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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK. Maybe I'm missing something. I have been lurking in this forum for over a year, reading and planning. I finally built my HTPC this week and one of my primary motivations was to build an HD Tivo. I read enough to accept the fact that (for now) I would be unable to watch HD previous recordings while I was recording new HD. I bought the AccessDTV card in the hopes that in the near future they would support this with software since theirs is the only hardware that could support it.


A couple of days ago ADTV released a program called TAPEMGR which would take all of their proprietary small files and combine them into one big, unencrytped .TRP file. People on this forum immediately complained this was a bolt-on utility and that they should be doing this on-the-fly like the other cards (MYHD, HIPIX) could do. I decided to download it and try it anyway.


I took a recording of CSI and ran it through this converter. On my 2.4 ghz Pentium 4 HTPC it took about 45 minutes to convert 1 hr CSI. At this point, I had a large file with a .TRP extension that I could not figure out how to play (still haven't figured out how to play it in ADTV, so anyone who knows how please let me know).


So, I downloaded the Elecard decoders and installed them. And I downloaded Zoomplayer. I was then able to play this file in Zoomplayer (and Windows Media player for that matter). I played it at 720P (which my TV upconverts to 1080I) and truthfully I could not tell the difference in PQ from playing back the original recording on ADTV. My CPU ran about 40% during this playback. Also, I thought I had read something about seeing a watermark when using the Elecard decoders but I haven't seen anything like that.


Only problem I could see was that I had serious difficulty with FF, skip, using the slider, etc.


So, I downloaded HTDtoMPEG2 and ran this file through that. Also took about 45 minutes. At that point, I had an .MPG file I could play in zoomplayer or Windows media player. The PQ looks the same at 720P, still only takes about 40% of my CPU and all functions such as FF, REW, SKIP, slider, etc. work perfectly.


As my final test, I enabled the "record in background" function of ADTV and scheduled it to record a program. When it started recording, ADTV came up with just a black screen for overlay, but appeared to be recording (significant hard drive activity).


I then fired up zoomplayer and started playing my MPG and it played perfectly. After I watched for a couple of minutes. I shut it down, stopped the ADTV recording and played it back. The recording was perfect! So, I was able to do simultaneous recording of an HD program while watching playback of another in HD 720p. CPU didn't go above 50% during this exercise.


Caveat: I did this with 2 speaker analog stereo sound. My HTPC has SPDIF output but I have no receiver to play it with yet so I am using the stero speakers in my TV. I don't know if introducing digital audio would cause other problems, but I'd be OK with analog stereo in that case.


So, back to my original question? Am I missing something here? Am I the first to do this? Is there something unique about the files that come out of the ADTV TAPEMGR program that are different/better then what was previously available to everyone using this card or others? This was seriously easy with no problems.


At this point, we pretty much never watch anything on the night it is on anyway. With 2 tivos we have probably a 2 month backlog of NYPD blues, CSIs and Law and Orders, etc. anyway. So, my plan would be to use the ADTV exclusively for recording, and schedule background processes at night to convert the files to MPEG. Then, exclusively use Zoomplayer to watch the .MPG files at our leisure, with no regard as to whether the ADTV is recording or not. True HD Tivo functionality!!


Any thoughts? AM I MISSING SOMETHING HERE?


Thanks,


Bob
 

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Bob,


I'm glad you got this working... With enough GHzs all 4 current HDTV cards should be able to do what you did (Unfortunately for me, my 1GHz machine doesn't have enough power).


One of the reasons the recent iTech utility got a lukewarm welcome is that this utility didn't improve on what was already available elsewhere (in fact, some of the tools developed by members of this forum have more features and are more stable). We also know that the ADTV card has the ability to do what you just did without pre-processing and without requiring a fast machine (It already does it in the 'Replay mode'...). All in all, this would be a much more elegant solution (one single interface, low CPU usage, etc.)


By the way, you should be able to play the TRP file on the ADTV card by right-clicking on the FILE button (The FF and RW commands won't work then, a feature that has been missing for very long...)


