best adapter to encode TV shows to hard drive?

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by willbill, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. willbill

    willbill Guest

    i'm disappointed with the result i get
    when i try to capture a TV show directly
    to a file on my hard drive

    i have a decent MSI FX5900XT VTD128 VIVO
    video adapter (i've never liked the idea
    of packing a large/hot TV tuner on an
    already crowded/hot video board)

    i used a composite cable (from a decent
    external TV tuner) for the input video signal

    would a separate tuner board give
    better results?

    if yes, could anyone please name some decent
    mid-range and high-end alternatives?

    thank you in advance, bill
    willbill, Jul 18, 2005
    1. Advertisements

  2. "willbill" wrote ...
    OTOH, combining a decent video card with decent video capture
    is pretty rare. The review of this video board I found (at
    appears to indicate that it is optimized for video gaming. There are 6
    pages of descriptions, graphs & charts, screen shots of how the board
    works with various games. The video capture functionality was
    mentioned in a single paragraph.
    What video capture software?
    What file format? Which codec?
    Is it just off-the-air recordings that you are unhappy
    with, or is it ANY kind/source of video?
    They ARE designed and bundled with software optimized to
    do OTA (off-the-air) recording (rather than video games, etc.)
    They are also not all that expensive.
    Richard Crowley, Jul 18, 2005
    1. Advertisements

  3. willbill

    willbill Guest

    interesting 7 part review. :)

    if you mean *3D* gaming (vs. 2D), then i agree

    btw, your comment is interesting in that
    it implies/suggests that you think some video
    boards are "optimized" for video encoding?

    if yes, what do *you* consider as key
    criterions for a video board that is
    optimized for decent video encoding?

    fwiw, to me video encoding means a) good *2D*
    performance in general, b) good true color
    (32 bit) performance, and c) good performance
    with displaying video files (avi, mpeg2,
    and the many others that now exist).
    is there more to it than that?

    btw, it's an honest comment/question;
    meaning i'm not baiting you


    correct, found on the 2nd page under
    the sub-head of "DVD Authoring"

    Nero Vision Express,
    downloaded about 10 weeks ago
    to update/upgrade my Nero 6 s/w

    fwiw, the MSI provided nVidia drivers
    and capture drivers (aka "WDM" drivers
    (what does WDM stand for?) are very recent

    also, the Nero Vision Express (ver. 2, upgraded
    to ver. 3) is the only actual capture s/w ever
    loaded on the PC (running Win XP Pro sp2)

    tried at least 4 different ones of each.
    with results ranging from godawful bad
    to poor

    reached the point where it occurred to me
    that maybe it would be more productive
    to ask if: a) separate TV tuner boards
    give better results than video boards
    with a built in VIVO chip? and b) for
    some specific suggestions and comparisons

    correct. TV antenna video signal (from a decent
    roof top TV antenna), 6U 75 ohm coax cable (75 foot),
    into an external TV tuner (a combo VHS recorder/DVD player),
    pulling the "tuned" video signal into the PC
    (using a 6' composite TV signal cable)

    do they generally give a visually better
    result than a VIVO board?

    willbill, Jul 18, 2005
  4. "willbill" wrote ...
    I think there are video capture products that are optimized
    for video encoding. Even tuner cards are optimized for video

    OTOH, I don't know of ANY graphics cards that are
    optimized for video encoding. "Vivo" appears to be mostly
    a marketing gimmic they can tack on in order to charge a
    bit more for the extra feature. Sounds like you are looking
    for better performance than the "vivo" products were
    designed for.

    For general video work I literally use the cheapest and
    most basic video card I can find. I never spend more than
    ~$50 for a video card because capture/editing/DVD
    authoring makes no significant demands on the graphics
    card. Certainly nothing remotely resembling the demands
    of gaming, etc. I prefer very basic graphics cards not only
    because they are cheap, but also to AVOID all that gaming
    2D, 3D, textures, etc. etc. stuff. It is just extra overhead
    that has nothing but negative implications for what I want
    to do with my computer.

