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  1. Hello,

    I am planning to backup some Laserdiscs and VHS (fragments, mainly), and as the times when I did video edition/capturing are far away, I come here to ask you about current capture hardware, if you are kind enough to help me.

    As I am going to capture Laserdisc I need to use composite capture, so I was looking for a good quality capture card. I know that there are several ones out there, but I simply don't want to buy any that merely seems good and then realize I did a mistake.

    I am in PAL land (Europe), working mainly with PAL video (99.0%). Currently I have a conceptronics TV Radio tuner and capture with a BT878 chip... which can't be installed in Vista/Win 7 (i use x64 too). So first I looked to pinnacle's, but "people" seems not to recommend them.

    So, after reading more, I looked to the Blackmagic Intensity Pro. What I liked is that it is internal (people seems to think it is better vs USB hardware...?), but I would not have problem with an external solution if you think it is good. In case of internal I like it is PCIe (only free slot in my mobo), but not mandatory (I could solve that some way, I guess).

    The other thing that I like from the Intensity is that people says it is good quality, but I have not seen any side by side comparison in composite or even SVHS capture. The HD capturing is a nice feature that I appreciate because in the future I may use it, although not now.

    On the other hand I have read that it has problems capturing VHS (black frames) and that the official support is not willing to help too much...Which seems a shame for semi-pro capture card, btw. Some guy did a workaround, using cables to pass from composite to SVHS, but not sure if it will work for me...

    At that point I would like to know if you could recommend this card for that scenario or if you have another recommendation. I look for good quality (the best possible for the price of the Intensity) that is possible to achieve.

    Ah!, I need to capture uncompressed video, in order to edit and then encode to DVD later, and I would like to capture from VirtualDubMod or iuVCS. I don't want that it forces me to use, for example, Premiere or a Blackmagic propietary software in exclusivity, if possible. I don't know if the Intensity will allow me to do that (the specs seems to say "no" http://www.blackmagic-design.com/support/detail.asp?techID=47#software , but ...).

    Maybe, as HD is not an immediaty use, a Canopus solution would be the best?

    Thank you for any help/advice!

    PD I have searched on these forums but I have found "old" topics or they don't fit to my scenario, imo. Sorry if I missed some similar topic...
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  2. Member Soopafresh's Avatar
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    Canopus ADVC-110 is another one to look at.
    "Quality is cool, but don't forget... Content is King!"
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  3. Member edDV's Avatar
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    The BM Intensity Pro would be fine for laserdisc but lacks a TBC/Proc Amp for VHS.

    A higher end solution would be an AJA Xena LSe (standard def version).
    http://www.aja.com/products/xena/xena-lse-ls.php

    I've seen these as low as $785 (see discount in cart).
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=aja+xena-lse&N=0&InitialSearch=yes

    These have high resale value.
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  4. Originally Posted by Soopafresh
    Canopus ADVC-110 is another one to look at.
    It seems quite nice, but the only difference with the cheaper ADVC55 is that the 110 is two-directional (?). In fact I don't need it, so maybe the ADVC 55 could be as good as the 110?

    On the other hand I have seen the ADVC 300 which includes a TBC. That sounds really nice, if it really works, because although it is more expensive it could help me with the VHS...(?) Does someone know about it?


    Originally Posted by edDV
    The BM Intensity Pro would be fine for laserdisc but lacks a TBC/Proc Amp for VHS.

    A higher end solution would be an AJA Xena LSe (standard def version).
    http://www.aja.com/products/xena/xena-lse-ls.php

    I've seen these as low as $785 (see discount in cart).
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=aja+xena-lse&N=0&InitialSearch=yes

    These have high resale value.
    They seem really good, but although the price could be a big deal, it is too much for me. A pity.
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  5. What I am afraid also, is that the ADVC devices capture to DV, I would prefer avi.

    Does DV has some kind of compression? Is it lossless? Easy to convert to AVI? You get the point I think.
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  6. DV is a lossy compression codec. But there is very little artifacting and the resolution is adequate for analog PAL video. Especially if you will be going to DVD where the 4:2:0 chroma subsampling matches MPEG 2's chroma subsampling.

    DV is very easily captured if you have a firewire port. It's most common to package the DV in an AVI file under Windows. This is simply an exact copy of the DV data in an AVI "box". DV AVI is easily edited because of the moderate file size and the all I-frame nature of the codec (each frame is compressed independently and at a fixed size). Given its widespread use in camcorders just about every video editor supports DV.

