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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to record tv shows to either CD or DVD as opposed to the old VHS tapes. Would a TV tuner card allow me to capture the video off of my directv receiver in the same digital quality as a Tivo box or will it degrade the video signal?

If so, then which TV tuner card would you recommend?


Is it recommended to get a separate TV tuner card or get an all-in-one tuner/graphics card such as the ATI all-in-one wonder cards?


What type of Video card should I buy to handle the video-in signal? (I am not a 3d gamer)


What software would allow me to schedule the tv shows from the computer or via the internet?


If Tivo is the only means to record the best digital video signal then how can I record the Tivo recordings to DVD without degrading the video quality?


Any help would be greatly appreciated... Thanks in Advance.
 

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A DirectTivo will give you a better picture. You cannot capture the digital signal directly to the PC, you'll need to send it the PC via either coaxial, composite, or s-video. There will be some degradation in the conversion. I have a Tivo hooked up to a Dishnetwork receiver and also have two Dish PVR's. The Dish Pvr's picture is perfect, the Tivo's shows some degradation even at the highest quality. 'Tis the nature of the beast.
 

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Check out SageTV ( www.sage.tv ). It uses a hardware MPEG2 encoder to record video with minimal use of your computer's hardware. It can also use Dscaler for deinterlacing to improve video quality. Compared to my ATI all-in-Wonder card it has an equivalent or better picture quality and the software (including EPG) is much easier to use. You can also set it to control a set-top box, unlike the ATI software.


Picture quality for any capture card will be slightly less than the original source. Depending on your display, however, this may be made up for by improved deinterlacing and scaling compared to your monitor's built in deinterlacer.


On a personal note, I was happy using ATI software at first, but my wife was not. Switching to a combination of myHTPC ( www.myhtpc.net ) and SageTV has allowed a more harmonious household.


SageTV doesn't yet allow scheduling over the internet, but this has been talked about for a future release. I know that this is possible using Snapstream, a competing product. I actually paid for Snapstream and used it briefly, but have found SageTV to be far superior in all other respects.


Andrew
 

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I haven't tried SageTV but I do have a SA Tivo. Tivo has it down pretty well as to interface, ease of use, and stability. I'm currently using the "Save to VCR" option and feed it into my HTPC via composite - not the best solution but it works. I'll be trying the hack sometime soon to do the feed via Turbonet which will keep the integrity of the signal as well as make the process much faster.


As an aside, I seem to actually get a better picture out of my Tivo into my Samsung DLP than using S-video direct from my digital cable box. Component from the cable box connection is better except you can't use Pananrama view and the Tivo is bypassed. I read somewhere that Tivo may do some "processing" of the signal which appears to help.


I kind of also think that an HTPC based Windows recorder may not be as stable and would probably require more defragmenting - just a guess.


Tivo really does change the way you watch TV - no regrets here.
 

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I'll throw in another vote for SageTV. I spent a weekend with a Tivo before SageTV was released so I have a little experience to compare with. I'd put SageTV essentially on par in the user interface department. It might be a little behind but at the rate the developers are going that won't last long.

This is a little preview the developers have given us of the new version 2 coming out this fall.
http://forums.sage.tv/forums/showthr...&threadid=1417


urfthewog,

I've been running SageTV for about 4 months now and it's been rock solid. My current "Instance Uptime" in the Sys Info page says 7 days 3 hours 44 minutes. Since I got it I have made a point to keep my system as clean as possible though (i.e. not installing lots of SW etc). I don't defrag my drive either.


And just think what deinterlaced video scaled to your Sammy's native res and fed through DVI would look. Also in the PQ department, if you're really want good PQ you can always select the 5.6Gb/hr setting that should be near perfect, I use the 2Gb/hr for my favorites and 1.5Gb/hr for anything Sage's Inteligent Recording picks up. Those work fine most of the time, but sometimes the crappy cable and fast motion cause artifiacts.


As I said, I tried a Tivo for a weekend a while ago, but it just wasn't worth it to me with the closed system. SageTV is just the opposite, while it isn't open source, you can write plugins for it, and with V2 it sound like you'll be able to bend it to your every whim. And you can burn your recordings strait to DVD if you want.
 

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You can hack any Tivo (or DirecTivo) unit by adding an Ethernet card (available at 9thtee.com). A Tivo is basically a limited Linux based HTPC. Once you have your network connection, simply download the movies (via Ethernet) to your main computer and burn the discs.


