Using VirtualDub1.7.8 ( or 1.8.8 ) to watch and capture tv on your Windows XP PC.

This article could also be called "Alternative to ATI MMC" or Multi Media Center, free tv capture utility or application or also, how to watch tv on your pc.

The quest to find a good and free tv capture utility / application started when my installation of ATI MMC ( Multi Media Center ) went flakey this morning after installing a second sound card. I tried to fix MMC but it just doesn't want to work for me now so I've moved on and I'm very glad that I did.

I tried a few other options first, one of them being "Beyond TV" by but not needing a tivo type app. and also not wanting to deal with very slow startup of the application and also the high price tag, I decided to continue looking around.

One of my thoughts was VirtualDub which is a free video capture and AVI/MPEG-1 processing utility provided by

Setting up VirtualDub for my intended use was a bit confusing to me at the beginning so that's why I'm sharing my setup experience. I initially used version 1.78 to get things going and 1.8.8 remembered all of my settings from 1.7.8 so I can verify that both work for this particular situation.

My input source is s-video coming from a Direct TV receiver and the s-video cable goes from the back of the receiver to the input on the break out pigtail of my ATI 8500DV video card.

Here are the settings that I'm using in VirtualDub.

First connect your source to your PC and also make sure you have a way to get audio from your source into the PC and then open Virtual Dub and activate your source. In my situation that just means turn on the receiver with the remote.

In Virtual Dub choose "File > Capture AVI" Make sure to check your source connection in VirtualDub by choosing "Video > Video Source >" and choose the correct option for your situation.
Also have a look under "Device > Tuner Input Mode" and "Device" and at the bottom of that window choose the option that works for you. If everything is connected properly you'll see the small capture preview.
You should be hearing audio also and should have been hearing it ever since your turned on your source. If you're not then check your audio connections and your volume control.
Now onto the tweaks to get a large and good looking picture without ever having to capture any video.

Choose "Video > Set Custom Format" and then choose 720 x 480.

Choose "Video > Stretch to Window" and also have a look at the difference between "Overlay" and "Preview". You should now be able to either maximize Virtual Dub or pull the edge of the app. to as large a size as you like and have the content that is playing follow the size of the window.

Now choose "Capture" and uncheck "Show Information Panel" to get rid of the gray info. panel on the right allowing your picture to fill the whole frame.

Finally, choose "Video > Enable RGB filtering" which will smooth out the color and also seemingly,
( it's just a guess on my part ) change the output to be seen as a progressive scan as opposed to interlaced.

Day to Day Usage:
Once Virtual Dub is set up all you need do is launch the progran, choose File > Capture,
Start your TV tuner and you're watching!

That's it!
I'm glad I spend the time to figure this out. I now have a free TV Capture app. that looks better than ATI MMC and will never be a problem like MMC was.
VirtualDub is also a great program because it's very efficient, fast and easy on the resources.


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