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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Problem: I want to record HDTV! What do I do?


I live in condo hi-rise without a chance for a dish. No HDTV OTA broadcast is available in the area (Toronto, Canada). So my cable Co (Rogers) offered Scientific-Atlanta Explorer 3100HD STB with 8 HDTV channels. The only HDTV output is 1080i at HD component outputs.


Now that I want to do time shifting, even if I want recording/playback NOT to be only in 1080i, what do I do? I talked to nice people at 169time and one HTPC maker and they all told me no recording is available from component inputs - only 8VSB.


I read lots of messages here, and W-VHS is clearly not a viable solution - but there are no others. So instead of forcing expensive and not yet feasible solution of converting analog HD components to IEEE1394, why not keep it all in analog domain and simply downgrade HD Y/Pb/Pr components to, say, S-video? We can then feed it to any SVHS or even JVC 30K and it might not be close to 1080i, but is would still beat NOTHING that I have right now!


I know it is not even close to solution you guys have with D-VHS recording OTA programming, but there are hundreds of messages here asking for any pointers on recording from component outputs. As an interim solution component -> s-video converter box would do the job.


I can see only two problems so far:


- is it possible (and why not?) to create such converter? Is anyone doing it, where and how much?

- is there an analog copy protection (Macrovision etc) that would prevent such recording?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by leszek1
Most STBs can downconvert HD to 480i and output that on S-Video.
This doesn't answer his question at all?!


Alex,


Why is W-VHS not a viable option?
 

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W-VHS VCR are very expensive $4000 to $5000.


Most STBs will down convet HD to 480i. This is exactly what you need to record with S-VHS. The only problem is when the 480i S-video outputs are switch on the Componant Outputs will be disable.


Your best solution is to get an OTA STB with Firewire for local channels and use one of those indoor antannas.


There is another option! Add HDTV turner card to your PC. The HDTV Turner cards works like a PVR. Some of these cards also support arkiveing to D-VHS. Mits will be releasing a lower cost D-VHS this fall. These Turner cards provide a Componant Video Outprts.


If you own a Mits HD Upgradable TV, the Promise Module will be out in September. The Promise Module will add internal OTA HDTV turner, IEEE1394 Firwire with 5C/HAVi, and digital audio output.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That's right, no Over The Air (OTA) HDTV is available here. And Explorer 3100HD cable box has some activation that works only with my cable company, so I doubt any HDTV tuner will do - I'm stuck with their STB.


To make things worse, I can understand why companies would like to prevent recording from HD component outputs, but why would plain old 480i s-video or even composite output get disabled?


I did a little experiment on this: 480i s-video (and composite) output are working fine and concurent with 1080i HD component signal on all the other channels except those branded as HDTV. Nice thing about Explorer 3100HD STB is that upconverts all incoming signal (on non-HDTV channels) to 1080i for output on HD component ports, but it also keeps that signal available on s-video and composite outputs. For some reason, those outputs are not active when surfing 8 HDTV-designated channels.


Well, not exactly. They ARE active if programming guide button is hit - programming guide is a text bar with current broadcast info. During a few seconds guide is on, I get to see that text on s-video and composite ouputs too, but the rest of the screen is blanked out just as it is on HD component outputs.


So there seems to be three possible ways to explain this: STB does not have circuitry to downconvert 1080i to 480i for driving s-video and composite jacks; STB does have it, but Scientific Atlanta decided to disable it; or that my cable company (Rogers) decided to disable it.


I will call nice people at Rogers and Scientific Atlanta to find out which one is it and will keep you posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I expected more replies here, as 1080i -> 480i doesn't seem to be a technical problem, so I thought there has to be a retailer that sells consumer version of downconverter.


But in professional domain those converters do exist - for example from Miranda ( http://www.miranda.com/MDC-700.htm ) - only with more options than I need and different connectors - and a different purpose. Is it possible that thought of consumers recording HDTV programming is such a big taboo?
 

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Beware the conversion done by the 3100 box of SD channels outputting over component. On my SA2000HD box the component out picture with SD channels has green pumped way up. S-video looks much more natural (and is much more in line with the settings on my PJ, done with set up DVDs). Maybe they fixed it on the 3100, maybe not. Sports are a good way to tell - the grass in baseball looks silly when converted to component.


TM
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by aviators99
I don't think so, as *all* of the OTA and DBS set top boxes do this.
Not really. Its not clear what many of these things do to get their s-video output.

I'd rather have a 1080i -> 480i component transcoder.

I posted a question in the video processors forum on this point and got zero response. I don't think inexpensive ones exist.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by kelliot



Not really. Its not clear what many of these things do to get their s-video output.

