For a cable DVR, leased from the cable company, only the Firewire port will work. I wrote about the particulars in your other thread, before I found this one. Just covering the bases.
Copy and paste is utterly impossible, but it’s almost that simple after a few minutes of setup (see your other thread for links). Note: you can only record in real time - an hour program will take an hour to record.
The cable dvr’s USB and eSATA are disabled. And the Ethernet is something that’s meant for communicating over the internet - they never found a use for it, so it’s just sitting there, looking all high-tech.
The store was probably thinking about one of those capture devices that plug into your PC via USB, and have video cables over to the DVR. That’ll work with a noticable decrease in quality. (But that won’t matter if you’re going to put it on an iPod).
(The store folks probably never heard of firewire capture, from cable dvr’s - it’s not very well known, but it works) (Except when it doesn’t. But it works for everyone who tries it, as long as the signal is clean, and the particular program isn’t blocked from it). (Not as reliable if it’s already been recorded to the DVR. There’s some futzing around to do, with the files, with most of the Motorola’s, at this time).
There are some programs that can be recorded to a cable DVR which aren’t allowed to go over the firewire, and into your PC. (The stations can set “flags” that regulate what can be done with their programs). In that case, a capture device is the only option left, anyway. So I give the store points on that one.
If you just want to get it over and done with, you can just get a capture device. They’re pretty cheap. (The store will be happy). But for the sake of people who want to do the direct capture, I’ll keep yammering.
Your local cable might not know that the FCC requires them to provide DVRs with active firewire ports (at your request, if not automatically). Comcast headquarters has a page, about it, somewhere, but some of their local outlets… well, lets face it… a lot of them aren’t very bright… I’ll try to look it up, if you need to gently remind them.
Your XP needs to be Service Pack 2, to do the firewire trick. (Service Pack 3 will work, too). You can check that by right-clicking your “My Computer” icon, and clicking on “properties”. It’ll be on the first tab “General” The last line under “System:” You can’t miss it.
If you’re “My Computer” icon has the little shortcut arrow in the corner, then that won’t work, and you have to drill down to it. “Run” button. “Settings”. “Control Panel”. “System”. And there you go.
If you don’t have service pack 2 or 3, just go to Microsoft.com, and check for updates, they’ll be eager to have you download it first thing. I don’t advise service pack 3, if you don’t already have it, it’s messed up a lot of computers, and I don’t want to get you stuck with that because of me.