This software will include drivers (check that they support your chosen OS before buying) and one or more applications that will allow you to watch TV on your computer screen and probably record video to disk.
When it comes to actually recording video from a TV broadcast or your handy cam-corder, chances are that you'll get far better results if you use a piece of third-party software.
The best of the free/shareware products include:
This program allows you to capture video from your tuner/capture card and store it to disk using any of the codecs already installed on your computer.
Once you've captured your video, VirtualDub let's you edit, squeeze, fold, spindle and mutilate the footage at your leisure, using a good range of filters and effects.
Unfortunately, VirtualDub is limited to capturing video from the older VFW device so when using it under later versions of Windows you may find that you can't capture at the expected frame-rates or at higher resolutions.
TMPGenc: MPEG encoder
It is an MPEG encoder/editor which allows you to convert your captured video into a format suitable for burning to CD as a VCD or SVCD.
These extra features include the ability to generate MPEG2 files, essential for creating SVCD or DVD disks, plus a very simple to use MPEG stream editor that allows you to quickly and easily edit an existing MPEG file without having to re-encode.
Now I know that there are cracks out there fore the "plus" version of this program but I strongly suggest that you simply cough up the $48 -- this software is worth every penny and the writers deserve the money!
Although there are a number of commercial programs out there that will create VCD or SVCD disks, VCDEasy has the advantage that it's free -- and it works very well indeed.
Not only does this software ensure that your MPEG files are correctly formatted, it also allows you to do things such as create your own menus and chapters, for adding that "professional" touch to your disks.
It also (optionally) includes some handy tools that let you perform some oft-needed tasks such as quickly blanking CDRW disks.
DVD2SVCD: DVD to (S)VCD conversion
In such countries, it's quite legal to copy a DVD you legally own and convert it to a format such as VCD or SVCD so that you can perhaps watch it on a computer that has no DVD drive.
Alternatively, while DVD writers and media remain expensive, converting to (S)VCD and writing to a cheap CDR disk is often the cheapest way to back-up those valuable original disks.
DVD2SVCD is a shell and suite of freely available programs which take care of the entire ripping and transcoding (converting MPEG formats) process.
Unless you're a total moron, don't waste your money buying a commercial program which claims to do what DVD2VCD does. With a little experimentation and practice, you can get results that are every bit as good (and often much better) than that produced by those wallet-emptying programs.
Using a 2GHz Pentium class machine, it will generally take around 5-6 hours to convert a single DVD into two SVCD disks with "near DVD quality" results. Most of this time is spent re-encoding the DVD video into an MPEG format compatible with the SVCD or VCD standards.
Note, if you want to create SVCD disks then you will need to have forked out the $48 to purchase the "plus" version of TMPGEnc (above) but VCDs can be made using the free version -- but VCDs do not look anywhere near as good as SVCDs.
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