In our how to rip anything series Jenneth Orantia and Mike Le Voi show you how to (legally) copy rip or download virtually any form of media so you can enjoy it permanently.
Foxtel subscribers are spoilt for choice when it comes to good content and by paying a little extra per month there’s also the option to get an iQ digital recorder box. The latest iteration of Foxtel’s flagship PVR is the iQHD which comes with a 320GB hard drive and the ability to record two different channels while watching a third channel. Couch potato heaven!
However there are two notable downsides to iQ. First if you record all your shows in high definition then you’re limited to 30 hours only at which point you’ll have to start deleting shows from the hard disk or let the iQ box do it for you. Second there’s no standard way to archive the shows on the iQ box so once you delete a recording it’s gone for good. This also means you don’t have the flexibility to watch your recordings on other devices or copy a recording to a USB drive to share with friends. Also if you cancel your Foxtel subscription in the future all your cherished recordings go with it.
The good news is that it’s relatively easy to transfer recordings from Foxtel iQ and even record shows live from a standard Foxtel box (negating the need to pay extra for iQ). All you need is a DVD recorder and (at least) two sets of cables to connect your Foxtel box to the DVD recorder and the DVD recorder to your TV. The two options are connecting the Foxtel box to the DVD recorder using an S-Video connection or a composite connection. S-Video will give you better quality over composite but either way you’ll still need to use the composite white and red cables to record the audio.
To set it up connect one end of the composite cable to the Foxtel composite out connection (if you’re using S-Video use the S-Video socket next to it and don’t plug in the yellow composite connector) and the other end to the DVD recorder composite in connection (again if you’re using S-Video use the S-Video socket next to it and don’t plug in the yellow composite connector). Next connect the DVD recorder to your TV using whatever you like (HDMI component S-Video or composite) as this doesn’t have any effect on the final recording.
By default the DVD recorder will be set up to record free-to-air so you’ll need to change the input method so it sees the connected Foxtel box. On our Panasonic DMR-BW880 Blu-ray Disc Recorder test unit this was a simple case of pressing the ‘Input select’ button on the remote control and selecting the Foxtel input (this will either be AV1 or AV2 for composite connections). From there you can record any shows that are currently playing on Foxtel and use the Foxtel remote control to change channels.
The features on individual DVD recorder models will vary but on our Panasonic test unit there’s an option for ‘Flexible Recording’ that lets you manually set the duration of the recording so you don’t have to be in front of the TV to press stop when the program ends. Unfortunately there’s no way to set up a timer so that it starts recording at a particular time (at least not on our test unit) so you’ll still need to press the Record button initially.
To transfer recordings from the DVD recorder you’ll need to burn them to a blank recordable DVD which you’ll then be able to play back on any standard DVD player. If you’d rather archive the recordings as individual video files you’ll need to rip the DVD to your hard drive with the usual DVD ripping tools (see our upcoming DVD ripping story next week) although you won’t have to worry about the decrypting side of things.