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  1. Hi all,

    Im after a device for my computer to capture VHS to my computer. Im not really stuck on any price, i just want a really good quality capture (well at least, as best as i can with VHS).

    Ive seen a huge range available on the market, but am confused at which i should go for. Again price is not really an issue...I have a good quality VHS player, so just require the capture device between the VHS player and the computer.

    Any recommendation will be appreciated.

    Thanks
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  2. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
    Join Date: Sep 2002
    Location: AZ, USA
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    I use a Canopus ADVC-100 DV converter that I've had for quite a while. It converts to DV-AVI, which is very easy to edit and it also locks the audio to the video, so no sync problems. You will need a FireWire card in your computer for this.

    You may also need a TBC (Time Base Corrector) for VHS transfers to clean up the somewhat unsteady VHS video to your converter.

    Another method is to use a Hauppauge video card and capture directly to MPEG-2.

    ADVC: http://desktop.grassvalley.com/products/ADVC110/index.php
    Hauppauge: http://www.hauppauge.com/
    Datavideo TBCs: http://www.datavideo.tv/en/products/tbc.shtm
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  3. thanks for your input - im looking for the best quality (as far as VHS goes) for my captures, which is the capture format i should be looking for?
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  4. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    Depends on how much you want to spend, how much work you want to do, and somewhat the quality you want to preserve. That would also depend on your original VHS quality. If you have commercial VHS tapes, you may also have to deal with Macrovision, though a TBC should be able to handle that.

    For me, the Canopus is the best. Especially if you need to do extensive editing. But then you need to re-encode the DV to MPEG-2 if you want to put it on a DVD. Hauppauge is easier, but you would have to edit in MPEG-2 format. Not really a problem, though DV is easier. With DV, every frame is a keyframe, so you can cut anywhere you want. With other formats like MPEG, or worse, highly compressed formats like Divx, you can only cut on the widely seperated keyframes, or you will have to re-encode, at least at the cut sites.

    With DV, you need a good VHS deck, a DV converter, probably a TBC, and a FireWire card. Quite a bit of investment, especially for the TBC.
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  5. Thanks - ive just done abit of searching for the Canopus ADVC-100 DV converter, They have the ADVC110 model in stock in the UK looks like im going for that one its a really good device and sounds like exactly what i need.

    Thanks again,
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  6. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    I've had my ADVC-100 for quite a long time. The 110 is the newer model.

    If you want a simple editor, VirtualDub or VDubMOD works well. Many filters available from Deemon to clean up the video if needed: http://www.thedeemon.com/VirtualDubFilters/

    You can also add the Cedocida DV Codec if you want to output as DV after editing.

    And you can frameserve the VD output directly to a MPEG encoder, avoiding a in-between file to take up space. (Guides at the bottom of the VD toolpage.)

    I use WinDV for the transfer software to my hard drive, then open it in VD(M)

    There are other payware editors that work great with DV also. Either way, you want quite a bit of hard drive space. DV uses about 13GB per hour of video. Figure about three times that amount of space for editing, etc. With so many 500GB+ drives out there, no problem with that.
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  7. Member dphirschler's Avatar
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    Location: Kennesaw, GA - USA
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    To me it's all about the VCR. The problem will be finding one now. I have the JVC HR-SS9911. I get great captures using it and my Hauppauge WinTV card.


    Darryl
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  8. Member
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    Originally Posted by dphirschler
    To me it's all about the VCR. The problem will be finding one now. I have the JVC HR-SS9911. I get great captures using it and my Hauppauge WinTV card.


    Darryl
    On this note, is there actually much of a difference between the different capture cards, or is it all indeed down to the VCR? I was looking at Hauppauge and Leadtek PCI cards, and there are many different ones, some with TV/FM capture facilities, some without.

    What would a good low-mid end card be? I'm talking in the $100-$175 range.

