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

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.asp

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.
5 answers Last reply
More about good cards features beginner need mpeg
  1. 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.asp
    >
    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.
  2. 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.asp
    >
    > 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.
  3. 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.asp
    >
    > 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...
  4. 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.asp
    > >
    > > 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?
  5. 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?
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