See if your playback system can handle SVCD's. If it can't, get a new system.
Seriously, SVCD's are so much better and what comes off the TiVo nearly matches the spec. In fact, the only modification you need to meet spec is the sound conversion to 44.1MHz. You can leave the sound at 192kbps, or up to 224 standard for VCD. You can likely find hardware that supports leaving the audio exactly as is.
The video you don't change at all, unless you want to re-encode with VBR and I would only suggest that if you started with "Best" quality.
Check out http://www.vcdhelp.com/svcd.htm for a SVCD/VCD comparison chart.
Personally, I don't notice any tinny effects in the sound, rather the few things I can successfully extract (And I have a lot on my HD with very little success) invariably have audio/video sync issues. I've even ported the 2.0 changes necessary to Gary Steele's ConvertStream, and while I can successfully extract far more shows, the sync problem is even worse.
So far, I've spent a bunch of time on the
Linux side of things (see a previous ptvupgrade post on my convert-it script). Though I can cut VCD's against good/valid ExtractStream files, the quality still kinda blows (with the patched YUVh file).
How does it blow? I see circular sort-of distortions on the output from medium-quality Tivo media. Also the audio is tinny though it sounds like the up-rate from 32 to 44 Khz makes this unavoidable.
So.. my question to you is.. How is the
Windows side of things? Does the resulting
VCDs from TMPGEnc/elecard look good?
Ideally.. I'd like to cut VCDs as its a standard and is playable anywhere. BUT.. unless the quality EQUALS that of the Tivo playback, this isn't gonna fly for me. Yes, I imagine we'll soon be able to play back media files via NFS on our Tivos but will I have my Tivo still in 5 years? Probably NOT.. we'll have HDTV PVRs..etc.