I own a Topfield 500 PVR hybrid (cable/terrestrial). The machine comes with a 320GB hard drive. When a TV show or movie is recorded, it saves a file in .REC format. Which is, in my experience, a little difficult to work with. You can watch these files using VLC but, if you want to watch them somewhere other than your computer… enter in these two tools: rec2mpg and TFRecToTs.
Another quick note, I am not going to get into editing these files – in this post anyways. Sorry, this is a quick informative post only!
Rec2Mpg, via Windows command line program and help from ProjectX and GUI for dvdauthor, converts .REC files into .MPG files so they can be easily edited in Avidemux or whatever you want to use. The download and instructions for setup are here.
You should be aware that the file size will drop a little. Also, if there are separate language tracks and subtitle tracks sent with the signal, you will lose them all in the conversion. The top audio track that comes with the signal is preserved. KEEP IN MIND, that this does not mean that if the broadcast is in English, then that is the preserved track. I converted a show from Investigation Discovery that was in English but, the file ended up with a Russian audio track.
I have watched unedited “Rec2Mpg” .MPG files on the PC (VLC, WM Player) and Playstation 3 and my Sony Bravia KDL-32EX320.
TFRecToTs is also a Windows command line program that simply changes information in the header of the .REC file. It turns the .REC file into a .TS file. It also renames the file from filename.rec to filename.rec.ts.
It takes a few seconds to convert the file while it takes, depending on the computing power available to you, minutes or more. The subtitles issue for Rec2Mpg also applies to TFRecToTs.
One more note about the subtitles is that if the subtitles are “burned into” the video broadcast then, you don’t have much to worry about.
I have watched unedited “TFRecToTs” .TS files on the PC (VLC, WM Player) and Playstation 3. They do not work on my Sony Bravia KDL-32EX320.
A DRM quickie
On my box, you can tell if a program has a DRM scheme added in by the $ in a fully yellow box. You cannot watch, covert or edit a .REC file if it has a DRM scheme. You can if the box is half yellow or does not have yellow at all. There is an EASY way to get around the scheme but, I am not going to share it with you because I don’t know if it is legal or not.
When converting using Rec2Mpg, a file that had DRM takes twice as long to convert.