Just what the title says. I know that devices such as the ATI 600 card and some of the WinTV series cards from Hauppauge work wonders on older mediums such as VHS, LaserDisc, etc., but thus far, I have had next to no luck with my WinTV-HVR 950, due to me being on Windows 10 and using an Nvidia graphics card, which I have been made well aware cause problems, if it isn't something else.
Before anyone suggests to use a different Windows OS, I am going to make it very plain that this is pretty much impossible for me to do because my PC has not liked it when I've tried to install the Integral build of Windows XP, and I have had no luck installing Windows 7 for different reasons. I do not have any other capture-capable PCs, and I cannot build one either.
With that out of the way, I would like to know which devices are the best to have, preferably under $150, and what the best in quality, both performance and longevity-wise, are available for that price. I would also like to know where to buy them if I can get them new. My goal is to digitize my collection of commercially available VHS tapes and LaserDiscs. I already have a VCR and LaserDisc player ready to go.
I know that a lot of capture devices and programs out there may not be as good as they used to be, but if I can have something that does its job out of the box, I will be more than satisfied. I am not looking to do extensive restorations or the highest, top-of-the-line quality ripping, I just want something that can provide me with the best quality I can get for reasonable prices.
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I have had no issues at all with the IOData GV-USB2 on Windows 10. The quality is very very close to the Pinnacle 710USB (one of the best of the "oldies", allegedly).
Instructions in the box are in Japanese but there are English versions on the Internet.
I use it with Virtual Dub, AmarecTV and editing software, Movie Edit Pro.
Irrespective of the capture device - I use a Hauppauge USB-Live2 and that is Win10 compatable - you could have serious issues trying to capture commercially available VHS. No doubt you will come across macrovision. The Hauppauge might ignore it (the legacy PCI WinTV cards did) but I can not guarantee that this device, or any other usb device for that matter, will. Then, if you still want to capture these you would require a full-frame TBC and these alone will take care of your budget.
While trying to capture with my crappy old ElGato Analog Video Capture, I encountered no issues with macrovision copy protection, though that could easily be a fluke. Thus far, even with the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 950 I've been testing, I've encountered no issues with copy protection, just really weird issues with jitter and frame ghosting, which is present no matter whether I'm using VDub or any other software that can pick up the device as a camera. I was able to get past this issue with an older PC, but due to its slowness and unreliability makes it nearly useless for capture purposes. I will proceed with caution.
I've just tried my GV-USB2 with a commercial VHS tape of Memphis Belle; no issues. The box doesn't mention that copy protection is implemented though.
Not all VHS have copyright (macrovision) protection - it should say so on the box cover.
Now I do believe a short while ago I tested the USB-Live with one UK release that was marked as protected and it passed. But I also tested it with a US release, also marked, and there were issues. Simply that mv was an evolving condition.
Any user may never get issues but it is, IMO, necessary to mention it to avoid disappointment. The only gain these days in capturing commercial tapes is for those not released on later formats.
Copy protection in commercial tapes is wildly inconsistent: its a scattershot technology that evolved, regressed and mutated over many years. Typically it was applied in batches, varying between each batch, so your tape of a particular movie might have weak or no protection while your neighbors tape of the same title could be infested it with it to an extreme degree. In many cases it was applied at time of original release to chains like Blockbuster, but suspended a few years later when the title was re-released and re-printed at a low bargain price to discount chains like Target in holiday promotions. Severity of protection corruption also varied notably from studio to studio (some rarely used it, others used it on everything including promo reels and titles almost nobody was expected to buy).
VHS protection should be understood as a relic of the 100% analog TV display era: CRT televisions were immensely more forgiving of VHS input flaws. The protection system relied specifically on this forgiveness of CRT televisions to do its dirty work: it corrupts the VHS signal just enough to ruin any attempt at VCR copying, while remaining just above the threshold where a CRT TV will still display the tape normally. Sometimes they really pushed it, to the point even the TV couldn't completely conceal the deliberate errors (you'd see periodic darkening at the top of the frame, and/or occasional flashes).
