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HP Media Center PCs - Working with Home Video

This document pertains to HP Media Center PCs and Microsoft Windows XP, Media Center Edition.
This document addresses some basic ways to import and work with video. If you are using a digital camcorder, the documentation that came with your video camera might be different from this document. If this is the case, read the instructions for your video camera before using this document.
Transferring home video from a VCR or camcorder
Transferring video from a VCR or camcorder to the computer is also called capturing video from an analogue video stream. The methods for capturing and saving video vary depending on the software application used to capture and record the stream. Use the following steps to get an idea of how analogue video capturing works:
  1. With the computer off, connect the VCR, television, or camcorder to the HP Media Center using a coaxial or S-video cable or . Connect the cable using the TV-out connections on the VCR/camcorder and the TV-in connections on the back or front of the HP Media Center computer.
      note:
    For some Media Center PCs with front and back video connectors, HP recommends that you connect your analog device to the Composite Video 2 or the S-Video 2 connector on the front of the PC.
  2. Turn on the computer and the VCR/camcorder.
      note:
    Before you open your video capturing software make sure that you have completed the Media Center setup screens and then check the following:
    1. Close the Media Center software.
    2. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL, click the Task Manager button, select ehRec.exe from the list of items (if it is listed).
    3. With ehRec selected, click End Process.
    4. Close the window. You can now use your capturing software.
  3. Open the software used for the video capturing. The software has to be able to recognize the special video format, called MS-DVR, that the TV tuner card uses. Many popular video editing programs (like Windows Movie Maker) do not work with this format and may produce the error message Video device in use.
    At the time of this writing, the software options that are available for HP Media Center computers are as follows:
    • WinDVD Creator or WinDVD Creator 2. Open WinDVD Creator, select Capture video into hard disk button, click the wrench icon, and then select the Device Control tab. Select the video input source from the Video Source drop-down menu. If the items cannot be selected, some other software program is already using the TV Tuner. Find and close the software that is already using the video card and close it.
        note:
      For some HP Media Center PCs that have front and back video connectors, HP recommends that you use the front S-Video or Composite Video connector on your PC, and then select S-Video 2 or Composite Video 2 from the Video Source drop-down menu.
    • ArcSoft Showbiz and ShowBiz 2: This software is already on the HP Media Center computer. HP Media Center computers made in Summer of 2003 and later are capable of recording analogue video directly from the TV tuner.
      HP Media Center 854, 854n, 864, 864n, 884, 884n, and 894c computers require an update to ArcSoft Showbiz before they can record directly from the TV card. To get this update, connect to the Internet, open ShowBiz, and check for updates using the Internet button in ShowBiz.
    • MovieMill by eMuzed: If your Media Center computer contains an eMuzed TV card, like the 863n, 873n, and 883n, you can reinstall this application using HP's application recovery software.
  4. Change the signal setting (video input setting) according to the connections or channel selection on the VCR or camcorder. Here are some examples:
    • A VCR is connected with coaxial cable and is set to channel three (by a small switch on the back of the VCR. Set the signal setting in the capture software to channel three. With some software applications, selecting Composite also works.
    • A VCR is connected with an S-video cable. Set the signal setting in the capturing software to S-video. With some software applications, selecting Composite works better and produces higher quality recordings.
    • If a camcorder is used and it has a special cable that goes to an RCA style connector, use an RCA-to-S-video adapter to connect it to the computer and select Composite.
    • A camcorder with an RCA style connector is used to transfer video and plugged into the video-in connector on the bottom front of the Media Center (on some models). In ShowBiz 2 or other editing software you would select composite 2 under video input settings.
  5. Use the software to record the analogue stream to a video file. This is usually done by clicking the Capture or Record button. Once the file is saved to a standard file format (Mpeg, WMV, AVI), it can then be edited by most video editing software like Arcsoft Showbiz, Windows Movie Maker, and many others.
Connecting a digital video camera (USB or Firewire)
Follow these steps to connect a digital video recorder to the computer:
  1. Turn on the HP Media Center computer and wait for Windows XP to start.
  2. Connect the video camera transfer cable into the camera and then into an open port on the computer. The port on the computer is usually the USB or firewire port on the front of the computer.
  3. A Found New Hardware message appears in the lower-right corner of the desktop, next to the time. Wait two or three minutes for Windows to make the necessary settings for the new device.
    Figure : Found New Hardware message
  4. A separate Digital Video Device window might appear stating that Windows can perform the same operation every time you plug in the camera. For now, just close this window by clicking Cancel. Answer this window later, when you are more familiar with video editing software.
  5. Click Start, and then right-click My Computer.
  6. Click the Hardware tab, and then click the Device Manager button.
  7. Click the Plus (+) sign next to Imaging devices. The name or brand of the video recorder should appear under Imaging devices. If a name appears, then the digital video recorder is ready. If a name does not appear, try the following items until the problem is resolved:
    • In Device Manager, select the computer name at the top of the list, click Action, and then select Scan for hardware changes. Look in Device Manager for a new addition under Imaging devices.
    • Unplug the video camera transfer cable from the computer and plug it into a different port. Look in Device Manager for a new addition under Imaging devices.
      Figure : Digital camera listing in Device Manager
  8. Once the camera is connected and the name is displayed in Device Manager, you can use video software to import the video from your camera (see next section).
Recording videos from a digital video camera (USB or Firewire)
This section describes how to import a basic video from a digital video recorder using Windows Movie Maker. Use the following steps to import and edit a video:
  1. Connect a digital video camera to the PC.
  2. Click Start, All Programs, Accessories, and then click Windows Movie Maker.
  3. In Windows Movie Maker, click File, and then click Record. If Windows Movie Maker finds a valid video capturing device, a Record window appears.
    If Windows Movie Maker does not recognize the capture device, use different capturing software to save your movie to a file. Then use Windows Movie Maker to import the file.
  4. Select a quality setting from the Setting drop-down list. The setting you select will affect the quality of the recorded video and the size of the video file. Settings in the top of the list produce smaller file sizes but are of lesser quality, while those settings towards the bottom of the list produce higher quality videos but can produce very large video files.
  5. The video from the camera displays inside the Record windoweven though you have not started recording.
    Figure : Record window
  6. Control the camera from the digital video camera controls located in the Record window. Before recording, you might want to pause at a point in the video where you want to start so that you do not miss anything when the recording starts.
  7. Click the Record button, and then click the Play button (the single blue triangle) under Digital Video Camera Controls. The video plays and is stored temporarily on the hard drive.
    The Record button changes into a Stop button and the words Recording should flash.
  8. Click the Stop button when you are ready to stop the video. A Save Windows Media window appears.
  9. Type a filename and click the Save button to save the video file to My Videos folder. The saved video is now ready to be used by other video players or can be saved to CD or DVD for future use.
    After saving the video, Windows Movie Maker automatically splits the video up into various clips and places these clips into the main window for editing. This document does not address the editing features of Windows Movie Maker. Click Help inside the Windows Movie Maker main window to learn more about how to edit videos. To use more advanced editing features (such as different video compression options and special effects), use ArcSoft ShowBiz, MyDVD, or other video editing software.

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