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Thread: My conclusions on Quality, Capture and Transcode SDTV

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    My conclusions on Quality, Capture and Transcode SDTV


    I been here a couple weeks and have asked a lot of questions and searched the forums like a mad man searching and learning and I am pleased to say that the developers in this community are top notch and stand up in respect to answer all of our hard and confusing questions and they are eager and seem to enjoy the challenge of helping others so that others can enjoy this really grade a piece of software. I would like to simply ask everyone that has the electronic means of using paypal to please make a donation to sub so that he can continue to have the spare time to help others in need and code.

    cheers guys!

    Now I have decided to post my findings of what I am using for my PVR that works best for what i want and that is to record endless amounts of television so I can watch things whenever I choose at the best quality my system will allow.

    Dell Dimension 5100 (Pentium 4 3.0GHz, 1,000 MB RAM, 500GB HDD 320GB HDD, XP Pro SP2 ATI x300)

    WinTV-PVR-500 MCE with MCE remote

    that is a dual tuner card so I can record local cable and satellite shows at the same time.

    Now the goods:
    For the best possible recordings my settings are as follows...
    config.exe/capture sources/edit/recording sources/pvr150:
    My quality profile settings are as follows:
    Medium Quality - modified to:
    Video Resolution - 720x480
    Constant - 6,000
    Audio Bit Rate - 320
    Audio Sample Rate 48k

    The reason my medium quality settings are so high is because the quick record button uses medium only so that every recording I make is at this quality... (plus it is easy to record many shows in blocks with the quick record button

    if I want to record stuff I delete right away like the news etc... I use a low profile with these settings:
    Low Quality - modified to:
    Video Resolution - 480x480
    Constant - 2,000
    Audio Bit Rate - 320
    Audio Sample Rate 48k

    For Live TV my settings are:
    Live TV Quality - modified to:
    Video Resolution - 720x480
    Variable Bit Rate - 7,000 - 11,000
    Audio Bit Rate - 320
    Audio Sample Rate 48k

    Overkill but essential when you want to view the most detail with the least artifacts....

    Now I bet you think this setup is nuts as the file sizes will be huge.
    Medium profile 1.7 Gigabytes per 30 minutes or almost 7 gigs every 2 hours. 20 movies - 140 gigs estimated... as you can disc space can disapear in a couple weeks if you are like me and get confused on which show I have seen and other times taking weeks to press play on a particular movie..

    To solve the disc space problem I tried my best to learn about how to transcode these big files so that they will be smaller in size while still holding some kinda quality. Unfortunately almost all the transcode settings in GBPVR resulted in blocky youtube kinda video that took forever to complete.

    My best solution was to use AutoGK using the max file size option using 750mb per movie using 2 pass. the quality is wonderful yet it is simply too frustrating since I could not get it to monitor a directory to convert files and I lost all the movie info.....

    I wanted something as easy as the transcode button in GBPVR. under the options you can select different codecs but the one I used was the divx since I couldn't figure out how to change the bitrate for xvid in the config.xml. I changed the Divx profile to a higher bitrate and this produced livable results.
    You can change the bitrate by opening config.xml in the GBPVR dierctory with notepad and open the find menu and type "divx". that will take you to the transcode settings:

    Here is mine: I change it from 1000k to 2500k
    <Conversion name="DivX" cmd="-y -i {SOURCE_FILE} -f avi -ab 224 -ac 2 -acodec mp3 -vcodec mpeg4 -b 2500k -vtag DIVX {DEST_FILE}" targetExtension=".avi" />
    Now you can open PVRX2 and go to the Video Library and select a video and transcode it to a smaller size when you are running low on space.

    That codec is fast and was a great start to my learning. Still not satisfied I used the search feature in the forums and discovered the AVIVO tool to encode video at a super fast rate. If you have an ATI AVIVO Video card then you know what I mean. If you don't then you can try some modified drivers that will work. The AVIVO compression tool does not use your video card to compress but is a highly optimized software compression utlillity that speeds the encoding process for fast computer users.

    More info on AVIVO and links to the drivers can be found here.

    This encoder is fast so I wanted to get it to work with the transcoder cause i'm impatient with encoding things... hehe A 30 minutes video I made at my medium settings takes 7 minutes to encode versus 20 minutes with the ffdmpg Divx transcode in GBPVR.

    If you have the ATI AVIVO drivers installed and want to use it in the transcode menu simply add this line where you search for DiVX in config.xml:

    <Conversion name="AvivoXcode" exe="atixcode.exe" cmd=" IDLE /F{SOURCE_FILE} /A0 /S0 /R0  /EMPG /V4 /Q1  /X0 /D{DEST_FILE}" targetExtension=".avi" />
    Important switches for your desired compressor:
    /Vn Output Video Format (1 - MPEG1, 2 - MPEG2, 3 - VCD, 4 - SDVD, 5-DVD, 6 - MPEG4 DIVX, 7 - WMV9, 8 - WMV9 PMC, 9 - H264, 10 - MPEG4 (PSP compatible video), 11 - H.264 (iPod compatible video)
     /Qn    Quality (/Q2=default, 1 (low), 2 (medium), 3 (high))
    You will need to copy atixcode.exe and place it in the "Third Party" directory of GBPVR: you can find it here
    C:\Program Files\ATI Technologies\

    If you are using a none ATI card with the modified drivers then you will need to locate an older ATI driver pack and pull the file out of the

    The bad thing about the transcode button in GBPVR is that it won't que files so you have to keep going back to select another file after the que is done.

    This led me onto the Skiptool that allows for QUE'ing files.

