Apr 30

I’ve had a quite a few readers (especially Arthur who’s been waiting for my reply for months!) emailing me wanting to know how to record iPlayer videos to a DVD so I’ve put up this blog post and a full video explaining exactly how you do this.

For the benefit of new readers to this blog, I recommend you read the information on the “Recording iPlayer” page FIRST.

Otherwise, here’s a quick overview of the whole process:

  1. Before you can even think about recording iPlayer programmes to a DVD, you need to “record” or “capture” the video from iPlayer first. Once you’ve done this, you’ll lend up with the recorded programme on your hard-drive on your computer. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check the “recording iplayer” page.
  2. If you’ve used the “recording” method (which is the one I recommend), you’ll lend with a file called “programme-name.FLV” stored in a folder on your computer.  The ‘FLV’ bit stands for “Flash Video” (a popular video format invented by Adobe Systems). But the problem is Flash Video can’t be played on most DVD players so you have to convert the ‘FLV’ file to a DVD-formatted file first.
  3. Once it’s converted, you can then burn the newly-converted files to a blank DVD. The problem is that you’ll find several types of DVD’s in the shops so which one do you buy? Well, most modern DVD players can play any type of DVD so go for DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD+RW or DVD-RW. Personally, I’ve had better luck with the “+” variety. The only difference between “R” and “RW” is that “R” discs only allow you to record ONCE to the disc. With “RW” discs, you can write to them, then erase them and write to them again many times over.

Applian supply a piece of software called “Replay Converter” which will do steps 2 and 3 for you completely seamlessly. There are other software programs out there that can do this too if you don’t want to use this particular one. “Replay Converter” is included as part of the better package deal called “Replay Capture Suite“. When you get the whole suite, you also get the software to cover Step 1 (plus a whole bunch of other useful media related tools).

And one last thing: don’t forget that your computer needs to have a DVD-writer (most newer PC’s / laptops do) OR you need to have an external DVD-writer connected to the PC.

OK, the next video is, err…,..a bit long (17 minutes to be exact). I didn’t script it in anyway (I should know better) and it’s really designed for the complete beginner so bear with me if you’re more experienced. If you get trouble watching the video, it’s because so many people are hitting my website at the same time…. and it can’t cope (I’m working on an upgrade at the moment). And if you’d rather not listen to me wobbling on, just below the video are the written instructions plus the other tips I mention in the video.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Start the “Replay Converter” software.
  2. Put in a blank DVD in your computer.
  3. Click on “Add Files” and then go and find & choose the files you want to put onto the DVD. Holding down the “CTRL” key on your keyword and clicking on the left-mouse button at the same time will allow you to select multiple programmes. If you used “Replay Media Catcher 4”, you’ll find the programmes stored in a folder called “My Streaming Media” (normally within the “My Documents” folder). If you used “Replay Video Capture”, you’ll find the programmes stored in a folder called “RVC Recordings” (normally within the “My Videos” folder).
  4. Click on the “Burn to CD/DVD” radio button (bottom-right hand side).
  5. Where it says “Choose a Target Format”, select “Burn to a DVD-PAL” or if you live in the USA, “Burn to a DVD-NTSC (US)”.
  6. Click on the big “GO” button and wait……
  7. The software will now start converting the “FLV-formatted” programmes to a special DVD-format. For each programme that’s an hour long, this will take 45 minutes (if you’ve got a fairly fast computer). There’s no way around this: even other software that I have takes about the same time. You can still use your computer whilst it’s doing this conversion but your computer will be much slower: the conversion process is very heavy work on the main processor (known as the CPU). Therefore, I recommend you do this before going to bed!
  8. Once it’s converted, the software then prepares your blank DVD to receive the converted files. After that, it starts ‘burning’ the programmes to your DVD. This process takes about 30 minutes.

That’s it. All you need is patience and you’ll have your favourite programmes on a DVD.

Other Tips / Notes

  • If you’re going to use DVD+RW or DVD-RW discs, make sure it is BLANK before you start. If you don’t know how to do this, search for “erase a DVD” in Google or here’s a link if you’re using Windows Vista: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Erase-a-CD-or-DVD
  • Remember that once you’ve recorded the files onto the DVD, it won’t have any fancy-pants menus or ‘chapters’ that you’re probably used to with purchased DVD’s. As soon as you put the DVD into your home player, it will start playing the first programme automatically. To see the next programme you’ll have to press the “Next” button on your remote control. And to go back to the previous programme, you’ll have to hit the “Back” button one or more times to go to previous programmes. If you want more fancy stuff with chapters inserted into each programme and pretty menus, email me and I’ll let you know how to do this.
  • I strongly recommend you limit the amount of hours of video you record to FOUR or FIVE hours at the most – the less the better. If you try to put more than this, the video will start to ‘jump’ and quality is reduced too.
  • Quality is really very good indeed but if you want top-notch stuff, buy yourself a Blu-Ray player and get the original programme on Blu-Ray from the online BBC Shop. You won’t believe just how good David Attenborough or Top Gear stuff is on Blu-Ray…

Ok, hope that helps. Send me over an email if you get stuck and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Cheers, Andy

written by Andy Taylor

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