Capturing HD video from PVR on a Mac & WPtouch WordPress Plugin

Two quick notes to add in the “Technical Shit That’s Happening Around These Here Virtual Parts” Department (and no, I have no idea why I’d suddenly be speaking like an ironic cowboy).

First, the last two posts to this blog have included a bit of HD video captured to my new MacBook via a piece of hardware I already owned and a terrific little software package that I found courtesy of teh Intarwebs.  The video was captured from my BellTV PVR via a Haupaugge! HD PVR unit, connected via USB 2.0 cable to my MacBook.  I captured the video on my MacBook by way of Steven Toth’s excellent Mac application “HDPVR Capture”.  That setup may have some redundancy built into it – there’s really no reason to have a set top box PVR connected to another device that itself turns a computer into a PVR, really – but I tend to carry my MacBook around with me a lot and it’s not likely to be sitting next to the TV ready to capture whatever television programs I might want to record, so (in my case) it does actually make a little sense from a hardware standpoint.  The hardware configuration is really unimportant, though: the more interesting bit about this is the software package I used to capture the (HD) video to computer.  The Haupagge unit ships (or at least it did when I bought it) with software for Windows-based PCs, but no applications are provided for Mac users.  The Windows-based notebook that I had previously been using to capture video barely fit the minimum specs and it frequently choked on the video capture tasks set for out.  Worse still, the capture process was producing an “m2ts” file on the computer, a file set out in a format (as I understand it) designed to be understood by PVRs, but supported by precious little editing/playback software out there.  The end result was that I found myself struggling to make reliable copies of programs I had recorded, and generally unable to thereafter edit or trim the files (even to do something simple like take out commercials), and unable to archive the files on optical media by burning them to DVDs.

Enter Steven Toth.  Let me say that I don’t know the man and I’m not receiving any compensation from him whatsoever; I am just a very satisifed user of the application he has developed, “HDPVR Capture”.  As I understand it, Mr. Toth knows quite a bit about the Haupaugge device because he’s worked on the inside there;  he knew that the manufacturer was choosing not to support Mac Users, so he filled the void himself and wrote such an application.

My review of this software: It Kicks Ass.  Simply stated, it works.  Easy to install, easy to use, I had it up and running in a matter of moments after my licence key was received via email (there is a demo version available for free download with certain features locked out or restricted, paid licence allows the user to access all features, but the licence is restricted to use with one Haupaugge unit only).

The videos I’ve captured convert easily into .mp4 files, which then import easily into iMovie and may be edited exported like any other captured video, no problem whatsoever.

Second: I have installed a plugin on the site called WPtouch.  The plugin automatically creates a version of the site for iPhones and various other smartphones.  If you have WordPress 2.7 or higher installed, you can install this plugin directly from your admin panel by clicking on the Plugins/Add New link, then typing “WPtouch” in the search box, clicking on the appropriate link when it comes up and following the on-screen instructions that follow thereafter.  The whole installation process took me about three minutes from stem to stern, and – again – it worked like a charm, at least I think.

Would anybody who’s accessing the site from smartphone let me know how the site is functioning for you.  Any thoughts, suggestions as to whether the smartphone specific theme works for you?

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