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  1. devdev devdev's Avatar
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    hi i'd like to buy a box that will convert composite video and audio (yellow/red/white rca jacks) from say a vhs player and capture into my pc directly as mp4 h264

    any suggestions please?
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  2. devdev devdev's Avatar
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    and accompanying capture software suggestion recommendations too
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    You didn't say your preferred PC platform, Windows or OSX.

    Windows - h.264 hardware codecs are beyond Windows Media Center (WMC) so you should expect a private label capture application married to the hardware device. The only two brands I am aware of are the Hauppauge HD PVR or Hauppauge Colossus I or Hauppauge Colossus II cards. And the AverMedia AverTV USB HD DVR. H.264 is usually used for higher resolution 720p or 1080p 30/60 and higher HDTV signal capture. After the analog h.264 capture devices were (done, and no longer made) signals all went digital and mostly h.264 was no longer required, the raw digital signal was already h.264 encoded. - So basically what your looking for is no longer available new, they stopped making them in 2013. -- I my opinion the AverMedia USB HD DVR is superior, it uses a custom Fujitsu ARM processor for coached capture.. which makes it fairly independent and stable during capture. -- But outside of Canada, the AverMedia USB HD DVR is very hard to find even used. But you have to use the Hauppauge or AverMedia capture applications that come with the hardware. Microsoft never made anything to support H.264 capture (only playback) and no one else was remotely interested in supporting a dying capture method. Standalone high end capture products were and are available.. but they are convoluted and difficult to use.

    OSX - The Elgato EyeTV HD PVR is the h.264 equivalent. Again capture requires using the hardware vendors capture application. This is very rare and pops up and goes for high prices very fast on auction sites.

    The zone in which h.264 analog capture was viable was around 2010 through 2012, 2013 at the outside and then it was gone. It was far briefer than MPEG2 or DV. Everything after that has focused on HDMI capture or downloading the raw digital streams to a file.. which is a whole paradigm shift.

    Raw capture is more or less the go to method today, and then post process into your favored format, like h.264 after.. but its "difficult" to achieve.. Raw capture almost always means audio and video will de-synchronize and have to be hand knitted back into pseudo-sync after capture.. so its a lot of work.

    Xvid and Divx are potholes to beware of.. they really confused the whole h.264 adoption.. and contributed to the demise of the whole codec support.
    Last edited by jwillis84; 14th May 2021 at 13:31.
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  4. devdev devdev's Avatar
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    hi sorry windows 10
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    Arggg..

    Windows 10 is basically Chromebook OS for Windows.. its not really windows anymore. After they gave up on Internet Explorer and turned it into Chrome skinned like Edge, the death knell tolled.

    There really isn't any good hardware support for video capture under Windows 10.

    You can sort of get it to work.. but your really looking for a stand alone device.

    The PC platform, Windows and OSX is actively blocking capture hardware now.. they've all been declared malware. Occasionally you'll read of one person using an older version of Windows 10 that is from 2016 or something that works.. until they accidentally connect it to the Internet and Microsoft reaches out and wipes the OS and installs the latest "Secure" version that bans the hardware. -- Its really a bad situation here in 2021.

    The only hardware vendors "fighting" this are UVC only devices.. which also only work until the next Windows 10 update and generally cost $400 and above. -- Its a very bad bad bad situation.. don't invest money in a Windows 10 capture solution.. its a loosing frustrating proposition.

    2013 is far too far away from Windows 10.. they don't want anything from that era working with it now.

    Some names.. if you won't let go the fantasy of Windows 10 capture .. Epiphan and Magewell.. but don't complain about "sticker shock" (used!).. those are the "Cheapest" that might work.. and only work.. because they are "driver less". Blackmagic.. is so digitally oriented its really not worth mentioning .. they have moved on from analog capture completely. Getting over the analog to digital divide has become a historical exercise in Time Travel.

    As for stand alone recorders that produce h.264 files.

    AverMedia EzRecorder 310 is the "only" H.264 recorder I would recommend.

    Its designed as a DVR/PVR but is really not good for that, it comes with a small remote and so-so onscreen user interface, and (only) YPbPr and HDMI inputs. But has a full laptop hard drive sized SATA bay for inserting an SSD or hard drive, and a USB port for using flash drives.. but the higher the frame rates and resolution requires the direct SATA drive interface to keep up with the video stream.

