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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry for posting here instead of recording forum, but I hope to get more feedback this way.


We all are completely unhappy about our available options to record HDTV (OTA or Sat). I will not go into what content we'd want to record. Let's just assume for a fact that there is significant amount of content we want to record, completely legally, for our own viewing pleasure.


While some of us have Panny setup or Hi-Pix cards, their capabilities are limited and prices are rather high. Or, rather sky-high for Panny combos and all the required accessories, unless one was lucjky/smart enough to acquire them a while back.


With copyright paranoia running high, it is increasingly unlikely we will see any kind of unexpensive, easy-to-use

HDTV recording gear available any time soon.


While it is possible that some CE company will soon deliver an HD VCR with a built-in OTA tuner and analog outputs, it won't buy much for the majority of us, who can not 8VSB (OTA) modulate neither Dish nor DTV signals.


With the same paranoia in mind, it is increasingly likely that in few years there will be no analog signals going from STBs to the HD display.


At the same time, analog signal will still be present in the displays for quite some time (forever) as it is analog and clear-form signal that is required to drive CRTs in the majority of displays. I am not sure about DLPs and/or LCD based projection systems - but I am reasonablly sure it has to be an analog signal too.


So ... the options to record HD signal are:


a) record RGB/component signal as it leaves STB. I am no video eng., but apparently there are $20K (?) analog VCR recording systems that have recording BW required to record HDTV in such a way. We are talking (ballpark discussion) about 30 frames a sec of 1200 lines a frame, about 1600 pixels a line, 3 color signal (we assume audio is not a problem due to its low BW reqs).


This is quite some BW and it probably explains why the existing recorders are so expensive. That and relatively small market for this kind of equipment.



b) Try to digitize this very same component signal and record it in digital form. I did some very basic calculations and arrived @ some pretty ridiculous numbers:

about 50MBytes/sec per component signal, or 150Mbytes/sec overall, with 8bit ADC. Even assuming it is 2 times less than that, it is still a whole lotta data to record and there is nothing in existance that would sustain this recording rates, be large enough in terms of capacity and be inexpensive enough to be affordable for avg consumer.


For technically oriented folx, this is a perfect example of where analog capture is clearly superior to the digital one.



c) Record 1394(Firewire)-grade MPEG compressed stream (possibly 8VSB modulated as a valid ATSC HD), assuming one is available. This is the only currently feasible option and this how existing recorders operate. Looks like there will be OTA STBs with Firewire outputs AND there will be HD VCRs capable of recording 1394 HD signal. May be some of the VCRs will even have built-in tuners.


It is the MPEG compression that reduces the BW (rate) of signal so that it can be recorded fairly easily and inexpensively.



d)Now, neither Dish or DTV receivers have Firewire output nor are they likely to have ones any time soon (ever), should MPAA succeed in blackmailing them into full submission. Showtime or HBO are obviously not calling either sat company with request to provide recording capablity for Sopranos or Band of Brothers, or motion picture they air, where no request was made to disable end-user recording.


Good news is, the HD MPEG stream _is_ present in the circuits of both Dish or DTV receivers.


Here is some proof of that (aside from the fact that it _is_ an MPEG stream that is sent/received/processed to begin with):


- availability of OTA modulators for older Dish receivers (where they tap into already existing HD MPEG signal and 8VSB modulate it, making it look like OTA HD transmittion). Those were ridiculously cheap when they were first introduced (not anymore ... investing into those 1Y ago would beat buying YHOO @ $5 5 years ago and selling it @ its high ... circa 1.5Y ago) - which indicates just how easy it is to modulate the signal.



- yet another proof: the 16x9time saga. This company was trying (allegedly) to do exactly that: tap into existing HD MPEG stream inside of now venerable & famous DTC100 STB, add some Firewire decoration so that it can be recorded on any Firewire-enabled recorder (your avg $500 DV digicam or a $1000 DV deck, for longer recording time).


