I had been using StreamTransport to download shows from a website but that no longer works and StreamTransport is not being fixed. So I will need to start recording shows myself. Which is the better way to do this -
(1) with a DVD recorder (I don't know which are good)
(2) or with a PC adapter (e.g. Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1250PCI express) and Windows Media Center?
Option (1) might simplify timed recording. But I don't know whether they would be compatible with my PC's DVD drive. And then I wind up with a lot of DVDs. I don't know whether these can be converted to files that can be stored in much less space on my PC.
Option (2) would obviate getting another box and storing DVDs. But I believe video format (dvr-ms?) takes a lot of space on disk drives. Unless there is some software that would convert them to standard files (e.g. FLV or AVI)
I am sorry if these are basic simple questions but I expect that it's safe to ask this in the "newbie forum".
Thank you for your assistance.
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Start with what you are recording from.
- off air?
- off analog cable?
- off QAM cable?
- off cable box? SD? HD?
DVD recorder is ok for occasional recording but the DVD has limited capacity and compression.
MSE or other DVR software usually need two steps to high compression.Recommends: Kiva.org - Loans that change lives.
In my opinion, option 2 is the best for recording dvb terrestial broadcasts. I use 'TV Scheduler Pro' running in XP Pro to record TV programs. Configure it to save in 'ts-mux' .ts format.
These files will be rather large (2-8 Gb per hour) but you have a couple of options to make them smaller. You can use MCEBuddy to automatically transcode them to AVI etc. (and even cut the commercials out), or use Freemake Video Converter to manually transcode them to MKV.
Personally, for programs I want to keep I edit the commercials manually & convert to MKV, but it's a multi-step process.
1).. De-mux the .ts recording to elemental mpa & mpv streams using PVA-Strumento.
2).. Edit the commercials out using Mpeg2Schnitt.
3).. Re-mux the edited mpa & mpv streams to mpg using Imago MPEG Muxer.
4).. Transcode to MKV using Freemake Video Converter.
Hope this helps.
Last edited by The Mariner; 26th Apr 2011 at 04:45.
Many people find an HDD DVD recorder with an ATSC/QAM tuner is easier to set up and use, than a Media Center PC. Magnavox makes the only two US models with both features, the Magnavox MDR515H/F7 and the Magnavox513H/F7. Both are decent and affordable. The 515H/F7 has one quirk -- it is necessary to set up the recorder, especially the clock before you can open the DVD drive tray. A DVD recorder equipped with an HDD is better than a DVD-only recorder because it makes it possible to record more hours at a crack without having to be there to change DVD discs. They don't record in high-def, but if someone wants a DVD as the end format, its easier than a using PC, although it isn't possible to export recordings directly from the HDD without recording to DVD.
A TV tuner card with a digital tuner records the MPEG2 digital program stream exactly as received, so they can record both high definition and standard definition. However, most PC tuners need a stronger signal than most consumer electronics to produce a stable picture. The Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1250 PCIe has the ability to capture from a set-top box too, but only in SD. It uses software encoding for analog input, so it is not an ideal choice for a slower or single core cpu.
DVR-MS and .wtv files for HD channels do take a lot of space, and may need to be compressed. The space used by recordings from SD channels is in the same ballpark as for DVD video. Compression takes two steps. Step 1 is to copy from the .wtv or DVR-MS wrapper to a standard MPEG-2 container. Step 2 is compression to a compatible format for .mkv or .avi.
Windows 7's Media Center is the only MS Media Center that records clear QAM channels. The software schedules recordings based on a program guide, and when an appropriate guide is not available, that complicates matters considerably. Windows 7's media center isn't terrible to set up, but it is more work than a DVD recorder. Media Center requires a Windows Media Center remote kit IR Receiver/IR blaster to be installed if capturing from a set-top box and doesn't work with some capture devices that don't have a tuner.
To capture from an HD set-top box requires an HD capture card and none have tuners. The Hauppauge HD PVR and Hauppage Colossus are the only two HD capture devices that will work with Media Center, but only when the appropriate separately purchased software plug-in has been installed. They record in H.264 format.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 24th Apr 2011 at 19:42.
Thank you The Mariner, Usually_Quiet and edDV.
I would be recording from a digital cable box. From what you have written, if I undestand you correctly:
1) recording with a Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1250 PCI Express card would probably give the best results. It requires WMC and would need conversion/compression of the files to reduce their size. But the PC would have to be on at the time of the recording - if the WMC program guide/scheduler was available. So the PC would have to be left on for long periods if I was not at home when the show aired to turn it on and off - or even for days if I was away.