    I can confirm it works with PAL or NTSC signals.

    To use with a Composite input you would have to have a Y/C or Comb filter splitter, there are several ways of addressing that.

    Its rather unusual to use H.264 with Composite.. but not impossible.. and it would do the best job if your planning on compressing it all the way down to h.264

    Magewell™ Announces Driver-Free USB3.0 Pro Capture Box (2015)

    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/magewell-announces-driver-free-usb30-pro-capt...300062347.html

    http://www.magewell.com/products/usb-capture-aio


    I have no experience with the following, its is a March 1, 2021 release, but has HDMI and Composite Inputs.

    AVerMedia Launches Standalone Capture Box "EzRecorder 330" H.264 (or) H.265 (2021)
    https://www.prnewswire.com/in/news-releases/avermedia-launches-standalone-capture-box-...861900854.html

    https://www.avermedia.com/us/product-detail/ER330
    Last edited by jwillis84; 14th May 2021 at 15:57.
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  6. devdev devdev's Avatar
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    thank you all for your thoughts and sorry for late reply
    especially the windows 10 point. i have now bought a blackmagic capture card - intensity pro 4k. it will be interesting to see how this goes vis a vis your windows x thoughts

    very interesting indeed.

    i looked at the AverMedia EzRecorder 310 by the way but sadly i am uk based and i dont think i can capture as pal. maybe im wromg though. but it looks fab
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  7. Kawaiiii
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    Originally Posted by devdev View Post
    i looked at the AverMedia EzRecorder 310 by the way but sadly i am uk based and i dont think i can capture as pal. maybe im wromg though. but it looks fab
    If you read its complete specifics.. the 330 version linked above has composite input and does work with pal as source (output is at 50fps)
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    I can also personally vouch for the AverMedia EzRecorder 310 also working with PAL.

    I had a UK PAL VHS+DVD recorder which I used the Component outputs to feed the EzRecorder 310 input to make recordings.. they worked fine.

    BlackMagic is a mixed bag, it can be overwhelming, and that hardware is very Very sensitive to poor signal quality.

    You will not be able to use it without some type of tbc, or tbc substitute.

    The "all in one" BlackMagic driver and capture application installer is updated often.. but can be a tad bit exhausting updating after each Windows 10 patch Tuesday.. or waiting for the next BlackMagic release to fix whats broken.

    BlackMagic did support Microsoft DirectShow at one time.. but Microsoft has deprecated most anything made by the old school programmers in the US when they moved that work to India. Not so much malicious intent.. as they didn't have the skillset to support the work that was so mature and established.. so they "ended" the code base and started over again.. and never got the funding to mature it again.. Windows 10 is headed for sunset in the next few years.. everything Microsoft is headed to the Cloud.. they don't want to do hardware anymore. In my opinion its got 3 maybe 5 years left.. and that will be the end of Windows as we know it.

    I don't know if you've heard of Febron out of Amsterdam.. but he's been doing things with products for the iPhone and Android phone for Raw and H.264 old school video capture.. that may be the future.. everything may have to learn to work off Phones as our desktops and laptops.

    Apple has said it has every intent of making Tablets replace all desktops.. but they will keep making desktops.. until they can't make a profit at it.. and no further after that. I think Microsoft is sort of thinking the same.. tablets.. or nothing.. but they seem to be heading towards nothing much faster than Apple.

    The iPhone or Android phone.. on ARM.. is the only thing evolving right now.. Intel has completely checked out.

    I would say BlackMagic is hedging their bets a little.. they are keeping an up to date suite for RedHat Linux available.. that is as traditional as you can get outside some sort of virtual machine environment.

    Meanwhile Apple has left Bootcamp behind with the ARM M1 laptops.. and seems to be adopting virtual machines for all things legacy. All getting ready for a future "free" from legacy hardware.. all at once.

