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Customer Review

672 of 732 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint of heart, May 22, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Hauppauge 1212 HD-PVR High Definition Personal Video Recorder (Personal Computers)
Here's the summary:

- Not a DVR. This is a pass-thru from audio/video source to PC.

- Generates H.264 at Baseline Profile 1.0 only -- not the High Profile 4.1 that x264.exe-based programs generate. The Baseline H.264 quality is not as good as the High Profile quality using the same bit rate.

- Generates default .M2TS files which are difficult to edit -- use the .TS file output instead for easier editing.

- Arcsoft software is good for capturing and that's it. The software for creating a disk always seems to re-encode -- a process that takes my PC days or makes my PC hang.

- After capture, I have to use third-party software to finish production.

The product is not an easy out-of-the box solution. Hookup is easy, and the Arcsoft software installation is easy, capturing is easy, but it gets tricky after that.

When you capture, you can set bitrates. I set my 720x480i broadcast to 4.1 MB/s thinking it would be fine. When I made a disk and played it on the Blu Ray player, the video had a horribly compressed look. That was a straight H.264 file from the HD-PVR 1212 unit to disk without transcoding. But when I transcode some other high-quality 480i video using an x264.exe-based application with 4.1 MB/s the video quality is fine.

Now I made the mistake of capturing my first video in .M2TS. Tried to edit it. Lots of software doesn't like .M2TS. I didn't know that then, but I know now. Fortunately I was able to use the freeware TSRemux to convert the .M2TS file to a .TS file. Now apps like H264TS_Cutter and multiAVCHD are happier. Lots of crashes and failures with .M2TS.

Editing. I use H264TS_Cutter to cut out commercials. This app is handy -- you take clips you want to save and create a cut without transcoding. This is important in the H.264 video world because transcoding takes days on my PCs, but the H264TS_Cutter makes a cut in minutes. You can also join two files in this manner. H264TS_Cutter has never crashed on me with .TS files. I tried using a little more complicated app for cutting -- TS Packet Editor -- but I had to reboot my PC after each file edit.

Creating a video disk. I use multiAVCHD. It lets me make a simple menu for the multiple titles. To get this to generate a Blu-Ray format file structure, I had to (after clicking Start) select the button [AVCHD compatible players] -- the button [For all Blu-ray players] wouldn't work in my Blu-Ray player.

The size of the output files determines what size disk I can use. I use Imgburn to burn to DVD-5, DVD-9, or BD-25 -- this plays in my Blu-Ray player as long as I choose the UDF physical format and UDF 2.50.

That's the quick way of taking the output from the HD-PVR 1212 and placing it on Blu-Ray compatible disk. If all this that I've described sounds like Greek, be wary of this purchase. You'll need to do your homework on using these 3rd-party apps (though fortunately the ones I've described are free) to keep the production time to a minimum and spare yourself days of needless suffering. Had these tools been included and described in the bundled software for this purchase, it would have saved me about two weeks of trial, research, and error.
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Tracked by 16 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 38 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 25, 2009 7:41:52 PM PDT
Mark Twain says:
Thank you Mr. Martin. Your comments were not just just helpful, but essential for me to get this thing to work. I had no trouble capturing the video, but kept getting an error message when I tried to burn the dvd. I printed out all the Amazon reviews and read them, and this one stood out as the most helpful. I downloaded imgburn and multiAVCHD and, after some small learning curve on using them, finally got the ability to burn an HD dvd. It is worth it, because the quality is really good. But without the guidance from K. Martin, I think I would have been lost. I've also downloaded H264TS_Cutter, which I'm now trying to figure out how to use. Go Badgers!

Posted on Nov 24, 2009 2:49:42 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 24, 2009 2:55:13 PM PST]

Posted on Nov 24, 2009 2:55:24 PM PST
Daniel Cruz says:
Mr. Martin's review is one of the best I have ever read on Amazon. It is completely spot on, especially the part about the 3rd party software. The initial setup is easy enough but getting production out of the box also required a few weeks of my time (to learn about the 3rd party software's). A bundled package would have also saved me a ton of aggravation.

Posted on Nov 26, 2009 11:41:52 AM PST
Easy Critic says:
So this product does NOT have a Hard Drive in it, and it can NOT( by itself) record ANYTHING? If not, it sure does NOT seem to be a "Recorder"!

Posted on Jan 5, 2010 2:55:47 PM PST
I think one has to get their expectations in check for what this device offers. At a ~$200 price point it simply does not have the complexity that software encoders can offer in regards to bitrate efficiency. Nor does it have the raw processing horsepower to do it live at 60fps. Increase the bitrate; hard disk space is cheap. The device you're expecting would probably cost thousands.

Posted on May 13, 2010 1:46:15 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 22, 2010 6:42:40 AM PDT
M Cox says:
Thank you so much for the information on H264TS Cutter and MultiAVCHD. I did not know they existed. But I have used TSRemux and Imgburn many times to convert my HD DVD movies to Blu-ray movies. These programs perform flawlessly, especially Imgburn. I even prefer Imgburn over commercial programs I've purchased here on Amazon.

Posted on Aug 26, 2010 8:25:50 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 26, 2010 8:26:47 AM PDT
Three questions please;
1) What have you found to be the optimal bit rate for recording. FYI - I will be running 720P resolution

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2010 5:58:41 PM PDT
daemon0 says:
I have downloaded h264_tscutter, but can't figure out how to cut frames. I googled and can't find any help. Doesn't look lie there is a user guide. Any success on cutting? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2010 11:52:32 PM PST
D. Thornton says:
Original poster didn't answer.. so I figured I would help out and answer.
I record in the 720p format also and find anything at 9mb/s bitrate or higher to look good to me. I usually record at the max 13mb/s bitrate but I do post editing and can reduce there if I need to downsize my clip down to fit an dvd, etc. I always record using VBR vs CBR. I see no difference in quality between the two other than VBR uses less than half the HD space. To give readers an idea of file sizes, I recorded the same 2 minute 15 second 720p at various bitrates in VBR. Test clip at 1mb/s was 16.5mb, 5mb/s was 43.5mb, 9mb/s 74.5mb, 13mb/s 114mb. For reference, 13mb/s CBR took 230mb of space. These were all in .m2ts format for playback on an PS3.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2010 12:30:06 AM PST
D. Thornton says:
The author of tscutter used to hang out on the doom9 forums. He has quit development of tscutter.. but you could probably find some help there. I edit my hd pvr recordings with Videoredo. It's not cheap ($100), but it works. It does single frame accurate cuts without hurting audio/video sync. If you only have a one time project, just use their trial version and uninstall it when your done. If you go that route, be sure you download the version with h264 support. Otherwise, the app will throw an error when you open your recording.
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