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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I just wanted to pass this info if you are interested in playing your mpgs without much hassles.


If you have a sampo 620 or afreey dvd player and upgrade it to the latest firmware you can play the extracted mpgs without any re-encoding or editing. Only extract and burn them to cdr or dvd-ram and you are ready to play them on your sampo dvd player.


This is really awesome for me and save me a lot of time.


On the other hand this new dvd firmware (631CF) allows you to hook a hard drive to you dvd player making it possible to have a hardisk full of mp3 or mpg with your favorite tv shows. If you want to know more about this dvd players goto www.area450.com


I hope I'm not discovering the hot water here but I just wanted to pass this info which I found useful for me.


By the way, this won't be possible if the author of extract_rtv didn't spend time figuring out the file system of the replay tv. Thanks for that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I paid $120. But I think you get it now for less now.


I know that Daewoo 3000/5000 can do the same tricks except the hard disk connection and you can get it for $99 @ sam's club.
 

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Been making "mini-dvds" for some time now using extract_rtv. I use the low quality from the replay which is actually the 1/2 D1 DVD standard with the wrong audio sampling. The audio of the mpeg is 32 kHz and most DVD authoring programs require the DVD standard of 48.


It's a very quick process if you use a good mpeg editor like the Womble Mpeg2VCR which also has an audio converter.


The work flow goes like this:


Extract the raw ReplayTV Mpeg.


Use Womble to remove commercials. (this is a frame accurate editor and also can saved the finished mpeg WITHOUT re-endering - very quick)


While in Womble de-multiplex the video from audio and use the Womble's audio editor to convert the 32 to 48 kHz. (this also is pretty quick taking about a minute or two for around 45 minutes of audio)


Don't bother multiplexing them back. Just import as assets to SpruceUp which is a DVD authoring tool that will burn DVD title sets to just about any kind of media. Beit DVD, DVD-RAM OR even CDR or CDRW.


With the edited ReplayTV mepeg you'll end up with a 45 minute "mini-dvd" that will fit nicely on a 650 Mb CDR. And the quality is about the same as a good SVCD.


This will of course play in any PC environment that has DVD player software OR even in some stand alone DVD players. That Sampo 620 is one that WILL play these CDRs with DVD title sets burned to them. I purchased my Sampo several months ago JUST for that capability.


FWIW, if you are thinking of embarking on this journey, the three resolutions available from the ReplayTV are:


Low - 352x480 @ 2 Mb/s CBR

Med - 720x480 @ 4 Mb/s CBR

High - 720x480 @ 8 Mb/s CBR


All have 32 kHz sampling for the audio which is the only thing you need to "fix" to make it DVD author-ware compatible. My guess is that if it were NOT for the 32 Khz audio, you'd be able to use the ReplayTV mpeg directly as sourcing for DVD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Rich,


That's a good info for making "mini-dvd". This means you need to have a dvd authoring tool like spruce up or something else and then re-econde the audio to have a valid mpg streams for dvd authoring.


But for people like me, lazy and without a dvd authoring software, this is 3 step process I used:


1) Extract the mpg

2) Burn the mpg(s) to a cdr/dvd ram

3) Play it on the sampo


I can fit one or more mpgs on one disk and the dvd player shows me a menu with all the mpgs in the disk where I can select the one I want to play.


I'll try you method an see what would be the differences in quality. I guess it has to be the same. One playing the raw mpg files and the other the vob files created with the dvd athoring software.


Thank you for your info
 

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pic_micro that is slick and a potential time saver for remote playback/archive. But without the software how do you rename the mpegs? Do you just rename the files? (if you have more than one per disk or drive) And then the Sampo just reports the file names available for playback? BTW now I'm gonna have to get one of these just to hack a harddrive into it not because I need it...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ken,


I only renamed the mpg file names with a good description in the first 16 characters.


Then the sampo will show them in its menu. It also has the option to show files inside directories.

Sampo only displays the first 16 characters of the filename and the rest is not displayed.
 

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I see... so It could be confusing to serve lots of mp3's but 16 characters is a lot more descriptive than 8. I think just supporting the Replay mpegs w/out resample is worth it however I think I'd want to put a laptop hard drive in there anyway just for the fun of it being that I'm smartmedia and not compact flash. I actually had a laptop drive in a Replay! It worked hard but it played no stutter :p (I have extra 2.5's from always upgrading my NJB)
 

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This all sounds great to me. I just wanted to clear some things up before i purchase anything.


