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Sid_Vicious
01-17-2005, 02:29 PM
Tell me, do the DVD recorders used on the home intertaiment center work for TV recording? How much storage time in length of hours compared to a VHS do they have for broadcast media?

Sid

DavidMorris
01-17-2005, 02:56 PM
Yes, they do work for TV broadcasts, just like a VCR. In the future when everything is HDTV and the copy-protection bit is turned on, there may be problems with consumer recorders, but for the time being they will record anything except copy-protected DVD's and tapes.

In terms of quality, it depends on the quality setting (i.e. compression level) you record at, much like SP/LP/EP modes with a VCR. Single-layer DVD media (used by virtually all consumer DVD recorders) should be able to hold around 2 hours of analog-quality broadcasts with stereo sound at the highest quality level -- increasing the compression level you should be able to reach 4 hours with a resulting drop in quality (and the lowest DVD quality is still as good or better than the best VHS quality, generally speaking). Dual-layer DVD recorders would double that, but at the moment dual-layer media is about $10 per disc compared to less than 50 cents per single-layer DVD discs, so it isn't really cost effective.

I'm thinking of getting one myself. I've been using my PC's DVD burner to burn DVD's of recordings from my DVR, old VHS tapes, and MiniDV camcorder movies, but it's a major hassle and very time consuming to setup, capture, and burn with my PC. Having said that, one benefit of doing it with the PC is that I have ultimate control over how the content is edited and encoded, quality levels, etc. -- I'm not sure how much control over those things you get with a set-top DVD recorder.

Sid_Vicious
01-17-2005, 05:19 PM
Another question. I am wishing to record a lengthy duration of time and have considered a DVR(Tivo) type recorder, except I do not want it for DTV broadcasts per-say, I don't have much more than locally broadcast channels anyway. If I simply wanted to take one channel from an open air broadcast, say a marathon billiard day(YEA I KNOW, LIKE IT'S EVER GONNA HAPPEN!)with a time length beyond regular VCR recording lengths, will the Tivo(or DVD recorder for that matter) be configurable for this single line recording, or does it have to have some association with a satellite to work? Tivo seems to say you need a Satellite and a phone line, but is that necessary if all I'd want to do is set it on one channel and punch go....sid

SnakebyteXX
01-17-2005, 05:36 PM
[ QUOTE ]
is that necessary if all I'd want to do is set it on one channel and punch go....sid <hr /></blockquote>

Although TiVo is designed with the intention that you record from the Electronic Program Guide, there is a manual recording facility identical to that which you would expect from a traditional VCR. Even when using the manual system the TiVo will stamp each program with the EPG information so that you can see the date/time and description for each manual recording.

Sid_Vicious
01-17-2005, 08:43 PM
Just to be clear before the investment,,,will this work on an outside TV antenna picking up locals only? Thanks, sid

SnakebyteXX
01-17-2005, 10:37 PM
Sid,

All TIVO's are capable of manually recording a program. It really doesn't matter what the source is. It could be satellite - cable - or a stand alone tv antenna. Tivo can be more fun when you have cable or a satellite dish because with a subscription the TIVO folks will download two weeks worth of scheduling to your home unit at a time. This scheduling makes it a piece of cake for you to program the TIVO to record anything your heart desires.

Manual recording by time or date would simply require that you sit down and tell your TIVO that you want it to record a program for X amount of time starting at X hour on X channel.

Without the scheduling subscription you won't get all the features that the TIVO offers but you will get some that are really cool. Like the fact that each time you change the channel it will automatically start a half hour recording buffer. This means that you can pause live tv when ever you want - or replay the last ten, twenty or thirty seconds of any show you're watching. We quickly learned that the average one hour tv show has 15 minutes of commercials. So if we want to watch something without having to sit through the commercials we just pause the show when it starts and wait until 15 minutes after it starts before we start watching. Once we start watching and a commercial comes on we can skip right through it in about five seconds. An average one hour show only takes 45 minutes to watch that way.

BTW: I have nearly 40 hours of ESPN Billiards tournaments saved on my TIVO and room to store about 40 more.

