Rogers PVR Hacking

The information posted below is now EXTREMELY dated but I have left it here for reference purposes. No guarantees that any of the links or techniques described here even work.

Alrighty folks, this post is specifically for explaining how to copy data off the Rogers PVR box, to your computer. I’ve successfully done this with my machine and figured that some of you might also want to do the same. This does not require you to take the box apart, but does require you to have certain kinds of ports on your computer. Here’s what I did and how I did it. First off, I’m using a Motorola DCT-6208 HDTV PVR. This is the PVR box they gave me with Rogers digital cable here in Moncton. If you live in New Brunswick and have a PVR box from Rogers, odds are it’s the same one. This box has two IEEE 1394 Firewire ports on the back of it. If it’s from Rogers, odds are the ports are enabled. This may change in the future. My own tests have basically ruled out the use of the RJ45 jack and I’ve never used the USB ports. You will need a Firewire cable that will connect the PVR box to the Firewire port on your PC. Many PC’s do not have a Firewire port on them. If you have a Soundblaster Audigy card odds are you have a Firewire port. If you do not, you can purchase them from a local computer store. They are not expensive. The process described here assumes that you have a Firewire port on your computer. You will also need the AV Tuner drivers as well as the capture software. All software and drivers that are required can be obtained via the links provided at the end of this article. Please keep in mind that standard capture software will not capture the feed from the PVR box. Because I tried this several times, I now have a good idea of what you should have on hand and available to you when you try this. Here are some guidelines:

  • Because the PVR will need to be close to a computer, you should also have a TV in the same room. Hook at least the video out of the PVR box to this TV so you can see what the PVR box is displaying
  • You need a valid Rogers cable signal going into the PVR box in order to sample any video/audio. Insure that the room you have your computer in has a cable jack or you can get a cable signal into the room, and into the Rogers box.
  • Make sure you have the Rogers PVR remote handy. You’ll need to navigate the PVR menu.
  • If you have a TV tuner card on your computer, it makes things much easier if you pipe the video out from the PVR to the video in on your tv tuner card.
  • Make sure you have PLENTY of disk space available. My tests showed 34MB for a single minute of video.
  • The software used to record the video cannot display the video. It does output in MPG format but your system may not be able to display it. Try using one of the viewers listed on this page, or possibly use G-Spot to find out what Codec you need.
  • I used Nero 7 to burn the MPG files to DVD. Other software may work in transcoding the video. I also tried to import it into Ulead but it was not recognized. You may want to try one of the converters listed below.

So, now that you have the vitals, I’ll walk you through exactly what you should do to get this working. Once again, remember I used this process on my system and it worked. It may not work on everyone’s machine the same way so be prepared to experiment a little. Here we go.