    For quality VHS capture it's important to have a line time base corrector. For damaged VHS tapes you may want a full frame TBC.
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  7. But then, DV comes with a pre-fixed resolution? Can't I capture at, let's say, 352x288, if I want, for example?

    Should I always capture at, for example, 720x576 and then convert to the wished resolution?

    Sorry for basic questions
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  8. DV only captures PAL at 720x576 25 fps, NTSC at 720x480 29.97 fps. If you want smaller frame sizes you have to resize and save with another video codec.
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  9. Tx. So at this point, and in the current market, we only have two options? BlackMagic intensity Pro and ADVC boxes (55, 110, etc)?

    Isn't there any other half-way products? I feel as only are left in the market the very user friendly/cheap as pinnacle, etc or the professional (more or less) products, which are completely out of my range.

    So that means that if I want a decent quality AVI capture card in Pcie, simply it doesn't exists...except the BM, which forces me to use Premiere, and who has problems with VHS capturing...

    I wonder what I should do at this point? Stay in dual boot with XP and use my crappy BT878 TV card? I would have bougth an ADVC55, but I don't like to be forced to capture DVD resolution all the time (normally I liked to test several resolution/postprocess combinations to check which one gave me the best quality in each case, for example), specially considering already its price (I am not a hardcore video editing fan, so I don't want to buy a different card for each type of source)

    Although it is not (it shouldn't), it appears to me as a dead market...
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    Hauppauge makes some good cards that aren't too expensive, but I think that most of their cards only capture to MPEG-1/2. If that's OK for you, you might look into them. I have their old PVR-350 and typically what I would do for laserdisc capture is record at 720x480 MPEG-2 at bit rates around 9100 CBR and then re-encode down to whatever bit rate I really wanted using CCE or HCEnc. I have also done VHS captures with the card using the same methodology.
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  11. I use a CANOPUS ADVC-110 & capture with WIN DV at 720x480 NTSC & then resize if I want when I encode. I sometimes capture PAL with it. The ADVC 110 uses its own codec which is AVI. You cannot change the capture mode.

    You could add a TBC before the ADVC & out from the source like a Datavideo 100 (I do). I think you will have to resign yourself to doing some post capture encoding.

    Bob A
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  12. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by darkbluesky
    Tx. So at this point, and in the current market, we only have two options? BlackMagic intensity Pro and ADVC boxes (55, 110, etc)?

    Isn't there any other half-way products? I feel as only are left in the market the very user friendly/cheap as pinnacle, etc or the professional (more or less) products, which are completely out of my range.

    So that means that if I want a decent quality AVI capture card in Pcie, simply it doesn't exists...except the BM, which forces me to use Premiere, and who has problems with VHS capturing...
    Welcome to the club.

    The ADVC-55 would be fine for your stable Laserdisc captures (although 8 bit) but VHS is difficult and the long term "holy grail" of capture. You either take what you get, or you invest in a quality TBC/Frame Sync/Proc Amp chain if you want to geek it.

    If you have an efficient project thought out, you can buy a pro card like the Xena (hopefully used) and some hard drives, then crank out your captures, then resell it on eBay. That in the end is probably the low cost solution.

    Sort of like renting a truck to move your stuff. You only need the truck to move the boxes. You can unpack the boxes at your own pace.
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  13. Originally Posted by darkbluesky
    Tx. So at this point, and in the current market, we only have two options? BlackMagic intensity Pro and ADVC boxes (55, 110, etc)?
    There are lots of inexpensive cards around that can capture SD video just fine. The problem is finding them amongst all the inexpensive cards that are crap. And the bigger issue with VHS is getting the video signal clean before you capture. Here's what a line TBC does (4x, nearest neighbor enlargement, slowed down to 4 frame per second):



    The vertical line on the left is the signal captured (Hauppauge PVR-250 hardware MPEG encoder at 15,000 kbps CBR) directly off the VHS deck. The line on the right is the same signal captured with a line TBC (Panasonic ES15 DVD recorder in passthrough mode). Notice how the line isn't straight and it wiggles left and right with each scanline and each frame. All that wiggling about wreaks havoc with MPEG compression.
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  14. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    The ES15 doesn't really have a line TBC, it has a frame synchronizer on input.
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  15. Tx for the answers.