I still believe that the ADTV card is the best hardware around for PC HDTV... but am frustrated to see that the software is subpar. It is all the more frustrating to notice that the seemingly difficult issues have been solved (play from disk while recording, etc.), and that what is left seems minor in comparison (file naming convention, maximum file size, ability to let the user choose the file to play while recording, preventing the interface to show up during background recordings).


I, and many others, would really like to see iTech succeed...


Eiffel
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Eiffel - so this was not a big trick then and simply due to the processing power I have? It just seemed like lots of discussion on not successfully playing HD in playback and needing two HD cards, etc. Especially I would have thought that upgrading CPU power would be easier then 2 machines with HD cards networked together like some folks have discussed.


I just think it is way cool that I can now do TIVO like functionality with HD. Honestly didn't think I was going to be able to do that (at least not now).


I agree that ADTV can and should exploit their hardware and they would own the market.


You mention other tools. Is there a better way to get a playable file then going through the 90 min ADTV file -->TAPEMGR-->HDTVtoMPEG2 process so I can play it with zoomplayer, etc. and be able to ff, rew, etc.?



Thanks,


Bob


P.S. Thx for the tip on right clicking the file button in ADTV. Did not see that in the doc and was wondering how the hell to open the file.
 

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Bob,


A lot of the discussion on playing HD files without a card occurs on the HDTV recording forum, and from reading there, it is not that easy to get right, so you should be happy about what you did.


The reason people buy two cards is to get the 'instant' TIVO functionality with cards others than ADTV (There's actually one benefit of doing so: the file is available for viewing later... unfortunately such trick wouldn't work with our card, due to the wierd file naming/playlist we have to deal with... the files are actually on your disk, but you can't view them).


Have you tried skipping the TAPEMGR process altogether? HDTVtoMPEG2 can remove encryption (not 100% sure, but this should not be an issue with your recent recordings anyway), and can take multiple files and consolidate them into one. Due to some leftover from the encryption days, the files to select are a little bit difficult to identify. the file creation date should be your guide...


Good luck


Eiffel
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by rbtconsultants

OK. Maybe I'm missing something.


I took a recording of CSI and ran it through this converter. On my 2.4 ghz Pentium 4 HTPC it took about 45 minutes to convert 1 hr CSI.


I was then able to play this file in Zoomplayer (and Windows Media player for that matter).

Only problem I could see was that I had serious difficulty with FF, skip, using the slider, etc.


So, I downloaded HTDtoMPEG2 and ran this file through that. Also took about 45 minutes. At that point, I had an .MPG file I could play in zoomplayer or Windows media player. The PQ looks the same at 720P, still only takes about 40% of my CPU and all functions such as FF, REW, SKIP, slider, etc. work perfectly.


Any thoughts? AM I MISSING SOMETHING HERE?


Thanks,


Bob [/b]
Bob,

No offense intended but 90 minutes of post processing for a one hour show is not what I would call simultaneous record/playback.


That's why I use 2 HD card machines networked together.

1) You can do true time shift ala TIVO style:

Start recording, wait a few minutes and start playing back so you can skip the commercials. It's how I do the Monday CBS HD lineup.



2) While one show is recording, pick ANY pre-recorded show you want to watch and have at it without having to do all that pre-processing.

Your method requires one to go through a lot of hoops and assumes ahead of time you know which show you want to watch. Kind of a PITA.

Not very practical when one has 10 or so HBOHD movies on Disk.


Joe
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Joe - I understand what you are saying. I wasn't referring to watching the SAME show while it was recording. If I want to do that and start watching a show 10 minutes after it starts I just start the ADTV in PVR mode to do that. This is the big advantage of the ADTV card.


However, what I was referring to was watching some other pre-recorded show while recording something else. I very rarely even watch a show the same week it is on let alone 10 minutes after it starts.


If I look at my Tivos right now, I've got NYPD blues that are weeks old, as well as ERs and Law and Orders. We haven't gotten around to watching them. This works great when there are reruns on since we can watch original programming.


