There are two main types of capture cards: those that capture compressed video and those that capture uncompressed video.
The compressed capture cards will use the hardware on the card to compress the video in real-time. This lowers the CPU and hard drive space requirements of your computer, but compressed video will have less quality than uncompressed video.
An uncompressed capture card feeds uncompressed video to your computer. If you want to compress the video during capture, your CPU is used. This means that you will need a fast CPU. You'll also need a fast/big hard drive if you don't use too much software compression. (Less compression = better quality.)
How much hard drive space you'll need depends on the amount of compression you use. You can compress a video at a ~2:1 ratio with no quality loss. Once you go beyond that, quality is lost, but it isn't always visible. Video that is compressed at 5:1 or higher can still be visually lossless, but it may cause trouble when further compressing the video to, say, MPEG-1.
I have a WinTV-Go. At least on my card, the TV tuner has a low quality. I do get decent results if I use composite.
Hope this is useful,
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i have heard some super-duper good things about the dazzle digital video creator piece. it's a usb device that accepts (i believe) composite and s-video, and stereo. the two stereo jacks and the composite are standard rca connectors. the software allows you to choose your final output format. so...you tell it you want to capture in svcd format, it encodes in the external unit, and transfers the mpeg through the usb to your computer. voila.
im seriously thinking about getting this. i have great peripherals, but my cpu is p2-300. this thing doesn't care how crumby your computer is. it retails for 200, but if you do a search on http://www.pricewatch.com for "usb dazzle", you can find it for about 159 i believe.
THIS IS HARDCORE