Help - Recording to PC?

Trav

SatelliteGuys Guru
Mar 3, 2004
130
0
I'm getting ready to order a Dish Network system with two tuners - one for the living room TV and one to hook up to my PC computer.

1) My PC has an ATI All-In-Wonder video card, so I assume all I need to do to watch TV from the satellite is hook up the S-Video output on the receiver to the S-Video input on my video card (and the audio cables as well). Is this correct?

2) I'm assuming the above is the right way to hook it up because the ATI video card does not have a *digital* tuner, and thus can not tune the channels directly if I bypassed the receiver. And I assume the S-Video output will be better than using the Coax output/input from the receiver to PC card, right?

3) Recording. So, I would make sure the receiver is on the right channel and then set my PC card to capture at the appropriate time to record the TV show. This will be acceptable, but I was wondering if there is a better way to do this, perhaps with the ability to record different shows while I am away. Of course, this would require the ability to change channels on the satellite receiver without me being there. Is this possible?

Is it possible to program the satellite receiver to change channels at specific times? If so, then I could easily set my PC to record at different times and program the receiver to go to the right channel during those times. ???

4) If that is not possible, how about if I decide to get a DVR with my Dish Network? I know I'll be paying 4 or 5 dollars more per month, but I would be able to record shows directly to the receiver, right? Then I could just play back the show from the DVR to my PC (using S-Video again, I assume) and record the already-recorded show from the DVR to the PC. I'm wonder about the recording quality, though. Or is there a way to transfer the recorded programs on the DVR directly to the PC without having to capture it analog?

Sorry if this is long, but I want to get this down before I order the system! I just want to be able to record TV on my PC so I can edit out commercials, write the shows to DVD for archiving, etc... So any recommendations on the best way to do this would be most helpful.

Thanks,
Travis
 

joth386

Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Nov 4, 2003
30
0
The PVRs will be usefull for time shifting shows you do not wish to archive. It would give you the flexibility to present when you transfer the show to your pc by the virtue of being stored on the PVR untill you delete it. So if something goes wrong with the PC (Not that that would ever ever happen) you will be able to try again.
 

MaSat

Member
Mar 3, 2004
8
0
Trav said:
I'm getting ready to order a Dish Network system with two tuners - one for the living room TV and one to hook up to my PC computer.

1) My PC has an ATI All-In-Wonder video card, so I assume all I need to do to watch TV from the satellite is hook up the S-Video output on the receiver to the S-Video input on my video card (and the audio cables as well). Is this correct?

2) I'm assuming the above is the right way to hook it up because the ATI video card does not have a *digital* tuner, and thus can not tune the channels directly if I bypassed the receiver. And I assume the S-Video output will be better than using the Coax output/input from the receiver to PC card, right?

3) Recording. So, I would make sure the receiver is on the right channel and then set my PC card to capture at the appropriate time to record the TV show. This will be acceptable, but I was wondering if there is a better way to do this, perhaps with the ability to record different shows while I am away. Of course, this would require the ability to change channels on the satellite receiver without me being there. Is this possible?

Is it possible to program the satellite receiver to change channels at specific times? If so, then I could easily set my PC to record at different times and program the receiver to go to the right channel during those times. ???

4) If that is not possible, how about if I decide to get a DVR with my Dish Network? I know I'll be paying 4 or 5 dollars more per month, but I would be able to record shows directly to the receiver, right? Then I could just play back the show from the DVR to my PC (using S-Video again, I assume) and record the already-recorded show from the DVR to the PC. I'm wonder about the recording quality, though. Or is there a way to transfer the recorded programs on the DVR directly to the PC without having to capture it analog?

Sorry if this is long, but I want to get this down before I order the system! I just want to be able to record TV on my PC so I can edit out commercials, write the shows to DVD for archiving, etc... So any recommendations on the best way to do this would be most helpful.

