HP Stream 7 Video Recorder

As of Dec 2014, we finally have a reasonably small, lightweight, and inexpensive option for recording analog video directly to a "computer".  HP is now selling the Stream 7 for $99.  The Stream 7 is a 7 inch tablet running 32 bit Windows 8.1 (about the size of the original Amazon Kindle Fire).  When coupled with a USB anlaog video capture "dongle", the Stream 7 will capture video in a lossless format without dropping frames. This web page provides some documentation of my configuration and techniques for recording analog video with the Stream 7.

Windows 10 (Aug 2015).  I have done some minimal testing with Windows 10 on a separate machine (not a Stream 7) and everything seems to work.  However, the install process may require an extra step for some apps.  With VirtualDub I had to go to the VirtualDub.exe file, right-click to bring up properties, click on "unblock", then click on "more info" for dialog that Windows brought up, and enable to button to tell Windows 10 to always remember to unblock this app.  You may have to do this for other "simple install" (copy only) programs.


HP Stream 7 + SVID2USB2


The Stream 7 is sold on Amazon, at Microsoft retail stores, Office Depot, and probably others places I haven't checked.  I bought the StarTech SVID2USB2 video capture device via Amazon (linked above for reference).  And I bought the StarTech OTB cable from Amazon (linked above).  Other OTG cables will probably work as well.  But I have only tried the StarTech one so far.

Stream 7 Initial Setup:

 When you first power on the HP Stream 7 it will take you through the standard setup process for a Windows 8 computer.  Most of this process is obvious.  The main question is your login.  But I recommend that you also connect your Stream 7 to the internet during the initial setup.  The Stream has wifi and I think the startup process gives you an option to connect to a local wifi network.  So I recommend that you do the intial start-up while in range of a wifi network.

Like all Windows 8 devices, your Stream 7 login will be a "Windows account".  If you already have a Windows 8 computer I recommend that you start with the same login as your primary login for this device.  In this case, the setup process will ask if you want to transfer your Microsoft applications to this Stream 7.  I recommend you say "no" at first to save space on the device.  You can always pull in your apps later if you want them on this device.  If you don't already have a Windows 8 computer, you may need a "Windows account".  If you have a hotmail account (the original free email system from Microsoft), you will probably want to use that login.  Or, if you have previously setup an account with Microsoft "Live" or "SkyDrive" or "outlook.com", you should probably use that login.  If you haven't setup an "Windows account" via any of these services, I recommend that you start by setting up an account with "outlook.com" and use that email/password login as your login for the Stream 7 (and therefore you basic Windows account).

After the intial Windows configuration I recommend the following changes to the default settings:

Stream 7 - additional software

Stream 7 - Install drivers for StarTech SVID2USB2

I have successfully installed the SVID2USB2 drivers using two different approaches.  The easiest approach works if you install the drivers BEFORE you connect the SVID2USB2 for the first time.  If you connect the SVID2USB2 before installing the drivers, you can use the second approach to replace the default Windows drivers with the StarTech drivers.

The following steps are a little convoluted, but it worked.  Also ... you may find it easier to navigate some of these steps using the touch keyboard rather than the touch screen "clicks".  Reminder... in desktop mode you can bring up the touch keyboard by clicking (touching) the small keyboard icon located in the taskbar (bottom right edge of the screen). I suspect there is a more direct method of installing the drivers for the SVID2USB2 device.  If I find a shorter method I will post it.  In the meantime, here is the method that worked for me.

Capturing Video with Virtual Dub (Basic approach)

With this approach, you manually start/stop the capture as if you were hitting the Record button on a camcorder. You should follow these steps at least one time to setup the capture device and verify that your setup works as expected.  The Stream 7 has about 16GB of free space (unless you install lots of additional data or programs). With the Lagarith codec the AVI file will be about 4GB for a 10 min recording. That is long enough for almost any attended occultation recording. You can record longer by installing an optional micro-SD card in the Stream 7 (I have tested it with a 64gb micro-SD card).  But I think the battery life will be limited to about 90 minutes of recording time.  And that is a good segway into battery considerations... the Stream 7 has limited battery life.  When not recording, the Stream 7's internal battery will last about 3 hours.  To save battery power when not using the device, put the Stream 7 in sleep mode (or just shut it down).  Only connect the SVID2USB2 when you are about to record - this device will drain the Stream 7 battery in a couple of hours - even when not recording.  If you don't need an internet connection, put the Stream 7 in airplane mode to save battery life as well.

The capture steps are simple: connect the hardware, start VirtualDub, and tell VirtualDub to start/stop the capture.

Capturing Video with VDocc

I have modified the "helper program" VDTimer to create an app called VDocc.  VDocc "drives" VirtualDub for you and makes recording much easier on the small screen of the HP Stream 7.  VDocc also has a timer mode where you can setup the HP Stream to record a short segment of video at a specific time : you specify a recording duration and central time for the recording interval (e.g.  record for 10 minutes centered at 04:04:04 UT).  You can download VDocc via this zip file.  Unzip the .EXE file from this zip file to a directory on your computer (e.g. Stream 7) and create a shortcut to it.  This app is helpful for any computer, not just the small screen of a Stream 7.  If you install it on Windows 10, you may need to "unblock" the EXE file before you can run the app.  The first time you run VDocc, go to the settings to specify a capture directory and the location of VirtualDub.exe.  VDocc also has an option to put the computer in hibernation after finishing a TIMER recording.  This is a good idea if the computer is running on battery power and may run out of battery before you can return to the computer to shut it down properly.  This option is enabled by default but you can turn it off.


Since the Stream 7's battery will only power a video capture setup for about 3 hours of "standby" time, we would like to have other options to extend this time for unattended recordings.  The Stream 7's power one "port" is an OTG USB connection and both power and the video capture device (USB) must be plugged into this same connection.  Unfortunately, a standard powered USB Hub will not power both the video capture card and the Stream 7's battery.  Similarly, most "USB y-cables" don't extend the standby time of this setup either.  After some testing with a couple of different options I have identified a set of y-cables which will keep the Stream 7's battery charged while the Stream 7 is connected to the StarTech capture device (this cabling setup is described below). 

With this cabling setup, the following list gives the the Stream 7 "stand by" time with different power sources.

  ***NOTE:  this y-cable WON'T work if you don't have power applied to the Red connector (via AC or DC power bank).  Without this power source you must use a simple micro-USB OTG cable as listed above.

Here is the info on the power cabling:

NOTE: This setup requires that you connect components in a specific order.  If you don't follow the right order, the Stream 7's battery will slowly lose charge and eventually run out.  Even if you don't follow the right setup and the battery drains down, the battery will still last many hours ( probably 10 to 12 hours).  But the correct steps will keep the Stream 7 battery charged as long as power is applied to the cables (from an AC adapter or battery pack).

1) StarTech 3-Feet USB Y Cable for External Hard Drive - Dual USB A to Micro B (USB2HAUBY3) - $8



2) F to F USB gender changer - $4



With the USB2HAUBY3 cable above:

  1. *** First: ensure that a video is signal is present on the video input of the StarTech capture device

  2. Plug the USB gender changer into the standard size BLACK USB connector, of the USB2HAUBY3 cable, which has two cables emerging from it.

  3. Plug in the StarTech capture device into the other end of the USB Gender changer.

  4. Plug the USB2HAUBY3 cable's RED USB connector into the USB socket of the Stream's AC power brick.  Or you can plug this connector into a USB battery pack.  I have had good luck with the 10000mAh Anker power bank ($25).

  5. Plug the USB2HAUBY3 cable's micro USB connector into the Stream.

Viewing/Analyzing Captured AVI files: