Hardware vs Software encoding

I am trying to learn about hardware vs. software encoding so I can decide for myself whether a PVR card like the Hauppauge with hardware encoding is a better solution for me than a card like the ATI AIW8500DV/9700Pro which does not have hardware encoding, but seems to have a much richer featureset with all things considered, otherwise.

Can anypoint point me to a source for metrics and statistical proof of how much better hardware encoding is vs. software encoding, if it truly is better for the Media PC user?


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  1. I tried to find a chart showing comparison statistics for hardware and software encoding and failed. However, I can tell you something with reasonable certainty: You can use hardware on a much less powerful machine. So, the bottom line is that if you want top quality with software encoder you need a very serious rig. Alternatively you could just get a hardware encoder and save lots of $$$.
  2. Software encoding is very CPU intesive. So much so that you'll probably not be able to do much else with your computer while it's running. In fact, I couldn't even WATCH TV and RECORD TV simultaneously on a very highly tweaked PIII 933 system. A systems twice the speed is roughly 50% more powerfull, so you MIGHT be able to do both. A system 3x the speed is roughly 75% more powerfull, so you MIGHT be able to watch TV, record TV, and surf the net...

    Overall the hardware encoder is far, far better. You could watch TV, record TV, and even do some monstrous other task, simultaneously.

    <font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
  3. what about adding a divx encoder later on?

    i hear they will be coming out later this year.
  4. Captureing directly to DIVX = BAD. You never want to capture directly to divx. You want a lossless or nearly lossless codec such a huffy's or Pic Video's MJPEG. Then convert to divx
  5. Or better yet capture UNCOMPRESSED (as in no codec at all during capture :o) You can then edit/compress the direct stream any way you want. Be advised that you need a decent amount of free "working" space on the hard drive (12 Gb minimum)
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