    EDIT: Also i see a lot of these cards advertise capturing straight to MPEG2, but they can still capture to AVI can't they, in VirtualDub or something?
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  9. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    The Hauppauge cards use a hardware MPEG encoder and won't capture to other formats, AFAIK. But the hardware encoder also places almost no load on the CPU, so works well with about any system.
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  10. Member hech54's Avatar
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    Ditto on the Hauppauge card. I have a PVR-350 and love it.
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  11. Member
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    Originally Posted by redwudz
    The Hauppauge cards use a hardware MPEG encoder and won't capture to other formats, AFAIK. But the hardware encoder also places almost no load on the CPU, so works well with about any system.
    Ahh that's a great shame if that's true, capturing direct to MPEG2 seems stupid to me for analogue video, because that's just the same as using a standalone DVD recorder. I want to be able to capture to HuffYUV AVI, then encode that to MPEG2 using top quality software.

    My current (broken) Pinnacle 500 PCI card allows me to capture to AVI, but what other cards do?
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    Ahh that's a great shame if that's true, capturing direct to MPEG2 seems stupid to me for analogue video, because that's just the same as using a standalone DVD recorder. I want to be able to capture to HuffYUV AVI, then encode that to MPEG2 using top quality software.
    I would be curious to hear some opinion on this statement. Given the low resolution of VHS sources and in addition to the capacity for a good standalone DVD recorder to clean up the chroma in VHS tapes in a way that software cannot, isn't this method of capture for a VHS source overkill when used as the primary method of conversion? In theory, I suppose you should be able to get better quality from a 2-pass encode then from a real-time encode, but when we're talking about VHS tapes, are you really going to be able to see the difference on the screen? Is it really going to be better quality? I guess I am only considering a situation when drastic color / white balance issues are not present in the video, as I have had a hard time correcting those perfectly using video correction hardware alone.

    I suppose that this is sort of becoming a moot issue (at least in the United States) when standalone recorders are sparsely available and a decent model is even harder to come by.
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  13. Member hech54's Avatar
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    You can also capture at 12Mbit/sec on Hauppauge cards...at least the PVR-350 anyway.
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  14. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Some DVD recorders further filter quality, and can often be better than even professional-series ($2000+) capture cards. That would be "best" for quality.
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    Originally Posted by robjv1
    Ahh that's a great shame if that's true, capturing direct to MPEG2 seems stupid to me for analogue video, because that's just the same as using a standalone DVD recorder. I want to be able to capture to HuffYUV AVI, then encode that to MPEG2 using top quality software.
    I would be curious to hear some opinion on this statement. Given the low resolution of VHS sources and in addition to the capacity for a good standalone DVD recorder to clean up the chroma in VHS tapes in a way that software cannot, isn't this method of capture for a VHS source overkill when used as the primary method of conversion? In theory, I suppose you should be able to get better quality from a 2-pass encode then from a real-time encode, but when we're talking about VHS tapes, are you really going to be able to see the difference on the screen? Is it really going to be better quality? I guess I am only considering a situation when drastic color / white balance issues are not present in the video, as I have had a hard time correcting those perfectly using video correction hardware alone.

    I suppose that this is sort of becoming a moot issue (at least in the United States) when standalone recorders are sparsely available and a decent model is even harder to come by.
    The main problem i find with standalone recordings and other direct MPEG captures is MPEG blockiness, the overall picture is pretty similar. However another bonus of transferring to a lossless AVI is that you can adjust colours/add filters etc without losing quality. If you were to capture as MPEG2 then try to touch the video up, you'd have to do another MPEG encode, causing more artifacts and blockiness.
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  16. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    It may be worth mentioning that use of lossless codecs like HuffyUV and lagarith take up huge amounts of hard drive space. Something to consider.

    But if you are interested in using them for capture, you might check out a ATI AIW video capture card. For good information on ATI capture, take a look at lordsmurf's site: http://www.digitalfaq.com/guides/video/index-record-capture.htm
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  17. Member
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    Originally Posted by redwudz
    It may be worth mentioning that use of lossless codecs like HuffyUV and lagarith take up huge amounts of hard drive space. Something to consider.

