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Any simple alternative to the old CapDVHS software?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I have an XP comp that for many years has been dedicated to nothing but capturing TS's (HD & SD) through firewire from my cable box. CapDVHS (and MyHD MDP-100) has been so simple and flawless for so long that I never took the time to upgrade but now that one of the two lowly 256MB stick has expired it's time to swap this Athlon 64 3000+ with the pile of left over from interim main comp upgrades. This means I'll be going to Win7 64 therefore CapDVHS will no longer be compatible.

I'm hoping there's a simple no frills replacement for CapDVHS which will still allow me to continue software capture through firewire while keeping the MDP-100 free to run its own capture. Was checking out WMC and MediaPortal but they both look to require a hardware tuner thus tying up the MDP-100. I also benefit from both current capture devices outputting TS files which make for extremely easy editing via VideoReDo v4.2. As a side note I also noted that the Win7 supplied sample WTV clip I can be played via ZoomPlayer but unfortunately fails to open in VideoReDo.

Guess we could downgrade to Win7 32 as I believe I read CapDVHS will work with that but figured I'd first ask the pros.

Any insight and recommendation would be much appreciated.
post #2 of 17
DVHS is so outdated that if you want full functionality your best bet is to simply install XP again. Many old XP programs deemed obsolete don't work properly on Vista/7/8, because changes made to later versions of Windows break compatibility. I've seen posts here saying that FireWire doesn't seem to work properly outside of XP, either, because it's also no longer supported. Try reading this topic for further discussion of FireWire recording:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/403695/how-to-record-via-ieee-1394-firewire-to-windows-xp
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Much appreciate the reply Aleron!

Yes, that's the thread that got me hooked on CapDVHS nearly 10 years ago. It is also where I learned there was compatibility (at least partial) with Win7 32. I did just go back and read a handful of the pages at thread's end and as expected nothing inspired hope or insight as to where to turn next.

At this point since firewire is sounding to be flaky at best with the later OS's I should probably question what options might I have for capturing non-encrypted channels from a Comcast/Moto RNG150N? Currently I can capture through firewire SD and HD channels (non-encrypted) from the full spectrum, all the way up through the 800's. I'm afraid if all hardware tuner cards are like my old MDP-100 I'll be limited to channels sub 100 if capturing using WMP or the like. Hopefully I'm misinformed and someone can elaborate on my options for being able to continue capturing all these channels while using Win7. Really don't want to continue using XP but as the computer is used strictly for capture and simple excising of commercials I guess it wouldn't be the end of the world.
post #4 of 17
In the near future, you won't have any options, and it's remarkable that you still have unencrypted channels today. Comcast has been aggressive in encrypting everything, so soon you'll need a DVR with a CableCard to record anything. As such, it's probably not worth investing in a new DVHS setup, and your money would be better spent on building an HTPC with Linux, MythTV, and an HD HomeRun tuner that accepts a CableCard.

As for XP, I take the opposite approach: if it meets your needs and W7 has no useful new features for you, I see no reason to switch, whether the PC is used solely for video captures or not.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the quick reply!

How true, Comcast has slowly been nixing the record-ability of channels slowly but surely.

And you are quite right. As soon as I uploaded my previous post I began to think "what the hey", I'm not missing anything with the current software setup so why not simply do what I need to get the hardware up to snuff. Maybe I can snag a descent SSD in a couple hours (if I can stay up 'till midnight) that will compliment my hardware stash and by end of week I'll have a new state-of-the-art XP box! tongue.gif

Thanks again for helping me decide!
post #6 of 17
Note that you need to make some tweaks to XP to use an SSD effectively. Its default caching behaviours will wear out the NAND memory more rapidly than normal, as it assumes itself to be installed on an HDD, where the number of write cycles is unimportant. XP also does not support advanced SATA speed improvements, such as Intel's AHCI, out of the box. You'll probably need to customise it with nLite using drivers for your motherboard and other hardware in order to get it installed and booting successfully.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Big THANK YOU for the heads-up regarding XP & SSD, definitely wasn't aware of that. Will have to do some research on that subject. Probably good that I do have a couple Win7 comps I can mount the SSD in to do the initial partitioning and trim operations prior to getting the XP BIOS/OS set up properly. Just though about it and can probably get away with using a "legacy" model SSD as I'll be SATA II max, maybe save a few $$.

