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Discussion Starter #1
hi guys, i am hoping to get a bunch of members on this forum together on a project to further develop the timeshifting capabilities found in dscaler. So far i have most the of ui designed, and a majority of the options, but I would like to know which additional features people would like, and which epg website/service we should utilize. lastly, i was thinking that we should either record/timeshift with mpeg2 or mpeg1 due to portability issues (you can always divx/svcd these formats easily), but since i have never really been heavy into recommended recording formats for analog/digital sources, i was hoping someone would come up with a few suggestions. let's make this work!


p.s. DScaler team, please guide this posting, for you guys have and always will have the last say, and that none of this could even be thought to be possible without all of your tireless and incredible work. 3.1.0 amazed me, just when i thought 3.0.7 couldn't be topped. hope to hear from you all soon!
 

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Soopaman


Thanks for your interest in this area. I feel it is an important one but also a very diificult one.


The main thing DScaler concentrates on at the moment is deinterlacing and also "correct" display of directly captured TV images.


My feeling with timeshifting is that we (the DScaler team) should concentrate efforts on deinterlacing of MPEG2 material, this will be of benifit to timeshifters as well as those with DV camcorders and digital TV sources. Note that real-time deinterlacing may not

be possible with DVD's due to the design of the filters.


In terms of front end, an open, extensible, multi-country timeshifting front end would be great. I would suggest using the BDA architecture and DirectShow under XP as there is lots of tools in there to make this sort of thing easier.


Note that you will have format problems which is why I would suggest using DirectShow, that way you can see what compression the user has installed. I don't think you will be able to ship a free product with MPEG2 compression.


John
 

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Discussion Starter #3
hmmm. why can't you ship a free mpeg2 encoder? there are numerous free mpeg2 players (elecard being the big example). i guess we can take a deeper look into this (are there any current free mpeg2 encoders - tmgmpg? or one of those converters), and what if this were to be just a "hack" (get some results first), before worrying about the legal issues. I am also suggesting active information parts in dscaler, that can be likened to the directv model, but alot smoother and more flexible. Please anyone who is interested, please post your comments and ideas, because in all honesty, with a properly assembled team, we can have this thing going not quite "dscaler" bug free, but really damn functional, in under 2 weeks. Most of the UI is here, I have flowcharted the functionality of the menus, and what additions interact with what, so rite now the main concern is finding a/numerous web provider that carries epg for north american and abroad. i'll post a mock/photoshopped picture of my intentions after class and practice today. hope to hear from you all soon
 

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soopaman


There are two type of free


Free as in Beer and Free as in speech.


Dscaler is both of those, the elcard MPEG decoder is the first kind and as far as I know there are patent problems with shipping an MPEG encoder as either free beer or free speech.



Due to it's history DScaler is only compatble with free as in speech software, we can't ship features that require us to ship closed source components. We can have code to control things like DirectShow but that is borderline as it is.


John
 

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Discussion Starter #5
i guess there are no "free speech" mpeg2 encoder already, but i guess i can live with that rite now, especially since the ui isn't even implemented. with this in mind, i wanted to ask you how you handle/draw the OSD within DScaler, because I figured that since i am making a remotecontrol capable GUI for the timeshifting, i wanted to contain the entire Dscaler menu with tv-like setting adjustments. let me know what you feel about this
 

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Idea for Program Guide:


It would be best if the PVR is not tied to one particular website or service. It should define an import format, and allow plugins or scripts to grab the data and massage it into the import format.


Within a short time, scripts will exist for all of the major services, and users can choose the one they want to use.


This way, it is totally open, flexible, and adaptable.
 

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One feature that I think is critical is the ability to control an external turner box (cable/DSS/Dish) via an IR blaster like Slink-e. Otherwise, you're stuck with basic cable/broadcast channels which in my opinion really limit functionality. Since you've got to capture th audio through a sound card, having the ability to capture digitial audio instead on analog would also be a big plus. These are the type of feature that really differentiate set top boxes like Tivo and Replay from the software products that are available right now.
 

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The new SKY Digital(satellite) STB/PVR in the UK records digital audio. It is the only one that I know of that can do this. It is supposed to be able to record 5.1 once SKY start broadcasting it soon. Ridiculously expensive though. Huge fee to buy the thing. Plus, the monthly subscription to use it is unheard of as well. Video standard is still not HDTV, just standard PAL.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
getting close to getting the proper codes off of an internet epg... anyone else with more suggestions so i can finish off my project flow/direction chart?
 

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soopaman


I'm not clear what it is you're trying to do.


