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  1. Member
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    Are any MPEG-2 hardware encoder cards still being manufactured? My goal is to generate DVDs from VHS tapes. I looked around and it looks like most capture cards and devices now either use MPEG-4 hardware encoding or software encoding.
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    I have had very good luck with the Hauppauge WinTV-1250 card converting VHS tapes to DVD. It has both S-VHS and composite inputs. I come out of the VHS composite to the S-VHS input (use an adapter) to get the best results.
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    Originally Posted by dfisher052 View Post
    I have had very good luck with the Hauppauge WinTV-1250 card converting VHS tapes to DVD. It has both S-VHS and composite inputs. I come out of the VHS composite to the S-VHS input (use an adapter) to get the best results.
    It may do a fine job for VHS to DVD-compatible capture, but the Hauppauge WinTV-1250 (1265 is the number assigned to the current model) encodes using software. Here is a quote from the FAQs (for both models).

    Yes, the WinTV-HVR-1250 can be used in Windows XP MCE 2005, Vista Media Center or WIndows 7 Media Center.. Simply download and install the latest MCE Kit from the Hauppauge website, which will install the driver and necessary "Hauppauge MCE Soft Encoder". Under Windows 7 only the driver is required, the Soft Encoder is included with the OS.
    The Hauppage WinTV-2255 (ATSC/NTSC) encodes using hardware. I have the older WinTV-2250 which is very similar. I ran a test and found that Muxman accepts the NTSC MPEG-2 video and MPEG-1 Layer 2 audio produced by WinTV 8's "Best" quality setting for analog video and audio input. The bad news is that so far I have only been able to get analog capture to work with WinTV 7/8 and Windows Media Center. I have not been able to produce a working graph in GraphStudio, which would allow more control over the video encoder's bitrate settings.

    [Edit]Technically speaking, a proper NTSC DVD should have AC3 audio if it only has one audio stream, so the DVD Muxman produced on its own is a little off spec. When I used AVStoDVD on my sample, which uses Muxman to author, it re-encoded the MPEG-1 Layer 2 audio to AC3 prior to authoring.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 30th Nov 2015 at 11:46.
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  4. Member SHS's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by loster View Post
    Are any MPEG-2 hardware encoder cards still being manufactured? My goal is to generate DVDs from VHS tapes. I looked around and it looks like most capture cards and devices now either use MPEG-4 hardware encoding or software encoding.
    Yes but only by Hauppauge the lates are HVR-1955 and 2255 as they still being made with latest tech as far I know of all other stop make them some year back and if you was look for Cable Card then SiliconDust is best option the other one know as Ceton InfiniTV is RIP.
    Last edited by SHS; 30th Nov 2015 at 23:34.
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  5. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    The mentioned 1955 and 2255 models are very much still for sale as of today if you want an MPEG-2 hardware encoder.

    I can attest to the 1950 (external USB device) which I've bought some 5-6 years ago. It worked solid, and under very low PC resources (with even the PCs available back then), and was reliable. However, I found the quality of the video overly smooth for my liking, and there was not a single setting that I could find that would adjust it.

    Like I said, this was years ago, and a subsequent model, the 1955, does say "new and improved". I'd like to pick one up and compare, if I had a clue as to what is indeed "new" or "improved" - I doubt support would give you a straight answer, and all its support links still point to the 1950 - indicating it's very similar. Also, since MPEG-2 hasn't generally improved in years, and computer resources are even more powerful now, I doubt any improvements would be relevant today, hence doubt the quality has improved, and leaves me with little appetite to purchase a 1955, and go through the same testing for the same result again.

    If I want an MPEG-2 capture now, I either run it through a device that may use more resources, or just capture lossless and convert it to MPEG-2 afterward with a good MPEG-2 software encoder.

    I'm not saying the 1950 was a terrible product, just that it makes me think that dedicated hardware capture/encoders in general are just a convenience more than anything, and not for the highest quality.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    Like I said, this was years ago, and a subsequent model, the 1955, does say "new and improved". I'd like to pick one up and compare, if I had a clue as to what is indeed "new" or "improved" - I doubt support would give you a straight answer, and all its support links still point to the 1950 - indicating it's very similar.
    I found this explanation under the Features tab on Hauppauge's product page for the 1955:"High performance TV tuner for North America. New model! WinTV-HVR-1955 with improved digital TV reception!"
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  7. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by usually_quiet
    I found this explanation under the Features tab on Hauppauge's product page for the 1955:"High performance TV tuner for North America. New model! WinTV-HVR-1955 with improved digital TV reception!"
    Thanks for that.

    I guess then there's little improvement, at best, when it comes to resources used (which was fine they way it was) and likely no noticeable improvement in the quality of the video.

    If that's the case, and based on this if very similar to the 1950 otherwise, then I would recommend the 1955 for it's reliability and convenience, and if the user isn't overly picky about the softer video.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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    This is off topic but mentioned as an alternative route. LG RC689D Digital & Analog DVD recorder/VCR player combo
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  9. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by hydra3333 View Post
    This is off topic but mentioned as an alternative route. LG RC689D Digital & Analog DVD recorder/VCR player combo
    Yes it is another option regarding this, and, in general, pretty much any TV recording/analog input DVR/DvD recorder, etc, would do then as a dedicated hardware MPEG-2 capture/encoder. Not only will it use low computer resources on your PC - it won't even be there. And I've gotten better quality out of them compared with the Hauppauge MPEG-2 hardware encoder I've used.

