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  1. I have some old VHS tapes I'd like to transfer to a hard drive (and then DVD or Bluray), at best possible res. I have a VHS/DVD combo player with HDMI output, and I bought a Startech PEXHDCAP capture card with an HDMI port. But, I cannot get their StreamCatcher software to grab scenes from manufactured videos (for my personal use only, will never be posted or published anywhere).

    Nero Vision and Ulead capture software cannot seem to locate my card or drivers. If I try to use the capture option of Adobe Premier 11 (Elements), all I get is a black screen with the letters "HDCP".

    Other system info: Win 7 machine, Intel i5 CPU, DirectX 11

    A SA7160 PCI driver entry shows up in my Device Manager (Win 7 machine, Intel i5 CPU), but it shows a speaker icon next to it, and I don't know if it's an audio or video driver.

    Can anyone point me to any software, drivers, etc, that will either (i) overcome the Startech block, or (ii) provide me with some other route to getting good 720x480 captures from my VHS/HDMI machine?
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  2. Member SHS's Avatar
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    Those VHS/DVD combo player don't output VHS over HDMI only Composite
    As for "HDCP" see this http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/334145-HDCP-strippers
    Last edited by SHS; 6th Aug 2014 at 22:37.
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  3. SHS -
    I'm not sure I know what you mean, re: VHS doesn't come out via HDMI.
    It does, as evidenced by the fact that my TV plays those VHS tapes,
    connected to the VHS/DVD combo player by nothing but an HDMI cable.
    And, the StreamCatcher window definitely shows VHS scenes coming across via HDMI cable,
    in 720x480 res, just like a DVD. It just blocks any recording of them.
    **********
    Re: HDCP strippers - thanks for the info.
    I'll go check it out, but I was hoping that, since we're talking about 40-year-old technology
    (i.e., VHS tapes), there might be a simple answer, in terms of a vidcap program.
    I can already import any VHS tape onto a hard drive, using a Super-VHS connector device
    (sometimes requiring an inexpensive S-VHS "video clarifier" box I bought 20 years ago).
    But, I'm assuming that won't have quality levels as high as I >> might << be able to get via HDMI.
    So, I would like to at least try the HDMI route, if I can.
    Last edited by engineerer; 7th Aug 2014 at 01:47.
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  4. You'll probably want to start near the end of the thread and work your way backwards for the most relevant and up-to-date suggestions. The early posts were before the existence of the cheaper "specific splitters" option.

    Out of curiosity, what's your combo machine? Could you take a screenshot of a VHS playing via HDMI in the StreamCatcher window?
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  5. Member SHS's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by engineerer View Post
    SHS -
    I'm not sure I know what you mean, re: VHS doesn't come out via HDMI.
    It does, as evidenced by the fact that my TV plays those VHS tapes, connected to the combo player by nothing but an HDMI cable.
    And, the StreamCatcher window definitely shows the VHS scenes coming across, thru HDMI cablee, in 720x480 res, just like a DVD.
    It just blocks any recording of them.
    **********
    Re: HDCP strippers - thanks!
    I assume most of them are stand-alone boxes, with an HMDI input and an HDMI output.
    So, I'll go start looking, over there.
    When put a VHS tape in your VHS/DVD combo player in will not display on your TV with HDMI cable
    What's your make and model of you combo machine?.
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  6. Sure, SHS, call the guy a liar. Rare as they may be, there are absolutely some combo units that advertise the ability to "upscale your VHS to 1080p!!!!" via HDMI.
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  7. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    I doubt if any really would have the capability to upscale - to 1080p at that - but the possibility of manufacturers evolving to mainly HDMI connections is likely. They would prefer a way to plug the analog hole, include CP, minimize connection options, and provide single cable A+V interfacing all in one fell swoop. My guess is that the boxes output 480i or 480p.

    Scott
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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  8. And I think insisting on using HDMI under the theory that higher resolution means better quality and/or more detail is nonsense.
    Originally Posted by engineerer View Post
    I have some old VHS tapes I'd like to transfer to a hard drive (and then DVD or Bluray), at best possible res.
    Much more important, I would think, is capping in the best possible quality. And this setup ain't it.
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  9. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    The best possible rez for VHS is the rez it already is created in: SD (=720x480 when digital). A good component/S-video/composite lossless capture card is your BEST option here. Particularly if you are trying to avoid CP hassles.

    Scott
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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  10. Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    I doubt if any really would have the capability to upscale - to 1080p at that
    Of course they output 1080p. Sony and JVC (also Samsung) aren't some fly-by-night firms who can get away with advertising completely non-existent features without people trying to sue them. But since "upscaling" just means "deinterlacing & resizing", that doesn't mean the result is any good.

