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Author Topic: IDEA: TV tuner software  (Read 25669 times)
nite_monkey
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« on: November 18, 2006, 05:42:11 PM »

Ok, so my brother has an ati tv tuner card for his computer and he doesn't like the lamo tv software that comes with it. between the two of us, we cant find any good software, by software, I am meaning the program used to watch tv on your computer with. I was hoping some one has made, or knows of a good tv program that suports auto comercial skipping, or in other words when you are recording the show to watch it later, it will not record the comercials. please and thank you in advance.  Thmbsup
« Last Edit: November 19, 2006, 06:26:35 AM by brotherS » Logged

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Josh
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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2006, 06:37:01 PM »

Try snapstream (www.snapstream.com), best I've used!
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2006, 06:38:08 PM »

The only software I have used with ATI tuners (other than ATI MMC) is InterVideo's WinDVR. It seems to work pretty well (and infinitely better than MMC) but it still isn't perfect.

Personally I have found using a Hauppauge TV tuner a revelation - the picture quality is at least 1000% better than with an ATI tuner and recording works well - still doesn't have commercial skip though.

Perhaps what you need to do is use an MPEG editor to strip out the rubbish from recorded programmes after the event. I use TMPGEnc MPEG Editor to edit and remaster TV recordings for saving to DVD Video format. It isn't cheap but it works very well and if the file is DVD compatible it can edit the file by removing the offending bits without recoding the whole file so it is very quick. You also have full control over the bitrates and format of the output. Add to that it comes with a Batch tool so that you can set up a pile of files to process and leave it over night. It will even switch off the computer when it has finished.
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nite_monkey
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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2006, 08:10:45 PM »

ok, thanks ill look at those, and see which ones work for him
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mouser
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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2006, 11:18:40 PM »

give us a report on what your finally decide nite_monkey! and maybe a little mini-review of the prorgam you end up choosing?
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2006, 05:09:57 AM »

Try snapstream (www.snapstream.com), best I've used!

That looks really nice - shame it doesn't support lots of cards though (and doesn't currently support DVB-T digital TV at all).

I notice it only supports one ATI tuner chipset - I couldn't work out whether there was a trial version on the website so if you want to use this with an ATI card you had better check you have the correct chipset!
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superticker
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2006, 11:58:13 AM »

Being new to the TV tuner world in 2002, I was very concerned placing a TV tuner card on the PCI bus would eat up all the bus bandwidth since the tuner card would be constantly sending data to the video card.  Not wanting to take a chance, I bought an ATI 8500DV which is a combined video and tuner card so the PCI bus stays out of the loop.

I've been happy with my ATI 8500DV tuner/video card over the years, although a real TV tuner may have slightly better FM sensitivity.  But I always wondered if having separate tuner and video cards would really slow the PCI bus down as much as I feared?  And now with the PCI Express bus, is this bus contention even that much of an issue today?

For my next video card, I've looking for a dual-tuner PCI Express bus card.  Again, I favor putting the tuner and video card on the same card if possible.

---------

I definitely find the ATI MMC video recording software to be slow.  The main reason for this is because it fails to preallocate file extensions appropriately.  Doesn't the Win32 API support disk block preallocations?  Gee, a recorded program often has 2000 file extents--that's ridiculous for sequential file access!  Moreover, the cluster size on my disk is only 4KBytes.

Okay, I did think about buying a second drive that's SCSI (not parallel EIDE) and formatting it to a media-server cluster size of 2MBytes or so.  Is that what everyone else does?  Is a media server configuration typically used for "home entertainment" PCs?  Do people also buy media-server hard drives with 128MByte on-disk caches for their large sequential access needs?  What cluster sizes are you formatting these media beasts with?

I just wish the ATI MMC video recorder would better preallocate it's file extents.  2000 extents on a single sequential file is just plan ludicrous.  Something is wrong here.
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f0dder
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« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2006, 04:22:13 PM »

Doesn't the Win32 API support disk block preallocations?

SetFilePointer() to the expected output file size, SetEndOfFile(), and SetFilePointer() back to offset 0. Presto, instant action on NTFS, and as few fragments as possible. On FAT partitions, the operation takes a while though.
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« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2006, 10:16:01 AM »

Doesn't the Win32 API support disk block preallocations?

SetFilePointer() to the expected output file size, SetEndOfFile(), and SetFilePointer() back to offset 0. Presto, instant action on NTFS, and as few fragments as possible.
Thanks.  I'm assuming these calls will work for sequential access files (as well as random block access).