The Tivo hack requires adding the card (very simple) and ensuring you have the most recent software. The DirecTivo is a little more involved but the directions are very straightforward.


IMO no HTPC based recorder has matched the usability and look of the Tivo unit...
 

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Or even better, buy a ReplayTV that has a built-in Ethernet port and use the freeware to export shows off your PVR. Replay kicks TiVos butt. I will agree that no PC-based app has quite got it right yet. Sage is close, but still not as user-friendly as a dedicated STB solution.


-MP
 

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Wow is this getting off topic.


--Would a TV tuner card allow me to capture the video off of my directv receiver in the same digital quality as a Tivo box or will it degrade the video signal?--


A Tivo is a PC, plain and simple. It is a PC that runs their own version of Linux and it uses a tuner card that has an MPEG-2 compression chip.


Since you want to record from a DirectTV, you are looking for a TV tuner card (whether or not it is in a Tivo) that will capture S-Video with a high level of quality.


There are cards that capture well from S-Video (the FlyVideo cards get raves here for that) and there are cards that capture S-Video and compress on the fly to MPEG-2 (the Hauppauge PVR cards do that). Unfortunately, your source (DirectV) was compressed and then uncompressed, so you are not starting with the best source, then you want to compress and uncompress it again and this can cause artifacts.


It is possible to capture at *better* quality than a Tivo. The best quality comes from capturing with little or no compression (I like PicVideo's MJPEG which has light compression) then post process and compress the hell out of it in post-production where you snip out the commercials, etc. For that you would go the flyvideo route.


Hope this helps cut through the cheese.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by e vey


It is possible to capture at *better* quality than a Tivo. The best quality comes from capturing with little or no compression (I like PicVideo's MJPEG which has light compression) then post process and compress the hell out of it in post-production where you snip out the commercials, etc. For that you would go the flyvideo route.


Hope this helps cut through the cheese.
If you use a standalone Tivo this is true. But as an earlier poster replied, if you use a DirecTiVo (combination Tivo and Directv Reciever) you are actually storing the digital stream directly to the Tivo's hard drive. No compression, or analog conversions, etc. So what your record will be exactly the same as what you see. No external capture card/htpc/device can match this.
 

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--No compression, or analog conversions, etc.--


'Tis true. And, since they don't want us doing anything with the captured file, will stay true. Until we do something we can get sued for and, well, you know.


But this is not the same as choosing between a Tivo and a TV tuner card.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Greg_R
You can hack any Tivo (or DirecTivo) unit by adding an Ethernet card (available at 9thtee.com). A Tivo is basically a limited Linux based HTPC. Once you have your network connection, simply download the movies (via Ethernet) to your main computer and burn the discs.


The Tivo hack requires adding the card (very simple) and ensuring you have the most recent software. The DirecTivo is a little more involved but the directions are very straightforward.


IMO no HTPC based recorder has matched the usability and look of the Tivo unit...
The new units DirecTivo units (HDVR2 and clones) do not accept a Turbonet card. However, there are places where you can discover how to enable the USB ports. Then you just add a usb-ethernet adapter (~$20) and away you go.


It's not _that_ easy to do all these modifications, but it's not that hard either. And once everything works, it is trivial to pull shows off the Tivo unit and do whatever you want with it (burn DVDs, etc...)


However, detailed discussion is probably better left for other forums.


Ozy
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by madpoet
...has a built-in Ethernet port and use the freeware to export shows off your PVR. Replay kicks TiVos butt...

-MP
Spoken like somebody who doesn't know that much about Tivo.


The picture quality of a DirecTivo is head and shoulders above both a standalone Tivo and the Replay.

And...

A standalone Tivo with HMO can do everything a Replay can do.
 

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Depending on signal you want to accpet into the tv card. You have a few options.


For HDTV over the air, I would go with a hauppage card.


For just cable a cheaper option is to use a Leadtek card.


I have read about some hacks you can do to the hauppage card to allow it to accpet direct tv signals.


To record the tv I would go with MythTV.
 

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Depending on signal you want to accpet into the tv card. You have a few options.


For HDTV over the air, I would go with a hauppage card.


For just cable a cheaper option is to use a Leadtek card.


I have read about some hacks you can do to the hauppage card to allow it to accept direct tv signals.


