HDPVR Support on the Mac (HDPVRCapture) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 1194 Old 11-04-2008, 06:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Update: The original post was starting to look a little long in the tooth.

"Hello,

Who wants HDPVR support on the Mac?"

These are the words that I used to introduce myself to the AVSForum Mac community last year. Since then, with their help / support and encouragement I developed a great HDPVR Capture Mac application called HDPVRCapture. The rest is history and can be read below.

Welcome! If you're looking for a great Intel and PPC compatible HD H.264 recording/scheduling application, for the Hauppauge HDPVR 1212, that runs on 10.4 or 10.5 then you've found it!

Let's jump straight to the action:

1. Start by reading about the HDPVRCapture application at the FAQ on my blog:

http://www.steventoth.net/blog/produ...r-capture/faq/

2. If you want to download and try it then it's here:

http://www.steventoth.net/blog/products/hdpvr-capture/

3. Maybe you'd just like to see some sample recordings, see here:

http://www.steventoth.net/blog/produ...le-recordings/

4. Maybe you'd also like to stream HD recordings to your PS3 then read here:

http://www.steventoth.net/blog/produ...-to-the-ps3-2/

5. If you have any questions or suggestions then either post them on this thread or email me, my details are on the blog About page. Stick around!

My original post continues here:

Hello,

Who wants HDPVR support on the Mac?

I'm a driver/apps software engineer working for Hauppauge on their TV tuner products. I work on Windows, Linux and Mac app/driver projects and I happen to know the internals of the HD-PVR 1212 very well. Oh, and I happen to love my Macs.

One of the harsh realities of business is that Hauppauge have to focus on the largest part of the market, for Windows only software stack, they don't offer a Mac solution. That leaves me and many other people currently out in the cold. I guess I could run the windows software stack in a VM but that isn't appealing, not at all. Urgh

As a result I've started to put together a Mac project under the working title of HDPVRCapture. The goal is to bring HDPVR support to the Mac so we can all enjoy HD H.264 capturing and playback. HDPVRCapture is a closed source commercial project, I need to cover my engineering (and beer!) costs on this so the end result will be something that I have to charge a small amount of money for (perhaps $20 to $30 per license).

As a skeleton project to exercise the hardware I have a command line application which already captures content at resolutions from 720x480 to 1920x1080. The captured contents is playing back very well via VLC. The plan is to turn this into a credible UI.

I've already been in touch with two or three people and they suggested that other people may be interested in supporting the project, and that I should post an announcement.

I hope this post: A) Is in the right forum and B) This thread interests you.

Here's the current support command line features:

HDPVRCapture v0.9.1 (Nov 4 2008 @ 00:51:11)
Copyright 2008, Steven Toth (URL removed)

Usage: HDPVRCapture [-d] [-o outfile] [-t time (hh:mm:ss)] [-a AAC|AC3] [-b bitrate] [-p peak_bitrate] [-s serial#] [-A audiomuxinput] [-V audiomuxinput] [-B bitrate_mode] [-G GOP mode] [-l enablelights] [-z] [-S] [-m]

-a , encode in AAC or AC3 2 channel format (default AC3)
-A , RCA or SPDIF (default RCA)
-b , capture bitrate in bps, Eg. 7500000 (default 5500000)
-B , CBR or AVG (default AVG)
-d enable debug messages
-G , SIMPLE, ADVANCED, ADVANCED_NO_IDR or SIMPLE_NO_IDR (default SIMPLE)
-l <0|1> enable lights = 1 (default off = 0)
-m Monitor recording via VLC (using app /Applications/VLC.app/Contents/MacOS/VLC) (default off)
-o (default hdpvr.ts)
-p , capture peak bitrate in bps, Eg. 7500000 (default 20000000)
-s , capture using a specific HDPVR device, Eg. 00A126AB
-S Scale image to 1440x1080 (default off)
-t , the capture duration, Eg. 01:30:00 1.5 hrs (default 00:00:10)
-V , COMPONENT, SVIDEO or COMPOSITE (default COMPOSITE)
-z Enable Audio Boost (default off)

What I'd like to know is:

1) Before I spend much more time on the application and commit to a credible GUI, which may not attract users regardless, is this project something you'd be interested? Would you like to see a commercial app and suite of tools to help you capture HDPVR content, transcode it (ffmpeg / visual hub / handbrake) and support playback (VLC, hopefully quicktime). Tightly integrated, "It just works" mentality.

2) What features would you like to see in the application? Let's not get crazy and aim for the moon, but what basic features are mandatory for you in a 1.0 release?

If this project interests you then I want to hear form you, likewise if it doesn't then I want to hear that feedback also.