    But if you are interested in using them for capture, you might check out a ATI AIW video capture card. For good information on ATI capture, take a look at lordsmurf's site: http://www.digitalfaq.com/guides/video/index-record-capture.htm
    Yeah i've captured to HuffYUV before with my pinnacle card, filesize isn't an issue really. I'll check out the All In Wonder, thanks.
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    Alright i've just been checking out the AIW series and one key problem i think i may have is i can't find any that specifically say they are for the PAL market. Did they make them in PAL models or are they NTSC only? I don't really care for the TV capture side of the card, but i assume the analouge video capture would only work with NTSC input aswell?
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  19. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Yes, they made PAL cards. I own one, actually, 7200 series, unused too. The only thing "PAL" or "NTSC" is the analog tuner inside. The composite/s-video capture is both ways on all cards. I routinely capture PAL via s-video from a PAL VCR, using my NTSC-tuner AIW card.

    MPEG blockiness is a direct result of a poor encoder, inadequate bitrate, or other low quality (typical "template") settings.
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  20. Member
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Yes, they made PAL cards. I own one, actually, 7200 series, unused too. The only thing "PAL" or "NTSC" is the analog tuner inside. The composite/s-video capture is both ways on all cards. I routinely capture PAL via s-video from a PAL VCR, using my NTSC-tuner AIW card.

    MPEG blockiness is a direct result of a poor encoder, inadequate bitrate, or other low quality (typical "template") settings.
    Don't want to sell that one do you? I'll keep looking then, if not i'll pick up an NTSC one i saw on ebay quite cheap, because as i say i don't care for the TV tuner, just the analogue capture.

    On that note, are there actually any good quality cards out these days that are pure analogue capture cards, with no TV/FM tuners?
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  21. Member dphirschler's Avatar
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    Location: Kennesaw, GA - USA
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    My Hauppauge WinTV card that I referred to above is a simple pci capture card. It has no native mpeg support. I only capture raw AVI (or HuffYuv lossless). It's basically the same bt878 card as my Pinnacle PCTV card. In fact it uses the same driver. This nonsense about Hauppauge cards only capture in mpeg is untrue. Sure they make great hardware mpeg capture cards (which I have in my MythTV box), but it's not all they make. Furthermore, along with great quality captures, I also got the card for next to nothing ($35). The Pinnacle card was only $29. And they capture in PAL as well.


    Darryl
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  22. Member
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    I went through all of this a few years back throught days of research on this very forum and the help of its members, especially lordsmurf and redwudz .

    I purchased a JVC HR-S8600 VCR, Hauppauge PVR 250 capture card, and an AVToolbox AVT-8710 (CTB100) TBC. I encoded in MPEG but used a bitrate of 15 Mbps. I would have prefered to capture in AVI, but the hardware cost increase was too much for me (I payed a fortune for the VCR). I sold all the equipment afterwards and hence didn't make much of a loss (the TBC made me the biggest loss unfortunately).

    The following is a copy of the notes I took during this process, hope it is of some help:

    Capturing Modes:
    ===============
    S-VHS VCR via S-video --> stabilizer/TBC --> capture deivce/capture card --> PC --> DVD burner
    S-VHS VCR via S-video --> stabilizer/TBC --> DVD recorder --> PC DVD-ROM --> Authoring Software

    Capture Hardware:
    ===============
    + 2 S-Video Cables

    VCR:
    ---
    JVC HR-S8600

    i.e. JVC Model Number: 1234,
    "1" needs to be a 7 or 8 (7000 or 8000 series)
    "2" needs to be 6 or greater

    Time Base Corrector (TBC):
    -------------------------
    + DataVideo TBC-1000
    + AVToolbox AVT-8710 (CTB100)