To record the signal I would go with MythTV.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
First of all Thanks to everyone that has replied to my original post... Unfortunately I am still quite confused and am not exactly sure which direction I should go to meet the following criteria:

1- Easily record tv shows (wife would really appreciate that)

2- Easily archive to DVD with least amount of lost video quality (I've got multiple dvd players that I can use with multiple tv's/projector but can't afford to have multiple PVRs for each tv)

3- Easily edit out commercials

4- Last and of least importance is to have capability to schedule recordings via the internet (even if it involves using something such as pcanywhere to get access to my home pc)


To be honest I don't understand when you guys talk about compressing/decompressing. I can perhaps understand the compression and loss of video quality but where does the decompression enter into the equation?
 

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wvanthony,


I think clarifying your source and system(s) layout would help this discussion.


If source is DirecTV, use a DirecTivo for best quality and one of the best interfaces. You get your (#1) and you get a digital recording of the source. (#2) I thought I saw rumors of a future DirecTivo/DVD recorder combo box, but may be wrong (and probably not cheap!). (#3) you get a 30 second skip (have to code it in everytime you reset the box) (#4) can't do it with a Series 2 DirecTivo that I know of, but you might be able to use a video switch to your multiple displays and some RF/IR combination to control it from different rooms. (no home media option)


Multiple DirecTivo's shouldn't be dropped from consideration. It's not that expensive to own more than a couple- $5 per additional box, from DirecTV's receiver mirroring fee, plus the $5 DVR service fee (not per device, only once, and waived if you get the super deluxo programming package).


If source is other than DirecTV, look at suggestions above for ideas.


my .02
 

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wvanthony,


To address your questions:

1 - I'd rate it as a tie, SageTV and Tivo both have timeshifting, integrated EPGs, searching, favorites, and intelligent recording. I only spent a few days with a Series 2 Tivo, but SageTV has all of the functionality Tivos are famous for. Sage work just fine with only a remote. Oh, and SageTV can control your DirecTV box too.


2,3 - An HTPC is the definite winner. As has been stated here, you can pull recorded shows off Tivo/Replay, but on an HTPC the files are already there, and if you sellect one of the DVD formats for recording with a WinTV 250 or 350 and SageTV you can burn the files directly to DVD. Hauppage has a free MPEG editor that has worked fine for me for cutting commercials, it's not frame accurate, but it is fast and easy.


4 - I believe that Tivo, Replay, and Snapstream (PC) can do this now, and Sage should be able to do it soon, it's an often requested feature in the Sage forums and the developers are very responsive to community input.


One other thing I'd like to add. If you want to have access to your recorded show at all your TV's but don't want a full-up HTPC/Tivo at each, if you go the HTPC+SageTV route you could get a Hauppage MediaMVP ($100) for each TV and watch your recordings on those, or you could burn them to DVD like you said. The MediaMVP isn't SageTV specific, it uses its own server on your HTPC, but the Sage developers have dropped hints that they are interested in tighter integration.


If you like, or at least don't mind setting up an HTPC you can't really go wrong with SageTV, you don't really give anything up over a stand alone Tivo.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by wvanthony
4- Last and of least importance is to have capability to schedule recordings via the internet (even if it involves using something such as pcanywhere to get access to my home pc)



Two options with SageTV:


1. As you say, remote access. I use VNC to remotely control my HTPC whenever necessary. It's free!


Couple that with a dynamic DNS server like no-ip.com (also free), and you can run the gambit.


2. You can use the SageTV client from anywhere on the net to schedule recordings, one touch record, setup favourites, etc..


The SageTV client is Sage's network app that receives streamed video from the main SageTV app, but can also do the above tasks.



To be honest I don't understand when you guys talk about compressing/decompressing. I can perhaps understand the compression and loss of video quality but where does the decompression enter into the equation?
MPEG data is compressed. A decoder uncompresses and displays it. There are hardware and software decoders. That's what people are talking about in here when they mention the Sonic, Cyberlink, Intervideo and Ravisent filters (for DVD or other MPEG playback).


These are all software decoders. Zoomplayer and the Theatertek DVD players use them to uncompress and display the MPEG data on a DVD.


Software decoding isn't very CPU intensive, whereas encoding is. This is the primary reason (I believe) that the makers of SageTV have chosen to only support hardware encoding tuner cards, such as the PVR-250. The PVR-250, however, depends on software decoders to decompress and display the MPEG files it's hardware encoder creates.


For what it's worth, my P4 1.8 MHz rarely goes above 15% watching television using SageTV while recording two shows at the same time (I have two PVR-250's).
 
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