Feel free to PM me privately, or post comments here.

I'm trying to avoid wasting my time building software that nobody uses, or is interested in. I want to engage the Mac community early and build a suite of tools that satisfies the vast majority of you all!

I want to make the Mac a better platform for TV capture. Your feedback will help.

Regards,

Steve Toth

Update: v2.x has been released with a full graphical interface. Details deeper in this thread.
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post #2 of 1194 Old 11-04-2008, 06:50 AM
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Good news, thanks, Steve.

My "1.0" requirements list would look like this:

1. Driver and and GUI-fronted app that will record 720p (minimum) and 5.1 audio from the 1212.
2. Qucktime-playable output for playback under Front Row (although Quicktime+Perian would be more than okay with me), preferably without an additional transcoding step.
3. A recording-duration timer similar to the one in ArcSoft so I don't have to babysit the thing.
4. Bonus: a simple editor for cutting commercials (I suspect this would fall out of scope for a basic app).
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post #3 of 1194 Old 11-04-2008, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Collier View Post

Good news, thanks, Steve.

My "1.0" requirements list would look like this:

1. Driver and and GUI-fronted app that will record 720p (minimum) and 5.1 audio from the 1212.
2. Qucktime-playable output for playback under Front Row (although Quicktime+Perian would be more than okay with me), preferably without an additional transcoding step.
3. A recording-duration timer similar to the one in ArcSoft so I don't have to babysit the thing.
4. Bonus: a simple editor for cutting commercials (I suspect this would fall out of scope for a basic app).

Good list. I think there is a real niche for this product among Mac HTPC folks.
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post #4 of 1194 Old 11-04-2008, 12:16 PM
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I would be very interested in the command-line version. It would be interesting to see if it would work under the AppleTV

I'm an long time Apple developer who has been thinking about doing this very application myself. So other projects of mine are atv-bootloader, atvusb-creator and XBMC for Mac (XBMC developer).

stoth, if you want a good tester for this, PM or email me at davilla at xbmc dot org
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post #5 of 1194 Old 11-04-2008, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Collier View Post

Good news, thanks, Steve.

My "1.0" requirements list would look like this:

1. Driver and and GUI-fronted app that will record 720p (minimum) and 5.1 audio from the 1212.
2. Qucktime-playable output for playback under Front Row (although Quicktime+Perian would be more than okay with me), preferably without an additional transcoding step.
3. A recording-duration timer similar to the one in ArcSoft so I don't have to babysit the thing.
4. Bonus: a simple editor for cutting commercials (I suspect this would fall out of scope for a basic app).

#2 (Quicktime-playable output for playback under Front Row) native with .TS files is an issue, transcoding or rewriting the container may be possible.
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post #6 of 1194 Old 11-04-2008, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
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You mean running the app specifically on the AppleTV platform, via ssh etc?

Assuming IOKit is available then I think that's perfectly possible.
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post #7 of 1194 Old 11-04-2008, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stoth View Post

#2 (Quicktime-playable output for playback under Front Row) native with .TS files is an issue, transcoding or rewriting the container may be possible.

So I gather. What about remuxing the elementary streams into a different container, i.e. .mov or .mp4?
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post #8 of 1194 Old 11-04-2008, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Collier View Post

So I gather. What about remuxing the elementary streams into a different container, i.e. .mov or .mp4?

I'm looking into this.
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post #9 of 1194 Old 11-04-2008, 05:01 PM
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I would love (and pay for) a product such as this for the mac. I believe so strongly in fact, that I have used my FIRST POST after many, many years of lurking to express my interest. Do it!

btw - love the forums here, long term mac user and Home Theater enthusiast!

**Make that 2nd post, but you get the idea**
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post #10 of 1194 Old 11-04-2008, 07:24 PM
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Hi,

It's wonderful of you to start this project... I have been waiting a long time for a product such as the HD PVR, and was sorely disappointed to hear I couldn't run it on the Mac.

I should warn you, though... Elgato has already solicited for people to beta test running the HD PVR with EyeTV software--- while this is no guarantee it will see the light of day, it is quite possible they are working on a solution that will make your software obsolete. I speak from experience -- my iEye Captain software was quite useful in its day, but EyeTV's advancements have made it all but obsolete.

Hope this helps,
Graham.
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post #11 of 1194 Old 11-04-2008, 09:01 PM
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Not yet a HTPC guy, but I watch my video library through my AppleTV. I have been digitizing video content (much of which was acquired in the VHS days) and transcoding my DVD library into a centralized source on my external HD.

