How to Connect an HD DVR to the Internet

by Fred Decker

    High-definition digital video recorders have replaced VCRs and DVD recorders in many households as the preferred way to record movies or television programs for later viewing. Most are sophisticated enough to also connect to the Internet, enabling them to stream online content from sources such as Netflix. Users can use online DVR-management software to connect to their DVRs from anywhere there's an Internet connection or cellular service. Cable, satellite and DSL providers use slightly different systems for connecting to the Web, but they are broadly similar in most respects.

    Ethernet Connection

    Step 1

    Locate the Ethernet port on the back of your DVR. If you have more than one, use the connection labeled "Ethernet 1."

    Step 2

    Plug a Cat 5 or Cat 6 Ethernet cable into the back of your DVR. The connection is similar to a telephone plug; the cable should snap into place with an audible click.

    Step 3

    Run the other end of the cable to your home network's router and plug it into one of the router's unused Ethernet ports. Home models typically have four ports, besides the one used to connect to your modem. Some routers must be rebooted to recognize the new connection.

    Step 4

    Return to your DVR and use the remote control to enter its setup screen. Follow the instructions in your DVR's manual or from your television provider to set up your DVR for Internet access through the router.

    Wireless Connection

    Step 1

    Unpack the wireless connection device from your television provider, and plug its power adaptor into a wall outlet or power bar.

    Step 2

    Insert one end of an Ethernet cable into the connection on the back of your DVR and the other end into your wireless device. Turn on the device if it doesn't turn on automatically and wait while it completes its power-on self-test routine. With most models, the lights stop blinking when it's finished.

    Step 3

    Use the DVR's remote to enter its setup screen. Follow the menus to enter wireless setup mode, consulting your TV provider's documentation if necessary.

    Step 4

    View the available wireless connections and choose your own home network. If your network is secured, you'll be prompted to enter your usual password or WEP key. Exit setup mode after the network connection is established.


    • Almost every HD DVR includes an Ethernet connection, regardless of whether your TV supplier is a cable, satellite or Internet services provider. Wireless connection devices are available from DirecTV and some other suppliers; they provide a more convenient connection option. Wireless devices are small routers in themselves.
    • If your TV provider doesn't have a wireless option, consider moving your router to the TV's vicinity or connecting to a second router, configured as a repeater. Your ISP's customer support department can tell you how to do this.
    • If you're routing an Ethernet cable through your house, allow enough length to keep it close to the wall and out from underfoot. Your local electronics store carries stick-on or nailed-in clips to keep the cables neat and secure.
    • The specific process for connecting your DVR depends on its capabilities, the services offered by your TV provider and the details of your existing home installation. For example, if your DirecTV satellite system is already set up for whole-house use, you'll need to complete a few extra steps to set up your wireless accessory.

    Required Items

    • Ethernet cable(s)
    • Wireless networking accessory, such as DirecTV's Wireless Cinema Connection Kit

    About the Author

    Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer who has written and blogged on food-related topics since 2007. Previously he sold computers, insurance and mutual funds. Decker was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

    Photo Credits

    • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images