Record TV Programmes With PVR Software

By Team Digit Published Date
01 - Aug - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Aug - 2006
Record TV Programmes With PVR Software
Rewind to a spectacular moment of a Formula 1 race. Record a dramatic climax from your favourite serial (even when you are away from your PC). Pause a movie to answer the doorbell.

Windows XP Media Center, of course, allows you to do these, but the cost of the software can be off-putting. You can achieve Media Center functionality using your existing TV-Tuner-these cost about Rs 1,200 these days-along with a software called InterVideo WinDVR, a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) software. Download and install it from www.intervideo .com/jsp/WinDVR_Profile.jsp. WinDVR costs $79.95 (about Rs 3,700), but a fully-functional 30-day trial version is available. WinDVR works with most TV-Tuners with WDM drivers.

Step 1. Setting Up The TV Channels
After installing the software, on the TV panel, select the source as "Antenna" from the available options: Antenna, Composite, and S-Video. You can use the Properties settings to control how WinDVR looks and functions, and configure and customise TV channels in the Channels property page. WinDVR automatically scans your cable or antenna signal for available channels. You can label, identify, and include or exclude channels from the channel surfing list.

Setting up the channels and fine-tuning them

The number of channels available will vary depending on the selection made between antenna or cable TV, and the country settings supported by your TV-Tuner. (Different countries have different frequency ranges allocated to them for TV / cable transmission.) After the channel scan is done, the available channels are clearly displayed. If you see speckles or if the sound has a noticeable hiss (or is cracked), you can use the Fine Tune tool to slightly change the frequency.

Step 2. Display Properties
Under "Display Properties", you'll find an interesting feature of WinDVR-you can set the TV to play as the Desktop background! It may not be very practical to watch TV with Desktop icons in the foreground,

Setting the brightness, contrast, hue, etc..

but the idea is cool-and it may even be OK for a news programme! Under Display Properties, you can also set the Aspect Ratio (set it to 4:3), Always on Top, Brightness and Contrast, and more.

Step 3. Record Properties
Under Record Properties, you can configure the audio and video settings for small file size or high video quality. Choose a lower resolution and bitrate for a lower file size (and relatively lower quality)-or choose a higher resolution and bitrate for higher quality playback, with the downside being larger file sizes.

  •  It's Resource Hungry!
In order to record at the highest video resolution, you need a fast processor (1.5 GHz or above), at least 512 MB of RAM, and a fast (at least 7200 rpm) hard drive. If you intend to capture in MPEG-2 format (DVD quality), you need to make sure you have lots of gigabytes of free space on your hard disk.

You can also choose between the MPEG-1 (VCD quality-which requires less resources) and the MPEG-2 (DVD quality-which requires more resources) formats.

Step 4. Timeshifting Properties
The timeshifting feature allows you to pause, replay, or skip commercials during live TV. Yes, this is possible even with an ordinary TV-Tuner card! You can pause and attend a call while watching a live show, come back and pick up where you left off, or if you wish, you can instantly get back to the live show.

Right-click on the window in which you're watching TV. In the pop-up menu that appears, select Timeshifting. At any point in Timeshifting, you can use the software's display controls to pause, fast-forward through ads, or rewind for an instant replay.

In the Timeshifting Properties page, you can set the Timeshifting mode to either Normal or Record mode. In Normal Mode, the Timeshifting feature is used without recording the complete program: a limited part of the program is recorded as a buffer, and you can specify the buffering time. Therefore, you can only rewind a program to a period not exceeding the buffer time. When Record Mode is selected, the recording period of the program is not limited by a buffer time. This mode takes up more system resources, so the system may perform slower during recording and playback. The advantage here is that you can rewind to the point when you started using the Timeshift feature.
Scheduling is a useful PVR feature-WinDVR only makes it more powerful:

Set up WinDVR to record a programme anytime!

it displays a viewing reminder, and can record a TV programme from a certain channel at a predetermined time. The schedule can be set for a one-time or a recurring session.                             

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