I tend to be long-winded, so if you'd rather get to the requirements list, skip to the bottom:
Video capture has been a hobby of mine for years. I mostly capture short clips or TV commercials I like and want to save. But earlier this year I had to build a new computer and my old capture card (Hauppauge WinTV 404) -- the oldest expansion card I was still using -- was just a standard PCI card and, of course, my new motherboard does not have a legacy PCI slot.
As long as I had good drivers, the old WinTV 404 worked just as I expected it to with no issues I couldn't fix post-capture (like audio and video sometimes falling out of sync). But what I liked about the WinTV 404 is that you could capture raw, uncompressed AVIs. Since the source material is already compressed from the satellite receiver, I wanted to save compression for the last step in the post-capture archiving process.
Now I've been reading about some of the capture cards available today and I've read that many do not allow the capturing of raw AVIs. Very annoying. It's much easier, in my opinion, to edit uncompressed videos. That said, I do like the idea of having an on-board hardware compression to keep from working the CPU, but I don't want to be forced to use compression for every single capture!
A few points about my equipment. The satellite receiver is just standard definition, but I will probably upgrade to HDTV at some point in the future, so I'd like to get a capture card that is also HD with the ability to capture standard definition, too.
So I was looking at the Hauppauge Colossus. I'm familiar with the Hauppauge software already, and while I know how strange and flaky the driver installation is for Hauppauge products, I was nonetheless able to get WinTV 404 drivers and software up and working with 100% reliability. I have never used any other capture card than the WinTV 404. The Colossus doesn't look like it has very good reviews overall.
I saw some stuff on newegg.com from AverMedia and the reviews for it were better, but I'm not familiar with that company at all; I've just seen the name floating around.
My main problem is that while there are some HDMI devices in the house, I never personally owned any HDTV items that used component cables. The best I had and currently have is S-Video. But we're going through the house and slowly upgrading everything, so at some point, I'm expecting to end up with the latest model Dish Network HDTV satellite receiver. I'm hoping to get through all this without losing my video capturing hobby.
Summary of Requirements:
Works with Windows 8 64-bit
Capture video from composite plugs, S-Video and in the future, HDTV
Capture in raw/uncompressed format
Things I don't care about:
(f the device suggested has this feature, it's okay as long as it does not interfere with the most important things listed above.)
Using the capture card as a DVR with timers to record television shows
Sorry if I was so long-winded, but I was trying to be thorough, and I have the time to do that.
Motherboard: Asus Crosshair V Formula-Z (AMD 990FX)
CPU: AMD FX-6300 Vishera 3.5 GHz (AM3+)
Memory: 4x4 GB (16GB) Kingston HyperX DDR3 2133
Graphics: MSI GeForce GTX 650
HDD: Western Digital 320GB (I'm going to get a bigger one; the twin failed after two years)
Monitor: 27" Acer S271HL
PSU: Seasonic X-Series 1050 Watts
UPS: APC Back-UPS XS 1500
Network: Netgear WNDR3700 N600
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Blackmagic Intensity Pro will do what you want. Installs in a PCI-E slot. I have one working in windows 8.1. Captures SD and HD video. You can use composite, S-video, Component or HDMI. Comes with capture software, but you can use it with Virtualdub.
For capture of SD raw avi, a single 7200RPM hard drive will work fine. However for HD capture, you will need a raid 0 set up due to the bandwidth needed by uncompressed HD video. I'm currently using the card for SD so I've not tried HD captures as I do not have a raid system set up yet. The card comes with software to test your system's bandwidth for video capture of SD and HD material.
Wow, thanks for the quick reply! While waiting for a response, I was just looking at the Blackmagic Design website. I like the looks of their stuff, and I'm seeing that you can capture uncompressed video. I love the idea of DeckLink, though if just one card comes with some kind of dongle cable to connect S-Video, composite or component cables to one of its HDMI input plugs, that might just suffice! And I'm already familiar with VirtualDub as its the only editor I use, though I did have problems getting it to capture with the WinTV 404. It was some kind of driver issue. With that old card, I captured with the WinTV 2000 application with no problems, then I edited it in VirtualDub. Thanks again for the response!
Wow, that sounds exactly like what I need. Blackmagic Intensity Pro it is, then. It's a bit more than I wanted to spend, but I got a pretty good bit of Christmas Cash this year.
