Avicap User Documentation

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docu by: Alexander Rawass (alexannika@users.sourceforge.net)
if anyone can write a better documentation - please do it and tell me

Avicap is a capturing tool for video4linux that allows to record in realtime with various (DivX-)codecs.
Avicap also contains a programmable timertable, so that Avicap can be used like a VCR/PVR.
Avicap also allows to automatically shutdown/poweroff and resume/poweron your computer in-between programmed recordings.
Avicap also displays EPG (Electronic Program Guide) Information, that can highlight or block programs to the regexp of your choice.

Avicap is part of the avifile library

Sections in this documentations:



start avicap with 'avicap'

A window will come up, showing the currently selected channel (if you've used a v4l app before), or with noise, because no channel has been set yet.
Best to go to the Configuration Dialog and set the correct settings for your video device.

When you click the right mouse button, a menu will pop up with those entries:

If you start avicap with 'avicap -timer' , the timertable window will automatically open and start the timer to wait for pending recordings.


My system is an Athlon550 with TNT2pro graphics card, running SuSE8.1 with kernel-2.4.18 with apm enabled, I am using nvidia's proprietary drivers (shame on me!).
I've got 384MB ram and a bttv-compatible TV-card, I am using the v4l/bttv driver in the kernel.
My harddisks are set to Ultra-DMA 2 mode, they can write 30MB/sec and read 20MB/sec.
My Motherboard is a Asus K7M which has got a 'RTC Alarm Resume from Soft-off'.

I record at 384x288 pixel, in YV12 or RGB24 color mode, 25fps PAL.
My preferred codec at the moment is native XVid, at 3Mbit/sec for perfect quality, with halfpel interpol. and lum. masking turned on

I have to nice avicap to a lower priority (-15) to not get any framedrops in recording (whatever I  do else with my system), the recording takes up 65-75% of my CPU time - great!

Avicap can record stable in the background without any framedrops, I can read/write Emails in kmail and surf the net with galeon without suffering from framedrops.

If I also nice up gcc, I can also compile source code (nice -15 make).

I can also watch other avis with mplayer while I am recording, but I have to nice mplayer up, so mplayer gets it's framedrops - but NO framedrops in the recording, which is more important.

Hey, that's quite a good performance for a nowadays slow 550MHz CPU - thanks especially to the xvid team for their codec :-)))

Can anyone tell me which processor I need to record with xvid/divx/ffmpeg in PAL-fullscreen (786x576) in superb quality - cause that's the only thing I'll need a newer/faster CPU for? :-)))

more documentation:

Plans for the future:


timertable screenshot Screenshot of the programmable Timertable
There, you can see my list of recordings for the next time.
The current recording is highlighted red, the next pending recording is highlighted green.

screenshot epgwindow Screenshot of the EPG (Electronic Program Guide) Window
Here you can see a typical day on german television.