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Is it possible to record TV via HDMI? If so, can you recommend a way for a Windows 7 user to record TV via HDMI to a laptop?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

You are not going to be able to use your hdmi port because it is output only. And you cannot import HD video into USB without spending a lot of money on some additional hardware. There is no software only solution to your project. But there is a very cheap piece of hardware you can purchase online if you can live without the High Def. and be ok with regular video quality.

The cheapest solution to get the audio and video from another source into your computer is via USB adapter. You can just internet search for "USB 2.0 TV DVD Video Audio Capture".. I bought an "EasyCap 2.0 tv dvd capture" on eBay for six bucks to record from my cable box into my laptop and while not "true High Definition" quality, it is great, especially considering the HD ones go for $100 more.

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Thank you, Perry. – Francisc Oct 27 '11 at 9:24
I don't know if all USB video capture are compatible with GNU/Linux but if someone just wants to record Digital Terrestrial Television, there are DVB-T USB devices – baptx Dec 29 '15 at 0:31

The HDMI ports on laptops is linked to the graphics card and is strictly video OUTPUT, designed to put your display out to a TV, Projector or other display device.

If you want to record TV, you need some sort of tuner card which simply features a HDMI port.

After doing some digging, this is the only one I could find, and it isn't cheap.

HDMI has been out for some time now, but none of the usual companies I deal with seem to have a HDMI TV card, so I guess they just are not mainstream.

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My experience is that most capture cards intended for use with TV are still coax, because that's what most cable/satellite decoder boxes are still using. – Shinrai Mar 9 '11 at 15:30
@Shinrai (Are you stalking me today! Two in a row...!) +1 Agreed - The reason the one I linked to is pricey is because it is for pros. Typically, TV cards are designed to get... TV on your computer not anything else. If you want HD-DVD/Bluray, you get a drive... as for TV, most people watch online or get a regular (Freeview/digital/sat card) and record digitally which will not require a later transfer via HDMI. – William Hilsum Mar 9 '11 at 15:56
Don't look outside your window. >:3 – Shinrai Mar 9 '11 at 16:16

You would need to get an external video capture card that supports HDMI input from the likes of Grass Valley or AJA Video. It probably won't support HDCP, though, as recording is precisely what HDCP is intended to prevent, so you won't be able to capture movies or (possibly) video games, at least not in HD.

Here's one box as an example, from AJA Video: the ioHD. This particular item is Mac-only, but I'm sure there's one that supports Windows.

Edit: this one supports Windows 7.

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I see. But is there no Software solution for this? It's a one time thing for a friend really and it doesn't have to be crystal clear. – Francisc Mar 10 '11 at 11:03
As Wil said, a laptop won't have the proper hardware to support an input, so you need both new hardware and new software. – CajunLuke Mar 10 '11 at 14:57
Got it, thank you. – Francisc Mar 11 '11 at 15:37
+1 for mentioning HDCP. – Luke404 Jul 30 '12 at 9:05
@Francisc there can not be a software HDCP solution by definition, since it is implemented at a lower level, directly in the graphic chip. – Luke404 Jul 30 '12 at 9:06

Wildly divergent answer, but possibly good for your particular needs: have you considered a SlingBox? I know of at least one software app that claims to let you record the stream, and this has the added bonus of you being able to do it from any machine, anywhere, anytime.

EDIT: Oops, the HD SlingBox only has component input, but odds are any HDTV has component output, or an HDMI->component converter is not hard or especially expensive to find.

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Thanks, Shinrai. I am not very well versed in TV or recordings related stuff. As I wrote in a comment above, I am looking to record a short show for a friend using my laptop. I would rather not get a new hardware device and see if it is possible only with software. – Francisc Mar 10 '11 at 11:07
@Francisc - There is no software-only solution if you want to record television. You have to get the signal into the computer somehow and your laptop doesn't have a physical connection to do that with. Unless you can find some website streaming the show you want you're out of luck then. – Shinrai Mar 10 '11 at 12:36
Excellent answer, thank you. – Francisc Mar 10 '11 at 12:41
Say I do find a website that streams it, what then? :) – Francisc Mar 10 '11 at 12:41
@Francisc - Then you have your friend watch the website, haha! (Capturing the stream would probably be against terms of services for the website, but there are applications you can do it with. I don't have a personal recommendation because I have never actually needed to do this, but I bet if you asked another question about it you'd get tons of suggestions.) – Shinrai Mar 10 '11 at 15:02

Which country do you live in? If it one that uses the DVB-T/C standard, you could use DVBLink Server Network Pack, which will allow you to do what it appears you want to do. I use it to view television on my laptop (even when at the pub) and main workstation computer, streaming from the TV card in my HTPC. You can even change channels remotely.

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Hm, what if I don't have a TV Card? :) – Francisc Mar 10 '11 at 11:04

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