I'd rather have a 1080i -> 480i component transcoder.

I posted a question in the video processors forum on this point and got zero response. I don't think inexpensive ones exist.
Please elaborate what you mean when you say "Not really"
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
OK, here's a nifty thing I found: HD-10A analog (Y/Pb/Pr) to digital (HD-SDI, SMPTE-292/296) converter for only $2600. Yeah, it's not cheap, but what else?


Now, the question is: can I record serial digital HD-SDI (which seems to be a standard in a pro world) to something like JVC 30K or PC-based HD recorder? Is there something like HD-SDI to IEEE1394 converter (and for how much)?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by AlexG
OK, here's a nifty thing I found: HD-10A analog (Y/Pb/Pr) to digital (HD-SDI, SMPTE-292/296) converter for only $2600. Yeah, it's not cheap, but what else?


Now, the question is: can I record serial digital HD-SDI (which seems to be a standard in a pro world) to something like JVC 30K or PC-based HD recorder? Is there something like HD-SDI to IEEE1394 converter (and for how much)?
HD-SDI is uncompressed ~120MB/sec, 1394 is MPEG2 compressed ~18Mbits/sec (2.25MB/sec). HD-SDI is more than PCI slots can handle and the 53:1 MPEG2 compression in good quality is a lot more than any current computer can do in real time. You have to go to an external MPEG2 encoder box. Those will run you about $100,000, so don't worry about the price of the HD-SDI converter. It's peanuts compared to what you have to spend on the compressor (MPEG2-HD encoder.)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by aviators99



Please elaborate what you mean when you say "Not really"
Its not clear what algorithm they use to go from 1080i to S-video. DVD 480i can look much better than the s-video output from many of these boxes.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by kelliot



Its not clear what algorithm they use to go from 1080i to S-video. DVD 480i can look much better than the s-video output from many of these boxes.
So, what? It beats $102,600 to timeshift Raymond, doesn't it?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by AlexG
OK, here's a nifty thing I found: HD-10A analog (Y/Pb/Pr) to digital (HD-SDI, SMPTE-292/296) converter for only $2600. Yeah, it's not cheap, but what else?


Now, the question is: can I record serial digital HD-SDI (which seems to be a standard in a pro world) to something like JVC 30K or PC-based HD recorder? Is there something like HD-SDI to IEEE1394 converter (and for how much)?
I would still suggest W-VHS, which I hear you can get for around $1000.

Or, if I were you, I'd set up a camcorder pointed at my TV. Seriously.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by aviators99



I would still suggest W-VHS, which I hear you can get for around $1000.

Or, if I were you, I'd set up a camcorder pointed at my TV. Seriously.
I guess that's what THEY want me to do. But THEY pressured STB makers NOT to provide some kind of a digital output (like IEEE1394) with copy-once protection (DTCP) to enable simple timeshifting for law-abiding citizens. Instead they threw at us technical solution beyond our means (at this time). Once again, they will be defeated by simple technical progress.


Remember how we drooled at first sight of consumer DAT decks back in the 80's? Then THEY killed the whole format to prevent consumers from making perfect copies and selected CD as ideal solution since CD's were not recordable at the time. Guess what? Your 11-year-old neighbor probably burns more CD's now than some CD factories in mid-80's.


Same thing will happen with MPEG-2 compression. If that device is $100,000 today and only Mark Cuban can afford it for home use, 5-6 years down the road it will cost $99 at wal-mart as a simple A/D converter card for your 50GHz P XII (that's pentium 12) pc doing real-time MPEG-2 compression.


OK, so I have to take a step back and go for W-VHS. You say there are W-VHS devices for $1,000? Where? I just did a search on ebay for "W-VHS" and the only thing that came up was w-vhs tape (?!?) of 1974 movie "WOMEN'S PENITENTIARY #9". Cover picture and description are hilarious, but that's not what I wanted. So where can I get W-VHS recorder for a $1,000?
 

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I'm still not sure of the reason for the original question. If you are willing to sacrifice the *quality* of the recording (which you said), that means you only want to record for the sake of the content.


So why not just watch/record the SD version of the channel? To my knowledge, all the HD channels you currently get over the 3100 have an SD channel to match that shows the same content.


Have you noticed picture quality issues when outputting the SD channels over the 1080i? I havent seen the 3100 but the 2000 makes the picture much too green when outputting SD over component...


TM
 

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I am interested in this too. CBS, and NBC both look like crap on my analog signals. To record the hi-def downrezzed through s-video would be a huge improvemnet.
 
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