    Amazon user review: "The best feature is that it will send both DVD and VHS signals through an HDMI cable. Just one cable connects this to my receiver -- no more tangle of cords! It also will upscale the VHS image but don't expect much. Yes, it's better, but not high def (or even DVD) quality."

    Originally Posted by manono View Post
    And I think insisting on using HDMI under the theory that higher resolution means better quality and/or more detail is nonsense.
    Agreed, though to be fair OP specifically mentioned 720x480 every time. I'm the idiot who decided to mention the stupid 1080p upscaling.

    A good VCR with TBC connected via composite will beat a bad VCR connected via HDMI any day. Doesn't stop me dreaming of a good VCR with TBC & proc amp adjustments that outputs from the TBC's digital 4:2:2 signal directly to 480i HDMI (or SDI), though. Avoiding D-A-D steps is nice.
    Last edited by vaporeon800; 7th Aug 2014 at 03:12.
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  11. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    I was dubious about their claims, but a look at that manual says that one can switch the output on the front panel from 480i,480p,720p,1080i and 1080p.
    So, I guess there ARE devices out there that can do that.

    However, I fully agree with you that the quality of their upscaling probably leaves a LOT to be desired. I would think that, since all that can be recorded on that device is, at best, SD/DVD quality, it wouldn't make sense to output anything more than 480p. Then let the display device do any upscaling as necessary/desired. They're probably better suited to it (not counting improvement shortcuts with certain kinds of interlacing).

    Scott
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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  12. Member 2Bdecided's Avatar
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    My in-laws have such a machine, and the video from a VHS tape is very definitely sent via HDMI at whatever output resolution HDMI is set to / has picked.

    There's no TBC, no noise reduction, and the luma+chroma levels are clipped from some tapes. It's the worst quality "1080p" signal imaginable, and far from the best quality VHS can provide.

    There might be units that do the job well, but my in-laws one certainly isn't one of them!

    Cheers,
    David.
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    2BDecided got to the point faster than I did, and is correct. Some of those DVD/VCR combos did upscale everything via HDMI, including VHS. The verdict from this and other forums is that it looks like crap, including VHS, DVD, and everything else that gets upscaled.

    Anyone who follows similar threads about combo units should know by now that these babies make just about the lowest quality transfers you can get. The circuitry and transport in the VCR section are so primitive they're barely above the level of old hand-cranked victrola's. Even if they did offer better performance, upscaled VHS looks like bad video blown up too far. It will never look better. On top of that the O.P. is using low-rent software and an inappropriate capture device. Hate to come down hard on cases like this but the same rigmarole gets repeated again and again. almost to the letter. Makes you kinda cranky after a while.

    There must be a way to make a sticky out of similar posts. Doesn't it take up a lot of server storage to have the same thing show up every couple of weeks or so?
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  14. Member SHS's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by vaporeon800 View Post
    Sure, SHS, call the guy a liar. Rare as they may be, there are absolutely some combo units that advertise the ability to "upscale your VHS to 1080p!!!!" via HDMI.
    The Sony & JVC doesn't count being it not a DVD/VCR combos it a DVD/VCR recorder or with Tuner
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    Originally Posted by engineerer View Post
    I can already import any VHS tape onto a hard drive, using a Super-VHS connector device
    (sometimes requiring an inexpensive S-VHS "video clarifier" box I bought 20 years ago).
    But, I'm assuming that won't have quality levels as high as I >> might << be able to get via HDMI.
    So, I would like to at least try the HDMI route, if I can.
    I see. OK, I hope you don't take anything that follows as being comments about you personally. This is directed at software and hardware, not at the person trying to use it.

    You can ditch that "video clarifier". Most long-time members here are familiar with those junkware items and would strongly recommend against them. Some of that budget stuff might ignore analog copy protection schemes, but you need a lot more than typical consumer ware to get a decent VHS transfer, copy protection or not.

    First, don't get the idea that HDMI somehow "improves" a signal. All it does is transmit it from one place to another, and if the source is analog (which it is) it's no better a transmitter than plain coax or RCA wire. How your DVD/VCR combo treats that signal to get it thru HDMI is a different story, but the circuitry in those combo units is nothing to brag about. I use an a/v receiver that has some of the best analog/digital upsamplers around for high-end consumer units, but its cost was 4 figures and it has no player. Good upsampling chips alone are available in specilaized gizmos that cost at least 5 to 6 times the price of your combo, and all they do is upsample whatever you feed it, nothing else.

