How to Use Your Computer as a Digital Video Recorder (DVR)

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If you have an older computer, or any spare parts, you can turn your computer into a DVR! If not, you can still use your existing computer as a television with a TV capture card as discussed in this article.

While you will still need a TV capture card for this setup, it requires your computer to be connected to your existing television to allow it to be used as a DVR.

This is a good project for someone who enjoys tinkering with computers; but, equally can be an enjoyable project for those with a novice level of hardware experience.

Things You’ll Need

  • Windows Based PC (to spare) with at least 256-512 MB of RAM and a good video card
  • Your TV and Cable Box
  • TV Capture Card ($25-$150 depending on quality)
  • Beyond TV software (bundled with some TV cards, otherwise $70 at

Step One

Add the TV Capture Card to your PC. You’ll need to turn the PC off, and install the card into a PCI slot on the motherboard. These are generally located on the motherboard, below where your phone modem is. Be sure that you snugly snap the card into the slot, and screw it in place with the screws you had to remove to insert the card in the back of the computer. Connect the cable you use to watch TV, to your card.

Step Two

Install the Beyond TV software on your computer. Insert the disc and allow the program to run. Follow the on screen instructions to allow the program to install properly. If the disc does not automatically run, open My Computer, and double click the disc drive the disc is in.

Step Three

Connect your computer to your TV with an S-Video cable from the TV or cable box, to the capture card. This will allow you to watch TV from the capture card on your computer. When you watch TV from the capture card, it will start saving shows on your computer. Consult your manual for more information.

Tips, Warnings, and Other Information

  • Watch and record your favorite shows, and then burn them to DVD!
  • You do not have to use a computer monitor for this set up.

>» Introduction to DVR’s

Nine things you might not have tried in Windows Media Player 11

Checking Out Online Network TV

How To Burn CD’s and DVD’s in Windows

>» How To Watch TV on Your Computer