So the problem is with the programmer's implementation of ATI's MMC video recording software, not the design of Windows.  Interesting.  Maybe I need to look at getting new video recording software rather than changing my disk hardware configuration.

What bothers me most is that the 2000 extents for a one hour (1 GByte) program are scattered all over the place on the drive.  The resulting slow response causes about 1% of the frames to be dropped even on moderate compression modes.  One would think the video recording programmers would have preallocated each file extent in 15- or 30-minute program segments (256 MByte contiguous blocks) to reduce file fragmentation, but they didn't.

Is it fair to assume most other video recording software preallocates large extents (contiguous blocks) to reduce fragmentation and speed disk access as one would expect?
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f0dder
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« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2006, 05:50:48 PM »

Quote from: superticker
Thanks.  I'm assuming these calls will work for sequential access files (as well as random block access).
That sounds like BASIC file modes rather than something done at the OS level smiley

Quote
So the problem is with the programmer's implementation of ATI's MMC video recording software, not the design of Windows.  Interesting.  Maybe I need to look at getting new video recording software rather than changing my disk hardware configuration.
Well, you can't always know beforehand how large the file needs to be. But you can reserve some minimum size, and then make sure you write largeish buffers. Dunno if there's some additional ways to say "hey, I'm gonna write a lot"...

If you have a partition that's mostly used for large files, you can reduce fragmentation by increasing the cluster size. If you almost solely use it for video editing purposes, you might want to try going as high as 64kb cluster size. This of course requires reformatting (or perhaps using one of those partition managers)

Looking at ntfs.sys, it seems like the "ContigFileAllocSize" option isn't used - but it might still be worth a try, if you don't feel like reformatting. Catch is that, if it works, it'll affect all partitions and not just your video partition, and it could increase fragmentation for partitions with smaller files. Googling for it, as always, gives a lot of "yes it works", "no it doesn't work", "omfg you're a fool" kind of posts - so better experiment yourself (remember, you need a reboot after setting the value).

It seems that NT is still a bit conservative in some areas - like wanting to find a good fit for small writes, rather than trying to keep each file contiguous.
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« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2006, 06:49:54 PM »

Quote from: superticker
So the problem is with the programmer's implementation of ATI's MMC video recording software, not the design of Windows.  Interesting.  Maybe I need to look at getting new video recording software rather than changing my disk hardware configuration.
Well, you can't always know beforehand how large the file needs to be. But you can reserve some minimum size, and then make sure you write largish buffers.
Yes, but you know the recorded programs will have 30-minute quantum sizes and you can compute the required contiguous blocks from that reliably plus a little extra.  Then you can release the little extra if you don't need it.  That's how MVS (IBM main-frame OS) typically does it.

If you have a partition that's mostly used for large files, you can reduce fragmentation by increasing the cluster size. If you almost solely use it for video editing purposes, you might want to try going as high as 64KB cluster size.
I seriously thought about doing exactly that, and if I knew fragmentation would be a serious problem, I would have done that when installing ATI's MMC recording software.  But the better solution would be to find a smarter video writing application that preallocates extents properly.

Using the right cluster size is an issue.  You need to fit about 5 clusters on the disk's on-disk cache and you want to have about 5-8 files open at a time, so 5x8=40 clusters needs to fit on the disk's on-disk cache.  Unfortunately, a standard non-media-server disk has a smaller on-disk cache.  That limits your cluster size.

Many server-oriented RAID controllers lets you specify a look-ahead buffer size for your sequential-file media disk arrays.  The problem is that this setting affects every disk on that RAID system.  As a result, you have to place your media server disks on an independent RAID controller from your system device, which I don't like.

But my home entertainment system doesn't use RAID.  That's just too much.  I want to keep my home system as simple as possible.  When I replace its disk, I'm going to create a separate large-cluster-size partition as you suggested just for recorded programming.
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f0dder
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« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2006, 08:37:34 AM »

It's been a while since I've seend disks with less than 8MB cache, and 16MB seems to be becoming the standard for the larger disks...

So, even with 64kb clusters, you can have 8192/(64*5) = ~26 simultaneous files open, if using your calculations. Of course having 25-26 simulatenous file streams, even with purely defragmented files, is going to be horrible performance smiley

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nite_monkey
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« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2006, 01:44:57 PM »

wow, I leave this thread, and then every one just takes off with some random computer subject...I should start a subject and leave more often
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