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  1. Rounded up my four fully functional devices and did some comparisons. I used the instructions here except that my SW-01 shots are all from frame 90 rather than frame 30, in order to make sure that the player's OSD had disappeared. The VOB file used can be downloaded from here if you want to contribute your own comparisons. [Edit: Alternatively, I've now attached an ISO made from the file so you don't have to author it. The download is 1/3 the size because I used RAR instead of ZIP.]

    Played on a Philips DVP642, and I took two screenshots using my PS3 to see how much the player might affect the results. Except for the PS3, the cables used in each case were identical: a 5.5' composite cable that I believe came from a dollar store years ago and an S-Video cable that came as a pack-in with some equipment. I also compared this composite cable vs. a 3.5' entry-level "SV1" Monster cable but the differences were too negligible to bother posting any images. All were captured YUY2 using either Huffyuv or Huffyuv-MT in VirtualDub; the first two on Windows XP and the latter two on Windows 7 x64. For the 128 the driver used was dated 2001-09-26 and for the 9800 dated 2009-03-31. One thing I had forgotten until after I did the captures is that the 128 only seems to be able to do up to 704x480 properly. It's also a lot noisier than the others, though you can't see that in single screenshots. In all cases I used the default procamp settings and made no attempt to calibrate them for better accuracy.

    In addition to these devices I also have an ATI X1950 Pro with VIVO via the Rage Theater chip, but that sucker started having serious stability issues earlier in the year so I can't give it a go. The quality at least for composite was nothing special; plenty of dot crawl. I have an Iomega Buz around here somewhere too, but I don't think anyone is seriously interested in still using one of those.

    [2013-05-14 EDIT: Replaced long-dead/screwed ImageShack links with attachments and added some AVR-890 HDMI images that are also found later in the thread. Replaced the ATI 600 Default shots with the ATI 600 shots where the Sharpness is correctly turned down to 0.]

    Composite

    AVerTV HD DVR (PS3 player)
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    ATI AIW 128 Pro AGP vs ATI AIW 9800 Pro vs ATI TV Wonder 600 USB vs AVR-890 HDMI vs AVerTV HD DVR
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    S-Video

    ATI AIW 128 Pro AGP vs ATI AIW 9800 Pro vs ATI TV Wonder 600 USB vs AVR-890 HDMI vs AVerTV HD DVR
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    I also had an ADS Tech Pyro A/V Link a few months back, a Firewire box that encodes to DV. It died before I could do any proper comparisons but here are two with some PVR content that should give a rough idea, both via composite.

    ATI TV Wonder 600 USB vs ADS Pyro A/V Link

    Attached Files
    Last edited by vaporeon800; 15th May 2013 at 02:57.
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  2. Nice comparison. Can you access the proc amp settings on any those cards? Can you control the sharpness? The ATI 600 caps are over sharpened. I know, most people like that.
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  3. Yeah, I noticed it too. All four of them have selectable proc amp sliders. The HD DVR card has no sharpness control, but the ATI 600 does. It's set by default at 2 and has a range up to 15 (which of course looks horrific). I haven't tested to see whether 0 gets rid of the ringing completely.
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  4. Member
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    I came very close to posting a question about capture cards in here recently but seeing this i'm glad I didn't. All i can remember about them is that to capture to avi and use huffy was to use and AIW card...obviously that was way back in the day as I'm guessing they don't make an ATI card that does it anymore. That being said, what other models/brands do the same job? Updated models etc. I don't mean high end models either. Just a decent capture card with avi ability(i have an old hauppage 150 but thats direct to mpeg2).

    also, any hdmi models out there besides the blackmagic or Avermedia that are tested and reliable to use?

    btw....appreciate the comparison test...gives someone who's looking into trying to find one a good set of options to choose from
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  5. I too would like to know about any more recent cards that still allow uncompressed AVI capture. Hauppauge seems to have jumped the shark in this regard. Manufacturers aren't forthcoming with that info anymore since the increasing focus on "PVR" type cards as others have noted. I initially thought that the AVerMedia card only did hardware MPEG-2 encoding until I came across some user posts somewhere about it. Likewise I didn't know that YUY2 capture over USB2 was even possible except for reading posts here.

    BM and AVerMedia are the only consumer/prosumer manufacturers I'm aware of with HDMI cards on the North American market, and only the AVerTV has the possibility of tricking it into recording HDCP content. There are some other models available in Asia. Hauppauge has a PCIe card called the Colossus HD PVR coming out at some point but it seems it will do hardware encoding (though maybe not, as the post about it says both MPEG-2 and H.264).
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  6. I'll try to add some samples from other capture cards soon, including the Hauppauge HD PVR. For anyone else who wants to compare, you can get the MPG file with the test patterns here:

    http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/328439-New-Video-and-Capture-Card-Confusion?p=20353...=1#post2035392
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  7. I look forward to it.

