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Switching Cable Systems - Best Way to Connect X800XT to Direct TVDVR

Discussion in 'ATI' started by jj, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. jj

    jj Guest

    My condo building is switching cable companies on March 1, from Comcast
    to Direct TV. Have an ATI AIW X800XT, and currently have basic cable
    with the cable line going directly into the ATI card.

    On March 1, will have Direct TV with a DVR. Went with the DVR because
    the problem I have today with recording TV programs to my hard drive, is
    that I use my PC 14-16 hours/day for personal/work reasons, and can't
    record while I'm working (not enough CPU/memory for good recordings).

    I'd like to use the DVR to record the programs. But need to know if I
    can connect the DVR using some sort of Audio/Video Out. I think the
    best the DVR has is S-Video, unless you get the HD option, which I
    didn't because no HD-TV yet).

    Is there a way to connect the DVR to my PC/ATI X800XT, and "play back"
    programs from the DVR, and record to the PC's hard drive?

    If this is possible, it will allow me to record programs to the PC's
    hard drive when not using my PC for business/pleasure. I need to get the
    video to the PC hard drive, so I can use the Pinnacle software to edit
    out the commercials, and burn the program to DVD. I'm making
    commercial-free DVD collections of my favorite programs.

    Just wondered if anyone has a setup like this, using a DVR, and if it
    can be configured to do what I just mentioned? If so, what's the best
    way to configure it, and connect the DVR's audio/video to the ATI card?

    Thanks for any advice, help, etc. Much appreciated.

    jj, Jan 20, 2007
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  2. jj

    Ken Maltby Guest

    I have been recording shows off a DirecTiVo DVR for a long time
    now, and find it a great way to collect up the shows I like.

    There are several ways you could go with this.

    Probably the method that can create the best possible results is to
    hack the DVR's software so that you can extract the recorded
    video on the DVR's hard drive and convert that to standard DVD
    compliant .mpg in your PC. As I understand it, the DirecTV units
    don't and won't implement the "TiVo-To-Go" feature to accomplish
    this without hacking the DVR.

    Another possible approach would be to use a hard drive equipped
    DVD Recorder. Then you could save up edited episodes on the
    recorder's hard drive until you had the number you want for a DVD.
    This should be possible, but I much prefer doing such things on my
    computer, for one thing, on the computer I can use a keyboard and
    run more useful programs to edit and author a DVD.

    What I've been doing is to use the S-Video analog output, which
    has been of very good quality, to feed my PCI hardware MPEG
    capture card. (The card I use is no longer available, but the same
    reference design which uses the same IC chips is available as the
    "Snazzi III DVD Creator" PCI card http://www.snazzishop.com

    With this approach you have a great deal a control over the
    process and can setup a quick and easy workflow.

    Depending on the power of your system and with a good
    throughput, you could use the AIW and capture to DVD
    compliant MPEG with software. In any case you will want
    to have a separate hard drive for your capturing.

    Once you have DVD compliant MPEG files from your capture
    process, you can quickly and easily edit out the commercials
    using www.videoredo.com (This is an essential tool for anyone
    working with MPEG.) [You should edit the files off one drive
    and save the results to a different drive. You will see an
    improvement in processing time and throughput, for many
    processes using this technique.]

    You would then feed the edited files to your favorite Authoring
    Program and create your new DVD. (My favorite is TMPGEnc
    DVD Author 1.6 (TDA) but there are other good programs
    available now, many people like Ulead's Movie Factory, and
    DVDLab Pro is by far the most cost effective [but is a little
    complex for many, and for many routine uses.].

    You should check out sites like www.videohelp.com
    www.afterdawn.com www.doom9.org for info on the authoring
    process. Videohelp.com has listings of hardware and software
    with user comments, that can be very helpful.

    I seldom make video DVDs anymore, as I currently am
    converting everything to AVC/H.264 files on hard drives,
    (mostly on my NAS), but I still capture and edit out the
    commercials as I described above. I have setup a system
    to function as a HTPC for the livingroom. It plays the files
    off the NAS over my Gigabit LAN, with no problem, so far.

    ( You can see some of the MMB menus I made to play
    the files here:

    Just click on the pictures at the site, but to see them full
    size you can download them, they are small <200KB files.)

