Originally Posted by bengance
Hi, thanks for looking at this thread.
I recently bought a Hauppauge 1600 PCI Analog/Digital tuner. So far my experience has been very good. After purchasing a Terk unamplified antenna I've been getting all the digital channels no prob and have been using Beyond TV 4.6's 21 day trial. Working very nicely. (Could be that I live 0.5 mi from all the towers in Portland!)
My main problem is that digital recordings eat up my harddrive fast. I kind of don't understand why 2 hours of hauppauge MPEG2 encoded streams take up 4x the space of a 2 hr DVD.
Does anyone know whether any other tuner cards over different hardware encoding settings or codecs? I seem to remember an Mp4 encoder but maybe that was for analog. Beyond TV has showsqueeze but it seems to take forever and I'd rather just compress it at the start.
My only requirement is the tuner card must receive ATSC signals (an included remote is a bonus). I don't need QAM or analog at all.
Thanks for any recommendations!
As others have mentioned HD video takes up more space than DVD video because it is higher resolution and higher quality.
The reason digital TV receiver cards are so low cost is that they don't actually have to do anything much to work - they just tune the digital signal, demodulate it, and pass the received digital data stream to the PC. The PC itself then usually decodes the HD MPEG2 video in the data to display a picture. The card itself doesn't have to have any MPEG2 video decoding or encoding hardware on-board - it is receiving MPEG2 already compressed for transmission by the broadcaster (and usually compressed with a pretty good encoder - certainly one costing a lot more than a PC card!)
The digital video card itself just passes on the video exactly as broadcast (meaning recordings are identical in quality to the original received broadcast) - and thus the broadcaster dictates the data rate (and thus the hard drive space) used for each station.
This is in direct contrast to the MPEG2 encoders often found on analogue capture cards - which take an analogue TV signal, digitise it and then compress it, with the compression (and thus data rate/disc space) chosen by the end user, with the obvious quality trade-offs.
If similar functionality were required with a digital TV Card it would need for the card to have a hardware MPEG2 decoder, possibly a scaler (to reduce the resolution) and an MPEG2 encoder, or for the PC to be running software that performed a similar function. Doing it on the TV card would be much more expensive, and reduce picture quality. Doing it on the PC in real time would need a reasonably powerful PC - though there is nothing to stop you doing this to recordings after they have been made using a Divx or Windows Media re-compressor, or something like TMPGEnc to convert to DVD standard def format.