Appreciate you saving me guaranteed headaches!
post #8 of 17
I perform CapDVHS recordings on Windows 8 32-bit. It has FireWire support that is waaaayyy better than Windows 7. I'd recommend Win8 instead of WinXP, particularly since security updates will stop being made for XP next year.

Comcast in my area (the SF Bay area) has not been aggressively putting copy controls on channels. Several years back they toggled the premium channels to Copy-Once, but that's been it as far as I'm aware. The vast majority of my channels allow me to FireWire capture without fail.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I'd recommend Win8 instead of WinXP, particularly since security updates will stop being made for XP next year.
Thanks for the reply.

That's interesting, will surely store that in the knowledge base for possible future use. For now I'm thinking though that I'll stick with XP for assurance, and the fact that I'd also have to purchase Win8. What really makes it a no-brainer is I don't have to do any updates to XP since it's neither networked nor set up to be internet capable.
Quote:
Comcast in my area (the SF Bay area) has not been aggressively putting copy controls on channels. Several years back they toggled the premium channels to Copy-Once, but that's been it as far as I'm aware. The vast majority of my channels allow me to FireWire capture without fail.
Comcast has copy protected all the premiums and, within the last year, a few of the freebee SD movie channels (e.g. couple of the encore, flix & sundance). Where I ran into trouble was when they provided a few new STB's. I had to give up to another room the nifty new Moto PVR I thought was going to be great, seems the newer & PVR units have the firewire ports disabled. Luckily after swapping it with another rooms STB I did find one that still had active firewire out.
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by etete View Post

Comcast has copy protected all the premiums and, within the last year, a few of the freebee SD movie channels (e.g. couple of the encore, flix & sundance).
Yeah, they aren't allowed (by the owners of those channels) to leave those flagged as Copy-Freely. So those are now flagged Copy-Once, meaning that only authorized devices such as DVHS decks are capable of recording from them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by etete View Post

Where I ran into trouble was when they provided a few new STB's. I had to give up to another room the nifty new Moto PVR I thought was going to be great, seems the newer & PVR units have the firewire ports disabled.
I'm guessing you had one of the Motorola DCX models. The FireWire ports on those are not disabled, but the firmware code that controls them is royally screwed up and has never properly worked. I have a DCX 3400 and I have to go through an annoying routine of starting playback of a DVR recording, pause it, hit record in CapDVHS, and then within a quarter of a second unpause the DVR recording. Otherwise it won't capture. You don't have that problem with the DCT or DCH 3412/3416/6412/6416.
post #11 of 17
I gave up on fire wire capture some time ago. When I was with Comcast it worked fairly well on the right hardware but as noted all it takes is a firmware update and it's borked. Then I switched to Verizon FiOS and they gave me cisco hardware, could never get those fire wire ports working or even find a way to tell if they were enabled or not. If you do a lot of archiving, it's really worth while (IMO) to move to WMC and get a networked tuner. They are pretty reasonable now and you have the added benefit that the file is already on a PC so you don't have to do the real time xfer. BTW, the latest version of VRD TV Suite will open .wtv files.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies!
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNO821 View Post

I'm guessing you had one of the Motorola DCX models.
I originally had one of the behemoth DCT3400 units which worked great but was so hot and the fans were always quite noisy. And you're correct, it was a DCX3400 they "upgraded" me to which had no capture ability (unbeknownst to me, at least not without going through all the hoops you mentioned).