    ATI TV Wonder 600 USB, sharpness manually set to 0



    There's also a checkbox on the Video Decoder page for "VCR Input" but I can't figure out what it actually does when you check it, if anything.
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  8. The ATI 600 caps look much better with the sharpness turned down to 0. Thanks for running the tests and posting the samples.
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  9. I still can't get the proc amp working on my Hauppauge HD PVR (XP SP3, 32 bit) but the default settings aren't too far off. Here are samples with the low pass filters (noise reduction) turned to 0 (ranges from 0 to 20, 0 is sharpest), played from my Philips DVP5990, composite:

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    The HD PVR was set to record at the highest CBR bitrate, 13.5 Mb/s. Since these were still shots, low noise, and only SD resolution it didn't achieve that bitrate. MediaInfo and Bitrate Viewer show about 1900 kbps.
    Last edited by jagabo; 6th Feb 2011 at 13:09.
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  10. Thanks. Looks quite similar except for the higher brightness. I wonder how much of the lowered rainbowing is due to the AVC compression. I always found that MPEG codecs tended to remove some of it as part of throwing away data.
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  11. Just want to post an update on this. The AVerTV HD DVR is nice for HDMI, but isn't suited to VHS captures, though they actually advertise that as one of its features.

    Firstly because of the non-defeatable sharpening. I thought this would be less of a problem on VHS than the test patterns, but I actually found it much MORE noticeable. It exacerbated the ringing already inherent in my VHS camcorder recordings from the early 90s to offensive levels. The same tape/VCR/etc. looks much nicer through the ATI 600.

    And then the other issue that I don't even understand which is that it has a tendency to drop to a black output when a VCR goes back to its blue screen OSD. While the tape is playing it's fine, but I tried two different VCRs so far and had this problem with both. It takes many restarts of the capture program to get the display to return when this happens.
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  12. Originally Posted by vaporeon800 View Post
    And then the other issue that I don't even understand which is that it has a tendency to drop to a black output when a VCR goes back to its blue screen OSD. While the tape is playing it's fine, but I tried two different VCRs so far and had this problem with both. It takes many restarts of the capture program to get the display to return when this happens.
    I have the same problem with the card, its extremely sensitive to video levels and sync errors. A TBC is a must when using the analog inputs from videotape sources. The slightest dropout or sync issue on a tape will cause it to cut off video and screw up sound sync.

    Originally Posted by vaporeon800 View Post
    Firstly because of the non-defeatable sharpening. I thought this would be less of a problem on VHS than the test patterns, but I actually found it much MORE noticeable. It exacerbated the ringing already inherent in my VHS camcorder recordings from the early 90s to offensive levels. The same tape/VCR/etc. looks much nicer through the ATI 600.
    I didn't notice any extreme sharpness or ringing with the card while capturing home movies from my JVC HR-S7800U or my Sony Hi-8 camcorder. If its there, it certainly isn't noticeable on the final DVDs.

    I hope I can add to this comparison. I still have my circa 1999 Matrox Marval G400TV and circa 1997 ATI All-in-Wonder (original Rage II+ with Bt829).
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  13. Here's what I've come up with as far as calibrating the ATI TV Wonder 600 USB. It would be nice if there were a finer gradation for Saturation as 35 is too low but 36 is slightly too high. I left Hue at default because I found that fixing one color patch would throw another out of whack. It's a decent compromise value I guess.

    The default settings:
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    Better settings:
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    ATI TV Wonder 600 USB, manual settings


    There are a few other values that can be set in the registry that some may find useful. The potentially worthwhile VCR masking feature is ruined IMO by the fact that you can't just apply it to garbage at the bottom.

    Code:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    ; remember that dwords are hex, not decimal
    ; exact registry location will differ by hardware install
    
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96C-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0009\settings\DecoderProperties]
    "VCRMask"=dword:00000000    ; # of lines masked out [equal top and bottom]
    "MaskColor"=dword:00000000    ; 0=Gray, 1=Black
    
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96C-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0009\settings\OEMSettings]
    "AC97VolumeLN"=dword:00000040 ; Line IN AC97 source balance adjustments -  valid range 0..127 [Default 64, but 127 seems to actually lower volume]
    
    ; there are a bunch of other settings here that do nothing, including entire blocks copied from eMPIA's webcam drivers
    The Proc Amp settings are stored in the registry, but can't actually be set by it. The settings on the Capture filter page somehow overwrite the reg values as soon as you start a capture graph again.

