CPU Usage on WinTV-PVR 250

Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

Hi,

I just got a WinTV-PVR 250. It seems to work okay, except that my CPU
usage is 100% when just watching TV, and I can't hardly do anything at
all on the computer while the WinTV application is running.

Is this normal? Is there anything I can do to improve performance?

Windows XP SP1
DirectX 9.0
1 Ghz Celeron w/384MB RAM
ATI Rage 128 Pro (32MB)

--Bruce
46 answers Last reply
More about usage wintv
  1. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Bruce wrote:

    > Hi,
    >
    > I just got a WinTV-PVR 250. It seems to work okay, except that my CPU
    > usage is 100% when just watching TV, and I can't hardly do anything at
    > all on the computer while the WinTV application is running.
    >
    > Is this normal? Is there anything I can do to improve performance?
    >
    > Windows XP SP1
    > DirectX 9.0
    > 1 Ghz Celeron w/384MB RAM
    > ATI Rage 128 Pro (32MB)


    Watching TV has absolutely nothing to do with the PVR-250. Any CPU
    usage is because of the MPEG2 decoding. Your CPU is quite underpowered
    for that kind of thing. Consider getting a decent CPU if you want to
    decode MPEG2 without overtaxing your system.


    -WD
  2. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    > > I just got a WinTV-PVR 250. It seems to work okay, except that my
    CPU
    > > usage is 100% when just watching TV, and I can't hardly do anything
    at
    > > all on the computer while the WinTV application is running.
    > >
    > > Is this normal? Is there anything I can do to improve performance?

    No, it's not normal. Do a CTL-ALT-DEL and see what programs and
    processes are active. It won't be the card causing the 100% usage unless
    you have a driver or config problem with the card. I don't have the card
    but several in this ng do and you can check configuration issues with
    them.

    > > Windows XP SP1
    > > DirectX 9.0
    > > 1 Ghz Celeron w/384MB RAM
    > > ATI Rage 128 Pro (32MB)

    That's more than enough to work just fine with this card for simple
    viewing like your'e doing.

    > Watching TV has absolutely nothing to do with the PVR-250. Any CPU
    > usage is because of the MPEG2 decoding. Your CPU is quite
    underpowered
    > for that kind of thing. Consider getting a decent CPU if you want
    to
    > decode MPEG2 without overtaxing your system.

    The PVR-250 has a hardware encoder so it has nothing to do with the
    processor usage. For basic capture and viewing, his system is more than
    powerful enough, especially with a hardware encoder card.
  3. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    On Fri, 04 Jun 2004 06:31:06 GMT, Will Dormann
    <wdormann@yahoo.com.invalid> wrote:

    >Watching TV has absolutely nothing to do with the PVR-250. Any CPU
    >usage is because of the MPEG2 decoding. Your CPU is quite underpowered
    >for that kind of thing. Consider getting a decent CPU if you want to
    >decode MPEG2 without overtaxing your system.

    Not sure what you mean by "Watching TV has absolutely nothing to do
    with the PVR-250".

    So...pardon my ignorance....with the PVR-250, the TV analog signal is
    encoded into MPEG2 on the card, then immediately decoded from MPEG2 by
    software for display?

    Since I'm basically interested in this card for capture, is there any
    way to record without displaying it?

    --Bruce
  4. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Bruce wrote:

    > Hi,
    >
    > I just got a WinTV-PVR 250. It seems to work okay, except that my CPU
    > usage is 100% when just watching TV, and I can't hardly do anything at
    > all on the computer while the WinTV application is running.
    >
    > Is this normal? Is there anything I can do to improve performance?
    >
    > Windows XP SP1
    > DirectX 9.0
    > 1 Ghz Celeron w/384MB RAM
    > ATI Rage 128 Pro (32MB)
    >
    > --Bruce

    No, it's not normal. I have two PVR-250 cards in a Celeron (2.4 GHz)
    system with only 512 MB RAM and the CPU usage barely registers when
    recording two channels at the same time.

    When recording one channel and watching another, then CPU usage goes up a
    bit, but nowhere near 100%.

    Hauppauge software is notoriously bad though. I hated it.

    Try downloading a demo of BeyondTV from www.snapstream.com (what I use)
    or SageTV from www.freytechnologies.com and see if that doesn't help.
  5. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    It is highly abnormal to have 100% CPU usage just for watching. My
    winfast PVR uses only 4% for viewing and 15% for high resolution
    (640x480) mpeg-1 capturing.

    Looking at your configuration... you have a Celeron and only 32MB
    video, so that maybe the problem.

    > I just got a WinTV-PVR 250. It seems to work okay, except that my CPU
    > usage is 100% when just watching TV, and I can't hardly do anything at
    > all on the computer while the WinTV application is running.
    >
    > Is this normal? Is there anything I can do to improve performance?
    >
    > Windows XP SP1
    > DirectX 9.0
    > 1 Ghz Celeron w/384MB RAM
    > ATI Rage 128 Pro (32MB)
    >
    > --Bruce
  6. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    On Fri, 04 Jun 2004 04:20:31 GMT, Bruce <bvanderw-news5021@mailblocks.com>
    wrote:

    >Hi,
    >
    >I just got a WinTV-PVR 250. It seems to work okay, except that my CPU
    >usage is 100% when just watching TV, and I can't hardly do anything at
    >all on the computer while the WinTV application is running.
    >
    >Is this normal? Is there anything I can do to improve performance?
    >
    >Windows XP SP1
    >DirectX 9.0
    >1 Ghz Celeron w/384MB RAM
    >ATI Rage 128 Pro (32MB)
    >
    >--Bruce


    I have the PVR-250 too. I run a 1.4GHz Athlon with 256meg ram, Win98SE OS and am
    using the stock software Hauppauge supplied with the card, not their latest.
    Their latest has some undesirable features, like always displaying in DVD
    regular quality unless you're recording, then it drops to displaying in the
    quality mode you record in. I prefer to always see what quality I'll be
    recording in before actually recording.