    With IBM merging/buying Redhat Linux the only hardware left in our offices with be Uber Phone Docks with thunderbolt ports that connect to the Cloud and virtual machines running in them. Your video capture will be a niche science performed at specialty shops on ancient hardware kept running by archeologists.
    Last edited by jwillis84; 16th May 2021 at 11:22.
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  9. devdev devdev's Avatar
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    thank you again!- were you about the capture pal at 25 fps without having to undertaking a second step frame conversion using the AverMedia EzRecorder 310?

    re the blackmagic card - i'm thinking of running the pc disconnected to the web now - unless the sw needs to be connected to work..which often happens these days

    btw - i did look for a capture piece of hardware that had some form of built in tbc that would enable a one step capture to mp4 h264 but failed to find that

    at the moment we're using an advc 100 and connecting to my pc via a firewire, saving as avi and then converting to mp4. messy
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    yeah .. painful.. that is messy.

    here is an example of a USB MPEG2 tuner with composite and s-video inputs

    Avermedia Avertv hybrid ultra USB

    It has Win7 x64 device drivers and works with Windows Media Center or the AverTV Capture application, it has a Conexant hardware chip, but a good decoder in front of that.. its no longer made, but really cheap when you find them

    It comes from a time near the end of traditional video capture

    It may or may not work with Windows 10.. but every Patch Tuesday.. is a roll of the dice with eveything Windows 10.. last month all of my Bluetooth devices suddenly stopped working, this month after Patch Tuesday they are working again.. go figure.

    It will work with NTSC or PAL.

    Its not the best I could recommend.. but its easy to find.. don't take it as something you have to do or should do.. its just an example.

    As for conversion from/to 25 framerate, no conversion was necessary.. once an analog source has been captured its stored with the details for playback.. its up to the decoder how it plays it back. The analog signal source decoder in front of the encoder had to sort out the frame rate before conversion or it would abort the capture. You can manually take control of pulldowns and such.. but that is usually better handled with broadcast gear.. its not something a consumer usually has time to work about.. or if they do.. they usually aren't going to be satisfied with saving money.

    DV firewire to MPEG2 conversion (PAL) is not a bad workflow, its time consuming and produces a lot of data in a multistep procedure.. I don't envy you software converting all of that to mp4 or h.264

    That's why I recommend the middle ground of just use an all in one MPEG2 hardware device, so you don't have to use firewire.. the compressed video stream works just fine over USB2.0 (and stay the heck far far away from USB3.0.. Apple had good reason to refuse to adopt it.. and went with Thunderbolt instead for video capture). Apple only went to USB-C after video capture was no longer something they really wanted to support.

    USB2.0 was a rigid "mandatory" specification.. all vendors had to comply to get the seal or brand mark they coveted to sell their products

    USB3.0 the Empire struck back.. and they made all specifications optional.. and the USB foundation threw in the towel.. chipsets and ports were all over the place and "barely" compatible.. most times they were not. BlackMagic USB3.0 is a crying shame.. its a tragic story.. only their Thunderbolt products made for Apple.. and later ported to Windows stood up.. but by then.. their reputation was damaged.

    Intel would not have any of that USB3.0 mess and made certification for Thunderbolt mandatory and took no prisoners negotiating with vendors.. so Thunderbolt is rather over specified.

    USB3.1 got USB-C and cleaned up a bit.. and thats when Apple finally put some USB3.1 ports on their stuff.. reluctantly.. in addition to a Thunderbolt port.

    The whole world is leaning in the direction of Thunderbolt now.. or confusingly USB3.1 USB-C ports that "are not Thunderbolt ports" but look like Thunderbolt ports. Mostly the bigger names are moving on to Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4 as are Apple.

    How do you know a vendor doesn't even trust their own USB3.0 ports? When they always include a secret USB2.0 port on the right hand side for keyboards and mice on boot up.

    I just practice Never Ever use a USB port on the Left hand side of a laptop, because its probably a flakey, rotten, bizzare USB3.0 port that has these crazy cooky Never works on Tuesday after a Bluemoon exceptions in the owners guide.

    If its a USB-c port, it has to be at least USB3.1 and that means the Thunderbolt specification "flavor" of USB3.1 so its generally "safe" .. aka its "Not USB3.0".