  1. Download and install and the AV Tuner drivers. These drivers are available online and the link to them can be found at the bottom of this page. Download the non-beta drivers and install them. You will be prompted (normally) to install unsigned drivers, which is normal. Simply allow the application to install everything fine and reboot when it has completed.
  2. Download and install (unzip) the CapDVHS software. This software will be used to capture the information from the PVR box to your computer system. The default settings should be fine, but make sure that it is saving your files as MPG. Do not run the software until after you have hooked the PVR box up.
  3. In most cases, the PVR will be located in a separate room than the computer so in those cases, disconnect the PVR and bring it up to the computer room/location. Don’t forget to bring the PVR remote.
  4. Plug the PVR into the wall and power it on.
  5. Plug your Rogers cable signal into the “Cable In” on the back of the box.
  6. Plug the “Cable Out” into your TV set or use a standard RCA cable to plug the Video Out on the back of the PVR to your Video In on your television set.
    1. Either of those is perfectly fine. You only need to see the output so you know you are in fact recording the right thing.
  7. Once the PVR is successfully plugged into your television, turn the TV on and make sure you are receiving a proper cable signal from Rogers. This is very easy to determine as you should have some sort of picture. If you use the Guide, there will be things missing as this is normal. The PVR box downloads the guide directly from Rogers.
    1. You may get a weird message saying “This option will be available shortly”. Simply wait a few minutes before trying again
    2. Insure that before you go any further, you can access the PVR menu via the “List” button on your remote. You cannot copy any PVR recorded material until that menu is available.
  8. Connect one end of the firewire cable to the back of the PVR box (labeled IEEE 1394) and the other end to the firewire port on your computer.
  9. Assuming the firewire port on your computer is working; Windows should automatically go through a detection phase.
    1. On my system, it detected 3 devices.
      1. Unknown Device. Cancel the install of this device
      2. Motorola AV Tuner. This is tuner device which MUST be working in order for you to capture. Let the driver install automatically
      3. Motorola AV Panel. On my system, this device installs automatically but fails when done. The failure had no impact on my ability to record
    2. Once all of the devices are installed, ignore any error messages and proceed
      1. If the AV Tuner device does not install, you should try to troubleshoot the install
      2. Check one of the websites listed at the bottom for more details.
  10. Launch the CapDVHS software
  11. The Motorola tuner device should automatically be selected on the top. This is the PVR box itself. The software will simply record whatever is being displayed and save it as an MPG file. It works very much like a virtual VCR. You can specify how long you want something to record.
  12. Under the “Min” dialog box, specify the amount of time you want to record in minutes.
  13. On the “Setting” tab, you can specify where you want the MPG files to be saved to. Make sure that whatever device you save these to has a lot of drive space, and is fairly fast
  14. Using the PVR remote, navigate your onscreen guide to the PVR menu by using the “List” button.
  15. Select the program that you wish to record on your computer and hit the “Info” button on your remote.
  16. Make note of the length of time used by that particular program. You may want to make sure that the “Min” amount listed in CapDVHS matches this amount.
  17. Select the “Restart from Beginning” option on your PVR and the recorded program will begin playing. If you wish to cut part of the beginning off (commercial/ad), simply fast forward to where you want the recording to begin and let the program play.
  18. Once the playback begins, you may hit the “Rec” button on CapDVHS and it will begin recording the output to your computer. It will automatically terminate the moment the time has expired.
  19. While the program is recording the feed from the PVR, use “My Computer” or “Windows Explorer” to navigate to the folder on your computer where the captured data is being stored. Insure that the captured file (usually a long number as the filename) actually has a file size greater than 0. On failed recording attempts, I had 0 byte files. If the driver is corrupt, this can also occur.
  20. Allow the program to complete recording on its own, and when it is done, close the software, and disconnect all cables, and return your PVR to its happy spot on your television set.

For me, this was all that I had to do. I did however discover that the Windows Media player crashed every time I attempted to play one of these files. So, I tried using my ATI Media Player and it worked fine. Nero 7 was also able to understand the video without trouble. I did read a bit on the web that said basically the signal is raw HDTV video that needs to be converted to standard Mpeg-2. I found a utility called HDTV2MPEG which did the trick beautifully. Once I processed my footage with HDTV2MPEG, Ulead worked like a charm to edit the video. Regardless, once you have the video in a usable format, whatever that may be, you can simply burn it to DVD as a DVD movie/video and have no problems what so ever.

Useful Links
Software to capture signal off PVR
Converts CapDVHS Mpeg files to standard Mpeg-2
Original forum where I found some of this information

That about covers it. I don’t know if there is anything I missed, but if you find something that is not right, post it in the Tech forum on this site, or use the Contact page to let me know I made a mistake. Thanks goes out to Moonie for pointing out AVSForum.Com for me.

7 Responses to Rogers PVR Hacking

  1. cesar

    Hi, I am looking into buying a Explorer 8300HDC DVR but it is not from Rogers, I would like to know if it would work on rogers?

  2. Doug Collins

    Thanks for the great detailed article. This is actually what I was looking for and I am in Moncton, NB also with a Rogers box. Found you on Google doing a search. All the best for 2013!

  3. George Bush

    Does this “hack” still work on the 8642HD boxes? Can it successfully capture HD? Please reply thank you.

  4. Kevin

    This works on the 8300 series pvr from rogers but does not work on the 8642 (nextbox 2) or nextbox 3 as there are no FireWire ports available or enabled on the devices.

  5. AngelCatie

    Hey Kevin,

    I have a Cisco 9865HDPVR Nextbox which is locked. I bought it at a used good store and need to unlock or factory reset or whatever you call it. Do you know how to do this or if its possible, I am willing to send a donation to anyone who can help me. Thank you AC.

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