After digitizing in two steps to get to my AppleTV (MPEG-2, first with an ADSTech Instant DVD for Mac and then a DVD Recorder, to H.264), I was one of the first purchasers of the HD-PVR, primarily because of its ability to digitize HD directly to H.264 in one step (although I still need a transcode step to get the HD-PVR output to play on the AppleTV, but I see that as an underpower issue of the AppleTV and not a fault of the HD-PVR).

I went out and purchased a Mac Mini to run Windows XP in Boot Camp exclusively as the front end of the HD-PVR. I would much prefer to switch the Mini back to OS X and operate the HD-PVR in that mode, and I would pay for that ability.

Let me know what else I can do to help out in this endeavor.
LL
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post #12 of 1194 Old 11-05-2008, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
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An update:

I think ffmpeg has some vcodec copy issues that result in junk in the video stream, or quicktime really can't cope with CABAC encoding.

I've tried repackaging the .TS into .mp4's last night (via ffmpeg) but that didn't result in anything really watchable, junk intermixed with good frames. What really irks me is that if we run the MPR Creator to extract and repack the payload via MP4BOX, which doesn't transcode, apparently ffmpeg (visual hub) will re-package it correctly, and quicktime will play it.

I think I need to truly repro this behavior and work from that.

Odd. That doesn't fit the "quicktime's implementation of CABAC is broken". More investigation required tonight, after I've added IR Blaster support.

One a more positive note, transcoding the .TS files appears to work fairly well, but it's slow.

- Steve
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post #13 of 1194 Old 11-05-2008, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrahamAJones View Post

Hi,

I should warn you, though... Elgato has already solicited for people to beta test running the HD PVR with EyeTV software---

Thanks for the tip. I'm still planning to release something though - AND - I'm planning to release an open API via a framework so other application developers can also benefit (unlike Elgato).

- Steve
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post #14 of 1194 Old 11-05-2008, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
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Thanks for the tip. I'm still planning to release something though - AND - I'm planning to release an open API via a framework so other application developers can also benefit (unlike Elgato).

- Steve

Glad to hear that, Steve. The only software I own from Elgato is their Turbo.264 application front end for their hardware decoding stick and it took them a long time to get that application working properly.

I'm pretty confident that QuickTime will play CABAC with Perian, so long as the CPU has enough horsepower to play it (minimum Core2Duo). I suspect that CABAC encoding is embedded in the digitizing chip in the HD-PVR and cannot be set to CALVC in software; is that correct?

It seems that the 59.94fps output in the .TS is a major hurdle too. I am not sure what the purpose is. Is there any way in software to get the HD-PVR to digitize 720p in 29.97fps?

Getting MP4 files to open in QT seems to have something to do with "atoms" which is beyond my current expertize. Anyone have a link to what this means and how to modify them, so we can get .TS to MP4 files that open in QT?
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post #15 of 1194 Old 11-05-2008, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MichaelLAX View Post

I'm pretty confident that QuickTime will play CABAC with Perian, so long as the CPU has enough horsepower to play it (minimum Core2Duo). I suspect that CABAC encoding is embedded in the digitizing chip in the HD-PVR and cannot be set to CALVC in software; is that correct?

Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelLAX View Post

It seems that the 59.94fps output in the .TS is a major hurdle too. I am not sure what the purpose is. Is there any way in software to get the HD-PVR to digitize 720p in 29.97fps?

No.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelLAX View Post

Getting MP4 files to open in QT seems to have something to do with "atoms" which is beyond my current expertize. Anyone have a link to what this means and how to modify them, so we can get .TS to MP4 files that open in QT?

The format is definied in ISO/IEC 14496-12: Google for this c041828_ISO_IEC_14496-12_2005(E).zip

MP4BOX, ffmpeg etc all generate mp4 files so they know how to generate correct (and occasionally buggy) atoms. In addition, Apple have a tool called 'Dumpster' which is in-effect an MP4 atom editor, it's available for download from their website. It's crude but useful.

- Steve
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post #16 of 1194 Old 11-05-2008, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stoth View Post

An update:

I think ffmpeg has some vcodec copy issues that result in junk in the video stream, or quicktime really can't cope with CABAC encoding.

I've tried repackaging the .TS into .mp4's last night (via ffmpeg) but that didn't result in anything really watchable, junk intermixed with good frames.

- Steve

Yep, I got the same results after demuxing 1212 .TS files and then remuxing with various tools (YAMB, MP4Box, etc, sometimes transcoding the audio to AAC first as needed for the container). I was kind of hoping you'd be better at it than I am...

