09-26-02, 12:25 AM
Hey guys, I saw you have this card in another thread. I've been scouring the internet for the past 2 days with not much luck, almost every card i've looked at has signifgant problems, either driver problems or other.
What I intend to use the card for is for scheduling and recording TV shows. I dont' have a VCR and frankly am not interested in owning one.
I have a serious problem with MONO only sound, and alot of the cards i've looked at only use mono, or in some cases advertise that they support stereo sound, but upon further investigation actually do not. Similiar to the Leadtek TV2000.
I also have no interest in spedning hours upon hours of re-encoding my shows. I intend to buy a 80 GB hard drive just for recording shows. And plan to watch and delete.
My Dilima is this: All the cards have probs so there is no perfect one out there. However it comes down to a relativly cheap card for 40-60$ that captures video only and then your computer will encode it, on the fly or try to. However im not sure this will be good enough quality for me, im pretty picky and want good quality. The Caveat with these cards is that they are all relativly Generic and use similiar chipsets, so they are compaitbile with most of the 3rd party applications out there like Win DVR and PowerVCR II.
However, I think I may be better off spending more, 150-200, and buying a TV Tuner that has builit in MPEG 2 (Win TV PVR-250) encoding. It can encode 2mbit, 4mbit, 6mbit, 8mbit, and 12mbit streams on the fly in MPEGII.
However this comes at a cost of 2 Gigs per hour of video. And you give up the 3RD party applications. You MUST use the software you are supplied with because the Encoder is propritery and none of the 3rd party apps recognize it, and even if they did, they wouldent be able to Utilize it.
Whatever I do, I need Stereo sound, and High quality video, I want the recording to look as good as the source. I also DO NOT want to wait 2-10 hours to encode it. Do you guys think any of these cheap 60$ Tuner's could work for me, or am I better off spending more on a card with Hardware Encoding.
Well i cant say i have experimented with my card enough to really recommend it, but i can say it takes my old ATI TV Tuner to SCHOOL in every aspect.
The Picture Quality of the TV 2000 XP is fantastic, best i have seen. As for sound, well i do notice alot more Hiss coming from my speakers then i did with the ATI card but it still sounds okay (im also waiting to see if my soon to be GTXP will make a difference with the hissing). As for not recording in Stereo? i have no idea, but if i find time tonight i will experiment. One thing i can tell you is the Encoding on the Fly Options are endless. And the software is very well setup and easy to use. Being able to record and encode shows at the same time in DivX 5 is pretty cool.
Im not really sure what i can tell you except i dont regret buying this card one bit. If you have any other specific question i can help you with feel free to ask.
09-27-02, 04:49 AM
I went ahead and bought the more expensive 150$ WinTV PVR 250. I picked it up at Circuit City today, unforuntatly, my shrink-wrapped, product was missing the Software CD and Manual. So i can't use it. And the CD is Required, you can't download drivers from there site that work without first installing the CD software. heh man I was pissed. so Now i gotta drive 40 miles back into town tomorrow on my day off no less, to switch it out. I bought it on the way to work, it sat in my car while I worked an 8 hour shift, in anticipation and excitment all day, I get it home and this **** happends! Annoying as hell, I was cursing all nite.
anyways, I digress.
P.S Check out this DVD Scene that was ripped(Via it's S-Video In) and encoded in Real time with the Card, this is not the highest quality mode either.
It's 23 megs, but it's on a very fast server if you have broadband.
09-30-02, 12:15 AM
I've been using this card for a few days now, and am Quite satisfied with it. The image quality could probably be a little bit better, but other then that it has been wonderful. The Quality of hte picture is actually quite good, however it's a bit grainy, im pretty sure i'ts 100% related to the input source, in this case an analog cable connection. It has good stereo sound, the Image quality is probably about like Super VHS. There are many recording modes, and they are all done by a hardware encoder, can encode MPEG1 VCD disk that play back on DVD players with CD-R. Can also record MPEG 2 in many differnt bit rates, ranging from 2000-12000, Varible, or constant, Sound includes Stereo, Joint Stereo, Duel Channel, and Mono, 32, 44.1, or 48 Khz, and is recorded in MP3 (Mpeg Layer 2) format, from 64 to 384 KBPS.
The software is not very intuitive, it's not fancy, however it's very functional and does just about everything I want, but it could be much more powerful. The thing I like the most is it comes with a very nice Schedueler, that allows one click recording, via TitanTV.com
You just goto TitainTV enter your area, and it pulls up a TV-Guide witch shows all channels, what is coming on, show descriptions etc, up to a week in advance. From this Guide all I have to do is click on the record Icon right next to the shows, and it runs some kind of script that automatically sets up the scheduler to record the show. It is extremely conveinant (sp?) to be able to instantly record anything at anytime that you want, it changes the way you watch TV. No worrying about tapes, or setting up VCR timers. And of course i'ts all digital, allowing you to re-encode it into Divx and save it on a CDR or DVD-R.
My main reason for wanting it was as a PC-VCR, and it does that extremely well, I'd recomend it highly if your looking for somthing similar.
The card also has S-Video and Composite inputs, and can be used to capture VHS, DVD's, Camcorder etc. However there have been complaints about the quality of VHS Capture, somthing about needing some kind of Timing device to do proper captures. I don't use it for that so it does not apply to me.
There are also some draw-backs, but again they do not really apply to me, but should be noted.
Many complaints of Buggy drivers, however this has improved considerably over the past 6 months.
Cannot use with Video game systems, because the way the technology works, it doesent have a chip to actually show the raw stream on your screen, it's mostly a Hardware Capture and Encoder, it has the hardware to recieve Cable, and the hardware to Encode it into an MPEG, but not the hardware to Show it or Decode it.
What this means is that the card recieves the TV signal, encodes it into an MPEG and buffers it into your Hard drive, and then Software Decodes it on the fly. There are advantages and disadvantages to this, the disadvantage is it takes considerable processor time, like 45% on my system (Thunderbird@1533) Just to view the TV. It also lags behind the live broadcast by about 3-5 Seconds, witch dosent really make a differnce. What you have to understand though is you are always watching an Encoded MPEG, it's never the "real" TV stream. This is good and bad I guess, because you get automatic De-Interlacing, This can improve image quality, especially if you have a Digital input source, like Digital TV or a Satellite, but if your using an Analog Input like standard Cable it degrades the image quality by showing off the artifacts in the stram that would otherwise be hidden by the Interlacing. It pretty much totally depends on the input source, like some channels are more clear then others.
Alot of people don't like that part of the card, cause just watching TV takes up so much processor time.
In the end my Advice would be, if you want this card for Recording Shows on a daily basis, it absolutely rocks at this, and is highly recomended. If you want it to watch TV while you do other things, you may run into problems, depending on how quick your system is. I woudlent do it with anything less then a Fast 7200 RPM hard drive, and at least an Athlon XP 1800+. Also a good video card helps.
The impact on system performance has no effect on me, as im never home when the recording takes place.
Damn i've written an article haha, hope this helps some of you that are considering this product.
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