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Good PC-PVR cards & features for beginner (need HW MPEG)?

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Anonymous
August 20, 2004 5:28:45 AM

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

I am about to get a PC-PVR to record some TV shows (mainly football
games) and burn them to DVD (after quickly editing out commercials and
halftime if it is not watched live (in which case I assume I can just
pause the recording)). My computer is a year old P4 2.4 w/HT, 1 GB
RAM, an 800 MHz FSB, and a single Serial ATA disk with 130 GB free
space. I have a few basic quesitons.

First, do I really need HW MPEG, because it seems to push the price up
from maybe $80 to $180 in the US? How much more hassle or slowdown
does it cause to not have HW MPEG? Does it make the file sizes
bigger?

Second, what are some good cards that are reasonable to work with but
not having features I am unlikely to need or are overpriced?
Snapstream has a list of supported cards (I do not plan on getting
this SW but its list is useful for cards they presumably think will
not be flaky etc) at
http://www.snapstream.com/Products/Products_PVS3_SysReq...

The Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-350 seems like a safe choice, since they make
lots of cards. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. If you
know that a given recommendation is out of stock now then please note
this (football season is fast approaching...)

Thanks very much in advance for any help.
Anonymous
August 20, 2004 2:13:12 PM

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

"Dave Bakken" <davebakken@pullman.com> wrote in message
news:c24b4c7c.0408200028.3b755a8d@posting.google.com...
> I am about to get a PC-PVR to record some TV shows (mainly football
> games) and burn them to DVD (after quickly editing out commercials and
> halftime if it is not watched live (in which case I assume I can just
> pause the recording)). My computer is a year old P4 2.4 w/HT, 1 GB
> RAM, an 800 MHz FSB, and a single Serial ATA disk with 130 GB free
> space. I have a few basic quesitons.
>
> First, do I really need HW MPEG, because it seems to push the price up
> from maybe $80 to $180 in the US? How much more hassle or slowdown
> does it cause to not have HW MPEG? Does it make the file sizes
> bigger?
>
While I am normally an advocate of Direct to DVD compliant
MPEG2 Hardware VBR encoding, capturing a lot of sports events
like football games might be an exception. You need the highest
motion prediction for such material, for almost the total length of the
video. To do justice to such material, you would need hardware
in the $500 range at least. In this case it may be worth the time and
hassle to capture then do a multi-pass encoding.
/Ken

The features available, ease of use, and major saving in time
afforded by a hardware capture may make it worth while having
both options. (If you get DirecTV you can have it both ways,
and also gain a great deal of control over the source you send
to your capture, with their $99 "DirecTiVo" units.)
/Ken
> Second, what are some good cards that are reasonable to work with but
> not having features I am unlikely to need or are overpriced?
> Snapstream has a list of supported cards (I do not plan on getting
> this SW but its list is useful for cards they presumably think will
> not be flaky etc) at
> http://www.snapstream.com/Products/Products_PVS3_SysReq...
>
Their list is more likely related to the hardware chips that
their SW will work with, than the quality of the cards.
/Ken

> The Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-350 seems like a safe choice, since they make
> lots of cards. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. If you
> know that a given recommendation is out of stock now then please note
> this (football season is fast approaching...)
>

There are a couple of knowledgeable posters here who use
that card, and seem to like it. It is well supported now and
should be in the future.
/Ken

> Thanks very much in advance for any help.
Anonymous
August 20, 2004 5:50:02 PM

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

Dave Bakken wrote:

> I am about to get a PC-PVR to record some TV shows (mainly football
> games) and burn them to DVD (after quickly editing out commercials and
> halftime if it is not watched live (in which case I assume I can just
> pause the recording)). My computer is a year old P4 2.4 w/HT, 1 GB
> RAM, an 800 MHz FSB, and a single Serial ATA disk with 130 GB free
> space. I have a few basic quesitons.
>
> First, do I really need HW MPEG, because it seems to push the price up
> from maybe $80 to $180 in the US? How much more hassle or slowdown
> does it cause to not have HW MPEG? Does it make the file sizes
> bigger?
>
> Second, what are some good cards that are reasonable to work with but
> not having features I am unlikely to need or are overpriced?
> Snapstream has a list of supported cards (I do not plan on getting
> this SW but its list is useful for cards they presumably think will
> not be flaky etc) at
> http://www.snapstream.com/Products/Products_PVS3_SysReq...
>
> The Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-350 seems like a safe choice, since they make
> lots of cards. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. If you
> know that a given recommendation is out of stock now then please note
> this (football season is fast approaching...)
>
> Thanks very much in advance for any help.