    When a vendor tells you "try a different USB port if your having trouble.. thats admission.. they probably included their Ultra-cheap.. Proprietary custom version of USB3.0 port somewhere in their product.. at that point abandon all hope.. and beg for them to tell you which port is a true USB2.0 port. -- You suddenly become like Kahn in Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn.. searching for the Override.. where is the USB2.0 port? Where is it?
    Last edited by jwillis84; 16th May 2021 at 11:59.
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  11. devdev devdev's Avatar
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    thank you so much jwillis84

    really useful

    I get that now

    i only ask about the framerate since we sometimes have situations where there are software conflicts - but i get your point. 9 times out of 10, i ask them to install vlc and it fixes it anyway
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    BlackMagic handles SDI to USB and SDI to PCIe very well, drivers are always up to date. Not so much for analog, dropped frames, audio out of sync. If you have an analog capture device that can output SDI AVI lossless you can get away with Windows 10 problems by connecting a BlackMagic SDI interface between the capture device and Windows 10. That's how I capture in Windows 10 with no problems at all using BM MediaExpress a very light wight capture app.
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    it probaby helps to know SDI is already a digital signal. The Analog to SDI "converter" actually did the hard part and performed the digitization to make the SDI signal.

    An SDI signal is just a different type of serial interface, usually only used by broadcasters because its so rare and niche in the consumer market that its very expensive. Its kind of fallen out of favor now, but the gear hangs around.

    Its not as generally used for other things as USB, Thunderbolt or even straight RCA connectors to a capture device in the PC or connected to a PCI.

    SDI devices also generally have a different "type" of tbc, yet another type that specializes in correcting errors that (only) occur during analog broadcasts, but does nothing for the mechanical errors that occur during mechanical VHS tape playback. SDI has its fans.. if nothing else its rarer than the vast majority of low end capture devices.. generally people favored obtaining broadcast SDI equipment back in 2010 or one of the Olympics years to capture Olympics in high end Satellite or Cable formats when the analog hole was still open.. that was a special case that no longer exists.. and there was a sudden bump in supply for low cost on the resale market when people didn't need or couldn't use it anymore.

    my opinion.. is that SDI generally adds complexity.. for little gain for low resolution captures.. and doesn't work right for VHS signal types.. even though it has the reputation of having an SDI tbc.. at the very least it should have a frame synchronizer to go along with the tbc or as a part of it.. and thats what people usually benefit from.. you can get the same benefit by using a DVD recorder inputs and output as a pass thru.. but those are usually a little harder to get and more expensive.

    BlackMagic makes a metric ton of SDI converters and adapters and dominates the resale market. Although BrightEye is still around in some fashion.. but Yikes!.. the resale cost is enormous.

    The extra SDI digital interface card for a PC, or USB to SDI adapter adds cost and is yet another way to get away from USB3.0 and unstable or hard to obtain interfaces like Firewire/IEEE1394 these days. Its also higher speed.. which makes it more reliable.. but you get the same thing from just using USB2.0 for hardware compression capture devices (to lower the speed required on the USB2.0 port). Or avoiding USB3.0 (if you can.. which you usually can) and using USB3.1 (USB-c) ports.. or going Thunderbolt only for high speed raw video capture connections.. which Apple did when they abandoned Firewire. The PC adoption of Thunderbolt has been slow.. I stick with HP products (laptops and desktops) because they allow you to "break" the covenant between vendor and Intel to get the Thunderbolt seal of approval and accept "any" Thunderbolt product on their Thunderbolt ports.

    SDI came out in a narrow time frame.. its been around a long time, but the era when the viable Analog to SDI converters was brief. It overlaps the Thunderbolt era.. BlackMagic dominated the Thunderbolt era.. and still does.. you have to go more upscale to find other vendors. Since BlackMagic has both SDI and Thunderbolt solutions.. its kind of a pick your poison situation.. I tend to like less hardware when I can get away from it and less driver software.

    Mentioning a USB2.0 MPEG2 hardware compression TV Tuner as a capture device, is an ultra cheapy way of getting around most problems. I don't recall off hand if this has a tbc built into its analog video chip in front of the MPEG2 hardware compressor.. but because of when it was made.. that is a very good possibility. In those years people didn't put up with "missing" their favorite TV show much, and the analog s-video and composite inputs had to pass through the same input decoder.. if it didn't stabilize the input for a clean MPEG2 capture.. it would be panned very fast.. they were in competition with other companies.

    The Philips SAA7115A video decoder had a unique ability to match video frames to audio samples, not exactly a frame sychronizer or time base corrector (well you could call it a tbc) and is an example of a video decoder that went above and beyond to make sure video capture succeeded without loosing audio and video lip sync.. but it wasn't used in a lot of products. Conexant came out with a "dual chip" solution at a discount and places like WinTV-250 and WinTV-350 moved over to the Conexant dual chip solution mid production run.. the whole thing is paying attention to the Input signal conditioning "improved things" it is vastly different from the two chip solutions with a single capture chip and USB bridge chip in most dongles.

