Video capture cards for linux

jeremy at jeremy at
Sun Dec 2 23:31:53 EST 2001

On  2 Dec, David Price wrote:
> On Sat, Dec 01, 2001 at 08:56:03PM +1100, Michael Still wrote:
>> Hey folk.
>> I'm interested in being able to capture video streams onto a disc for
>> later playback. Please note that I don't just want to watch TV, I
>> want to be able to record and time shift it in the same manner as my
>> VCR. Does anyone have any experience with products that do this sort
>> of thing (with Linux)?
>> I'm especially interested in hardware recommendations.
>> On the software front, XVidCap seems to be on the right track, but is
>> a bit of a hack from the sounds of things (you what I want to do).
>> Can you do this with just plain old bttv?
> I use an old bt848 card for this sort of thing.  streamer from the
> xawtv package works nicely.  It captures to a few different formats,
> but I use mov format with mjpeg encoding.  This takes up a lot more
> hard disk space than DivX ;), but is pretty good quality, uses less
> CPU to encode, and can be edited using bcast2000 (no longer available
> for download).  Typically a couple of hours of television will take up
> a few GB, so large file support is essential.
> On a 1.2GHz Athlon I can just capture 640x480, but usually use 320x240
> since at 90% jpeg quality this looks pretty good and uses heaps less
> disk space.  I used to capture on a PII 350, and I think it could do
> 320x240, although only just.

This is a sad example of where Linux is in the video field.  About
three years ago I was using my ASUS TNT2 to capture video at
somethingx720 on a Celeron 333.  Hardware encoded, software decoder
supplied.  Roughly the same disk statistics (at 50% more picture) and I
could (and did) use the computer normally while capturing. Naturally
ASUS won't release the capture driver for Linux  :(

This is one of those cases where digging a wintel or mac machine out of
the closet would be a good idea, I suspect.  I saw the same cards I was
using (TNT2 ULTRA) for $70 at the computer fair about six months ago, so
the price is good.

I/O, I/O,
It's off to disk I go,
A bit or byte to read or write,
I/O, I/O, I/O...

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