Finally! Component PAL and NTSC capture with hardware MPEG2/4 encoding on a card!

I've come across this card:

http://www.darvision.com/mpegator4/index.shtml

Specs:

MPEG-1 ISO/IEC 11172 video, audio, and system layer encoding (IPB frames)
MPEG-2 ISO/IEC 13818 video ([email protected] 4:2:0), program stream (MPEG-2 video + MPEG-1 layer II audio) encoding
MPEG-4 ISO/IEC 14496 ASP (Advanced Simple Profile)
Creates strictly compliant Video CD and DVD compatible streams in a real time
Real time video preview from the source, simultaneously during encoding session (video inlay)
Selectable rectangular or square pixels video capture resolutions
Captures video in various MPEG-formats, real time compressed AVI-clips
MPEG files playback through the Microsoft Direct Show drivers
NTSC/PAL, Composite, S-Video and YUV Component inputs
Plug-and-Play PCI interface
Supplied with free SDK to unleash your creativity to customize MPEGator4 application for private needs


"Finally!" I thought, "a card with high quality *component* input that can do a hardware encode *and* it can do MPEG4 as well as MPEG2!"

The catch -> the UK distributor informs me it costs £725 ( without VAT! )...

I have sent the UK distributor an email explaining how I think this is way too over priced compared with existing cards that can do s-video capture with MPEG2 hardware encode ( also comparing it to the costs of a FreeView PVR or Sky+ box -> a "sort-of" valid comparison ).

I think only the most dedicated UK AV HomeTheatre nutbag would pay £725 for such a card.

I mentioned in my email to the distributor that I would be starting this thread for them to get a better idea of how this card would be used and what "typical" UK Home Theatre enthusiasts would pay for such a card.

Post your comments/thoughts - don't be silly and say things like "£10".

Would you like to purchase this card ? What price point is a fair price ?

I would love to have this card to capture SkyDigital via high quailty RGB but I think £300 is the absolute max price any sane person would pay.

I don't expect this to cause any reduction in their price but at least we are getting our views out there that we *do* want high quality signal hardware encoding cards, but at sensible prices please...
 

TheCrow

Active Member
groovyclam said:
...
I would love to have this card to capture SkyDigital via high quailty RGB but I think £300 is the absolute max price any sane person would pay.
...
I don't see any mention of RGB input in the spec's, just component.
 

richjthorpe

Novice Member
groovyclam said:
I would love to have this card to capture SkyDigital via high quailty RGB but I think £300 is the absolute max price any sane person would pay.
Ever heard of Sweetspot ?
 

TheCrow

Active Member
richjthorpe said:
Ever heard of Sweetspot ?
Sweetspot doesn't have onboard hardware MPEG encoding so is not ideal for recording high quality video to disc.
 
Ever heard of Sweetspot ?
Errrrm yeah... I have one.

As Crow says, it has no *HARDWARE* encoding so is pretty useless for live TV encoding in software unless you are running a Cray supercomputer ( I exaggerate, but my Athlon 3000 drops many frames in a Xvid software encode via the SweetSpot )
 
I don't see any mention of RGB input in the spec's, just component.
I was imagining you could get component into this overpriced thing via a SCART-RGB to component lead. That is how the SweetSpot receives component from a SCART-RGB source.

It's all academic really at that price it's a non-starter.
 

Chris Muriel

Distinguished Member
I wonder what ICs it uses for the digital MPEG encoding ?
Even MPEG2 encoders aren't particularly cheap ; MPEG4 encoders are currently priced at the level that only broadcast equipment manufacturers can afford them ; others use programmable DSP ICs (e.g. from Texas Instruments or Analog Devices) to do this - but a fairly powerful DSP is needed.
The video ADC ( known in the trade as a "video decoder") probably only takes YUV and Cvbs inputs - not RGB , hence the restriction on that.
It will be like the ADV7183B , ADV7181B etc.
http://www.analog.com/en/prod/0,2877,ADV7183B,00.html
for details.
For RGB you need a more expensive (and complex) chip like this one :
http://www.analog.com/en/prod/0,2877,760%5F793%5FADV7400,00.html

Chris Muriel, Manchester.
 
E

erwinb

Guest
I'm kinda new to this forum, but it's my understanding you want to rip Sky with an MP2/MP4 encoder.
Why not take a satelite decoder that captures the digital (MP2) signal from Sky and stores it on your disk?
I used to use a satelite decoder card that was pretty good for most european pay-tv channels.

Erwin

PS if it's not clear, I don't understand why you actually need encoder-cards unless it's used for encoding your old home-videos. Almost everything else is available in some digital format anyway.
 
Why not take a satelite decoder that captures the digital (MP2) signal from Sky and stores it on your disk?
Because you can't then decrypt that signal on playback on a PC. Sky have kept their decryption a closed system inside the SkyDigital boxes ( a shrewd business move for Sky but annoying for UK HTPC buffs ).

