Topfield recordings into DivX

One of the essential utilities in the media ecology of our home is the PRV — personal video recorder with search functions and a hard disk. We have the Topfield TF5100PVR, suitable for the DVB-T standard we use here in Finland. Since ‘Toppy’ has a hard disk, but no CD/DVD burner, the media archiving has its challenges, though. I think I have now finally figured a process to transfer Topfield recordings into DivX files for archiving and sharing:

  1. use Altair or similar program to transfer the .REC files from Topfield into a personal computer (a short, high quality USB cable is a must for this)
  2. use ProjectX to demux the .REC stream into audio and video components. At this point it is also best to use ProjectX to edit the recording, trim it of extra materials etc. (More instructions in Finnish: http://fi.wikibooks.org/wiki/Topfield_TF5X00/Tallennusten_hallinta — project home page: http://sourceforge.net/projects/project-x)
  3. Now you have .M2V video and .MP2 audio files of the recording, and these need to be combined into MPEG-2 before it can be compressed further. I tried several solutions, but the only that worked was DVDAuthorGUI program, which takes m2v and mp2 as sources for a DVD project; after saved to a disk, go to VIDEO_TS subfolder, and identify a .VOB file that contains the sound and video of your recording. (It might be necessary to use VLC media player to see the file contents http://www.videolan.org/vlc/.) DVDAuthorGUI is here: http://download.videohelp.com/liquid217/dvdauthorgui.p and good (albeit Finnish) instructions here: http://fin.afterdawn.com/artikkelit/arkisto/dvd_authorointi_page_3.cfm — I tried also to use Nero for making .vob files, but could not get the audio in and synced.
  4. After this, it is only one stop away from DivX, for which you need a tool like Dr. DivX: http://labs.divx.com/DrDivXDownload — the point of DivX encoding is that it provides a rather high-quality compression of video recording, and there are many DVD players that support playing DivX files (you should check the supported codec versions though, and update your player firmware when necessary). You only need the .vob file as the source file for Dr. DivX, and can discard all other files from the DVDAuthorGUI folders.
  5. The output from Dr. DivX should now be the .divx file that you can use. Enjoy! (Thanks for guys at DVDPlaza.fi and AfterDawn.com for tips!)

Author: frans

Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, esp. Digital Culture and Game Studies in the University of Tampere, Finland.

3 thoughts on “Topfield recordings into DivX”

  1. Have you tried the trick Aydin mentioned at DVDPlaza where you don’t demux the file with ProjectX but convert it to M2P. Then he tells you to just manually change the file extension to .mpg. The divx converter should be able to use this file.

  2. Hi — yes, I actually tried that also, but with my test case (one hour long documentary, recorded with Topfield) the sound and video were not in sync with the direct M2P conversion. I do not know what was the problem, but with doing the extra demux-and-VOB conversion thing everything was in sync. Happy if it works for you, though.

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