Unless you require hardware mpeg-2 *decoding*, save your money on a
PVR-350. The PVR-250 has exactly the same encoding chip and is a lot
cheaper.

Not having hardware mpeg is more of a quality issue. All the software
real-time TV encoders I tried left a lot to be desired. The PVR 250, with
a custom profile, can give "as good as live TV" quality. I've used it on
quite a few shows with high motions and not had any artifacts or
blockiness with a 7000 kbps CBR profile.
Anonymous
August 20, 2004 8:54:36 PM

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

> First, do I really need HW MPEG, because it seems to push the price up
> from maybe $80 to $180 in the US? How much more hassle or slowdown
> does it cause to not have HW MPEG? Does it make the file sizes
> bigger?

No. 2+Ghz P4 CPUs will handle real-time MPEG-1/2 encodings just fine.

> Second, what are some good cards that are reasonable to work with but
> not having features I am unlikely to need or are overpriced?
> Snapstream has a list of supported cards (I do not plan on getting
> this SW but its list is useful for cards they presumably think will
> not be flaky etc) at
> http://www.snapstream.com/Products/Products_PVS3_SysReq...
>
> The Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-350 seems like a safe choice, since they make

besides the Hauppauge cards, the ATI All-In-Wonder cards (at the $100
range) are excellent choices -- they're great gaming cards, and they
come with all the PVR software (easylook) that you need. YOu really
don't need SNapstream at all with the ATI cards since they give you free
TV listings, programable recordings, one-touch everything, and with the
ATI cards that have the remote control, you can easily control
everything from your couch.

even the cheaper, barely older cards are great choices at a lower
cost -- eg. the ATI All-In-Wonder 8500DV series I'm using.

---

You may also want to look into the ATI AIW HDTV card and similar, too...
Anonymous
August 21, 2004 12:16:15 PM

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

David Chien <chiendh@uci.edu> wrote in message news:<cg62vn$qoo$1@news.service.uci.edu>...
> > First, do I really need HW MPEG, because it seems to push the price up
> > from maybe $80 to $180 in the US? How much more hassle or slowdown
> > does it cause to not have HW MPEG? Does it make the file sizes
> > bigger?
>
> No. 2+Ghz P4 CPUs will handle real-time MPEG-1/2 encodings just fine.
>
> > Second, what are some good cards that are reasonable to work with but
> > not having features I am unlikely to need or are overpriced?
> > Snapstream has a list of supported cards (I do not plan on getting
> > this SW but its list is useful for cards they presumably think will
> > not be flaky etc) at
> > http://www.snapstream.com/Products/Products_PVS3_SysReq...
> >
> > The Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-350 seems like a safe choice, since they make
>
> besides the Hauppauge cards, the ATI All-In-Wonder cards (at the $100
> range) are excellent choices -- they're great gaming cards, and they
> come with all the PVR software (easylook) that you need. YOu really
> don't need SNapstream at all with the ATI cards since they give you free
> TV listings, programable recordings, one-touch everything, and with the
> ATI cards that have the remote control, you can easily control
> everything from your couch.

Which particular circa $100 ATI cards would you or others recommend?
pricegrabber.com had bad reviews about these cards' software, and
problems getting it running with Windoze XP (which I need to install
on).

> even the cheaper, barely older cards are great choices at a lower
> cost -- eg. the ATI All-In-Wonder 8500DV series I'm using.

How would that be for recording football games and then editing out
commercials and halftime, in terms of video quality (does not have to
be DVD but that is nice if close), ease of use in the editing
software, etc? Ditto for any other particular cards (by ATI or
others) that you or others recommend?
Anonymous
August 21, 2004 12:47:06 PM

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

> besides the Hauppauge cards, the ATI All-In-Wonder cards (at the $100

Do you think the ATI cards have any "edge" over the
Hauppauge PVR cards?

Better drivers? Better support? More users maybe?
!