    Of course, video capture is done with a product designed
    for video capture. In many cases, this is a generic firewire
    port importing DV video from a camcorder or VCR or
    DV encoder box like ADVC-110, etc.
    Frankly, I don't remember ever heard anything positive
    from anyone doing video capture with their graphics
    card. Dunno if this is because they are lousy by design,
    or whether they come with lousy software, or what?

    Did you try any of the software that came with the card?

    If you want quality video capture, you likely need
    a product whose primary design was for video capture.
    Thost are all important when *generating* video (whether
    generating it from scratch in a video game, or whether
    reconstructing video from a compressed file like MPEG,

    But none of those things has anything to do with capturing
    or encoding video. Designing a card to optimize these
    things means that much less resources going into video
    My personal bias is that quality video capture/encoding
    is not done with a graphics card with "vivo". Dunno
    why, but nobody has ever come to this neighborhood
    ( bragging about what a great video
    capture they are getting from their graphics card. They
    all come with complaints nearly word-for-word identical
    to yours. You can discard my opinion and biases and
    draw your own conclusion from this.
    Without knowing SPECIFICALLY what these were, we
    have absolutely no way of evaluating your experience or
    relating it to what we have found successfull. This is an
    important question. Without these details, we can only
    offer the most generic (and marginally useful) advice.
    From what we have heard here (,
    MOST products designed primarly for video capture/
    encoding give better results than ANY graphics cards
    with a built-in vivo chip.
    You may have to ask (in the subject line) for people
    with experience with specific products.
    [no response]

    This was a differential question and you responded only
    to the first part. Without an answer to the second part,
    we can'd do a differential diagnosis as to exactly what
    is causing the poor performance you are complaining
    about. This is an important question. If you blow it off,
    we can't really help you much more.

    What does the picture look like right out of the tuner
    and into your TV screen? Troubleshooting 101: Look
    *critically* at EACH step in the chain to see where the
    signal goes bad.

    Troubleshooting 102: Connect a different source into
    your vivo video card and see if there is any change in
    I don't have first-hand experience with either, but I'd bet
    money that a tuner card would do OTA recording better
    than a video card with a "Vivo" chip. One reason for my
    blind faith is that most have hardware MPEG encoding
    chips which people seem to find acceptable for general
    timeshifting and/or archiving TV shows.

    There are many additional benefits like: online listings,
    automated channel switching/recording (like a VCR or
    Tivo, etc.)
    Richard Crowley, Jul 19, 2005
  5. willbill

    Bowgus Guest

    I'm happy with my MSI TV @nywhere ... the stock "best setting" with the
    included InterVideo MSIPVS is as below ... it will do up to 720x480 ... but
    that's not TV :). I record from my Rogers box using the s-video output. Did
    a show to DVD that a buddy can't get in his part of the country ... he was
    pretty impressed.

    [Real-time Best]
    Format: MPEG-2
    Format: MPEG-1 Layer II
    Sampling Rate: 44.1 kHz 16-bit Stereo
    Bit Rate: 224 KBits/sec
    Size: 640x480
    Frame Rate: 29.97 frames/sec
    Bit Rate: 6400 KBits/sec

    "> i used a composite cable (from a decent
    Bowgus, Jul 19, 2005
  6. willbill

    J. Clarke Guest

    If you have a Firewire port then the Canopus ADVC line would be good--they
    have everything from high end consumer to broadcast quality. If you're in
    an area where Tivo is available, a hacked Tivo, DirecTivo, or HDTivo would
    be another option.
    J. Clarke, Jul 19, 2005
  7. willbill

    Ken Maltby Guest

    That would be just slightly better than the more common
    Half D1 (352x480) at ~4000Kbps VBR(CQ), that I use
    most of the time.

