Help / Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How does the Online TV Recording work?

How OTR and TV recording works

(1) First you need to schedule the recording of a tv show at the OnlineTvRecorder before it is aired (see also: What is the OTR?).
(2) After the tv show was aired and converted to an *.otrkey-file you can use to find OTR-mirrors which provide the *.otrkey-file as download (see also: What are *.otrkey-files?).
(3) Then you can download the *.otrkey-file from one of these OTR-mirror-websites.
(4) Before you can watch the recording you need to convert the (encrypted) *.otrkey-file into a playable video file. This can be done using the decoder software which you can download from the website of the OnlineTvRecorder. You may then use Cutlists to automatically trim your recording as usually 10minutes of lead-in and 10 minutes of lead-out are recorded with your scheduled recording. Some cutlists also remove commercial breaks from your recordings, but that would be a shame. Advertisements support the recorded programme financially and sometimes the ads are interesting "time capsules" or even little artsy gems. So it's maybe best to just leave the recording as-is, just as it was originally aired.

What are *.otrkey-files?

Otrkey-files contain encrypted tv shows that were recorded by the OnlineTvRecorder.

To watch the recording you need to convert the Otrkey-file into a video file (*.avi-, *.mkv or *.mp4-file) using the OTRKey-Decoder.
But you can only decode an Otrkey-file if you scheduled the recording of that tv show at the OnlineTvRecorder before it was aired. If you did not schedule the recording of the tv show you will not be able to decode the Otrkey-file and thus you will not be able to watch the video.

What is the OTR/OnlineTvRecorder?

The OnlineTvRecorder (also referred to as "OTR") is an online tv recorder, your private Digital video recorder (DVR) or Personal video recorder (PVR) - only it's in the cloud.

You can use the OnlineTvRecorder to record your favorite tv shows on over 50 different tv stations (ARD, ZDF, 3Sat, Arte, MDR, NDR, BBC, KIKA, WDR and more). It works like a video disk or DVD recorder: you tell it which tv show on which station should be recorded and then you need to wait until the tv show was aired.
The advantages are that you can record multiple tv shows simultaneously and that you can manage your recordings from all over the world (given that you have an internet connection).

After the tv show was recorded you can download it as an *.otrkey-file (see also: What are *.otrkey-file?).

What is OtrkeyFinder?

After you recorded a tv show at the OnlineTvRecorder you can download it as an *.otrkey-file.
You have multiple download options:
You can download the *.otrkey-file from the OnlineTvRecorder (using BitTorrent or a direct download from the OTR-website). However the waiting queue is often very long or the download speed is too low.

This is why some guys host these *.otrkey-files on their own websites. These websites are referred to as OTR-mirrors.
These mirrors often provide highspeed downloads and/or a short waiting queue. But not all mirrors provide all *.otrkey-files. The operators of the mirror-websites decide which files are available for download and which are not.
Now there are so many mirror-websites so that it's difficult for a user to keep track of all of them.

This is why OtrkeyFinder exists. OtrkeyFinder is a *.otrkey search engine which you can use to find a mirror-server that provides your *.otrkey-file as download.

By the way: OtrkeyFinder ist an independent search service and not part of OnlineTvRecorder or Internet TV AG.

What do the icons in the "Top Shows"-list mean?

The icons determine how the position of an Otrkey-file has changed inside the Top-100-list. The meaning of the icons is as follows:

▼▼ The file moved by at least 10 positions down in the list.
The file moved down in the list.
neu The file is new in the list.
The file moved up in the list.
▲▲ The file moved by at least 10 positions up in the list.
"No icon" means that the position of the file has not changed.

What do the icons and abbreviations near "All formats of this broadcast" mean?

OnlineTvRecorder offers broadcast recordings in a variety of formats and qualities - usually abbreviated and referred to by their codec or container suffix. Further details and an official explanation can be found on OTR's formats help page.

  • MP4: 384px × 216px
  • AVI: 640px × 360px
  • HQ: 720px × 576px
  • HD (German Stations): 1280px × 720px
  • HD (UK/US Stations): 1920px × 1080px

How does search work, what syntax can I use?

Basically, search here on OtrkeyFinder works just like on any other search engine on the Internet: you submit terms and the service will return matching entries. As OtrkeyFinder is a specialized search engine, there are some extensions to this common scheme in order to find the so-called Otrkeys on the Net:

  • It's possible to search for extremely short terms (2 chars). Short terms like these are normally filtered out by other search engines
  • Even fragments of a filename, incomplete words or terms, can be searched for
  • Underscore-phrases (concatenated with "_") can be used in nearly arbitrary length to find matching filenames
  • The common Otrkey video-format suffixes are recognized in searches
  • Date and time of a broadcast are recognized and can be used to find matching recordings
  • It's possible to find a broadcast before and after a certain recording
  • Specific word combinations can be used as phrases by using double-quotes (")
  • Using the minus-operator ("-") as prefix will filter out results containing this term

OtrkeyFinder offers an interactive dialog on search result pages to explain results. Following every heading "Search result: X otrkey-files found." is a small link "explain". Click on it and current search semantics are broken down visually. For an example click here.

