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  1. Hi All,

    I'm curious as to how everyone here captures TV from a satellite or digital cable systems. I have read that some capture the analog feed from the receiver, while others use a digital capture card or have found ways to extract videos off of their PVRs.

    As for myself, I own a TiVo from DirecTv, which I have modifed to let me extract its recordings over ethernet to my PC. These recordings are lossless captures from the DSS stream, and, since the size of them is 480x480 I can author these to DVD without re-encoding, and they'll play on most set top players (since the resolution the the same as SVCD).

    Has something similar been done with the Dish PVRs or the various digital cable ones? Is it even legally possible to receive Dish content with a DVB card?
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  2. It's possible to get Dish content with a DVB card. I wonder if you actually subscribed or paid for a movie that you were capturing on your hard drive that it might be legal or not?
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  3. dish trasmits most at 544x480, and yes you can use dish-rip to get them on your computer, I don't rencode mine buts its not a standard resolution, so its hit or miss on a DVD player, they play flawlessly on my toshiba 3900, and have worked on some Apex player my brother has, and yes you can stream right to your computer with a DVB card from dish and bev sats but its illegal even if you have a subscription
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  4. What's the filesize of the captures?
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  5. it varies on the channel from 800 - 1500 megs an hour
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  6. On DirecTV it is about the same, 800-1500 megs an hour, depending on how much it is compressed. I think it also depends on how much motion is in the clip, as they are encoded by Directv with VBR. I guess one of the downsides of capturing this way is that you really can't choose your file size, you just take what's given to you (unless, of course, you want to re-encode, which I never do).
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  7. you can transcode to a certain size, but it is kind of pointless
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  8. 800 mbs? Sounds like Fox. I really don't think these are lossless despite the fact that they're direct from the tivo unit.
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  9. Its a perfect stream right to my hardrive, the only real playing with the data is when I am viewing it, as far as I know there is no better comsumer level solution for quality, I would love to hear any better solutions
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  10. It is "lossless" in the sense that it's the exact same data that Dish/DTV has sent down to you.

    Of course, both of these services heavily compress from the source THEY receive from the various networks (which is still mostly analog, I think), so I guess you could say it isn't "lossless" in that sense.

    DirecTV's encoders seem to do a good job at keeping quality with relatively low file sizes. However I hear that they've been compressing their signal more lately, hopefully they'll improve it with the new capacity they're adding. Still, getting at the videos in this manner (as opposed to capturing the analog feed from the receiver) simply has no alternative.

    /Has about 100 DVD-Rs of recordings collected, mostly unwatched.
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  11. I capture from the analog outputs.
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  12. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Forget all that stream business. Just capture from s-video so you get the best signal, and then capture at a compliant DVD resolution. The end.

    I don't know why people have to make this so complex sometimes, it's just tv! Quality is great to have, but let's not go overboard.
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  13. I'm going to ask a question, just because my brain won't fire in sequential order on this issue...


    Originally Posted by pyrohydra
    These recordings are lossless captures from the DSS stream, and, since the size of them is 480x480 I can author these to DVD without re-encoding...
    480x480 is SVCD resolution. How do you author to DVD without re-encoding?
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  14. Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Forget all that stream business. Just capture from s-video so you get the best signal, and then capture at a compliant DVD resolution. The end.

    I don't know why people have to make this so complex sometimes, it's just tv! Quality is great to have, but let's not go overboard.
    I can understand that analog capturing is your preference. And, to tell you the truth, I doubt there's much (if any) visible quality difference between the two. However, analog capturing actually seems more complicated to me than extracting from the Tivo. To extract from the Tivo (which is on my network and has an IP address), I open up the freeware program called TyTool, have it download a list of shows on the Tivo, and I select which shows I want and it transfers them to my hard disk. This same program can also cut commercials and author to DVD (although I use Tmpgenc to author). This to me seems a lot easier than an analog capture. Ease of use is the main reason I do this, maximum quality is the 2nd.

    edit: fixed a few typos
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  15. Originally Posted by indolikaa
    I'm going to ask a question, just because my brain won't fire in sequential order on this issue...

