Dreambox: Automatically remove recordings

A short tutorial on how to delete recordings on your harddrive after XX days.

  • Why?

You can set up a daily recording for the 8 O’clock news in a folder “news”, so you never have to miss it.  But then your harddrive starts to fill up.   And then you have to start deleting the oldest recordings manually.  Why not let your dreambox do this automatically after 30 or 60 days?


  • What do you need:

    • A dreambox  with a working network connection.   I’m using a DM8000 with Open-PLI.
    • A computer ( Mac,Windows or Linux) which has a working connection to you dreambox.
    • The IP-address of your box ( you can usually see this in your browser, on the dreambox webpage.  Eg.  )
    • All your recordings you want to manage in a certain subfolder
    • Some help from a tutorial like this.

Let’s get started


  • Telnet into your box.

 If you know how to do this, skip to the next section
    • On a Mac / Linux: Go to programs – Terminal.   Type the command:


( of course, substitute your own ip-address)

    • Windows 7:  For some stupid reason, Win7 does not have telnet on by default.  So you have to follow these steps first:
      • Start
      • Control Panel
      • Programs And Features
      • Turn Windows features on or off
      • Check Telnet Client
      • Hit OK
      • now follow the Windows XP instructions
    • Windows XP:
      • Start
      • Run
      • type “telnet″    ( of course, use your own ip-address)
  • You should all be greeted by you dreambox login prompt

Enter ‘root‘ at the login prompt.  Then enter your password.  If you don’t know the password, try ‘dreambox‘.
  PLI<< openpli dm8000
dm8000 login: root
Password:root@dm8000 ~ #


  • Let’s first find out where your recordings are located.  Type the following commands
 cd /media/hdd/movie
  • You should see a list of files and subfolders.
   20100820 2042 – some recording.eit
20100820 2042 – some recording.ts
news/root@dm8000 /media/hdd/movie #


  • So, the folder we need is “/media/hdd/movie/news”  ( may be different for you).  Make a note of this.
  • To let your dreambox do something on a daily basis, we need ‘crontab‘.  This is a service that runs other programs and commands at certain times.   Let’s first check what’s already in your crontab list with the command crontab -l        ( for ‘list’)
 # crontab -l
crontab: no crontab for root


  • This tells us crontab is working, but is empty for the moment.  Nice
  • Now we have to add an entry into the crontab list.   This is where things get ugly: it uses an oldfashioned editor called ‘vi‘, which can be a nightmare if your not used to it.  First we tell crontab we want to add an entry with ‘crontab -e’.
 # crontab -e


  • As soon as you do this, your screen changes.  Do not fear ( yet), this is complety normal.  You’re in vi now:
“/var/spool/cron/crontab.8019″ line 1 of 1 –100%-
  • press the key ‘i’ once.  This puts you in insert mode.  Now you can start typing on the first line.  Enter the following line exactly:
 05 18 * * * find /media/hdd/movie/news -mtime +60 -exec rm {} \;


  • That’s all.  Now we have to get out of insert mode, and save the crontab file:
    • press escape once.  This exits insert mode
    • enter  :x  This saves the file, and puts you back at the command prompt.
  • Check crontab to see if it worked:
 # crontab -l
05 18 * * * find /media/hdd/movie/journaal -mtime +60 -exec rm {} \;


  • All Done!    But what did we do?   Let’s split the command up:
    • 05 18 * * *

This tells your box to execute the command at ‘ minute hour day month day_of_the_week’ .  In this case: the 05th minute of the 18th of everyday of every month.   In other words: each day at five past six at night.   You can change this at wil.
    •  find /media/hdd/movie/journaal

Search through this folder
    •  -mtime +60

Only shows files older than 60 days. Change this number to whatever period you would line( +10 for 10 days, +30 for a month,…)
    •  -exec rm {} \;

executes the ‘rm‘ command for every file found.  rm ( or ‘remove’) is the linux delete command.

If you want multiple subfolders to be checked, just add multiple lines using the crontab -e command.


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