Setting up the Hauppauge HD PVR with Total Media Extreme 2

Hauppauge HD PVR Gamer Edition

Hauppauge have been in the PC-based video capture business for years. With a wide variety of products, they have always provided a device to capture the latest video standards at a consumer-level price point. The software side has tended to be a bit of a mine-field though, and the HD PVR is no exception to this. Hopefully this guide will lessen the pain for anyone who just wants to record some beastly gameplay from their HD games console.

Let’s get this out of the way: The only difference with the Gamer Edition is the looks of the unit. The LED lighting (to show the device is recording) is green instead of blue and the plastic case is a darker grey. It seems to run about £20 dearer on best price comparison. Don’t be convinced of anything otherwise…

Now to business.

To capture the video and audio from the HD PVR you need a piece of software on your computer. If you use Windows, like I do, the official software is ArcSoft’s Total Media Extreme 2. This is a complete video editing suite that is bundled with the Hauppauge capture box – it can also be downloaded separately from the ArcSoft website.

Unfortunately, it is quite cumbersome to actually get some video recorded on to your computer, as the capture software is part of the whole TME2 suite of software.

Firstly, the device needs to be connected to both a computer and the device you are recording. No matter how powerful your PC is, there will always be a noticable lag between your TV or monitor and the capture software. You cannot reasonable play a game via the Capture Module. Luckily, the Capture Software can run happily from my girlfriend’s netbook, which means I can avoid lugging my main PC into the living room. I can then transfer my recordings to my main PC via my network, where I can edit them. Even though I can’t play or edit the resulting video on the netbook – there is no effect on the quality of the recording.

Secondly, actually finding how to launch the application is a nightmare. You have to launch the main dashboard interface, browse to the correct section and then click “Record Video”. Then, after knowing where to find it, you are not given a shortcut to get to it again. After scouring my hard drive I found CaptureModule.exe, but clicking it did nothing (the program closes instantly). A bit of searching on the internet yielded the result – you need to launch it with the parameter /@RecordVideo@. You can view the post I found: here.

An example command would be:

“C:\Program Files\ArcSoft\TotalMedia Extreme 2\TotalMedia Studio MV\CaptureModule.exe” /@RecordVideo@

HD PVR Capture Module -  desktop shortcut

You can now create a desktop shortcut to the Capture Module itself, so that you don’t have to wait around before you start capturing your gameplay. You can also choose to only install TotalMedia Studio, if you don’t intend to use any of the other features of TME2 beside the Capture Module.

Arcsoft TME2 install - I only want the Capture Module

For reference, I am using the version of TotalMedia Extreme 2 downloaded from the ArcSoft website (with the latest update also applied). I have not needed to register the software to continue using the Capture Module only.

The trial version available currently for download from ArcSoft is: totalmediaextreme2_retail_tbyb_all.exe (version 2.0.33.4 @ approx 269MB)

The first time you launch the software it prompts you to download the latest update. This is the following file: totalmediaextreme_2.0.6(33).2_2.0.6(33).6_update_all.exe (version 2.0.33.6 @ approx 222MB)

It is downloaded to the TEMP directory if you would like to archive it for your own ease of use, at a later date or on another machine.

Thirdly, the Capture Module has quite a few settings. It can be difficult to know what to select to get the best quality recording.

HD PVR Capture Module (Windows) - Main screen

Use .M2TS (The Playstation 3 setting) if you intend to edit the video, regardless of the platform you are capturing from.

I recommend setting the media container to .m2ts (MPEG-2 Transport Stream) if you intend to edit the video. It is the superior of the 3 available choices – the descriptions of Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and AVCHD only refer to playback on those devices. If all you want to do is watch your recordings on your console of choice then use the described platform, otherwise always select Playstation 3 (.m2ts) for maximum compatibility.

Don’t use 1080i! (or any other i for that matter, if you can avoid it)

If you want the best quality this device offers – stick to 720p. This gives you progressive video, rather than interlaced. If video is interlaced then every other line of pixels, in every frame, is skipped to save bandwidth. This makes your video appears as if it were recorded through a set of very thin open blinds. De-Interlacing is possible, but the results are rarely close to an original progressive image – in this case, you definitely can’t recreate something out of nothing. If you are interested in finding out more about interlaced video on your computer and the concept of de-interlacing, 100fps.com is a very good place to start.