    VCR TBC = CLEAN VISUAL QUALITY
    STANDALONE TBC = STABILIZE/PURIFY SIGNAL INTEGRITY

    Capture Device:
    --------------
    Hauppauge PVR 250 - PCI
    Canobus (DV format) - Firewire Connection & Plug&Play


    Capture
    ========
    + WinTV

    Settings
    --------
    Press the PREF button. Go to the Movies tab. Press the Advanced button. Select the "MPEG2 12.0 MBit/sec (CBR)" template as a starting point. Go to the Video tab, change the bitrate to 15,000. Go back to the Configurations tab. Enter a name for your template in the box next to the Save New Config button. Press the Save New Config button. Close the dialog. Back at the previous dialog select your new template with the Quality Level pulldown.

    B132 or B99
    C150 or B138
    S130
    H128

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Servic es\Globespan\Parameters\ivac15\Driver]
    Sharpness 7 (REGEDIT)
    TempFlt 2 (REGEDIT) (default 8) - Perceived sharpness of the image
    SpatFlt 2 (REGEDIT) (default 0)


    Sound Mastering
    ===============
    +Adobe Audition

    Method
    ------
    a) Select a blank spot on the tape, that just has hiss. Then run the noise reduction and make a profile. Use the profile for the whole file. Gets rid of the annoying hiss without hurting the high-end frequencies (muffling). Leave Audio As PCM/Imported!!

    c) Video Tutorial: Audition Noise Removal Tutorial.wmv

    DVD Editing (cutting/effects/etc.)
    ============
    +Adobe Premiere
    +Vegas

    DVD Authoring
    =============
    +Adobe Encore
    +DVDLab Pro

    Menus
    -----
    +Adobe Encore
    +Adobe Photoshop
    +Adobe After Effects

    MPEG Re-Encoding
    ================
    +Adobe Encore
    +TMPGENC Plus

    Method
    ------
    The DVD spec has a max of 9800 with AC3/DTS or 10080 with PCM.

    Burning Media
    ============
    +Verbatim Dual Layer DVD+R
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  23. This setup is virtually the same as mine, including software usage! However instead of using the WinTV software, for capture with my Hauppauge HVR-1300 capture card I recommend using Dscaler software (http://deinterlace.sourceforge.net)
    which will allow capture to other formats and codecs! It should work with most tv cards. It will also offer Jutter Termination, deinterlacing and picture smoothing & sharpness. I'd recommend lagarith (better than HUFFYUV) avi - being a lossless format. Audio normalizing / editing in Adobe Audition, then editing and image adjustments for mpeg-dvd output in
    TMPGEnc 4.0 XPress (preferred to transcoding in Encore). This mpeg can then be put into Adobe Encore without having to transcode further, and the dvd built.
    The final result is far superior than DVD recorders.

    Hope this helps somebody.

    John



    Originally Posted by EViS View Post

    I purchased a JVC HR-S8600 VCR, Hauppauge PVR 250 capture card, and an AVToolbox AVT-8710 (CTB100) TBC. I encoded in MPEG but used a bitrate of 15 Mbps. I would have prefered to capture in AVI, but the hardware cost increase was too much for me (I payed a fortune for the VCR). I sold all the equipment afterwards and hence didn't make much of a loss (the TBC made me the biggest loss unfortunately).

    The following is a copy of the notes I took during this process, hope it is of some help:

    Capturing Modes:
    ===============
    S-VHS VCR via S-video --> stabilizer/TBC --> capture deivce/capture card --> PC --> DVD burner
    S-VHS VCR via S-video --> stabilizer/TBC --> DVD recorder --> PC DVD-ROM --> Authoring Software

    Capture Hardware:
    ===============
    + 2 S-Video Cables

    VCR:
    ---
    JVC HR-S8600

    i.e. JVC Model Number: 1234,
    "1" needs to be a 7 or 8 (7000 or 8000 series)
    "2" needs to be 6 or greater

    Time Base Corrector (TBC):
    -------------------------
    + DataVideo TBC-1000
    + AVToolbox AVT-8710 (CTB100)

