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THarper

Simple viewing of .REC files on a PC

34 posts in this topic

This has been posted elsewhere and sunk within various threads, but I think it bears posting as a separate topic as useful information in its own right.

I am someone who just watches something once then deletes it, so I'm not particularly interested in trimming/editing of the content or of burning it to DVD for archival/re-viewing purposes.

For just watching a show you have recorded on your Toppy via a PC (or a laptop - before work or during lunchtime - in my case), here is the easy "recipe"...

You'll need the following (only):

* USB cable with Topfield's Altair software (and the appropriate drivers, etc) downloaded from the Topfield website, installed and working on your PC.

* MPlayer (freeware) downloaded from http://mplayerhq.hu and unzipped/installed (for example to c:\Program Files\mplayer).

The MPlayer software is able to play back Topfield-format *.REC files directly - that is without conversion, demuxing, editing, etc - and has simple FF/skip/etc capabilities, which are more than good enough for viewing of a recorded show.

What I do is simply copy the .REC files I want to watch into a spare folder on the laptop via Altair. I have a simple .BAT file containing the following line, with a shortcut on my desktop pointing to the BAT file:

"c:\program files\mplayer\mplayer.exe %1"

I then just drag-and-drop the particular .REC file I want to watch (which I already transferred to the laptop's local hard disc) from an Explorer window onto the shortcut to that BAT file, and straight away the MPlayer window pops up and I can watch the show (Dolby and MPEG audio both work fine, it automatically does the widescreen "unsqueeze" because of the flag in the .REC file). Spacebar pauses, arrow keys give FF/REW and skip/"zap", ESC quits. Delete the .REC file when you have watched it.

Easy, huh, and it makes for a no-effort way to watch shows on my laptop (once) with ZERO file preparation/conversion time first (aside from the Altair transfer time), and no other utility programs needed if all you want to to is simply _watch_ something.

Hope this is useful for someone,

ted.h.

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You don't even need the batch file, you can just drop the .rec file onto mplayer or a shortcut to mplayer.

The other option is to associate .rec files with mplayer, then you just double click on them to play.

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There are many ways to view .rec files...Mplayer is one of them...There is a version of Mplayer that has a GUI and the file can be opened in that interface and certain options can be set....there are also sites that list the commands so that you can use your keyboard to control the file etc..

There is only one way to view the Toppies HD files easily and that is in Wombles MPEG video wizard ...It will also display the SD files and allow editing of SD and HD files and is available on free trial...if you like what you see...buy it...but I would imagine most have seen me say that before...lol

foss

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Current Linux versions of mplayer play HD and also decode AC3 to discrete channels. I think the Windows version can do the same, although I have not tested that recently.

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Just to reiterate my reason for posting this separate thread, while there are a *LOT* of ways to view recorded Toppy video on a PC, most of these require (1) manipulation of the files before viewing, and/or (2) installation of packages (eg DirectShow-compatible codecs) which might conflict with other things on the workstation.

More to the point, the information, while readily available in this forum and the Topfield-Australia ones, is very much like "drinking from a firehose" (especially when mixed in with the inevitable advice about using demuxers, splitters and various authoring tools), and makes it appear there is _not_ a trivial path to just play back the "raw" file you have already recorded. (aside: Non-Toppy owners and people who have been scared off watching recorded material on their PCs thusfar please correct me if I'm wrong here).

There is no reason that MPlayer (on whatever platform) would not play back HD-resolution Toppy .REC files, and on my vanilla XP Pro laptop it appears to decode and downmix Dolby Digital from ABC to stereo quite happily.

While this low-end approach via MPlayer does not offer the other exciting possibilities of installing the "Wombles" codecs, it also doesn't add anything that might conflict with other apps/drivers that may be on the PC and is simply an "unzip to install, delete the folder to delete" kind of non-invasive application. It is also more than adequate for the trivial - and from emails I have received over the last year very common - requirement to just simply take a .REC file and watch it on a PC without fuss or fiddling.

I'm more than happy for people to try and buy other applications and drivers (I write software for a living myself after all), and certainly they can end up with a very rich, arcane and exciting compiling/editing/burning environment for dealing their recorded programs, but IMHO it is also worthwhile to document and explain simply the absolute bare minimum that gets the job done.

ted.h.

p.s. The reason I suggested using a .BAT file (rather than a direct shortcut to the EXE) is so that various playback options can easily be specified to MPlayer. In the case of my laptop, I have to specifically tell it I have a physically wide-screen (non square pixels) display, and if I wanted to specify full-screen mode or a zoom-factor I'd be passing these on the command line also.

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hi Ted.Hows things.....

I have had great success using Mplayer ...either the command line one....the drop file on exe symbol one and also the GUI one...

and it works really well...