But it is clear that it is possible to break it down into parts


1) Download EPG data, convert to a common fromat. Great go ahead would be nice if it was GPL. General plug-in support for EPG would be great, but there is already support for this in BDA under XP, purhaps efforts could be directed to making this support as many providers as possible

2) Make timeshifting work in DScaler. Hard we haven't really got the CPU power to do this properly, especially pausing live TV. may be better to use other PVR code

3) Playback of MPEG files with DScaler deinterlacing, this is a background task but is in progress

4) The front end of the application. Fairly easy in comaprison to the others


Trying to attack the whole problem at once may be a bit too much but those are the areas I would focus on.


John
 

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Discussion Starter #11
john, i fully understand that part and i have that covered, I'm only concerened about those "un-anticipated" things. for example, how should the menu/schedules show up in a dscaler window that isn't maximized. if gfx are used, how to make it draw correctly if a different aspect ration is being used. how configurable to i make the ui vs how functional can i make it. etc etc... this is what i hoped to get out of this post, and i hope people will continue posting to this thread, if not offering their assistance (coders, gfx artists etc..)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
heheheh... you know the only thing that is keeping me from buying an ati AIW 8500DV is the lack of DScaler support. i tell you, once there is support for the AIW 8500DV, i will be in heaven.. gaming/tv/dscaler goodness/onboard mpeg2 encoding/hdtv support, but just not implemented/my new pvr system.... life wouldn't get much better than that
 

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Discussion Starter #14
BUMP!
 

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soopaman, i can't really offer any help with the coding, but i would definately help with the testing! how far along are you?


nick
 

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Discussion Starter #16
right now i have decided to reverse engineer the gemstar plus program that that comes with the ati aiw cards, and certain tv wonder models, so that I can use it's standard dist. method of listing with the broadest coverage. more or less it's in the alpha flowchart form, but the gfx for the individual stations are done, as is the general ui.. if only i had assistance coding.. would this come along alot quicker..
 

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I don't mean to put a damper on your enthusiasm, but I feel you are going about this in the wrong way.


You need to first technically prove that your idea is possible. I don't see much evidence of this. Have you been able to create a video file using dScaler, or any capture program? This is the hard part of the task. The GUI and Guide data can come later.


I spent several weeks developing a capture program that uses directshow. It allowed you to configure your inputs, codecs, etc. It was cool, except that it didn't work over long periods of time. It always had audio drifts. Using dShow is easy at first, and a pain later. I gave up, and made a few modifications to VirtualDub to support timed recording instead. I have yet to see a better, more full featured capture program. Plus, it is free. ( www.virtualdub.com )


Now, you need to make some choices. First, how you going to handle playback and recording at the same time? Avi files don't support this out of the box. The only file format I have seen that really does this is Show Shifter's ( www.showshifter.com ). I guess ATI has something with their PVR software, but I haven't used it. How big a buffer are you going to keep? Where is located? How do you handle the issue of the main watch window being different than the record window?


I also suggest you take advantage of the existing codecs out there like Pic MJPEG or the different flavors of divx. (Now fully open source with OpenDivx). Leave things as open as possible for the end user to tinker and configure. Video capture requires a lot of tweaking, and varies a lot based on the hardware available. You don't want to limit yourself (although you already sort of are by going with the dScaler BT requirement)


It is these technical burdens, and perhaps some others I don't know about, that are holding up a product like you want. They aren't easy to solve, and the people who solved them, like ShowShifter and TiVo, want some money for their time.
 

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>They aren't easy to solve, and the people who solved them, like ShowShifter and TiVo, want some money for their time.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
ahhh.. now we are finally getting somewhere. First comes first, if you haven't already noticed butters, but i think since dscaler 3.07, there has been a very basic timeshifting model in it that works. the problems with it is that it doesn't have a perfect recording quality method to it, and it simultaneously recorded the filtered stream to file, while still filtering the stream to the screen. The way the new timeshifting method will work is that when timeshifting is enabled, dscaler is no longer the initial output for the incoming stream, but rather just a playback device for the file created by the recording module. the trick is, the file that is played back, is played back without any additional filtering done on it, which greatly reduces the resources needed.

"But what about playing back a file that is being used by another process?"

well I have solved that problem by using packet writers and readers for the multimedia file. that way the same function is used to buffer the time shifting so you can pause/rewind/ffwd the tv feed, along with recording television programs, with the ability to pause/rewind while recording (see how winamp does it)


heheheh this may get a little long, so i'll just wait until more questions are asked or until more individuals offer their assistance to this project (thanx rkulagow for the link, i was using a module like this before, but it requires a constant internet connection, which i want to move away from).
 
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