Thanks,
Travis

1) Yes.
2) Yes. There is no way you would be able to find TV tuner card that you can tune satellite channels.
3) A few problem doing that. You can program your satellite receiver to turn on at certain time to certain channel, so you are fine with that. Problem may be starting the ATI to record at certain time on S-VIDEO input. ATI built-in software (I belived it is call GEM star) allows you to do that for off-the-air/cable channels. However, for Satellite recording you are inputing signal from S-VIDEO, and I don't see any way of doing that. There is a way to convert S-VIDEO OUT/COMPONENT OUT/VIDEO OUT to COMPOSITE VIDEO (Channel 3/4) by purchasing a RF converter and programed your ATI to record on CHANNEL 3/4, but I would not recommended because of quality degrade with the COMPOSITE VIDEO and conversion.
4) Use DVR. If you want to transfer that you may be able to hack that box "at your own risk of breaking the box of course".
 

Trav

SatelliteGuys Guru
Mar 3, 2004
130
0
MaSat said:
3) You may but it is very complicated way to record it. You can program your satellite receiver to turn on at certain time to certain channel. Problem may be turning on the ATI to record at certain time. ATI built-in software (I belived it is call GEM star) allows you to do that. However, the problem with that is, it assume that you are recording a specific channel that you tuned with your ATI card. If you are inputing signal from S-VIDEO, I don't see any way of doing that.
4) Use DVR. If you want to transfer that you may be able to hack that box "at your own risk of breaking the box of course".

Thanks for the responses. Just a few clarifications, please:

So even I decide NOT to get the DVR option, I can still program the receiver to turn on with a certain channel at a certain time? Can I also program it to switch to another channel at a later time (for example, the same night)?

The ATI software with my video card has a Personal Video Recorder option that will allow me to set a recording from the analog inputs (S-Video and RCA audio) instead of the tuner, so that shouldn't be a program. I don't need to use the Gemstar guide for that.... I'll just manually set the start/end time and tell it to record from the inputs instead of the tuner (so I don't have to select a channel).

Sounds like this might work out and I'll probably go with the DVR for the convenience of using it when I don't really need to keep an archive on my PC or when I don't wish to edit the video.

Here might be an example of my workflow (please make any corrections if I have been mistaken). I normally record Survivor every Thursday right now with my ATI card and basic cable. I then edit the MPG video that was created during capture and take out the commercials. I am keeping each episode on my hard drive so I can make personal DVD's of all the episodes. Then I can watch them any time I want on my home DVD player.

So here's what I think I'd need to do. I will have the receiver/DVR hooked up to my PC via S-Video and RCA.

OPTION 1 (with DVR) -

1) Record Survivor onto the DVR that comes with the Dish Network. Obviously, I simply set it to record and let it do its thing.

2) When I come home, I play the recorded episode from the DVR and record it onto my PC with the ATI capture software (capturing from the inputs, not the tuner).

OPTION 1 - (without DVR)

1) Leave the receiver powered on and on the right channel.
OR
1) Program the receiver to turn on at the right time and channel (do all dish receivers have this ability? And do they allow you to program multiple instances or just one? For example, let's say I wanted to record Survivor and Jay Leno on the same night... can I program the receiver to turn on channel 3 from 7-8pm and channel 5 from 10:30-11:30pm or does it only let you turn on and set channel once)? (Important distinction)

2) Set the ATI software to record from the inputs and the right time.

3) Edit out the commercials and archive the MPG file for later DVD burning

OPTION 2 - (with DVR)

1) Set the DVR to record the show(s).

2) When I come home, I simply play back the show from the DVR and set my PC to record from the S-Video and RCA inputs to create an MPG file.

3) Same as above.

---

Now I'm wondering if option 2 would actually produce inferior video quality since it is being recorded once to the DVR, and then recorded again onto my PC. I assume the DVR uses MPG compression when recording, and my capture card would again be compressing it... so would this significantly degrade the video quality? Or is the DVR video quality excellent enough that I wouldn't notice?

Ideally, I'd like the ability to record multiple programs in one night without my intervention. Sounds like the DVR option would definitely work, but the non-DVR option would only work if I can program the receiver to change channels at different times in a night... and that I don't know anything about???

Thanks again!



