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Using an HCPC as a video recorder

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by crawf1982, Apr 3, 2003.

  1. crawf1982

    crawf1982
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    I am planning to add an HCPC to my home theatre setup. As a DVD player I can see many advantages, especially as I plan to buy a plasma display in the summer.

    I would also like to use the HCPC as a hard disk video recorder if possible. I have NTL cable TV and am wondering how to connect the cable box to the PC. Is there an internal PC card you can buy that allows direct connection of the cable itself (e.g. bypassing the cable box). Or would I have to but something like an ATI All-in-Wonder graphics card and use a scart to s-video cable to go from the cable box to the PC.

    Also...how will recordings from the cable box compare to a stand-alone DVD recorder? Are the recordings made as MPEG-2 files on the HDD?

    Thanks for your help,

    Dave
     
  2. uk_robk

    uk_robk
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    You can get internal decoder cards for digital TV AFAIK, you'd have to get a ATI AIW or equivalent.

    cheers,
    robk
     
  3. mephistopheles

    mephistopheles
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    Is that right? I thought DVB cards only worked with satellite etc. It's been a while since I checked into it but I was under the impression that for cable TV you had to use the cable box and then capture to the PC; at least that what I've been doing.

    Can someone give a definitive yes or no on this, please?
     
  4. mephistopheles

    mephistopheles
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    I just checked it out and it seems you can't bypass the ntl cable box, after all.

    Apparently, FWIW, Nebula shelved plans to produce a version of DigiTV called DigiTVc for Telewest and Ntl cable earlier this year. Shame..... They are going ahead with a DigiTVs for satellite (at present digital terrestrial only) and, interestingly a x4 way capture card, however.

    So a cable box to RGB -> S-Video converter to PCI capture card of some sort is the way to go. From that point on it will depend upon the lengths you are prepared to go to with re-encoding as regards the ultimate quality you get (not to mention the quality of the NTL broadcast signal at the particular time if your NTL reception is anything like mine), unless you go for an out of the box solution like the AIW, for example.

    Hope this helps........
     
  5. uk_robk

    uk_robk
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    Err, I typed that one too fast! I meant you can't get such cards. Oops :p
     
  6. crawf1982

    crawf1982
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    Thanks for the replies guys.

    mephistopheles - how would you say the quality of the captured programmes compares to the original broadcast? I can't tell the difference between a recording and an actual broadcast on my Panasonic DMR-E30 using SP mode. Is this the case using the PC capture technique?

    Thanks again,

    Dave
     
  7. crawf1982

    crawf1982
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    Just found this site on the net:

    http://www.dvbshop.tv/

    Would the cards in the DVB-C Cards section be of any use for viewing NTL digital cable on a PC?

    Cheers,

    Dave
     
  8. mephistopheles

    mephistopheles
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    I just wrote a really long reply and before I could post it my browser crashed and I lost the lot. Good old XP!!

    As soon as I've calmed down I'll come back and do it again.
     
  9. MikeTV

    MikeTV
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    If you can't tell the difference between your Panasonic DMR-E30 and live TV, I would imagine that that is probably as good as you are likely to get. PC capture is problematic, and needs a high end PC for best results. Most people just capture half frames, and compression obviously degrades the quality, and capture only uses s-video at best, and broadcast sources have their own problems, and so on. I dare say there are others who get great results, but on balance, a dvd recorder is probably as good as most people will get, given today's technology.
     
  10. Threadkiller

    Threadkiller
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    I woul doubt it very much. The internal addressing of the digibox, comprises part of the NTL network, in the same way as your NIC MAC address does for broadband.
     
  11. mephistopheles

    mephistopheles
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    Your Panasonic DMR-30 actually goes some of the way towards what a lot of us are doing with live TV using HCPC and DScaler, ie de-interlacing. It can output standard PAL progressive, but you are using interlaced output to a TV set at the moment?

    I don't have a plasma myself, but it's probably in this respect that you would find an advantage with HCPC once you have yours. HCPC + DScaler will be more versatile for progressive scan live TV, because you can match the output to the native resolution of the plasma, whereas this is fixed (I think) with the DMR-30, but you've already got a ready-made hardware solution for recording, which few would sneeze at. A combination of the two together might make for a very nice, versatile system.

    Of course, if you do want to go HCPC for recording, you will need, either:-

    1/ RGB -> S-Video converter; capture card, software and a great deal of patience; it's a very steep learning curve and from what I can gather, most fall off and buy a Tivo. I haven't (yet!).

    or

    2/ an All-in-Wonder type card (records in MPEG2).
     
  12. Steve1138

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    the pinnacle digital sat card has a LNB loopthru so you connect LNB to the card and then connect its output to the STB
    Also has video in so you could use like any other capture card.

    Haven't got one yet - but am looking into possibility of using Digital sat card to record directly the new BBC FTA channels off ASTRA 2D after May 30
     

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