    For me, typically, WINTOP shows the PVR250 is using 35-40% of cpu cycles when
    viewing at DVD Standard quality. Reducing the quality settings to DVD Super long
    play drops the CPU cycles to about 30%. Reducing the quality even lower to
    MPEG-1 VCD drops the CPU usage to 15%. Increasing capture quality settings to
    the max, MPEG2 12MBps CBR results in 45% CPU usage.

    Recomendations to reduce cpu usage for you -

    1) Reduce the MPEG capture quality settings to what you need rather the best
    settings. For any tape or TV station captures, DVD Superlong Play is adequate.

    2) Reduce the WinTV display size on your screen to the minimum. Windows XP uses
    more cpu cycles to handle 'overlay' displays than Win98, due to the overhead for
    'transparency' handling, and the larger display area can take more cpu cycles.

    3) Think about changing out the Celeron with a regular P4 CPU, or look into
    'overclocking' the CPU you have. More GHz will help.

    4) Make sure your hard drives are defragged regularly and that you're recording
    to the fastest drive you have.
  7. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Bruce wrote:

    > On Fri, 04 Jun 2004 06:31:06 GMT, Will Dormann
    > <wdormann@yahoo.com.invalid> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>Watching TV has absolutely nothing to do with the PVR-250. Any CPU
    >>usage is because of the MPEG2 decoding. Your CPU is quite underpowered
    >>for that kind of thing. Consider getting a decent CPU if you want to
    >>decode MPEG2 without overtaxing your system.
    >
    >
    > So...pardon my ignorance....with the PVR-250, the TV analog signal is
    > encoded into MPEG2 on the card, then immediately decoded from MPEG2 by
    > software for display?

    Correct. The PVR-250 records in hardware (0% CPU usage) into MPEG2
    format. If you are watching "live" TV, the card should be recording
    into MPEG2 and immediately decoding it (with your CPU) for display.

    Decoding MPEG2 is somewhat CPU intensive. If your software is also
    deinterlacing the picture, then that requires even more CPU power. As
    recommended in another reply, check your CPU usage with the task manager
    to see *what* is using up CPU time when watching TV. If it is almost
    all by your TV software, then your CPU might be underpowered for what
    you are doing.

    The MPEG2 decoder used can make a big difference on performance. Some
    have reported better performance with a 3rd part MPEG2 decoder, such as
    one installed by a software DVD program, such as PowerDVD. You can
    check what decoder is used by rendering an MPGE2 file with GSpot.
    My video path is:
    (S) --> Moonlight-Elecard MPEG 2 Demultiplexer --> MainConcept MPEG
    Video Decoder --> (R)
    and I find it to be quite snappy.


    > Since I'm basically interested in this card for capture, is there any
    > way to record without displaying it?

    Absolutely. Though this is a function of the software you are using.
    I only use the Linux tools for the PVR-250, but I would think that the
    Windows software package would include some sort of VCR or PVR type of
    software where you can record shows.


    -WD
  8. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    > Decoding MPEG2 is somewhat CPU intensive. If your software is also
    > deinterlacing the picture, then that requires even more CPU power. As
    > recommended in another reply, check your CPU usage with the task
    manager
    > to see *what* is using up CPU time when watching TV. If it is almost
    > all by your TV software, then your CPU might be underpowered for what
    > you are doing.

    Since he's just watching TV, he's not _decoding_ anything either. The
    minimum configuration requirements for the card are a 733 processor and
    that's for pausing with full screen playback so the processor obviously
    isn't the problem.

    > The MPEG2 decoder used can make a big difference on performance. Some
    > have reported better performance with a 3rd part MPEG2 decoder, such
    as
    > one installed by a software DVD program, such as PowerDVD. You can
    > check what decoder is used by rendering an MPGE2 file with GSpot.
    > My video path is:
    > (S) --> Moonlight-Elecard MPEG 2 Demultiplexer --> MainConcept MPEG
    > Video Decoder --> (R)
    > and I find it to be quite snappy.

    The mpeg decoder he's using isn't the problem either.

    >>You should consider one of the new ATI Radeon cards. New VGA cards
    have
    >>functions that accelerate MPEG decoding built into the hardware.

    The graphic display video card is definitely _not_ the problem either,
    unless there's a driver conflict. And it's hardly a reason to buy a new
    card.
  9. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Morrmar wrote:

    >
    >
    > Since he's just watching TV, he's not _decoding_ anything either. The
    > minimum configuration requirements for the card are a 733 processor and
    > that's for pausing with full screen playback so the processor obviously
    > isn't the problem.

    Yes, he is decoding.

    The software is streaming the mpeg output from the card into a buffer to be
    used for pausing or rewinding live TV. So anytime you watch live TV the CPU
    usage will increase because what you're actually doing is reading from the
    buffer.

    At least with BeyondTV that's true. I can disconnect the antenna cable and
    continue watching for a few seconds so that would imply a buffer that's
    being decoded for viewing.

    But like you said, even a 733 MHz processor should handle it just fine.
  10. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    > > Since he's just watching TV, he's not _decoding_ anything either.
    The
    > > minimum configuration requirements for the card are a 733 processor
    and
    > > that's for pausing with full screen playback so the processor
    obviously
    > > isn't the problem.
    >
    > Yes, he is decoding.

    So you can't just _watch_ uncompressed TV without storing it to disk and
    then reading from the disk? I thought the Hauppage cards took the load
    off the system? Everything you see is encoded by the card, stored to
    disk, then read from the disk and then decoded by Windows in real time
    before it reaches your monitor? Even when your _not_ recording?

    > The software is streaming the mpeg output from the card into a buffer
    to be
    > used for pausing or rewinding live TV. So anytime you watch live TV
    the CPU
    > usage will increase because what you're actually doing is reading from
    the
    > buffer.