Capture sticks are digital devices with little tolerance for unstable or damaged signals: some do a bit better than others on average, but a severely protected tape can choke most them enough to make an ugly transfer. Depending on your own tape collection, it may or may not be a big problem: if it afflicts just a few tapes, forget DIY transfer on those and just replace them with cheap commercial DVD or BluRay re-releases. If it affects a large number of tapes, you may need to re-consider your budget to add a TBC or other protection signal workaround, as DB83 mentioned.
Just because a given user of a given capture stick hasn't experienced any issues using it with their specific tapes doesn't mean another user won't be stopped cold by it at some point. So don't assume DB83 is being a wet blanket: he is alerting you to potential issues that typically arise sooner or later. While some old internal PC capture cards totally ignored protection, few to none of the modern USB-connected capture sticks are 100% "immune" to the protection signal. Even for those that don't usually react to it in the "official" manner, it can still cause visible picture disturbances: "protection signal" is a Hollywood euphemism for "deliberately corrupted unstable video signal".
Last edited by orsetto; 20th Apr 2021 at 11:45.
Thank you both for the information, I'll be on the lookout for any cassettes or otherwise that have copy protection implemented. I'm most likely going to go with the GV-USB2, just to give something that's not Hauppauge a whirl.
For the record Alwyn, I do most of my video editing in Magix Vegas Pro 18, though I'm not sure if Movie Edit has any advantages I should know about, I see it's also Magix product, at least, after Magix acquired Vegas from Sony.
You may get lucky and have most of your transfers go well. Depends a lot on the vintage: protection was most strongly and sloppily applied in the late 80s, got a little less awful in the 90s and began dropping off many tapes that were sold thru discount stores from late 90s thru the end of the VHS era. Paramount used it the least, Disney was rife with it, and Universal apparently employed brain damaged bonbos to apply the protection (i.e. they're the worst).
As you may have noticed in researching this topic here and elsewhere, most of those offering advice tend to be purists: for them nothing less than perfection is acceptable. They are willing to spend quite a bit of money for the best VCRs and TBC boxes, and have little understanding or patience with those leaning more toward "quick-n-dirty" solutions. You won't find too many mid-level discussions: its either totally high end, or bare-bones cheapskates. So if you're aiming for somewhere between garbage results and great results, you're kind of on your own and will need to experiment until you hit a set of equipment that satisfies you.
Too many variables in tapes, VCRs, capture devices and user skill makes it difficult to find any definitive assurances of success unless you bite the bullet and start out at the high end with the expensive gear. Trying for the middle ground with less of an outlay requires willingness to experiment and accept failure: a lot of tapes may come out OK, but if luck gives out and they don't you may need to wait until you can save up funds for better hardware. The TBC thing is a lightning rod of controversy, esp among those who truly cannot afford them (they seem crazy expensive to the layperson). You'll know fairly quickly whether you want/need a TBC: if your transfers look OK to you without one, and you aren't experiencing any lost frames or lost lipsync audio, you're good.
If the transfers look really poor or you encounter technical problems, you may need one. Some with less-twitchy capture dongles feel they get by fine without TBC, or do very well with cheaper workarounds like passing the VCR signal thru the inputs/outputs of certain DVD recorder models en route to the capture device. Protected tapes are a special case: if they give you major problems, you'll need to try a different capture device or add a TBC for sure to rebuild the corrupted signal. Given the current second-hand cost of a good TBC runs $600- $1200, it may be more cost effective to slowly replace any protected tapes with commercial dvd/bluray re-issues. The quality is certainly much better than DIY: protected tapes can be a real pain to transfer nicely (esp using cheaper-than-TBC "filter" accessories like The Grex).
Last edited by orsetto; 20th Apr 2021 at 13:03.
When it comes to choosing between the two, it is my understanding that there is little difference. Both use a connexant chip. However Win10 does not allow you to determine the exact chip used which is possible with Win7.
I can not comment on the GV's customer support. You will already know about Hauppauge's and for the USB-Live there are regular driver and software updates.
