Recording HDTV??

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Biff, Feb 11, 2004.

  1. Biff

    Biff Agent

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    OK - first an admission: for several months I did purchase a couple of different home theater magazines but I could never find one that didn't seem to be more or less written for the yacht club crowd than for someone like myself - unwilling to take out a second mortgage to enjoy home theater.

    So - I haven't really kept up with the times, I guess, until I found this board and now I'm full of questions and you kind people certainly seem to have the answers!

    So here goes-

    -I know that there are a number of DVD recorders available, but I haven't seen any that actually record HDTV: I've seen a couple of Digital VHS recorders, however, that do claim the ability to record HDTV (and while the media is much more expensive than that of DVD, I imagine that I would be selective when determining what I would - and would not - record for posterity).

    I really have three questions, I suppose:

    1. Does such an animal as an HDTV DVD recorder exist (or is that the "blue laser" thing that everyone's waiting for)?

    2. While the price of the JVC D-VHS recorders seem quite reasonable (for a guy who paid $1,200 for my first VHS recorder in 1977) are they, in fact, capable of recording true HDTV?

    3. Is recording of - for instance - HBO HD possible, or are there some sort of copy protection in place which would prevent me from recording cable HD broadcasts? (That might be the stupidest question of the bunch, but I seem to recall broadcasters - for some reason - opposing HD recordings while personal use videotape recording has been officially legal for years).

    Yes, I admit that I'm an idiot (which is why I'll continue to post in this 'newbie' area for a bit). But if I could record some of my favorite movies that are shown on HD premium channels, I would enjoy doing so (although - if only capable on D-VHS, it would be less expensive to buy a DVD, I would, as I understand it, enjoy a higher quality image than that found on DVD?).

    Any light shed - as so much has been shed before - would be greatly appreciated!

    And, yes, when I first had my HDTV set-up, I DID try recording HDTV to standard VHS... captured some stereo sound, if I recall...
     
  2. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    1) There is no HD DVD format yet, let alone a recordable one. You're best off using a hard-drive type deal (a computer) for storing HD, or using D-VHS, which is the only availble HD format right now.

    3) Yes, D-VHS indeed records full high-def. And from my understanding, with standard video tape. (I think you can modify standard tape cases in a similar (but different) ways as you could to record S-VHS, to do things cheaper).

    3) I haven't been following copy protection stuff much, it's a little confusing.
     
  3. Ed Moxley

    Ed Moxley Cinematographer

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    Biff........
    You may want to check out Sound & Vision Magazine, It has reviews and some articles of the average user's type equipment, as well as the high end stuff. I guess it's my over-all favorite. I also like DVD etc. a lot. They also offer a lot of great and informative stuff. I get these two mags whenever the new issues come out.
     
  4. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    There is a DirecTV HD Tivo due out in a couple of months. This must mean that other PVRs will follow that will work with cable.
     
  5. Frank Zimkas

    Frank Zimkas Supporting Actor

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    Dishnetwork's DVR921 records HD. I've got one and it's great!
     
  6. Adam.Heckman

    Adam.Heckman Second Unit

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    Can a computer be used to record HD broadcast? I have a TV capture card, just a regular run-of-the-mill version and the recording software that comes with it.

    If I wanted to capture HDTV on my comp and play it back through, what would I need to do?

    Sorry if this is a 'thread-jack'.
     
  7. Biff

    Biff Agent

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    Adam-

    As I understand it (after plodding through "Digital Television Fundamentals" it is, theoretically, at least, possible to record an HDTV signal to a computer hard drive - but you wouldn't be able to view the recording as HDTV on your monitor and the manner in which you would be able to capture the signal would have to be a home brew method, I think, rather than off-the-shelf.

    Several manufacturers announced, earlier this week, that they will be providing crippled HDTV DVR's soon - they caved in to the entertainment industry's demands that recorded HDTV signals not be allowed to make a transition to any set without the recorded signature of a TV set provided via the DVI port.

    The only way that I know of (and I may be completely wrong - there are far wiser people here than me!) to record and play back HDTV signals using a tangible media is D-VHS. I'm evaluating a JVC unit just now and will decide whether or not to keep it within the next two weeks. The quality is astounding, but the media is expensive (but not prohibitively so - $25 for 3 1/2 hours of HDTV recording per tape: less than some DVDs and superior quality compared to DVDs).

    Don't know if this helps much - and I hope the wiser voices here might be able to offer more clarity!
     
  8. Adam.Heckman

    Adam.Heckman Second Unit

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    Thanks a lot for the info. If anyone else wants to lend a hand, it'd also be appreciated.
    It is a shame that the new HD DVRs are going to require DVI ports. Really screws us that have HD sets w/out the port. My new philips 30pw850h doesn't come equipped. Part of the cheap price. Or else I'd have to look into an HD DVR. Ah well.
    Thanks again.
     
  9. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Could you please link to this announcement.

    -Robert
     
  10. John Lloyd

    John Lloyd Stunt Coordinator

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    There are few tapes available for HDTV recording and only the 3.5 hour tape is overly expensive ($18 - $25). I think you can find a 2.5 or 3 hour DVHS tape in the $7-10 range. Several people also use SVHS tapes, but this requires some manual intervention on the VCR (selecting DVHS over SVHS) or drilling a new hole in the tape. Most people seem to avoid drilling the holes and just manually select the format.

    I personally have been using only DVHS tapes, but I bought a box of 10 2.5 hours online for about $75. Those are useful for taping movies. I also purchased a few 3 hour tapes because those are more convenient for time shifting one hour programs.

    Try www.tapewarehouse.com for one online source of these tapes.