    So there's no AVI passthrough like on ATI or Canopus cards? If your just
    watching TV on your monitor, it's _always_ recording to computer hard
    disk? I thought the PVR series cards were capture cards that you could
    configure with s/w to use as a DVR. I didn't know that you _had_ to use
    it that way, to use your processor and hd _all_ the time.

    > But like you said, even a 733 MHz processor should handle it just
    fine.

    I used a AIW on my old 1.2 Cely and just viewing TV barely touched the
    processor usage and nothing was spooled to my hard drive. I could even
    capture mpeg in SVCD format and still use my computer. Decoding isn't
    _that_ processor intensive enough to time up a gig Cely.
  11. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Morrmar wrote:

    >
    > So you can't just _watch_ uncompressed TV without storing it to disk and
    > then reading from the disk?

    As far as I know, but I'm willing to be wrong. If someone knows differently
    please let us all know and please post a reference if applicable.


    > I thought the Hauppage cards took the load
    > off the system?

    It does, on the *encoding* side. The incoming video is encoded into an
    mpeg-2 stream in real time.


    > Everything you see is encoded by the card, stored to
    > disk, then read from the disk and then decoded by Windows in real time
    > before it reaches your monitor? Even when your _not_ recording?

    As far as I know. But like I said, if that's not true then I'm willing to be
    educated if someone will post a link to a technical article.

    But as I've said in other posts, this isn't an issue for us with analog
    cable and analog TVs. I've hooked it to a Sony, a Zenith and a Curtis
    Mathes, and in all cases we prefer the image coming from the PVR over a
    composite video cable (none of our TVs have S-video :-<) to the one coming
    from a raw antenna input on the TV.

    I have noise reduction filtering disabled so I don't have a theory or
    explanation as to why the recorded image would look more pleasing. It
    appears very sharp, detailed, rich in color and contrast. I'm using the
    Intervideo codec for playback with BeyondTV 3.5 (beta).

    >
    >
    > So there's no AVI passthrough like on ATI or Canopus cards? If your just
    > watching TV on your monitor, it's _always_ recording to computer hard
    > disk? I thought the PVR series cards were capture cards that you could
    > configure with s/w to use as a DVR. I didn't know that you _had_ to use
    > it that way, to use your processor and hd _all_ the time.
    >
    >

    If you're timeshifting, yes. That's no different than a Tivo, as far as I
    know. How else would you be able to rewind LiveTV?

    In BeyondTV you set the buffer size for timeshifting. I set mine for 3.1
    gigabytes which is about an hour so I can pause liveTV for up to an hour. In
    our house that's almost a requirement.


    >
    > I used a AIW on my old 1.2 Cely and just viewing TV barely touched the
    > processor usage and nothing was spooled to my hard drive. I could even
    > capture mpeg in SVCD format and still use my computer. Decoding isn't
    > _that_ processor intensive enough to time up a gig Cely.

    Yeah, I used to play DVDs on a 500MHz Pentium II without killing the CPU.
    That's pretty much the bottom end for me.
  12. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "Bruce" <bvanderw-news5021@mailblocks.com> wrote in message
    news:uqtvb05jq8nnbs0vagnmbq6tg85d1ockqi@4ax.com...
    > Hi,
    >
    > I just got a WinTV-PVR 250. It seems to work okay, except that my CPU
    > usage is 100% when just watching TV, and I can't hardly do anything at
    > all on the computer while the WinTV application is running.
    >
    > Is this normal? Is there anything I can do to improve performance?
    >
    > Windows XP SP1
    > DirectX 9.0
    > 1 Ghz Celeron w/384MB RAM
    > ATI Rage 128 Pro (32MB)

    You should consider one of the new ATI Radeon cards. New VGA cards have
    functions that accelerate MPEG decoding built into the hardware.
  13. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    > > So there's no AVI passthrough like on ATI or Canopus cards? If your
    just
    > > watching TV on your monitor, it's _always_ recording to computer
    hard
    > > disk? I thought the PVR series cards were capture cards that you
    could
    > > configure with s/w to use as a DVR. I didn't know that you _had_ to
    use
    > > it that way, to use your processor and hd _all_ the time.

    >
    > If you're timeshifting, yes. That's no different than a Tivo, as far
    as I
    > know. How else would you be able to rewind LiveTV?

    I agree, but I didn't think you _had_ to use the buffer if you didn't
    want to rewind live TV or weren't recording it. I thought you could just
    watch TV on your computer monitor without using your hard drive. I'll be
    very surprised if someone verifies that it's the only way to watch TV on
    your computer monitor.

    I got the impression from the op that he was just watching TV, not
    recording or time-shifting or anything else. I'd bet the s/w that came
    with installation put a bunch of stuff in his startup group and that's
    what's bogging his system down, or the combination of the Hauppage s/w
    and the usual suspects... antiviral programs, network programs, memory
    resident programs, etc.
  14. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Morrmar wrote:

    > I agree, but I didn't think you _had_ to use the buffer if you didn't
    > want to rewind live TV or weren't recording it. I thought you could just
    > watch TV on your computer monitor without using your hard drive. I'll be
    > very surprised if someone verifies that it's the only way to watch TV on
    > your computer monitor.
    >

    Like you said, that would depend on the software. I've used Hauppauge's
    WinTV2K for less that 3 minutes - I absolutely *hated* it so I have no idea
    how it works.


    >
    > I got the impression from the op that he was just watching TV, not
    > recording or time-shifting or anything else. I'd bet the s/w that came
    > with installation put a bunch of stuff in his startup group and that's
    > what's bogging his system down, or the combination of the Hauppage s/w
    > and the usual suspects... antiviral programs, network programs, memory
    > resident programs, etc.
  15. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "Morrmar" <morrmar@myway.com-no spam> wrote in message
    news:uO2wc.10484$xt5.10442@bignews2.bellsouth.net...
    > > Decoding MPEG2 is somewhat CPU intensive. If your software is also
    > > deinterlacing the picture, then that requires even more CPU power. As
    > > recommended in another reply, check your CPU usage with the task
    > manager
    > > to see *what* is using up CPU time when watching TV. If it is almost
    > > all by your TV software, then your CPU might be underpowered for what
    > > you are doing.
    >
    > Since he's just watching TV, he's not _decoding_ anything either. The
    > minimum configuration requirements for the card are a 733 processor and
    > that's for pausing with full screen playback so the processor obviously
    > isn't the problem.

