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Best HTPC TV tuner card / with encoding

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hello all I would like some help in picking the right card for what I want. I would like to be able to record OTA ATSC and encode in fairly high resolution vid and in AC3 5.1. I am somewhat confused by the different codecs available these days. XVID, h264, and so on. Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance
agincajin
post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by agincajin View Post

Hello all I would like some help in picking the right card for what I want. I would like to be able to record OTA ATSC and encode in fairly high resolution vid and in AC3 5.1. I am somewhat confused by the different codecs available these days. XVID, h264, and so on. Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance
agincajin

OTA ATSC is already encoded (MPEG2) when transmitted by the TV Stations. The tuner card performs no encoding, just grabs the stream and writes it to the Hard Drive. What you choose to do with the recorded material (re-encode to XVID, h264) is done by software and has nothing to do with tuner cards.

You must be confused by analog capture cards. An analog signal is what needs to be encoded, digital signals have no such requirements.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
can it be converted as it records or does it need to be done separately? And yes I am somewhat confused. If it is done separately what software do I need.
Thanks
post #4 of 14
Convert it to what? As I said, the stream is already encoded (mpeg2). If you don't want it in mpeg2 then it is up to you do convert it to something else. There are way too many other formats that can be used to expect a ATSC tuner card to do the conversion on the fly.

What software you need to use depends on what your ultimate goal is. It would be much easier if you stated what your goal is. Do you want to make SD DVDs, High Def DVDs (called AVCHD)? Do you want to convert for use on portable devices? There are too many options without knowing what you are trying to accomplish.

Basically you get an ATSC tuner card, you record tv shows on your hard drive (mpeg2 encoded) at their native resolution. You can leave them as they are or you could maybe convert them to h264 (the only reason to do this is to save some hard disk space). But converting to h264 will require CPU power and time, lots of time so be sure you really have a good reason to do it.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Yes I am trying to save hard drive space and my question was not specific enough. Just how much space does say an hour long TV show in HD take up? If it is to much trouble to rencode if it will fit on a disk i"ll just burn it to disk. (dvd5) although I do have a dual layer burner on a different comp if nessesary. I would like to convert to either h264 or xvid to save space. I do have fairly large storage 1.5TB. What I am looking for is some ideas from others who may have experience at this. I would prefer to not depend on the net for these shows.
post #6 of 14
At worst you're looking at a little over 8 gb per hour. But some shows can run as low as 4 gb per hour if they were not recorded at full bitrate.

Some recording programs (SageTV is one) can be setup to automate the process of re-encoding. Honestly though, it is a major PITA.

-Suntan
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
I do appreciate your input up. Till now I have depended on the net and all of this has already been done. I just wanted to see if it would be worth my while to do myself. It would not be if I could not compress these files into something else. I was just hoping there was a not to difficult solution to this. I have encoded with divx before so I know what you mean it can be a real resource hog and can render the mach. useless for the duration if it is not very capable. The last time was on an older comp. may be worth a try running a AMD 9950 black with 4 gigs of ram now. This is not the HTPC but another comp. I can put tv card in either one. I just want to record and rencode to something that uses less room on hard drive. compress 8 gigs to 1.1 gigs I can live with that.
post #8 of 14
As Suntan mentioned, a typical one hour of HD from OTA is between 6 to 7 GB. For example, tonight, my wife just recorded Idol (one hour), it came out to 6.5GB. Edit the commercials out and it will be down to about 4.3GB (about 42 minutes of video). Re-encoding it to h264 and maintaining quality, you can reduce it down to about 1.6GB per hour (about 1.2GB for a 42 minute show) but it will take anywhere from 8 to 12 hours depending on your CPU. Really not worth it with disk storage being so cheap.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
So you advice is to pump in more large hard drives. I have anouther 1.5 tb drive that is used as backup at this point plus I have room for more. Ok but I have another dumb question will there be any issues with play back of mpeg2 in vista mc as i have read about in other forums and this forum also I think? I do have power dvd 8 on htpc also for blueray playback if that makes a difference.
post #10 of 14
I only use vista media center for all my recording and viewing. Vista media center was designed around mpeg2, it is its native codec (it has its own built in so you don't need to provide a third party mpeg2 codec like you have to with h264 and xvid). That's the format it uses when it does need to encode analog channels. Vista MC does NOT natively support h264 (window7 will) so you'll have more trouble with h264 encoded files then with mpeg2 encoded files. After all DVDs use mpeg2 and it has been around for many years so it has a very wide support.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Already have codec for h264 and xvid so good to go there. I do have anouther question though. It may be another dumb one so bear with me please. Does the soft ware to edit comercials out come with the card in most cases or what do I need if it does not?
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by agincajin View Post

Does the soft ware to edit comercials out come with the card in most cases or what do I need if it does not?

Tuner cards only come with record and playback software. No editing capabilities.

VideoReDo is a capable MPEG video editor. There's a free trial available for downloading. Beware of using any MPEG editor. OTA digital TV programs can have 5.1 audio, and not all video editors can support 5.1 audio.

Regards
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks Blue_z for info will check it out. Can you mention the ones that do not support 5.1 that would be helpful.
Thanks in advance
post #14 of 14
Offhand I recall that the video editors included in DVD burner packages (e.g. Nero, Ulead) could not handle AC3/5.1 audio.

Regards
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