    The ATI 600 USB had a Texas Instruments tvp5150 video decoder, which had a reputation for a built-in tbc.. which is one reason people seek it out a lot. The raw encoder chip is not the ATI200.. but that tbc makes all the difference in the world for some people. Driver status is another situation.. I don't know a lot of people using Windows 10 use it.. or can keep it going more than one or two Windows 10 updates.

    These chips didn't come out in the year 2000 or 2002 but much later, almost a decade later.. things improved.. so when your device was made betters the odds for a good RAW or Compressed capture experience.. and the closer to now it was made.. the better the odds of Win7x64 or Windows 10 "work-ability?"

    TV Tuner cards or PVR cards get a bad rap because people tend to throw the early ones into the same bag as the later ones.. they improved over time.. they weren't all the same thing.

    The undeniable thing is editing video to remove commercials or produce a better story require turning the compressed stream back into full frames, slicing the video up and then re-compressing it.. producing an inferior product.. people liken it to analog tape to tape "generation loss".

    But software came up with a trick.. in later years.. only "heal" the cuts around the compressed bits and recompress a few seconds of the entire video. This is what Video Redo does.. now much newer video editing software gives you a choice and tends to default to "heal" rather than re-encode the entire program.. again things got better as time moved along.. The facts of the day changed as you got closer to now.

    PVR (or TV Tuner cards) are mostly gone now, no longer made.. Gamer Game Capture cards have come out.. more and more stand alone boxes.. but also Streaming boxes you hook up to your network.. it a whole other story.. but they weren't made for handling VHS analog video signals and deliberately "turned off" the tbc function if any video input chips has one.. so they are usually poor VHS video capture devices.. but you can buy them new.

    As far as I can tell.. AverMedia is the only one keeping the VHS to analog capture method alive as a real thing.. Hauppauge seems to have moved on to Game capture only. AverMedia is out of Taiwan and is always seeking an advantage.. so they widen their customer base when they can.. they have to compete with China vendors. Hauppauge imports from China or Taiwan and is located in the US.. so they're a bit more variable and have no incentive to keep supporting VHS analog capture.

    Thats why the 310 and 330 look so interesting. They are billed as Component and Composite VHS analog capture devices.. the 310 from 2013 and the 330 from 2020.. so they can sort of be bought new or new-ish as in new old stock. And they compress using the latest h.264 or h.265 codecs.. so tiny tiny files.. I am satisfied with the 310 for many things, both do NTSC or PAL.. I'm eager to find out how well the 330 does.

    BlackMagic is prosumer to professional gear, they are a tier way above AverMedia and I wouldn't say they directly compete.. but BlackMagic has doggedly tried to make USB3.0 work on their products.. at the expense of their reputation. my opinion is they should just give up on USB3.0 and move on to Thunderbolt or USB-c only and forget USB3.0 ever existed. USB3.0 is a plague on everyone's existence. run from it.. run very far.
    Last edited by jwillis84; 16th May 2021 at 21:38.
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  14. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    VCR is they key to a quality capture, SDI is just a digital port it cannot fix line timing errors, Most analog to SDI converters are not built in frame TBC, they are made for a pristine broadcast signal, the very few devices that are built in TBC from Ensemble Designs, Snell & Wilcox and Grass Valley are unobtainum. If you got one you're lucky if you don't, don't think about it.

    We know Windows 10 and the junk hardware that is being made now doesn't work, That leaves the scene to two viable options, A legacy card with windows 7 if you are a computer geek OR an HDMI capture device with OBS for the rest of the average Joe who barely knows how to turn on the computer and don't care about how analog video works, and the latter seem to be the trend now.
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    .. pretty much.

    Although I really love my AverMedia ER310 stand alone box.. more so now that I know it works with PAL or NTSC.. they were never clear on documenting that aspect.

    The Component Input is a troublesome conflict.. I wish it supported S-Video input with a special cable.. I have tried that, but never succeeded.. its possible it would work.. but their firmware never allowed for the possibility of an S-Video Input on two of the Component Inputs. But its far too old to imagine they would add that feature to such an old device now.