    So you know for a fact that the PVR 250 does not require decoding when
    watching TV?

    Since the encoding is done in H/W on the board I'd say that intimate
    knowledge of operation withstanding, it very well may only pass MPEG over
    the PCI bus. I know that the run of the mill TV card passes YUV video that
    can be just displayed, but the PVR-250 is a completely different animal and
    I wouldn't be suprised if there is no YUV path to the processor.

    > >>You should consider one of the new ATI Radeon cards. New VGA cards
    > have
    > >>functions that accelerate MPEG decoding built into the hardware.
    >
    > The graphic display video card is definitely _not_ the problem either,
    > unless there's a driver conflict. And it's hardly a reason to buy a new
    > card.

    Depending on if decoding for viewing is required or not.
  16. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    > So you know for a fact that the PVR 250 does not require decoding when
    > watching TV?

    Like I said, don't have the card.

    > Since the encoding is done in H/W on the board I'd say that intimate
    > knowledge of operation withstanding, it very well may only pass MPEG
    over
    > the PCI bus. I know that the run of the mill TV card passes YUV video
    that
    > can be just displayed, but the PVR-250 is a completely different
    animal and
    > I wouldn't be suprised if there is no YUV path to the processor.

    On the other hand, I would be _very_ surprised if it _only_ passed mpeg
    data and then used a standard Window's codec to decode, even while _not_
    recording.

    If it'll run on a 733, it's not maxing out the processor of a gig Cely
    by decoding anything from the PVR-250 while just viewing a program.
    There are other issues here, obviously. And they do not involve
    upgrading a processor or video card to get his 250 to function properly.

    Hell, I can't believe I'm defending these cards, I don't even like them.
    I went with an ATI AIW myself. <g> But with the proper s/w and drivers,
    the op will be able to view a program and use his computer as usual or
    record a program and take a slight performance hit. That's what made
    these cards are so popular.


    > > >>You should consider one of the new ATI Radeon cards. New VGA
    cards
    > > have
    > > >>functions that accelerate MPEG decoding built into the hardware.
    > >
    > > The graphic display video card is definitely _not_ the problem
    either,
    > > unless there's a driver conflict. And it's hardly a reason to buy a
    new
    > > card.
    >
    > Depending on if decoding for viewing is required or not.

    See above, they couldn't sell the card if it was going to max out the
    processor of a P3 just by viewing.
  17. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "Morrmar" <morrmar@myway.com-no spam> wrote in message
    news:2s4wc.5090$1s1.2300@bignews4.bellsouth.net...
    > > So you know for a fact that the PVR 250 does not require decoding when
    > > watching TV?
    >
    > Like I said, don't have the card.
    >
    > > Since the encoding is done in H/W on the board I'd say that intimate
    > > knowledge of operation withstanding, it very well may only pass MPEG
    > over
    > > the PCI bus. I know that the run of the mill TV card passes YUV video
    > that
    > > can be just displayed, but the PVR-250 is a completely different
    > animal and
    > > I wouldn't be suprised if there is no YUV path to the processor.
    >
    > On the other hand, I would be _very_ surprised if it _only_ passed mpeg
    > data and then used a standard Window's codec to decode, even while _not_
    > recording.
    >
    > If it'll run on a 733, it's not maxing out the processor of a gig Cely
    > by decoding anything from the PVR-250 while just viewing a program.
    > There are other issues here, obviously. And they do not involve
    > upgrading a processor or video card to get his 250 to function properly.
    >
    > Hell, I can't believe I'm defending these cards, I don't even like them.

    It has nothing to do with defending the card. The issue is representing
    your assumptions as fact.

    It could be very well that the card is passing compressed MPEG to the CPU.
    That would be my bet. And it could be very well that he has installed
    another program that has replaced the PVR-250 decoder s/w with another that
    is less efficient. Which makes the advice by Will to check the Directshow
    decode graph a reasonable thing to do. It could affect the performance if
    the decoder uses the later model card's MPEG decode acceleration.

    > See above, they couldn't sell the card if it was going to max out the
    > processor of a P3 just by viewing.

    They could if you have conflicting software that decreases the performance.

    You are correct that there could be other backgrounds apps hogging the cpu.
    It happens all the time with spyware and the like. So your advice is useful
    in the context that these avenues should be checked.
  18. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    > It could be very well that the card is passing compressed MPEG to the
    CPU.
    > That would be my bet. And it could be very well that he has installed

    As much as these cards are touted on this ng, I ASSumed that you could
    watch TV without having everything encoded and recorded to disk before
    it reaches the monitor. As Keith has said it uses the processor and hard
    disk to view it, and he's got a lot of experience with the card, yes I
    will admit I WAS WRONG.

    Damn, am I glad I got the AIW now. That's too much wear and tear just to
    _watch_ TV on your monitor. It's expected with recording but not just
    watching it.


    > another program that has replaced the PVR-250 decoder s/w with another
    that
    > is less efficient. Which makes the advice by Will to check the
    Directshow
    > decode graph a reasonable thing to do. It could affect the
    performance if
    > the decoder uses the later model card's MPEG decode acceleration.

    I thought I said that here in response to the op original post, where
    you had recommended getting a new video card:

    "No, it's not normal. Do a CTL-ALT-DEL and see what programs and
    processes are active. It won't be the card causing the 100% usage unless
    you have a driver or config problem with the card."

    > They could if you have conflicting software that decreases the
    performance.