Given that, I can just post-process any shows overnight and then they'll be ready when I want to watch them whenever. AND I only have to that if I want to watch them later while ADTV is recording something else. If I happen to want to watch something later on in the evening or anytime after it has recorded without the post processing I just have to make sure that ADTV is not recording anything at that time. No "needing to know what I want to watch in advance".


The only thing I can't do is watch something in PVR mode and record it for posterity. Wierd restriction but I can live with it.


So, basically my viewing habits are 100% satisfied. And I suspect yours would be also.


Thanks,


Bob
 

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Bob,


What filter combination are you using?


Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi Mike - damned if know :) Seriously, I have read about this Sonic filter and that Cineplayer filter and filtergraphs and such, but I need to do a lot more reading and experimenting before I'm further down that learning curve.


I can tell you that related to this, I am running XP SP1 with a Radeon 7500, installed latest Theatertek, upgrade to Windows Media Player 9, installed Elecard decoders and installed Zoomplayer. All were installed with default configuration options.


I did all of that with some background from what I read from much more experienced guys on this forum. I assumed all of this really works well together, or I got a little lucky. I expected to need to do much more fiddling around then I ended up doing.


SO, if you can give me a quick description of wher to look, I'll be happy to answer your question. Otherwise, I'll be doing some more reading and experimentation going forward so I can understand that question better.


Well, gotta go. I watch Alias with my daughter every Sunday night, one of the very few shows I watch when it is on. So, I have ADTV paused and we'll start watching it now, zapping commercials. Then I'll put her to bed while ADTV starts a scheduled recording of The Practice, and then while that's recording the wife and I will watch last night's Agency, which got converted to MPG overnight. The Practice will convert tonight and we'll watch it some other night. Excellent stuff.


Thanks and let me know how to answer that question.


Bob
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by rbtconsultants
However, what I was referring to was watching some other pre-recorded show while recording something else. I very rarely even watch a show the same week it is on let alone 10 minutes after it starts.
I think Tivo with it's small market share would be even smaller if there was a 1.5x realtime lag for postprocessing that needs to be initiated manually. (Of course the Tivo/Replay market share is gigantic compared to us HD recorders). PITA is an understatement.


Tell me you wife and daughter can run the rig w/o assistance and I'll take some of it back.


Not denigrating the technical accomplishment, which is significant.


Tim
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi Tim - good points all. I do intend to do a bit of scripting that will do the conversion automatically at night. ADTV says they have a com object for as part of Tapemgr for accessing the ADTV recorded shows directory, so maybe I'll write something to access that and just drive HDTVtoMPEG2 directly, avoiding Tapemgr as suggested by Eiffel. In any case, I'm sure I can automate the process so I'll never need to think about it.


As far as family using the HTPC, wife and Daughter have been Tivo savvy for a couple of years, and already know how to switch TV inputs between Tivos, DVD, etc.


I think it should be pretty easy to show them how to use Zoomplayer to play converted recordings, and the scenario will probably play out they won't use ADTV at all. They'll use TITANTV to schedule shows (though rarely since we have set up recurring recordings for most stuff we watch) and use Zoomplayer to watch.


Note that since the ADTV will record most of our HD prime-time programming, Wife and Daughter will still record soap operas, cable stuff using Tivo anyway so no impact there, and I suspect I'll be there for most of the HD watching anyway.


I already have the remote with Girder running, and I'm planning on using Mainlobby.


So, I suspect that this will all work out pretty good. And thanks for the compliment, but as far as the technical achievement goes I think this is a case of "I'd rather be lucky then good".


I REALLY do hope that ADTV improves all of this stuff. They claim they are and there is quite a bit of activity from them lately, including communication from them saying they are working on all of this. Since they have the only hardware capable of doing the true TIVO stuff, I remain hopeful. In the meantime, I think I ended up with way more capability then I thought I could get so I'm very happy.


Bob
 
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