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Wannabe Geek

# 100503 12-Apr-2012 14:47
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Hello, this is my first post on this kind of forum - I am not very tech savy so go easy on me! Ideally I am hoping someone can offer some constructive advice.


I am part of a business that captures television off air as part of an ongoing contract. The system was implemented years ago and consists of 12 capture chains which are set-top cable boxes. They are a mix of Freeview NZ (free) and Sky TV (pay) - both on Satellite (Optus B1 I believe). The boxes are connected to Eye TV 250 boxes which are running through mini mac's (Mac OS X 10.5.4) that all have 1TB drives attached.


We are capturing two hour scheduled harvest stream blocks, and editing the individual programmes out manually, for an average of 15 hours - equivalent to 27GB, per capture chain, per day. While this system works ok it is very labour intensive and we would like to make the system more automated. There are also a few issues which I would really appreciate some guidance or suggestions on:


1/ Eye TV turns the digital signal from the decoder to analog and then back out to digital again because we are using S-video composite cables. Ideally we would like to capture HD Raw signal with little or no compression at all. We could upgrade to the Eye TV HD box but would prefer not to because.....


2/ ...Eye TV creates a proprietary file format (Eye TV specific file) that requires exportation to play in QT or VLC and while you can export as MP4 this takes a considerable amount of time. Up to 7 hours for 1 hour of capture - far to slow for our requirements. Therefore we export as a Mpeg Program Stream which slightly compresses the file and spits out an Mpeg 2. IDEALLY we would be creating H.264 files


3/ We can only export up to 2 hours, 15 minutes of capture (any more than that and the file goes dead (black) from that point on).


4/ Because we are in little old NZ, Eye TV (North American) won't pick up the local EPG (Electronic Programming Guide). This means all the scheduling has to be done manually and the meta data is not captured.


So ultimately we would like a system that captures television with little or no compression of the digital signal, in an H.264 format, with the New Zealand EPG (Electronic Programming Guide) available for both scheduling and metadata, that fits within a Mac system, is not Eye TV (or does not create software specific files) AND is cost effective.



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  # 608550 12-Apr-2012 22:35
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I use a dreambox stb that uses NZ channel EPGs & streams the raw satellite signal (mp2?) over Ethernet to Airdisks.

I did an instructable on it ages ago but we're still using the system...


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  # 609152 14-Apr-2012 08:04
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Have just ordered an elgato turbo.264 hd from amazon. Should arrive monday, which will give me a good idea about the reduction in overhead.

Worth noting that .eyetv files are just repackaging mp4 streams, so repackaging them to m4v or mp4 is run into problems if you re-encode the screen resolution or bitrate.



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  # 609166 14-Apr-2012 08:53
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A few things..

First off Freeview Satellite isn't HD. You're going to need to buy DVB-T tuners for this. Secondly satellite transmissions have an EIT EPG. There is no need for software changes to support the EPG. Freeview UHF on the other hand only uses MHEG5 so you'll need software that supports this for an EPG.

Lastly I'd completely ditch the Mac based approach and move towards something very simple that's PC based. Right now with my setup using nPVR I can record every Freeview channel at the same time on a single machine. For probably under $1000 you could set up a system to record every TV channel broadcast in NZ simultaneously, both UHF and satellite (Sky) to raw .TS files which are in the native MPEG broadcast format. Disk space becomes the only barrier.

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  # 612222 20-Apr-2012 01:52
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I'm interested to know what business you're in? what's the recorded tv used for?

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