Quantcast Confused about ATI AIW drivers & MMC versions - digitalFAQ Forum
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01-15-2011, 07:37 PM
SmokinA SmokinA is offline
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Hi!

I have an ATI AIW 9800 Pro 128 MB AGP video card installed in one of my PC's that I have setup and connected to my HDTV via a DVI-to-HDMI cable. The HDTV is effectively my PC monitor and it works very well. I also have the S-Video outputs of my HD-PVR cable box connected to the S-Video input box of the AIW for A/V capturing. Before I continue, here are some of the details of the HTPC...

Intel D865PERL motherboard
Intel 2.8c GHz CPU (Hyper-threading enabled)
1 Gb Dual-Channel RAM (2x512 Mb PC3200)
1 x 80 Gb IDE HD (OS + Software)
1 x 320 Gb SATA HD (Media Disc)
1 x 750 Gb SATA HD (Media Disc)
Sondigo Inferno Audio Card (Stereo)
Windows XP Pro SP-3
ATI Catalyst Control Center 9.03
ATI MMC 9.16
42" Panasonic Plasma HDTV (as monitor)

The Windows Desktop resolution is set to 1280 x 720 @ 60 Hz (Resized via CCC to 1216 x 684 to fit the HDTV screen.)

The HD-PVR Cable TV box has channels that output in 480i, 720p, and 1080i. I have no problem capturing the 480i channels with this setup using the ATI MMC software that I setup according to your guide "Capture MPEG with an ATI AIW Card". I made my own mapped preset using "Hardware Encode MPEG (HW)" Interlaced at 704 x 480. The playback of the MPEG2-DVD file looks good when played back with VLC Player v1.5, but it does not fill my TV screen. I assume that if I authored a DVD in Widescreen 16x9 format that it probably will playback thru my stand-alone DVD Player and fill the screen considering the PC is sending a 720p signal to the HDTV.

The problem I have is with the channels that are output in 720p. I tried to create a mapped preset using the "Software Encode MPEG (SW)" at 704 x 480 Progressive, but I end up with those annoying bars on the edges of objects that move in the picture. I know that the AIW 9800 Pro is not an HD Video capturing device, but I should be able to capture these 720p signals with better quality than I'm getting! More education & experimentation is neccessary for me!

I also noted that in your guide, you mention that the ATI MMC version 9.02 is one of the best ones for quality and stabilty. I see that you have it available in this forum for downloading. What I would like to know is what version of the Video & Capture drivers do I need for this to work properly? Do I need to downgrade from v9.03 to v611 or can I use MMC 9.02 with the ones I already installed (9.03)? Would I see an improvement in my video captures with MMC 8.7 with the appropriate video & capture drivers? What do you recommend for me and what files do I need to get? One feature I miss from one of the older versions of MMC is the "Dropped Frames count". Why they removed it from later versions beats the heck out of me!

I'm not going to be performing any advanced editing since all that I want to do is transfer some TV Shows from my HD-PVR to DVD. I do, however, want to get the best quality possible from my existing hardware. I know that this is THE place to get the info I need and that is why I have become a Premium member of this forum! You have provided me with plenty of expert advise in the past when I first started getting into video capturing almost 10 years ago. Your capture guides have helped me a lot but now I have an HDTV and I need more updated info to get the results that I want.
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  #2  
01-15-2011, 10:27 PM
SmokinA SmokinA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokinA View Post
The problem I have is with the channels that are output in 720p. I tried to create a mapped preset using the "Software Encode MPEG (SW)" at 704 x 480 Progressive, but I end up with those annoying bars on the edges of objects that move in the picture. I know that the AIW 9800 Pro is not an HD Video capturing device, but I should be able to capture these 720p signals with better quality than I'm getting! More education & experimentation is neccessary for me!
I have found my own error concerning this paragraph...

I mistakenly recorded an interlaced signal with the "Progressive" preset that I made. Disregard "those annoying bars on the edge of objects that move" problem. I did a re-test just now and it recorded fine except...

