AVCNoodle - STB Recording via Firewire - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 123 Old 01-21-2009, 07:38 PM - Thread Starter
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http://www.steventoth.net/AVCNoodle/Running.jpg
http://www.steventoth.net/AVCNoodle/...dle_v0.9.0.zip

... and an updated v1.0.0-b1 beta:
http://www.steventoth.net/AVCNoodle/..._v1.0.0-b1.zip

This is the first public preview at a new firewire capture application I'm planning to release, currently under the working title 'AVCNoodle'.

As we speak the preview is known to work with:

* Motorola DCH-3416 (no channel changing)
* Motorola DCT-3416
* Motorola DCT-6200
* Motorola DCT-6420
* Motorola QIP-6416 DVR (Verison FIOS)
* Pace Model DC551PF (no channel changing)
* Scientific Atlanta SA4250
* Sony DHG-M55CV (no channel changing or power on support)
* Sony Television (KDS-R60XBR1), no channel changing

The basic features include:

* TitanTV/iCal integration (channel name and tvpi scheduling support).
* Basic (very basic) Applescript support.
* Manual iCal support for non-Titan environments.
* Multiple STB / Multiple simultaneous recordings.
* VLC support for monitoring the recordings

The preview is not:

* Bug free, please report new bugs here
* Complete, most of the features are basically working but need minor enhancements or bug fixes.
* Polished, parts of the UI need to change and/or disappear. I'd welcome your input - regardless of how obvious something is. Am I lacking something obvious?
* Fully functional, all recordings are currently limited to 30 seconds. This is enough to evaluate the application and test your hardware. I'd love to hear about different STB's, which ones are working, which ones don't.

The preview should give you a flavor of the overall direction. I'd welcome your comments. Either respond here or PM me if you want to discuss issues privately.

Regards

Steve
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post #2 of 123 Old 01-21-2009, 08:12 PM
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Whoa, very cool. I'll be trying this out tomorrow.
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post #3 of 123 Old 01-22-2009, 09:01 AM
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Hi Steve.

I downloaded AVCNoodle to give it a try and was unable to run it.
Is this a Leopard only application?

From the description and screen shot it looks like a good start.

Thanks for all the good work.

Joe
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post #4 of 123 Old 01-22-2009, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
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zjoeh: Yeah it's probably targeted at 10.5.
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post #5 of 123 Old 01-22-2009, 12:42 PM
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can it work with explorer 8300HD?
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post #6 of 123 Old 01-22-2009, 12:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Chiu View Post

can it work with explorer 8300HD?

No idea, we need to find out. Please try it then report back.
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post #7 of 123 Old 01-22-2009, 07:07 PM
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Recorded ATSC from my Sony Television (KDS-R60XBR1), but failed to change channels.

Nice work Steve!
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post #8 of 123 Old 01-23-2009, 06:36 PM
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I tried AVCNoodle with a Comcast HD Box (not a DVR), Pace Model DC551PF. I was able to record fine. I could not change the channel. VLC would not play the .m2ts file so I used MPEG Streamclip. There is a big gray circle with an X in both the recording and conversion screens. I can't wait for the full app.
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post #9 of 123 Old 01-23-2009, 08:27 PM
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OK, now I remember why recording from FireWire in HD isn't really any good (and all I want to record is HD). You can really only record some HD channels, like the network channels, and most HD channels have some type of protection. With AVCNoodle I could record the local network channels in HD fine, but when I recorded other HD channels like Disney, ESPN, HBO, etc., it had blocks and breaking up every so often, making the recording pretty much unwatchable.
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post #10 of 123 Old 01-24-2009, 07:34 AM
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The preview worked with a box used by Shaw in Canada, the Motorola DCT-3416.
The app changed the channel successfully too (no i.r. blaster).
The format m2ts wouldn't open with vlc. With some coaxing, Mpeg StreamClip opens it.

Looking forward to seeing this in more mature state!

Does anyone know of a listing service like titan tv, that will work in Canada? For this app I mean?

