Software Analysis

As mentioned earlier, an OEM version of Arcsoft’s ShowBiz comes with the Colossus, providing a good way for capturing non-TV based content. Features such as automated Electronic Program Guide (EPG) based recording, conflict resolution, and tuner selection found on modern DVRs are not included in the product. It can capture in a variety of different formats depending on need including TS, M2TS and MP4. The device’s HDMI and component + TOSLINK inputs are the most compelling, since they provide the most capability. Should other inputs be required, the table below summarizes the supported audio/video input mappings. There’s not much to say, but more flexibility when matching the optical input to analog inputs would be ideal. UPDATE: Hauppauge heard our feedback and updated the device to allow for much greater flexibility in an updated driver (29111).  With the updated driver, any audio/video input (with the exception of HDMI audio) can be mapped with any other input.

Input Matrix
  HDMI TOSLINK (S/PDIF) Analog Line In Auxiliary Line In
HDMI X X** X** X**
Component (YPbPr)   X X X**
Composite (blue input)   X** X X**
Auxiliary Composite*   X** X** X
Auxiliary S-Video*   X** X** X

* - Requires additional daughter card (not included)
** -
29111+

For those planning to use the Colossus on Windows XP or Vista outside of ShowBiz, it is important to note that globally registered DirectShow filters are not provided. This is a change for the version of Total Media Theatre bundled with the original HD PVR. Windows 7 includes support for H.264/AVC (and AAC, if encoding PCM audio with the device), so this is not an issue on that platform. It might be possible to use the “checkactivate hack” to work around this issue and provide support in third-party applications, but I did not test it.

For what it does, ShowBiz provides a good solution for encoding audio and video with the Colossus. Unfortunately, it does not enable the more interesting use case (i.e. recording HD cable/satellite content at native resolution) with a reasonable degree of usability, nor does it provide the codecs necessary to consume the content produced by the device in a friendlier environment. As such, I question the value of the software for those who will use the Colossus with other software, and again would like to see Hauppauge offer a barebones version of the card without ShowBiz.

Currently, SageTV (shown above with Sage Diamond Theme) is the only HTPC DVR product with native Colossus support. It is possible to use the device in Windows Media Center via a third party product, and native driver support is supposed to be coming soon. Since neither is official yet, and they should be functionally equivalent (more on this later) to the capture capability provided, we will use SageTV as a proxy for the “recording TV” scenario.

The input matrix is a limitation of the device, so it is consistent across capture applications with a simplified set of the same options observed in ShowBiz also presented by SageTV. Like the original HD PVR, the Colossus preserves the native format of encoded audio (i.e. Dolby Digital is stored as Dolby Digital), but currently encodes uncompressed audio (PCM) as AAC with video content encoded to AVC (H.264) in the native resolution and frame rate. We tested both HDMI and Component + SPDIF as they provide the most flexibility for capturing 480i (720x480@29.97 FPS), 720p (1280x720@59.94 FPS), and 1080i (1920x1080@29.97 FPS) video with analog, Dolby Pro Logic (two channels), or Dolby Digital (5.1 channels) audio.

Getting to Know the Colossus Testing and Evaluation
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  • dfhjtykyu - Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - link

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    Reply
  • dfhjtykyu - Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - link

    hello, Welcome to the online store ^__^:

    ^__^:====( www etradinglife com )======

    1) More pictures available on our website =
    3) Perfect quality, small order accepted .
    4) 100% safe door to door delivery, within 5 - 7 days air express for small orders .

    5) We have lots of jerseys in stock

    6) Letters and number are sewn on b2cshop body, 100% embroidery

    7) Size: .48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 60

    8) Delivery by UPS, DHL, EMS door to door

    9) Delivery in 5 - 7 days

    NFL,NBA,MLB all are 18usd!!!!
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, April 15, 2011 - link

    Even in the torture test the card barely cracked 35C. That's nowhere near hot enough to kill an IC. Reply
  • erikstarcher - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    I would love a review of the InfiniTV4. The Hauppauge card is cool and all, but I don't want 4 cable boxes hooked up to a computer with 4 of these cards in it. Does the Ceton record all channels or are some of them blocked? How well does it work when recording 4 channels at the same time?

    Please can we get a review of the Ceton?
    Reply
  • babgvant - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    Do you mean in SageTV or in 7MC? Reply
  • erikstarcher - Monday, April 18, 2011 - link

    7mc Reply
  • babgvant - Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - link

    7MC fully supports the Ceton (and other PC based) DCT. You can record any linear channel available in your lineup. Like all non Cable provided DCT, it does not support PPV (without a phone call) or On Demand. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    I can tell you from experience that an InfiniTV4 setup is the way to go if:

    You have cable TV (obviously only cable supports cablecard)
    You're running Windows Media Center 7 (doesn't work with Sage, etc.)
    You're willing to spend $400
    If you want extender functionality, you're willing to use an Xbox 360

    If you google it, you'll find plenty of reviews.
    Reply
  • babgvant - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    Ah, but it does work with SageTV* :)

    * requires that your cable provider uses copy-freely flags properly
    Reply
  • vol7ron - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    I've been asking Anand about the InfiniTV 4 for about a year :) I've seen the other reviews at other sites, but I like the way AT presents things - it's the voice of the writer that you identify with.

    I thought I heard there was problems with hosting/sharing while streaming. Or only one device could be streaming over the network at a time? Something alongs those lines... forgive me, it's been a really long time since I read up on it. [probably would have been a good idea to at least do some research before I posted, but I'm kinda emotional about Ceton's product - I would have gotten in if it were $250 a long time ago]
    Reply

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