    Since I said that in my first post, I'm glad you agree now. <g>
  19. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Morrmar wrote:

    > it uses the processor and hard
    > disk to view it, and he's got a lot of experience with the card
    >
    > Damn, am I glad I got the AIW now. That's too much wear and tear just to
    > _watch_ TV on your monitor. It's expected with recording but not just
    > watching it.

    I wondered about that too but Tivo doesn't seem to have a problem with it.
    Do they use some other scheme?

    Where would the wear and tear be? The motor is spinning 24x7 *anyway* in
    every system I have, and some at work have been running for years, the fluid
    dynamic bearings in the new Maxtor and other drives are designed
    specifically for 24x7 operation (and low noise)...

    Would the seek servo burn out sooner, assuming proper cooling and everything
    else being equal?

    As far as I can tell there's just as much wear and tear from the drive
    sitting there spinning as there is writing a 12 GB file, assuming you're not
    doing excessive seeking.

    Speaking of seeking, if anyone knows how to make a Maxtor 250 GB drive's
    seeks go from "quiet" to "completely silent", please let me know. Sometimes
    when recording two channels at once the seeks can be a little irritating if
    the living room is quiet.
  20. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    > > it uses the processor and hard
    > > disk to view it, and he's got a lot of experience with the card
    > >
    > > Damn, am I glad I got the AIW now. That's too much wear and tear
    just to
    > > _watch_ TV on your monitor. It's expected with recording but not
    just
    > > watching it.
    >
    > I wondered about that too but Tivo doesn't seem to have a problem with
    it.
    > Do they use some other scheme?

    But capture and display are all that a Tivo does, they're not expected
    to do anything else. I'm sure Hauppage designed the card so you can do
    other things with your computer when you're just watching TV. I can't
    believe the stock s/w properly configured requires 100% CPU utilization,
    even under Windows, so there's got to be a config or driver problem
    somewhere. There _has_ to be a way for the analog signal to just pass
    through to the display without being encoded, written to the hd and
    decoded.

    I see you're helping the op, good luck. These problems are always fun to
    track down. <g>

    > Where would the wear and tear be? The motor is spinning 24x7 *anyway*
    in
    > every system I have, and some at work have been running for years, the
    fluid
    > dynamic bearings in the new Maxtor and other drives are designed
    > specifically for 24x7 operation (and low noise)...
    >
    > Would the seek servo burn out sooner, assuming proper cooling and
    everything
    > else being equal?

    > As far as I can tell there's just as much wear and tear from the drive
    > sitting there spinning as there is writing a 12 GB file, assuming
    you're not
    > doing excessive seeking.

    It would seem to me all that reading and writing to the disk, first a
    write to the buffer and then a read to the display, has to have a
    detrimental effect. And we haven't even put recording or pausing live TV
    into the equation yet. Lots of heat generated by a 7200 rpm disk during
    continuous operation as well, and that's never good for a drive either.
    \

    > Speaking of seeking, if anyone knows how to make a Maxtor 250 GB
    drive's
    > seeks go from "quiet" to "completely silent", please let me know.
    Sometimes
    > when recording two channels at once the seeks can be a little
    irritating if
    > the living room is quiet.

    I'd check your BIOS, on my Dell there's a couple of options for
    performance vs. sound. I'd check to see if there was a jumper setting on
    the drive for quiet operation as well.
  21. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Thanks for your response!

    On Fri, 04 Jun 2004 16:31:54 GMT, Will Dormann
    <wdormann@yahoo.com.invalid> wrote:

    >Decoding MPEG2 is somewhat CPU intensive. If your software is also
    >deinterlacing the picture, then that requires even more CPU power. As
    >recommended in another reply, check your CPU usage with the task manager
    >to see *what* is using up CPU time when watching TV. If it is almost
    >all by your TV software, then your CPU might be underpowered for what
    >you are doing.

    How do I know if the software is "deinterlacing" the picture? (I'm not
    sure I know what this is.)

    The CPU usage is being taken almost entirely by WinTV2K.exe. This is a
    fresh install of WinXP - there is nothing else running in the
    background.

    >
    >The MPEG2 decoder used can make a big difference on performance. Some
    >have reported better performance with a 3rd part MPEG2 decoder, such as
    >one installed by a software DVD program, such as PowerDVD. You can
    >check what decoder is used by rendering an MPGE2 file with GSpot.
    >My video path is:
    >(S) --> Moonlight-Elecard MPEG 2 Demultiplexer --> MainConcept MPEG
    >Video Decoder --> (R)
    >and I find it to be quite snappy.

    What is GSpot? How do I tell Windows what to use for a decoder?

    >Absolutely. Though this is a function of the software you are using.
    > I only use the Linux tools for the PVR-250, but I would think that the
    >Windows software package would include some sort of VCR or PVR type of
    >software where you can record shows.

    Haven't found it yet, but I will keep looking...

    --Bruce
  22. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Bruce wrote:

    >
    >
    > The CPU usage is being taken almost entirely by WinTV2K.exe.

    There you go.

    Try another application like BeyondTV or ShowShifter or SageTV - I'll bet
    your situation improves. Make sure you have PowerDVD installed so you can
    tell BeyondTV to use the Intervideo decoder.

    Warning - if you try BeyondTV (version 3.5 currently in beta allows this), or
    SageTV you'll soon be buying more PVR-250's so you can record multiple shows
    at the same time. ;->
  23. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    On Fri, 04 Jun 2004 20:39:47 GMT, "FLY135" <fly_135(@ hot not
    not)notmail.com> wrote:

    >It could be very well that the card is passing compressed MPEG to the CPU.
    >That would be my bet. And it could be very well that he has installed
    >another program that has replaced the PVR-250 decoder s/w with another that
    >is less efficient. Which makes the advice by Will to check the Directshow
    >decode graph a reasonable thing to do. It could affect the performance if
    >the decoder uses the later model card's MPEG decode acceleration.

    >You are correct that there could be other backgrounds apps hogging the cpu.
    >It happens all the time with spyware and the like. So your advice is useful
    >in the context that these avenues should be checked.