    VCR TBC = CLEAN VISUAL QUALITY
    STANDALONE TBC = STABILIZE/PURIFY SIGNAL INTEGRITY

    Capture Device:
    --------------
    Hauppauge PVR 250 - PCI
    Canobus (DV format) - Firewire Connection & Plug&Play


    Capture
    ========
    + WinTV

    Settings
    --------
    Press the PREF button. Go to the Movies tab. Press the Advanced button. Select the "MPEG2 12.0 MBit/sec (CBR)" template as a starting point. Go to the Video tab, change the bitrate to 15,000. Go back to the Configurations tab. Enter a name for your template in the box next to the Save New Config button. Press the Save New Config button. Close the dialog. Back at the previous dialog select your new template with the Quality Level pulldown.

    B132 or B99
    C150 or B138
    S130
    H128

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Servic es\Globespan\Parameters\ivac15\Driver]
    Sharpness 7 (REGEDIT)
    TempFlt 2 (REGEDIT) (default 8) - Perceived sharpness of the image
    SpatFlt 2 (REGEDIT) (default 0)


    Sound Mastering
    ===============
    +Adobe Audition

    Method
    ------
    a) Select a blank spot on the tape, that just has hiss. Then run the noise reduction and make a profile. Use the profile for the whole file. Gets rid of the annoying hiss without hurting the high-end frequencies (muffling). Leave Audio As PCM/Imported!!

    c) Video Tutorial: Audition Noise Removal Tutorial.wmv

    DVD Editing (cutting/effects/etc.)
    ============
    +Adobe Premiere
    +Vegas

    DVD Authoring
    =============
    +Adobe Encore
    +DVDLab Pro

    Menus
    -----
    +Adobe Encore
    +Adobe Photoshop
    +Adobe After Effects

    MPEG Re-Encoding
    ================
    +Adobe Encore
    +TMPGENC Plus

    Method
    ------
    The DVD spec has a max of 9800 with AC3/DTS or 10080 with PCM.

    Burning Media
    ============
    +Verbatim Dual Layer DVD+R
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  24. Member
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    Originally Posted by dphirschler View Post
    My Hauppauge WinTV card that I referred to above is a simple pci capture card. It has no native mpeg support. I only capture raw AVI (or HuffYuv lossless). It's basically the same bt878 card as my Pinnacle PCTV card. In fact it uses the same driver. This nonsense about Hauppauge cards only capture in mpeg is untrue. Sure they make great hardware mpeg capture cards (which I have in my MythTV box), but it's not all they make. Furthermore, along with great quality captures, I also got the card for next to nothing ($35). The Pinnacle card was only $29. And they capture in PAL as well.


    Darryl
    I have a V-Stream VS-TV878RF (Xpert TV - PVR 878) capture card. It always worked well for video capture from my VCR, through a "black box" macrovision eliminator and into the card in Windoze XP 32bit.
    The only problem is I switched to XP 64bit a while back and can't find any drivers for it anywhere. I was thinking (against my better judgement) about going to Winbloze 7, 64 bit, but don't know if that will enable me to use my card again or not.
    Can anyone tell me if there are 64 bit drivers available available for XP or Win7?

    Also, is the bt878 chip considered obsolete at this point? I know it was the 'standard' for quite a while since even Linux came with drivers for that chipset. What chipset are most cards using now?

    Thanks.
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  25. Member
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    Originally Posted by fonzo View Post
    Originally Posted by dphirschler View Post
    My Hauppauge WinTV card that I referred to above is a simple pci capture card. It has no native mpeg support. I only capture raw AVI (or HuffYuv lossless). It's basically the same bt878 card as my Pinnacle PCTV card. In fact it uses the same driver. This nonsense about Hauppauge cards only capture in mpeg is untrue. Sure they make great hardware mpeg capture cards (which I have in my MythTV box), but it's not all they make. Furthermore, along with great quality captures, I also got the card for next to nothing ($35). The Pinnacle card was only $29. And they capture in PAL as well.