    At first I would not like to capture to MPG, even if I can go to top bitrate. I still prefer looking to other solution.

    To edDV: what do you mean with "although 8 bit"? I have no clue.

    Jagabo, thanks for the sample and explanation. Do someone knows some of these not-so-bad cards. I feel like I don't want to risk if I am not sure... On the sample, I see that it improves somewhat, but then... I guess that a TBC is anything except cheap

    I am a bit lost, is a frame synchonizer the same than a Frame-TBC? An a Proc Amp, is the same too?

    The ADVC300 has a line TBC, but I wonder if I could expect something or nothing at all from it...

    EDIT: Do you think that it could be an "acceptable" solution to buy a JVC HR-S9850E SVHS (it says it has TBC/NR)? Is an acceptable model (general quality/TBC related)?

    If not, I have the chance also of getting a Novatrol2 TBC from a work colleague (amateur TV technician) of my father, it seems to me that putting VCR>>Novatrol TBC>>ADVCXXX>>PC would be ok, or I am missing something?
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  16. Member
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    Just a thought - have you considered using a DVD recorder instead of a capture card.

    I have been converting my old VHS tapes (many of which are irreplaceable, especially the non-commercial ones like wedding videos etc) to digital format. I have been getting pretty OK results with VCR-->Stabiliser Box --> DVD Recorder. Capture is usind the top quality setting on the (Panasonic EH68) recorder. Then (1) burn captured video to 2 dvds for archiving (one stored at my house, one offsite), and rip the DVD to computer and convert to h.264 (you could use AVI if you prefer) for my media box.

    I got much better results this way than when I used my capture card (admittedly a fairly elderley lowish-end pinnacle model) to capture direct to AVI.
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  17. Member edDV's Avatar
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    8 bit as opposed to Xena's 10 bit luminance depth.

    A Proc Amp has controls for Luma and Chroma Gain, Black Level (aka brightness), Chroma phase (aka hue) and sometimes Y/C H phase.

    A line TBC syncs on the input horizontal sync pulse, samples the unstable line, then output clocks to stable internal sync.

    A frame sync/TBC samples a full video frame into memory and constructs a new frame clocked to stable internal V and H sync.

    Many TBC's have built in proc amp controls. The more expensive models correct in analog before A/D. Others correct after A/D. For the latter 10 or 12 bits give finer increments of black/gain control.
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  18. So at this point I think to get

    1. ADVC 300 second hand & low price if possible...(hard to find a really good deal) or *maybe* (depends on next point) an ADVC55

    OR

    2. Following jagabo advice, I have looked for affordable good-quality (no top quality, of course) cards. So I am interested in some Winfast ones that includes 10 bit video decoder with adaptive comb filter.

    So I have read that the Winfast TV2000 XP Expert makes good quality captures of composite (Laserdisc, for example) sources. As I have a PCIex slot free, I would be more interested in the what it seems its PCIex version, WinFast PxTV1200 (which btw captures also component). So the first question is:

    A. Is the WinFast PxTV1200 equivalent (quality/comb filter, etc) to the TV2000 XP Expert? According to specs both include "10 bit video decoder with adaptive comb filter". The TV2000 XP Expert has the Conexant CX2388x chipset and the PxTV1200 has the Conexant CX23885 one (are equivalent?). So could I buy the PxTV1200 and expect the same quality than the TV2000 XP Expert in composite capture? Somebody knows something about the PxTV1200?

    Winfast TV2000 XP Expert specs http://www.leadtek.com/eng/tv_tuner/specification.asp?pronameid=93&lineid=6&act=2

    Winfast PxTV1200 specs http://www.leadtek.com/eng/tv_tuner/specification.asp?pronameid=355&lineid=6&act=2

    B. The other question is about the other winfast model PVR3000 Deluxe. It does not say that it includes the "10 bit video decoder with adaptive comb filter" (it doesn't say anything about that, and in fact it has the Conexant CX23416 chipset...). It can capture to MPEG2 in hardware (which, a priori, is not so important for me), and I expect that it still allows me to capture uncompressed avi, but this card is the only one that says it has 3D Y/C and 3D NR. The question, is, Are these filters/card (3D NR & Y/C) better or equivalent to the comb filter of the other two? Should I go with this one? Thanks for any info on that card or filters.

