Max holds a B.S. in mass communications from SIU, an M.A. in communications from U of I, and is pursuing an MBA from Webster University.
1. Download and Install Picture Motion Browser
The Sony Handycam series of camcorders makes it easy for the average person to record high-quality video on the go. However, pulling that footage off of the portable camcorder is a completely different endeavor that can be terribly confusing. This article will show you how to download the prerequisite software—Picture Motion Browser—from the Sony support website, and how to use it to transfer files to your computer.
Before you can transfer video files from the Handycam to your computer, you need to install Sony's Picture Motion Browser (PMB). Click through the thumbnails above to follow these steps:
- Click here to open the Sony Drivers and Software Downloads Web page.
- Select "Digital Camcorders" beneath "Select a Product Category."
- Select your series of Handycam digital camcorder beneath "Select Series." For example, I have a high definition digital camcorder.
- Select the model of your camcorder beneath "Select Model." The Support page for your specific camcorder opens.
- Click the Drivers and Software tab midway down the Web page. The "Select an Operating System" drop-down box appears beneath the tab. If a message appears saying that there are no updates at this time, select a different model of camera to get the Picture Motion Browser software that you need, as it doesn't matter what type of camcorder you actually have, it just matters that you have the PMB software. For example, as of February 2012, you could download the PMB software by selecting the HDR-TG1 model Handycam digital camcorder.
- Click the drop-down arrow beneath "Select an Operating System" to view a broad list of operating systems.
- Select your operating system. The "Filter Files by Category" drop-down list appears.
- Click the drop-down arrow beneath "Filter Files by Category." A file list appears beneath the drop-down options that includes options for the PMB software.
- Download and install the file you can use to install the program if you lost your original disc.
- Download and install any available PMB updates for your operating system. The PMB software you need is now installed on your computer.
Transfer Files from Sony Handycam Using PMB
Transfer Files from Sony Handycam to Computer
Now that you've downloaded the software you need, you can start transferring:
- Turn on your computer if it isn't turned on already.
- Plug the large USB connector on one end of the USB cable that came with the Sony Handycam into an available USB port on your computer.
- Swing out the display of the Sony Handycam. Open the small cover along the bottom of the inside wall of the camcorder to reveal a mini-HDMI output and a mini-USB output.
- Plug the other end of the USB cable, which should be a mini-USB connector, into the mini-USB connector in the camcorder. A set of USB options will appear on the Sony Handycam's display.
- Select "USB Connect." The Connected screen will appear, instructing you not to turn off the Sony Handycam, close the LCD panel, or disconnect the USB cable. A PMB Import dialog box may also appear on your computer screen. As you become a more advanced importer, you can use this option, but this time we'll launch the import from within the program.
- Launch the PMB program on your computer.
- Click "File" in the PMB program's Menu bar that appears in the upper-left corner of the program and then click "Import Media Files." An "Import Media Files to PMB" dialog box will appear. This is the same box you may see after connecting your Sony Handycam to your computer and selecting USB Connect on the camcorder. This dialog box will list your Sony Handycam, storage drives on your computer, and potentially other connected devices.
- Select the name of your Sony Handycam and then click "Next." A new screen appears within the dialog box that lets you designate what files you are pulling off of your Sony Handycam, how to pull those files, and where those files are being transferred to on your computer.
- Click "Change" to open the Media Files Import Settings dialog box. Beneath the Import Method option you can elect to import all of the files from the Handycam to the computer, import only files that haven't already been transferred from the camcorder, or select the files you want to pull from the Handycam to your computer. Also, you can click to check a box that will automatically delete any files from your camcorder after they've been transferred to your computer. Click "OK" when you're done making changes in this dialog box to return to the "Import Media Files to PMB" dialog box.
- Click "Browse" beneath "Import Media Files" to designate a specific folder where you want to place the files you're transferring from the Sony Handycam. You can also select a check box to instantly place the files being pulled from the Handycam in a new folder and also give that folder a name.
- Click "Import" after making all of the changes you want to make in the "Import Media Files to PMB" dialog box. The "Import Media Files to PMB" dialog box will shrink and turn into a progress bar, displaying a few frames of the content you're transferring in a small box on its right side. The "Media File Import Completed" dialog box will appear after the files have been successfully moved from the Handycam to your computer.
