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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since I'm a little disappointed in the flicker of the MMC7.1 MPG2 recordings (at Best, 720x480, I frames only, 7.2mb bitrate), I was wondering about the alternatives. Anyone have any experience or know of any website that compares these guys on the Radeon AIW?


Showshifter


Intervideo's WinDVR


Cyberlink's Power VCR II



I'm interested mostly in MPG2 quality (files that I can play on my Hollywood Plus or someday burn to DVD-R if they're good enough) so I guess Showshifter would be out of the running anyway, but I figured I'd ask. It seems that all these guys have some issues with the Radeon AIW. Anyone know what they are? And does anyone know if installing their demos will adversely affect MMC7.1?


After all the trouble of getting my system to where it is now, I don't want to risk screwing things up with a demo that may not work for me anyway.


Any advice would be appreciated.

 

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Try these threads; if you find others, please share them here. Thanks.

Showshifter e vey 03-19-2001 03:36 PM
Anyone replace their Tivo with HTPC cohnhead 04-16-2001 11:44 AM
Showshifter Tim Smith 04-04-2001 12:46 PM
Simple HDTV "Tivo" like system lrowland 03-09-2001 07:25 AM - has links

edits>c> IWantPTV J. River plans to add provide Tivo-like functionality in Media Jukebox (future).


..Mike


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Newbie snacks in xcel's HTPC FAQ & Favorites ¤ Ron Jones ¤ DC ¤ Radeon ¤ Keohi HDTV ¤ Don O'Brien D-ILA and the oft-mentioned archives .

Join AVSforum team to help Scotty (son of AVS moderator)
s> fight leukemia.


[This message has been edited by miksmi (edited 05-10-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Mike.


However, I should have mentioned that I had actually found those references before and was looking for something more comparative on the products' strengths and weaknesses. Showshifter seems to be mentioned a lot here, but frankly I shouldn't have asked about it because it doesn't meet my MPG2 criteria.


So I guess what I was looking for were some comparisons between MMC7.1's realtime MPG2 software compression and WinDVR's and PowerVCR II's. Since I already bought the AIW, but am not happy with its current quality, I'm just trying to find if there are other solutions that will make it produce better MPG2 files than it currently can (in realtime).


I could always pay a lot to upgrade my system with a faster processor (faster than my PIII-800E), but that's not feasible for me right now, so I was hoping for a software fix. Even with a pretty good signal I find the AIW's recordings have a lot of flicker.


These are the only comparitive reviews web sites I've found so far. They cover more hardware solutions, but this is along the lines of what I was looking for. Anyone got any more links like these?
http://www.cyberport.com:443/~tangent/video/reviews/
http://www.tecoltd.com/enctest/enctest.htm


thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Vasim. I had already found that first article you linked as well and was disappointed that the reviewer didn't really go into the quality of the captures. But that second article was much better, at least mentioning some subjective impressions of quality and some machine specs for context. I'll have to check that site more often.


It's starting to sound like Power VCR II is the more serious option over WinDVR. I may have to check their demo.


I just wish these reviewers would get into the habit of critiquing the quality of the files these products produce instead of just listing their features. That's why these forums are so great, intelligent people telling it like it is. I love it.

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Vasim, sorry I forgot to mention your capture problem. What are your system specs? What format are you trying to capture to at what settings?


I found that the drivers that came with my Radeon AIW were okay at the beginning, back in October when I got them, but somehow broke all on their own a few months later. Then subsequent beta drivers and so forth made the problem worse. I'm now using the latest official drivers and MMC7.1 and all is well, as far as stability goes. I'm just not happy with the encoding quality. But mine captures smoothly enough.

 

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Here is the best solution I have found for smooth capturing. Dont use the MMC. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/biggrin.gif I use Ulead video studio. I set to record MPEG2 720x480 30FPS. Using this software i get smooth captures but the file size is too large. I edit the captures to remove comercials ( http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif ) then proceed to convert it to DivX file format with MP3 audio. I can get very smooth divX files but this is not real time encoding but MPEG2->divX which can take several hours. I think my problems are due to a slow processor (700Mhz Thunderbird) I believe i will get really smooth captures in realtime if I upgrade to a 1.7Ghz computer. I should mention I am trying to record thru my HiPix's analog output. Playback is smooth using HiPIx hardware but playing back 1080i or 720p material in software is horribly slow.


Specs: 700Mhz Athlon, FIC AZ-11MB, OrangeMicro 1394, Radeon64, 288MB RAM, HiPix.



[This message has been edited by Vasim Pathan (edited 05-10-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Are your HiPix analogue out recordings that much better than recording from the AIW TV tuner? I'm guessing so, but with that setup you'd have to be there pushing all the buttons manually, right? I'm trying to find some way to get the best quality and automate everything. I may be asking for too much.


How big are the MPG2 files that Video Studio generates? My AIW's MPG2 files are just under 4gigs an hour. I have an 80G hard drive so I can keep them for a while to watch them later before I have to delete them (using a H+ to a TV over the LAN). Eventually I hope that DVD-RW or something like it will solve this storage problem.


I also have a Sigma DVR (realtime hardware codec) that makes MPG2 files at 704x480 that are about 2.35Gigs an hour. For me it's much better quality than my AIW, but it has no TV tuner, so I can't use it unattended (I'm looking into some third party way of doing that, Girder maybe).


I've not messed with any HDTV yet. When you capture your HiPix output to MPG2, are the files good enough to keep, archive quality? And do the HiPix and AIW coexist well?


So would you say that in your experience even feeding the AIW a good signal from an HDTV card still leaves you with less than satisfactory MPG2 files? Do you get that annoying flicker that I see even in my best AIW recordings?

 
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