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I'm trying to figure out how to connect two computers with video cards
having inputs and outputs so I can record the activity on one of the
computers.  I'm interested in recording various webpage videos as well
as video content played on my internal cd/dvd drives.  

I've tried several programs purporting to record web activity, but
most of them work marginally at best.

I'd like to know if there is a software or a hardware solution to what
I'm trying to accomplish.

Thanks in advance!!



On Wed, 30 Aug 2006 18:40:51 -0400, lynn lucas

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What input and outputs do these cards have?
One needs to have TV-out set to enabled, mirror of the
desktop.  The other needs a video capture program that is
merely set to record... just about any video capture program
will work, if it supports the video card.  See your video
card documentation for how they suggest using that port, and
whether your video driver has the (often called VIVO)
functionality in it or if you need addt'l driver/files to do

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Why?  Try an alternate approach, a streaming recorder
software like NetTransport2, or Google for other "Streaming

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??  What makes you think recording over video card links is
the answer?  You have a file that exists *somewhere* and a
client program playing that file.  Get the file (however it
is necessary to do so, will depend on the file) and play it
over LAN connection with a player software on the client
system or copy the file to the client system.

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It may depend on exactly what they're trying to do.  Some
might actually be trying to record, as-in, capture and
encode a stream, while others simply save the incoming data
unaltered.  The former is the highly preferred method, BUT,
it'll matter quite a bit what and where this file is coming
from.  Further, if it's recording live, it may matter
whether this is a hardware overlay in use or not (which
might be toggled in the video codec configuration screen or
a global overlay disable might be possible in the video
driver (Display Properties-Settings, or a more comprehensive
Control app either in Control Panelor a separate Start Menu
link or executible installed with the video driver ).

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It depends on exactly what you're trying to do.  As you've
already found out, one method may not work for everything,
it may need to be handled on a somewhat case-by-case basis.

I'd focus on trying to save the original file/data though,
not trying to record it again over two video cards.


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In terms of hardware solutions, this is what prevents a hardware
designer from offering you "bit perfect copies of any computer
screen". The technology to do it is trivial, but the instant
you open a web site selling your product, you'll be facing this:

There are products available, which do some amount of capture of
video screens.  For example, the designer of this product is
pretty safe, because this only grabs a frame at a time, and
would make a lousy way to steal content.

This company is being a bit more ambitious. They offer conversion
boxes that do what you want.

The trick here, is the update rate. Would a 28 frame per second
capture rate at 640x480 be good enough to steal some content ?
Would the compression being used, soften the image to the point
of making it useless ? I'm not sure I'd waste $300 USD finding

While there are techniques you could try, using the above
devices and some other ideas, in terms of cost and feasability
they would only be practical for the most determined individual.

I'm sure there are products out there that could do the job,
but they had better remain well hidden or disguised, to avoid
running afoul of DMCA.

And the HDMI/HDCP capabilities being added between the computer
and the monitor, will further complicate finding solutions in the



Thank you, Kony and Paul for you quick and detailed responses.  

This is turning out to be more involved than I once thought.  I didn't
realize  that I might be violating copyright laws if I were to record
web activity or to make a personal backup copy of a CD.  I believe
there are scrambling features built into DVDs and CDs which would
prevent copying if they are manufactured that way, and I think some
web content providers somehow encode their streams in order to prevent
recording.  Nonetheless, I don't think everything is copyrighted.

I'd be mainly interested in recording an entire web-surfing session,
along with any content they may stream.  For example, TV websites
often run video clips.  There are also videos available on Yahoo!,
Google, Youtube, etc.  Many other webpages offer video clips of
products they sell.

Often, I've found that a program will work with one provider but not
another.  Rather than stop and try to find an appropriate
screen-recording program for a particular provider, I just thought it
would be easier to capture the entire web-surfing session from my
computer to a second computer.

The video card I was interested in for capturing is the Radeon All in
Wonder 8500.  It has composite audio and video inputs as well as an
S-video input.  My only other computer right now is a laptop which has
composite audio and video outputs.  I believe the Radeon 8500, when
installed into the desktop,  would be able to accept inputs from the
composite outputs of the laptop when the laptop is on the Internet.

I don't know if this setup would work or not, but I think it would be
a lot easier if it did work than buying a lot of  different
screen-capturing programs which, from my experience, don't seem to
work very well.

Thanks again.


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If you want to experiment, enable the "TV out" on the video card
of one computer. I think on my FX5200 video card, I can use 640x480
up to 1024x768 resolution to drive the video out. The video card
may have a DIN connector, and with some luck, the pinout will be
suitable for connecting an S-video (4 pin) cable. Using the
s-video cable, you should be able to connect to some input on
your AIW. S-video has separate luminance and chrominance signals,
and offers about 4MHz bandwidth or so. This will not allow
passing text with good fidelity, but for streaming video without
a lot of text titles, it might be acceptable. The result
will be a "backup quality" recording.

Connect the cable between the computers first. (I would normally
connect both computers to the same power strip, so there is
no ground difference between the computers electrically.)
Then go to the source computer and try to get it to detect that
a "TV" is connected. Video receiving devices have resistive
termination for the end of the coax cable, and the sourcing
computer's video card can sense whether a load is connected
to the line.

On my FX5200, the dual monitor capability did not work immediately.
There was a one-time operation, which effectively is enabling
the driver option (Nview?) for getting dual monitor output.
One of the custom display control panels for the video card
offered an option to install Nview, and one reboot later, I
had the option of connecting/detecting a TV and using that
as a second monitor. So sometimes, figuring out how to get
the second output working on the card can be a problem.

Here is a Nvidia and an ATI manual, to help with display
properties. The second manual is for CCC on an ATI card,
while the first will tell you a few things about Nvidia Nview.

The fun part is trying to get the video content nicely
positioned on the TV output, so you can capture it. Some
video playback tools rely on an overlay plane, and there
can be software restrictions on the usage of the overlay
plane (video window cannot span two monitors?). But since
you're experimenting at this stage, figuring out what is
going on, is all part of the challenge.

My mentioning DMCA was only to point out how the creativity
of engineers is stifled by the entertainment industry. Just
a pet peeve of mine. If the movie industry wants to keep
its content, then the movies should stay at the theatre.

Good luck,


"lynn lucas" wrote:
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Lynn, I believe the posters you referenced were mentioning the DMCA as it
pertains to the authors of software designed to grab streaming content.

You are, however, still free to save whatever you wish, be it a TV show or a
web video, provided it was legally obtained in the first place, on your own
media for your own personal use later.


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