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New Product to convert HDTV/Blu-Ray to AppleTV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by jbellanca, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Not sure if any of you have been following this new product by Hauppauge (no, I'm not affiliated with them in any way), but on May 1, they're shipping a new product that will convert HD video via component inputs (from any HD source) to H.264 format for $249. Since the product's not out yet, I'm not sure if it will be directly compatible with AppleTV or if you'd have to re-convert the file yet, but in either case it should work great for converting HD sources. Also don't know the audio formats yet, but it looks like 2-channel audio through RCA inputs will be AAC, and optical audio input will likely just mux the audio as-is directly into the H.264 video. For video you can choose a bitrate from 1 mbit to 13 mbit.

    I'm guessing that there won't be mac software for it yet, so we Mac users will probably have to use Parallels or Boot Camp to use it, but that's a small price to pay to get HD video in, in my opinion.

    Thought you'd all like to know about it... seems like it'll be a cool device. When mine comes in, I'll let everyone know how it works.

  2. macrumors 68000


    Looks like it might be useful for converting HDTV. But if you want to convert BluRay/HD-DVDs, you are probably better off using AnyDVD HD on the PC, and then get them into a free conversion program to get them into a format the Apple TV will like.
  3. macrumors 68000


    That is very interesting. When I first started ripping my movie DVDs 5 years ago, thanks to my then new PowerBook G4, it was a primitive process, which required 2 separate software applications. These days, though, the combination of Handbrake and Apple TV makes ripping DVDs and converting them to MP4 to play on an Apple TV gratifyingly easy.

    I hope that the new Hauppauge gear presages the capability to make HD files for Apple TVs from Blu-Ray disks. After all, if we’ve bought the disks, we should be entitled to convert them to any format that helps us to maximize our enjoyment of them.
  4. macrumors 6502

    Generally agree with you on using AnyDVD HD, but then you'd also have to buy a relatively expensive external Blu-Ray drive for the computer. With this device, you could convert off any Blu-Ray player, like the PS3, which is nice. And most people will probably lower the bit-rate from the huge Blu-Ray size on disc anyway, so losing a bit in the compression probably won't be a big deal for most people.
  5. macrumors 601

    There's a few threads on this device over at AVSForum.com. I'm very interested in this device and have been since they announced it at CES. It's a little dumbed down from that announcement (25 Mbps to 13.5 Mbps), but I'm still gonna buy one. Just need to know what the firm system requirements are. The website is still a little "goofy".

    My main purpose is to off-load my DVR (Sony DHG-250) and maintain the shows I want to keep in HD resolution. My current method is to use a DV camcorder and the composite outputs. The color takes a beating with this method. Using component outputs and encoding at 720p/1080i/p should be a huge improvement.

    One thing to keep in mind is the whole issue of copy protection. No one currently knows if this Hauppauge device will respect the CGMS/A flags. If it does, then any source device that passes the flags will prevent copying of material that may have the flag enabled (such as HBO shows).

    My Sony DVR doesn't pass the CGMS flags, so I'm OK.

    As for BD/HD-DVD players, I'm not sure if they do or don't.

    NOTE - don't be confused with CGMS/A and ICT (it confused me at first). They are different things. Current BD/HD-DVD discs do not have ICT activated.

  6. macrumors 6502

    Obviously we won't know for sure until it ships and we can test it, but the people over the the SageTV forums are saying it ignores the flag. Keep your fingers crossed.
  7. macrumors 601

    My knarled fingers have been crossed since January. ;)
  8. macrumors 65816

    Wow this looks like a very cool product. I'm trying to find a way to get Bluray content into my apple TV - I don't have a player yet, but this might convince me to buy one.

    I really don't want the hassle of having a separate PC and burner just to run anydvd, etc.

    Can you run that route through parallels with a USB bluray drive? That might be an acceptable option?
  9. macrumors 601

    Using this Hauppauge device to get BD movies into aTV might not be the best way to go. At least wait until a few people have them to test whether or not the HD-PVR respects the copy protection flags and whether your BD player sends them over component.

    Then in the future, when the movie studios start activating ICT, you'll be limited to 960x540 resolution (and even less since most movies are wider than 16:9). Not sure if you'd even be able to discern between 960x540 vs. 720x480 anamorphic.

    As for BD ripping on a Mac, we're all SOL for now. I'm hoping that once Macs start shipping with BD drives, the MTR guys (and others) will develop the tools necessary for us to back up our BDs.

  10. macrumors 6502

    So I've learned a little more over at AVS forums... turns out, over component, there is NO copy protection flag that the receiving device (i.e., TV, this device, etc.) can get that would cause it to not record in full 1080 resolution. (Note that this is different than SD video, which CAN contain a copy protection signal in the vertical blanking space that can stops recorders from recording.) Over HDMI, different story, but this Hauppauge device only works with component.

    However, there is a copy protection flag in the source video (Blu-Ray disc). The flag, if turned on, will on the playing device ONLY, downrez the video to SD (480 lines). Currently, no Blu-Rays have the flag on, so this Hauppauge device should record 1080 Blu-rays perfectly over component. The only issue may come in the future, IF studios decide to turn the flag on causing the player to downrez a particular Blu-Ray disc. Most people I've talked with (and I agree), think that if studios started doing this in the US now, it would cause too big of a backlash just as they're trying to promote Blu-Ray more over DVD. In the US, too many TV's use component inputs and not HDMI. I'd guess, if studios do decide to downrez over component, it wouldn't happen for at least another 2-3 years, at which time hopefully Blu-ray drives will be cheaper and we'll have more tools to directly convert off them. In the mean time, this should work perfectly.

    So... long story short... this unit supposedly ships May 1. As it stands right now, it will record any component signal it gets, since copy protection isn't sent along component video. Blu-rays currently don't downrez, so that should be fine. I don't think any mainstream DVR's downrez either (maybe some do on HBO, but I haven't heard of any), so that should all be good too. We'll just have to test it out when it's released to know for 100% sure.

    Also, found out that the sample files they uploaded show that the device creates videos muxed into a (slightly nonstandard) TS container, with H.264 video and either AAC or AC3 sound. I'm hoping that we can just take the TS file into Quicktime and passthrough the video/audio into an MOV container for AppleTV. Hopefully. If not, we'll have to VisualHub it I guess.

    Really looking forward to that day! I know HB can convert TS files fine, but not H.264 TS files unfortunately, only MPEG2 ones.
  11. macrumors 6502

    I know I've read posts from others who've said it works through Parallels, but I've never done it myself.
  12. macrumors 601

    Not that I completely know the answer, but I think you're mistaken about no copy protection on components.

    From what I've read, some devices use the CGMS-A (see wiki LINK). If the Hauppauge respects the CGMS-A signal, then it won't record. This happens on a lot of DVD-recorders trying to record HBO (and other stuff).

    It's not related to the ICT which is present in all BD players, but no BD movies currently have them active. ICT will downrez 1080p to 960x540p over component.

    For my situation, it was confirmed that the Sony DHG DVRs do not pass the CGMS-A signal, so I'm OK regardless of the Hauppauge. Some cable co STB/DVRs do send the CGMS-A signal, though. Someone tested it with their Pegasus recorder which is known to respect the CGMS-A signal.

  13. macrumors 6502

    Yeah, I'm still learning some of this, too. Apparently CGMS-A (and Macrovision) can also be stripped out using a filter between the player and receiving device. Something to keep in mind if that becomes a problem.

    Here's one such device for normal S-Video, composite, etc. video:

    Don't know if one yet exists for component video, but I'd imagine there's one out there somewhere.

    EDIT: Turns out this one may work to remove CGMS-A from component:

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