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDLIVE View Post

...it's really worth while (IMO) to move to WMC and get a networked tuner. They are pretty reasonable now and you have the added benefit that the file is already on a PC so you don't have to do the real time xfer. BTW, the latest version of VRD TV Suite will open .wtv files.
I don't have a problem with the cost of those I've researched it's just I'm under the impression they wouldn't allow me to access the full range of channels I currently do via CapDVHS. I'm basing this on practical experience with my MyHD MDP-100 hardware which, while using the MyHD GUI, I currently seem to be able to access via cable connect only those channels which can also be snagged OTA. I somehow recall that it was different a few years ago but memory may not be serving me correct. If it's my aging hardware tuner and/or its associated software holding me back while the newer HW / SW will allow me to cap all I currently do using CapDVHS I'd jump ship and move to Win7 and new tuner in a heartbeat.
*EDIT* - Forgot to mention I do have VRD v4.20.7 which should be .wtv capable but it balked at the Win7 sample file. I'll hunt for another sample to test.
Edited by etete - 12/2/13 at 11:02am
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by etete View Post

I don't have a problem with the cost of those I've researched it's just I'm under the impression they wouldn't allow me to access the full range of channels I currently do via CapDVHS. I'm basing this on practical experience with my MyHD MDP-100 hardware which, while using the MyHD GUI, I currently seem to be able to access via cable connect only those channels which can also be snagged OTA.
No, I highly recommend Microsoft's WMC. It will record cable channels. And it is one of the "authorized devices" such as DVHS decks that are allowed to record material flagged as Copy-Once. And you could use the 64-bit version of Windows (although this isn't much of an advantage unless you actually need the extra memory that 64-bit allows for...if the box is just for Home Theater, don't bother. 32-bit typically is a little faster than 64-bit due to less overhead and the fact that a lot of programmers still aren't so good at 64-bit driver development).
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by etete View Post

Thanks for the replies!
I originally had one of the behemoth DCT3400 units which worked great but was so hot and the fans were always quite noisy. And you're correct, it was a DCX3400 they "upgraded" me to which had no capture ability (unbeknownst to me, at least not without going through all the hoops you mentioned).
I don't have a problem with the cost of those I've researched it's just I'm under the impression they wouldn't allow me to access the full range of channels I currently do via CapDVHS. I'm basing this on practical experience with my MyHD MDP-100 hardware which, while using the MyHD GUI, I currently seem to be able to access via cable connect only those channels which can also be snagged OTA. I somehow recall that it was different a few years ago but memory may not be serving me correct. If it's my aging hardware tuner and/or its associated software holding me back while the newer HW / SW will allow me to cap all I currently do using CapDVHS I'd jump ship and move to Win7 and new tuner in a heartbeat.
*EDIT* - Forgot to mention I do have VRD v4.20.7 which should be .wtv capable but it balked at the Win7 sample file. I'll hunt for another sample to test.

It's true the benefits of using WMC do depend on your provider. I'm on FiOS and don't have any premium channels, so everything I get is flagged "copy freely" which makes for easy archiving.

You may actually need the latest beta version of VRD, can't recall for sure, but I know I am using the beta and that may be the reason....
post #15 of 17
If your important channels have no copying restrictions, you might as well save yourself some money and download Linux with MythTV to avoid the fees associated with running Windows. The only killer feature of WMC is the ability to record copy-once channels, and that feature still doesn't help you if your reason for recording is archiving.
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Much appreciate the replies!

After doing more research and also picking up an SSD I'm thinking the only reasonable move will be to add another tuner combined with Win7 and one of the media centers. Really any of the media centers would work as I only care about archiving not "TIVOing". From what I see it looks like most of these media apps are sporting many capabilities beyond my meager recording needs so it'll take me a bit to decide on a simple and light option. All I want to do is record, edit with VRD and then archive.

Thanks again. You guy's have been very helpful in my decision to outgrow CapDVHS which is bittersweet after a nearly 10 year run. wink.gif
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Just a quick FYI for anyone that might run into this thread with some of the same questions raised within.

I decided to install Win7 32bit since I only had a spare 4GB of DDR2 of which which I might have to reduce to 2GB (possible failing stick). So in the meanwhile, as I contemplate a second tuner to purchase, decided I might compliment the MDP-100 with CapDVHS. After a bit of a struggle I finally succeeded in getting the following to work >>> Moto RNG150N feeding through firewire to CapDVHS under Win7 (32). What was necessary was to install the IEEE 1395 legacy driver and use the Moto 6412 selection upon tuner driver install. The kicker to get this package working was being sure to reset the STB (RNG150N) after CapDVHS and associated driver were installed.

Happy capping!
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