During playback, you'd feed Firewire signal back into their little add-on module, that then would strip out MPEG stream and feed into DTC100 own circuit, with DTC100 not even aware it's been fooled into decompressing alien signal http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


So ... one can try to tap into such MPEG stream in one of the existing STBs (schematics anyone ?). Allegedly (I doubt that) FBI won't storm your house, @ MPAA's humble request, faster than one can say DCMA, - as you are NOT trying to circumvent any copyright protection. (To this I say - isn't the very fact of lack of recording capability indication of de-facto (C) protection in all existing satellite STBs ? Do you have enough money to afford a good lawyer - MPAA certainly does http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif and the US of A has no lack of young & ambitious prosecutors trying to make a name for themselves by winning a first DMCA-based conviction ... BTW, I am really scared to think about what will follow afterwards )


Another way is to try to reverse the process: try to compress already decompressed MPEG stream, now available

in an analog component form, back into MPEG.


I'll go on the record boldly saying that required HW will cost a few hundred thou$and. But then again, what do I know ? http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif Plus, 2Ghz PC can be bought @ CompUSA for ~$1400. 4Ghz is just around the corner (according to Intel anyway) and faster CPUs will definetely make it easier to MPEG-compress raw video stream. But for now, it is a no-go IMHO.



What if an overseas company, under a funny name of say ... "Cho Ho General Tso Video Delight", start

selling $140 do-it-yourself kits for STBs (and conveniently

shred all info as to whom these were sold) ? Would you

buy one ? Quite a few of us lined up for 16x9 offer after all, didn't we ?


I recon that unless the company operates outta, say Iraq, MPAA will get them busted before they celebrate their 10th customer (I suspect that it is what's happened to 16x9 and gag-order was a part of the settlement). Even in Iraq, MPAA wouldn't have problems convincing Pentagon to send one of few remaining Cruise Missiles to pay a visit to the company's headquoters.



What if the schematic of such device, along with bill of materials, were to be leaked on Internet. MPAA wouldn't stand a chance to shut down all the sites that would (uknowlingly to them) host it . Not the ones in .tw, .ru and other painful domains http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


Heck, the only surviving (after loosing 3 limbs) employee of "Cho Ho General Tso Video Delight" might even plant the schematic onto MPAA's own Web server http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif , under say
http://www.**aa.com/chohogeneraltsov...ddlefinger.pdf


So what do you fine people think ?



Isn't it sad that we find ourselves in this situation ? We have great HD shows we would like to record, none of us make living selling pirated videos or plan to post 20Gb worth of Hollywood's latest and yet-unreleased motion picture on the Web, yet we are all being treated like criminals and are denies are very basic (and court tested)

rights to record content ?


Most of us realize, that MPAA is using this "hacker scare" with the sole purpose of taking away our recording rights.


Hence the crap about these rights


- being applicable to only the OTA content (NY Times article),

- being not applicable to high-quality "digital content"


Now, if one puts his head to use for a few secs, (s)he realizes right away that since few years from now there will no other content than the "hi-quality digital", there

go the recording rights: technically we'd still have it, minus the content http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

 

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Quote:
Originally posted by rashid11:
a) record RGB/component signal as it leaves STB. I am no video eng., but apparently there are $20K (?) analog VCR recording systems that have recording BW required to record HDTV in such a way. We are talking (ballpark discussion) about 30 frames a sec of 1200 lines a frame, about 1600 pixels a line, 3 color signal (we assume audio is not a problem due to its low BW reqs).


This is quite some BW and it probably explains why the existing recorders are so expensive. That and relatively small market for this kind of equipment.


Actually there are a couple of machines that do this and they don't cost 20k. They are the JVC SR-W5U and SR-W7U W-VHS decks. The recording is analog and the sound is only stereo (Pro Logic) but several forum members have said that the picture is just as good as digital HDTV recorded with the Panasonic D-VHS. The W-VHS tapes it uses are also expensive (about $30-$40 each). Its MSRP is around 5k but you can find them in the net for much less. One of them sold on E-bay a few weeks ago for $1500. There's also a member with a Japanese connection who stated on this thread that he can get them from Japan for $1250. I believe this is a very good option and it doesn't break the bank. The only downside I see is that you won't be able to get 5.1 sound but not many HD broadcasts have 5.1 sound anyway! I'm saving up for one of these already http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif


------------------

Vic Ruiz
STOP HDCP/DFAST/5C
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I knew something good would happen out of my post.

This W-VHS is one of the better kept secrets of the

forum http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


Anyway, just shows that in countries that are not governed by MPAA, people do have HD recording options, somewhat reasonably priced http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif How MPAA hasn't forced JVC into

taking it off the market is above me.

 
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