The GV has only been marketed in Japan and wherever you order it from it will be sent to you from Japan. In fact the link that Alwyn posted takes you to Amazon's Australia site not the US site. The price quoted is thus in Australian Dollars
^^ You have made me somewhat curious now.
I understand that the D in 'DHX' stands for digital. But standard VHS is analog. Are you then saying that such a vcr performs A/D conversion and outputs mpeg2 over firewire ?
I thought that was reserved for DV.
Even then if it is mpeg2 there has to be a means of 'capturing' it.
"I've seen a couple of users state that capturing analog signals for digital transfer is ultimately inferior than just using digital, such as FireWire in my case, because all imperfections are preserved in analog."
lordsmurf replied thusly:
"Some users are also idiots. It is true that any problems (major or minor) are "baked in" once captured. Hence the reason to use good VCRs with line TBCs, external frame TBCs, sometimes even proc amps and detailers. Then you capture it.
"Firewire" refers to DV transfer, and is an inferior 1990s capture method using DV in a way that was never intended. It's a hack, and a not-good one at that. This was mostly done by Canopus, and they often sold those devices with fearmongers and BS."
You can read this whole thread here: http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/video-capture/11585-audio-preview-firewire.html
The long and short of this, as I've come to realize, is that I just should have stuck to doing that because it would have saved me a ton of headache and would have been good enough for me. Instead, I let myself be sucked into a rabbit hole about trying to get the best quality and etc. when I knew it was infeasible and I ultimately ended up buying the WinTV-HVR 950 I originally posted about from him.
Originally Posted by DB83
My August VBG-100 does have a Connexant chip because it says that in Virtual Dub. The GV-USB2 shows up as itself.
Originally Posted by Marioguy
Originally Posted by DB83
Originally Posted by Marioguy
Last edited by dellsam34; 20th Apr 2021 at 22:16.
Maybe I confused those two cards you now mention. There has been a lot of discussion lately with certain cards not working for certain users (Blue/Green screen etc.) and it can be hard keeping up with usb devices.
After all the 'GV' part, I have read, is credited to Grass Valley (Canopus) yet one would think that if they had anything to do with it they would make it more known to the world.
Anyway, it's been a long journey from about two months ago to when I first posted here a couple of days ago, and now I finally think I've got the info I need, so I appreciate everyone who has contributed to this thread and helping me find my way.
I've read the "I don't need no stinkin' TBC!" more times than I can remember -- but what I do remember is when those same people finally approach me to get a TBC, because golly gee, I knew what I was talking about. "Who knew!?" I don't like buying these "fancy" VCRs or expensive/boring electronics boxes (TBCs) to sit on a desk, but it's the tool required for the task in which we have decided to partake (capture video). Unlike splurging on a sports car, there's nothing sexy about a TBC, so it's not something we get for bragging rights, or to impress. We're not self-described "audiophiles" that hear BS that isn't actually there (ie, placebo effect). But unlike a used car, TBCs at least hold value -- so buy it, use it, resell it. Capturing video is a rabbit hole, and it's neither easy nor dirt cheap. An investment of both time and funds is required, and part of that time is spent on the learning curve.
That all said, there can be corner-cutting methods, that can work -- but there is a fail rate, some % of the tapes won't transfer well, or at all. That's where you get into the "TBC(ish)" items like ES10/15. And the lossy capture cards, mostly DV where you lose 50% of the color data. There are also worse items, and worse methods, and those should be avoided, as you'll spend more time trying to get it to cooperate than anything else AND have poor results (if any results).
The TBC thing is a lightning rod of controversy,
esp among those who truly cannot afford them (they seem crazy expensive to the layperson).
protected tapes can be a real pain to transfer nicely (esp using cheaper-than-TBC "filter" accessories like The Grex).
would you mind giving me input on that kind of setup, just as a means of basic transfer?
- Ideally, at bare minimum, non-TBC JVC S-VHS deck
- Some form of TBC is required, it's not optional. The ES10/15 is minimal, and there will be a fail rate (tapes not transferring well, or at all), but it's the least option (both in cost and effectiveness)
- The capture card is where you're struggling. No HD, no "gamer" card. Find a good SD capture card with s-video in. Win10 is a problem for all captures cards, however, so it makes this harder.