You need to set your console to the resolution you want to record at. If you usually use 1080i or 1080p you will need to change it to 720p. If you need help: go here for Xbox 360, and here for PS3. Please bear in mind that 1080p video cannot be recorded at all with the HD PVR. This is due to the bandwidth limitation of component video.

To get the best available quality via the AVC/H264 codec settings – set the bitrate to variable and put the slider up to the max (13.5mbps). This will actually give you an allowance of about 20mbps at peak quality, whilst always giving you as small a file as possible;  my files tend to fill 3.75GB an hour. If you are recording at 720p you should also set the Luma and Chroma filters to zero (off). If you are recording from a lower quality source you should leave these at least at the default of 3.

HD PVR - Format Settings (Encoder Settings)

I would recommend AC3 as the audio codec – but this is more of a personal preference to avoid Apple and Microsoft codecs. Sony Vegas Pro does not support AAC encoded audio within .TS or .M2TS files – so if you are using Vegas Pro (and M2TS like I recommend) you should definitely use AC3 as the audio codec.

You shouldn’t need to change any of the device settings if you are recording from a 720p source. There are brightness/contrast etc settings that you can change – but the default will give you a clean and natural recording. Any colour correction that you want to use can be done in your preferred video editor.

Once everything is set up, you can click the ‘Capture’ button and you are away! I tend to try to keep my files to about an hour max – but there shouldn’t be any technical problems in this regard (unless you are using an old operating system or old hard drive architecture – but then you probably wouldn’t be able to play the video back anyway).

If you have read through this and still feel you have some issues, please voice them in the comments below. I am interested in finding an alternative to TME2 for capturing from the HD PVR – I will update this article when I have found something suitable.

– – –

Side Note: There was a problem with the last set of drivers. Progressive Video recorded with driver version 1.6.29353 into a .TS or .M2TS container registers at double the frame rate in Sony Vegas Pro and caused it to crash with great ease. You can fix videos with this problem by remuxing the video and audio through ffmpeg into a .mov container. Check out this forum post here for further instructions.

Prevent this problem from happening by using driver version 1.7.1.30059 or above.

Useful Links:

35 thoughts on “Setting up the Hauppauge HD PVR with Total Media Extreme 2

  1. hi i my dad bought me this for my birthday but when ever i try to record, after i hit stop, it says “Capture failed” Its really pissing me off and we are on the brink of returning it.

  2. Hey I got this recently and everytime i record it works perfectly. The problem is that when i have the hd pvr hooked up with the console and tv, i get a flickering image on my tv and wierd hard faint black lines running down my screens. The quality goes down a lot and I dont know what the problem is.
    I use the PS3 with joytech fusion component cables
    I also use a converter box (component to hdmi) because i play on my good quality monitor that works fine on hdmi

    Can you please help me? Is it the component cable or the converter?

      • I play on a 1080p resolution Phillips monitor but use 720p as my resolution so I can record. I’ve seen people with the same converter box as me on youtube and it works fine, but with PS3 its really hard to find good component cables so I think it may be that?
        The reviews on Amazon on the Joytech fusion component cables were really bad and they said there was terrible ghosting? What does ghosting mean? Like when Im on MW3 I see all the words but the are like doubled as if it is reflected slighty to the side or smudged?
        Well im just asking, is it defenetly the components in this case because on xbox they all work perfectly but PS3 only has one that works and that the compoents that come with the gaming edition (IHAVE THE STANDERED HD PVR 1212) and the official sony cables. The only ones i can find are them but they are really expensive so should I? and will it fix the ghosting and screen flickering problems.
        Also the screen becomes really dark for some reason and I tried these components on my HD ready tv downstairs and the quality was absolutely terrible on my 42 samsung hd ready tv. So is it the components for sure? That all I ask?

          • In the forum people were saying to stay away from the Joytech version. I also use the Amazon UK version and there was three reviews and only one person left a good one but thats only because they used it for thier PS2 not 3. The others said thier was terrible ghosting and it only works well with PS2 and its just bad quality. If i saw these reviews before I purchased I would have saved time and money. Well im moving to xbox soon and nearly all their component cables work so its going to be a cheap replacement. THank for your help Edde, I finnaly know now that it was Joytech and thier PS2 quality component cables. Thank you.

