Originally Posted by Ancient
There is no way to get high quality HD video from a DirecTV HD DVR to your computer for archiving. There are video capture cards available that have component inputs but HD output from the DVR through component would only be 480i, since it's analog, so you'd lose the original HD quality.
The only way to make extra space for recording would be to buy an external hard-drive for the HD DVR. You can buy external drive setups for that purpose up to 2TB.
Component can do up to 1080p, so it might be possible to attempt a playback and record. (Composite is only 480i) Other than that it doesn't appear that you can just dump data from the DirecTV DVR to your pc.
What model DVR do you have? According to Directv the newer models let you simply plug in an external HDD via esata to expand your storage space. You could just get an enclosure and you might be able to swap HDDs around with recordings.