    This is a fresh install of WinXP, and there is no other background
    processes (except the IR process that came with the card). I have
    verified that the WinTV2k.exe program is what is eating up the CPU
    cycles.

    I have also not installed any other decoders or drivers other than
    what came with the card. I downloaded and installed the latest drivers
    from Hauppauge's wev site, but this didn't help unfortunately.

    --Bruce
  24. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    On Fri, 04 Jun 2004 20:39:47 GMT, "FLY135" <fly_135(@ hot not
    not)notmail.com> wrote:

    >is less efficient. Which makes the advice by Will to check the Directshow
    >decode graph a reasonable thing to do. It could affect the performance if

    What is the Directshow decode graph?

    --Bruce
  25. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    On Fri, 4 Jun 2004 10:34:02 -0400, "Morrmar" <morrmar@myway.com-no
    spam> wrote:

    >No, it's not normal. Do a CTL-ALT-DEL and see what programs and
    >processes are active. It won't be the card causing the 100% usage unless
    >you have a driver or config problem with the card. I don't have the card
    >but several in this ng do and you can check configuration issues with
    >them.

    I have verified that WinTV2k.exe is what is eating up the CPU cycles.
    This is a fresh install of WInXP, so there are no other background
    processes.

    --Bruce
  26. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    On Fri, 04 Jun 2004 13:20:48 -0700, Keith Clark
    <clarkphotography@hotmail.com> wrote:

    >Try downloading a demo of BeyondTV from www.snapstream.com (what I use)
    >or SageTV from www.freytechnologies.com and see if that doesn't help.

    I will try this...thanks.

    --Bruce
  27. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Thanks for the suggestions....

    On Fri, 04 Jun 2004 15:49:29 -0500, crusty@nospam.lsmo.sytes.net
    wrote:

    >For me, typically, WINTOP shows the PVR250 is using 35-40% of cpu cycles when
    >viewing at DVD Standard quality. Reducing the quality settings to DVD Super long
    >play drops the CPU cycles to about 30%. Reducing the quality even lower to
    >MPEG-1 VCD drops the CPU usage to 15%. Increasing capture quality settings to
    >the max, MPEG2 12MBps CBR results in 45% CPU usage.
    >
    >Recomendations to reduce cpu usage for you -
    >
    >1) Reduce the MPEG capture quality settings to what you need rather the best
    >settings. For any tape or TV station captures, DVD Superlong Play is adequate.

    That, unfortunately, is what it is set at.

    >2) Reduce the WinTV display size on your screen to the minimum. Windows XP uses
    >more cpu cycles to handle 'overlay' displays than Win98, due to the overhead for
    >'transparency' handling, and the larger display area can take more cpu cycles.

    It's already as small as it can go.

    >3) Think about changing out the Celeron with a regular P4 CPU, or look into
    >'overclocking' the CPU you have. More GHz will help.

    Faster processor (and new motherboard, memory, etc.) is what I will
    probably do ultimately.

    >4) Make sure your hard drives are defragged regularly and that you're recording
    >to the fastest drive you have.

    Fresh install of Windows, so there hasn't been opportunity for the
    drive to fragment.

    --Bruce
  28. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "Bruce" <bvanderw-news5021@mailblocks.com> wrote in message
    news:itr1c0p0fd2r6cpbo0begvppk9athvuf85@4ax.com...
    > On Fri, 04 Jun 2004 20:39:47 GMT, "FLY135" <fly_135(@ hot not
    > not)notmail.com> wrote:
    >
    > >is less efficient. Which makes the advice by Will to check the
    Directshow
    > >decode graph a reasonable thing to do. It could affect the performance
    if
    >
    > What is the Directshow decode graph?

    If you play an MPEG-2 file with Media Player and then look under
    "properties" then it will tell you what decoder is being used by the
    directshow graph. However the assumption is that the PVR software is using
    a default directshow graph as well. The best thing to do is email their
    tech support and see if they can offer any tips.

    I have a Pinnacle PCTV card in one of my computers (Athlon 2500+) and it is
    all screwed up (sluggish and audio gets outta sync) while watching TV with
    no encoding. If I use another app it works great. Sometimes fixing a
    problem like this is an Easter Egg hunt.
  29. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Bruce wrote:

    > On Fri, 04 Jun 2004 20:39:47 GMT, "FLY135" <fly_135(@ hot not
    > not)notmail.com> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>is less efficient. Which makes the advice by Will to check the Directshow
    >>decode graph a reasonable thing to do. It could affect the performance if
    >
    >
    > What is the Directshow decode graph?


    Use GSpot to render an MPEG2 file, like I told you before.


    -WD
  30. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    On Fri, 04 Jun 2004 22:06:52 GMT, "FLY135" <fly_135(@ hot not
    not)notmail.com> wrote:

    >If you play an MPEG-2 file with Media Player and then look under
    >"properties" then it will tell you what decoder is being used by the
    >directshow graph. However the assumption is that the PVR software is using
    >a default directshow graph as well. The best thing to do is email their
    >tech support and see if they can offer any tips.

    Thanks. It is "InterVideo NonCSS Audio Decoder for Hauppauge."

    BTW, playback using Windows Media Player is worse than using the WinTV
    application. Same CPU usage and quite a bit of stuttering. At least
    playback is smooth using WinTV.

    --Bruce
  31. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    On Fri, 04 Jun 2004 14:54:56 -0700, Keith Clark
    <clarkphotography@hotmail.com> wrote:

    >
    >
    >Bruce wrote:
    >
    >>
    >>
    >> The CPU usage is being taken almost entirely by WinTV2K.exe.
    >
    >There you go.
    >
    >Try another application like BeyondTV or ShowShifter or SageTV - I'll bet
    >your situation improves. Make sure you have PowerDVD installed so you can
    >tell BeyondTV to use the Intervideo decoder.
    >
    >Warning - if you try BeyondTV (version 3.5 currently in beta allows this), or
    >SageTV you'll soon be buying more PVR-250's so you can record multiple shows
    >at the same time. ;->

    Unfortunately, after suffering through BeyondTV's long install, it is
    no better. Same CPU usage when simply watching TV.

