Can I record HD programs to my computer?


Standard Member


I'm very new to all this, but a little technical minded.

I would like to record HD terestial channels(BBC1,ITV and C4) to my computer (I have a macbook) this is so i can grab high quality stills images from TV programs for research purposes. I have not yet purchased any other hardware. I have had a look on a few forums and have gathered (i think!) the cheapest way is to record via freesat rather than SKY+ or Telewest then record via a PRV then download to my mac, once on my computer I'm hoping I could decode the data into separate frames or grab stills frames from the footage? not too sure if any of this is actually possible. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks, Chris.

Fred Smith

Prominent Member
Currently there are no terrestrial HD channels.

Currently CH4 HD is FTV on Sky only.

Currently there is no BBC1 HD channel.

What there is, are selected BBC programmes broadcast on BBC HD and similar with ITV HD but with a lot less hours of programming.

I can record HD programs on to an external HDD using my Fortec Star Innovation and then plug the HDD into my PC to view them. I have not tried decoding their data but I guess it is possible.

You should be able to do the same for BBC and ITV HD if you get a HD compatable satellite computer receiver / card, but I can't answer the decoding question.
Last edited:


Standard Member
many thanks for your help, if any one can answer the decoding data question that would be great.I would like to be able to take a HD screen grab from a HD program freesat BBC HD and ITV HD. I believe the format is Mpeg4 and I would like to take a grab and convert to a Jpeg or tiff. anyone!?


Established Member

Yes you can record HD BBC FreeSat programmes on a computer.

I'm not sure how you would go about it on a Mac though.

The BBC HD actually uses the h.264 compression, which is a more developed version of MPEG4 I believe.

You might be better off seeing if your equipment can handle these files first.

You do need a fairly high spec PC to read and process these recordings.

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