Although I see this question many times on the forums I haven't found what I'm looking for.
I'm interested in digitizing my VHS and Hi-8 tapes. I've done this in the past (Sony DCR-TRV-240) using the DV output / pass-through but HW/SW (Win10) upgrades mean my version of Pinnacle doesn't work and I can't get any Firewire/i-link software to work.
If I wanted to buy capture hardware... there seems to be three types. Capture cards, USB dongle/octopus cables, capture devices. I'm leaning against cards because I'm moving toward laptops (no slots). I can't imagine the USB devices as having the bandwidth/quality needed... not over USB2, but comments welcome. That leaves me with devices, like the Startech USB3HDCAP (or others), the Diamond GC2000, or similar devices. I read about a Canopus box on these forums as well. The two I mentioned seem to be focused on game capture but claim to be good at video capture as well. Both also have models that can capture direct to an SD card. They add the ability to capture HDMI (unencrypted), which adds greater flexibility.
VHS tapes aren't dazzling quality anyway so I'd just like to capture without significant lack of quality. Minor editing, but just cuts.
Has anyone used these external boxes for VHS and/or Hi-8 capture? Is the quality acceptable? Pros? Cons? They're reasonably affordable at about $100-$180.
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 9 of 9
Standard definition video with YUV 4:2:2 chroma subsampling (YUY2, UYVY, etc.), what most uncompressed devices capture, runs about 20 MB/s. USB 2.0 can handle about 30 MB/s. So USB 2.0 bandwidth isn't really an issue. Higher CPU usage by USB can be an issue with older computers.
Devices that capture with h.264 encoding will give you worse quality -- video with DCT blocking and ringing artifacts, less detail, etc. And many of them always deinterlace interlaced sources, and do so poorly, reducing smoothness of motion, and further decreasing quality.
Thank you. That's helpful. I guess I'll keep searching.
Someone here did test the Startech USB3HDCAP for VHS capture. The results were disappointing: https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/369761-Startech-USB3HDCAP-opinions?p=2423407&viewfu...=1#post2423407
I can't remember seeing any threads where someone testing any high-definition-capable capture device for VHS capture came away happy with the results.
Back to the drawing board. Does that mean there are no reasonable solutions for capturing VHS or Hi-8 for under $200? Maybe my best bet is to go back to trying to get DV working on my Sony Handycam (DCS-TRV240). The problem is capture software and drivers. With Windows 10 I can't find a suitable driver to recognize the camera. NOTE, that is not a request for information. I'll start a new thread, after doing some searches.
h.264 encoder to reduce bandwidth. SD capture is tossed in as an afterthought and it often chokes on the poor time base of VHS. There are a few Hauppauge and Diamond USB devices that work pretty well and sell in the US$50 range. If you go that route you will also want to use an old DVD recorder is passthrough mode, to clean up the horizontal time base jitter.
For capture from your DV camcorder it should be possible to get your firewire port working with programs like WinDV or DVIO. When looking for a firewire card look for one with the TI chipset, it's the least problematic. Some drivers only work with external hard drives, not with DV camcorders.
Thank you jagabo. Excellent post.
I use both a Canopus ADVC50 DV converter box and a genuine EZCAP116 USB to capture VHS. (There are lots of cheap fake 'easycap' type devices, some of which don't work well) Perhaps surprisingly, the much cheaper EZCAP device is capable of very similar quality captures to the Canopus box. Some folk who don't like DV artifacts say it's even better quality....
I've found it better to capture to an intermediate format (I use Grass Valley HQX) using Virtualdub .That way I get far fewer dropped frames (usually none) than when using the supplied 'Arcsoft' software, or trying to capture as uncompressed.
The main disadvantage of the EZCAP device is the lack of guaranteed audio lock which I get with the DV capture, but it's not difficult to re-sync the audio if required.
I've been using a Hauppauge USBLive2 SD capture device with AmarecTV, capturing to Lagarith AVIs and am getting pretty good results with no audio sync issues and no dropped frames. If I capture in VDub then audio is always out of sync. (64bit Windows 7, 4Gb DDR2, 2.6GHz Intel C2D)
BTW There is a newer version 3.? on the Japanese AmarecTV page as well as a beta v4, you just have to check out the blue links on the page. I'm using the v3 and everything in the program is in English and it seems to be working well. You can use pretty much any codecs installed on your system, you don't have to purchase their codec for normal capture.