    I would also recommend getting an HDTV capture card because it is a very convenient way to record shows. You can use several tools to approximate most of the PVR features. I feed the HDTV signal directly to my monitor for simplicity, but you could also connect the capture card to another monitor.
     
  11. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Biff, there is more than just DVHS:

    you can use a computer for HD capture and playback. Lots of people do this.
     
  12. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i second the recommendation of sound and vision magazine -- it's written for the rest of us who don't own a yacht....

    as with any mag, take their reviews with a few grains of salt -- but their "how-to" articles are always right-on.
     
  13. Biff

    Biff Agent

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    John (& Chris)-

    1. Thanks for the info on the tapes - I bought 5 from Crutchfield (and although I'm a committed customer, I NEVER buy recording media from them because I USUALLY know that I can find it less expensively elsewhere - in this case, I just ordered the tapes along with the JVC unit because I was unaware of an alternate supplier).

    2. Chris - whoa! - HDTV capture cards??? Didn't know such an animal existed. I can understand, now, how HDTV recording to HD could be easily accomplished but is playback going to be as good as being able to get the signal to an HD monitor? I know that two of my computers use DVI to send the signal to the digital LCD monitor and that the LCD monitors that I own have a similar resolution as HD LCD monitors (and plasma and CRT) but I don't watch many DVDs on these computers because they just "look better" to me on my CRT TV's. So, I guess, I do have a question - would HDTV, captured to hard drive and displayed on on either my Apple 20" or 23" displays (which boast resolutions higher than HDTV requirements) look "as good" as the HDTV signal on my CRT TV's? Is a software decoder used? Or does the capture card include decoding?
     
  14. Don_Berg

    Don_Berg Supporting Actor

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    ATI has recently announced an add-on HDTV tuner/capture PCI board for computers. ATI has excellent PVR scheduled recording application software already for their All-In-Wonder TV cards, and are integrating support for the new HDTV card with it.

    Here is a link with preview review of the new ATI HDTV Wonder card:
    http://www.extremetech.com/article2/...1528446,00.asp


    The more expensive HDTV tuner cards use hardware decoding. The newer cheaper cards use software decoding and require a powerful CPU like a 2.8Ghz or faster Pentium4. The quality of the HDTV playback is actually better on a good PC monitor if it supports 1600x1200 or higher resolution, of course the screen is smaller than a "big screen" HDTV.

    Here is info on the cheapest HDTV tuner card (under $179) that uses software decoding:
    http://www.dvico.com/products_mul_hd.html
     
  15. Biff

    Biff Agent

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    Robert-

    In re the "crippled" HDTV recorders... hold on a minute... nope, can't find it. I THINK I read the article in the past 7 days and I THOUGHT it was in USA Today, but a search at their site using "HDTV recorder" doesn't bring up anything. The article mentioned a number of manufactures that will be providing DVR boxes with a minimum disk size of 350 gigs, and discussed how the manufacturers were able to satisfy the entertainment industry wish that the data could not be transferred to another media by using a digital signature of a DVI port on a monitor.

    I read so many newspapers & weekly news magazines, but I read this article one morning at a local Waffle House and I ALWAYS buy a USA Today when I eat there (although it's possible that I snuck in a Newsweek). I even Googled and could find no reference, but I'll keep looking.
     
  16. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Some cards have component out others RGBHV. Or you could use your DVI connector to your TV (if you have DVI on the TV). It will take a custom resolution on the PC to synch everything up though. Another advantage of this is scaling your DVD watching to 1080i or 720p via the computer.

    -Robert
     
  17. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Biff, there are both HDTV tuner cards, and also video capture cards, in various forms. Some high end High-def video capture cards can cost quite a bit though. You should consult the HTPC forums at AVS, as what you can do with a computer for HT is insanely in depth and complicated. You can do pretty much anything, and everything. You can build entire system control, networked out the wazoo, your own customized HD-tivo type thing, high performance video processing, 1x1 pixel mapping for digital displays, you name it. Way more than I can adequately explain here, and way more than I can adequately explain at all [​IMG] .

    Using a computer as a source not only allows you to store HD material, but it DRASTICALLY enhances DVD playback with the ability to do video processing. If you have a good enough display (we're talking VERY high end display here, like a 9in CRT or something) then you can even go to process high-def material even higher than that to like 1080p and such.

    Obviously, it's a little complicated because there are SO many things you can do, and they need to be tailored to your particular display, but certainly it's the route to take for high-end video without having to pay 20 or 30 thousand $ for external video processors. In fact it can often be better.
     
  18. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    Another option: any Mac with a FireWire port running OS X can act like a D-VHS VCR with some free sample software (part of the FireWire SDK).
     
  19. Biff

    Biff Agent

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    Chris-

    OK, the bad news first: I'm a Macintosh user so I assume that my options would be limited (severely, if not completely).

    The good news is that two of my Mac's have Apple Cinema Display LCD monitors - one 20" and one 23" which, according to Apple spec's, have 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200 resolution, respectively, which - as I understand the HDTV standard - exceed HDTV resolution?

    So - if my resolution assumption is correct - can you point me towards a Mac solution. My new home will be ready for occupancy in March or April and it's wired out the wazoo (and even in the apartment that I'm occupying until the house is completed, I have hardwire (gigabit Ether) and WiFi capabilities).

    I would love - absolutely love - to be able to watch HD on my computers: now right now, really, but when I get into the house and have computers at all three levels but my HDTV's only on one.

    So... suggestions? (You guys have been great, by the way!)
     
  20. Biff

    Biff Agent

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    Ken-

    Oh, man - I fit that criteria! 5 Mac's, one being a G5 with a terabyte of HD storage, and the older G4 with 700 gigs!

    I took a peek at the site and am returning shortly.

    This could be insanely great!
     

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