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  1. Member
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    Apr 2019
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    Hungary
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    Hello!
    I'm currently planning (getting the right equipment) for digitalize some vhs tapes. The VHS (JVC) and some restoring unit (Panasonic DMR-ES15) is already present.
    Currently, I've got an simple tv-card with s-video input, but without hardware encoder (winfast tv2000 xp expert). Is this tv card enough for some good recording, or is it better to have a capture card with hardware mpeg encoder? I've read that with hardware encoder, it's less common to have audio-video sync issues.
    Currently I can buy for a decent price a PLEXTOR ConvertX pvr px-tv402U, Hauppauge Wintv PVR2 and a TERRATEC Grabster AV 400 MX
    Are they worth the money, or better use my current tv card?
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  2. Member DB83's Avatar
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    We really need more info if we are to advise. At the very least the version of Windows you plan to use.

    Also, what is, for you, a 'Decent Price'. If it is cheap then there are normally two reasons. Either the products are no good or they a 'legacy' ie only for certain OS or computer systems.

    I did not check the Plextor but I think the other two fall in to the 2nd category. Both are discontinued and in the case of the Terratec only driver support up to Win8 - their online 'user guide only even mentions XP)

    And IMO Hardware capture is fine if you only want to do mpeg2. But that is not an optimal capture method.
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  3. As DB83 said, a little more info would be helpful. What are the basic specs of your system? (Version of Windows, type and clock speed of the CPU, amount and type/speed of RAM, model of HDD[s]. The portable version of the free CPU-Z utility is handy if you're not sure exactly what's 'under the hood' of your PC.)

    I had a winfast tv2000 some years ago until it died whilst recording Cabaret . . . Pah! Replaced it with a Hauppauge PVR150 which was a slightly disappointing experience in that the audio was never great and issues with 64-bit versions of Win7 and Win10 with more than 3.5Gb of RAM. This was back in the days of CRT screens and TVs which were definitely kinder to home captured and encoded video than the modern flat panels.

    I guess the thing to do is try some test captures with what you've already got and see what you think. I'm sure there are some threads on here from a few years ago that compare captures from a number of different capture devices (with samples) which is what finally persuaded me to get a Hauppauge USB Live2. (If you can't find those threads then I'm pretty sure that Hech54 (I think?) has posted some examples from his USB Live2.) They should give you some idea of what you can achieve and compare with your own tests. (Clearly VERY subjective, but an easy first step.) Let us know how you get on.
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  4. Member DB83's Avatar
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    I'll add to the debate about the Hauppauge USB-Live2 since I also own one.

    It is software capture but can do mpeg2 (default) if that is all you want or lossless through various capture programs such as virtualdub or DScaler.

    Maybe you looked at this and thought it more than you want to pay. But, at the end of the day, you often 'get what you pay for'.
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  5. I prefer AmarecTV over Virtualdub or DScaler as I don't get the audio sync issues that I get with VDub, and it's more stable and reliable than DScaler in Win10. The version of AmarecTV here on VideoHelp is v2.31 which works fine with 3rd party codecs but, if you go poking around on the author's Japanese website, you can find v3.10 which also works well with other codecs.

    DO NOT install a version later than 3.10 as you'll need to purchase their dedicated codec in order to use the program. Plus, if you want to go back to an earlier version then you'll need to clean up the registry after uninstalling v4+ before installing v3.10/v2.31.

    (Please note that I'm not connected in any way with AmarecTV other than as just a happy user.)

    The PC I use for capturing is an ageing 2.6GHz Intel Core2duo with 4Gb RAM, 64-bit Windows 10 Home and I'm capturing onto an ageing 1Tb WD Caviar Green HDD. I only mention this as I capture to Lagarith and PCM audio and I can't remember the last time it dropped a single frame.
    Last edited by TimA-C; 3rd Apr 2019 at 18:46. Reason: Additional info
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  6. Dinosaur Supervisor KarMa's Avatar
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    AmarecTV is certainly preferred by me.
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  7. Member
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    Hello, and thank you for the lots of thoughts!
    Maybe I started thinking in the wrong way with the hardware mpeg encoding and the frame drops. Just using different programs could change lot of things, I will try out the mentioned programs with the current setup.

    For the recording, I've got 2 PCs and 1 notebook for use:
    PC1: Windows XP SP3 32 bit, 1 GB ram (2x512MB), 80 GB ide hdd, Cpu: Intel 2,6 GHz (can handle also sata-I hard drives), currently this pc has the winfast tv2000 capture card
    PC2: Windows10 64 bit, 8 GB ram (2x4GB), 2X500 GB WesternDigital sata hard drives, Cpu: i3 ca. 3GHz
    Notebook: Fujitsu Lifebook AH544/G32: CPU:i5-4200M, Windows 10 64bit, 8 GB RAM (2x4GB), 130 GB SSD, 500 GB Hitachi HDD (https://www.mysoft.hu/docs/Fujitsu/Fujitsu_LifeBook_AH544.pdf)
    + 1 TB USB3/eSATA external hard drive (WD Caviar Blue)
    (I'm writing from my work place, so mostly the specs are from memory)

    OS is not a big problem, currently I'm thinking to go back to Windows7 on the "PC2".
    But I'm looking mostly for capture card with usb connection, so it can be used with the notebook, and can be easily swapped.
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  8. I'd be tempted to pick up some cheap, used RAM and buy a faster (probably Seagate) 500Gb(?) SATA hdd to quickly and cheaply upgrade the XP PC, and use this for capturing. Keep the newer Win10 PC for processing etc. Maybe see if you can pick up a used, compatible quad core CPU cheaply to upgrade PC2? Having said that, I build PCs for a living, so I do understand if most people might find upgrading the hardware rather daunting.

    Just as an aside, when I upgraded from 64-bit Win7 Home to 64-bit Win10 Home on my ageing Intel Core2Quad system I saw an increase in speed encoding Lagarith captures to Mpeg2 via avisynth script sent to HCEnc of between 11 to 12 percent - same files, same scripts, same hardware just different versions of Windows.
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