    I wish this AverMedia ER330 supported S-Video, but it only has Composite.. but the more I look into it.. the more it looks like its designed for everywhere.. but the United States.. which means Composite is a plus for them. Perhaps one day they will come out with an ER530 or something like that which does accept S-Video. But I wouldn't hold my breath.
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    A DVR is an option for someone who wants a one step job but it will never going to be like capturing in lossless from S-Video and doing the after capture work the way it should be, Capturing and de-interlacing on the fly from composite can have some permanent damage.
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    the Chroma "crawling ants" artifacting.. yeah nothing gets around physics
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  18. devdev devdev's Avatar
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    thanks again .sorry - this is a steep learning curve for us. what do you mean when you say that capturing and de-interlacing on the fly from composite can have some permanent damage please?

    and what would be your superior recommended workflow from composite please?
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    Cameras produce three analog signals, Y, Pr, Pb which are roughly Yellow, Red, Blue components of the color image. The Yellow is more accurately called Luma, you can produce a Monochrome image of a scene just with that channel. Our Sun is a Star that produces mostly Yellow and Green light, so human eyes evolved to see mostly Yellow or Green and can make do with just that color when seeing if there is no other color. Its kind of like night vision where you see basically in Black and White (or Monochrome)

    The three channels are blended together to produce the Amplitude modulated signal called Composite. Its the sum of each of the three components offset by a phase shift (or frequency shift) in the way they are mixed together.. also why the Luma is called "Y", Pr (Phase shifted Red), and Pb (Phase shifted Blue).

    Whenever you mix signals together shifted by a frequency, they can interfere with the neighboring channels. This can occur for many reasons, but mostly the closer in frequency they are to each other the more "cross talk". Cross talk is observed as errors in the picture that you can see.. and aren't real.. they are perceived as "noise" or not real parts of the scene. We call these artifacts.. a "fact" of the process of creating "art".. aka .. unavoidable.

    So a Composite signal has all three combined together and has the most potential for problems.

    So a Component set of signals has the least amount potential for problems.

    In between 1 signal and 3 signals is separating Y from PrPb, Luma and Chroma.. the reason those are put into two buckets is the Luma signal has a higher resoloution.. more dots per line of information.. than the Chroma.

    In fact if you could see the signals and measure the information in them you would see the Luma signal has about 720 dots per inch, and the Chroma has about 352 dot per inch.. that a vast over simplification and (wrong) but its a good way of thinking about it. Its done this way because the Monochrome part of the image is the most important to the human eye.. and the color is less important. If you gradually turned the color down on the PrPb you could still see the picture.. it would just de-saturate.. not great but you could still enjoy the program.

    S-Video is a two wire (two signal) version of the image carried over a two wire cable.. its half as bad as three wire (three signal) version of the image.. but not as bad a a one wire (one signal) version of image.

    So they are:

    Composite (1 signal, 1 wire) worst
    S-Video (2 wire, 2 signal) better
    Component (3 wire, 3 signal) best

    Composite has the most artifacts. S-Video has fewer artifacts. Component has the least artifacts.

    Component wasn't really possible outside a TV studio for many decades, only in 2000-2010 could rich people afford the gear to run Component in their home.

    S-Video was very common in the home throughout the 1990's

    Composite has always sort of been there from the beginning.

    VCRs record in 2 signal or Luma, Chroma mode to tape.. if your VCR has S-Video output you can avoid the artifacts (problems) that Composite have and see and capture a better picture. Component 3 signal (3 wire) was never really possible with a VCR until Digitial VHS which only came out after 2000 for the home at many thousands of dollars.. and few people ever had the money to buy them.. by then DVD's were much cheaper and widely available.

    The artifacting in Composite is called "crawwling ants" or "dot crawl".. not only are they errors in the picture but they actually move! and are very distracting.

    Wikipedia has a nice article on them

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dot_crawl

    The atlas of artifacts has more on them, with more pictures

    http://www.avartifactatlas.com/artifacts/dot_crawl.html


    The next concern is "Interlacing"

    INterlacing gets its name from the lacing of a "loom" when fabric or a carpet is made.

    A TV (or video) picture is made up of signals "painted" from left to right across a screen, then skipping down a line like an old style typewriter and painting the next line.

