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Future: transferring recordings via Whole Home DVR network?


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54 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   tkrandall

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 01:12 PM

Now that whole-home DVR service is mainstream, I got to thinking might it be possible, and might DirecTV actually entertain, allowing someone to move a recording from one networked DVR to another?

My thought is this: you have an older DVR that needs replacing. Transfer a recording to another DVR on your network and that way it can be saved. As an example, the local news did a story on our kid's marching band last fall. It's on my 3.5 year old HR20-700 and I'd like to know it can be saved to another DVR. Would beat burning an SD DVD.

Now that they have the DVRs cross talking, it would seem transfers would not be so difficult to support. If they wanted to.

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#2 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 01:59 PM

There is little or no precedent in the digital domain that making copies will be supported. Moving may be possible but it may be difficult to implement.

If there are technical hurdles, one would seem to be encrypting the data for the destination DVR.

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#3 OFFLINE   Doug Brott

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 02:06 PM

Not quite the same, but off load to PC via NOMAD may be possible at some point.
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#4 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 02:17 PM

Now that they have the DVRs cross talking, it would seem transfers would not be so difficult to support. If they wanted to.

I know we've asked about this from the very first time there was any word about MRV.
Since all recordings are encoded to the hardware, I'm not sure "would not be so difficult" is actually true.
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#5 OFFLINE   mozartman

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 02:17 PM

Not quite the same, but off load to PC via NOMAD may be possible at some point.

It is possible to record to PC with Hauppauge 1212 HD-PVR.

#6 OFFLINE   Herdfan

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 02:39 PM

It is possible to record to PC with Hauppauge 1212 HD-PVR.


Yes, but you have to do it in real time, ie play the recording through the component output on the DVR to the component input on the Haupauge.

#7 OFFLINE   Drucifer

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 02:52 PM

I know we've asked about this from the very first time there was any word about MRV.
Since all recordings are encoded to the hardware, I'm not sure "would not be so difficult" is actually true.

Need to change encoding requirement from hardware to network.

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#8 OFFLINE   tkrandall

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 06:17 PM

Well, since the boxes are able to stream to one another within the MRV cloud of any authorized account, my thought was that, if transfer were allowed, the origin box would output/transfer from its encrypted copy, and the destination box would save it's own encrypted copy.

#9 OFFLINE   Richierich

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 06:31 PM

Need to change encoding requirement from hardware to network.


Or to Users Account Number. :)
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#10 OFFLINE   Doug Brott

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 06:48 PM

It's possible that one day this could happen .. There are technological issues at the time that make it difficult so it's certainly not something you should expect soon .. probably not even in the next 2-3 years, but who knows.

Simplistically, though, the transfer part is not whats tough. I think it would be relatively simple to write an algorithm to copy from one DVR to another because all of the basic tools are already available today. The issue of course is you wouldn't be able to view it once it were copied.
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#11 OFFLINE   Richierich

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 06:51 PM

The issue of course is you wouldn't be able to view it once it were copied.


Yes, it wouldn't do you any good to copy it to another DVR if you couldn't View.

Hopefully down the road it will be possible.
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#12 OFFLINE   mfryd

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 09:08 PM

Perhaps I am missing something, but what are the technical hurdles to being able to copy a show form one DVR to another?

My understanding is that video is stored on the DVR's hard drive in an encrypted format, and that the encryption key is unique to each DVR.

MRV works by having the source DVR decrypt the video, and stream it over the network in decrypted form.

The playing DVR takes this stream and displays it.

To transfer a video, the source DVR would decrypt it (a capability already existing in MRV), and send it over the network (again, technology already in MRV).

The only new part is to have the receiving DVR store the video to disk, instead of playing it live. Of course, DirecTV would probably insist that the video be encrypted before being stored on the disk. This technology obviously exists as the DVR already encrypts every show before storing to disk.


The old DirecTivo units could transfer shows from one unit to another, although one needed to do some minor hacking to activate the feature.

I have assumed that the reason one can't transfer files from one DVR to another is purely a DirecTV policy decision, not a technical issue.