    Winfast PVR3000 Deluxe specs http://www.leadtek.com/eng/tv_tuner/specification.asp?pronameid=322&lineid=6&act=2

    Comparison of the cards' specs http://www.leadtek.com/eng/tv_tuner/image/analog_tv.pdf

    (In case I would buy one of these cards, I assume that I should buy a TBC (like the CTB-100 or similar) for composite VHS captures...)

    I am close to buy one of these cards, and I only need to have some info about the previous points (A and B), so I pray you to help me as possible with any data/opinion you may have.

    Thank you very much
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  19. Conexant CX23416 is a hardware MPEG2 encoder. So the PVR3000 Deluxe probably doesn't allow uncompressed capture.

    Also, note that even if the card had a 10 bit ADC, by the time the video gets to the capture software it will likely be 8 bit.
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  20. Originally Posted by jagabo
    Conexant CX23416 is a hardware MPEG2 encoder. So the PVR3000 Deluxe probably doesn't allow uncompressed capture.

    Also, note that even if the card had a 10 bit ADC, by the time the video gets to the capture software it will likely be 8 bit.
    Do you mean it will "loss" resolution between the card and the software? Or that the software will somehow downscale it to 8 bits?
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  21. The drivers will reduce the video from 10 bit to 8 bit before giving it to the capture software. That doesn't mean 10 bit capture is useless. Having 10 bits to work with for filtering by the driver can give better results even though the final output is 8 bit. And a hardware MPEG encoder can use all 10 bits internally.
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  22. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    But again -- bits don't necessarily mean anything.

    As an easier example, consider digital cameras. A $100 point and shoot with 8 megapixels is NOT better than a professional DSLR with 6 megapixels.

    Numbers can lie.

    It really depends on all factors being considered. Only then can it be determined if a few extra numbers, on one axis of measurement, really makes an improvement or not.
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  23. Member
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    Canopus is based on 10 years old technology.
    I have tested in the past the latest chip from Conexant CX23418 (Leadteak PVR 2100) and I saw that is sensitive to time base errors. So TBC is needed.
    I suggest a better solution: My Cinema ES2-750 or Ati Theater 650
    - 12 bit ADC, 2D comb filter with 5 lines scan, 3D Motion Adaptive, Auto Gain Control with multistage and Multispeed, Auto Color Control, Edge Enhancement. The price is 50-60 eur.
    It can be used with VirtualDub and lossless compression.

    WinFast PVR3000 Deluxe:
    10 bit ADC, 2D comb filter with 3 lines scan, 3D comb filter. Y/C separation is done by Nec D64015AGM

    The images shows the performance of the Philips SAA 7131 (9 bit with adaptive 2D comb filter, lossless compression). and Ati Theater 750 HD lossless compression.
    Canopus ADVC 50, 55, 100, 110 are based on the same Philips technology with 9 bit. The image quality from Canopus boxes are verry slightly degraded because DV compression (Nec hardware encoder). You can assume that Canopus quality is verry close with SAA 7131 presented. Both are on the entry composite.



    ati%20versus%20canopus.rar
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  24. Thanks for answers.

    The asus sounds good (specially looking to its own page http://www.asus.de/product.aspx?P_ID=8os7CujiW57042Tt&templete=2, but that's marketing, not real comparison)

    BTW, according the comparison you just posted, the conclusion is quite clear. But, does the Asus use the same chipset than the ATI Theater 650? That is the question

    On the other hand I have read here that "people" don't like too much / consider the ATI cards as a good for capture. But I really don't know...

    And, is the Asus better than the WinFast TV2000 Expert (or the PxTV1200) ? 12 bit vs 10 bit, but as said already, the numbers are not everything, it depends how it is implemented.

    If we could know the answers to these both questions and they were "yes", then I'll buy the asus, (I have found it here for 60 euros. That card is hard to find).

    I feel I reach a point where it is not possible (nobody seems to know) which one is better, so maybe I have to risk and buy one. I have find the asus for 66 euros and a used Winfast TV2000XP Expert for 35 euros...

    Could you (someone) help on that, please? Tx
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    The modern ATI cards (PCI express bus) are mostly just PVR cards -- mostly useless for uncompressed/lossless capturing for archival needs. The quality really tanked from the ATI All In Wonder AGP Radeon series (Theatre Rage/100 and 200 chipsets).