    For what it's worth, the TV Wonder HD 600 USB seems to be a generic device previously available from a few other manufacturers, eg one specific version of the Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro (but only the one with the AV cable bundled). On the other hand, the TV Wonder HD 600 PCI appears to use completely different chips, unless I'm blind. That would at least explain why one fellow said his PCI card suffered from the AGC issue.

    Here's an example of Macrovision as detected by this device, both the commercial VHS tapes I've tried and DVDs. It randomly switches between okay and corrupted every few seconds. The specs sheet for the TI chip notes Macrovision detection among its features.

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  14. Originally Posted by vaporeon800 View Post
    Here's what I've come up with as far as calibrating the ATI TV Wonder 600 USB...
    A word of warning to others: The calibration will depend on the source. Don't assume those numbers will be right for your source.
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  15. Is there a lot of variance in the analog output of DVD players then? I was hoping they'd be fairly close.
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  16. Originally Posted by vaporeon800 View Post
    Is there a lot of variance in the analog output of DVD players then? I was hoping they'd be fairly close.
    I don't think I've ever compared multiple DVD players side by side. But I have compared a DVD player, a DVD player + clarifier, a cable box, different channels on a cable box, a VHS deck, a VHS deck + clarifier, different VHS decks, different VHS tapes, s-video vs composite from the same device, and they're all significantly different.
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  17. DVP642 --(analog cable)--> Denon AVR-890 --(HDMI cable)--> AVerTV HD DVR



    I had a longer explanation typed out, but the forum software killed it when it decided to log me out for inactivity.

    I posted about this already on another forum/username; using the A/V receiver as a TBC so that I'm down to one analog/digital conversion step.

    ADV7480 is the chip used. It claims a 3D comb filter but that doesn't seem to be active.

    Resolution seems to be lower on the composite input than S-Video.
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  18. So basically you're now using the A/V receiver as your A/D converter and TBC.
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  19. That's the idea.

    Something different. 1920x1080i comparisons using AVS HD 709 test patterns, played on a Insignia Blu-ray player. The component cable used came with my satellite receiver. It's very thick...

    In theory analog component should be equivalent to HDMI, but in practice I haven't seen that pan out. Mind you, I made no attempt to calibrate the brightness or anything else, but there's some things you can't calibrate like the capture window. I would be interested in Hauppauge comparisons.

    Warning: these PNGs are very large.

    NS-BRDVD4-CA --(component)--> AVerTV HD DVR (flickers on the high-res patterns)


    NS-BRDVD4-CA --(component)--> Denon AVR-890 --(HDMI)--> AVerTV HD DVR


    NS-BRDVD4-CA --(HDMI)--> AVerTV HD DVR
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  20. Member
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    Very interesting, I'm interesting in calibration. I've made my own calibration tests. Also you can calibrate capture window.
    I just wrote a guide for this. It can work for CX or BT card.
    http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=162832
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    Last edited by sanlyn; 25th Mar 2014 at 20:40.
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  22. Originally Posted by jmac698 View Post
    Very interesting, I'm interesting in calibration. I've made my own calibration tests. Also you can calibrate capture window.
    I just wrote a guide for this. It can work for CX or BT card.
    http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=162832
    Yeah I've read about the BT878 tweaks. I meant specifically with the card and AVR I have.

    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    I've found only two HDMI cables I'd look at for more than a few seconds without ripping it out and throwing it away.
    Sorry but if you're implying that HDMI cables can change picture quality, that just isn't true. For one thing, if that were possible the cable would have to know how to decrypt HDCP.
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    Originally Posted by vaporeon800 View Post
    DVP642 --(analog cable)--> Denon AVR-890 --(HDMI cable)--> AVerTV HD DVR



    I had a longer explanation typed out, but the forum software killed it when it decided to log me out for inactivity.

    I posted about this already on another forum/username; using the A/V receiver as a TBC so that I'm down to one analog/digital conversion step.

    ADV7480 is the chip used. It claims a 3D comb filter but that doesn't seem to be active.

    Resolution seems to be lower on the composite input than S-Video.
    What resolution was this captured at, 480i or 480p? How well does the A/V receiver handle the TBC, is it the same as an external unit? Can it deal with tearing?