    BTW, playback using Windows Media Player is worse than using the WinTV
    application. Same CPU usage and quite a bit of stuttering. At least
    playback is smooth using WinTV.

    --Bruce
  32. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Bruce wrote:

    > BTW, playback using Windows Media Player is worse than using the WinTV
    > application. Same CPU usage and quite a bit of stuttering. At least
    > playback is smooth using WinTV.
    >
    >

    What motherboard do you have?

    Do you have all the XP updates, service packs, DirectX installed?

    What video card do you have and what driver from what source?
  33. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    On Fri, 04 Jun 2004 16:17:19 -0700, Keith Clark
    <clarkphotography@hotmail.com> wrote:

    >"Long install"???
    >
    >I installed a new version yesterday remotely (over VNC) and it only took a couple
    >of minutes. The download took a while though...is that what you mean?

    Yes, .NET Framework and all.

    --Bruce
  34. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    On Fri, 04 Jun 2004 16:19:33 -0700, Keith Clark
    <clarkphotography@hotmail.com> wrote:

    >Bruce wrote:
    >
    >> BTW, playback using Windows Media Player is worse than using the WinTV
    >> application. Same CPU usage and quite a bit of stuttering. At least
    >> playback is smooth using WinTV.
    >>
    >
    >What motherboard do you have?

    Shuttle AV11
    >
    >Do you have all the XP updates, service packs, DirectX installed?

    SP1, and I let Windows Update do it's thing right after I installed.

    DirectX 9 is installed.

    >What video card do you have and what driver from what source?

    ATI Xpert 2000 (Rage 128 Pro) w/32 MB RAM. Stock Windows XP driver
    (this is what ATI recommends for WinXP).

    BTW, the video decoder I am using is "InterVideo NonCSS Audio Decoder
    for Hauppauge."

    --Bruce
  35. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Keith Clark wrote:

    >
    > Morrmar wrote:
    >
    >
    >>So you can't just _watch_ uncompressed TV without storing it to disk and
    >>then reading from the disk?
    >
    >
    > As far as I know, but I'm willing to be wrong. If someone knows differently
    > please let us all know and please post a reference if applicable.


    Whether it writes to and reads from disk is dependent on the software.
    It can quite easily be used by piping the MPEG2 output directly to the
    decoder or TV viewing software, bypassing the disk altogether. It all
    depends on how the software you're using is designed.

    At this point the linux driver for the PVR-250 does support YUV capture.
    This means you can watch TV without requiring MPEG2 decoding since it
    is in a "raw" format" Since I have no use for this, I have not
    attempted it.

    As I mentioned previously, I'm only familiar with the Linux tools and
    applications. I have not used my PVR-250 under Windows, so I cannot
    comment on the functionality of its Windows driver or software.


    -WD
  36. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    On Fri, 04 Jun 2004 22:13:10 GMT, Will Dormann
    <wdormann@yahoo.com.invalid> wrote:

    >Use GSpot to render an MPEG2 file, like I told you before.

    DirectShow claims to be able to play the file. The following
    combination of filters were used:

    {C:\MyVideos\__20040604_163244.mpg} (Source)
    {MPEG-2 Demultiplexer} (Splitter)

    {SnapStream Firewall Filter} (Video Pre-processor)
    {SnapStream MPEG-2 Video Decoder DMO} (Video Decoder)
    {Video Renderer} (Video Renderer)

    {InterVideo NonCSS Audio Decoder for Hauppauge} (Audio Decoder)
    {Default DirectSound Device} (Audio Renderer)

    --Bruce
  37. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Bruce wrote:

    > How do I know if the software is "deinterlacing" the picture? (I'm not
    > sure I know what this is.)

    You should be able to tell by looking at the video. See
    http://www.100fps.com to understand what interlacing is.

    When you're playing an MPEG2 in Windows Media player, right click the
    video area and click Properties. Click the Advanced tab. You will
    there see the Directshow filters that are used to decode the video. You
    can see the properties for the filters too, if they have any.


    > What is GSpot? How do I tell Windows what to use for a decoder?

    I trust you can Google for Gspot. As for controlling what DirectShow
    filters Windows uses, that's a little trickier. I use Gspot to see what
    filters are used. To disable filters, DXMan works quite well. For a
    more powerful utility, check out this DirectShow filter manager:
    http://www.dvbviewer.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=2543&st=30

    You can set priorities for filters, disable existing ones, or register
    new ones.


    -WD
  38. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Bruce wrote:


    > BTW, the video decoder I am using is "InterVideo NonCSS Audio Decoder
    > for Hauppauge."


    That sure sounds like an audio codec, not a video one. What's the
    video path as reported by GSpot?


    -WD
  39. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Bruce wrote:

    >
    >
    > >What video card do you have and what driver from what source?
    >
    > ATI Xpert 2000 (Rage 128 Pro) w/32 MB RAM. Stock Windows XP driver
    > (this is what ATI recommends for WinXP).
    >

    That's a very old card, they never did get good reviews. The Rage128's I have
    in the lab at work never impressed me. I remember having a lot of issues with
    the drivers.

    Do you have access to another video card to try?
  40. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    > The CPU usage is being taken almost entirely by WinTV2K.exe. This is a
    > fresh install of WinXP - there is nothing else running in the
    > background.

    I am wondering whether having 100% CPU usage is really a problem or
    not. If you can view live-TV without any problem, you may not want to
    treat it as a problem.

    I believe this may have something to do with how the WinTV software is
    written. If it has a tight-loop that loops as fast as the CPU allows
    in order to give as good performance as it can give to the user, it
    may well take 100% CPU usage even if the loop is doing nothing but
    waiting for the user. The end result is that the user gets a great
    response from the software with the trade off of being alarmed by
    seeing 100% CPU usage.

