Friday, November 25, 2005

Poor Mans TiVo

The old boy is looking at getting a new PC for chrimbo. I've pointed him towards a nicely priced Compaq with a AMD 64 bit processor (i know! No real performance benefits from current software!), 1gb RAM, a DVD burner and 160Gb hardrive....blah, blah, blah. I thought about buying him one of those PC TV tuners. My thinking was that i could hook up the cable to it, record movies to the hard drive and then burn to DVD/Divx.
Thing is, i'm a little unsure if simply connection my 'cable' co-axial cable to the input will get the signal through. I get the feeling it may only pick-up normal/terrestrial signal. Also, this one specific model records only to mpeg-2. Do you know if i can convert that to mpeg-4 (DVD) and will i lose quality if i do so? Basically i want to record movies onto the hard disk then use programs like 'DVD Shrink' to encode them onto Disk....any help would be appreciated.


  1. Okay - i've answered some of my own questions, i think:
    "Connecting via your cable box - This is the easiest and cheapest - you need to run an aerial lead from the RF output socket of your cable box, to the input aerial socket on a standard PC TV card or USB TV adapter. This way, you can watch and record whatever channel the cable box is tuned into. You need to use the PC card's software to "tune in" to the TV channel that your cable box uses (the RF output channel)."

    Secondly, DVD Decoder (which i currently use to unravel DVD's ontot my hard drive before using 'DVD Shrink' to re-encode them back onto Disc) created *.vob files:
    " *.VOB (Video OBject) contains several streams multiplexed together: Video, Audio and Subtitles. Video is MPEG-2, audio can be AC-3, Linear PCM, Mpeg 2 multichannel or MPEG1 layer2 2 channel audio."
    So, in theory, i can continue to use DVD Shrink...right?

  2. Some things to consider... make sure your TV card works on your funky Euro TV signals / resolutions... a lot of the cheap ones here just do NTCS. In college I had a couple of friends with TV tuner cards and I don't think they needed the cable box... the software with the card will allow you to change channels. Also you may want to check if the card actually does the encoding or if it uses your system. Last thing... If you play around with some settings on DVD shrink I think you can skip DVD decoder, dvd shrink should be able to rip the dvd on its own.