Gordon's TechArt

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Further homebrew DVR explorations
I'll be posting some more detail in my ongoing homebrew Digital Video Recorder (DVR) explorations, but my overall take at the moment is that TiVO stands head and shoulders above anything you can put together on your own with the (admittedly notable) caveat that you can't easily (as in without serious hacking) extract the video files from the TiVO for editing/burning to DVD/etc. The PC hardware that you can buy these days for DVR purposes such as the Shuttle-based systems is really quite good. That's not the problem. The problem is the software. For Windows-based systems, I've tried the ATI software that came with my Radeon All-in-Wonder card, Showshifter, and Snapstream. I've been underwhelmed. Certainly none have anything like the ease of creating and editing season passes that the TiVO has; all are much more oriented toiward a "programming grid" display. The ATI software that comes with the Radeon is fine for watching but very awkward to use for recording and playback. Showshifter makes you go a highly manual process (which includes writing batch files!) to get the programming listings and, even after you do this, I didn't find the software very easy to use. Snapstream seemed to have the most promise. Unfortunately it was quite unstable on my system. I've read comments from others that it "likes" the Hauppague tuner cards like the PVR-250 more than the ATIs and indeed, that's what the company sells to use with its products. For slot reasons in my system, I prefer the AGP ATI card so that I have a free PCI slot to which I could add a high-end sound card at some point. But, perhaps I'll give the PVR-250 a shot anyway at some point.

Perhaps everyone else knows about this already, but this "open source" (open collaboration really) encyclopedia has really gotten quite good. I think I looked at it a while back and it didn't make much of an impression. But I had occasion to take another look-see recently. I didn't make a detailed survey but my impression is that there's considerable depth and breadth and the accuracy seems quite high (if not perfect). It also seems to be a great example of an open project where many people can effectively contribute. By comparison, at least individual open source software projects end up being the work of a relatively small core group.

* about.

Thoughts on Technologies and Their Artifacts

This weblog comments on a variety of technology news, trends, and products and how all of those mix together. I cover enterprise server technologies as an industry analyst so I tend to stay away from mainstream corporate IT topics here although I may link to other material that I've published or am quoted in if it seems like something that would be of relatively general interest. Comments and suggestions are always welcome and I'll try to at least acknowledge any communications. Because of travel schedules and other time committments, this will likely be a somewhat irregular undertaking but I'll shoot for postings every few days or so. Just in case it's not blindingly obvious, any opinions herin are solely mine and not those of my employer, Bill Gates, the local barn cat, or the groundhogs burrowed in my basement.

mail : gordon@bitmasons.com

* My links

Home Page:Bit Masons/Gordon Haff
Current press quotes

* Other blogs of interest

The Volokh Conspiracy
Larry Lessig

* blog archive

10/01/2003 - 10/31/2003 11/01/2003 - 11/30/2003 12/01/2003 - 12/31/2003 01/01/2004 - 01/31/2004 02/01/2004 - 02/29/2004 03/01/2004 - 03/31/2004

* thx to

- blogger
- blogskins.com
- serendipityq.com

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?