    What you may want to find out is whether you can switch to run another
    application without any problem. If you can run another application
    without any problem with that application or WinTV, your PC is OK and
    is capable to support running both that application and WinTV. If both
    programs slow down, this means your PC is not capable to support both
    running at the same time. If you have a hard time switching to another
    application at all while WinTV is running, this means either WinTV is
    poorly written or Windows operating system has a problem (because this
    should not happen).

    For example, I have written a MS-Access program that prints barcode
    labels. It always uses 100% of the CPU when it prints labels (may have
    something to do with how MS Access handle printing or how it handles
    the barcode font). As far as I know, this is not a problem. Other
    programs can still function properly when the MS Access program is
    printing labels, and the computer is having 100% CPU usage.

    The other thing that you may want to try is to run the program in Full
    Screen mode if this mode is available. Running program in full screen
    mode should be faster than running in "window" mode because running it
    in window requires Windows operating system to do a couple extra
    things to prevent that program from corrupting the image of other
    applications. Note: Maximizing the window size of the program is not
    the same as running the program in full screen mode.

    Hope you don't have a problem.

    Jay Chan
  41. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    In article <H76wc.5236$1s1.3004@bignews4.bellsouth.net>,
    morrmar@myway.com-no says...
    >
    > I agree, but I didn't think you _had_ to use the buffer if you didn't
    > want to rewind live TV or weren't recording it. I thought you could just
    > watch TV on your computer monitor without using your hard drive. I'll be
    > very surprised if someone verifies that it's the only way to watch TV on
    > your computer monitor.
    >
    > I got the impression from the op that he was just watching TV, not
    > recording or time-shifting or anything else. I'd bet the s/w that came
    > with installation put a bunch of stuff in his startup group and that's
    > what's bogging his system down, or the combination of the Hauppage s/w
    > and the usual suspects... antiviral programs, network programs, memory
    > resident programs, etc.
    >
    >
    >

    Regarless of what you do with it you are still taking analog signals and
    converting them to mpeg, this is going to take CPU cycles. The card
    writes a 1 meg file to your hard drive continuously. If you press pause
    then is will continue to write up to 1 gig or whatever you set the limit
    at.
    --
    _________________________
    Chris Phillipo - Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
    http://www.ramsays-online.com
  42. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    In article <4tv1c0l5gj4ifki3vlaituqdd6a8b6ogsm@4ax.com>, bvanderw-
    news5021@mailblocks.com says...
    > Unfortunately, after suffering through BeyondTV's long install, it is
    > no better. Same CPU usage when simply watching TV.
    >
    > BTW, playback using Windows Media Player is worse than using the WinTV
    > application. Same CPU usage and quite a bit of stuttering. At least
    > playback is smooth using WinTV.
    >
    > --Bruce
    >
    >

    If that's the case you definetly have either a system problem or a bad
    mpeg codec because media player should not be affected.
    --
    _________________________
    Chris Phillipo - Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
    http://www.ramsays-online.com
  43. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    In article <61s1c01l1f9ad1uffg8do36hc58a9oig2i@4ax.com>, bvanderw-
    news5021@mailblocks.com says...
    > On Fri, 4 Jun 2004 10:34:02 -0400, "Morrmar" <morrmar@myway.com-no
    > spam> wrote:
    >
    > >No, it's not normal. Do a CTL-ALT-DEL and see what programs and
    > >processes are active. It won't be the card causing the 100% usage unless
    > >you have a driver or config problem with the card. I don't have the card
    > >but several in this ng do and you can check configuration issues with
    > >them.
    >
    > I have verified that WinTV2k.exe is what is eating up the CPU cycles.
    > This is a fresh install of WInXP, so there are no other background
    > processes.
    >
    > --Bruce
    >
    >

    When you play the video in media player without WinTV running, what is
    the cpu useage?
    --
    _________________________
    Chris Phillipo - Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
    http://www.ramsays-online.com
  44. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Chris Phillipo wrote:

    > Regarless of what you do with it you are still taking analog signals and
    > converting them to mpeg, this is going to take CPU cycles.

    Since the PVR-250 has a hardware encoder, I'd say that the amount of CPU
    required would be trivial. Writing to disk doesn't take much either, in
    any modern DMA-enabled system.


    -WD
  45. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    In article <J0myc.15330$ih7.1600@fe2.columbus.rr.com>,
    wdormann@yahoo.com.invalid says...
    > Chris Phillipo wrote:
    >
    > > Regarless of what you do with it you are still taking analog signals and
    > > converting them to mpeg, this is going to take CPU cycles.
    >
    > Since the PVR-250 has a hardware encoder, I'd say that the amount of CPU
    > required would be trivial. Writing to disk doesn't take much either, in
    > any modern DMA-enabled system.
    >
    >
    > -WD
    >

    However it does not have a hardware decoder, and what he is trying to do
    is watch mpegs while recording them. Which is probably where the 100%
    CPU useage comes from but even when mine says it is using 100%
    performance does not suffer.
    --
    _________________________
    Chris Phillipo - Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
    http://www.ramsays-online.com
  46. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Chris Phillipo wrote:

    > In article <J0myc.15330$ih7.1600@fe2.columbus.rr.com>,
    > wdormann@yahoo.com.invalid says...
    >
    >>Chris Phillipo wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >>>Regarless of what you do with it you are still taking analog signals and
    >>>converting them to mpeg, this is going to take CPU cycles.
    >>
    >>Since the PVR-250 has a hardware encoder, I'd say that the amount of CPU
    >>required would be trivial. Writing to disk doesn't take much either, in
    >>any modern DMA-enabled system.
    >>
    >
    > However it does not have a hardware decoder, and what he is trying to do
    > is watch mpegs while recording them. Which is probably where the 100%
    > CPU useage comes from but even when mine says it is using 100%
    > performance does not suffer.

    Which is pretty much what I said, as the first reply to this thread just
    over a week ago. :)


    -WD
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