View Full Version : using sa tivo as glorified capture device?

04-22-2003, 02:54 PM
i know that this is only partially within the scope of extraction, but please humor me...

i have some of the following that i need to make dvds from:

(s-)vhs tapes (homemade and commercial, stuff that will never be on dvd)
dtivo programs recorded with scrambling

i've got a capture card (ati aiw rage 128 pro) but it seems pretty stressed (dropped frames etc) just doing vcd resolution; i've never even tried mpeg2.

so, here's my thought: take an otherwise unused sa tivo, put a turbonet in it, tweak the quality settings to make them optimal for dvd (specific pointers welcome, though i know it's been covered here), hook the s-vhs deck or dtivo up via s-video and rca audio, and make a manual recording. then, rip the ty stream and go through the usual steps of extraction and authoring.

does this sound like a good plan? sa tivo already has the asics and such to do all of this in hardware; wouldn't this be better quality than my ati aiw?

what do you guys think?


04-22-2003, 03:06 PM
It certainly seems feasible. Some mainstream (i.e. mass-market) video capture cards don't always give you very good resolution so you might actually be better off with using a SA Tivo with a Turbonet as you suggest. You really wouldn't be doing any extra processing that wouldn't be done anyway by using a capture card (i.e. A/D from analog source to PC or Tivo hard drive) with the added benefit of setting up the Tivo to record in a DVD-compliant resolution.

04-22-2003, 04:10 PM
I did this last year with an SA TIVO I never use anymore and it worked pretty well. Certainly better (and with more efficent compression) than with my cheapy video capture card.

05-02-2003, 08:53 PM
What does one have to do to be able to manually record off of the analog video/ audio ports.

I have a SVR-2000 connected to cable.

I would like to try the extraction routine to burn DVD's of VHS tapes that I have.

05-04-2003, 09:26 AM

I'm interested in doing somewhat the same thing:

Floating around : I think there is a channel linup.tcl something or other, that you can specify a certain channel will use the svideo connectors instead.

Me: I use the svideo in all the time from my digital cable box.

05-05-2003, 07:38 PM
You might also want to consider a somewhat more configurable A/D device. Check the notes at the bottom of my link page for info on hacking the ADS USB Instant DVD. If all you have is a standard VHS player, you're going to want to clean up the encode, no matter where it comes from. (This really is outside the scope of the extraction forum but I'll touch on it quickly.)

wrt tweaking a SATivo: Not the best option if you're looking for quality. The NIC will cost you, what, $75USD? If you've got a decent computer setup, you'll get better results that way. (OMG, heresy!!!)

There's some really bad advice out there. Bottom line, sample at the highest possible resolution and bitrate, preferably an even multiple of the signal rate provided by your recording medium. (you're essentially trying to "fit a curve.") Filter out some of the noise. There are dedicated VHS filters for VirtualDub. (I don't know of an equivalent for Linux or Mac, sorry, don't use those platforms.) If at all possible, use Donald Graft's AVISynth filters to help remove MPEG artifacting. (Wish the DirecTiVo units had that as a playback capability. The top of the display is always cruddy...)

Do your compression for storage last. CVD is perfectly fine for all VHS and S-VSH source and is DVD-friendly.

For quality, you're far better off using a good deck with stabilization capabilities and, hopefully, come combing and genlock ability. Basically, garbage in, garbage out. Best to have as clean and stable a signal going in as possible.

This is something I'll be releasing as a detailed how-to in the next couple of months. Sorry, it can't be sooner, just manually verified every link on the A/V lists I maintain and I'm pooped.

Email me if you want to disucss this more.