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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am getting setup with an I/O Magic capture card and PowerVCR II, and am running into a question that has been addressed on this forum in the past but I cannot find a definitive answer to it. Is there any PVR software out there that does not need the overlay in order to record a program. Obviously, since all my sources run through my PC, then I really cannot do anything other than watch the show I am recording. Please include links for program downloads if you have them. I am sorry if this is territory that has already been covered, but as I said before, on the post that I have read, the subject is discussed but not definitively answered. Thanks in advance for your help.


Lain Davis
 

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I don't think you will be able to watch one thing while recording another with a software based PVR. Even if you could get it to work the recording quality would suffer because recording sucks up most of your CPU and disk I/O even with a fast PC.


Your only solution may be to buy a hardware based PVR. I don't believe these capture from the overlay, and since they don't require as much CPU you might be able to watch something else while recording from the tuner without loosing quality. If you want to be able to watch one TV channel while recording another, you will need to have an additional tuner, either external or another card. I don't know how or if you can do this. You might want to check out the Creative Digital VCR or Hauppage WinTV PVR as options. There are lots of threads here on both of these in the AVS Forum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
jschefdog,


Thanks for your reply. Recording one show while watching another is really not what I am after. I have a DTC100 (Directv HD Sat. Receiver), so if I installed another cheap receiver then I could run the DTC100 directly to my projector and watch that while recording from the second sat. receiver. What I am really after is to be able to watch something pre-recorded (MPEG2) or a DVD, both of which require the overlay and cannot function while PowerVCR is active since it uses the overlay. Your comments about CPU and I/O may still be valid (especially I/O for pre-recorded MPEG2 files). I just didn’t think that DVD playback required that much CPU. BTW, I am not familiar with “hardware based PVRâ€. I assume since you refer to CPU usage you are not talking about TIVO or UTV. Please explain.


Thanks,


Lain Davis
 

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I dont know if this will be helpful or not - but I use WinDVR. If I have Windows Media Player open and open WinDVR it will complain about overlay and I wont get a picture. BUT if I open WinDVR and THEN open Windows Media Player both of them work fine.


Also, I have an Athlon 1.33 - granted I probably couldnt watch divx-encoded video while recording with WinDVR but lots of times I've watched previously recorded mpeg programs through Windows Media Player while recording with WinDVR and it comes out fine.


If it means anything I'm recording with a setting that outputs approximately 1.7GB/hour.
 

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When you record/capture using a software based PVR (such as PowerVCR) it consumes a lot of CPU and disk I/O bandwidth. How much depends on the PVR bit rate and quality settings. Whether or not you can do anything else while it records will depend on these settings plus how fast your PC is, but it is likely that either your recording or DVD/MPEG playback will suffer it quality if you try to do both at the same time.


By "hardware based PVRs" I was refering to PVR cards with hardware MPEG encoders such as the Creative Digital VCR or Hauppage WinTV PVR. I don't believe these cards use the video overlay, plus the CPU load is much lower since the MPEG hardware does most of the work. With one of these you might be able to watch a DVD or MPEG file while it is recording with no loss of quality in either. I'm not sure about this since I only have the IOMagic as well, but I have been researching the hardware based options. Maybe someone who owns one can give a definite answer regarding this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
jschefdog,


Thanks for the info on hardware based PVR. I was not aware that any of the pvrs did hardware encoding. I think that there are really two issues here:


1.) My original question was if other multimedia task were possible while recording. I tried aderose's suggestion and was able to get both a DVD playing and a TV picture, but as soon as I asked PowerVCR to record, it needed the overlay. However, according to aderose, with WinDVR, recording while performing other task is possible.


2.) Your comments really ask the more important question "Would you really want to if you could". Well, my computer is a 1.6GHz machine and recording uses about 65 to 70% of the CPU. (I was surprised by that magnitude) leaving little to do much else, so in almost all cases my answer to the above question would be no! This to me is maybe the biggest shortcoming of PC based PVR's. I know that the interface is terrible compared with TIVO or UTV (I have a UTV in another part of the house), but those are problems that you can work around. This problem basically eliminates much of the recording for timeshifting purposes that I might do (prime time) since doing so renders my entire HTPC useless while it is recording. Anyway, this is not the answer I wanted, but it is reality at this point and time. Thanks for the info.
 
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