To record Sky you have to capture/encode an analogue signal as it comes out of a SkyBox. I want to capture the best quality analogue output ( currently RGB SCART from the SkyDigital box ) instead of second-best quality ( s-video ).

I don't understand why you actually need encoder-cards unless it's used for encoding your old home-videos. Almost everything else is available in some digital format anyway.
Because I want to record SkyDigital programmes to watch later ? Is that so strange ?
 

David PluggedIn

Active Member
Hi GC

You should be able to record live from SweetSpot to your PC , we have many users doing this!

There are a variety of different applications, and some do lossy compression, some do lossless compression, all with varying system requirements, but you shouldnt need a very high power system to do it and get great results.

cheers
 
W

Werner

Guest
In the states, theyhave an agreed standard called "cablecard" and cablecard capable tuners have started to arrive, hence, you can put your viewing card into the tv tiner and it will record to pc direct, the holy grail so to speak.

Alas, they also are soon going to have a mandated broadcast flag to stop certain broadcasts from being recorded.

Gives with one hand and takes away with the other scenario....

If the uk companies can agree on a similar standard then we will all be a bunch of happy campers
 
but you shouldnt need a very high power system to do it and get great results.
To David at PluggedIn -> I politely beg to differ.

Maybe you have users capturing via a dedicated app, on a dedicated machine whilst not running any other apps. That may be possible on certain medium level processors.

I am running WinXP SP2 on an Athlon 3000 in a HTPC environment ( i.e. I may be also running ZoomPlayer at the same time, a HTPC GUI system such as Meedio and also Nebula's DigiTv software capturing FreeView and also Girder ).

I certainly get *many* dropped frames whilst capturing at 720x576 res and trying to do a software Xvid encode of a live Sky RGB signal on my SweetSpot. I will be very happy to be corrected if you can somehow suggest a way to solve this.

I think the truth of the matter is SweetSpot needs an *extremely* powerful machine to software encode a live capture in a multitasking HTPC setup.
 
L

Loftus

Guest
Groovyclam,

I think that David might be referring to plain-ole capturing without on-the-fly encoding to MPEG4. Most modern machines should be capable of capturing to Huffy or MJPEG formats - although the HDD space required is very large. I've played with some off-the-shelf HTPC software that allows capture in one (CPU-friendly) format and then recompresses the capture file to a MPEG1/2/4 (HDD-friendly format) later.

Getting back to your original topic, you could take some of the 700-odd pounds and use that to upgrade your CPU/motherboard to a faster model that would drop fewer frames with a sweetspot card.
 
Loftus -> I agree - I can capture to lossless Huffy fine with my SweetSpot ( but the files are waaaaaaaaaaaay too big )

This thread was never meant to be a slam at SweetSpot.

This thread is to point out that in 2005 we still have no card with an RGB/component input that does a live signal hardware MPEG2 encode ( never mind MPEG4! ) at a sensible consumer-oriented price. And I just don't understand why not - it seems like a product many people would want.

To David at PluggedIn -> why not get designing an add-on card for SweetSpot that attaches via SweetSpot's PDI port and does a hardware MPEG2 encode of the SweetSpot's capture ? I'd buy such an add-on in a trice if it were a sensible price. It doesn't even have to do MPEG4.
 

dapex

Novice Member
Just to add my opinion, I totally agree that there is a gap in the market here. I would love to be able to connect my xbox into my future HCPC via component and the sweetspot would allow me to do this but then I have to sacrifice the hardware mpeg encoding. The xbox doesn't get that much use and so will proably have to sacrifice the sweetspot for a Happaughe PVR type card.

Sweetspot with hardware mpeg would be my ideal solution and if i could also fit that other card to alow totally digital dvd playplack then I think i would be the happiest bunny in the world.

Come on folks, get designing.
 
A

ailean

Guest
I spotted this card a while ago on a long night of googling but yeah when I eventually found a US$ price I realised it really wasn't aimed at this market! ;)

From the company blurb it seems to be aimed at pro/semi-pro video capture studios, hence the price. Kind of forgot most of it but I think they had an older MPEG2 only version... might be cheaper.
 

dgc

Standard Member
Not sure if this would work but if your aim is component capture with hardware encoding then would it be possible to convert your component to DV and then encode with a DV capture card ?

eg http://www.spcomms.com/dvconverter/
 
dgc -> that hardware just turns my component feed into an inferior s-video ( or worse composite! ) and it's a daft price to boot.

I can get an s-video feed *now* without that box and capture to hardware MPEG2 encode via a Hauppauge PVR card if I wanted to, at a cost of about £90.

The point is *I don't want to* convert from my RGB/component feed. I want the best quality feed ( RGB/component ) to be captured to MPEG2 ( or MPEG4 ) at a resonable cost.
 

dgc

Standard Member
I take on board the price issue but not sure I follow your comments about the output.

I suggested component in and then DV out not svid or composite out.

Have I misunderstood? Is DV out a form of svid/composite?
 

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