One other thing that came to mind was HDCP. My monitor and graphics card are both HDCP-compliant, and I've read that the Intensity Pro cannot capture through HDMI any HDCP-protected video. I'm assuming I shouldn't have problems if I capture through the component inputs of the dongle/breakout cable. Is my assumption correct? I've also read that sometimes you can't capture through component outputs if HDMI is connected to anything at all, even a totally external TV sitting on the other side of the room.
HDCP is actually offensive to me personally because I'm not interested in piracy. Who would pirate commercials and two-minute video clips anyway? It's like being punished beforehand for the nefarious actions of a few pirates.
The ATI TV Wonder HD 600 USB is a favorite on this website for capturing SD video with the capture accessory cable that should come with the product. The drawback is that it apparently was not distributed outside N. America and since it is a discontinued product, it has to be purchased on ebay or similar. http://www.ebay.com/itm/DIAMOND-ATI-TV-Wonder-TV-HD-600-TV-Tuner-PC-USB-2-0-Interface-...item417ae0e0fc There are Windows 7 drivers available at Diamond's website that allow it to work for Windows 6/8.1. http://www.diamondmm.com/tvw600usbv-ati-amd-tv-wonder-hd-600.html I have one and it works with Windows 8 and 8.1 32-bit. I don't have Windows 8 64-bit to test with.
The Hauppauge USB Live 2 also has fans here, but the captures it makes are a little less sharp.
A Blackmagic Intensity is overkill for capturing standard definition video. It is well thought-of for capturing HD video and encodes using software, but capturing as a raw AVI requires a RAID array or a very large SSD, which is why most people doing HD captures use a capture device that hardware encodes instead, like the Hauppauge Colossus.
I suspect the Colossus gets some of its bad reviews because the reviewers are people who think they know more about computers than is actually the case trying to capture their video games in HD with no previous capture experience. I know there is one long time VideoHelp member who has one (not me) and thinks its a great HD capture device. I am considering one for when I build an HTPC.
[Edit] Just for fun, here are the relevant figures from Wikipedia for capturing HDTV as uncompressed AVI
720p HDTV uncompressed
8 bit @ 1280 x 720 @ 59.94fps = 105 MB per/sec, or 370 GB per/hr.
10 bit @ 1280 x 720 @ 59.94fps = 140 MB per/sec, or 494 GB per/hr.
1080i and 1080p HDTV uncompressed
8 bit @ 1920 x 1080 @ 24fps = 95 MB per/sec, or 334 GB per/hr.
10 bit @ 1920 x 1080 @ 24fps = 127 MB per/sec, or 445 GB per/hr.
8 bit @ 1920 x 1080 @ 25fps = 99 MB per/sec, or 348 GB per/hr.
10 bit @ 1920 x 1080 @ 25fps = 132 MB per/sec, or 463 GB per/hr.
8 bit @ 1920 x 1080 @ 29.97fps = 119 MB per/sec, or 417 GB per/hr.
10 bit @ 1920 x 1080 @ 29.97fps = 158 MB per/sec, or 556 GB per/hr.
1080i and 1080p HDTV RGB (4:4:4) uncompressed
10 bit @ 1280 x 720p @ 60fps = 211 MB per/sec, or 742 GB per/hr.
10 bit @ 1920 x 1080 @ 24fps = 190 MB per/sec, or 667 GB per/hr.
10 bit @ 1920 x 1080 @ 50i = 198 MB per/sec, or 695 GB per/hr.
10 bit @ 1920 x 1080 @ 60i = 237 MB per/sec, or 834 GB per/hr.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 27th Dec 2013 at 10:38.
Well, the only time I'd want to capture uncompressed video is when I want short clips and commercials. I was just now thinking of looking at a SSD devoted only to capturing uncompressed video, and then I read an article saying that SSD can actually have problems with so much continuous writing, like it stresses the drive or something. Short clips and commercials, especially at standard definition, don't really require that much space. I would capture the video, and maybe edit and save the final copy to the SSD, then I'd move it to the HDD for storage until I have enough to fill up a disc for archiving.
If there happens to be something longer I want to record, like a 30 to 60-minute show, I'd just capture using Intensity Pro's hardware compression and I'd probably just capture it to the hard drive if it doesn't drop frames.