I have also used it to display HD Toppy files...but displaying Toppy HD files is very inconsistant....and it will either work or fail...recently for some reason it has always failed....but that was with the GUI version...I might try the HD files with the drag and drop or the command line version...just for interest...and to advise...

recently I display all of my HD files by using Wombles player.

thanks for bringing this to the top again.

foss

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I have also used it to display HD Toppy files...but displaying Toppy HD files is very inconsistant....and it will either work or fail...recently for some reason it has always failed...

I just tried recording 5 minutes of Channel 9 High Definition (ie Channel 90 Sydney, showing the KAK morning show) on the Toppy, copying via Altair to my laptop, then dropping the file onto my MPlayer .BAT file (as above) and it plays back just fine, DD 2.0 448 kbit/sec audio and 1440*1088 pixel video resolution.

If it isn't working for you (assuming you can try with the latest command-line version of mplayer from the site I listed above), could it be something different with the (beta) Toppy firmware you are running? My Toppy is still running April-20 firmware and it definitely _does_ work just fine for HD files, exactly as per SD ones - just the image size and bitrate are larger for HD obviously.

ted.h.

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hi Ted...yes i have a feeling it is related to the GUI interface version of Mplayer i was using as i have suggested in my post above......I definitely had it working earlier...and in the GUI version HD files were just rejected...ie would not start ...i had no real reason to persist because I had womble and it has a GUI and controls......

I also have just recorded 15 mins of Sunrise HD on Ch 7(remember we are on no daylight saving ...pity) I will fiddle with that soon and report...but I am sure I will be able to view it in command line

foss

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Hi Ted...

I have just been into town to get 4 Video Easy 1 dollar videos....lol...yes I do save dollars where I can, and still missed the latest releases...Oh well.....

I would have reported earlier..but needed to do some comparison tests between versions of Mplayer and Wombles program.

The reason why my Mplayer version would not work for me was because it was one of the fiddled with versions where someone had added a graphical user interface...that version works very well with SD .rec files but not HD .rec files...

I have just tried the version of Mplayer which is not the command line version, its the version where you drag an HD or SD .Rec file and drop it on the exe symbol or exe file shortcut or Mplayer quick start symbol and of course it works well...thanks for getting me to test it again..

The GUI version was to blame...the 1st and second version work...the GUI version doesn't seem to for me..

More importantly, I have just displayed the HD file via Mplayer and in full screen on my Plasma ( I now have very many choices for display with my new PC) and the result was excellent...and the same quality as Womble...so I would say it does a great job for a free player...

I had not looked at it recently because I use Wombles MPEG

Video Wizard

I do much prefer to use MPEG video Wizard because of Wombles extensive controls over the display...just about anything can be done with the HD files

foss

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I have been away for a while (and had fallen into the ego stilting thinking that there was nothing new under the Toppy sun) and then I take a quiet stroll through the forum and discover something truly revolutionary.

Ted - this is an extroardinary find. I have been wasting an enormous amount of time converting rec files before watching them.

I look forward to trying out your tip immediately (well in the few hours it will take me to abscond from work and get home).

Thanks

Deen

:blink:

Edited by why

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Okay I take it all back - I have just downloaded the MPlayer files (codecs, fonts and source) and now have no idea how to deconstruct it into meaningful (ie useful for us dummies) software.

I've looked at the mplayer install guide and there appears to be 20 more pieces of software I need to run the thing.

Before I shrivel into confusion > Can anyone tell me how the hell I open a file that's called

> MPlayer-1.0pre5.tar.bz2

What sort of an extension is that??

Is there somewhere this is all bundled in an easy to download and install format?

D

:blink:

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Okay I take it all back - I have just downloaded the MPlayer files (codecs, fonts and source) and now have no idea how to deconstruct it into meaningful (ie useful for us dummies) software.

...

Is there somewhere this is all bundled in an easy to download and install format?

I'm guessing you are on Windows; if so, easiest is to get the latest pre-built binary from http://www1.mplayerhq.hu/MPlayer/releases/win32-beta/ (file is about 6.8Mbytes as a ZIP file), then unzip into C:\Program Files (preserving the folder structure from the ZIP - the built-in ZIP support in Windows XP does this by default).

This should then create a C:\Program Files\mplayer folder including mplayer.exe which is the ready-to-go player (and whatever codecs and support files it needs are in the right places relative to it for it to work without further configuration).

With that executable etc in place, you _should_ be good-to-go as per my instructions above (or even the further simplifed version where you just create a desktop shortcut straight to the EXE - rather than making a BAT file - then drop your REC files onto the shortcut).

ted.h.

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Okay I take it all back - I have just downloaded the MPlayer files (codecs, fonts and source) and now have no idea how to deconstruct it into meaningful (ie useful for us dummies) software.

...

Is there somewhere this is all bundled in an easy to download and install format?

