Export video from your set-top box to your Mac


Ever since I got my first set-top box at the end of last year, I’ve been itching to connect its FireWire port to my Mac. My friend Emilie called today to alert me to a CBS Sunday Morning report on Maker Faire, which I managed to record, and that gave me the push I needed to figure this all out.

There are a few sets of instructions out there on how to do this, but in a nutshell, you connect your Mac to the set-top box, load up a program that can record directly from FireWire set-top boxes (unfortunately, iMovie won’t cut it), and do whatever editing you need to the video once you’ve brought it in.

I found that Ammesset Software’s iRecord did the trick perfectly: I checked its preferences to make sure that my Motorola DCT-6412 was detected, told my set-top box to start playing back the video I had recorded, and selected New Immediate Event from iRecord’s File menu. When it was done, I selected Stop Event from File menu.

This left me with a .m2t file that I didn’t know what to do with at first. Squared 5’s MPEG Streamclip is a free program that can open and convert all kinds of streams. Using MPEG Streamclip, I was able to trim the clip and export it to one of the many supported codecs.

Update: The old link (below) to iRecord no longer works. The author has a new version that I haven’t tried yet: FireRecord.


  • iRecord – Link
  • MPEG Streamclip – Link
  • What to do if iRecord’s events get stuck in pending mode – Link
  • macteens: Make your own Home Theatre Mac (HTMac) – Link
  • AnandTech: The Mac mini as a Media Computer – Link
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I'm a tinkerer and finally reached the point where I fix more things than I break. When I'm not tinkering, I'm probably editing a book for Maker Media.

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