    Ken Maltby, Jan 20, 2007
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  3. jj

    eventerke Guest


    AFAIK, there is *no* way to hack the DirectTV DVR at present. I went
    on a search to do exactly this, mainly to increase storage space, and
    it appears the DirectTV DVR's are pretty well locked down - there's a
    video accesories company that even offered a $20K reward to anyone who
    figures out how to allow hard drive upgrades.
    If you've read differently *please* reply - I'd love to get a larger
    hard drive in mine.

    eventerke, Jan 21, 2007
  4. jj

    Ken Maltby Guest

    You couldn't be further from reality there. Did you even try Google?

    If you just need to increase your storage space try:
    www.weaknees.com I have a 250GB drive due tomorrow, to
    replace the one in my Philips DSR 7000.

    To really "hack" one, the "Zipper" disk approach is probably the easiest.


    P.S. Where do I pick up that 20k?
    Ken Maltby, Jan 22, 2007
  5. jj

    jj Guest

    I thought the DVR had a "video out" option. If so, couldn't you play
    back the recorded video from the DVR's hard drive, and output the
    play-back via a Video Out S-Video or composite to the ATI card?

    You could then record the DVR's "play back" to the PC's hard drive.
    It's just looking for a video/audio signal, it doesn't care where it
    comes from does it, e.g., cable, S-Video, composite, component, etc.?


    jj, Jan 28, 2007
  6. The way I've done it with a cable STB is pretty similar to what you

    My STB has:
    1) Video out - inferior quality. Worst of the bunch.

    2) S-video.
    A good option with up to DVD quality. Better, in fact, than cable hooked
    directly to the card. I use this connection to record and to watch live TV.

    3) Component out.
    I connect Component out directly to my 2405fpw with an RCA switch to switch
    the RCA audio from the STB to the Aux Line-in inputs on the front panel of
    my xFi platinum sound card. (the other audio input on the switch goes to the
    ATI 'block' which also accomodates the s-video connection).

    4) HDMI - I don't have any HDMI capable components

    5) Firewire - Still somewhat new for this purpose and as such requires more
    effort and processing than the others, although (if FW is enabled on your
    box), this method enables HiDef content. If you wish to find out more about
    this process:


    My ATI card is the AIW 1800XL, but I have also used this set up on the AIW

    However, this all said, I don;t care much for the recording quality on the
    ATI. I presented my set up with the ATI card because that is what you are
    using. I mostly record using a discontinued Navis Pro card, which has very
    quirky software, but outputs very high quality video.

    As you said, all you need do is set your input device for the ATI card as
    s-video, play back what you have recorded on your STB DVR and record via the
    ATI software (or whatever software you might be using for the card). It will
    record just fine, aside from the quality issues I mentioned, which you may
    not mind.


    James Colbert, Jan 28, 2007
  7. jj

    Ken Maltby Guest

    That approach is also mentioned in my reply.

    Ken Maltby, Jan 28, 2007
  8. jj

    jj Guest

    Thanks for the reply. I just wanted to know if I could record from the
    DVR, as opposed to recording as I do today, directly from the cable
    connection. The only thing that will be changing is the "source" of the

    Currently, it comes from my cable, connected to the AIW X800XT. If I go
    with the DVR, just wanted to make sure I could change the "source" from
    cable to RECORDED PROGRAMS on the DVR's hard drive, and use the DVR's
    "Video Out" cable to connect it to the AIW.

    The people at DirectTV told me their DVRs have video out, in composite
    or S-Video. Just wanted to make sure I could connect that S-Video to my
    X800XT, replacing the cable input.

    But I would be "recording" on the PC's hard drive, programs that were
    already recorded on the DVR's hard drive.

    Some of you were talking about "hacking software", etc. That's what
    confused me. I was looking for a more simpler solution, as described,
    and wondered if it would work, and if anyone had tried something like
    this before.

    Sounds like it will work, but I have a funny feeling I won't know for
    sure until I get the equipment, and try to hook it all up. Thanks again,

    jj, Jan 30, 2007

  9. If it has s-video out, you shouldn't have any problem. You will just need to
    set the input in MMC to s-video and you can watch and record. Image quality
    is higher than connecting the cable directly to the card. Of course, then
    you will be using the DVR to switch channels, leaving the MMC TV app on
    whatever channel the DVR requires (ch. 3 here). Recording from previously
    recorded shows from the DVR to the computer is as simple as playing the show
    from the DVR and setting MMC to record.


    James Colbert, Jan 30, 2007
  10. Should be just like I'm doing now with the cable box. I capture from the
    RF(co-ax) on stations the ATI tuner can get and use S-video from the box for
    the rest. Don't forget you'll need separate cables for audio.

    You'd get better quality hacking the DVR but this way will probably be
    adequate. Recapturing will be in real time.
    Captain Midnight, Jan 31, 2007
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