I have been asked to share this information. I have a cheap Dell PC (Dell C521) hook up to my Plasma TV connecting with D-Sub (the onboard video output doesn't have DVI ..too bad). It is a multi-function machine. I uses it as
1. Media PC
The PC is running XP Windows Media Center Edition (MCE). It is basically XP Pro with the MCE program.
2. Media/File Server
I use it to watch HD content on my 42" plasma TV. With file sharing, I can play my huge MP3 collection from that machine in my living room.
3. PVR recording TV programs
I have a digital TV and HD TV tuner (Divco). That thing rocks! I recorded HDTV programs in 1080i resolution.. say like American Idol, The View, local news.. it was so sharp that I can see the news anchor pimple and hair... It also do Time Shifting but I don't use it to watch TV. I mainly use it to record TV shows.
4. Backup server
The machine is always on. I run a backup program called Second Copy. It scheduled to backup my main machine every few hours. With such, I don't have to worry about losing things in case of harddrive failure. Also, if I screw up any Premiere project file, Photoshop file, or even any Word document, I can always have a previous version as backup. It proves to be very valuable.
4. Encoding station
I have the encoding software Canopus Procoder installed. It has a "Watch Folder" feature setup. I created server foldres for it to "watch". When I'm done with editing any video, to convert to other output, I just drag and drop a shortcut to the watch folders and it starts encoding. Encoding process takes hours. So it off-load my main machine processing. Freaking sweet!
5. Web/FTP server
Since the Windows Media Center Edition is indeed Windows XP, I activated IIS so it is now a web server and FTP server. Just registered free at DynDns.com to get a free domain name redirection. I can share files over the internet quickly. No need to upload to any other server. I just copy and paste the file to web root folder of this machine.
6. Remote Desktop
I can always access my machine from anywhere in the world through Remote Desktop connection.
I've been doing the same thing myself for a few years now. If you run with dual HD cards, you can record two programs at once. I have five HD cards (NOT installed on the same computer): 1 Cat's Eye; 2 Avermedias; 1 old AccessDTV card and my fav is the myHD130 for it's ability to record unencrypted QAM (for me that is all the none premium HD channels via Comcast - Disc Theater, NatGeographic Channel, etc.)
What I have not done with this box is the kind of encoding automation you've set up. That looks intriguing.
The DIVCO tuner is pretty sweet. It's a tina external USB box using no additional power source. It reads all the unscrumbled QAM signal.
The encoding station with the Watch folder feature is great too. I also created shortcuts to those Watch folders and put them into the "Send to" folder under my account in the "Documents and Settings" folder. With such, I only need to right click on a source video file (with the alt key holding down), and thoose "Send to" that watch folder. I will drop a shortcut and encoding starts at that point.
That sounds like a nice solution.
I use to do a lot of backup of TS files to my DVHS desk over firewire. Good way to do long term storage. Being a Patriots fan I have two of their superbowl wins on DVHS tape that I put in whenever my brother comes over. He loves the Pats too.
what's the Canopus Procoder do? Is it a multipurpose video encoder that writes you HDV content out in a format that you want?
It basically convert anything to anything. It will convert M2t to WMV, DIVx, AVI, quicktime, realtime, 3gpp, mPEG or anything you can think of.
I run a similar HTPC on our 50" plasma. Pretty much the same usage as you, not recording any HD on it though, just SD. I use the supplied FiOS box for HD DVR. I have another Verizon non HD box feeding a signal into an nVidia Capture Card (analog only). I use regular XP pro and SageTV. I have a modded XBox in the bedroom for watching movies either off the HTPC or recorded SageTV programs. The HTPC is great for previewing video right from the raw m2t capture file or after an edit and rendering as MPEG 720p. I have another PC in the basement that does all the nightly backups and a separate external USB box (supports 4 hard drives) upstairs that I do weekly backups to. In the event of fire, that one goes out the door with me. Still working on how I want to do off site stuff. All the 'little' important stuff is backed up in a server in Texas but it doesn't have enough space for ALL my pictures/movies/etc. So far I've just been burning DVDs and sending them to the inlaws 1/2 way across the country.
But just dropping it in a folder isn't going to know what output type you want. It sounded like it was all automated but there has to be some interventions somewhere.
Originally Posted by Taky
It works this way...
I use the Procoder program specific how my output video should be like (format, frame size, bit rate, aspect ratio, audio format..etc). Then save it as a Profile.
Next to create an empty folder with any name (e.g. c:\wmv-640x480-512kbps, or c:\YouTube or c:\MPEG2-16-9). Go back to the Watch Folder setup option in Procoder to associate that folder to the profile.
Now I only need to drop any video file or just a shortcut of that video (even path through the network) to that folder. Procder will kick in to start encoding.
It's freaking sweet.
2007 June 27th, 10:20
Now wait a second Taky. I understand what you just said but most of us typically have a NLE application. We attach or camcorder via firewire, we start the capture in our NLE, we than do some editing, and than normally we go the the output section of our NLE and render the video. After the editing process in my NLE, you have what is called a project file. I don't understand at what point in your NLE process you just drop a file into this folder you speak of? What kind of file do you drop in it? It sounds like you completely bypass the output process of your NLE. I know I'm a little slow, but I'm not sure I'm totally following you.
By the way, how much is this Procoder encoder program?
2007 June 27th, 10:56
bluegrass, it's okay to be slow
I didn't bypass the NLE process. For my SD workflow, I export video to MS-DV AVI. I also need to output to different MPEG-2 bitrate for DVD authoring, WMV for online streaming.
The encoding process is time consuming. It's better off load to another machine to free up my main machine. So after I export to AVI with NLE, I drop a shortcut to the Watch Folder and start encoding with the Media PC.
2007 June 27th, 11:33
Taky says "Make sense?"
I think so. With some of my workflows with HD, I either go watch a high def movie from Netflix or go to bed when I start the output process. The other day, I was creating a DVD file from about a 40 minute clip with about 15 chapters, titling, and some transitions. I was surpised when it took about 6.5 hours to render the files. Original clip was HDV. I will test rendering a 40 minute HDV into a HD DVD on a standard 8.X gig DVD and see how long that takes.
How about blu-ray. Will it make a big difference in your super system?
Agree, a blu-ray burner will be nice too.