Mpeg2 Streaming with VLC and Hauppauge Win TV PVR USB2

Hauppauge Win TV PVR USB2

Hauppauge

I have owned one of these Hauppauge Win TV PVR USB2 for about 10 months and if I am being honest have not used it very much until now when I wanted to stream TV around the house wirelessly. I used to have a sky box and DVD player connected to a 17" TFT screen in the bedroom which recently packed up and I could use a 2.4ghz video sender to receive the encrypted Sports Channels from downstairs although I have to say the quality of these sort of video senders is poor at the best of times. With all this clutter and wires in the bedroom, I thought wouldn't it be so much better to replace the whole lot with multimedia ready laptop and stream all the TV wirelessly.

As a PVR, the Hauppauge Win TV PVR USB2 is very competent and the onboard MPEG encoder means there is no CPU usuage, however what lets the Hauppauge Win TV PVR USB2 down is it's bloated software. In all fairness the drivers bundled with the Hauppauge Win TV PVR USB2 are very good but the applications are poor. The main WinTV2000 program which has recently been re-skinned with the introduction of the WinTV6 but it still uses around 50% CPU on my Athlon 3000 when watching a channel which is ludicrous. However the real problems start when you want to start streaming the signal over your network.

It has widely been accepted that the best streaming software on the web for this sort of task is VLC due to the format compatibility, filters, features and transcoding options, however under Windows support for the Hauppauge Win TV PVR USB2 in VLC can only be achieved via the Direct Show "Hauppauge PVR USB2 AVS Video Capture" capture driver which at best is interlaced, unsmooth and tends to freeze after about 30 seconds. Add to this fact that there does not appear to be a way of adding an audio stream unless you are using your soundcard's line in as opposed to the USB audio off the card and basically you have something that is completely useless. Wouldn't it be so much better if you could stream the MPEG2 video and audio stream direct from the encoder rather than having to use Direct Show/Transoding in VLC?

Now I'm not sure if this is possible under Linux but I have not seen any posts on the Internet about how to do this under Windows - many people like me have asked the questions but until now I have not seen a solution - that is until now when messing around in Graph Edit I stumbled upon a work around that allows MPEG2 streaming in VLC from the Hauppauge Win TV PVR USB2 and I suspect the PCI variants of this card but that is uncomfirmed.

When you think about it the solution is fairly obvious but I have not seen anyone make the suggestion anywhere on the internet but I cannot believe it has not been done before. All you need to accomplish this feat is a copy of Graph Edit ( Microsoft's Direct Show Filter Build).

1) Build a graph containing the following filters:- Win TV Crossbar Filter, Hauppauge PVR USB2 AVS Video Capture, Hauppauge PVR Endoder and the Win TV File Writer.

2) Connect the video and audio outputs from the crossbar filter to the Capture Filter and connect pin 656 of the Capture Filter to the encoder filter and conect the MPEG2 stream to the file writer. Each filter can be configured by right clicking on each, and the important thing is to make the file quite large 1-4gb and then ensure the circular option is enabled.

Graph Edit

3) Press the record button on graph edit and then open the file in VLC, because the file is MPEG2 you can stream it over the network without transcoding and it does not matter that Graph Edit is writing to the file as VLC reads it because the File Writer filter is optimised for Time Shift recording. You will also need to change the preferences in VLC to ensure that the file repeats so that the stream will be continuous.

If you are just wanting to view TV over a local area network it is just as easy to open the mpeg file from the network rather than streaming it as the quality is slightly better and there is less overhead on the PC that is recording the file.

Now I must admit this solution is a bit of a faff but the quality is far superior and more stable than any direct show option with the added benefit of audio. Given that the Hauppage Encoder outputs an MPEG2 program stream, it may even be possible to convert this to a transport stream and then stream it directly using the MPEG2 Multicast Sender (BDA) bundled with the DirectX9 SDK without the need of an intermediary file format but as yet I have not tried this. All I do know is that Hauppauge Win TV PVR USB2 owners can now stream pure MPEG2 over the network in very high quality.

** Updated 1st December 2007 **

Since first writing this article, I have managed to find a better solution that does not involve any writing to the hard drive and allows the server to steam more efficiently. The article is here

This entry was posted on Friday November 16th, 2007 at 2:17 PM and is filed under Accessories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Comments are now closed.

3 Responses to Mpeg2 Streaming with VLC and Hauppauge Win TV PVR USB2

Glenn Says:
June 3rd, 2009 at 4:53 PM

own this HD PVR but I am having trouble recording ITV HD with red button, the picture keeps freezing, has anybody else got the same problem. Has anybody got a quick fix.

Posted by: Glenn, 01 Jun 2009

John Says:
September 29th, 2009 at 5:13 AM

I have a Hauppauge Win TV USB2 tuner and followed your instructions to the letter. Perfect picture but no audio :-(

John Says:
September 29th, 2009 at 5:27 AM

Have to explicitly select the audio ouput and input on the crossbar otherwise it doesn't give any audio :-)

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