Sidebar: I've always preferred things like sound cards and modems and capture cards with their own dedicated hardware instead of forcing the CPU to do all the dirty work. It just makes sense to me to go that route. I hate on-board sound chips. The last one I had, I was unwilling to really dig in to music production in FL Studio because it taxed the on-board sound chip so heavily that with too many tracks and effects, the sound started crackling. I didn't have that problem with my old SoundBlaster Platinum 5.1 with the LiveDrive II, but that card is now useless because it's also legacy PCI. This newer Crosshair V Formula-Z motherboard seems to have a better sound chip. I'm able to play the FL Studio demos without crackling as long as I have the ASIO4ALL driver running the show, so I now feel like I can really dig in and make more complex music.
Last edited by Involuntary; 27th Dec 2013 at 10:47. Reason: Forgot to complete a sentence.
I guess you know that the Colossus can't provide uncompressed AVI captures.
Huffyuv in Virtualdub. For the price, the Intensity Pro is hard to beat. Sure there's no hardware encoder, but you mentioned you wanted uncompressed AVI's. You can always re-encode the final edited video to whatever format you wish and not be forced to only use whatever codecs are built into the hardware of the video capture card.
Here are the specs for capturing uncompressed SD video. As you can see, a standard SATA hard drive should be sufficient.
525 NTSC uncompressed8 bit @ 720 x 486 @ 29.97fps = 20 MB per/sec, or 70 GB per/hr.
10 bit @ 720 x 486 @ 29.97fps = 27 MB per/sec, or 94 GB per/hr.
625 PAL uncompressed8 bit @ 720 x 576 @ 25fps = 20 MB per/sec, or 70 GB per/hr.
10 bit @ 720 x 576 @ 25fps = 26 MB per/sec, or 93 GB per/hr.
Haha, yes I'm trying to have the best of both worlds. It's like having a car that'll go 180 miles an hour, even if you never plan to drive it over 75 miles an hour. I prefer a hardware encoder for the times when I do want to capture longer videos that become unrealistic to capture uncompressed. For that reason alone, the Colossus might be a better choice, but then again, when I contacted Hauppauge about capturing uncompressed video with the ImpactVCB, which seems to be the most recent equivalent of the WinTV 404, Hauppauge Support replied to my e-mail question saying that the ImpactVCB will not capture uncompressed video. Some of the more expensive Hauppauge capture boards simply didn't have uncompressed AVI listed as one of the available capture methods, so I assumed it didn't have that ability.
Anyway, even when I capture HD videos, I don't necessarily need or want to capture 1920 x 1080. For viewing on a computer screen, I'm happy with lower resolutions, though I like to retain the clarity of HD. When I captured SD videos with the WinTV 404, I captured at 640 x 480 and then I downsized it a little bit in editing to 520 x whatever the vertical resolution was to match (I can't remember what it was). Then I compressed with an XVid codec.
Decisions decisions. If I was rich, I'd just buy both and use the one that works best, but I can only spend so much money.
BTW you don't have to use PCI-E or PCI cards to get good SD captures anymore. USB 2.0 provides enough bandwidth to work just as well for SD capture and H.264 hardware-encoded HD capture. There are more choices for uncompresssed SD captures if you are willing to consider an external USB 2.0 device.
Since I'd like to get a high-end SoundBlaster to go in a PCIe x1 slot, and since one of my two PCIe x1 slots is covered up by a GeForce GTX 650 graphics card, I may end up going with a USB video capture device if I can be assured there are no lag/latency or synchronization issues. I'm not sure how it'd all work with a USB capture device, but in the past, I've always captured video through the video card and audio through a direct line from the audio outputs of the satellite receiver to the audio inputs of the sound card because I could capture that way in stereo, while capturing through the capture card, if I recall correctly, only provided mono audio. My motherboard has USB 3.0, however, so that's even better. I've always preferred expansion cards inside the computer. It just seems like it would provide the lowest possible latency/lag issues and there's less desktop clutter, too.
USB 3.0 capture devices are not plentiful. I guess there could be some I haven't seen yet, but the only one I know of is a Black Magic Intensity device. Initially it was finicky and would only work properly with some USB 3.0 controllers on specific motherboards. I don't know if that problem still exists.
[Edit]According to reviews I just read on Amazon, one quoting an email from Blackmagic, the Intensity Shuttle is still super finicky about USB 3.0 controllers and incompatible with Windows 8. So much for that option...
Last edited by usually_quiet; 27th Dec 2013 at 13:07.