Thanks
--sdm.

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post #11 of 123 Old 01-24-2009, 09:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheldonmclean View Post

The preview worked with a box used by Shaw in Canada, the Motorola DCT-3416.
The app changed the channel successfully too (no i.r. blaster).
The format m2ts wouldn't open with vlc. With some coaxing, Mpeg StreamClip opens it.

Good to hear, thanks.

That's the second time that I've that .m2ts wouldn't open in VLC, would you be will to send me a very short sample, say 15 seconds? I'd like to understand why that is. I'm wondering whether the STB transport streams somehow vary beween providers and are no 188 byte packets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sheldonmclean View Post

Looking forward to seeing this in more mature state!

It's not far away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sheldonmclean View Post

Does anyone know of a listing service like titan tv, that will work in Canada? For this app I mean?

zap2it.com offer Canadian listings, is this correct? Perhaps I can work out someway to integrate.
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post #12 of 123 Old 01-24-2009, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Onazuka: Working for network channels but mostly working with blocks of garbage for non-network HD channels doesn't sound like a 5C issue, something else is happening.

Have you tried FireRecord with this same STB? How does this comare when trying to capture HD content from non-network channels?

Thanks for your feedback.
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post #13 of 123 Old 01-24-2009, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stoth View Post

Onazuka: Working for network channels but mostly working with blocks of garbage for non-network HD channels doesn't sound like a 5C issue, something else is happening.

Have you tried FireRecord with this same STB? How does this comare when trying to capture HD content from non-network channels?

Thanks for your feedback.

I downloaded FireRecord and tried it. I can record my local channels in HD and play them back in MPEG Streamclip fine. I then tried recording HBO, Disney, and ESPN in HD. All had the same symptoms, frequent studdering and occasional blocks of garbage.

PS - VLC still won't play anything.
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post #14 of 123 Old 01-24-2009, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onazuka View Post

I downloaded FireRecord and tried it. I can record my local channels in HD and play them back in MPEG Streamclip fine. I then tried recording HBO, Disney, and ESPN in HD. All had the same symptoms, frequent studdering and occasional blocks of garbage.

PS - VLC still won't play anything.

Onazuka: The fact you actually see any video on the HD HBO channel is very encouraging and the block issue is most likely a generic Firewire bug related to your STB. If this was a 5C issue I don't think you would of seen _ANY_ video. I may be able to fix this (and enable full HD recording on HBO) if you can get me a couple of small (30 second) samples that shows the problem.

If you have the time I have the FTP space

- Steve
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post #15 of 123 Old 01-24-2009, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stoth View Post

That's the second time that I've that .m2ts wouldn't open in VLC, would you be will to send me a very short sample, say 15 seconds? I'd like to understand why that is. I'm wondering whether the STB transport streams somehow vary beween providers and are no 188 byte packets.

Yes, I'll upload to you if you give me a place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stoth View Post

zap2it.com offer Canadian listings, is this correct? Perhaps I can work out someway to integrate.

Yes, zap2it has listings for my cable provider. If you can make that work, GREAT!

Thanks,
--sdm.

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post #16 of 123 Old 01-24-2009, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
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sheldonmclean: You should have a PM by now.
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post #17 of 123 Old 01-26-2009, 08:50 PM
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This looks very promising. I was able to record from a Motorola DCT-6200. The programs that were recordable were able to be played back using VLC. The channel changing worked also. The only thing that didn't work for me was the TitanTv. Maybe it isn't enabled yet or you need an account, I don't know.

I have been using AVCVideoCap. I had Firerecord working at one point but haven't had any luck lately.

Keep up the good work. I will buy it when it's ready.
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post #18 of 123 Old 01-26-2009, 09:27 PM
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It worked for me with a Motorola DCH-3416 for recording, but not for channel changing. Looks promising.
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post #19 of 123 Old 01-27-2009, 05:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stoth View Post

sheldonmclean: You should have a PM by now.

sheldonmclean: Thanks for uploading those samples. With the exception of the 34MB file not opening in VLC (no idea why yet) they look absolutely pristine, perfect. No errors, no drop outs etc. I ran both files through a couple of tools we use in the office for packet validation. They are error free and in great shape.

