AVS Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to record and have time-shifting abilities for stuff I watch on satellite. I want to go with the option that will give me the best quality. Cost, within reason, isn't an issue here. From what i've read so far I can do one of a couple of things.


1) Get TiVo. It's options can't be touched by capture cards in terms of time-shifting and it's recording capabilities. After a couple hacks and I can pull stuff off of it for archival.


2) Get a capture card. From what i've read, a lot of them just plain suck in terms of quality. The first one that has caught my attention was the Canopus MVR-1000. The catch is someone mentioned that macrovision might be a problem.. I don't know the technical details so I have no idea if this is true or not. The other card I'm considering is the Vitec DCM which I'm actually favoring right now since i know that it properly handles ac-3 and it's significantly cheaper.


So if I go with TiVo, I get the convenience of it's recording capabilities, such as I can chose to record one show and make it record every episode of that show for the whole season. On the other hand, I can't remember the numbers, but the "best" quality recording on TiVo is lower than that of a good capture card in terms of mbps anyway... I know there's a way to up (a hack) the quality it records at, but I don't think they've figured out how to change the audio quality yet.. I may be wrong as I haven't finished scouring the boards for info yet...


Any opinions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
You'd probably want both. I assume (since this is the HTPC forum) that you want to view your satellite via your HTPC. If so, you'd need a capture card which would probably connect to your satellite receiver via an s-video cable. I have a DirectTivo connected to a PlayTV card (same as the Xcapture card referred to often in this forum but also includes a tuner that I never use). I get all the benefits of the Tivo, with fairly high quality and two tuners built in, and can still capture content that I want to archive via the capture card.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
192 Posts
I agree with the previous poster. I have 3 Tivo's (more is better right?) and love them. I also have a HTPC that I use to drive my projector. I output my Tivo via SVideo to a FlyVideo 2000 capture card (skipping the tuner) and then run the output through DScaler. I also have a HD capture card that I timeshift HD programming with. The PC based capture cards are not even close to matching a Tivo for features and ease of use, plus the ability to pause live TV and watch while recording etc.


Tivo is GREAT, but you can also clean up the output via the HTPC. Hope this helps!


Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies. I agree that it's probably a good idea to get both.


As for the capture cards, I just looked up the xcapture card and it's only $34... What am I missing here? The Vitec DCM is $350 and the Canopus MVR-1000 is $650.


I would assume that two of the big differences are the software package and the fact that Vitec and Canopus do everything in hardware. Am I missing something else here? If it doesn't do encoding in hardware, it isn't so much a concern to me as I have a powerful computer that I'm pretty sure will be able to handle things. However, three things are very important to me. 1) a/v sync, will it be a problem with a cheaper card? 2) the quality of the inputs 3) audio handling. 4) dscaler compatibility.


How is audio handled on this card? If I'm recording something that encoded in ac-3, when I play the recorded copy will it still be ac-3? Sorry for the dumb question but i'm really not sure of how it's handled. What programs do you use for capture(both audio and video)? Again, in regards to sync, is it a lot of trouble to put the two streams back together in-sync? I know the more expensive cards can rip straight to a format suitable for burning on dvd..


Lastly, I'm pretty sure it's compatible with dscaler but I'd like to double check that anyway.


Thanks again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,206 Posts
Just a quick note.

I did a Google search on "Vitec DCM" and came across a site (can't remember what one) that was selling it and in the specs they said that this card only records AC3 two channel. So any hopes of recording all 5.1 channels is nill.



peace
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,303 Posts
jrs,


The absolute best solution to this that I've seen so far is SageTV like SHS mentioned, paired with a Hauppauge PVR-250 or PVR-350 card. I've got the PVR-350 in my htpc, and the captured video is so close in quality to my original dish network source, that most of the time, you'd be hard pressed to tell which one you were watching. And, SageTV provides all of the Tivo recording and scheduling functions, provides for multiple tuner support (all you have to do is plug in another capture card and SageTV works seamlessly with both of them). Plus, archival is a breeze, because you already have the mpeg2 file there.


I don't work for Sage, just a happy SageTV user (and beta tester). This program is very well done, and there are some features on the horizon coming (that we're testing now) that are going to blow everything else out of the water. And, the price is very attractive as well. www.sage.tv
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
Audio needs to be handled with a separate audio card. Their's an audio jack on it, but it simply connects to a cable that you're supposed to connect to your audio card. I have the Prolink PlayTV PVR (same as Xcapture but also has tuner), and an M-Audio Audiophile 2496 sound card. I connect my DirectTivo to the PlayTV via S-Video, and to the 2496 via two RCA jacks. In that configuration I don't have any sync problems when using Dscaler to view the video, and pass the audio directly through the M-audio control panel my reciever (audio doesn't work in Dscaler). I also use VirtualVCR (great free capture software) to record shows to AVI, and in that configuration have not had any sync issues unless I try to do processing in VirtualVCR (better to wait and process in VirtualDub). When I tried to connect the toslink from my DirectTivo to the SPDIF input on the 2496 (via a converter) then I had sync problems.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,636 Posts
Sorry SIMJEDI there is no hpoe for DD 5.1 only DD 2.0.

jrs91 take look at WinTV-250 it cost far less then Vitec DCM and the Canopus MVR-1000.