Sorry for going a bit out of order, but I'll try and respond to all of the quotes here.
First, regarding the performance of the GV-USB2, I have had infinitely better luck with it than with the Hauppauge, I've had absolutely no ghosting or other problems as of yet.
Second, since you insist on a TBC, I've been looking back through the posts about the Panasonic ES15, which you say is not a TBC at all, but is rather a TBC-ish device. I still have the same VCR, but no real TBC method. As I mentioned previously, I do have the GV-USB2, which has worked wonderfully. I do not have an SD capture device with S-Video in. With these factors in mind, is the Panasonic DMR-ES15 good enough for what I'm doing? By that, I mean in just doing transfers for my own personal collection and nothing else. If you insist I need something more, what is another device you recommend with a similar price point, if one exists? What SD capture devices would you recommend?
Third, in relation to what you've said about me being an enthusiast and costs. If we're going by the literal definition, yes I am an enthusiast, I would love to have the best equipment for doing this kind of work, I don't deny that. I guess what I'm trying to say when I don't consider myself a true enthusiast in this area is that it's not a passion of mine like other things are. I have an extensive video game collection which I am highly invested in and knowledgeable about. I really am just digitizing my media as a personal project, I never intended to fall into this huge rabbit hole, but here I am.
Lastly, regarding the Hauppauge device, why exactly can't you just take it back and resell it? You talked to me about this previously and I decided to leave it alone because you stated you weren't in the greatest place due to anxiety and other matters.
From personal experience if an item sold and it is not defective I don't see a good reason for returning it, Shipping back and forth costs almost what you have paid for the device itself, Try to get it working, and at the same time try capturing from firewire off of your D-VHS deck and if you are happy with the results than maybe you can sell it yourself to another member or online.
Marioguy, I'm no expert but I do have both a ES-15 and a DVK-200 (frame-ish TBC).
I have only a couple of tapes where the picture's a bit wobbly with bendy edges. The ES-15 helps there.
If you have a nice, stable picture (no rolling, jumping, flashing) you probably don't need a separate TBC, but if do, go for an ES-15 (Sharc uses a EH-50).
Originally Posted by Dellsam
Last edited by Alwyn; 16th May 2021 at 19:42.
Just a couple of things:
First, thanks for your advice on TBCs. In regards to Lordsmurf, I don't disagree that having a TBC is fundamental part of this process (except, again, I don't really know that because I fell into this rabbit hole on a whim while researching). I will reserve my right to "complain" about the costs of video equipment because this whole shindig wasn't about "doing it right or wrong," it was about doing what would satisfy me. I honestly wonder if I would have been content just using the method I was already using if I had never gone this far. Although I do agree that spending over a thousand dollars on a phone is ridiculous.
Second, sorry if this sounds mean, but I have brought up the issue of the device multiple times, here on this forum, on digitalFAQ and to Lordsmurf himself, my issues have never been resolved, and he advertised that the device worked well on Windows 10. Basically I did do research but ended up in the same position as the hypothetical POS Amazon device scenario, except this time I was sold the device personally instead of by a company, and still can't get a refund. I have asked why I can't just be given my money back and have not gotten a direct answer. I was offered to have a potential buyer forwarded to me instead.
I hope you get your issue resolved with LS, But the rule of thumb is never buy equipment all at once or at least if you do don't use them all at once. Starting with the VCR itself do test most of the tapes hooked up to a TV or a monitor directly from the VCR, once you know your VCR is working, hookup the capture card and get it working with a clean source first, such as a DVD player, a game console that has composite/S-Video out, Once you know the card is working and all the OS wrinkles are ironed out then move on to using the VCR with the capture card, If problems show up take samples post them here and ask for help you may need a line TBC, a better VCR a frame TBC and so on, This process is really a case by case scenario, There is no general rules and most importantly it is a rabbit hole.