A digital video recorder (DVR) such as those offered through TV companies like Dish Network, has simplified the recording and playback of television programs. Since DVRs have built-in hard drives, they don't require a storage medium, such as video tape or discs. If you have a recording on your Dish Network DVR that you would like to save onto your computer, however, you must have a few special tools in order to do so.
Connect the Dish Network DVR to a computer through a pass-through device. If you use a digital video capture device, plug the audio-video cords on the device into the audio and video "Outs" on the Dish Network DVR, and plug the USB cord into a USB port on the computer. If you have a digital video camera with pass-through capabilities, connect the camera to the Dish Network DVR with the audio-video cord provided with the camera, connect the camera to the computer using the firewire cord and turn the dial on the camera to "Pass-thru," "Playback" or "VCR."
Open a video-editing program that you have installed on your computer. On Windows systems, the program Windows Movie Maker generally comes pre-installed and Mac's native movie program is iMovie, which comes pre-installed on some systems.
Navigate to the video-editing program's capture window. In Movie Maker, access "Capture from digital video camera" through the "File" menu. In iMovie, click the blue button in the bottom left corner and pull the button over to the camera icon.
Power on the DVR and TV if they are not on already. Navigate to the recording you want to transfer to your computer and click "Play." The video stream appears in the capture window in Movie Maker or iMovie.
Click the "Start Capture" button in Movie Maker or the "Import" button in iMovie to begin recording the video stream. Allow the video file to play all the way through and click the "Stop Capture" button in Movie Maker or "Import" button in iMovie to stop recording the video stream.
Type a name that will help you identify the recording that you captured when the video-editing program prompts you. In the same window where you enter the name for the file, click the "Browse" or "Output folder" button to choose the folder on your hard drive where you want to save the file. Click "OK" to save the file into the folder.