I think AVCNoodle is going to be a great solution for you.

What percentage of the files that you record don't open in VLC?

- Steve
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post #20 of 123 Old 01-27-2009, 05:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Onazuka: I may be able to help if you can get me some short samples of those blocky recordings.

See my post above.
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post #21 of 123 Old 01-27-2009, 05:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Paul Chiu: Did you get a chance to try AVCNoodle with the 8300HD?
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post #22 of 123 Old 01-27-2009, 07:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stoth View Post

Onazuka: The fact you actually see any video on the HD HBO channel is very encouraging and the block issue is most likely a generic Firewire bug related to your STB. If this was a 5C issue I don't think you would of seen _ANY_ video. I may be able to fix this (and enable full HD recording on HBO) if you can get me a couple of small (30 second) samples that shows the problem.

If you have the time I have the FTP space

- Steve

I have two 30 second recordings, one from Disney HD and the other from HBO HD. Nothing I record at all works in VLC. If I play these files using MPEG Streamclip they studder/skip every few seconds. If I play them in MPlayer OSX 2 they show frequent blocking and breaking up. If you can look at these let me know where to ftp them.

I'm am really looking forward to this app if it will:

1) Change the channels on my box
2) Record all HD channels (not just Clear QAM)
3) View in real time on my Mac (VLC is OK if it works)
4) Export to Apple TV (I can probably automate this outside of the app)
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post #23 of 123 Old 01-27-2009, 07:40 AM
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I'm home and I had a little time so I moved my 8300HD to my computer and tested it. I'm not sure why I would want to use the 8300HD with this app because the 8300HD is a DVR which I pay $16/mo for and I would rather record off an HD tuner box like my other Pace box which I only pay $4/mo for. Anyway, here's what I found:

Scientific Atlanta 8300HD

- Does not change the channel
- Anything I record on any channel (HD, non HD, premium) creates a file that I cannot play with VLC, MPEG Streamclip or MPlayer OSX 2
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post #24 of 123 Old 01-27-2009, 08:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Onazuka: I'm going to send you a PM with some ftp server details.
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post #25 of 123 Old 01-27-2009, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stoth View Post

sheldonmclean: Thanks for uploading those samples. With the exception of the 34MB file not opening in VLC (no idea why yet) they look absolutely pristine, perfect. No errors, no drop outs etc. I ran both files through a couple of tools we use in the office for packet validation. They are error free and in great shape.

I think AVCNoodle is going to be a great solution for you.

What percentage of the files that you record don't open in VLC?

- Steve

Yes, they looked good in mpeg streamclip. I have only tried 3 so far, none of them opened with vlc.
I'll try again today or tomorrow.

--Sheldon.

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post #26 of 123 Old 01-28-2009, 06:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stoth View Post

... I ran both files through a couple of tools we use in the office for packet validation. They are error free and in great shape.

Stoth, are these tools available? I record digital OTA through an HDHomerun with Myth and some recordings do not play back smoothly. It seems there may be discontinuities in the digital audio OR Myth may not be playing properly. (I've tried tweaking all sorts of settings with no improvement. Playback used to be fine on version 20.2 and initially seemed to be OK with .21-fixes.) I'd like to find a way to list any problems that may be in my recordings.

Craig
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post #27 of 123 Old 01-28-2009, 07:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pvr4Craig View Post

Stoth, are these tools available? I record digital OTA through an HDHomerun with Myth and some recordings do not play back smoothly. It seems there may be discontinuities in the digital audio OR Myth may not be playing properly. (I've tried tweaking all sorts of settings with no improvement. Playback used to be fine on version 20.2 and initially seemed to be OK with .21-fixes.) I'd like to find a way to list any problems that may be in my recordings.