Goto Tony's web page and click the link to Mplayer.

Download the file - mplayer_setup_0-18-0_fullcodecs.exe

It works like a charm !!!

Cheers,

:blink:

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Hi...

If this is of interest to Toppy owners and other folks as well, then I am pleased...

I have been using Mplayer or had access to it in one form or another for many months now ...since before June I think, and each time I look at it on the web pages, something has changes for the better.

It has gone from a simple command line player to the quite Brilliant Front end player it is now...

I had not checked for the latest version recently, but the latest version that is available from the link on Tony's page (and of course download the latest player) is brilliant and displays HD video from the Toppy, (and of course SD video)better than Wombles MPEG player does...the colours are truer...and the playing is cleaner and faster.

I have displayed the output from playing a .rec file in Mplayer on my plasma and the picture is brilliant and is obvious the file is HD...I am very happy with the result...

I downloaded the latest version of Mplayer from the link on Tony's site

I have placed this post here just to confirm that the earlier front end player that did not play HD files properly for me has been fixed and now does play HD files very well (as well as SD files of course).

TONYS PAGE..look for Mplayer 1/3 rd of the way down the very interesting page...

Have fun...

foss

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Okay I take it all back - I have just downloaded the MPlayer files (codecs, fonts and source) and now have no idea how to deconstruct it into meaningful (ie useful for us dummies) software.

...

Is there somewhere this is all bundled in an easy to download and install format?

Goto Tony's web page and click the link to Mplayer.

Download the file - mplayer_setup_0-18-0_fullcodecs.exe

It works like a charm !!!

Cheers,

:blink:

I have downloaded this version twice now after uninstalling the first downloaded copy.

The player won't start when I try to open a media file. I have tried *.avi and a *.rec files but neither will play.

Any ideas as to what I am doing wrong???

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Browse to file, click start?

I have the direct rendering box ticked only for video, nothing for audio, disable screen saver, autoplay drag&drop, mplayer result only if error.

I am running 0.16.7b

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Browse to file, click start?

I have the direct rendering box ticked only for video, nothing for audio, disable screen saver, autoplay drag&drop, mplayer result only if error.

I am running 0.16.7b

All I did was, downloaded the 'mplayer_setup_0-18-0.exe' file and installed it on WinXP Pro.

After opening the Mplayer, I just drag the .REC file , then click the START button.

I haven't tested any HighDef files from Toppy, but SD files can be palyed without anyproblems.

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HD files display perfectly in the latest version that is on the site linked from Tonys web page..

Nothing could be simpler.

Might pay to uninstall and reinstall...get the latest version...

foss

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Browse to file, click start?

I have the direct rendering box ticked only for video, nothing for audio, disable screen saver, autoplay drag&drop, mplayer result only if error.

I am running 0.16.7b

Thanks for the quick reply Tony.

I rolled back my XP installation and re-installed and now it is working fine .

So now all I have to do is copy all the .rec files to my laptop in preparation for my hard drive upgrade. Fingers crossed.

Cheers

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Hello,

I downloaded mplayer (MPlayer-mingw32-1.0pre7.zip) and tried using it with TF5800 (in the UK). Most .rec files play perfectly, however most files from a particular channel (UK TVHistory) refuse to play. The playback starts for about 10 sec, then the picture freezes for about 30 sec and then the player crashes.

MPlayer outputs some info on the console - the only difference between the files that play and those which do not is:

This plays fine:

VIDEO: MPEG2 544x576 (aspect 2) 25.000 fps 15000.0 kbps (1875.0 kbyte/s)

This does not play:

VIDEO: MPEG2 720x576 (aspect 2) 25.000 fps 6000.0 kbps (750.0 kbyte/s)

Also another difference:

This plays fine:

VIDEO MPEG2(pid=600)AUDIO MPA(pid=601) SUB DVB(pid=603) PROGRAM N. 8294

This does not play:

VIDEO MPEG2(pid=401)AUDIO MPA(pid=402) NO SUBS (yet)! PROGRAM N. 22272

Please help if you have any suggestions...

Thanks

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Hi

I have downloaded mplayer and seem to have it working by associating the .rec files to it. By double clicking the .rec files, mplayer will open and play the show.

Two quick questions:

1. The picture that shows is not full screen on my widescreen laptop, anyway of making this happen.

2. Also the aspect seems to be compressed vertically. (i.e. everyone is short with fat heads!) Is there a way of correcting this.

Thanks

:blink:

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Thanks Misha

I now have fullscreen!!!

But the aspect ratio is still not right. :blink:

There is a 1 1/2 inch black band above and below the picture and the people are slightly odd looking compared to watching the same program on a widescreen TV. (i.e. everyone is still short with fat heads!) not by a lot but enough to be noticeable.

Any thoughts would be appreciated

Thanks

:P

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