Doing a pass-through with VisualHub to .mp4 (both streams set to copy, no transcoding) gives me an unplayable file.
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I. Doesn't my original trick for 1280x720 .TS files with AAC 2.0 audio still work?:

Try these three steps to play HD-PVR files on your Mac without transcoding:

1. Use the MP4 Creator to convert the file to .MP4.

2. Use VisualHub in the MP4 Tab with Advanced Settings of Video Passthru and Audio Passthru, to convert the MP4 file again to .MP4.

3. Install Perian v1.1

QuickTime should now play the file, on at least a Core2Duo 1.85Ghz, such as my Mac Mini. There has been no transcoding, just container changes.

NOTE: This works on .TS 720p HD-PVR files. VisualHub does not transcode interlaced H.264 files such as HD-PVR .TS files created in 1080i. I have not yet tried to use video passthru in VisualHub on 1080i files...

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...b#post14191353
____________________________________________________________ _

II. If the .TS has AC3/5.1 audio, then here was my post on the VisualHub Support forum:

Now that the beta driver has been released for AC3 5.1 audio when digitizing content on the Hauppauge, I discovered an interesting container conversion using VisualHub:

iTunes, with AppleTV 5.1 + 2.0 with video and audio passthru

Previously, the resulting MP4 file would not open in QuickTime. Now, since there is 5.1 AC3 present, the resulting container is MOV. Now the MOV files does open in QuickTime and with enough CPU power will play (perhaps Perian is required, I will have to check with Perian uninstalled to see if it still plays). UPDATE: the file plays without Perian.

http://www.isquint.org/cgi-bin/ikonb...0;hl=hauppauge
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post #18 of 1194 Old 11-06-2008, 04:05 AM
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If I remember correctly, the MP4 Converter mini-app is just a front end for MP4Box with particular settings for the Hauppauge files (Steve can obviously correct me if I'm wrong here). Hauppauge has declined to update the converter app for the current Windows driver/firmware, specifically for 5.1 audio (which would require a transcode from AC3 to AAC, I believe), but an under-the-hood update to similarly convert current HD PVR files might be a possible solution, given Michael's experience. That is, if there's an MP4Box equivalent that will run on a Mac. I'm not sure such a thing actually exists.

I can't duplicate Michael's procedure, FWIW. My 1212 box is only a month old, and I never even had the old drivers. MP4 Converter craps out on every sample I've tried, regardless of whether the audio is 5.1 or 2.0.
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post #19 of 1194 Old 11-06-2008, 09:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Collier View Post

If I remember correctly, the MP4 Converter mini-app is just a front end for MP4Box with particular settings for the Hauppauge files (Steve can obviously correct me if I'm wrong here).

It's more than this, it demuxes the content ready for MP4BOX to remux into mp4. This demuxing code needs to be written from scratch on the Mac, none of the current tools do this well enough for mp4box to remux. It's on my todo list after completing IRBlaster support.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Collier View Post

Hauppauge has declined to update the converter app for the current Windows driver/firmware, specifically for 5.1 audio (which would require a transcode from AC3 to AAC, I believe), but an under-the-hood update to similarly convert current HD PVR files might be a possible solution, given Michael's experience. That is, if there's an MP4Box equivalent that will run on a Mac. I'm not sure such a thing actually exists.

I can't duplicate Michael's procedure, FWIW. My 1212 box is only a month old, and I never even had the old drivers. MP4 Converter craps out on every sample I've tried, regardless of whether the audio is 5.1 or 2.0.

One of the current goals is to have the Mac solution do the same demux, then launch mp4box to remux, followed my a second remux via ffmpeg. This will bring AAC based /mp4 suport to the mac without transcoding. It offers a workable 720p AAC based solution based on Michaels procedure above, automatically (if required). It also rules out the use of any windows software completely.

- Steve
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post #20 of 1194 Old 11-06-2008, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Collier View Post

I can't duplicate Michael's procedure, FWIW. My 1212 box is only a month old, and I never even had the old drivers. MP4 Converter craps out on every sample I've tried, regardless of whether the audio is 5.1 or 2.0.

Michaels procedure worked very well for me today, assuming 1280x720px60fps, AAC 2 channel encoding.

- Steve

Update: In addition, the newly converted mp4 has not been transcoded, and plays perfectly in Frontrow (I do have Perian 1.1.2 installed).
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post #21 of 1194 Old 11-06-2008, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stoth View Post

It's more than this, it demuxes the content ready for MP4BOX to remux into mp4. This demuxing code needs to be written from scratch on the Mac, none of the current tools do this well enough for mp4box to remux. It's on my todo list after completing IRBlaster support.