    • I’m pretty sure you can’t pause the recording. You have to stop and the start again (which will create two separate files). You can google for .m2ts/.h264/.ac3 joining if you want them in a single file. If you intend to edit you can just import both files to your editor.

      • Thank you, eddebaby. I am using it to record a football game. Stopping at every commercial and restart again isn’t what I am looking for. If I record the entire game and cut out the commercials later, I heard, the audio will be out of sync. Do you on another program that I can use for recording? I used to have an older Hauppauge card that used WinTV to record to an MPEG file. Do you think WinTV will do it?

        • WinTV has effectively been replaced by TME2 for this Hauppauge product. WinTV just doesn’t work with the HD PVR. I also haven’t found any other programs that have actually allowed me to record from the device (That’s why I put this guide together actually). May I suggest trying to get it to work with some Media Centre software. I would say this would be the most likely to have a “pause recording” function – although I am doubtful that you will find one.

          Audio can go out of sync when you edit out commercials, but if you do it a few times you will crack a method that works best for you.
          If you use video editing software (like Sony Vegas/ Premiere) it should be relatively easy to keep it in sync, but you will have to wait for it to re-encode the video once you have finished (Which takes time and looses quality). You should be able to find a free piece of software that allows you to edit the original stream (thus avoiding re-encoding) and avoid losing audio sync – but that is the difficultly in that solution. I have little experience in that myself but it seems TSSniper (http://www.videohelp.com/tools/TSSniper) is a good place to start. VideoRedo looks to be the paid-for software to go for.

          This forum thread on videohelp seems to be discussing the same issues you are having (http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/325936-Capture-Software-for-Hauppauge-HD-PVR) – unfortunately there isn’t that perfect answer you are looking for and there is a lot of talk of de-sync (especially for longer files).

          Unfortunately, the way that video is encoded means it is very difficult to edit the original file without corruption, artefacts or de-syncing (unless you encode a new video from the results). It is also troublesome to “pause” the capture (or recording) because of the way encoding deals with video/audio synchronisation and key-frames. I assume it’s possible (and maybe a piece of software does implement it) but it is one of those features that has little commercial viability and isn’t widely popular. Maybe something to bear in mind too, is that you aren’t necessarily going to time your pausing and un-pausing correctly every time.

          My last alternative suggestion is to use a video player that allows you to skip forward in precise 30 second chucks, so that when you are watching the game you can get through the breaks very quickly. I have found this to be the least “effort intensive” way to avoid commercials.

          Sorry I don’t have the solution that you are after – but hopefully you can find your answer eventually, or at least something you can live with.
          If you do come across something, I would be grateful if you pop back and let us know if you do find something that works.

  3. I have te HDPVR 2 gaming editing and it records good its just not good quality and te but rate is like the higher I go the worse it lags I just got this and could use some help??

    • If the video is lagging, then it has too high a quality for you computer. You can reduce the bitrate or the resolution until you get something that runs OK for you. Otherwise, if you intend to edit your video or upload it to youtube, you should be able to watch/edit the resulting video without an issue. If the video is blocky it is low quality, if it doesn’t play back smoothly then your PC is struggling.

  4. Hi, the total media extreme 2 program works perfectly, but it doesn’t recognize that there is a HD PVR plugged into the computer. When I click on source there isn’t the option for “Hauppauge HD PVR”. PLEASE HELP!

    • Try reinstalling the drivers (make sure to get the latest, or at least the ones recommended in this article), or turning the box off and on again when it is connected to your PC. USB devices can often fail to be recognised properly when you plug them in. Also, try to use the same USB slot every time you use it (once you get it working).

      Can you try it with another PC? If you can’t get it to work with any computer, the device itself may be faulty.

      To clarify the option for “Hauppauge HD PVR” in the source selection will appear once the HD PVR is recognised by your computer.