    This is sort of like building up a picture by "lacing the loom".. hence its called "Lacing".

    The image is actually made up of two looms, laced one after the other and held so that you can see one picture in front, and in-between the lines of the first picture you can see the second picture in the back. together they make up one whole picture called a "frame".

    The idea is that these two looms (called fields) making up the one frame (called the image) give you a picture with a lot more resolution or detail, than just one loom or field.

    The problem is in reality these two fields are separated in time, they were pictures taken of two different instances in time in the TV studio.

    Imagine a DSLR Camera taking two pictures very fast, one after another.. like on a photoshoot.

    Things tend to move.. so an object changes position in the image from one snapshot to the other.. if they move too fast you perceive this as image smearing.. if they don't move too fast.. your brain "merges" the two fields together optically and makes you think your seeing a higher resolution picture than you actually are seeing at any instance in time.. this is because of the persistence of vision.. your brain remembers the first field in front, and when it sees the next one in back.. mixes the pictures in your brain and tricks you into thinking your seeing a higher resolution picture.

    VCRs record each field one after the other, and when it plays them back it sends them one field at a time to the TV or video capture device. Recordings and playing back one field at a time is called "Interlaced playback" or "Interlaced viewing".

    Digital video can mimic this way of presenting images, but an LCD screen or digital screens were too slow to reproduce the same effect.. so they started collecting the two fields together and making one whole frame at a time.. this is called "de-interlacing". Watching an Interlaced video that has been De-Interlaced its easier to see the "errors" between the two fields.. a person perceives smear.. or jitter.. all in the same image. So De-Interlacing is an art in "smoothing" the image.. or trying to hide the fact they are actually two images merged into one picture.. two images that were taken at a different time. Its usually done badly.

    So Composite creates errors (artifacts) when it mixes the 3 signal or 2 signal video down to 1 signal.. and that can't be avoided.. its the worst it can get.

    De-Interlacing is not something you have to do, you can video capture and store video as an Interlaced video stream in a file.. but people often perform de-interlacing involuntarily.. not knowing the choice that they are doing. Once its de-interlaced in the file, the lines can't be un-mixed.. you can never get a second chance at performing a different kind of de-interlacing.. but if you choose to store the video capture as interlaced.. and only de-interlace on the playback using the software or device presenting the video.. all future options are on the table. -- So De-Interlacing while capturing is always a bad choice.. your sabotaging the video irrevocably, it can never be undone. But leaving it Interlaced.. your keeping the option to try a different De-Interlace method that will be invented in the future.
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  20. devdev devdev's Avatar
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    thank you again for such a complete reply. i have read it several times and i get the core points now. really appreciated and enjoyable. where i am now is that as earlier predicted the BM intensity pro 4k card is sniffy about direct transfers from vhs and seemed to only work via an old cyp tbc that i had - so well done to whoever predicted that . I can live with that - however the sw does not even capture in mp4 so i'm trying to see if i can get https://obsproject.com/ to work in conjunction with the card now. this will be interesting.

    one question i did have is when you say this : but if you choose to store the video capture as interlaced.. and only de-interlace on the playback using the software or device presenting the video.. all future options are on the table. are you implying that many pcs would automatically, without any help, deinterlace a video that it recognises as interlaced on playback then?

    i am also going to give https://www.avermedia.com/uk/product-detail/ER330 this a try probably depending on the price
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    the pc would deinterlace depending on the software you use for playback, VLC for example just detects its interlaced and automatically deinrerlaces it when the vidoe is played.. other software does this as well.

    You can "pick" the method of de-interlaced from about a half dozen choices in the advanced menu options of VLC .. not every piece of playback software throws all those choices at you.. one is enough for most people.. and too confusing or annoying for impatient people.

    Most people pick a playback software, or playback device.. based on "first impressions".. they don't shop different playback software or devices.. they just "like the picture playback" or they don't .. and move on to the next one.. Superficial and doesn't require a lot of "deep understanding" into de-interlacing methods.

    Bob and Weave .. for example.. mean something to some people.. but not to most people.

    Instead they throw more "money" at the problem.. where flipping a menu option would be a lot cheaper.

    I received the ER330 last night.

    I'm not ready for presenting a review yet..

    AverMedia seems to be targeting Australia for the English community and not North America or the UK, but most of the rest of the world. But it works with NTSC and its a nice piece of kit.

