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which MPEG2 encoder?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by owain_thomas, Jun 10, 2003.

  1. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    Anyone have any recommendations for a good hardware mpeg 2 capture card?

    Until recently I've focussed on getting a cheap capture card and doing the encoding with CPU power (I currently use a Lifeview 2000 for this).

    Although cheap, this is a long way from trouble-free solution. I've just seen about this product which could really get around all those concerns about the qulaity of user interface/software that comes with these cards (which is what put me off them in the first place). Basically it allows you to use the sky EPG as the frontend for scheduling recordings, meaning that as long as the card can work in the background and be controlled via IR I should be able to make a pretty seamless, good quality PVR.

    Basically I would want a nice clean svid input, IR controllability and most importantly, stability.

    Any suggestions?

    Owain
     
  2. ROne

    ROne
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    We run a pinnacle dc2000 systems, which can capture MP2 upto 15 mb/s in two flavours : a dvd complaint one and a high quality AVI wrapped version.

    The card is discontinued now but was unique in that is could capture and edit in Mp2 (not an easy task) and export at faster than real time.

    You might pick up a dc1000 or dc2000 on ebay.

    There is still a small community of people like ourselves using it in broadcast.

    It will take YUV/S-video/Composite and has XLR and phone connectors for sound.

    It will also run on premiere 6.5 in real-time.
     
  3. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    Cheers for the reply, but I think that the pinnacle is a little out of my league (price seems to be about £1500 + VAT :eek: :eek: :eek: ).

    I was looking more at things like the hauppauge wintv PVR range or vidac's Vmagic. The wintv PVR I've had to discount out of hand as it has what sounds like an unworkable delay built-in (something about the fact that you can't just watch a direct stream capture, it has to be encoded to mpeg and then decoded even if you're not recording :( ).

    Just wondered if anyone had found a workable solution to mpeg capture at around £200.

    Owain
     
  4. gab2001uk

    gab2001uk
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    I have the Vidac VMagic TV Plus Plug-in card with s-video and composite inputs.

    The tuner is PAL B/G so there is no sound from it in the UK, but the rest of Europe is OK. The Movie version has no tuner and is cheaper.

    There is a timer / scheduler with the software so you can set it up to record as you wish from either the tuner, composite or s-video inputs. At the same time you can set the recording quality from VCD, SVCD or DVD choices.

    I also have the Nebula DigiTV card, and the IR controller that comes with it can be programmed to operate other applications, even Vidac's VideoSuite, although I have not had time to set it up yet apart from launching the app with the "1" button.

    The quality of the VCD is good, but not quite as good as can be obtained with a 40GB .AVI file, TempGENC and some hours to spare, but the ability to copy a childrens commercial VHS tape to VCD in real time plus burning time more than compensates for that.

    The SVCD and DVD quality is very good indeed. It can also time -shift, so you can record to MPEG at the same time as watching the recorded MPEG from the beginning!

    My Phillips DVD recorder, along with its "Copy Protect" message is now gathering dust.
     
  5. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    thanks for the reply gab, I am quite encouraged by what I've read about these cards. What I'm finding it hard to do is get any info on de-interlacing, does the software provide a good option for this for recording AND viewing? How does it compare to Dscaler? I'd be very tempted if it was able to use .dlls like showshifter can so that all of dscaler's algorithms are available.

    Owain
     
  6. dnrc

    dnrc
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    You may also want to look into Adaptec's effort, the VideOh PCI

    It's a PCI (Obviously) MPEG 2 Hardware capture card,

    they also do a USB2 version.
     
  7. gab2001uk

    gab2001uk
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    Update on the Vidac Card

    Not sure if this applies to all MPEG hardware encoders, but the Vidac can be used as a HW transcoder:

    Bought Barney on DVD for my children today. The first thing I do with any children's DVD is to convert it to VCD and store the original away safely. Replacement VCDs are around 15p!

    This process normally takes around 4 hours on a 2.4GHz P4 using TmpGENc

    Process just completed as follows:
    1) DVD Decrypter to VOB files on HDD 7 mins
    2) Vidac transcode to VCD MPEG1, including sound 20 mins

    all that is left is to run through VCDEasy and burn. A few minutes work

    Total time to convert 1 hour DVD to VCD around 40 mins!!
     
  8. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    any info on the de-interlacing?
     
  9. gab2001uk

    gab2001uk
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    Not sure about the de-interlacing. When setting options for MPEG encoding, you can choose progressive or interlace on the DVD quality. It is set at interlace by default, but much better results when progressive is selected.

    I playback on a Plasma at either its native resolution of 852X480 or let it do its own scaling if on a higher screen res.

    I could see no difference on DVD playback whether DScaler was used or not.
     
  10. Squirrel God

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    Have a look at Matrox. Some of the older versions are much cheaper now.
     
  11. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    Just had an email reply from vidac. Unfortunately the card is unable to use any form of external de-interlacing :( . The de-interlacing that the card itself does is merely to throw away half the picture data (odd fields only), so is not really a satisfactory way to go. Also there can be no de-interlacing done when viewing, only when recording - this is a deal-breaker for me as I watch a lot more TV than I record.

    The search continues...

    Owain
     

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