Craig

Tools available, no.

Use the hdhomerun_config save option on the remote mythbox to grab a stream, it does basic analysis on the captured recording which indicates and stream or network errors resulting in dropped packets.

- Steve

/off topic
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post #28 of 123 Old 01-29-2009, 04:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheldonmclean View Post

The format m2ts wouldn't open with vlc. With some coaxing, Mpeg StreamClip opens it.

Sheldon,

I have you tried Plex? So far, Plex has played back all recordings for me, even the ones that VLC could not open.

Brettwf
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post #29 of 123 Old 01-29-2009, 06:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Firstly, I want to thank all of the people who have given feedback.

Second, looking at the revision hardware list at the top of the tread, AVCNoodle has a 50/50 chance of being able to change channels on the average STB (or TV). Certainly in my home that's a 100% accurate statistic.

I'd have to go back a re-read this thread again but, if anyone here who has reported channel changing issues knows of another firewire application that DOES change their channels correctly - meaning an AVCNoodle deficiency, then I want to hear about that application.

As it stands a 0.9.0, with the exception of a small amount of Ui and bug fixing work, it's only a relatively small step away (for 50% of it's users) from a credible scheduling app, with TitanTV support.. I.E. v1.0

It's going to be difficult to debug channel changing issues for hardware that I don't have so I'm pondering the next step.

GrahamAJones: Responded originally suggesting that for external IR Blaster support he's got some experience "...I worked with both the IRTrans and ZephIR infrared device developers for my [iEye Captain] app.."

Would people prefer to see a v1.0 without IR Blaster support initially, followed possibly by a v2.0 with support for IRTrans and ZephIR"? I don't currently own any of those IR Blaster products but assuming they have a typical API then they'll not be hard to integrate.

Do people want / need post processing to automatically convert (transcode) MPEG2 into something else (mp4 for AppleTV)? Or, is this job best served by the existing well establish applications (VisualHub)? If this is important to you, is this a must have 1.0 feature or is this a 2.0 feature?

As always, your feedback is appreciated.

- Steve
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post #30 of 123 Old 01-29-2009, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brettwf View Post

Sheldon,

I have you tried Plex? So far, Plex has played back all recordings for me, even the ones that VLC could not open.

Brettwf

I just tried Plex v. 7.? It also wouldn't play the mt2s file avc noodle made.
Good thought though. Thanks.

Steve, if it helps, I have been successful using avccap, & irecord on a motorola dct 6420 and avccap and firerecord on a motorola dct 3416. By successful, I mean inconsistently successful. According to mpeg streamclip, the files often have timecode breaks and data breaks. This is especially true if I am capturing from dvr playback (instead of timed capture). They usually open/play with vlc.

Quote:
Do people want / need post processing to automatically convert (transcode) MPEG2 into something else (mp4 for AppleTV)? Or, is this job best served by the existing well establish applications (VisualHub)? If this is important to you, is this a must have 1.0 feature or is this a 2.0 feature?

For me, since I have 2 hardware DVRs, my main purpose for capturing with your app is for content I want to add to my media library. I would be encoding to mp4 (x264+ac3) or mp4 (x264+aac) to get reasonable file sizes. I've used established apps like Mpeg Streamclip, AviDemux, and now Handbrake to do it. I really like Handbrake for it's inverse telecine + decomb + vfr. If your AVCNoodle could automatically do that, great - I'd use it for encoding.
If it couldn't do that, I'd use handbrake.
That being said, if I didn't have hardware DVRs, I'd use your app like a DVR, storing shows temporarily to my readyNAS. If they weren't playable using FrontRow or Plex or VLC, they'd have to reencoded to a format that does play.
-btw I know Frontrow isn't really an option because even saved in .mov container it still won't de-interlace on the fly.

Hope this helps, and btw your app looks promising , but I'd really need the Canadian tv listing integration for it to work for me.

Thanks,
--Sheldon McLean

--sdm

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