    As to the OP, the hardware capture board has three basic
    components and often additional features that increase the
    price and sometimes add value.

    The first and most important part is the "Decoder"/
    Analog/Digital (A/D) Chip which turns your analog TV signal
    (normally Composite or S-Video) into digital data. Some do
    both audio and video, some only video. (A TV tuner card
    would [in theory] be providing the better RGB signal to the
    A/D Chip. ) Personally I prefer cards/boxes/and standalone
    DVD recorders that use the Phillips SAA 7xxxH series A/D

    There are some capture cards that just use the output of
    a specialized A/D chip to support a limited firmware or more
    extensive software compression of the video. They use codec
    and your CPU to provide most formats. Basically, the less
    compression applied the less demand on your system's
    resources/capabilities. (This is where your ViVo card fits in
    the spectrum.) Many have used this process to capture in
    low level compression formats to AVI, such as AVI-DV
    and the HuffYUV "Lossless" format. This approach was
    the standard way to provide early Editing software with
    a converted analog signal in a format that was "Editable".
    There are still Guides at and others
    explaining how to capture successfully using this approach.

    There are then the next step up in capture cards, those that
    take the output of the A/D Chip and provide data to the
    other two basic components, a Hardware Encoder chip and
    some very fast dedicated memory. There are now hardware
    encoders that do MPEG4 & DivX, as well as MPEG 1/2.
    (This is also the approach used in Standalone DVD Recorders
    and "TiVo" like devices. ( In fact the Encoder in my card is
    the one TiVo uses for their "Series 2" design, the Broadcom
    BCM7040 (Kfir-II) Chip.)) Early cards that used this
    approach were specialized equipment costing many thousands
    of dollars, they now range from <$150 to $30,000 or so.

    Philips, Broadcom, Conexant, and others have web sites
    that provide detailed descriptions of their Chips. Most of the
    hardware encoders are proprietary chips and little information
    or third party support is available for them. This can make it
    hard to find the most effective capture software to use with
    such cards. This is an issue because the lower cost cards
    generally suffer from inadequate, if not buggy supplied software.
    ( In my case I capture using software obtained from another
    card manufacturer, that produced a card based on the same
    reference design as mine.)

    In the range of cards that use the two approaches I
    mentioned, there are those with various additional features
    that are meant to aid or improve the capture. There are
    some with built-in TBC and DNR circuitry. Color correction
    is a common addition.

    Analog capture external USB2 and Firewire devices are
    available that use either approach.


    P.S. It appears that "Snazzi*"/"V-One Multimedia" is entering
    the US market thru an online store. They have cards and boxes
    that can use the "Movie Mill" capture software I use.
    Ken Maltby, Jul 19, 2005
  8. willbill

    Hawk Guest

    I use the A/D function in my Sony Mini-DV camera to do this, and the
    results are superb.

    I regularly connect my DirecTV sat receiver to my camera (camera to pc
    via firewire), and record programs in that manner.

    I also have a VIVO capable video card and the Mini-DV camera provides
    much higher quality.

    Hawk, Jul 19, 2005
  9. willbill

    David Chien Guest

    1. Plextor ConvertX - see review in where?
    Excellent all-in-one device and lets you convert to mpeg-1/2/4
    formats. (mpeg-4 = divx)

    2. Any ol' video card with tv tuner such as WinTV boards or ATI
    All-in-wonder boards - any of these will be found cheap for <$40 for the
    older models, and work fine.