- Select "Open Imported Folder" to view the folder containing the content you transferred from the Sony Handycam to the computer that was indexed automatically by PMB.
- Double-click the content to display or play it in PMB, or close PMB, navigate to where you saved the file to your computer and then play it from there. After verifying the content has been successfully transferred from the Handycam to your computer, it's safe to both close PMB and eject your camcorder from the computer. You can safely eject the camcorder from the computer by pressing the "End" button on the Handycam's display. Disconnect the USB cable from the camcorder after a message appears on the camcorder's display saying it's safe to do so.
How to Transfer Sony Handycam Video to Computer Using PlayMemories Home
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: I have a Sony Handycam Model #DCR-HC14E. It uses 8mm cassettes, and I can't transfer my videos using my Windows 8, 64-bit PC. I have tried other methods to no avail. Can you recommend a software that will help me?
Answer: I'm not familiar with that particular model. It sounds a bit older. The Sony website does show, however, that your model will work with Sony's Playmemories Home software. You probably used Sony's PMB software before. Playmemories Home is just a newer version of that. That software is free and available from Sony's website.
© 2012 Max Dalton
Ashwin on February 15, 2020:
How do I transfer from Sony dcr-, sr47E to my computer. I transferred files but won't open up and play.
Please can you advise. Thanks
Nashita on October 01, 2019:
How to transfer from handycam HDR-XR160 to computer?
YASIR KHAN on July 29, 2019:
HOW TO TRANSFER FROM HANDYCAM TO PC MY PHOTO AND VIDEO CAMERA MODEL NUMBER MXD-H9000
daveclark966 on April 07, 2019:
That is what Avdshare Video Converter is designed for, to convert Sony Handycam videos to iMovie more supported MOV or MPEG-4 with the best output quality.
Jashvant Patel India on December 14, 2018:
I am having DCR TRV340e Camcorder Sony.if now some faults.If i purchase from ebay DCRTRV340 From USA which are NTSC format. How can use a d play my old cassatte in new USA camcorder. Is it possible in Indian TV means PAL system
Kevin Ashton on November 14, 2018:
Your link doesn't open up a new page so following your instructions are unnecessarily difficult. Your article is dated 2017 but the Picture Motion Browser has been superseeded by PlayMemories Home.
Perhaps you might update your article and make it easy to use?
Max Dalton (author) from Greater St. Louis, Missouri on July 19, 2018:
Sorry to hear about the problems, Rob. I would try a few more micro-USB cables to see if the issue can be resolved through that, as that's obviously the easiest. I don't think there's anything about your hardware configuration that would be an issue. Is there another computer you can try connecting it to? If you look in Windows Explorer, does the computer recognize your connected camera as any sort of drive?
Rob Collyer on July 19, 2018:
Hey Max, great site and instructions easy to follow. Unfortunately it didn't work for me. Download & install of program was fine but after opening the application on my PC (Win10 64bit) it won't talk to my camera (which is a Sony HDR-HC9). I'm using a mini-USB to USB I found laying around the house and not the original cable that would've come with the camera so I'm hoping the issue is with the cable itself. PC 'beeps' when the camera connects and the little screen on the camera offers the prompt you described in point 5 but nothing happens. When I select 'Import media' it changes screens on the application but can't see the camera. Any ideas? Thanks in advance, Rob
JMH on December 07, 2017:
Is it true that Sony Digital8 Handycam software requires Windows 8.0 PC...
John Hughes on November 09, 2017:
How do l turn my football recording to a continuous rcording
kalika on August 15, 2012:
if i use the handycam while charging is on will the charging light be on or off
Max Dalton (author) from Greater St. Louis, Missouri on June 11, 2012:
What version of Windows do you have? PMB doesn't play nice with the newer versions of Windows and you need to install the most recent version of the program.
Adam on June 03, 2012:
My Sony camcorder keeps saying "preparing" when I try to plug it into my computer. I also get messages that say Some files are not compatible!" Really... WTF?
Any suggestions or advice?
Max Dalton (author) from Greater St. Louis, Missouri on April 21, 2012:
When do you get this message?
sherien on April 14, 2012:
it tells me that i dont have any data in my disc when i do. what should i do?