The problem that I have with using my Progressive scan preset is in the aspect ratio of the recorded video. It is widescreen 16x9 but with horizontal black bars at the top and bottom of the screen when played back with VLC Player. When I watch the same channel live and when I'm recording, it has the correct aspect ratio. On playback it is squished vertically. Is this just because of the difference of the resolution of the PC out (720p) and the recorded video file resolution (480p)? The captured video file is nowhere near as clear as the original HD picture quality (as expected). I get better results capturing the 480i signal with the "Harware Encode MPEG (HW)" preset. Is there a setting or method that I can use to improve the picture quality when recording an HD signal? Should I just use my "Hardware Encode MPEG (HW)" preset for all 3 of the different formats that my HD-PVR Cable box uses?
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  #3  
01-16-2011, 01:33 AM
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From the text description, I'm not quite sure if you're recording a 480i version of the 720p (with wrong AR), or if you're getting a down-res'd matte version.
Can you post some sample screen caps?

If you need help, read this: How to take a screenshot / Take picture of computer screen

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  #4  
01-16-2011, 09:55 AM
SmokinA SmokinA is offline
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Thanks! You nailed it in the first sentence of your reply! I just noticed that the ATI MMC TV info bar indicates that it is receiving a 480i signal even though the HD-PVR is receiving a 720p signal. I didn't notice it before as it only appears for about 1 second when I first open the ATI MMC TV app. It makes sense that the ATI S-Video input would be limited to 480i regardless of the signal and/or the cable box that I'm using is limited to 480i on the S-Video out. I believe that is the nature of S-Video, correct?

My HDTV is connected via HDMI cable and is able to display all of the formats of the cable box. The 2nd output from the cable box is connected to ATI inputs via S-Video. I really don't know why I didn't realise this before!

So I guess that with my current hardware setup it is impossible to capture anything from my HD-PVR Cable box in HD or 480p.

As I mentioned in my first post, I have no problem capturing the 480i signal using my "Hardware Encode MPEG (HW)" preset. So I guess that I will have to use that preset for all video formats from my HD-PVR Cable box. Problem solved! (Or at least reasonably understood.)

I would like to provide a screen cap of my results but I'm not sure what method you want me to use. Do you want a still screen shot or a short video capture? (Method #1 or 4?)

And finally, a question that I would very much like answered is: Will I get better quality downgrading my ATI video & capture drivers and MMC to MMC 9.02 (or earlier)? My present configuration seems to work well as it is. (See post #1 for details.)
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  #5  
01-24-2011, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
I believe that is the nature of S-Video, correct?
Correct. The bandwidth of s-video is 480i

Quote:
So I guess that with my current hardware setup it is impossible to capture anything from my HD-PVR Cable box in HD or 480p.
Correct.

Quote:
I would like to provide a screen cap of my results but I'm not sure what method you want me to use. Do you want a still screen shot or a short video capture? (Method #1 or 4?)
You'll have to use the video method described here:
Quote:
Method 4:For still shots of videos, load the video into VirtualDub, go to Video > Copy (source or output) Frame to Clipboard. Open an image editor like Photoshop or Paint, File > New, and then paste. Save as JPEG. If VirtualDub will not open the video, VLC is an alternate option (Video > Snapshot). Some programs like WinDVD also have screencap options, but quality is not always accurate or true to the original. VirtualDub is, VLC can be (assuming you've not enabled filters or deinterlacing).
... and that's still a "still image" and not a video clip.

Quote:
And finally, a question that I would very much like answered is: Will I get better quality downgrading my ATI video & capture drivers and MMC to MMC 9.02 (or earlier)? My present configuration seems to work well as it is. (See post #1 for details.)
I would have to say that "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" would apply here.

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  #6  
01-25-2011, 10:37 AM
SmokinA SmokinA is offline
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Thanks LordSmurf! Your video capture guides have been a great help to me in the past and I thank you for all of the invaluable info that you have provided. As I hope you can see, I have learned a lot about video capturing from your guides, although I may be a bit slow! LOL!

I guess I will keep the current drivers and MMC version that I am using now. As far as being able to capture HD, I will have to wait for more economical HD video capture devices as the ones that are available today are just way too expensive for my budget.

Again, thanks for the great guides and of course this forum!
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