    480x480 is SVCD resolution. How do you author to DVD without re-encoding?
    I use DVDPatcher to change the header resolution to read 720x480. This fools TMPGEnc author into accepting the video. Once the authoring is done, I run DVDPatcher again on the VTS files and change it back to 480x480. Then I burn with Nero.

    The authroing application that comes with TyTool (which I mentioned above) will do this without the patching steps. TMPGEnc is just my personal preference.
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  16. I used to record from the S-video output on my Hughes DTV reciever, (used to until well you know). I found the best DVD compliant capture setting for analog broadcast TV to be 352x480 MPG2 from 2 - 2.5 bitrate and audio 48,000khz (224 or 128).

    Prior to that I recorded 480x480 until I realized it is a waste because an analog TV signal doesn't require that much resolution. Also, changing the header to a dvd compliant size can cause compatibility problems on some set-top DVD players.
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  17. Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Forget all that stream business. Just capture from s-video so you get the best signal, and then capture at a compliant DVD resolution. The end.

    I don't know why people have to make this so complex sometimes, it's just tv! Quality is great to have, but let's not go overboard.
    Capturing the stream is the optimal quality and requires the least overheads. Also there is no chance for dropped frames or worrying about calibrating the colours and sound. Bitstream recording is the only way to go.
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  18. I would like to capture the stream but have no idea how.
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  19. Originally Posted by ntloser
    I would like to capture the stream but have no idea how.
    First, you'll need a DirecTv Tivo. I don't think they're that expensive now, with the High-Def ones out and all. Look for the Hughes HDVR2 (has dual tuners).

    Second, read this to get started on hacking the Tivo to allow for video extraction.

    Also, a USB->Ethernet adapter is highly recommended, so that you can extract the recordings over the network. It's possible to extract by putting the Tivo drive in your PC and ripping the videos out, but over the network is much, much easier. Look for a USB 2.0 NIC, which is fast enough for real-time streaming of the videos to your PC.
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  20. Cool, that is a lot to take in for one day. I am wondering if there is a way to get the video from a digital cable box or sat reciever that has a firewire output. I already have a firewire port and can get a HD cable box with firewire out.
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  21. Originally Posted by ntloser
    Cool, that is a lot to take in for one day. I am wondering if there is a way to get the video from a digital cable box or sat reciever that has a firewire output. I already have a firewire port and can get a HD cable box with firewire out.
    The firewire port on the cable boxes is really there to enable recording of HD content to D-VHS VCRs. Software can emulate a D-VHS VCR on your computer if you have a firewire port, which in effect allows you to bitstream the HD content from the cable box to your computer. However, the only software I'm aware of that does the emulation is a program called VirtualDVHS, and as far as I know this is only for the Mac.
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  22. More info on how to capture HDTV bitstreams with VirtualDVHS here. I sure wish I had a Mac about now .

    Does anyone know if any PC-based software to do this has been released or is in development? My searches turned up nothing.
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  23. Yes I just found some
    http://kgbird.com/DVHSTool/

    or CapDVHS

    But I am still looking for drivers. Apparently MotionDV studio has the drivers but I am looking for a seperate one.


    Check out this http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=309877


    I am still trying to find out exactly what is needed but so far it looks like

    1 HD reciever with Firewire out
    2 Windows XP
    3 some sort of A/C driver (this is what I am not clear on)
    4 Software like; http://kgbird.com/DVHSTool/ or CapDVHS
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  24. Please let me know if you are able to figure out any more.
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  25. pyrohydra, thanks for the information so far

    As you can see, I have asked about this before:

    https://www.videohelp.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=218327

    From what I could gather, satellite TV gets the best quality, and both Dish and DirectTV have their own methods for capturing the satellite stream (Dish with a few hacks and a DVB card, DirectTV with the DirecTivo unit and hacking)

    Right now, I have analogue cable, and I've always wanted to upgrade it, especially knowing I could get the satellite streams directly. I guess I've been hesistant to buy a satellite dish because I have a feeling I'll get all the equipment and I won't be able to get anything to work.

