Kageboshi

Distinguished
Aug 2, 2003
18
0
18,510
I have $400 I can use on a TV card and a Video Card. I plan to use the TV card as a Tivo, and i want to watch what i record on my TV. I also play games once in a while , so I don't know what to do. Is the Ati AIW 9800 a good choice?, how good is it for recording regular cable? .
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
ATI AIW series are great cards for TV, and the 9800 Pro performs the same as any other 9800 Pro. But ATI's recording features are only hardware assisted, meaning as great as they are, they are not the best.

The best cards are probably the Hauppauge PVR series, with full hardware MPEG2 encoding.

Say you wanted to play a game and record TV at the same time. Both use a lot of CPU cycles, so at least the game (and probably the recording too) will suffer with a software based encoder. They will still suffer, but to a lesser degree, with a hardware assisted encoder. They will suffer much less performance loss with a hardware based encoder.

So hardware MPEG2 compression gives you more ability to multitask. If that's not important to you, just about any TV card will do, and the AIW 9800 Pro has nice recording features.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
 

Kageboshi

Distinguished
Aug 2, 2003
18
0
18,510
Thanks a lot. BTW, the only difference between the AIW 9700 pro and the AIW 9800 pro is that the 9800 is better at playing games ?
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
Even though ATI renamed the 9800 chip from the 9700 chip, in reality all they did was clean up some circuits to make it run cooler and clock higher, it has no new features. Someone will want to argue with me about that. But the new features are actually due to software, not hardware, minor changes to the BIOS and driver recognition of the 9800 are what make the newer feature versions work.

As far as I know that's the only difference, and it does give you a boost in games.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
With a hardware capture card like the Hauppauge PVR series, you could capture in real time at high resolutions in MPEG2 and have a file compressed small enough by the card in that format to transfer along the PCI bus to the hard drive (roughly 10MB/minute in MPEG2 format at 480x480, 15MB/minute at 720x480). Uncompressed AVI files are HUGE by comparison and can easily outstrip hard drive performance when multitasking.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red><P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Crashman on 08/17/03 00:12 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
Even checking your email can cause lost frames with some hardware using certain formats, simply because of drive access. And recording an uncompressed AVI can easily fill your drive in a short time. In fact, 15 minutes of video can exceed the 4GB limit for Fat32 partitions, not a problem with NTFS, but do you really want a file that big?

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
 

Raja

Distinguished
May 8, 2002
11
0
18,510
Theoretically if I had $400 just lying around burning a hole in my pocket.... I'd get this HDTV capture card <A HREF="http://www.techtv.com/freshgear/products/jump/0,23009,3410798,00.html" target="_new">http://www.techtv.com/freshgear/products/jump/0,23009,3410798,00.html</A> / <A HREF="http://www.telemann.com/products/dtv200.html" target="_new">http://www.telemann.com/products/dtv200.html</A>. Course to use THAT as a tivo you'd need insanely large hd space... which is part of the reason everyone (tivo, echostar, etc) has taken so long in coming out with their long promised standalone hdtv pvrs.

But seriously, for what you're after. AIW would probably be fine. My old asus gforce 256 sgram with vivo did well for me, though I didn't use it as a tivo (already got a Hughes Directivo which I worship fervently). The new nvidia vivo card I got (chaintech 5600 ultra) does about the same as my old card capture wise. I've known people to be quite happy with the hauppage pvrs and it's hardware mpeg2 encoding.

Probably for your purposes (pvr'ing) you'll be using mpeg2 and you'll be happy with it. I use picvideo mjpeg (at quality level 19) which produces large files but MUCH smaller than raw avis at almost raw avi quality. But I use it to do still captures to make stuff like wallpapers and clips of scenes I enjoy. Avi is also an easier format to edit, something you're probably not planning on doing. If you're just using it to simply watch a tv show, it's not a difference you'll much notice and you'll save a ton of disk space.

I capture using virtual dub which I keep as an active window while capturing. (I've got a powerful enough system that stuff in the background usually doesn't cause me to lose frames) If you want to capture stuff in the background while doing other stuff.. particularly stuff that is very cpu intensive., you may find a standalone card that does mpeg2 hardware encoding quite useful. Besides, regular avi encoding is always there if you need it (well, on most cards).

Also the most important thing in video capture is the input you give it. Different cards might give you different stuff (hardware compression, a nice software package, better driver support) but in the end the overall quality of the recoding is only as good as what you put into it (analog tv reception, cable reception, sattelite/digital tv reception). Don't overpay! If you really want to upgrade the quality of the recording, the best investment is upgrading to digital cable or sattelite.

And checkout this site, you'll probably find some useful information there. <A HREF="http://www.tv-cards.com/" target="_new">http://www.tv-cards.com/</A>

And finally. If you do find an extra $400 lying around. Think you could pick me up that card I mentioned above? =)
 

Monrad

Distinguished
Aug 25, 2003
13
0
18,510
I actually own a Hauppauge PVR-250. What I have to say is that it's hardware is just great. You can capture anything up to 12Mbit/sec(better quality than DVD). After that, record the file into a DVD and watch it through TV and it will look great. I used to capture AVI with an old Asus V7100 but it was impossible to have no frame skip even at lower resolution.
Now I must warn you that software bundled with Hauppauge PVR-250 sucks. You should go www.sage.tv and order Hauppauge PVR-250 bundled with sageTV which is a great software for TIVO. Hauppauge drivers also sucks but if you are an NTSC guy you'll not have big problems.
If you buy a Hauppauge PVR-250, please visit www.shspvr.com and register yourself in that forum. There's a lot of people there that could help you with your TIVO.
About capturing while playing a game... it's possible. I played Warcraft III and other games while recording a TV program in DVD Standard quality and I have no problems while playing. It's like having your computer doing nothing.

Good Luck
 

Kageboshi

Distinguished
Aug 2, 2003
18
0
18,510
Thanks to everyone, I actually got the AIW 9800 :D, but I hear some weird sound in the back when im recording some channels, I'm connecting it to a SB audigy 2 using line -in, is there any way I could fix this hiss and get a better sound quality? I don't hear that sound when i watch the channel on my TV :/ .