Thanks,
Travis
 

Trav

SatelliteGuys Guru
Mar 3, 2004
130
0
joth386 said:
The PVRs will be usefull for time shifting shows you do not wish to archive. It would give you the flexibility to present when you transfer the show to your pc by the virtue of being stored on the PVR untill you delete it. So if something goes wrong with the PC (Not that that would ever ever happen) you will be able to try again.

Those are very good points... there have been times when my PC capture program crashes, and it would be nice to actually use the DVR intead of my PC for those times where I don't need to keep and/or edit the recording. I'm just wondering about video quality if I record a program twice like that (once to the DVR and then from the DVR to the PC)???

Thanks.
 

joth386

Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Nov 4, 2003
30
0
As I understand it, Unlike say tivo or replay units the sat dvr records the program in its original format without converting anything. It should be the same as seeing it in real time. I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong. Rumor has it (and you know how rumors float on the web) that there are pc pvr for sat in the stream such as the units used with sat radio (tivo is also looking at such a unit). I used to record my favorite shows to vhs and store the whole season but now with the pvrs I keep it until I am tired of it and delete it. I have considerd getting a dvd recorder but would rather keep up with the laterst pvr tech instead. It seems that you are putting together a usefull system and I will have to consider it when I buy my new laptop. I am looking at getting a hp zd7000 series or one of the new dell 9100 with the large screens and a dvd burner. I think the newer units are coming with tv cards so that will be cool.
I look forword to seeing how you figure this out.

Good Luck
Joth
 

AppliedAggression

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 26, 2003
530
0
Connecticut
You are a lot better off just getting a PVR then using your capture card when you decide that you want to keep something. The PVR is so easy to set recordings, and you'll understand how much better of an option it is, when you get it.

As a new customer, you should be able to get the 510 PVR for free. ($5 monthly charge for the PVR, well worth it)
 

Oakenshld

SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 20, 2004
83
0
Trav said:
3) Recording. So, I would make sure the receiver is on the right channel and then set my PC card to capture at the appropriate time to record the TV show. This will be acceptable, but I was wondering if there is a better way to do this, perhaps with the ability to record different shows while I am away. Of course, this would require the ability to change channels on the satellite receiver without me being there. Is this possible?

Trav, you may want to check out www.snapstream.com

With the IR blaster and this software, it looks as though you can program the software to change your sat channel to schedule the recording. I dont have it, but I plan to do the same thing as you.
 

Trav

SatelliteGuys Guru
Mar 3, 2004
130
0
AppliedAggression said:
You are a lot better off just getting a PVR then using your capture card when you decide that you want to keep something. The PVR is so easy to set recordings, and you'll understand how much better of an option it is, when you get it.

As a new customer, you should be able to get the 510 PVR for free. ($5 monthly charge for the PVR, well worth it)

I understand your point, and I'll probably get the PVR for the convenience. However, how do you "keep" something when using the PVR? You only have limited space on the hard drive and I'm sure it wouldn't be long before I'd need to scrap some old stuff to make room for the new. Then what do you do?

If I get the dish with the PVR, I have the best of both worlds (at least from my understanding so far): I'll use the PVR for those programs that I wish to watch on demand but don't necessarily need to keep, edit, or burn to DVD. For programs I wish to keep/edit/burn, I'll record them to the PC via the capture card.
 

Trav

SatelliteGuys Guru
Mar 3, 2004
130
0
dfergie said:
I did thailand on my pc as you described above...but now I use a panasonic dvd recorder and put them on ram disc-edit-then burn with my pc. The pq is alot better than using my radeon.

Thanks for your response. Can you elaborate a bit on why the video quality is a lot better using this method? For example, I currently capture from my analog basic cable system to the Radeon with the MMC software (captures to MPG2 format). The video quality that is captured is nearly as good as watching it live from the cable feed (with the exception of some minor artifacting from the MPG compression). I have also captured some footage from our old VHS-C camcorder with the Radeon inputs with video quality that matches the tape (which isn't that great to begin with, of course).

How does the DVD Recorder that you mentioned record the satellite TV program? It's still has to be hooked up via the analog outputs/inputs (S-Video, etc), right? Theoretically, I can't imagine why the DVD Recorder would be recording at a better quality than the Radeon since both receive identical feeds. Does the DVD Recorder record to MPG2 format as well? Sorry if I am not understanding correctly... just wondering if I would find the image quality acceptable or not?
 

