut Pro or DVD Studio Pro, then the component is already installed and you don't have to buy it; but you may need to download the latest version from Apple. If you bought an older version of the component, you can update it to the latest version ( Note that the MPEG-2 component is neither required nor useful for MPEG-1 or MPEG-4 files. But it is required for VOB files and transport streams, because they are MPEG-2 files.

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Record video from a Motorola DCT 6412 PVR
Authored by: appleman_design on Jun 11, '07 08:58:00AM

i have been doing this for sometime now using the older VirtualDVHS, connecting it to my dvr.
works like a charm, will also connect to a modified tivo also

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Record video from a Motorola DCT 6412 PVR
Authored by: mastige on Jun 11, '07 02:02:51PM

These instructions will work well, but a very simple way to proceed is to open AVCVideoCap, part of SDK 23. It will make the connection to the box automatically and, when a recording is requested, allows setting the duration of the program. There is no need to use AVCBrowser or DVHSCap at all.

MPEG Streamclip allows simple editing on a frame by frame basis, so that commercials can be removed, non-destructively, prior to conversion to another format. It works well for AppleTV, using the 'Export to MPEG...' command and choosing H264. For my setup, using a Pioneer HDTV, low resolution broadcast material works quite well at a resolution of 960 x 540. The default choice produces a result that will not fill the screen. The 'Quality' default setting is 50% and this looks reasonable unless there is a lot of motion in the material. Setting a 'multipass' scan improves this but adds to processing time significantly.

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also works for HDTV
Authored by: airdrummer on Jun 12, '07 07:07:04AM
i've been using virtualDVHS for capturing OTA HDTV from my samsung t165 tuner...7gB/hr;-)

i've also thrown together an applescript/ired/titantv-based dvr:, and since reading tiny applescript dialogs on a 50" hdtv sux, i kludged up a web interface

the trick to calling applescript from cgi is to add www to /etc/sudoer with -u <theloggedinuserthat'sactuallyrunning the a/s>

i'll put that mod up when i get home...

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Record video from a Motorola DCT 6412 PVR
Authored by: mgordon on Jun 12, '07 11:06:32AM

I never expected this to work. I'm using TimeWarnerCable and a Motorola DCT 6416. But it worked! Connected it to my ancient G5, used streamclip to transcode the file to apple intermediate codec and am currently transcoding the clip to mpeg-4 in Squeeze.

Note that I was unable to capture certain channels as the content on them seems to have some sort of DRM.

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Record video from a Motorola DCT 6412 PVR
Authored by: vincet68 on Oct 14, '07 07:10:11AM

I'm using a 6416 - all worked fine until I tried Step 8: connect Input Channel 63 (External worked fine) - got an error (No Input) - everything else seems to work fine - any ideas?

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Record video from a Motorola DCT 6412 PVR
Authored by: JimMueller on Dec 08, '07 12:43:58PM

I also had only one plug appearing in AVCBrowser.
I tried dcross's suggestion and used AVCVideoCap - which is also in the current SDK25. It worked great - no muss, no fuss, no messy pots & pans, plus you can set it to only suck down for a set length of time. Great for me as I tend to forget what I was doing...

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Record video from a Motorola DCT 6412 PVR
Authored by: kbrownridge on Jan 11, '08 09:21:44PM

I second that one.
Got a DCT6416 mark III with Shaw Cable
I can connect to the device via FireWire.
AVCBrowser sees the device, I can change the channel from the computer and so on, but I cannot connect an input plug as it doesn't detect any.
This means I cannot capture any streaming video.

So far I've been unable to overcome this problem.

Any suggestions?

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Record video from a Motorola DCT 6412 PVR
Authored by: jrtgal on Feb 22, '08 06:10:44PM

I am able to record audio only using AVC video cap.
I also get no input plug detected in AVC browser.
Anyone solve this problem?

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How can I view without recording?
Authored by: rdemby on Jan 19, '08 09:56:34AM

While the AVCVideoCap APP does work to capture content, I would like to view the cable content in a viewer box on my desktop while I continue to work without recording the content. Is this possible? My display is a Sony 32". Explorer 4250HD Cable Box-Cablevision

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Re:How can I view without recording?
Authored by: rdemby on Jan 19, '08 06:48:14PM

I've found out how. Using AVCBrowser and VLC

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Record video from a Motorola DCT 6412 PVR
Authored by: metropical on Apr 17, '10 02:46:35PM

I tried this with AVCVideoCap and it seemed to work.
But when I go to view using VLC, it plays a few secs then dies.

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Record video from a Motorola DCT 6412 PVR
Authored by: mortond on Nov 07, '11 02:15:11PM

I managed to get AVCBrowser to work with my Comcast STB, 10 ft 6x9 Firewire cable, 2011 27" iMac running Lion, and latest version of VLC 1.1.12. Firewire SDK26.
Couldn't get Virtual DVHS nor Virtual DV to work. VLC gave a full HD picture and recording, found that if I messed with trying to be clever I got a picture but no sound so I just used the VLC presets and MPEG TS. Picture on the iMac looks better than my 52" Sony Bravia.

I went through all the VLC encapsulate options and managed to save various channels as MPEG TS.
Problem is: after playing for a while I switched on the TV and found that all the 'Program Guide" stuff had been erased! The guide didn't show up on the firewire stream but recorded programs did and could be recorded to iMac.
All the recorded stuff was still on the STB HD but the guide was being downloaded, takes forever, future recordings were just time and channel with no title.

Anyone know what I might be doing wrong or, are Comcast just messing with me?
Any help appreciated.


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