I've looked around the site and didn't find this same question but I could have just missed it! So sorry if this has already been addressed here .
I'm trying to capture HD video from my DirecTV HD DVR via my Colossus card. I'm running an HDMI cable to an HDMI splitter. From there one HDMI output goes to my TV and one to my Colossus card.
I've tried capturing video using both ShowBiz and WinTV. Both seem to work pretty well but not perfect. WinTV seems to give me slightly better picture image and ShowBiz sometimes has audio/video sync issues.
My issue is that the captured image is slightly softer than the source. The source is 1080i and when I view the captured video on my monitor it looks a little softer than the source. I've even been working with the support group at ArcSoft and they too commented that my captured video looks a little soft.
I'm capturing in .MP4 format with a bitrate of 9 Mbps constant bit rate.
My goal is to capture the video to then import into iTunes to then stream to my Apple TV. I'd like to keep the video resolution as close to the original source as possible. Ideally I'd like it to be as sharp as the original if possible.
So my questions are:
Thanks in advance for any advice or pointers!
- Should I be able to capture video at the same resolution and to look as good as the source from my DVR?
- Any settings I should change to get the optimum video quality?
- Any preference between ShowBiz or WinTV?
- Are there any other capture programs I should try?
- Any other information about my setup and configuration I need to post here?
- Are there any other questions I should ask here ?
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The term "resolution" usually refers to the dimensions - so the width x height , e.g. 1920x1080
The main problem with softness is likely the 9Mb/s - if you are able to capture a higher bitrate, the quality will be higher. If all other things are constant, the higher the bitrate, the higher the quality . 9Mb/s is not high enough for decent quality for real time capture devices
The other possiblity is the type of deinterlacer or processing used by your setup is different / better than the one on your monitor
Constant bitrate is usually better for aquisition purposes .
Personally I would set it as high as it can go (I think 20Mb/s ? ) . If you plan to edit or do any manipulations (e.g. cut out commercials), any re-encoding will reduce the quality. So the general practice is to always record at the best quality, highest bitrates ; because quality only goes "downhill" from there
The "negatives" of recording at higher bitrates is more storage is required. Filesize = bitrate * running time . So the higher the bitrate, the larger the files
But Apple TV has limitations on what it can play (at least the 1st Gen ones did: in terms of bitrate, resolution (720p), profile -main ) . If you have a newer one it might not be a problem
But you also touched on another issue I've had with editing. It seems to me that if I'm editing a digital image that the resolution should stay the same.
Newer generations of Apple TV do support higher resolutions. In fact, I haven't even bought it yet! Rumors were floating around that they may announce a new version today but it looks like they may only be announcing the new iPad today.
I anticipate that when I capture at 20Mbps the file size will probably be roughly double in size from my current 9Mbps.
After I've captured and edited out the commercials, are there any packages out there to optimize the video to keep the same video quality but reduce the file size? I'm assuming they do this with commercial video production but I would guess that the professionals have very expensive equipment for this. Any affordable solutions for the home user?
For cuts only editing:
VideoRedo beta, SolveigMM Video Splitter, TMPGEnc Smart Renderer
But if you're doing any other type of editing , e.g. filters, color correction, overlays - those types of transformations require re-encoding (and thus generational loss)
But if you want to reduce the size also (reduce the bitrate), then you need to re-encode it with encoding software . e.g. handbrake, megui, ripbot etc.... You need to use a profile that is compatible with AppleTV generation "whatever" (and if there is a new version released, you would use updated profiles) . I would say handbrake is very popular for many users
The captured image quality at first glance didn't really seem to improve over the 9 Mbps setting but I should probably compare the two (original and captured video) on my main TV but the audio is horribly out of sync at this speed.
I've typically had sync issues with ShowBiz but have found that if I recapture the show again it will be OK the second time. Not always but this does work usually. WinTV seems to have very few audio sync issues though.
So, any suggestions on either how to keep the audio in sync in ShowBiz or how to set the capture bit rate in WinTV?
I have a Hauppauge 1212 that I capture FIOS TV via component using ArcSoft or Capture4Me, and a HDPVR2 (1512) that I capture FIOS TV via HDMI using Showbiz, Hauppauge's own capture software, and Capture4Me. All encoded captures from both devices are softer than what is displayed (either 720p or 1080i) on TV or in the capture window. So having said that, neither captures are as "crisp" as what is displayed.. I've just learned to live with the difference.
Using Showbiz set to 11 - 14 MBps going through HDMI gives me a fantastic pic for a compressed source such as satellite TV. Component will give a softer pic since you are not recording the digital stream but capturing an analog one from the digital stream. This is why I went through the trouble of acquiring an HDCP stripper in the first place...so I could abandon analog captures for this source. There is a large thread on using HDCP strippers to capture from cable and satellite HDMI, so look for it. The stripper/splitter was very inexpensive at about $30 including shipping. Using a Hauppage 1512 as well. Could be your container format. I'm using TS as that is what most people are using. Any particular reason why you are using MP4? That is usually a final version that I can convert to using other tools, not a capture format...