MikeF

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 2, 2003
195
0
I would definately suggest the PVR route. It will change the way you watch TV. I have done what you want and there are two ways to go about it.
1. Record with the PVR and then capture off the S-vid just like you said. Works OK with minor artifacts at times. That could be remedied maybe with a high-end capture device vs. the "cheap" capture chips on a vid card. There will be some video degredation, it cannot be avoided as you are re-processing the stream in this method. It will be the same as what you are getting with your captures, now. The played back signal is the same as if it were live.
2.If you don't mind a little "hacking" which will most certainly void your warranty, you can just move the PVR's harddrive to your computer, extract the files to another drive with a little program that changes some header indo in the video and audio streams, then author to DVD with your favorite authoring program, and taadaa, you have tyour MPEG2 with NO LOSS of PQ. This is not for the faint at heart but does work like a charm. My 510 has a standard Maxtor 80gig drive running Linux OS.
 

Trav

SatelliteGuys Guru
Mar 3, 2004
130
0
2.If you don't mind a little "hacking" which will most certainly void your warranty, you can just move the PVR's harddrive to your computer, extract the files to another drive with a little program that changes some header indo in the video and audio streams, then author to DVD with your favorite authoring program, and taadaa, you have tyour MPEG2 with NO LOSS of PQ. This is not for the faint at heart but does work like a charm. My 510 has a standard Maxtor 80gig drive running Linux OS.

I would imagine this would be doable for a one-time transfer of something very important, but certainly, it can't be practical on a regular basis? For example, it wouldn't seem practical to record my favorite shows each week and then go through all of that "hacking" in order to transfer them to the computer.

Since you've actually done Method 1, have you compared video quality between capturing from the recorded DVR video or capturing directly from the life feed? In other words, would the video quality be better if I just set the receiver to switch to the right channel at the right time and capture directly from the broadcast, or is the difference in vid quality really neglible if I record first to the DVR and then capture during playback?

Thanks!
 

reedl

SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 26, 2004
44
0
1) A D/PVR from a satellite provider will always record the raw bitstream so there is absolutely no quality loss with a E* or D* DVR.

2) Unless you wish to archive the shows for keeping forever, a DVR is useful for watching the shows, then deleting them.

3) The ATI card is OK as a mpeg encoder, but not the best in terms of quality. There are better PC based MPEG encoders out there. The standalone DVD recorders typically have better A/D converters.

4) Any DVR is going to be much more reliable than a PC based system. Even though we complain about the E* pvr's, they still work much better than most every PC based system out there. Furthermore, the UI and ease of use is much better. You simply choose a program out of the guide, and record it. Compare that to a PC based system, and you will agree that it will always be more complicated.

Reedl
 

Trav

SatelliteGuys Guru
Mar 3, 2004
130
0
reedl said:
1) A D/PVR from a satellite provider will always record the raw bitstream so there is absolutely no quality loss with a E* or D* DVR.

Thanks for clearing that up! So I shouldn't see any difference in quality if I record the program live to my PC or if I record the DVR playback movie. So it seems to me that it might be better to record all the shows with the DVR first and then I could just capture them whenever it is the best time for me on the PC. :)

3) The ATI card is OK as a mpeg encoder, but not the best in terms of quality. There are better PC based MPEG encoders out there. The standalone DVD recorders typically have better A/D converters.

Got it. I've been pretty happy with the MPEG encoding with the AIW so far, so I don't think that will be an issue. I was more concerned about any loss of quality because of double recording, but it appears you cleared that up for me, thanks.

4) Any DVR is going to be much more reliable than a PC based system. Even though we complain about the E* pvr's, they still work much better than most every PC based system out there. Furthermore, the UI and ease of use is much better. You simply choose a program out of the guide, and record it. Compare that to a PC based system, and you will agree that it will always be more complicated.

You guys have me sold on getting a DVR, but I still want the long-term option of capturing to the PC to edit the video and burn to DVD. So it appears this will all work out just fine.