Search-Operators and Special Chars

Summary: Search only uses "+", "-" (Plus and Minus) and Double-quotes (") as special chars. Other chars like the Asterisk (*), Dot (".") or any other Special Char do not carry a placeholder meaning and won't trigger any special feature. Search is also case-insensitive. Umlauts and German grapheme Eszett are replaced.

Search supports a limited number of special search tokens which enable you to filter results for specific fields or attributes. Currently, you can filter broadcasts by "station", "country" and "language". Each of these attributes is used as token and as prefix to a search term, delimited by a colon (":"). For example:
Entering «Simpsons language:en» will match broadcasts of "The Simpsons" in Englisch language only.
Entering «World station:UKITV» matches only broadcasts with term "World" in its title and having aired on ITV UK.
Entering «country:USA CSI» will return only broadcasts with term "CSI" as part of the title and from US-Television stations.
It's also possible to combine these filters with each other and with additional normal search terms.

What is RSS and what does the icon mean?

Here on OtrkeyFinder, you can subscribe to arbitrary search results as a feed. Without limitation in maximum subscriptions and without the need to create an account or registration. In order to point users to this option, we have a feed icon on search results pages. Just right-click on it, copy and add the link to a feed reader of your choice and any time a search delivers new results, the feed will be updated. Also, every results page on OtrkeyFinder has a special tag embedded into the source-code of the page. So in case your browser/reader supports "RSS auto-dicovery", this tag will trigger a feed icon being shown in your adress bar, making subscribing even easier, as a simple click on it will subscribe you to the current search.

The RSS standard seems a little dated these days, but it still helps a good number of people to track and discover updates on the Internet even today. A few years ago, feed reader functionality was still a built-in feature of most browsers (see Firefox deprecation note). Today, you need to use a separate Feed Reader application or a Browser Add-On. For Firefox, you can find some notes on that here. The Add-On "Sage-Like" is (May 2020) a good choice, for example. For Chrome, there are a number of good Extensions as well.

What do abbreviations EPG and VoD mean?

EPG is short for "Electronic programming guide" - and that means it's our digital version of a paper Television Listings magazine. As "EPG" is such a handy abbreviation, it's also the URL of OtrkeyFinder's electronic "TV Listings", and you'll find it on video-on-demand search results in our media center meta-search where additional information about a broadcast is linked in from the programming guide.

VoD or "Video on demand" is a term to describe a service or portal where viewers are able to access and play video independent from a static broadcasting schedule. Here on the site "VoD" is used to refer to our video-on-demand search service. A growing number of television stations offer "catch-up TV" as a way for viewers to watch programmes, usually through their website, after the original television broadcast is over. Those services are something different from "Streaming Video" services that operate under a subscription-based model, as a modernization of traditional Pay-TV offerings. "Catch-Up" or "VoD" media center services are mostly an extension of linear broadcasting and usually offer a subset of what has been aired on live television. That said, there's some momentum for merge between these channels as geo-blocking or pay-per-view / subscription based business model like "TV Everywhere" blend the lines between a TV station's "Catch up" portal "as part of their service" and newer "stand-alone" Streaming Video services.

I have problems with the download. Who can I contact?

OtrkeyFinder does not provide any downloads but instead links to mirror-websites from which the *.otrkey-files can be downloaded. If you have problems downloading a file you need to contact the operator of the mirror-website from which you try to download the file. In most cases you can find contact information on the mirror-website's "Contact"- or "About"-Page.

I have problems decoding an *.otrkey-file. What can I do?

If the *.otrkey-file is corrupted you can download the file from another mirror and try to decode this one. If the problem remains or if you have another decoder-problem then you can contact the operator of the OnlineTvRecorder which create the *.otrkey-files and provide the OTRKey-decoder software.

I have problems with the premium-account. Who can I contact?

There are no premium-accounts at OtrkeyFinder. If you have problems with your premium-account on one of the mirror-websites or if you have problems with the premium-status at OnlineTvRecorder then you need to contact the operator of the respective website.

I am the operator of an OTR-mirror. What can I do so that OtrkeyFinder finds and indexes it?

If you want that OtrkeyFinder shows your mirror in the search results then you need to register the mirror-server. Therefore you need a user account. After login you can use the user menu to navigate to the mirror administration page where you can add, delete and edit your mirror websites.

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