Manual Recording with TIVO (http://customersupport.tivo.com/knowbase/root/public/tv1517.htm?)

Chopstick
01-18-2005, 07:56 AM
Hi Sid. I was considering the purchase of a DVD recorder my self. I decided against the purchase at this time for the following reasons.

Current DVD recorders use a red laser. A new technology is about to be realeased based on a blue laser. They are calling it Blue Ray. These units will have much higher capacity the the current red laser products. The price of the red laser units will fall quite a bit at this time. I expect it this year some time.

Second, most units like Tivo, do not have the capacity to record in HDTV formats. I just bought an HDTV and I wanted to play back at HDTV resolutions. Some of these units will upconvert but it will still not be HDTV quality. As I understand it, Tivo will only do standard TV formats.

eg8r
01-18-2005, 08:34 AM
[ QUOTE ]
but for the time being they will record anything except copy-protected DVD's and tapes.
<hr /></blockquote> What are copy-protected DVDs? I have not run across any that I could not copy.

eg8r

DavidMorris
01-18-2005, 06:19 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Chopstick:</font><hr> Current DVD recorders use a red laser. A new technology is about to be realeased based on a blue laser. They are calling it Blue Ray. These units will have much higher capacity the the current red laser products. The price of the red laser units will fall quite a bit at this time. I expect it this year some time.<hr /></blockquote>
I wouldn't make any plans (or investments) on Blu Ray just yet, though. It has been in the works for several years now, but there is a competing standard called HD-DVD and nobody is sure which direction the industry will take it. Visions of VHS vs Betamax. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif HD-DVD is actually farther along and discs are cheaper to produce than Blu Ray. Sony and Panasonic are backing the Blu Ray format while NEC and Toshiba are pushing the HD-DVD spec. But even within the Blu Ray format, there is fragmentation, as noted by this article: (http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,117242,00.asp)

[ QUOTE ]
The path for early adopters isn't an easy one. The Sony machine uses 23GB discs while the Panasonic machine uses 25GB or 50GB discs. The result is that the Sony discs can be used for recording and playback in both machines but the same is not true of the Panasonic discs, according to Panasonic. The Sony machine can read the 25GB disc, after a 90-second delay in recognizing the disc, but recording onto the Panasonic discs using the Sony machine is impossible.<hr /></blockquote>

<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Chopstick:</font><hr>Second, most units like Tivo, do not have the capacity to record in HDTV formats. I just bought an HDTV and I wanted to play back at HDTV resolutions. Some of these units will upconvert but it will still not be HDTV quality. As I understand it, Tivo will only do standard TV formats. <hr /></blockquote>
While I don't believe a stand-alone HD Tivo is available yet, you can get a HD DirecTivo though (a DirecTV satellite box and Tivo combined) which of course requires HD service and dish from DirecTV.

BTW Humax makes a combination Tivo and DVD player/recorder. (http://www.tivo.com/2.1.2.asp) Two stones with one bird, or something like that... /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

DavidMorris
01-18-2005, 06:39 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote eg8r:</font><hr>What are copy-protected DVDs? I have not run across any that I could not copy.

eg8r <hr /></blockquote>
Most commercial theatrical-release video DVD's are copy-protected in 2 ways -- with MacroVision and with encryption. DVD's from other sources (like AccuStats) are usually NOT protected in any way and can easily be copied.

The MacroVision protection prevents you from just plugging a DVD player output into a VCR input and dubbing the video to tape. If you try this with a MV protected disc, you'll see screwed up color patterns in the output. Many VHS tapes also implement this protection. You can get around it by using special hardware to "strip" the protection, or by using "hacked" DVD players that disable it (old Apex players were popular with hackers for this, although new ones prevent it IIRC). If you've successfully duped DVD's to VCR without any special effort, then most likely they were not MV protected (or you have "special" hardware whether you realize it or not /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif).

