The difference between download and record and how to spot it

Discussion in 'AnyStream' started by tectpro, Mar 13, 2021.

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  1. tectpro

    tectpro Translator (ms_MY)

    There been a lot of discussion of: What is a downloader and what is a recorder?

    What is this about? A short overview of the difference and how to spot them.

    What is this not: A detailed description of how things work.

    Let's have a look at it:

    1. Downloader

    As the name suggests, it is downloading the files.

    The original format won't be changed.

    No loss of quality.

    2. Recorder

    Different from downloading, this will record what is being played.

    Due to the recording process, the files will be re-encoded, and that means loss of quality.

    Re-Encoding is always with loss of quality, some more some less visual recognizable.

    You may say now: But the program downloaded is advertised as a downloader, so it doesn't record!

    Well, there are marketing strategies, and everyone wants to sell its product, but that's not what will be explained here.

    From here, it will be shown how to spot if you got a downloader or recorder.

    1. Recorder

    a. If the program you installed is advertised or shows inside the program; there is a GPU enhancement or GPU encoding to the download process. You might ask yourself:

    Why would a downloader need GPU enhancement or GPU encoding?

    Correct, it does not. A recorder will use the GPU to compress the video to a different or the same format; thus, the CPU often won't be used for encoding.

    b. The program used does not mention anything about GPU enhancement or GPU encoding.

    Some programs are hiding the GPU settings and auto enable them once they found a GPU with the relevant capabilities; it may not even be listed on the web page of the program itself.
    This is to hide the fact that this is not a downloader.

    c. The program needs a browser window to show the video to be able to record it, and this window needs to be open the whole time while it's recording.

    It will also show the video that is being recorded; it doesn't necessarily have to be a browser window; it can be a window that's opened by the program itself or just a small tile that shows the video that's being recorded, which has to show the entire time.
    However, it is possible that this window is hidden and won't be visible.

    2. Downloader

    - No GPU used for any enhancement or encoding as nothing will be compressed.

    - CPU usage usually low to (depending on the system used, CPU usage might increase)

    - Network activity is normally high, higher than recording programs because nothing needs to be recompressed. Kindly note that the speed is also depending on your ISP.

    You might say now: Fine, this is all nice, but it doesn't prove anything; it's just text.

    Ok. Let's go to fact-checking via the Task Manager; please see the below screenshots with relevant information. Kindly note that third party program names have been erased as there is no advertisement for third party programs.

    For that, the process has also been compared to a low-end system and a higher-end system.

    Low-end system:
    CPU:Intel 8th Gen Celeron Processor N4100
    Graphics:Intel UHD Graphics 600
    RAM:4GB DDR4

    Higher-end system:
    CPU: Intel 9th Gen i9
    Graphics: Nvidia GTX 2060
    RAM: 64GB DDR4

    Application comparison:

    Low-end system

    CPU encoding - 3rd party program
    CPU recording.jpg
    CPU encoding uses a lot of CPU resources and high memory.
    The Disk and Network traffic, however, is very low, as it needs to reencode.

    GPU encoding - 3rd party program
    GPU recording.jpg
    GPU encoding uses many CPU and GPU resources on lower-end systems, and the memory usage is slightly lower.
    The Disk and Network traffic, however, is very low, as it needs to reencode.

    Downloader - Anystream
    Any Downloading_lowendcpu.jpg
    Downloading on a lower-end system still causes high CPU usage.
    However, because nothing is encoded, the Disk and Network traffic is considerably higher, multiple times compared to encoding. And the GPU is not used at all.

    Higher-end system

    CPU encoding - 3rd party program CPU recording-high end system.jpg
    CPU encoding uses a lot of CPU resources and very high memory.
    The Disk and Network traffic, however, is low, as it needs to reencode.

    GPU encoding - 3rd party program


    GPU encoding uses high GPU resources; the memory usage is lower compared to CPU encoding.
    The Disk and Network traffic, however, is very low, as it needs to reencode.

    Downloader - Anystream

    Any Downloading_01.jpg
    Downloading on a higher-end system uses very little CPU resources and Memory.
    Again, because nothing is encoded, the Disk and Network traffic are considerably high, multiple times compared to encoding.
    (Kindly note that your Network traffic might be slower, depending on your ISP).


    To spot a recorder, check the CPU / GPU / Memory and Network usage.
    If CPU and/or GPU and Memory usage are high, but the Disk and Network usages are low, it is an encoder, not a downloader.

    If a GPU is assigned to the application under the GPU engine within the Taskmanager, it is highly likely a recorder and not a downloader.

    Recorders often assign more than one task, as video and audio are recorded by different recording engines within the recorder application.
    nrnoble, sierra117, zer0c0de and 8 others like this.
  2. tectpro

    tectpro Translator (ms_MY)

    During testing with different applications regarding the recording vs downloader, an interesting discovery has been revealed.

    Some recorders using upscale/upsampling technologies to create resolutions and audio that does not exist.

    What does that mean?

    For example, certain videos are not available at higher resolutions such as HD or Full HD.
    However, some of the recorders change the video resolution (upscaling) and resample the audio.

    The video is originally 640x480 (there is no higher resolution available, this is the max.)
    The recording application uses upscaling to increase the resolution in this case to 1440x1080 as the video is in 4:3.

    Only available in Stereo.
    The recording application resamples it to DD+.

    Recorders with GPU encoding for the recording process often use this technique.

    How to spot

    1. The provided video resolution that the application "promises" is not available on any other device

    2. The recorders install necessary DLL's that can be found in their installation directory
    For example:
    swresample-3.dll - which is used for Audio resampling
    swscale-5.dll - which is used for image rescaling

    Kindly note that the filenames may be different but such DLL's often contain additional information.
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