Easiest (& least expensive) ways to copy video or music on my PC or a mp3 or PVP (Personal Video Recorder)?
trying to figure out the best and cheapest ways to get videos on my computer and my MP4 player
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
Glad u asked, there are many ways to do it, but in my opinion here’s the best way. This is a little long reply…but it’ll break it down for ya. In my case, I use a TV tuner card on my PC to get my video on my PC and PVP. I record a lot of TV programs, like 2 or 3 hr segments of ESPN or comedy central stuff. MTV, VH1, or Fuse for videos, and HBO and video on demand for my movies. I go to the gym a lot, and want to have something on my PVP to watch while on the treadmill. Or just for breaks at work. First of all, I use my PC as my “entertainment center”, it’s hooked up to my plasma screen and digital cable box. One of the best investments I got was $30 on a cheap little “Lifeview” brand PC TV tuner with record functions. Right now, TV tuners are a dime a dozen, so almost any that can record will do. I think recording into Mpeg-2 is the best, rather than AVI. AVI quality is a little better (compares to dvd), but the files end up being HUGE!! When recorded into Mpeg-2 (and default screen size/resolution settings), an hour of record time equals 1GB (recording into AVI ends up being like 30gb for an hour) with my tuner card.
I use the Archos 404 as my PVP, which in my opinion Archos has the best stuff on the market. The screen is clearer than IPOD video, with it's 16:9 video compression. With the new Archos products, there is NO conversion needed for MP4 or AVI files….just drag and drop! Here’s one more cool thing with Archos. To get video made using Mpeg-2, you go to the Archos website and download this plugin onto the PVP, that’s it...it automatically converts files and plays them!! I don’t like IPOD or Itunes, because if your trying to find stuff on the internet (like kazaa, limewire, imesh), most people put things out there in Mpeg-2, MP4, or AVI. IPOD video uses MP4 AAC files, which aren’t really common, except for at Itunes. If you want to get everything and pay the prices Itunes has….then IPOD is great for you. If the file isn’t in AAC, you’ll have to use software on your PC to convert the files (some will convert and some won’t). You can use the IPOD software or go buy 3rd party conversion programs for $50 to $100. Some of the 3rd party stuff is good, because you can use if for IPOD, PSP, and some PVP’s. I don’t know everything about the IPOD, but I tested one for a few days, and didn’t like it as far as video, MP3 is no problem (as with any other mp3 player...nothing special). I thought my Palm Tungsten was faster and easier to convert files.
Going back to getting videos on the PC and on to a PVP, I think using the TV tuner card and recording into Mpeg-2 is the best, rather than AVI. Setting up most PC TV tuners to record is very simple, just a matter clicking on a few settings to make it record in the format you want. Higher end PC Tv tuners will give you alot of functions, but I think just getting into Mpeg-2 is all you need so a cheap card is good enough. If I record a regular 1 ½ hr movie from Starz or HBO, it takes up 1.35GB in Mpeg-2. With the Lifeview tuner (almost all tv tuners), you can setup recording times….just like a Tivo, so it ain’t like you have to sit there watching while it records. Buying a $3.00 splitter, you could even have 1 feed going to your TV and another to the PC, like I do in 1 room. I set mine to record while I’m sleeping….that’s when there’s good movies and MTV actually plays videos anyway! Then just drag and drop on the PVP in the morning (with USB 2, it takes 15 minutes to copy for 3 hours of stuff)
Now for getting an actual DVD copied on my PC or PVP, here’s how I do it. If I’m really into copying movies, I just get a Netflix account for a month for like $14.99 and copy like crazy that month. I hooked up my DVD player to a VCR (yeah, these things are still good for something), then hook up the VCR to the PC TV Tuner card. You could also go buy a $100 Tv Tuner card with component & composite connections to skip needing a VCR. But for the $30 card, this is still easy. I just record from the DVD player, using the VCR as a go-between to get your video & audio signals. With the Archos models, you could also buy this $100 docking station to record straight to the PVP….but if you do it this way, why pay the extra $$$. One other reason I do it this way, as technology changes, the movie companies are getting better at coding movies. So you can’t use your computer and DVD copy software to record most movies…unless you still got an old copy of DVD x-copy! With most newer movies, even just trying to record the .vob file on to the PC, they have scramble code so it won’t be viewable in Real player or Win media. When you use a TV tuner card, your recording the actual “video stream” so the coding doesn’t come into play. Plus since your recording in Mpeg 2, it’ll only 1 ½ GB’s anyway, rather than 3-4 GB (what a normal dvd), and still stays in excellent quality. I’ve had friends say that buying one of those external DVD recorders for your TV is a good method to copy movies, when you hook up the TV to your PC and use the PC’s DVD player – the dvd recorder will burn it. But not sure if all work that way.
I also have Sirius Radio, which if your really into music....sirius is great. I just bring in my car unit receiver to the house, attach the antenna to the window, use a $10 cell phone power adapter to power it, then hook up receivers “line out” to the Sound Card “Line-In” to record music or programs on to the PC. From Sirius, it records in CD quality. I did have to pay $10 for this mp3 conversion software…..which you find a bunch for free at download.com anyway. Then just drag & drop onto my PVP. So I don’t need to go online to get my music. I think that with all the Sirius stations, I’m able to get a better selection of songs and it’s just as easy, anyway. It’s $11.99 a month for Sirius or XM service, which is like 10 songs from any “legal” website!
Of course, there are still other all kinds of ways getting your music and video, which will either cost you $$$ or time sitting there doing the converting. In the future, the way I do it maybe a waste too. Hopefully soon a website will come out where you can pay like $19.99 a month for copying “legal” unlimited movies anyway. But right now, there’s only a few websites that are close to that (maybe cinemanow.com) that put FULL movies in a format you can copy to PSP, Ipod, or a PVP. Most movie download sites, like Movielink.com, the movie is $3.95, and you download their software to your PC, and it’s only good for like 24 hours. Or it cost $20 for the movie to have it forever. Also now you gotta be careful downloading illegally online, it’s getting easier for the RIAA to come after people and get your IP address from your ISP. But at the same time, I’m not going to pay $1.99 a video at Itunes or rhapsody. And just one more plug for Archos….just for example on the 30gb unit, I usually keep about 10 hours of MTV or Fuse videos, 4 or 5 DVD movies 200 mp3’s, other crap. Besides buying it for $199, the only other thing I invested was $20 for the “cinema”codec for the mpeg-2 stuff. Hope this helps.