    Most dislike concerning ATI cards is user laziness or user errors, or cheap crappy weak computers. ATI doesn't have a big round "click here to record" button, it actually has settings and choices.

    This thread is also worth reading (especially my posts discussing Canopus boxes and TBCs): https://forum.videohelp.com/topic376651.html
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  26. Then according to your post you would not recommend the Asus for my job, even with the theoretically better specs (I want to capture uncompressed avi)? It seemed better than the Winfast TV2000XP Expert...(btw here there is a topic with captures of LD with the TV2000 https://www.videohelp.com/forum/archive/current-recommendations-for-laserdisc-conversion-t362850.html)
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  27. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    That Asus card looks to be a TV PVR card. If you want to record TV only, great, go for it. If you want to transfer VHS and other non-TV sources, better watch out! A lot of PVR cards can only do MPEG-2 or MPEG-4, not uncompressed or lossless AVI. And their MPEG-2 encoding sucks compared to cards from a few years ago --- which is something I can't figure out. Video capture tech has gotten worse, not better, in the past 3-4 years. WTF?

    Your URL is dead.

    A good Hauppauge WinTV card or ATI AIW Radeon excels at MPEG capturing, or again the ATI or the LeadTek you mention for AVI. Old -- but not too old (not Canopus DV old) --- yet very good.

    Heck, cards I considered to be "don't buys" (inferior crap) in 2005 are now more suggested than pretty much anything found in retail stores now. I don't know what the hell happened. I guess the TiVo-loving crowd has finished plundering the DVD recorder market, and capture cards were just the next device to fall. What you have now is a big pretty candyland-like software interface, with minimal options, and big "click here to go" button for recording off TV. That's what computer capture cards have aged into.

    Unless you have some money to spend --- then we could talk Matrox, Blackmagic, Aja, and some others.
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  28. Sorry for the link https://www.videohelp.com/forum/archive/current-recommendations-for-laserdisc-conversion-t362850.html

    Now it should work.

    The problem is I am the average Joe but looking for some decent thing (simply decent, not crap)...according to the official page the asus don't capture in MPEG2/4, neither in software...but I couldn't swear it. Trustedreviews says of that card "When recording/transcoding, the ES2-750 can cope with an unusual amount of formats including MPEG2/4, WMV, AVI, DivX and even H.264, which nicely covers practically all the options you might want." That is software encoding probably, but...is it avoidable? Well, all that subject is becoming a nightmare.

    Personally I don't want at all MPEG (or other compression) capturing. I want to stay far from that as much as possible.

    But damn! What is it supposed we have to do? Throw away lot of money buying 3 or more cards and boxes and spending some weeks/months testing? only for a short/little project??

    Rant is finished. Sorry for it.

    Let's see if I reach some "logical" point: *IF* the asus captures uncompressed video then it *could* be as good/decent (or maybe a little more) than the leadtek TV2000XP Expert? It seems logical if I don't miss anything. But I (or someone else) should confirm it first...

    ...and if it captures to MPEG, then crap. In that case I guess I could go for the leadtek TV2000XP. Or come back to the Blackmagic Intensity Pro (seems the less expensive of the semi-pro cards), use Premiere all the time and cross-fingers regarding the capture of VHS through SVHS cables...
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  29. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by darkbluesky
    Let's see if I reach some "logical" point: *IF* the asus captures uncompressed video then it *could* be as good/decent (or maybe a little more) than the leadtek TV2000XP Expert? It seems logical if I don't miss anything. But I (or someone else) should confirm it first...

    ...and if it captures to MPEG, then crap. In that case I guess I could go for the leadtek TV2000XP. Or come back to the Blackmagic Intensity Pro (seems the less expensive of the semi-pro cards), use Premiere all the time and cross-fingers regarding the capture of VHS through SVHS cables...
    The new generation cards target TIVO like PVR software and all hardware encode MPeg to take load off the disk and CPU systems. Their mission is different vs. the broadcast cards that capture to uncompressed. Each new consumer card that comes along (like the ATI 650), generates curiosity as to whether it can be forced to output uncompressed by bypassing the hardware encoder. Mostly the efforts are unsuccessful plus require exceeding the intent of the driver writer. In other words it becomes a driver hack exercise. You are better off buying a purpose designed card like the Xena, or an Intensity+TBC* so you can spend your time capturing rather than driver hacking.

    * Or a traditional TV2000XP consumer tuner card + TBC.
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