  5. This program doesn’t seem to wanna work for me. It’s worked fine for more than a year and then all of a sudden the program just stops working and gives me a windows error saying “Capture Module Has Stopped Working” and then it crashes. This happens when I try to capture. I have uninstalled, and reinstalled at least 4 times with no luck at all and drivers as well. I even contacted support and still no luck :/ Any ideas?

    P.S. This program was JUST working 2 days ago on Saturday and now here it is Monday and it decides to not work.

    • I would suggest trying the program/HD PVR on a different computer, to see if you can get different results. I would usually suggest reinstall of drivers/software but you’ve already done that. Does the same error pop up if you run the capture module without the HD PVR plugged in?

      • Yeah it still pops up. It’s a the stage now where it may work once or twice, and then a few days later it crashes again. It’s a rinse and repeat thing now and I’m really considering just doing a clean sweep on my PC and see if that does it cuz this is ridiculous. And customer support is total ****.

        • Reinstalling Windows should certainly get rid of any software problems, unfortunately you never get to find out what went wrong. If you can backup your computer before you wipe/reinstall everything – I suggest you do. If you start again and it doesn’t fix the problem, the loss of your setup can be frustrating.
          If you are looking to exhaust all possible options, all the things I can think of to test are: different cables, different USB port, different PC, different HD PVR, different drivers, different TME2 versions, different OS’s.

  6. Greetings, I’ve got a HD PvR and a computer, however with the lack of a TV in my room (but living room) – playing via Preview (Yes!). I’ve changed the PS2 to 720P and I try to capture via HDMI. However it still won’t show any signal (black screen)… “Signal detected: 0 | Lines detected: 0” in addition, it says that Source Not Locked, video encoder at 0 Bit Rate. Additional information : Norwegian (Northern Europe) Pal_B, cables are “In”, USB connected & newest drivers installed.

    What can I do to solve my issue of a source not locked / undetected signals?
    Thanks for any possible support.

    • Have you got the HD PVR 2? Otherwise you need to use component video rather than HDMI. Otherwise I would suggest you check the cables, they might be damaged or otherwise faulty. You could try different connections to help work out what’s going wrong e.g. connect the standard definition composite connection (the yellow one) and see if that at least gets you video on your computer. If you can get other video standards to work, it must be the connection or a setting on your PS2.
      Can you connect other HDMI/component sources to the HD PVR? Can you connect your PS2 to a TV with the same connection?

      Oh and you are a brave man to play via the Preview :)

        • Oh, and the cable works with the TV but it’s in the living room and I hate going back and ford 100 times.

          Anyway, I hope it’s enough information to gain help. If possible, I’m also available on Skype with RobinLvGamer for real time assistance.

          • Everything that I can see in the picture seems to be OK. To re-iterate you are using component video, not HDMI. Maybe the PS3 is set to 720p via the HDMI connection rather than component video? I believe they are different settings (I don’t have a PS3 myself though).

  7. I’m having this issue that there wont pop up anything when i turn on the software, i’ve never had this issue before. I got everything wired up from tv, ps3 and PC. this is a screenshot http://prntscr.com/l3ppn . Theres basicly just nothing to do, please help!

  8. Hi I have a Monitor, HD PVR gaming edition and converter box, my problem is that when i turn on my TV tit says there is no signal? PLEASE HELP ME!

  9. Hi….just got the HDpvr 2 and having trouble with the initial set up. When trying to plug cable into xbox console from recorder the existing xbox cable is blocking outlet.

  10. hey i’ve been having a problem with my pvr and the video will only show up in Black and White I’ve had this problem for a while and have yet to figure it out help?

  11. Hey, my problem with my HDPVR is that when I record a video the video on my computer lags and looks like its going in slow motion, then when I play it back its the same thing but I skips a lot more also my source resolution is 720×480 does that mean I need a hi def tv for the 1280×720 settings?

  12. Great blog. Has clarified a number of problems I have had recording from my HDPVR. However I have found that after my trial version of TME2 has expired I can’t seem to access the Capture module. You suggested that you did not need to register the software to continue to use the Capture module only. Am I missing something?

  13. Whenever I try to click on the format settings, the recording screen on my computer goes black and the format window doesn’t pop up. I think that I’m in the wrong resolution for recording and I can’t change it. Can someone help me?

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