The encryption is what keeps you from just burning a copy of a DVD with your PC, unless you use special software to decrypt it first. Virtually ALL theatrical-release DVD's are encrypted, unless they are really old or obscure indy-type movies. Commercial DVD burning software such as Roxio and Nero will NOT duplicate an encrypted DVD because of the legal issues. The DMCA prohibits such decryption and copying, which is the reason that DVDXcopy (the only commercial U.S. program that did it) was sued and pulled off the market by the courts. That said, you CAN easily download freeware DVD decryption software (based overseas and thus far out of reach of U.S. jurisdictions) that easily allow you to decrypt and copy DVD's using your PC.

A 3rd and lesser form of DVD protection used to thwart international piracy is region encodings. The world is divided into 7 or so regions and DVD players manufactured for use in those countries can only play DVD's from that region. So for example a region-encoded disc bought in Europe or Asia could not be played on a U.S. DVD player and vice-versa. However you can buy "special" region-free DVD players to get around this too.

eg8r
01-18-2005, 06:56 PM
OK, I know see what you are saying. I have never went from DVD to VHS. No reason to. Without saying too much, the DVD decryption s/w you talk about is easy to get and free. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif I have yet to see a DVD it could not copy.

eg8r

eg8r
01-18-2005, 06:58 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I wouldn't make any plans (or investments) on Blu Ray just yet, though. It has been in the works for several years now, but there is a competing standard called HD-DVD and nobody is sure which direction the industry will take it. <hr /></blockquote> LOL, I just read an article yesterday or the day before that stated the Porn industry might just have the final say. The porn industry puts out 11,000+ titles a year. I guess time will tell.

eg8r

Wally_in_Cincy
01-19-2005, 06:59 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote eg8r:</font><hr> LOL, I just read an article yesterday or the day before that stated the Porn industry might just have the final say. The porn industry puts out 11,000+ titles a year. I guess time will tell.

eg8r <hr /></blockquote>

The porn industry has been the driving force behind almost every media technology. Photography, VHS, internet. Even to some degree the printing press.

Gayle in MD
01-19-2005, 07:14 AM
Hi Chopstick,
May I ask, do you know if the blue laser (The new ones) will allow you to convert your VHS recordings over to DVD?

Thanks
Gayle in Md.

DavidMorris
01-19-2005, 07:28 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote eg8r:</font><hr> OK, I know see what you are saying. I have never went from DVD to VHS. No reason to. Without saying too much, the DVD decryption s/w you talk about is easy to get and free. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif I have yet to see a DVD it could not copy.

eg8r <hr /></blockquote>
Exactly. /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

I never said DVD's were un-copyable, only that they were copy-protected. Like nearly all copy-protection schemes to date, whether for software, audio, or video, there are always those enterprising souls who quickly find a way around them. Copy-protection only succeeds in preventing the casual copier who doesn't know how, or doesn't want to go to the extra effort, to get around it. It's more like a speed bump than a brick wall. /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

As to MacroVision and copying DVD's to VHS: not too many have a need for that today what with $30 DVD players all around, but some years ago before I had a DVD player in every room (but all of my kids had VCR's) I would attempt to copy DVD's to tape for them. It seldom worked due to the MV protection. But MV will also prevent DVD player to DVD recorder copying as well, so it still applied to today's technology.

MV also interferes with just playing back a DVD through a VCR. A couple years ago I bought my youngest daughter a DVD player for her bedroom. Her TV has no composite or Svideo connections, only RF... and of course DVD players don't come with RF output. So I figured I'd just hook up the DVD composite output to the VCR composite input, and use the VCR as an RF modulator. But even that wouldn't work, the MV causes the video from the DVD player to be color-distored. I had to buy a stand-alone RF modulator.

SpiderMan
01-19-2005, 09:16 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Gayle in MD:</font><hr> Hi Chopstick,
May I ask, do you know if the blue laser (The new ones) will allow you to convert your VHS recordings over to DVD?
Thanks
Gayle in Md. <hr /></blockquote>

Hi Gayle,

I believe the advantage of a blue laser over a red lies in it's shorter wavelenth, which would enable a better spatial resolution when reading and writing the media. This translates to higher information density on the disk.

