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CPU Usage on WinTV-PVR 250

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June 4, 2004 8:20:31 AM

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
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 4, 2004 10:31:06 AM

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
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 4, 2004 2:34:02 PM

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.
Related resources
June 4, 2004 3:48:24 PM

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
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 4, 2004 5:20:48 PM

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.
June 4, 2004 7:34:01 PM

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
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 4, 2004 7:49:29 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 4, 2004 8:31:54 PM

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
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 4, 2004 8:31:55 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 4, 2004 8:31:56 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 4, 2004 9:24:13 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 4, 2004 9:24:14 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 4, 2004 9:46:50 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 4, 2004 9:51:55 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 4, 2004 9:51:56 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 4, 2004 10:26:12 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 4, 2004 10:26:13 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 5, 2004 12:39:47 AM

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.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 5, 2004 12:39:48 AM

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>
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 5, 2004 12:39:49 AM

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.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 5, 2004 12:39:50 AM

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.
June 5, 2004 1:50:22 AM

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
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 5, 2004 1:50:23 AM

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. ;->
June 5, 2004 1:55:03 AM

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
June 5, 2004 1:55:52 AM

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
June 5, 2004 1:57:58 AM

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
June 5, 2004 1:58:55 AM

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
June 5, 2004 2:02:13 AM

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
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 5, 2004 2:06:52 AM

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.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 5, 2004 2:13:10 AM

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
June 5, 2004 3:03:00 AM

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
June 5, 2004 3:04:34 AM

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
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 5, 2004 3:04:35 AM

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?
June 5, 2004 3:41:58 AM

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
June 5, 2004 3:47:39 AM

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
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 5, 2004 3:57:34 AM

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
June 5, 2004 4:08:12 AM

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
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 5, 2004 4:09:49 AM

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...

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



-WD
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 5, 2004 4:11:40 AM

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
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 5, 2004 5:12:06 PM

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?
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 7, 2004 11:45:55 AM

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
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 11, 2004 3:49:31 PM

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
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 11, 2004 3:54:31 PM

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
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 11, 2004 3:56:22 PM

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
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 11, 2004 9:32:25 PM

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
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 11, 2004 9:32:26 PM

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
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
June 11, 2004 10:03:26 PM

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
!