Improving video quality with s-video capture


New member
Presently, I use a Hauppauge HVR 1600 to record clear QAM HD
programming to my PC. I then use VRD-TVSuite to convert these HD recordings to DVD quality. I am very pleased with the results using TVSuite and congratulate the development team for their excellent work! :)

I am contemplating the switch to satellite tv and would therefore lose the need for clear QAM recording. I am trying to figure how to best maximize picture quality using the s-video connection from the back of the DVR to my capture card.


1) Are there differences in PQ between varying s-video cables? If
so, what type do you recommend? I currently use mid-grade s-video cables from Belkin.

2) Will the output from s-video always be letterboxed with 16:9

3) WinTV6 allows recording clear QAM programming but has a fixed recording rate (2 GB/hr). Would it improve picture quality via s-video to reload the original WinTV2000 software and use higher recording rates?

4) I have tried removing black bars around my recordings using the tools in VRD-TVSuite and then authoring a DVD. Bitrates are higher after removing the blackbars but video quality sometimes decreases (particularly in high action scenes such as a football game). When this happens, I get jaggie lines in the video. Would recording the original video at a higher bit prevent the issue of jaggy lines the TVSuite output file?

Thank you for any assistance you can provide.

All the best,



Well, in my opinion ...

Using an Svideo cable won't get you HD, so that says you are going to SD.

Changing over from HD source to SD source, will certainly be noticable in your output DVDs.

1). I'll put my S-video cable from the 99¢ store up against a $100 Monster brand any day.
If your equipment is close together, use a 3-foot cable, not a 12-foot cable.
That might get you some improvement. But probably not anything you can see.
Try MonoPrice . Com - they have pretty much everything you could ask for, and at very decent prices.

2). depends on your satellite receiver (or other source device).

3). possibly.
But to better understand, you also need to document what the actual recorded resolution is.
So, 720x480 @ 2gb/hr might look worse than 544x480 @ 2gb/hr.
I actually get 544x480 @ around 1gb/hr, so I do have some experience with it.
Over all, I think it's the digitizer that probably has the most effect on your video.
I'd try both, and decide later, unless one of the forum members has some personal experience to share.

4). higher source data rate would help with video quality.
Any time you digitally enlarge a picture, you are asking for trouble.
And by throwing away the black-bar area, you are magnifying what is left.
I run into the same affect using the zoom mode on my HD TV to fill the screen, in some cases.
The jaggies are another matter, and it's not likely that a higher bit rate nor higher recording resolution would help.
It may well be the number of scan liines you are working with, which isn't likely to change.

The above are generalities based on my experience.
If you have actual resolution numbers to talk about, we can get a little more accurate.
In the end, it's how you like what you see that matters most.
In some cases, I live with what I get, because for that particular instance I can do no better.
Often it's the show that matters, and a little fuzzy or jaggy can be ignored.


New member
Thanks for your reply Anole!

I was pretty sure that there was not a difference between s-video cables but thought I would ask.... :)

I was able to go back one step on the WinTV program. I now have the option of several different recording rates. WOW, huge improvement in picture quality using the max recording rate (12 Mbit/sec) rather than the initial rate (2.0 Mbit/sec). Standard DVD (4.4 Mbit/sec) is a step down but not bad. Both are DVD compliant at 720 x 480.

My next step is to compare recording a HD movie at the highest recording rate and then burning with DVD Shrink and VRD-TVSuite. I suspect I will primarily use TVSuite to archive multiple TV shows and use DVD Shrink for full length movies.

All the best,

1: insignificant
2:Hopefully, or you will be missing part of the picture.
3:The recording bitrate is meaningless with digital recordings (QAM or ATSC). The stream is transferred directly to the hard drive without modifications (slight muxing to .mpg but no recoding). If the rate has any meaning it would only be for the windowed image, not the saved file. VRD or TVS will tell you the actual bitrate at the end of an editing output. (Yes, I have an HVR-1600)

You can specify a resolution and bitrate for the analog tuner or S-Video inputs as you discovered. Resolution determines the sharpness of the image, bitrate determines the ability to encode motion details smoothly.

4: Removing black bars does result in loss of some of the original image. I would record the OAR (Original Aspect Ratio) and use the zoom feature on the newer TVs to spread it out rather than recoding, just like you would for a widescreen movie.


New member
Thanks for your reply Zaphod! Very helpful and to the point. Wish I had figured this out earlier... :)

Today's discovery makes my move to satellite tv even more probable. I will be able to receive more HD channels and make high quality DVD archives using my HVR 1600 + VRD TVSuite. Wahoo!
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