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Thread: Creating AVI/MPG Movie from TV using DVD recorder

  1. #1
    Ok, I have been trying to ask this in several forum, but sadly I didn't get a definite answer for it yet and I hope people here can help me answer it:

    Anyway, my VCR at home is busted and I thought given DVD-R recorder for TV is getting a bit common; maybe it is time to buy it instead of another VCR.....

    Anyway, I am trying to look for one that serve the following purpose and I need help on these question:

    a) As many know that majority of the DVD player now support DivX format such that you can copy an AVI/MPG format video from the computer and be able to play it on the DVD player. With that in mind, could it be done in the opposite way around such that I can record something from the DVD recorder and be able to read it on the computer as AVI/MPG format? EVEN if not, let say if it was to be recorded as a DVD, is there a way to change it back to AVI/MPG format (in addition, what will the quality be like?)

    b) I would also want one that would serve as its main purpose as a TV program recorder as my parents still rely a lot on the VCR before it breaks down. In that case would anyone have any good suggestion what kinda DVD recorder I should be looking for in terms of budget? (Like I see these one with Hard drive while other only DVD recordable - what are their main difference?)

    I know this is a little bit off topic, but I do appreciate any help ahead.

    Life could be cruel; but guess what, you have to face it no matter what happens.

  2. Software & Hardware   -   #2
    Since your parents still watch alot of vcr tapes you should look into a dvd recorder with a vcr also onboard, there are many brands to choose from but avoid Sony, Toshiba and LG as they are expensive and finicy. Most tv dvd recorders do not record in a true dvd format even though the disks will have vob and ifo files on them like a regular store bought dvd the recorders usually use a DV format that may not be recognized or convert easily without some fooling around. The format is similar to a mini dvd video camera's format that is usually converted thru a camera software converter like pinnacle studio. You can however use programs like "Virtual Dub Mod" (I prefer "Virtual Dub Mod Aud-X Enabled" its freeware) to open the individual vob files and convert them to avi but it can be harrowing if the program is split across two or more vob files. You should also invest in good quality dvd-rw disks so you can record shows, transfer the vob files to the computer for conversion to avi, erase the disk in the tv's recorder and use the disk over and over (some recorders require you to close the disk before you can transfer the files, if you don't close the disk the computer will refuse to view the disk).

    A recorder with a hard drive is whats called TIVO and is going out of style. Most don't have an easy way of transfering files to your PC like a dvd recorder does so i would stick to the dvd recorder. I have a Lite-On brand recorder that works nice and cost about $80 US at the time, it doesn't have a vcr built in but if I wanted I could buy a vcr for $50 now, so why pay someone $300 for a dvd recorder with Vcr when I can buy them individually for $130.

    Two things to remember when converting tv recorded vob's to avi with V dub are to watch the audio sync and use interleaving in the Streams section to correct it if it occurs (once you find the correction it will remain the same for all your files mine is -100) and to remember to choose 640x480 for your avi whether xvid or divx or you might end up with some strange sized avi's (tall and thin).
    Last edited by Appzalien; 10-01-2007 at 04:07 PM.

  3. Software & Hardware   -   #3
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    yup Appzalien said it all good luck

  4. Software & Hardware   -   #4
    lynx's Avatar .
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    Sep 2002
    Yorkshire, England
    Sorry, but I've got to disagree with most of what Appzalien said.

    TIVO is a brand name, so it's popularity is waning as better models come along, but the HDD recorder is most certainly the way to go. Far from being outmoded they are becoming more and more prevalent. There's nothing worse than recording a program only to find out that conditions have caused it to be extended, but you haven't got room on the DVD.

    Assuming you go for the HDD recorder, you than have 2 workable options.

    The first is to get one which will can transfer recordings onto DVD when required (remembering that most recordings are discarded after watching). If you never want to transfer such recordings onto other media then this is probably the way to go. Obviously you can also play DVDs on such a model.

    The second option is to get a model which can transfer data to/from its disk via a network connection. Some models may have a built in DVD player, but the price increase is often more than buying a separate unit.

    With the network model comes a second set of options relating to the recording format. If the recording format is mpeg, you can simply transfer the recording to your PC and create a DVD, but that doesn't give you any real benefits compared to a model with a built in DVD recorder.