    In any case, this seems like the consumer level way to get the highest possible video for archiving purposes, right? I just wish there was an easy step by step guide for setting up either the Dish or DirecTv for direct stream capturing, but I honestly haven't seen many guides written for newbies.

    I guess right now I just can't imagine how difficult or involving setting everything up is.

    And what's better, the DirecTivo way or the Dish/DVB way? I'm pretty close to upgrading from analogue TV, I just need to know what to pick for satellite.

    Oh, by the way, you said to get a Hughes DirecTivo system. Is it fine just to get the one that comes with that DirectTV plan that costs $100?
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  26. Hmm, DirecTv or Dish? That's certainly a tough call. Each has their pros and cons, I guess. DirecTv obviously gets you a Tivo, with its unique features (season pass) and user interface. As you said, it seems to be possible to capture Dish streams with a DVB card, however I don't think this is legal (extraction from a PVR is in a legal grey area, in any case). Dish PVRs are hackable also, however I'm just learning the details about this. One thing Dish seems to have going for it is resolution, with a 544x480 standard res and 640x480 for the premiums, it beats DirecTv's 480x480. It does seem that the bitrates on the two are similar, so I don't know how this all translates to visible quality difference, as I have never wtached anything on Dish. DirecTv's 480x480 may actually be an advantage, since that is also SVCD resolution and would be compatible with more standalone DVD players, if you choose to author the streams.

    The #1 killer hack on the Dtivos is extraction, of course. However, the #2 killer hack appears to be Tivoweb. This handy hack runs a webserver on your Tivo, which emulates the Tivo interface and does a few things that can't be done on the tivo directly. Tivo's interface is nice, but it can be slooooooooow sometimes. The Tivoweb makes it much easier to search for upcoming shows and schedule recordings.

    Now, as far as the equipment you asked about, the DirecTivo that's part of that deal should do fine. I linked to Sleeper's ISO a few posts up. That should install all of the hacks for you. Don't worry, I had the same fear when I got my equipment, that none of the hacks would work for some reason. I just had to take the plunge, I guess. And I haven't looked back .

    Now I'm waiting for HDTV extraction
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  27. Originally Posted by pyrohydra
    I'm curious as to how everyone here captures TV from a satellite or digital cable systems.
    I grab the source material from my DirecTiVo system via a Canopus ADVC-100 as DV25 AVI. Next, I snip out commercials and unneeded junk using Sony's Vegas v5.0. I then render out to the destination format, typically using Vegas, but sometimes I use Canopus' ProCoder or MainConcept's MPEG Encoder. I typically burn to VCD or SVCD using Ahead's Nero. If I am going to DVD-Video, then I will typically author with Sonic's ReelDVD, but I may start using Sony's DVD Architect v2.0 if it doesn't suck like v1.0 did.
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  28. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    FYI, resolution vary from channel to channel and change all the time. Not too long agi, Dish was 480x480 and DSS was 544x480/412x480 and others.
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  29. Originally Posted by pyrohydra
    Hmm, DirecTv or Dish? That's certainly a tough call. Each has their pros and cons, I guess. DirecTv obviously gets you a Tivo, with its unique features (season pass) and user interface. As you said, it seems to be possible to capture Dish streams with a DVB card, however I don't think this is legal (extraction from a PVR is in a legal grey area, in any case). Dish PVRs are hackable also, however I'm just learning the details about this. One thing Dish seems to have going for it is resolution, with a 544x480 standard res and 640x480 for the premiums, it beats DirecTv's 480x480. It does seem that the bitrates on the two are similar, so I don't know how this all translates to visible quality difference, as I have never wtached anything on Dish. DirecTv's 480x480 may actually be an advantage, since that is also SVCD resolution and would be compatible with more standalone DVD players, if you choose to author the streams.

    The #1 killer hack on the Dtivos is extraction, of course. However, the #2 killer hack appears to be Tivoweb. This handy hack runs a webserver on your Tivo, which emulates the Tivo interface and does a few things that can't be done on the tivo directly. Tivo's interface is nice, but it can be slooooooooow sometimes. The Tivoweb makes it much easier to search for upcoming shows and schedule recordings.

