Even though I have used various different methods of recording televison, computers have played a very big part in my video collection. Whether for capture, conversion, editing or presentation there have been a procession of programs that have catered for my requirements.Presented below, and in no particular order, are some of the very useful programs that I currently use...
The version that is bundled with Windows 7 is probably the best computer TV recording software that I have come across. This program, used in conjunction with a TV tuner card or dongle, turns one's PC into a Personal Video Recorder (PVR). Also, with a bit of effort, its looks can be improved upon. For example...
There are various plug-ins available for WMC and two can be seen in the screenshots above. The first screenshot, taken from my Sony laptop features Millisoft. This plug-in allows one to watch television internet streams and catch-up from the main UK channels. The second screenshop, taken from my desktop PC, features Cyberlink Power DVD 11, a DVD/Blu-ray player program, which was bundled with the first Blu-ray drive I bought for my desktop PC.WMC is able to deal with dual receivers, although I haven't tried, and Hi-Def recording. In fact it's the Hi-Def side that makes this program most attractive as the recording of SD television is very basic; it doesn't cater for High Quality, Standard Play or Long Play variations in the recording. If I had one complaint about WMC it's that it doesn't allow instant long-term recording. What I mean by that is it doen't have the facility to record several hours of television at the click of one button. For example, in October 2012 BBC Four devoted an evening of programmes to the late Kenny Everett. This consisted of an edition of Top of the Pops from 1973, two compiliatons of The Kenny Everett Television Show and a biopic called 'In The Best Possible Taste'. To capture this in one file, I would have to pre-set up a timer recording. WMC doesn't have the facility to click 'record' and leave it until all the programmes have finished. On the other hand, something like Arcsoft TotalMedia3, which I also use, continually records until I click on 'stop'.
VideoReDo is a simple but very powerful frame-specific video editing suite. Nearly every video I record, from both PC and DVD Recorder, gets passed through this beautiful program at some point. Whether it is to trim the links at the start and finish of a television programme or to convert the file to a different format, VideoReDo does the lot.It also has the facility to author and burn DVDs but I don't tend to have menus on my DVD-Rs these days, unless the DVD contains multiple episodes, and all DVD burns are carried out on ImgBurn. VRD will even take .WTV files from WMC, including High Definition, and convert them so that they can be played on other media players or to DVD. Having said that, some tinkering under the bonnet may be needed for Hi-Def as I have had programmes in the past where the proper soundtrack has been replaced with the Audio Description track, after the conversion. VideoReD0 homepage
Not much to say except this is the best and most reliable DVD burning software around.ImgBurn homepage
The best video playback software there is. This will play any video thrown at it. Has one annoying habit of dropping of the last second of a file, on playback, but that's a minor quibble. Perfect for watching H.264 Hi-Def files on computer; it appears that's something that all other media players seem to struggle with.This is also a useful program for when I have my laptop hooked to my 40" Sony Bravia so I can play all sorts of video types in large screen glory! VLC Player homepage
Although not (or rarely) used anymore, there are a few programs that need a mention for their tireless commitment:
When I spent many hours converting my VHS tapes to DVD-R, via my PC, TMPGEnc Plus was the program that encoded my captured video so that they would fit onto, initially, VideoCD and then later DVD-R. Encodes would take several hours to complete and lots of tinkering for bit-rates were required but TMPGEnc was the program that led the way for my conversion hobby. I haven't used this for a few years, having moved to a DVD Recorder for VHS conversion, but it's still available to me should I require its services again.
When I captured a VHS tape via my PC, using an ADVC-50, WinDV was the program that I would use to record the Digital Video feed. When the files were captured as .avi they would be huge (aroung 10gb per hour) which is why TEMPGEnc Plus was required. As programs go, this was simple: view the source and click capture. However, there was no sound, just picture. Every so often I would get caught out with a dodgy sound-track and have to start all over again.
Once the VHS tape had been captured and converted, I would then author the DVD menu using TMPGEnc DVD Author. A little fiddly at first but after a while menus could be created using the supplied templates or, using one's imagination, an infinite number of backgrounds and menus could be created. However, this was all in 5:4 ratio but that was perfect for VHS conversions.A little trimming of the video was possible but not frame specific and the DVD-R could also be burned using TDA. Like TMPGEnc Plus, TMPGEnc DVD Author got a lot of useage during my VHS conversion days.