    The alternative is where the recording is in TS (Transport Stream) format. The advantage here is that the data is exactly as received, so there is no loss of quality associated with format conversion. VLC will handle TS format if you want playback on a pc, but if you want to create a recording in a different format you will have to use software to perform the conversion for you. The advantage is that there is only one conversion so there's only a single point where loss of quality could come in to play.

    In all of the above, I've been talking about DVD, but with High Def becoming more popular you also need to consider other recording media such as BluRay and HDDVD.

    AFAIK there are no recorders which will record directly into AVI format, so you will always have to convert on a pc.
    More info on conversions here:

    Edit: forgot to mention that an alternative to network connection is to get a device with an external HDD connected via USB.
    Last edited by lynx; 10-01-2007 at 07:24 PM.
    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

  5. Software & Hardware   -   #5
    Thats why I love this forum, the people in the BT section was so friendly that I love them over there and even on hardware here I am not getting anything less either - Seriously a Big thanks for the help.

    I have to apologize for my ignorant. Cause I am seriously lost approximately 75% into the post, because it got a bit technical and the problem I have around the Toronto area is that there isn't too much dealer to buy a DVD recorder (it is skeptical and makes me wonder if I am even making a right decision).

    I went and browse through the store this past weekend and as sad as it is, the sales in the store doesn't even know how to answer my question (precisely the part of how to do it the other way around of transferring a file from the DVD recorder back to computer).

    Here are few DVD recorder that I browsed:
    Which is just the recorder itself.

    This one with HDD and DVD but no USB

    With HDD, DVD and USB. (In this case, can I transfer the file with my 4 gig USB Stick?)

    Now the question I simply wanted to ask is... which one of these can get the job done right and easily?

    Also to clear up what lynx has suggested, I suppose an HDD/DVD recorder must be able to record the HDD stored stuff back onto the DVD or else it is useless?
    Thanks again for all the help.

    PS: Forgot to ask, So in general what kinda file format am I converting from the recorded DVD back to the Computer? VOB?
    Last edited by Huck; 10-03-2007 at 05:32 PM. Reason: Addition Stuff
    Life could be cruel; but guess what, you have to face it no matter what happens.

  6. Software & Hardware   -   #6
    lynx's Avatar .
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    Sep 2002
    Yorkshire, England
    I'd stay clear of the Samsung, you would be very limited in the options it gives you.

    The LG is very similar to the model I've got, very nice when I got it a couple of years ago but a little dated now, overpriced and the disk is too small.

    Of the three options you've shown, the third (Philips DVDR3575H/37) is the one I'd go for, particularly with the upscaling option. Unfortunately the USB port is input only, and as far as I can tell only audio or jpg, so the only method of output is via DVD.

    Other than that, your assumptions about recording from HDD to DVD are correct, most manufacturers refer to this as dubbing.

    The output format is VOB, but you need to remember to set compatibility mode before dubbing and finalize the disks before ejecting if you want to use them on a pc.
    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

  7. Software & Hardware   -   #7
    Actually, the question I have is, does the Hard drive itself makes that big of difference? (Would majority of the recording be > 1 DVD Disc [4.7 gig] given that they are around 1-3 hours long recording?)

    The reason I ask is it definitely does impact the price, cause any basic DVD recorder I see is roughly around 120 bucks - 170, where as one that comes with the hard drive is around 250 +.

    Thanks again
    Life could be cruel; but guess what, you have to face it no matter what happens.

  8. Software & Hardware   -   #8
    lynx's Avatar .
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    Sep 2002
    Yorkshire, England
    You can vary the recording quality, which in turn affects the amount of disk space used. You can fit about 2 hours of recording onto a DVD at standard quality.

    Once you've recorded something to HDD, if you want a permanent copy you need to look at how much space it occupies. If you try to copy too much onto a DVD it will warn you before you start.

    If a recording will fit onto a DVD you can do a fast dub at the original recorded quality which takes about 10 minutes for a full DVD. If it won't fit, you would need to change the quality - either set the quality to "auto" and the recorder will adjust the quality so that it just fits onto a disk, or select the quality manually.

    A few other points to remember:
    You can edit the recordings on the HDD, to remove ads etc.
    You can put several recordings onto one DVD, useful for episodes.
    You can split a recording over two or more DVDs.
    You probably won't even bother to make permanent recordings of a lot of the stuff.
    You can "pause live tv" so that inconvenient phone call doesn't spoil your program.
    The scratched DVD-RW doesn't upset the recording you were making.
    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.


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