    Like many people, you're late getting around to digitizing tapes. None of the capture cards that were optimal for that job are being made. Haven't been made for years. When the public yelled for all-digital, the makers were only too happy to oblige by not making anything analog any more. You can't even find a PC motherboard that'll mount those prized AGP cards. Digital OEM's are in hog heaven about that because all-digital stuff helped ensure that customers couldn't make copies of anything anyway. So stuff like HDMI has something to do with convenience and accuracy but just as much to do with copy protection schemes that are still nightmares for most users.

    Let me correct something here -- minor, but important for clarity in forums like this. You don't "import" VHS. With VHS to computer formats or VHS direct to DVD, it's "captured". There are several ways to do it, but the StarTech isn't really designed for it. Still, this is getting ahead of things. You have to start with a decent VCR. Nothing that you capture will look better than the VCR playing it. With a so-so or crummy VCR, what you get will look worse than the tape, never better. Digital capture and recording devices don't see that tape the way your TV does. The digital device will see line sync and frame timing errors, tape noise, chroma disturbances from the player's circuitry, etc., and will translate that into the ugliest digital artifacts you ever saw. Digital capture devices expect a properly timed, consistent, and hopefullty noise-free signal. Just using an HDMI wire does nothing to manage any of that.

    From a good VCR you can capture to a good DVD recorder (not the best way, and nobody makes a DVD-R as good as those made 10 years ago), or you can use a capture device designed to transfer VHS input to a digital format of some kind. Picky users would advise to capture VHS to losslelss YUY2 format, clean it up, and encode to whatever final output you like. That's the best way if you know what you're doing, but also the highest time-and-labor cost. There are capture devices that can capture and encode directly to MPEG on a computer, but a decent DVD recorder give much better results. Then there are HD-PVR devices that usually connect via composite, component, or s-video and capture to a compressed standard definition format using h264 encoding, which would be compatible with BluRay (with a little work) or AVCHD.

    But without a decent VCR and some basic line and frame TBC (time base corrector), you're wasting your time. The better DVD-R's of yesterday have basic but fairly effective built-in tbc's and decent encoders. They are still around on the used market -- many of them actually work but ain't cheap.

    Another misconception to clear up: People think that capturing an old VHS tape to digital format will make it "look like DVD". Sorry to say, it won't. VHS resolution is even lower than that of plain vanilla DVD. What you can do is make a tape look "better" than the original, cleaning up defects and noise, etc. I've seen people do some miraculous cleanup of that sad old format. But don't let anybody get your money or your time by fooling you into thinking that you can make VHS look like something else. The basic idea is to avoid making it look worse than it already is.
    Last edited by LMotlow; 7th Aug 2014 at 12:01.
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  16. What the heck? Rather than answering us, OP edited post #3 in between the time I last posted and Cornucopia's reply to add the paragraph you quoted. If you didn't happen to respond to it, I never would have seen it.

    @engineerer: you're not exactly helping us help you.

    Originally Posted by 2Bdecided View Post
    There's no TBC, no noise reduction, and the luma+chroma levels are clipped from some tapes.
    Let us know the model number next time you visit so we know to stay far away from that one. Bad models are as useful to know as ones that may be good.

    Originally Posted by SHS View Post
    The Sony & JVC doesn't count being it not a DVD/VCR combos it a DVD/VCR recorder or with Tuner
    So your claims are:
    1. He doesn't have his machine hooked up the way he thinks he does.
    2. You can say this because you know the capabilities of every DVD player + VCR combo ever on the market.
    3. There is no possibility he said "VHS/DVD combo player" but actually owns a recorder combo.
    Note that the capture card he is using doesn't have a composite or S-Video input (yet he sees video coming through it).
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  17. Member SHS's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by vaporeon800 View Post
    Originally Posted by SHS View Post
    The Sony & JVC doesn't count being it not a DVD/VCR combos it a DVD/VCR recorder or with Tuner
    So your claims are:
    1. He doesn't have his machine hooked up the way he thinks he does.
    2. You can say this because you know the capabilities of every DVD player + VCR combo ever on the market.
    3. There is no possibility he said "VHS/DVD combo player" but actually owns a recorder combo.
    Note that the capture card he is using doesn't have a composite or S-Video input (yet he sees video coming through it).
    No I said "Those VHS/DVD combo player don't output VHS over HDMI only Composite" because there are NoN ever made and did I say VHS/DVD recorder player any where No or even DVR which are in a diff class system.
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  18. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    "Stop digging".

    Scott
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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