    Now, as far as the equipment you asked about, the DirecTivo that's part of that deal should do fine. I linked to Sleeper's ISO a few posts up. That should install all of the hacks for you. Don't worry, I had the same fear when I got my equipment, that none of the hacks would work for some reason. I just had to take the plunge, I guess. And I haven't looked back .

    Now I'm waiting for HDTV extraction
    Thanks for the info so far My school semester ends in about a week and after that I'd like to do a lot of reading on the subject. It seems quite interesting how people are dedicated to getting all these things to work. Comcast has been jacking up prices on analogue cable every half year it seems, so I wanted to delve into satellite, and the added bonus of archiving shows onto DVD in the exact quality that they were broadcast seems to make it a much better deal than analogue cable.

    The only problem I see with a DVB is that you would have to sacrifice one of your recievers when you want to record a show, right? I mean, you'd have to plug the cable into your recorder instead of the TV.

    And yeah, I noticed that Dish has a combo unit too, but I haven't seen much info on extraction on it yet. Looks like Tivo extraction software has matured a lot, and it looks like the only hard part is getting everything set up. There's certainly a lot of enthusiastic people on the DealDatabase forums about it.

    So yeah, maybe as I get closer to purchasing DirecTivo (or Dish), I'll have more questions about the process if you don't mind fielding them

    Is there a quick checklist as to the things you need to do to get this system up and running? I know the first step is backing up the Tivo hard drive (or putting in your own), then installing the hacks. Then, how exactly do you connect it to your network and do the transfers? Do you need to take your hard drive out? I noticed you mentioned USB to ethernet earlier, so I assume that the DireTivo has USB ports, and you can get a device that has an enternet plug on one side and a USB port on the other, and you could connect the drivers like that? Can you buy a long cable like that, since my TV is fairly far away from my computer?
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  30. The below is mostly from memory and some details may be inaccurate.

    Besides the Tivo, a couple of other items are recommended:

    1. A USB 2.0 NIC card. I use the Netgear FA120.
    2. A 100+ GB hard drive to copy the Tivo image and install the hacks on. Even though the Tivo can be backed up, it is recommended that you keep the original drive unhacked and in storage somewhere, to ensure you have a good unhacked source to go back to in the future
    3. A CD-R burned with the Sleeper ISO (this is a bootable CD).

    Before you start hacking, you need to activate your Tivo service w/DirecTv and let it dial out for its first call (it will install software updates at this time).

    Now, I have never used the Sleeper ISO but I have done the process manually so I pretty much know how it works. Before you boot the CD, you need 3 drives in your PC. The first drive can be your Windows PC drive, but it MUST have a Fat32 partition that is at least 6 GB, no NTFS. If your drive is NTFS only and does not have room for a Fat32 partition, place an empty drive formatted with FAT32 in its place (the scripts store Tivo backups here).

    The second drive is your original Tivo drive, and the third drive is the empty hard disk you're going to hack (this will be your Tivo production disk). Remember what controller and mode (master/slave) each of your drives are connected to, you'll probably be asked to identify them.

    At this point the script will ask how you want to hack your tivo. Tell it to hack using the monte method. The prom method is only for those who've hardware-modded their tivo. The scripts on the Sleeper ISO (it pretty much walks you through the process) will install just about all of the hacks for you - and it also tells you exactly what it's doing, so you can learn the process even though its an automated script. It will also configure network settings for you.

    Assuming everything went ok, you should now have a hacked Tivo on your network. You should be able to telnet to it and get a bash prompt. One other piece of software that's recommended is a handly little app called TyTool. This is a video extraction, cutting (frame-accurate), muxing, and authoring app all in one (although I prefer Tmpgenc to author).

    Oh...one more thing I should add. Never boot into Win2K or XP while your Tivo drive (especially the original) is connected to the system. Win2K/XP will try to write a signature to the disk, and if it does so it'll ruin your Tivo drive (wont boot in the Tivo). Although for Win2K whenever I add a new drive I think it asks me first before it writes a signature, XP may not. It's better to be safe than sorry.

    I hope this is all accurate. You should read the sticky threads on the Dealdatabase forum (especially the Sleeper ISO thread).

    Good luck!
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