Leaving the PC on for such long periods is not a good thing to do.
2) Recording with A DVD recorder would eliminate the need to keep my PC on when I'm not home in time or away. The quality will not be as good as the direct-to-PC recording. It will also require a conversion to get it onto my PC where it will take up a lot less space than storing DVDs would. But the conversion would be needed in the direct-to-pc anyway so that is not an extra step with DVDs.
And you recommended the the Magnavox513H/F7. I've seen great reviews for the Toshiba DR-570 - are you familiar with that one?
So this is my understanding of what you have all written - which leaves me leaning towards getting the DVD recorder because of its timer flexibility vs leaving the PC on most of the time..
I would greatly appreciate your additional comments if my understanding of this makes sense (as well about the Toshiba unit) - thank you all again - it is really most appreciated..
The Toshiba DR570 has no hard drive, which is a significant drawback if you want to record more than 2 to 4 hours of programming while away. Any more than that and the picture looks bad. Also, recording to a hard drive is just slightly more reliable than recording direct to DVD.
If price is a concern, it is sometimes possible to get a refurbished Magnavox 513H/F7 from J&R Music World for only a bit more than a non-refurbished Toshiba DR570. Frequently these are returns that had nothing wrong with them. The previous owner simply couldn't understand out how to use it or had the misconception that it would be able to tune encrypted channels and could totally replace a digital cable box or cable company DVR. J&R has none at the moment, but if you can wait they may turn up again. Two weeks ago they had some.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 15th May 2011 at 12:03.
Thank you, usually_quiet.
I appreciate your comment - having the disk drive on the DVD recorder gives me the option of additional record time. But, as I understand it, it is not the way i should normally record shows (unless away for extended periods) as to get the show onto my PC would require a double conversion: recorder disk drive -> recorder DVD -> PC disk drive (in converted/compressed format). The quality would also probably suffer some from that, and the time to make the double conversin would be significant. I expect that the Magnavox does have the ability to copy from its disk drive to the DVD. Did I get that double hop right?
I also gather that you agree with my thinking that the DVD recorder is more flexible for un-attended recording than the PC is.
And thank you, also, for telling me about, and taking the time to check on, J&R.
Last edited by Novice20; 15th May 2011 at 22:29. Reason: Forgot to thank you for J&R info
I wouldn't say a DVD recorder is more flexible. I think a PC provides more options for recording. However, a DVD recorder can offer some conveniences, particularly if the target video format is DVD-compatible MPEG-2 video.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 15th May 2011 at 23:24.
Thank you again, usually_quiet for your comments and for taking the time for to help me. I looked at the URL you pointed to - i will have to go through it in more detail - there is a lot there.
When I wrote that the DVD recorder is more flexible than recording directly to a PC, I meant only in the aspect of not having to keep / leave the PC on all of the time to capture the shows. If I am at home and near my computer when the show I want to record is on, I agree that the PC has more options, especially in terms of space for saving the recordings. But if I would not otherwise have been at my computer - or not been at home - at the time of the show, the DVD recorder saves my having to leave the PC on most of the time just to capture the shows. There isn't a PC timer to power-on the PC (even with WMC scheduler) to record a show the way the DVD recorder has one that powers it on..
I just want to address the issue of leaving the PC on for long periods as this seems to be a concern for you.
My personal PC is often on for over a month at a time, many of my customers PC's are on for similar long periods, one standard Pc used as a fileserver was on for over 7 YEARS, running continously. It was only shut down for a hard drive upgrade.
With a good surge protector/battery backup and adequate cooling, leaving the PC on for long periods is no problem at all. There is significant arguement that the average PC will actually live longer if on/off cycles are avoided, this agrees with my experience as a PC tech that many failures occur at the moment the PC is powered up.
Obviously it isn't possible to shut down a PC and still record, but it is possible to turn off the monitor, plus speakers, and put the PC into sleep mode. Most newer PCs are configured to go into sleep mode anyway after a period of inactivity to use less electricity. Windows Media Center wakes up the PC prior to recording, and I suspect other PVR software would as well. I usually record at least one program after I go to bed, and use Task Scheduler to shut off the PC a few minutes after the last recording is finished.
Nelson37's comments are in agreement with my understanding of this situation. I have left my PC on for a few days at a time without any ill effects, but you need to do what you think is right. A battery backup is not a bad idea for a DVD recorder as well, if you will be away for days at a time. Mine (an old Panasonic) can recover from a sustained outage, but a momentary outage prevents it from operating normally afterwards. I have to unplug it for about 15 minutes before it can reset itself.