1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Using A PC To Record Terrestial DVB

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Rasczak, Jul 5, 2004.

  1. Rasczak

    Rasczak
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    21,221
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Argyll
    Ratings:
    +2,268
    Just out of interest how many people here use their PC for recording Digital Terrestial TV? I am thinking of going down this route:
    1) Recording losslessly onto the HDD
    2) Extract with PVA Strumento ( http://www.offeryn.de/dv.htm#pvas )
    3) Conduct frame accruate editting with MPEG2VCR
    4) Authoring in TMPG Enc Author.

    However I have a few questions and would appreciate any help on the subject:

    Does anyone else here do similar to the above suggestion? If so do you find their are any technical problems with doing this?

    What HDDs do you use, i.e. disk size, type (SATA, SCSI), make? Do you use a dedicated HDD for TV time-shifting? Do you find such a system reasonably reliable? Can you multi-task on the PC whilst recording?

    What digital TV cards are the best for what I want to do (I am only interested in recording DVB - not bringing external analogue sources into the PC)? Do they all allow you to recording the DVB bitstream as broadcast? Do all cards/software packages allow you to record the broadcast DVB signal to the HDD? How do you rate PVA Strumento - does it 're-encode' or simply convert the DVB signal?

    Appreciate that is alot of questions but I would welcome any feedback positive or negative.

    Thanks.
     
  2. MatthewS

    MatthewS
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    DigiTV from Nebula Electronics.

    It has by far the best software of any DVB-T card.

    I use mine for exactly what you want to do.
     
  3. neilo

    neilo
    Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2002
    Messages:
    1,564
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Ratings:
    +21
    wish this would work for cable TV I miss my sky +
     
  4. FruitBat

    FruitBat
    Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Messages:
    3,301
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Ealing
    Ratings:
    +382
    I've been doing this for about 2 and a half years.

    HDD: Two Seagate Barracuda ATA 7200 80Gb. Operating Systems (plus some backup) on one, record to the other. Don't time-shift that much. DVB card is Hauppage Nova-T which does not have a great reputation, but is not too bad with the latest software and Win2K. When recording, I leave the thing well alone and pray that it doesn't crash. Sometimes it freezes, but mostly it's OK. The rest of the hardware is Asus A7V266-E, Athlon XP1700, ATI Radeon VE (aka 7000).

    After recording, process with PVAStrumento (top software). I use version 2.0.19 as I have had problem with "juddering" on newer versions. PVAStrumento does not re-encode, it just rewrites the MPEG file, correcting faults.

    I have tried various bits of software for editing (mostly freeware from Google searches or vcdhelp.com). In my experience, most of them freeze occasionally. I suspect that they are making use of the same Windows/DirectX functionality (most of them use the Windows Media Player Control). There's something called mpeg2cut which uses something different and is more stable. I've also tries some linux software (GOPChop is quite stable). For some situations (e.g. The Simpsons) where a 4:3 program is broadcast with vertical bars at the side to form a 16:9 stream, I use Vidomi and Xvid (www.vidomi.com and www.xvid.org I think) to re-encode to MPEG4. This will lose some quality, but allows cropping of the vertical bars and reduction of the filesize. Clearly, if the recording is MPEG2, it would be ideal to leave it without re-encoding, but Vidomi does make the editing and cropping very easy.

    I haven't got round to writing DVDs yet. I've put stuff on CD (1 episode of Father Ted or an MPEG4 film). Now that prices have dropped so much, I guess it's time to start on DVDs.

    Other stuff:
    There is quite a lot of linux stuff for use with the Nova-T (much of it originates in Germany where DVB-S cards seem to be quite popular).
    The makers of the Nova-T (Technotrend) released a programming SDK for the card. I got a copy of this, but the C++ is a bit beyond me. There is a least one bit of software built from this SDK. It is call StuffTV (I think the address is www.stufftv.co.uk). I've only played with this so far (it has a watermark, so I guess the author will be planning a premium version for sale). One interesting feature that it has is the ability to record an entire multiplex. I've only tried this once (it eats disk space fairly quickly) and it isn't straightforward. I had to reboot to linux to run the software to extract the individual mpeg streams from the multiplex, but at least it proves the concept. I read somewhere that the Nebula would have this abilty sometime. You might like to check out the uk.tech.digital-tv newsgroup.
     
  5. GarryL

    GarryL
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    I've also been doing this for around 2 years, using a Hauppauge DEC-2000t to record on to the hard disk of my laptop. As laptop hard disks tend to be slower than desktop ones - and the DVB broadcast stream seems to peak at well under one tenth of the typical speed of a modern hard disk - I don't think the choice of hard disk is *too* critical. Still, if your PC is more than a few years old it might just struggle. Defragment every few months to keep your disks fast.

    PVAStrumento is an excellent piece of software, particular considering it is free of charge, although I've stuck with version 2.1.0.11 as I've found newer versions crash too often. It can't convert 100% of the files I record, but it seems around 95%.

    TMPGEnc Author is also excellent. Even though not free, it is well worth the asking price. It occasionally warns that the PVAStrumento output files are not DVD compliant (because a GOP is too long). This seems to more common on programs recorded from the commercial channels, with the BBC being more conservative in the MPEG compression settings they use. In practice I can still play these disks on my DVD player, but your mileage may vary.

    Occasionally I experience audio sync drift on the disks I produce, but these may have been present on the original broadcast (I have noticed this sometimes when watching live DVB), or may be due to problems reading the DVD.

    It may be obvious but the better the input to the process, the better the output, so make sure you have a good aerial properly set up. I had more PVAStrumento failures and audio sync problems before I pointed my aerial in the correct direction!

    Also, choice of blank DVD is important. Better to spend 50p on a really good blank from a quality brand like Verbatim rather than less on a cheap brand which will give more coasters and, more worryingly, may seem to burn OK, but may have problems playing now or in a few months time. It really is amazing how terrible some cheap blank DVDs are!

    To give you some idea of the amount of hassle involved, on my setup, for a typical film it takes around 5 minutes for PVAstrumento processing, around 10 minutes to manually edit the file and create menus in DVD author, around 15 minutes for DVD Author to create DVD-ready files and another 10 minutes to burn the DVD. All stages but the manual editing and menu creation can be started then left unattended. I would like a consumer electronics DVD recorder that saved me all this time, but currently using a PC seems to be the only way to get DVB broadcasts onto DVD without an additional MPEG2 compression stage. So, at least after you have spent all that time you know that you have the best quality recording possible. And actually, if you already have a fast enough PC, the rest of the setup is not too expensive.

    Hope that helps.

    Kind regards

    - GarryL
     
  6. probedb

    probedb
    Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Messages:
    2,653
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    Sheffield
    Ratings:
    +181
    I do this except tell DigiTV to record as DVD compitable. Use something I can't remember the name of for losslessly (as in doesn't reencode the whole video to do it) cutting out adverts etc, then create a DVD out of it :)
     
  7. higenbs1

    higenbs1
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Messages:
    460
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +11
    Can recommend VideoReDo for making cuts to MPEG2 files. Worth every penny (about £25) and does not re-encode (except for the frames around where the cuts are made). I use it all the time to take out adverts etc. Has got a very friendly interface too.
     
  8. probedb

    probedb
    Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Messages:
    2,653
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    Sheffield
    Ratings:
    +181
    That's the one!! Couldn't remember the name :)
     

Share This Page

Loading...