    But I'm assuming the O/P would prefer something on the PC, especially when the video will be ready on his/her hard drive instead of having to migrate it over awkwardly if he/she wants to do finer work on it. But, yes, it is an option to consider.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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  10. For VHS sources a DVD recorder with a line TBC will give you better caps than an MPEG 2 video capture card on a computer (none of which has a line TBC).
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    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    Originally Posted by hydra3333 View Post
    This is off topic but mentioned as an alternative route. LG RC689D Digital & Analog DVD recorder/VCR player combo
    Yes it is another option regarding this, and, in general, pretty much any TV recording/analog input DVR/DvD recorder, etc, would do then as a dedicated hardware MPEG-2 capture/encoder. Not only will it use low computer resources on your PC - it won't even be there. And I've gotten better quality out of them compared with the Hauppauge MPEG-2 hardware encoder I've used.

    But I'm assuming the O/P would prefer something on the PC, especially when the video will be ready on his/her hard drive instead of having to migrate it over awkwardly if he/she wants to do finer work on it. But, yes, it is an option to consider.
    The OP, loster, is in the US, which means if he wants to go the DVD recorder route, he will only have a small number of recent machines to choose from. Funai manufactures all of the models designed for the US market, although some units may bear the name Magnavox, Sanyo, or Toshiba on the box. The other option is a gray-market international model from Panasonic sold by various retailers specializing in multi-system electronics. All of the above probably use IRE 0 instead of IRE 7.5, which produces a darker picture with crushed blacks when recording an IRE 7.5 source.

    There are more used machines from other makers that have since stopped making DVD recorders for N. America, but these machines will be at least five years old, and the DVD burner might be worn out. When using a PC capture device, an old DVD recorder can be used as pass through to gain the benefit of its frame synchronizer/line TBC.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 1st Dec 2015 at 14:10.
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  12. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by usually_quiet
    The OP, loster, is in the US, which means if he wants to go the DVD recorder route, he will only have a small number of recent machines to choose from. Funai manufactures all of the models designed for the US market, although some units may bear the name Magnavox, Sanyo, or Toshiba on the box. The other option is a gray-market international model from Panasonic sold by various retailers specializing in multi-system electronics. All of the above probably use IRE 0 instead of IRE 7.5, which produces a darker picture with crushed blacks when recording an IRE 7.5 source.

    There are more used machines from other makers that have since stopped making DVD recorders for N. America, but these machines will be at least five years old, and the DVD burner might be worn out. When using a PC capture device, an old DVD recorder can be used as pass through to gain the benefit of its frame synchronizer/line TBC.
    A sad day indeed a few years ago when it was announced that people preferred their PVRs (usually those typically from their cable company) instead of these units. It's as if the market dried up overnight on these shores.

    But yeah, it is an option nevertheless on the used market, and as for the failing burners (which is very likely) you can always just do a transfer to the PC with the RCA/S-video out to a capture card/device on a PC. Yes, an extra step, but you can at least just do it as an overnight when your DVR starts to get full.

    As for using it as a passthrough line based TBC, I have my Panasonic ES15 for this. However, not all DVRs are capable of doing this.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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    It seems the IRE explanation in my post above is incorrect. I found a post which explains IRE settings with regard to DVD recorders that says the opposite: https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/201765-IRE-settings

    All I can tell you is that anything I record on my 2011 Magnavox recorder seems much darker than similar material that I recorded on my 2005 Panasonic and blacks appear crushed.
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  14. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    It seems the IRE explanation in my post above is incorrect. I found a post which explains IRE settings with regard to DVD recorders that says the opposite: https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/201765-IRE-settings

    All I can tell you is that anything I record on my 2011 Magnavox recorder seems much darker than similar material that I recorded on my 2005 Panasonic and blacks appear crushed.
    Do the levels clip on the Mag? That would be disastrous then.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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    2250 - 2255 analog quality , just sucks, i have one 1600 and that one make better job, except when capture of vcr
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    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    It seems the IRE explanation in my post above is incorrect. I found a post which explains IRE settings with regard to DVD recorders that says the opposite: https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/201765-IRE-settings

    All I can tell you is that anything I record on my 2011 Magnavox recorder seems much darker than similar material that I recorded on my 2005 Panasonic and blacks appear crushed.
    Do the levels clip on the Mag? That would be disastrous then.
    People have written about the darker picture on the Philips and Magnavox DVD recorders for years. It does look like to me like dark areas should show more detail, but I haven't ever bothered with a histogram analysis. Others say the picture recorded by Panasonic DVD recorders is overly light, but the way those look seems normal to me. I would have to capture a known good source and analyze the resulting video to know for certain what is going on.

    This difference has not seemed important enough to really fuss over for my purposes, but it might matter to someone capturing VHS.
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    I already have a Magnavox DVD recorder with a hard drive but I just wanted to know what might be available, since it's easier to capture straight to my computer.
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