One of the current goals is to have the Mac solution do the same demux, then launch mp4box to remux, followed my a second remux via ffmpeg. This will bring AAC based /mp4 suport to the mac without transcoding. It offers a workable 720p AAC based solution based on Michaels procedure above, automatically (if required). It also rules out the use of any windows software completely.

- Steve

I think we can all get behind that.

Thanks for the education and the updates...
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post #22 of 1194 Old 11-06-2008, 05:04 PM
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Interesting project, I'd pay to see it all work out, keep up the good work!

Sidenote: Is it still possible to buy VisualHub anywhere, since the developer closed up shop?
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post #23 of 1194 Old 11-06-2008, 05:35 PM
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just to get it to work in osx and not have to boot into bootcamp makes it worth any price...
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post #24 of 1194 Old 11-06-2008, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
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An update on how the work is going:

I used HDPVRCapture to record ugly betty on ABC tonight, 1280x720x60fps AAC, 2 channel encoded audio.

I demuxed the audio and video using a custom app, remuxed the payload without transcoding into an mp4 using MP4box and ffmpeg, this took around 60 seconds beginning to end.

The file plays happily inside quicktime and audio and video remain in perfect sync after 30 mins.

This was using software completely on the Mac, nothing from windows.

- Steve
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post #25 of 1194 Old 11-06-2008, 07:07 PM
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Sign me up!

That's awesome.

- Graham.
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post #26 of 1194 Old 11-07-2008, 04:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stoth View Post

An update on how the work is going:

I used HDPVRCapture to record ugly betty on ABC tonight, 1280x720x60fps AAC, 2 channel encoded audio.

I demuxed the audio and video using a custom app, remuxed the payload without transcoding into an mp4 using MP4box and ffmpeg, this took around 60 seconds beginning to end.

The file plays happily inside quicktime and audio and video remain in perfect sync after 30 mins.

This was using software completely on the Mac, nothing from windows.

- Steve

[cartman] Sweeeeet. [/cartman]
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I just picked up a HD PVR and I am having a lot of problems with playback in Osx..

I used the TS>MP4 converter and tryed to playback the file in osx it was very choppy with VLC/Plex/Quicktime..

Am I missing something.

Can someone tell me what I need to do to convert them to a workable 1080i ACS formatt..

Thanks!
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post #28 of 1194 Old 11-07-2008, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stoth View Post

An update on how the work is going:

I used HDPVRCapture to record ugly betty on ABC tonight, 1280x720x60fps AAC, 2 channel encoded audio.

I demuxed the audio and video using a custom app, remuxed the payload without transcoding into an mp4 using MP4box and ffmpeg, this took around 60 seconds beginning to end.

The file plays happily inside quicktime and audio and video remain in perfect sync after 30 mins.

This was using software completely on the Mac, nothing from windows.

- Steve

Sounds great!

a) was this software you mention all freeware (not referring to the stuff you're writing per this thread, but rather the "custom app" you're referring to), and will be possible to assemble into an Action, perhaps, for drag-and-drop conversions vs. complex multi-step procedures?

b) Will the resulting files play on AppleTV?
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post #29 of 1194 Old 11-07-2008, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalani View Post

a) was this software you mention all freeware (not referring to the stuff you're writing per this thread, but rather the "custom app" you're referring to), and will be possible to assemble into an Action, perhaps, for drag-and-drop conversions vs. complex multi-step procedures?

Mp4Box and ffmpeg are used in the process, along with some custom code required during demuxing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalani View Post

b) Will the resulting files play on AppleTV?

Untested as yet. I'd need to patch my AppleTV, or put up a small selection of clips for you to test. I suspect both would be useful.

- Steve
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post #30 of 1194 Old 11-07-2008, 05:28 PM
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Since it appears that MPEG Streamclip can handle editing MPEG4, I would say that you can count me in as a potential customer. Basically, as soon as there is legitimate Mac support (from either Elgato or someone else) I had planned on getting off the sideline and picking up an HDPVR.

My current setup is "HD Ready", as I am using an EyeTV250, connected to a dedicated DirecTV HD Receiver. At this stage, I'm obviously recording everything in SD, but at least I can record in the right aspect ratio - as I primarily record HD channels - which are downconverted to 480i before being sent to the EyeTV250 for conversion.

While obviously just switching out the EyeTV250 with the HDPVR will result in immediate benefit in picture quality, my wish list includes two additional items:

1. Support for DD5.1
2. Ability to play the files through a stock AppleTV with as little conversion as possible

Thanks for your efforts - I'm really looking forward to your results.

I hate all this downtime in between drafts...(unidentified Lions loyalist '2004)
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