So, talking about VHS to DVD, they will all do that. The currently-existing "home DVD recorders" will transfer VHS to DVD. You can also do it with your computer if it has a DVD-RW drive and a capture card.

The difference in "blue" vs "red" would probably be that a longer VHS movie (or perhaps several movies) could fit on one disk without compromising the quality by data compression.

SpiderMan

Chopstick
01-19-2005, 09:25 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Gayle in MD:</font><hr> Hi Chopstick,
May I ask, do you know if the blue laser (The new ones) will allow you to convert your VHS recordings over to DVD?

Thanks
Gayle in Md. <hr /></blockquote>

Yes, they will. DavidMorris is keeping up with developments better than I. I decided to wait on my purchase because of we are coming into a period of transition in the technology. I am going to check it again in the summer. Things should show some kind of direction by then I hope. I have quite of pool on VHS that I want to convert.

SpiderMan
01-19-2005, 09:29 AM
As I understand it, the original "Macrovision" protection was nothing more than a modulation (dithering) of the video level. Apparently this takes advantage of a difference in AGC responses for TVs and VCRs. If run straight into a TV the variations become leveled, but if fed straight into a VCR they remain and cause very annoying brightness pulsations.

This scheme was originally designed to prevent VCR-to-VCR copying of commercial tapes, but is very easily defeated by $30 "black boxes". I believe the type-2 Macrovision added color bars, a $50 box is needed to defeat both.

There is a legitimate reason to defeat macrovision - if you are running two VCRs in series for whatever reason, you must defeat the macrovision protection just to watch a tape inserted in the first VCR, as the modulation will be passed through the second VCR and treated as legitimate program material by the TV.

SpiderMan

Gayle in MD
01-19-2005, 11:04 AM
Thank you Marty,
We've been waiting to get HD TV's, Jim tells me there is something new that will be out next year which will give them even greater detail, and debth. Tech talk is beyond my little brain, I still think it's a miracle when I flip a switch and the light comes on, LOL.

I'll probably just go ahead and get what's available now for recording onto and playing from DVD etc., as I will need a second setup later for the pool room/great room, when the improved version for HD TV comes out.

What I am wondering for now though, if anyone knows, which is the best, most user friendly DVD player/recorder/with transfer capability, available now. I am swamped with VHS Pool tapes. I need to be able to play &amp; record on DVD from TV, and transfer from VHS to DVD.

Jim wants to get two big flat screen HD TV's later. One for our family room upstairs, and one for the greatroom downstairs. Whatever I buy now, will probably be just to use until he finishes the new setups, by then, I'll probably have to get a new one anyway, (DVD/VHS/Player/recorder/transfer capabilities) at the rate technology changes. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks Marty,
Gayle in Md.

SnakebyteXX
01-20-2005, 11:51 AM
Review: TiVoToGo Could Offer Much More
By FRANK BAJAK
ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK (AP) -

As a family, our TV viewing is fractured, sporadic and free of network scheduling. We are Generation TiVo, a subspecies that doesn't sit through commercials. And we've been waiting it seems like forever for a TiVo service that has finally arrived. Called TiVoToGo, it unfetters your video recordings from the hard drive-based box that pioneered television time-shifting.

In other words, you can take your shows on the road.

The good news: The service doesn't add a penny to TiVo Inc.'s $13 monthly subscription charge. The bad news: It's only about half of what I'd hoped for.

TiVo Inc. isn't to blame for all the bad news.

We'd surely have had TiVoToGo sooner but for objections from the likes of the NFL and the movie industry. The Federal Communications Commission addressed those in August, ruling that TiVo users could share their recordings over the Internet with a small circle bound by copy restrictions.

But the Internet-sharing is not happening yet, and don't hold your breath. Technology and Tinseltown are not happily married, if you hadn't noticed. Nor are the cable and satellite TV industries big TiVo fans.

A growing catalog of TiVo alternatives are emerging, the biggest threat coming from cable and satellite companies. They're promising set-top boxes with built-in digital video recorders that may trump TiVo in their ability to stream recordings to multiple TVs in a home.

