P4-3000 MHz, 1gb memory
ATI Radeon 9200 SE 128MB AGP 8X Graphics Card - with S-Video out.
aopen ax4c II mobo with onboard sound (no other sound card yet), supports agp.
plenty of 7200rpm storage, sata internal and ata external.
Win XP pro
10 yr old, 32 inch sd Quasar TV with coax and composite inputs
Have cable box that may be programmed (to the minute) to change channels. I would like to turn my PC into a VCR, with the option of watching the recorded show on _either_ my monitor or tv. I've been advised that since the cable box will handle the channel tuning, I only need a capture card rather than a tuner card.
1. Is this true? My VCR needs to be set to channel 4 to receive the cable box signal. If the capture card has no tuning capabilities, how does it "go to channel 4" et al?
2. Whichever I need, capture or tuner, do I need to upgrade my video card?
3. How is the signal normally sent to the tv, through the graphics card or through the capture/tuner card?
4. Do I also need a sound card, or can I find a capture/tuner card with coaxial output.
5. Do I need MPEG-4 rather than MPEG-2 capabilities?
6. While a recording is in progress, I would like to be able to start the playback (either to monitor or to tv) from the beginning. Is there a specific name for this feature? How do I ensure that the capture/tuner card has this feature? Is 1gb of memory sufficient here?
7. I've been advised that the capture/tuner card should do the compression in its own hardware. If the card doesn't advertise this, is it safe to assume that it doesn't have it?
8. Would like to economize with internal card. If card's software weak, is strong compatible shareware/freeware available to pick up the slack?
9. Since TV is SD, will I be recording at 640x480? Would like picture quality on TV to at least approach current quality received through cable box, i.e. are all 640x480-s created equal?
Also request video card, capture/tuner card, sound card and software recommendations, and website references for further research.
Only if the only means of video out is the cable. If you've got S-video or composite out, and audio out jacks, then you would recieve that signal on the computer's end through the "line-in" connection on the video capture device. The display signal comes from the video card -- to your monitor, or TV, or both, depending on your card. And again, that interface can be anything from S-video to an HDMI port. You are going to be limited in video card choices, on your current rig, by the AGP port. Some higher end video cards have capture capabilties (ports), but so do some of the better TV tuner cards, which I thinkn is the immediate solution to your needs. This one is a very popular model -- I think there's a retail package that even comes with a remote:
Most come with their own software for capture and playback, but a lot of people use programs like SageTV, MythTV, and BeyondTV to mimmick Windows Media Center capabilties and gain TIVO-like capabilities. There are also other tools available on the web to edit recorded TV. They will play through your MB's sound system. Sometimes you have to connect an internal cable from the TV card to the MB "line-in" connector, or to an accessory sound card, if you're using one. The broadcast quality will probably exceed the capability of your TV.
I've been happy with my Fusion HDTV DVB-T Plus card for over a year now.
It ran fine with my old 9600XT card, before my upgrade.
I just use mine on the computer, so I haven't messed around with recording to a VCR, but it records in TS (transport stream) or native MPEG.