#13 OFFLINE   tkrandall

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 07:20 AM

mfryd: My thoughts exactly, you just better stated them. :)

For the technical reasons you mention, it seems to me this should be a very easy thing to accommodate, and it would be a very customer friendly feature. Any content protection concerns would be covered by making the transfer limited to same-account devices, just as is already done with Whole Home services anyway. I don't see what the obstacles would be to deploying this.

#14 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 07:40 AM

Perhaps I am missing something, but what are the technical hurdles to being able to copy a show form one DVR to another?

My understanding is that video is stored on the DVR's hard drive in an encrypted format, and that the encryption key is unique to each DVR.

MRV works by having the source DVR decrypt the video, and stream it over the network in decrypted form.

The playing DVR takes this stream and displays it.

To transfer a video, the source DVR would decrypt it (a capability already existing in MRV), and send it over the network (again, technology already in MRV).

The only new part is to have the receiving DVR store the video to disk, instead of playing it live. Of course, DirecTV would probably insist that the video be encrypted before being stored on the disk. This technology obviously exists as the DVR already encrypts every show before storing to disk.


The old DirecTivo units could transfer shows from one unit to another, although one needed to do some minor hacking to activate the feature.

I have assumed that the reason one can't transfer files from one DVR to another is purely a DirecTV policy decision, not a technical issue.

I haven't looked at "the nuts & bolts" of this, so this is merely a guess:
I don't think MRV is decrypting the recording before streaming from the server. The server is merely reading the file and outputting it over the network. The client has been given the key to decrypt the file from the server.
If this is the case, then with the current system of coding to the hardware, transferring would require decrypting and re-encrypting to store on the new hardware.

Should DirecTV change the coding to the account only, then this wouldn't be a problem.

I also don't know the block diagram of the DVRs, but the encoding stage could be between the tuner and the drive and not be accessible between the network port and the drive. :shrug:
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#15 OFFLINE   Chris Blount

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 07:51 AM

Now that whole-home DVR service is mainstream, I got to thinking might it be possible, and might DirecTV actually entertain, allowing someone to move a recording from one networked DVR to another?

My thought is this: you have an older DVR that needs replacing. Transfer a recording to another DVR on your network and that way it can be saved. As an example, the local news did a story on our kid's marching band last fall. It's on my 3.5 year old HR20-700 and I'd like to know it can be saved to another DVR. Would beat burning an SD DVD.

Now that they have the DVRs cross talking, it would seem transfers would not be so difficult to support. If they wanted to.

It would be nice to transfer recordings if you are replacing another DVR but DVR's should NEVER be used for long term storage. They are really not built for that. If something is that important, its always a good idea to move it to something else (like a DVD).

#16 OFFLINE   hdtvfan0001

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 07:57 AM

Either transferring the content to another DVR or else being able to archive it so that it could be restored in the event of a hard drive/DVR failure would be welcome by many folks. Maybe some day...
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#17 OFFLINE   mfryd

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 08:01 AM

I haven't looked at "the nuts & bolts" of this, so this is merely a guess:
I don't think MRV is decrypting the recording before streaming from the server. The server is merely reading the file and outputting it over the network. The client has been given the key to decrypt the file from the server.
If this is the case, then with the current system of coding to the hardware, transferring would require decrypting and re-encrypting to store on the new hardware.

Should DirecTV change the coding to the account only, then this wouldn't be a problem.

I also don't know the block diagram of the DVRs, but the encoding stage could be between the tuner and the drive and not be accessible between the network port and the drive. :shrug:


If you are correct, then the playing DVR can decode shows encrypted by other DVR's as long as the playing receiver has the decryption key.

This makes it easy. The file can be transferred to the destination DVR in encrypted format. The decryption key could be stored along side the file. Of course, the decryption key would need to be protected - which is easy, just store it in an encrypted file protected by the destination DVR's encryption key.

All shows on disk are still protected by encryption. All encryption keys are still protected.

#18 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 08:13 AM

If you are correct, then the playing DVR can decode shows encrypted by other DVR's as long as the playing receiver has the decryption key.

This makes it easy. The file can be transferred to the destination DVR in encrypted format. The decryption key could be stored along side the file. Of course, the decryption key would need to be protected - which is easy, just store it in an encrypted file protected by the destination DVR's encryption key.