    If you have SkipTool installed and AVIVO drivers than you can navigate to:
    C:\Program Files\devnz\gbpvr\Plugins\SkipTool\scriptoptions.t xt

    And open in notepad and add the following under the $EXECUTABLE header:
    AVIVO;C:\Program Files\devnz\gbpvr\avivo\avivo.bat;Turbo Avivo

    Save it and create a new menu under GBPVR called AVIVO:
    C:\Program Files\devnz\gbpvr\avivo\
    You will need to copy atixcode.exe and place it there...
    Now open notepade and paste the following:
    c:\Progra~1\devnz\gbpvr\avivo\AtiXcode IDLE /A0 /S0 /R0 /EMPG /V4 /Q1 /X0 /F"%~1" /D"%~dpn1.avi"
    Save the file as to
    C:\Program Files\devnz\gbpvr\avivo\
    as avivo.bat a close notepad

    Now you can que up the AVIVO encoder to transcode the files.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    This was great until I got lost and decided my best bet is to transcode all the new recordings i make. I tested for hours and found my best encoding options and I settled on using the /V7 /Q3 which is the WMV9 at quality 3 in AVIVO.

    I was stuck between the SDVD /v4 /q3 setting which is 3,000k at 480x480 but settled on the WMV9 as it is 640x480 and looks pretty clear.

    At A Glance: AVIVO offline Transcode:
    My recorded Mpeg file: 30 minute recording
    Video Resolution - 720x480
    Constant - 6,000
    Audio Bit Rate - 320
    Audio Sample Rate 48k
    File Size - 1.7 gigs

    My AVIVO Transcoded Mpeg file: 30 minutes (encoded in 8 minutes)
    Sdvd /V4 /Q3
    Video Resolution - 480x480
    Constant - 3,000
    Audio Bit Rate - 224
    Audio Sample Rate 48k
    File Size - 550 megs

    My AVIVO Transcoded Mpeg file: 30 minutes (encoded in 10 minutes)
    WMV9 /V7 /Q3
    Video Resolution - 680x480
    Constant - 5,000
    Audio Bit Rate - 224
    Audio Sample Rate 44k
    File Size - 720 megs

    My GBPVR Transcoded Mpeg file: 30 minutes (encoded in 22 minutes)
    FFDMPG DivX GBPVR transcode button
    Video Resolution - 720x480
    Constant - 2,500
    Audio Bit Rate - 224
    Audio Sample Rate 48k
    File Size - 670 megs

    *note - FFDMPG DivX GBPVR transcode Video at this resolution looked blocky like watching a 56k modem video stream through a magnifying glass hehe not a good encoder for 720x480

    WMV9 was the clear winner as the video looked clear with no artifacts.

    My next step was to have GBPVR process the encoder after every recording and delete the original to save space and i wanted to keep the show info so i had to rename the new recordings to the old recorded name.

    So I created a "PostProcessing.bat" file and dropped it in the GBPVR directory.

    To do this open notepad and paste the following lines in it.

    C:\progra~1\devnz\gbpvr\avivo\AtiXcode IDLE /A0 /S0 /R0 /EMPG /V7 /Q3 /X0 /F"%~1" /D"%~dpn1.avi"
    rename "%~1" temp.avi
    move "%~dpn1.avi" "%~1"
    delete temp.avi
    Make sure that you created an "AVIVO" folder in GBPVR as described above and placed the file "atixcode.exe" there...

    Now all your new recordings will be in high quality and this will transcode the new files into much smaller video files with the best quality I could find at this time with my rig.

    whew i'm glad I got that off my chest. I just wanted to share this info with you as it is a great way to learn some cool things.

    Best of luck!

    MCE hauppage remote and hip....
    don't use HIP to learn remote codes for your setup box. Use the MCE remote plugin in the config.exe and use that to learn the remote and save the IR codes and use those codes in HIP.

    You can find the saved codes here:
    C:\Program Files\devnz\gbpvr\IR Definitions\Mce2005


    Special thanks to gEd for posting the thread on AVIVO modified drivers
    Special thanks to pastro for the long time helping me learn the Dos commands and SkipTool
    Special thanks to pBS for posting in the forum about AVIVO switches he used.
    Special thanks to sub for answering all my questions and helping us new members feel at home.

    I gotta start work in 30 minutes for the next 12 hours and I been up all day and night lol.

    I work on the net so I can stay home and work hehe

    long day
    Last edited by tvshowman; 2008-01-12 at 04:52 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Holy Research Batman er I mean TVshowman . LOL

    Nice bit of work here. I think I will give the AVIVO settings a try with my HD2400pro

    Thanks for the work
    HP D530 SFF 3.0Ghz
    1GB Ram ram
    160GB SATA
    VGA cable to Toshiba 37HL57 LCD

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Working in windows 7

    Using it to convert mpg analog to avi. You lose a little quality but shrinks it down.

    I had a heck of a time finding atixcode.exe

    Catalyst 7.3 Avivo Converter has it in the data1 cab file, but it is not a normal cab file. I had to download zipscan to get the atixcode.exe file out

    I also installed Catalyst 12.1 Avivo Converter
    EDIT catalyst 9.12
    Last edited by luttrell1962; 2010-01-27 at 07:37 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Regarding the whole transcoding piece. I've been relatively happy with my transcoding HDHR. I was annoyed when I first purchased it because the fan is pretty loud. I've heard rumors that they've fixed it now and made the fan quieter in later models.

    Either way I'm glad I purchased it because it's one less thing I need to think about and it saves a lot of space and makes it easier to stream over the network in real time.

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