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The HiPix HDTV tuner/recorder card may be fading into oblivion here, but I just found a new use for it: playing back my 1080i HDV footage from my Sony HDR-HC3.


Here are the steps I used:


- Capture footage on a WinXP machine using CapDVHS. Capture as a Program Stream (PS).


- Process the resulting .mpg in VideoLan VLC Media Player. Configure VLC to stream it out to a file. Stream settings: output a Transport Stream (Encapsulation Method = "MPEG TS") and transcode the audio to "a52" (aka AC3) at 256kpbs.


The resulting single large .ts file is then directly playable through the HiPix's standard File playback system.



Notes:

- Playback occasionally struggles - it seems almost random as to whether or not the HiPix will playback gracefully or will stutter every second. It's about a 1-in-5 chance that it'll choke on playback. But if I just stop and restart playback things usually work fine.


- My HiPix is installed in an old Win2k box whose performance is not that great; it's possible that a better box (with a better mobo bus) would clean up the occasional performance stutters. That being said, my OTA file recording and playback works fine without performance issues. All streams are on a 2x200GB striped disk array so HDD speed isn't the problem.


- Playback skips the first 15 seconds or so but settles down after that.


- I think the biggest capture I've done so far was about 5GB of continuous HDV (approx 25min or so). The HiPix didn't seem to mind the huge .ts.


- Seeking through the big .ts file works, but it seems to incur the same 1-in-5 chance of causing the HiPix to start choking when playback resumes.


- It's annoying to have to use VLC as an intermediate processing step, but at least it's quick. It goes through the .mpg at about 2x to 3x.


- The HiPix does not seem capable of playing back the raw .mpg Program Stream out of CapDVHS. This makes sense since the hardware is expecting a Transport Stream.


- However, CapDVHS can capture directly to the Transport Stream format (TS). On my setup the HiPix would play CapDVHS's .ts files, but it would always stutter. On the positive side it tells us that the HiPix *can* play back the HDV format's mpeg audio; in other words, the TS does not necessarily have to be transcoded to AC3. Perhaps a better machine would be able to play CapDVHS's TS files more cleanly and thereby eliminate the VLC intermediate step.


- I was not able to find a way to chop the .mpg or .ts files into smaller chunks (ala the HiPix's 137MB .ts files). I'm sure there are commercial tools out there, but I'm only considering free tools.


- The HiPix's built-in .ts file editor was not able to chop my single large .ts file.


- Currently I'm shooting everything in HDV but can't edit HDV yet. For right now I'm more interested in capturing and archiving footage (e.g. my baby cousin's 1st b-day). I assume there are easier ways to deal with HDV capture and playback if you have an HDV editor.


- The MyHD card is supposed to have full HDV playback support without any intermediate processing steps. I don't have one so I can't say how well it works.



Anyway, despite the extra VLC Media Player processing step, I'm really happy to have a way to play back my footage without incurring wear-and-tear on my camera and tapes. Now I can archive my raw footage to *.ts with lossless video and good-enough transcoded audio and offload it to DVD-R. Then if I want to watch some of that footage, I just pop the DVD-R into the HiPix machine and play it back off the disc (in theory - unfortunately my HiPix machine probably doesn't have the bus throughput to stream off the disc; it's a really really old mobo).


In the meantime I'm still using my HiPix to record OTA. I forgot to set it to record the NFC Championship Game though! I would've loved to have an HD archive of the Bears' big win!
 

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I am looking to buy Telemann HiPix DTV-200 cards, though long discontinued.

I am will to pay top dollar for working main and/or daughter cards.



Thanks in advance for your assistance,


VERONICA FRANK | TECHNICAL SERVICES

Digital Display & Communications Inc. | DDC

TEL: 519-725 -3733 ext 233 | CELL: 519-590-7876

FAX: 519-725-5491 | 1-888 332 2677
 
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