All shows on disk are still protected by encryption. All encryption keys are still protected.

"where there is a will..."
I do understand what you're saying, but not sure with the hardware/firmware that this would be as simple as we think it would be.
We tend to think of things like this as how they could be done using the resources of a PC, when these receivers have so much less to work with.
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#19 OFFLINE   tkrandall

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 08:25 AM

Either transferring the content to another DVR or else being able to archive it so that it could be restored in the event of a hard drive/DVR failure would be welcome by many folks. Maybe some day...



An even better thought you have there. If only the encryption were tied to the account instead of just the single original device that recorded it....

#20 OFFLINE   Richierich

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 10:26 AM

An even better thought you have there. If only the encryption were tied to the account instead of just the single original device that recorded it....


Exactly and maybe Directv is working on this as Rich584 and myself have complained for a long time that the Recording's Header should have the Customer's Account Number in it as the key and not the DVR's RID Number.

If Directv decides to change this process then it would be easy to move recordings between DVRs or in the case of a hard drive failure you could just replace the hard drive and move backed up copies of your recordings to the new hard drive and you would be back in business without losing your recordings.
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#21 OFFLINE   hdtvfan0001

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 10:29 AM

An even better thought you have there. If only the encryption were tied to the account instead of just the single original device that recorded it....

It would seem there is an appetite for this in some form or another...

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#22 OFFLINE   Richierich

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 10:35 AM

It would be nice to transfer recordings if you are replacing another DVR but DVR's should NEVER be used for long term storage. They are really not built for that. If something is that important, its always a good idea to move it to something else (like a DVD).


Yes, but if you move it to a DVD you lose the HD Quality as it only moves it in 480I.

However, if the Recording's Key uses the Customer's Account Number and not the DVR's RID Number then all of this can happen very easily.

Or if the DVR can access the Customer's Profile Data then it can determine if the DVR that is going to be playing back the DVR is a valid DVR meaning that it belongs to the Customer so let him play back the recording that was moved from another DVR.

The whole key is either changing the RID # in the field of the Recording Header to the Account # or being able to access a Customer Data Base that has the Customer's Account Number along with all of his Devices RID #s so it can be verified that the DVR playing the Recording belongs to that Customer.
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#23 OFFLINE   Chris Blount

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 10:38 AM

Yes, but if you move it to a DVD you lose the HD Quality as it only moves it in 480I.

True but if it's news story as mentioned by the OP, it should be moved.

My point was that if you decide to hold recordings on a DVR for long periods of time, you she be prepared to lose them.

#24 OFFLINE   Richierich

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 10:43 AM

It would be nice to transfer recordings if you are replacing another DVR but DVR's should NEVER be used for long term storage. They are really not built for that. If something is that important, its always a good idea to move it to something else (like a DVD).


Chris you bring up a good point that the DVR should never be used for long term storage but if Directv could give us a method of Archiving/Backing Up our recordings that we deem necessary to keep to either another DVR or a USB External Hard Drive then you have to do what Rich584 and I are doing which is to have DVRs whose sole purpose in life is to back up another DVR so in the event one of those DVRs crashed due to DVR failure or Power Supply Failure or Hard Drive Failure you could either replace the drive or fix the power supply unit or replace the entire DVR then copy your recordings from the External Drive to your DVR's hard drive and you would be back in business.

This could all be possible if there was some way to fix the problem of having a recording tied to the DVR via the DVR's RID # by using the Customer Account Number.

Maybe Directv is moving in this direction with the WHDVR Service which is the greatest thing they have come out with in years in my opinion for the Directv Customer.
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#25 OFFLINE   Richierich

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 10:56 AM

True but if it's news story as mentioned by the OP, it should be moved.

My point was that if you decide to hold recordings on a DVR for long periods of time, you she be prepared to lose them.


Exactly, unless Directv gives us a way to Offload the Recordings we would like to save to a USB External Drive for Archival Purposes which would be nice if you have to replace your hard drive after it has dies and you "Own" your DVR, then you could just copy those Recordings back to the new hard drive on your DVR and you are Good To Go. :)
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