    3. Canopus ADVC-100 + external TV tuner device such as VCR, cable input,

    4. Any ol' HDTV PCI adapter for $150-250+. These will get even better
    resolution than the TV innput methods above due to the HDTV format.
    David Chien, Jul 19, 2005
  10. willbill

    willbill Guest

    as far as i can tell, at this point, buying a VIVO
    video board (however else it may be good) has *no*
    merit for capturing a broadcast TV show to your
    PC's hard drive as a video file

    fwiw, my last inquiry (into newegg on "vcr" showed
    19 results; my interest was external TV tuners;
    but having saved it then and looking at it last
    night, there are several PCI TV tuner boards
    that look interesting in the $36-to-$99 range

    i need to look thru the newegg user comments, and
    maybe do another search or two for pci/tv/tuner,
    but assuming they are positive, odds are i'll
    soon get one of them

    thank you, bill
    willbill, Jul 20, 2005
  11. willbill

    willbill Guest

    Richard Crowley wrote:

    no i did not!

    i told you that in my last response to you!

    as far as i could tell (see the 2nd page of
    the ref that you provided) it is "freeware"
    and questionable

    i paid for the Nero 6 Ultra package which has
    the capture software (updated) that i used

    that's my current thinking

    my hunch is that you are wrong

    which is why i was careful in my wording

    maybe not much wrong, given that
    encoding (normally) doesn't do
    anything much on the PC screen
    while it's going on

    that's the current open question

    but in general i'm thinking that
    it is true (based on my limited
    current experience)

    no not a problem, and thank you very much for
    that comment. :)

    my very limited experience suggests
    that you are very correct

    without being a total jerk, i agree

    the whole thing is a total PITA!

    fwiw, assuming i get a separate pci tuner board,
    and assuming i get "decent/better" capture from
    it (vs what i'm getting with this hi-end
    nVidia VIVO board) i'll do a post in desktop
    to you with your name in the title. :)

    btw, i'll go back to this VIVO board before
    i stick my foot in my mouth. :)

    ok and good input. :)

    differential is a nice word. :)

    the open issue is if dedicated TV tuner boards
    give better results (to capturing to a file on
    the PC's hard drive) than VIVO video boards do
    (with the source from a decent external TV tuner)

    doggone good!

    i'm well aware of troubleshooting 101

    troubleshooting 102 is gonna cost me
    about $90

    probably about the cheapest thing i can
    do at this point

    thank you for that opinion. fwiw that's
    an honest thank you

    willbill, Jul 20, 2005
  12. willbill

    Eddie Guest

    Yes, recommend that you get a digital Tuner, like the Fusion DVico model. I
    use it and record to HD on my pc. Great. You just cannot get a good
    conversion from analogue.

    Eddie, Jul 20, 2005
  13. "willbill" wrote...
    It was a rhetorical question/suggestion.
    Costs nothing to try it. It might be optimized to work
    better for that particular hardware than Nero does.
    My hunch is that you have been reading to much graphics
    card marketing-hype.

    Ask yourself why you see reviews of this card (and others
    in its genre) in computer gaming circles and never in video
    production circles? Or why there is 10x as much breathless
    prose and screen shots devoted to gaming than to video
    capture? But you are free to hunch whatever you wish.
    Actually *nothing* to be precise.
    It is only "high-end" for a graphics card.

    It appears to be quite "low-end" for a video capture/
    encoding device. Your hunch notwithstanding, the two
    functions have nothing to do with each other.
    Shouldn't cost anything. Put a good tape in the same
    VCR (or a different one). But you have already
    stipulated that the picture from the source is OK.
    Richard Crowley, Jul 20, 2005
  14. willbill

    willbill Guest

    interesting thought! thank you for that!

    i follow the n/g
    and i'll do some homework there and
    see what newegg has

    willbill, Jul 21, 2005
  15. willbill

    willbill Guest

    understood (see below)

    good suggestion!

    thank you for that and your previous
    thoughtful posts

    LOL (mainly at myself and maybe even you. :) )

    i'm well aware that there's a professional
    video board market which is quite different
    (and much more expensive) than even the
    latest high-end 3D boards (nVidia and/or ATI)

    but like many, i tend to forget it.
    which is why i laughed (above)

    i'd appreciate your suggestion for a "high-end"
    video board (that does video capture well)
    at a price point of $250 (or less)

    thank you for your previous responses,
    and thank you in advance for any video
    board suggestions

    willbill, Jul 21, 2005
  16. "willbill" wrote ...
    I don't think such a things exists. People who use video
    capture built-in to their graphics card are assumed to be
    looking for only low-quality performance.