If I buy the new Sampo 631 CF and I replay4000 I can:


1. drag the raw files over to my PC (assuming this is possible, not yet determined yet)


2. burn them to a CD-R using simple windows explorer


3. play them on my Sampo 631 CF


Is this all true?


now, for the hard drive. If I hacked in a hard drive on the CF IDE line, I could:


play files (mpeg, mp3) from the hard drive?


Is there an easy way to put files onto this hard drive? or would I have to swap it into my PC each time?


And, could the Sampo recognize mpeg4? either through a burned disc or the hard drive? This would be cool. What can it recognize? mpeg1 and 2?


thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
1) I don't know about the replay4000 but if we assume that it will be possible to extract standard mpg streams like extract_rtv is doing it right now then the answer is YES to your first question.


2) I tried with a cdr mixing mp3's and mpg's and it worked ok. I guess it will work with a hard drive too but I will try it and let you know.


3) There is no easy way to put files in the HD so you need to swap the HD.


4) Mpeg4 is not possible and I don't think it will possible with the current hardware that sampo is using on their players. It requires a lot of horse power.


5) Sampo can read and play DVD,VCD,SVCD,MP3,CD AUDIO and raw mpg's,vob's and jpg's. And if you upgrade the drive it's possible to read DVD-RAM.


If you want to know more about this player you can go to www.area450.com, those guys found all those undocumented features. I only tested a raw mpg coming from extract_rtv.


I hope the author of extract_rtv or another smart guy/girl find a way to access and extract to standard mpg files from the replay4000. I don't think Replay/Sonic will store standard mpg streams. The company is saying that it will be possible to get and transfer those files but I think they have never said that the files will be standard. Yes, you could transfer or even get them but that doesn't mean you or regular players will understand them. You'll have the info but you can read it except their players.

If I were in that company I would do something like that so my players would be the only one to understand it and besides that I'm cover with the law saying I have my own standard and nobody knows it. And eventually somebody will know how to read them (Hackers, but not them) so they are not responsible for that and everybody is happy... well not everybody.
 

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this has been discussed many times before so I'll make it quick:


the mpegs will be standard (non-encrypted) mpeg2 files on the 4000.


The big question is if we will be able to even see them on the replay drive. That is still undetermined according to replay guys. Some guys told me yes, others said definately not. We will just have to wait and see.


The reason I am excited by this Sampo, is that it will take very little time to burn to CD/DVD from the raw mpeg2, then watch on my tv.


So the way I see it- recording at medium quality (2GB/hour), I should be able to fit about 22 mins of program on a CD-R. Is this about right? That way I could fit a 30 min show on CD-R minus comercials. How does medium quality compare to a SVCD?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you for comments about the mpg's streams.


I use medium quality and I'm able to fit a about 25 min on one crd. To me, the quality is "good" but we all know that good and bad are is relative terms.


I was doing a little research and I found that that the dvd player daewoo 3000N/5000N plays raw mpg2. A friend of mine has it and we tested it and it worked ok :)

So what you can do is burn a cdr with a mpg and go to one sam's club and asked them to try it then You can judge by yourself if the quality is good for you.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by pic_micro


If I were in that company I would do something like that so my players would be the only one to understand it and besides that I'm cover with the law saying I have my own standard and nobody knows it. And eventually somebody will know how to read them (Hackers, but not them) so they are not responsible for that and everybody is happy... well not everybody.
Yes I hope that's true and we (and Sonic Blue) are happy. I'm quite sure we will be able to get there (not like this is Tivo or DirectTV I hope) but Shhhhh.;)


One more question since you are playing the extracted files directly: is the overscan of the Sampo player(or TV) just enough the that you don't get the white "timecode" pixels @ the very top of the screen as when playing some Replay files on the computer? Also we could still use Womble to clip commercials from files make it fit CDR... I'm thinking why not mirror a Nomad Jukebox (mp3 content) collection to an extra laptop drive and keep that in the Sampo depending on how it plays folder contents (Albums?) Just toggle a folder and play that album...


BTW pic_micro is the video quality of this player alright? (ok that's several questions but nice discovery!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ken,


I didn't see the "timecode" pixels when the mpg is playing. Most of my tests have been with medium quality. I will try with all the quality options and report those results.


In fact, I also tried cutting commercials with womble and the result was burned and played without a problem. Sometimes I can see little artifacts if I'm really close to the tv (2 inches) but anyway I see those with my replaytv so I can't tell it's an added problem.