    Edit: to clarify, since it was captured on a HDMI capture card, I assume the only options available for SD content would be 480i or 480p.
    Last edited by LukeS; 22nd Oct 2011 at 22:09.
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  24. Snapshots from my Matrox Marvel G400-TV (1999), which uses the Samsung KS0127 capture chip with the internal proc-amp setting at their defaults. Source DVD player is a Samsung DVD-S222. Captured YUY2 using HuffYUV at 704x480. The Windows 2000 driver for this card refused to capture any video at 720x480 giving only green output. Note that this same capture chip was used on the Rainbow Runner video capture add-on for the G200 series as well. One thing I did notice playing with this card is that using the onboard MJPEG encoder (Zoran ZR36060) screws up the color and levels giving a duller image. The images below are straight from the KS0127.

    Composite:
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    Last edited by NJRoadfan; 22nd Oct 2011 at 21:43.
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  25. To add, here is a quick rundown of comb filtering performance of devices I have here using these test patterns. All had composite video inputted and S-Video output.

    3. JVC SR-VD400US DVHS VCR & AVT-8710 TBC (tied): Both show some dot crawl/rainbow effects with the Snell&Wilcox test patterns. The AVT-8710 claims to have a 2D line comb filter, the JVC's comb filter on its inputs is unknown but also likely 2D line. Performance is similar to connecting directly to the Aver HD DVR's composite input.

    2. Panasonic AG-1980: Shows dot crawl/rainbow effect for a split second on scene changes. VCR has a 3D adaptive comb filter and likely needs a few frames of video to work.

    1. JVC HR-S7800U: This VCR seems to have a 3D adaptive comb filter like the AG1980, but it doesn't show ANY dot crawl or rainbow effect on the S&N test patterns.

    If you have a Brooktree BT8x8 or 829 based card or the Matrox card, I highly suggest you use an external comb filter and use their S-Video input. The capture chips on those cards use a primitive notch comb filter on their composite inputs resulting in poor quality video. The only consumer level capture cards that have an excellent 3D adaptive comb filter built in are based on the ATI Theater chipsets.
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    Last edited by sanlyn; 25th Mar 2014 at 20:40.
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  27. Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    As for HDMI cable changing picture quality, well...they do, just as any other type of wire does
    Yes, but the failure mode with HDMI is very obvious. Unlike analog cables where you get subtle blurring and ringing at sharp edges, digital errors are obvious bright or dark sparkles:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20056502-1/why-all-hdmi-cables-are-the-same/

    If you aren't seeing those the images are identical between two cables.
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  28. Originally Posted by LukeS View Post
    What resolution was this captured at, 480i or 480p? How well does the A/V receiver handle the TBC, is it the same as an external unit? Can it deal with tearing?

    Edit: to clarify, since it was captured on a HDMI capture card, I assume the only options available for SD content would be 480i or 480p.
    The AVR has options for converting and scaling the input anywhere from 480p up to 1080p. I was surprised and pleased to find that it also lets you output straight 480i over HDMI, which is what I used. I have no idea how it compares to other TBCs as I've never owned a separate unit. As for tearing, I can't recall now if I have any tapes with visible tearing that I could test (except for Macrovision issues through other cards). Of the tapes I've captured with this AVR-HDMI setup, I haven't seen tearing.

    Originally Posted by NJRoadfan View Post
    Snapshots from my Matrox Marvel G400-TV (1999), which uses the Samsung KS0127 capture chip with the internal proc-amp setting at their defaults.
    Ouch @ the cropping and noisy/low-res composite image.

    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    If anything is to be calibrated with the Denon, it's your source input. That, I think, is what you're referring to?
    The player itself doesn't have options for brightness/contrast/etc. Jagabo indicated earlier in the thread that calibration of A/D depends on both the feeding device as well as the conversion device and I've found that to be the case.
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  29. Originally Posted by vaporeon800 View Post
    Ouch @ the cropping and noisy/low-res composite image.
    This card's claim to fame is that it can usually capture a VHS source without a TBC without dropping frames and its hardware MJPEG codec (capturing 720/704x480 at 29.97fps with HuffYUV with the IDE HDs and CPUs of that era wasn't possible). The drivers are a bit wonky though. The Windows 98SE driver has a more centered image (no black bar on the left of the test patterns) but it still chops off a little bit of the left and right sides of the image. The 98SE driver revision I have also doesn't support YUY2 capture, only RGB, but it can capture at 720x480 without a problem. Go figure. Oh, and this has to be one of the few uncompressed capture cards out there thats bottom field first!
    Last edited by NJRoadfan; 23rd Oct 2011 at 18:55.
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    Last edited by sanlyn; 25th Mar 2014 at 20:40.
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