None of those offerings, however, appear to rival TiVoToGo for portability.

The new TiVo service is simple and straightforward.

Since we got TiVoToGo two weeks ago I've transferred shows to computers over my home network with ease, even went a step further and burned DVDs of a show that my wife wanted to send to family overseas.

Of course I'd like to omit the DVD-burning from the equation. I'd like to be able to just point, click and send a show as if it were an e-mail attachment.

Some day.

It's worth noting that PCs running Microsoft Corp.'s ever-improving Windows Media Center operating system and Media Center Extender boxes already have a leg up on TiVo when it comes to video transfer and picture quality.

Lucky for TiVo Inc. that most people aren't yet ready for a PC in the TV room.

But let's look at TiVoToGo, which only works with TiVo Series2 recorders (they start at $99 after rebate):

It has three main components, software you install on computers on your home network to which the recordings will be transferred, a network adapter you must purchase and a software upgrade for the box itself.

Getting the upgrade is a cinch. TiVo Inc. began automatically downloading it to all Series2 boxes last week. You'll get a notification message on your TiVo Central home screen.

If you don't yet have one, you'll need to buy a wired or wireless network adapter (about $20) and connect it to one of the two USB ports on the recorder's back.

Then you go to TiVo's Web site, create an account if you don't already have one, enter your box's unique Media Access code and download the software to the computers to which you wish to transfer recordings.

You'll need to set a password that TiVo insists you don't share with anyone outside the family.

Transferring a show to a desktop or laptop over the home network generally takes about as much time as it does to view the show. The transfer speed increases if you've recorded the show with low video quality and decreases if your TiVo is recording or otherwise in use.

But let's face it. This is a crawl, something you'll need to do the night before that plane trip on which you plan to watch the new Ken Burns' documentary.

TiVo uses the MPEG-2 format for its video, the same used on commercial DVDs, and encrypts it. Your password unlocks the encryption and the video can then be played with any program that supports MPEG-2.

Since TiVo doesn't wish to alienate Hollywood any more than necessary, you won't be able to transfer any programming encoded with Macrovision copy protection (this includes pay-per-view programming and store-bought DVDs; premium channels such as Home Box Office don't yet employ such encoding but are expected to add it, especially as television lurches toward more high-definition content).

But all this is overkill for now, because TiVoToGo doesn't support high-definition programming, only standard analog video converted to bits for storage and transfer.

So the video will look fuzzy on your laptop's display. And the files aren't small: 1.2 gigabytes for an hour of medium-quality video.

TiVo should use better compression. Microsoft does. (There is currently no Mac version of the TiVoToGo desktop software. I won't be surprised if Apple Computer Inc. debuts TV recording software of its own this year).

Microsoft's Media Center software also supports high-definition video - but not for transfer over networks to television sets, an idea anathema to Hollywood.

DirecTV actually sells a $1,000 TiVo box that supports high-definition recording but not TiVoToGo or any of TiVo's already offered home media features such as over-the-Internet programming or sharing recordings among different TiVo boxes on a network (News Corp.'s DirecTV sold its 4 percent investment in TiVo last year. Time Warner and NBC remain minority investors).

Early this year, TiVo expects to offer transfers to so-called portable media players, devices that cost about $500 and run a Microsoft operating system.

And there is always the DVD-burning option. TiVo plans to shortly offer it for those willing to pay $50 for the upcoming MyDVD Studio 6.1 from Sonic Solutions.

I succeeded, however, in converting a TiVoToGo-ed recording to an unencrypted MPEG-2 with a freeware program called TMPGEnc. From there, any DVD-authoring software will burn you a disk.

Of course I could take a show I've stripped of TiVo's copy protection and share it over the Internet. That would violate TiVo's user agreement, and the last thing the company wants is to court lawsuits.

It's got enough to worry about with the likes of Microsoft, Comcast Corp., DirecTV and Echostar's Dish Network nipping at its heels.


Review (http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/tech/2005/jan/20/012003453.html)