    People who want more from their video capture don't
    expect to find it on a graphics card.

    Not clear why you want to combine these in a single card?
    You will find that decision severely limits your choices and
    likely eliminates the kind of quality you are seeking.

    Repeating myself...
    I use the cheapest/simplest graphics card (or even graphics
    built into the motherboard) and then use a separate video
    capture device that is designed for that purpose.

    The Canopus ADVC series of video<->DV/Firewire
    boxes is very popular, rock-solid, and makes very nice
    looking pictures. The ADVC-110 is right at your price
    of $250 (low street price). But this assumes you want
    to store/edit (or at least capture) video in DV.

    DV makes nice pictures and is much easier (and cleaner)
    to edit than MPEGx, but it takes 13.7GB/hour of disc space.
    (There is a direct correlation between file size and video
    quality.) You will have to make the tradeoff/decision based
    on what you intend to do with your video files?
    Richard Crowley, Jul 21, 2005
  17. willbill

    willbill Guest

    money is everything when it comes
    to TV! (especially broadcast!!)

    VHS vs Beta is a good example

    i was hoping with VIVO/grahics-card

    but VIVO graphics-cards clearly don't
    cut it (for capture to one's computer
    hard drive!)

    thank you for the Canopus ADVC-110 ref, and i checked into
    it ((on and and the 110 costs roughly
    $261 and the 300 costs roughly $460 on newegg)

    afaick, the 300 is most likely a serious
    consideration for those who convert video
    from a self shot video camera (motion;
    and not from broadcast TV)?


    i'd appreciate your input (or others!) on this

    what was clear (to me), from this thread, was that
    to start with, i *NEED* a digital TV tuner!

    so i bought one today (from Wal-Mart $198.76/USDigital,
    (i don't have an easy ref to a model number from the
    manual, sorry), see

    i just plugged it in, this past 3 hours, and while my
    expectations were sky high (!) (i'm in suburban Chicago
    with a large attic antenna), this thing is beyond belief!!
    (the BEST in comparison to analog TV tuners!!!)

    iow, this thing has so far exceeded my high
    expectations (broadcast/roof antenna only, coz
    i have NO experience with cable/satelite) that
    i'm still beyond belief!!

    it also has a "USB" connector, which the manual
    marks as "future"

    i'll note my s/n, and call them on their 800 number
    on this in the next week

    odds are that as digital TV comes in in the
    next 1-2 years, they'll offer a USB2/firewire
    output for DV directly into one's computer. but
    i doubt that this connector presently functions,
    so i'm not gonna buy a USB2 cable and hope that
    it might work

    out of honest curiosity, am i correct in thinking
    that the Canopus ADVC-300 features are not all
    that useful for capturing broadcast TV to
    one's computer hard drive?

    all ears. :)

    willbill, Aug 2, 2005
  18. The ADVC-300 has a TimeBase-Corrector (TBC) built-in.
    The TBC allows you to capture cleaner video from old and
    grungy VHS tapes, etc. If you have a nice, clean source, the
    300 is likely overkill.
    Absoloutely correct. Broadcast video is required by
    the FCC to be very stable, so TBC functionality is not
    Using you eyes also is sometimes helpful. :)
    Richard Crowley, Aug 7, 2005
  19. willbill

    willbill Guest

    i'm trying to. :)

    fwiw, a global/boolean search, ({canopus} and {300}),
    of my local database of this n/g turned up 5/25/'04
    thread "I finally x-ferred my first LD to DVD"
    (18 posts) which is likely the way (~$70 TV capture
    card for the video plus an audio card with spdif)
    that i'll go to start with

    again, thank you for your responses in this thread

    willbill, Aug 7, 2005
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.