About the play options, it is possible to play an "Album" like you said but I think there is a glitch when trying to play in shuffle/random between different "Albums".


I like the quality. I know there are some problems with people authoring dvds with high bit rates but that's fixable upgrading the drive. But with commercial DVD's I find it really good. Plus it has undocumented features like something about Macrovision and something about Region.


It's seems that I'm a sampo salesman saying all these "good" things about this player but the guys on area450 are the smart guys who discovered the "good" things about it.
 

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Well you sold me :D or maybe area451 had the evidence. Actually this is perfect because my brother has my toshiba changer so the only DVD I have in the house is HTPC (and laptop) so I have a slot for another standalone in the standard def HT (not that I have time for many DVD's now with the Replay's precise queue of goods).


Yes I am a firmware fanatic and I think some of the undocumented features will be handy with the 4000's when we start linking together ;)


As for the MP3's this is totally extra as long as it can "land" in a folder and play tracks in order and then maybe stop? -- this is plenty. Don't need playlists or anything. I'm sure it will @ least play high bitrate "mix" mp3's... so it would be: use the remote to put on some music (and listen to the laptop drive clicking away) but w/o having to get up and change a disc or anything to have pre-programmed background music of my choice in Pro Logic 2 right there. Hey I don't think we will ever be getting the remote for the NJB (also if I "even" did mp3 on disc it would be Rio-volt)


But for the Sampo I would just route the IDE out the back if possible and velcro a laptop drive w/ caddy right to the back of the unit so I could pull it off to reload without unhooking everything. If that won't work then just leave it inside.


But most important of all is to be able to quickly archive the goodies I pull off the Replays. pic_micro keep us informed of your testing... and I'm gonna watch for a true Sampo 631 I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hi Ken,

Finally I tested more stuff.


1) The dvd played a CD-R/Hardisk with mixed formats (mp3,mpg,jpeg,vob) on the same folder.


2) I extracted 3 videos using the 3 the quality types from the rtv and burned them to a cd-r. When it is played in my computer I can see the green line on the top for the low res video but when it's played on the dvd I didn't see those green lines in any of the 3 videos. :)


NOTE: I used womble to cut the commercials from all the videos.


So, in conclusion this is what I found for the 3 quality videos using 650MB cdrs, hard drive and the sampo player.


HIGH QUALITY rtv mpg

- mpg in cdr

It played ok but it shutters sometimes because of the dvddrive/loadder can keep up with the high bit rate. This is the same problem we found playing miniDvd at higher bitrates and It can be solved changing the dvd drive. I was only able to fit ~15 min of video in the cdr.

- mpg in hard disk

Plays ok.


MEDIUM QUALITY rtv mpg

-mpg in cdr

It played them perfectly without a problem at all. You can fit a video of ~25 min in a cdr. The quality was good. I believe this is the option that I liked most because the video quality is good and it's possible to fit a tv show on it without a problem.

-mpg in hard disk

Plays ok.


LOW QUALITY rtv mpg

-mpg in cdr

The audio drops continuously. I think this due the fact the rtv captures audio at 32Khz for this quality. I didn't like the video quality too.

-mpg in hard disk

The same problem with the audio.
 

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pic_micro, sounds like many of your test are the same as what we did with the Apex a while back. Good to see similar results. We did swap drives in a coworkers, and he's had no problems with the PC DVD drive in the Apex. One important thing we did to the drive that came with the apex was to upgrade the drive's firmware. Done by connecting that drive to a PC and flashing the drive. That made the drives work better with higher bitrate SVCDs. But to get the best results we had to do the drive swap.


We've even hacked the firmware for the Apex to allow you to play MP3's and MPEG2 stream from the same disc.


I'm sure all of these features will be common to every player in the near future!
 

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Hey that's pretty cool. I knew the Sampo I had was pretty versatile, but never tried burning a plain old mpeg to a CDR and playing it. I'll give it a go.


However, to explain further, the reason I'm doing the edit and author bit is so I can add these to my collection in a "fancy" format. That is with title screens, menus, clickable Icons, etc. When playing my "mini-dvds" they load and display just like a normal DVD.


But even so, the direct to CD method mentioned would certainly be a quick and easy way to archive the original. Thanks a LOT .. that will certainly help as now I can do the quick save to disc and then author a fancy mini-dvd at a later opportunity.
 
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