TV capture with Vista

  281apple 09:41 16 Aug 2008

For about 6 weeks, I have a new Toshiba laptop with Vista, and had I known what a pain Vista is, I would have kept my XP laptop I gave to a member of the family. In any way, using vista could someone give me some advice on what to do to save films from TV. I have never connected a TV to my PC and feel kind of lost. Is there a sort of an ABC step by step site which I could consult?
Thanks for the help. Raymond

  Jim_F 10:37 16 Aug 2008

Hi Raymond,

To input video to your PC you would need hardware known as a capture card with software to convert video and audio into compressed data and store them on the PC via a USB connection (as this is a laptop). The video output most commonly used is known as composite video and this is generally output from a VCR or Freeview box to the TV. Results are variable in terms of resolution which can be achieved as you are processing large amounts of data but Pinnacle among others make such products.

If you just want to record TV then a USB TV card such as those made by Freecom would be a better bet provided you can connect a strong aerial signal.

I use both the above for different things but for convenience and quality the second option wins hands down.

  Jim_F 10:43 16 Aug 2008

I forgot to mention that in the second option I am refering to Freeview digital - analogue TV cards suffer from simlar limitations to capture cards.

  281apple 17:49 16 Aug 2008

Jim, thanks for the info. If I read you right, that means that firstly I have to have a TV capture card? Is that what they call a TV tuner?
Must be something like a PINNACLE PCMCIA PCTV Hybrid Pro Card,
Once I've installed the PCMCIA capture card is the software included?
Don't laugh, this a a first time through for me.

  Chas49 18:24 16 Aug 2008


Like you I bought a Toshiba laptop, it too had Vista installed. Again, like you, Vista was a pain - but, after a few weeks I found that XP on my old desktop was a pain whilst I now quite like Vista. Hopefully, the same chain of events will happen to you.

  281apple 19:01 16 Aug 2008

Hi Chas49, I hope you are right. It is true that I am making progress; however, just this morning I downloaded a moovie from CanalPlay. I then used Media Player and it played just fine. Then I tried to find out where it was stocked and I could not even find the damn FIND icone. I circumvented the problem, I think, because I right clicked on the incone and finally found out where the movie was saved to and all is well that ends well. But, and the but is important, it took me perhaps about just over one hour to find where the CanalPlay had saved it too without even asking me where to put it. But now I know where it is and I'll just wait to see what the next adventure will be like. I have two neighbors who complain that Vista takes to long to start up...and they are right I think that also.

  Jim_F 09:49 18 Aug 2008

Hi - sorry to take a while in replying.

If you just want to record TV/radio and have digital (Freeview) in your area and a good aerial then a USB PCTV stick is all you need - the software will let you watch and timeshift (record).

If you want to record from other sources (eg VCR) then you'd need other inputs (like composite).

The solution you describe is PCMCIA - this is on the way out for new machines and I'm not sure if this is supported in Vista so I would avoid this.

Good luck with Vista - I've found that a lot of slowdowns can be avoided by switching off things you don't need and indexing was the first on the list for me!

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