Vitec DCM and the Canopus MVR-1000 and the WinTV-250 are hardware MPEG encoder and the Frame sizes is 720x480 NTSC or 576 PAL with NOFRAMES DROPS with the Xcapture card maybe just maybe it will go pass 352x240 without frames drop all over place.


This my plan for Super Tivo box

1 SageTV set as a Server

4 WinTV-PVR 250 with SageTV multi-tuner capabilities WoW

4 250GB harddrive (1TB).

1 El'Chaep Video card NoN gaming

1 10/100 NIC or GigabitNIC

4 DISHNetwork Satellite Receiver DISH 500


1 Video VCD/SVCD/CVD/DVD Authoring clinet PC

1 El'Chaep Video card NoN gaming

1 40GB harddrive

1 10/100 NIC or GigabitNIC

1 DVD burner

MiniATX


2 or 3 SageTV clinet PC

1 Video card for gaming etc, etc

1 80GB harddrive

1 SBAudigy 1 or 2

1 Creative Inspire 5.1 or 6.1

1 10/100 NIC or GigabitNIC

1 DVD drive 16x

MiniATX
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,206 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by SHS
Sorry SIMJEDI there is no hpoe for DD 5.1 only DD 2.0
That's what I said. "Nill"=none :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
You can capture at higher than 352x240 with the Xcapture, but it depends on the software, and the settings. When I try to capture with VirtualDub, I can't set the vertical higher than 240. I capture with VirtualVCR at 640x480 without frame drops if I use Huffy compression. I then take the resulting very large file (usually around 17GB for 25 minutes) into VirtualDub for cropping, processing, and encoding. I use Vidx to encode video, and I think MPEG3 for audio, don't remember my settings offhand, but I get a Simpsons episode at 640x480 looking better than the original (magical VirtualDub filters) that takes up about 275mb. Haven't used a WinTV-250, but I'd guess the hardware compression and higher cost would give you better/easier results...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
It's DirecTIVO, and from what I can tell, it's the ONLY way to timeshift DolbyDigital 5.1 audio.


Seems the recording done by the DirecTIVO (in particular, the Sony version) stores a file that's exactly as broadcast by DirecTV, and when played back, you get DolbyDigital out of the SPDIF port.


I've been searching for the holy grail of capturing AC3 5.1 audio, but it appears it's not possible using consumer hardware & software.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
545 Posts
I will second the opinion of those above.


I have done both and here is what I would recommend:


Use a DirecTivo and run it through a HTPC using an Xcapture card and Dscaler. The results have been impressive and the best I have achieved to date.


In the past I have recorded to HD using a WinTV PVR 250 and I still use a server running Snapstream and serving my home network. It works very well but the quality is just not there for HT.


When recording to the computer there is one obstacle you will not get around. Your sat receiver will receive and decode the signal then pass it via s-video to your HTPC which will then re-encode the video then decode the video again when you watch it. No matter how good your components are that is just too much signal degradation. With a DirecTivo it records the encoded signal and only decodes it when you watch it. If you use your HTPC only to scale the signal for viewing you will be starting with a cleaner source. The DirecTivo signal has zero quality loss.


I route the TiVo to my HTPC and my regular 32" TV so the content is always available.


Nothing beats a Tivo for PVR.


Just waiting for the HD Tivo...


Clay
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
729 Posts
On Directivo there are NO settings for recording quality, becuase there's only one setting, 100% bitstream recording off the satellite. Because it's exactly the same as the broadcast transmission, you'll get whatever audio was sent (DD5.1, DD2.0, etc).


For the cost of a directivo and the benefits vs. PVR HTPC timeshifting, it was a no-brainer for me. There's basically nothing that a PVR would have feature wise that the directivo could not offer (well.. actually a hacked Directivo).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
SageTV sounds pretty cool. I'm kinda wondering how it works though. I can understand how it would work with cable given that there is a tuner on the capture card and the software can change the channels to record whatever it is you want, but how does this work with satellite? I don't understand how software on your pc could take input from satellite receiver output and change channels.. Does the receiver send everything it pulls in from the dish to the outputs so that whatever it's input in to can tune in to any channel desired? I wouldn't mind getting some more techincal knowledge in this area cause i'm sounding dumb, even to myself right now ;p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,206 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by jrs91
how does this work with satellite? I don't understand how software on your pc could take input from satellite receiver output and change channels
Just do a search on Girder and USBUIRT and you'll find everything you need to know.



peace
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
545 Posts
jrs,


You may also want to look into Snapstream and Showshifter, they both can control the sat receiver via a serial cable and infared. I've also heard that Showshifter does a very good job with Divx and Dscaler.


Clay
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top