Dumping movies to recover them from dying Direct TV dvr

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Dumping movies to recover them from dying Direct TV dvr

I have a hughes dvr2 type video recorder which came with direct TV. Upgraded the 40 gig to 120 and then when that filled up upgraded from a single 120gig to dual 120gigs. Mostly full and years later the thing is now having trouble booting up. As near as I can tell it is always recording to buffer whats streaming to the disk from the broadcast selected channel.

I see this as a defect in the design plan in that drive lifespans are shortened considerably if you are ALWAYS writing to them for what would nOw be several years nonstop. After 2-4 tries I can usually get it to boot up and watch a few recorded movies before it crashes again and I have to let it cool off and can try 2-3-4 more times to boot it again.

Obviously I would love to just choose a 1TB drive and move everything to a new drive but alas most 1TB drives worth having like the Hitachi for $89 from newegg are SATA now and the instructions to upgrade from 120 gig drives to capacities greater than 137 gig are dicey and not making me feel confident they will not simply wipe out all my recorded shows.

My first impulse is to simply try to pull the shows off to a windows disk like the Hitachi so they could be dropped into one of the new media streamers something like a popcornhour.com sata friendly box to continue to watch my shows.

Question is how would I go about this and what are your recommendations?
This site seems to indicate I may be able to just slap the old IDE drives on an old windows PC and use CYGWIN to read the files off to a windows drive.

Anyone have any thoughts on the viability and simplicity of this process or would the files be encrypted and unreadable if copied off to a disk with this method?

All of your knowledge and DVR guru-istic thoughts on this rescue project are very greatly appreciated and thank you all VERY MUCH for your help!