    Darryl
    I have a V-Stream VS-TV878RF (Xpert TV - PVR 878) capture card. It always worked well for video capture from my VCR, through a "black box" macrovision eliminator and into the card in Windoze XP 32bit.
    The only problem is I switched to XP 64bit a while back and can't find any drivers for it anywhere. I was thinking (against my better judgement) about going to Winbloze 7, 64 bit, but don't know if that will enable me to use my card again or not.
    Can anyone tell me if there are 64 bit drivers available available for XP or Win7?

    Also, is the bt878 chip considered obsolete at this point? I know it was the 'standard' for quite a while since even Linux came with drivers for that chipset. What chipset are most cards using now?

    Thanks.
    Kworld doesn't list your device in the driver download section maintained at its global website. So, it appears there are no official drivers available for it other than what came on the included CD.

    If there is a single chipset used by a large percentage of capture cards from different makers now, I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere.
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  26. Member
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    Hi, I'm in Australia and have a Hauppauge 2200. It provides SVideo input for VCR capture, but I was not happy with the quality of the output when converted to MPEG2. Basically, I have a decent Panasonic HiFi VCR (10 years old now) that provides a nice picture when connected directly to the LCD TV AV inputs. But the captured video via the HVR-2200 has a lot of chroma or something, as per my thread at: http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/313779-Hardware-vs-Software-Encoding/page2

    After much stuffing around with this, I gave up because I wasn't happy with the quality. However, I've now got the time to hopefully do it before the VCR stops working. Anyway, I just tried connecting the HVR 2200 again, but chroma was bad. So what would be a good alternative? I was looking at DVD Recorder which have come down in price now, this one looks pretty feature some: http://panasonic.com.au/Products/DVD+and+Blu-ray/DVD+-+Players+and+Recorders/DMR-XW385/Overview

    Has anyone used this for converting VHS to DVD? Unfortunately, I can't tell if I'll have this chroma problem again, and so I'm reluctant to go spending more money buying things to get the same result that I'd have now. I've been pretty happy in the past with Panasonic, the Samsung DVD Recorder my dad was absolutely useless, didn't last more than two years of infrequent usage and now won't even turn on anymore! It was really slow at playing DVD's as well.

    The other option was trying to pick up a cheap USB capture one and use software, I saw an EasyCAP one on ebay for $10...can I expect worse quality? I just want to transfer without losing quality, which is what I'm getting with my HVR-2200, I know the quality is always going to look poor on a large LCD screen...but when I play the VCR directly, it looks ok, but the captured video looks noticeably worse.

    thanks
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  27. Member
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    Hey gabs, I just read about your efforts with the Hauppauge 2200 and I'm not convinced it's a dead horse. Doesn't it have a composite video input in addition to s-video? If so, have you tried running a cable from the composite output of your Panasonic VCR to the composite input of the 2200? (Just a plain RCA-RCA cable, no converters.)
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  28. Member
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    Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    Hey gabs, I just read about your efforts with the Hauppauge 2200 and I'm not convinced it's a dead horse. Doesn't it have a composite video input in addition to s-video? If so, have you tried running a cable from the composite output of your Panasonic VCR to the composite input of the 2200? (Just a plain RCA-RCA cable, no converters.)
    Thanks for your vote of confidence JVRaines, but it only has an SVideo input and a little composite to SVideo converter. So I'm running the composite from VCR to the converter into the SVideo input on the 2200. I noticed the US version, 2250, comes with a different input cable that has composite or SVideo inputs! Also, there is an extra composite input card you can buy (but it's supposed to be if you wanted a second analogue input)...I haven't bought one, because it costs about $40-50, and frankly, I don't have faith it'll be any different; I would have thought the bundled converter would be adequate. I think that last time, I might have tweaked it a little bit, so when I can, I'll play with it a bit and see how I go. But I don't think it should be this hard.
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