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Archiving from Sky+ to HTPC via Sweetspot

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Gillykid, Jun 14, 2005.

  1. Gillykid

    Gillykid
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    Hi all

    I know it isn't really meant for it, but what options do I have to archive from Sky+ to a HTPC? Ideally I would like to do it to then record to DVD.

    I currently use a Sweetspot / DScaler for watching Sky and have noticed a few recording capabilities in DScaler. Is this a viable option to start recording from Sky? If so what kind of codecs should I be looking for?

    Once recorded what software am I then looking at to record to DVD?

    Thanks for your help!

    G
     
  2. jaymz

    jaymz
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    I have a Hauppage TV card in my PC (XP not HTPC) and it gives the option to change the files format, i generally use DivX, which generates an AVI file.

    I then take this AVI file (or any other video media file) and use Nero VisionExpress (part of Smart Suite 6) to convert the file to DVD format (or VCD). I have also used the same Nero process to convert video camera images. It really is very simple, you get options to create menus, chapters etc. The beauty of it is that it uses the Nero burning engine so does it all in one go!!

    The one limitation i have noticed is that is does not support 5.1 audio. To confirm if your AVI has it embedded use Gspot to render the file and it will report the audio stream. If it does have 5.1 i then use WinAVI to convert to DVD (it creates the correct file structure, IFOs/VOBs). The only problem with this method is that you then have to create a DVD using Nero.

    All it really means is that the process takes longer and you not can leave it to complete unattended!!
     
  3. Gillykid

    Gillykid
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    Thats a shame - the easier the better to be g/f proof!

    What codecs does everyone use when recording? I have played around with a few it DScaler but with little success.
     
  4. Alex Simon

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    Hi Gillykid
    Dscaler's recording ability is only really beta at best.
    You will get much better results from using a dedicated capture utility.
    Recently we've had good reports from BeyondTV http://www.snapstream.com/products/beyondtv/
    But try a demo if you can before purchasing.
    We always used to suggest Showshifter if WAF was important and you can get the DScaler filters to work within it, but some of our customers seem to be moving away from it. It's still worth a look though.

    Cheers
    Alex
     
  5. DaveP

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    Hi Alex, are you saying that Beyond TV will work with the Sweetspot card?

    If so that would be great. Next question is (which you probably can't answer!) do you know if the Media Centre IR blaster is compatible?

    Thanks

    Dave
     
  6. Alex Simon

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  7. DaveP

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    Thanks for the links Alex. I'd seen that the MCE Remote is compatible, I'm just not sure about the IR Blaster, not knowing what make it is!

    I'll download the trial tonight and give it a go over the weekend. It's quite exciting!

    Dave
     
  8. Gillykid

    Gillykid
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    Hi Alex, thanks for the info - i will try it out and report back!

    G
     
  9. Maff et1

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    I believe the sweetspot doesn't have hardware mpeg compression so you may need to capture in an uncompressed format (which will result in BIG files) and then encode. Ofcourse that 40Gb hard disk is only going to be good for a few minutes of uncompressed video.

    I have a cheapy WinFast 2000 card in my 3200XP (no comparrison in picture quality I know, but it also has no hardware compression) and could not reliably record direct to mpeg.
     
  10. DaveP

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    Good point!
     
  11. Gillykid

    Gillykid
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    Well after playing around with Beyond TV its delay is just too long to be usable. Because it buffers the inputs long before you see the footage you get 2 to 3 second delays on using menus in Sky and Playstation is just completly unusable. Shame. Also the SPDIF handling is terrible.

    So I am back to DScaler. Now using MS Mpeg 4 Codec I am getting 720 x 512 (ish) AVI files at about 1Mb a second with excellent quality. My HD has been upgraded to 160 and I am now looking at automated conversion when not recording to process the AVIs into usable Mpegs for easy conversion to DVD. This way I should have a reasonable solution to archiving from Sky+.

    Out of curiosty how are the recordings stored on Sky+ boxes, I assume they are scrambled / encoded some way but has no one managed direct transfers from the box?
     
  12. DaveP

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    The sky box records the actual digital signal and requires the prescence of a viewing card to enable de-cryption and playback. To get the recordings off the disk you would need to crack the viewing card which has yet to be achieved.

    Dave
     
  13. Alex Simon

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    Yes, as Dave says, SKY+ recordings are lossless. And no one has managed to crack it yet.
    Most Freeview cards can also record the digital stream and they aren't encrypted but obviously don't have the range of channels [if only it had Eurosport for the Tour De France :( ]

    I'm sorry to hear about BeyondTV adding a delay - I haven't heard that before - have you posted on their forum? Obviously we sell an audio delay box, but that wont help your games.

    I'm encouraged that you're getting decent results out of DScaler though, most of our customers have struggled and I've only managed uncompressed AVI. Can you tell me which version you're using.

    There should be many utilities for compressing your video - although if you can find a good one, you may want to choose something less lossy than MPEG4 for the first capture. But obviously whatever works in DScaler might be a factor.

    Good luck and keep us informed.
    I'm looking into the BeyondTV audio-delay problem now.

    Cheers
    Alex
     
  14. Maff et1

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    TopUpTV now has eurosport (after E4 went freeview) and atleast some PVRs will save the decrypted stream. My own Topfield 5800 does, and has a USB link from transfering programs to PC/mac.
     
  15. Alex Simon

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    Blimey - how did I miss that!
    Mind you topuptv is a pain as it's not supported on PC without a http://www.divineo.co.uk/cgi-bin/div-uk/elv-phoenix.html or similar and you need to use particular software. Still - interesting as I have a SweetSpot MCE.

    Now, do I subscribe to sky again for a month (and face having to get through their unsub maze after letour) or go through the hassle of getting topuptv just to avoid Murdoch.

    Hmmm
     
  16. Gillykid

    Gillykid
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    Im using Dscaler 4.1.12 Beta with MS MPEG-4 3688 V3 Codec. Still tweaking, but getting good results. Ideally DScaler 5 is going to come along soon! Does anyone know of a release date or are they still working on the Codecs?
     
  17. David PluggedIn

    David PluggedIn
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    iuVCR complete with the huffyuv lossless compression gives good results, not sure about what the delay is like for live gaming though..
     
  18. Stellavision

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    I'm using iuVCR but have only achieved reasonable results using mpeg-4 compression. Unfortunately I have an audio sync problem using huffyuv and the support email I received from the iuVCR owner wasn't really helpful.
    If anyone has experienced and solved this problem I would be very interested.
     

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