Now I just have to decide whether to get two receivers or just go with a 522? Since I believe I have to use the S-Video and RCA inputs for my PC (don't think I can just plug the Coax into the Radeon, can I?), I would then be forced to use the COAX on my living room TV and I'd rather have S-Video there too for better quality, right? I'm not sure how the 522 works for hooking up to two different rooms... but I thought I read there is only 1 S-Video and the second TV would need to use Coax. Is this correct?

Thanks much!
 

Stargazer

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Sep 7, 2003
16,563
340
Western WV
If you want the satellite receiver to turn the channels by themselves so you can record the shows that you want on your PC PVR, then you can use the timers on the receiver if it has that capability. The 4700/4900, 301, 311, and other receivers has this ability in it.

You have 10 timers that you can program where it will autotune to that channel one time only, once a day, once a week, everyday, just weekdays, or even record it to vcr automatically when you have the code setup in the receiver to emit an IR signal to the VCR to tell it to start recording.

It would be nice if a PC PVR had the capability to run on the same frequency as VCR's to tell it to automatically record. You would have to program the PC PVR to tune in at a certain time to record just as you would program the satellite receiver with the auto tune timer.
 

Trav

SatelliteGuys Guru
Mar 3, 2004
130
0
Stargazer said:
If you want the satellite receiver to turn the channels by themselves so you can record the shows that you want on your PC PVR, then you can use the timers on the receiver if it has that capability. The 4700/4900, 301, 311, and other receivers has this ability in it.

You have 10 timers that you can program where it will autotune to that channel one time only, once a day, once a week, everyday, just weekdays, or even record it to vcr automatically when you have the code setup in the receiver to emit an IR signal to the VCR to tell it to start recording.

It would be nice if a PC PVR had the capability to run on the same frequency as VCR's to tell it to automatically record. You would have to program the PC PVR to tune in at a certain time to record just as you would program the satellite receiver with the auto tune timer.

Thanks for the info. I figured I would need to program both the PC capture software and the dish receiver. However, if I use the DVR to record the programs first, then I could capture them to the PC whenever I want, which might actually work out better (easier).
 

StevenD

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Nov 18, 2003
3,412
436
n
Or you can buy a Media Center PC. I bought a refurb'd HP from CompUSA for less than $700. Ive got an old 4922 hooked up to it and it works great. As soon as I buy a 921, Im going to move my 811 to the Media Center PC. Unless of course VOOM starts shipping a PVR soon!
 

MikeF

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 2, 2003
195
0
I would imagine this would be doable for a one-time transfer of something very important, but certainly, it can't be practical on a regular basis? For example, it wouldn't seem practical to record my favorite shows each week and then go through all of that "hacking" in order to transfer them to the computer.
Acually it is quite easy to do. It takes about 3 minutes to remove the drive from the PVR and about a minute to hook it to a PC. Another few minutes to transfer the files, about 5-6 for a 2 hour movie, and you are now ready to author your DVD. Compare that to the capture process. And there is NO loss in PQ from the original source. But like I said at the start, this method is not for everyone. You made a good choice to go with a PVR. And yes, as many have said, there is no difference in the Live or Playback from a PVR.

Good luck
 

Trav

SatelliteGuys Guru
Mar 3, 2004
130
0
MikeF said:
Acually it is quite easy to do. It takes about 3 minutes to remove the drive from the PVR and about a minute to hook it to a PC. Another few minutes to transfer the files, about 5-6 for a 2 hour movie, and you are now ready to author your DVD. Compare that to the capture process. And there is NO loss in PQ from the original source. But like I said at the start, this method is not for everyone. You made a good choice to go with a PVR. And yes, as many have said, there is no difference in the Live or Playback from a PVR.

Good luck

Okay, you've got me curious now! ;-)

So you remove the cover on the PVR, remove the drive, attach to an IDE port on the PC? I built the computer I am using now, so I am familiar with hardware, etc. But I guess I just assumed it would be more difficult. I'm just not sure if I'd want to do this on a weekly basis (which is at least how often I would need to do it with the workflow I have). I'll probably try the capture from PVR method first and see if the quality is good enough for what I want.
 

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