    The Composite Input does work and I have tested it with a pattern generator.. but I've been spending the most time on the Record to NAS feature. I have not been able to get that to work yet.. it relies on the SMB protocol.. and I was trying to use it with the Public folders sharing method with a Windows 7 x64 PC.. just failed hour after hour last night. But Microsoft SMB is always the worst.. its so hard to configure right. I think I will try with a real Linux system, or a real NAS this weekend.

    AverMedia is uploading voiceless ER330 How to Videos to YouTube. Voiceless I think because they want the videos to be easy to watch by non-English speakers.

    Lots of details I've noticed already.. the Remote is not the same model as the ER310.. I thought it was before looking closer.. but it is unique.

    The most Bizzare choice of all however is the Composite input choice.

    I can understand why they didn't include Component on this model.. but Composite?

    There is real demand for an S-Video to NAS capture device.. its a natural.. makes sense.. throw in a Time base Corrector in such a device.. which I hope it has.. and its a HomeRun (baseball winner).. but Composite?

    That is a stupefyingly bizarre choice.

    They have a TRRS they could easily have made that S-Video.. the decision is just warped.

    They could make so much money with same device, just making the AV input an S-Video input.. even if they wanted to support Composite.. a passive mixing adapter cable is super cheap.. making things worse by mixing Luma and Chroma in a passive cable is easy.

    They made the hardest, most difficult choice imaginable.

    I am hoping the reason they don't seem to be releasing this in the USA is because it is Composite.. and someone realized this was a dumb move.
    Last edited by jwillis84; 21st May 2021 at 15:08.
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  22. devdev devdev's Avatar
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    Thank you. So much really looking forward to your review!
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    AverMedia has provided a "general" How to for using a NAS.. but its lacking in details, and the example they provide is woefully incomplete.

    How Can I Use a NAS ?

    The quality of the English translation is very good.. but the technical detail demonstrates a lack of real world experience with describing difficult procedures. I hope they correct this oversight really quickly.. because the product concept is very very good.

    By the way.. for those "playing at home".. this is a very new product, its cutting edge release only.. announced in the last few months.

    You cannot buy this on the AverMedia shop or Amazon in the US.. Taiwan entities (AverMedia under a different name?) is selling them direct through auctions sites in limited quantities.

    This has all the signs of a "test marketing" release to see how well it plays, or to correct product errors.. the build quality is top knotch.. it could also be they just don't have the volume to ensure product delivery in the time frames normally associated with Amazon.

    I got mine very fast from Taiwan to the US, but I suspect.. (if) you can get one ordered.. your experience may vary. I did select DHL.. but the handling time before it entered the system was extremely short.. and the seller was very hands-on with their communications.. it was very unusual in the attention to detail and keep me up to date on the shipment. They even anticipated a delay.. but it was not delayed.

    Also, the product documentation and YouTube videos are being updated daily.. and they are very high quality with respect to translation work. The spelling and grammar checking is great. The technical content.. leaves a little to be desired... I have submitted complaints at the lacking level of detail. But they are obviously walking a tight rope in trying to make it appear simple and easy to use.. without burdening the consumer.. this has a down side in that there is almost "nothing" to work with to troubleshoot the potential problems.

    I tried working with Wireshark on Windows to diagnose my problems with the NAS feature last night.. but got no where.. the ER330 never seemed to attempt a connection to the Windows 7 PC.. my guess is it might be a firmware issue.. or they are trying to use MDNR or Multicasting and I am just not seeing the traffic.

    So I've thrown in the towel on using a PC as a NAS.. and I'm running home to Linux to see what is actually happening.

    If that doesn't work.. then I'll submit a bug report to AverMedia and hope for a firmware release to address the issue.

    YouTube, Twitch and other streaming options have not been tested.. those are mostly for Gamers and seem to have had a lot more attention paid to them in the firmware on the device.

    Personally.. I think the NAS option has a greater chance to differentiate it from the competition.. if only it weren't for that dumb Composite choice.. dang dang dang. -- Please AveMedia.. for the love of gawd, please.. give us an S-Video Input.. we can get an S-Video to Composite, but we can't get a Composite to S-Video.. the damage is already done.. you can't recover from a signal that has been mushed together into Composite.. what is this 1987 ?

    BTW: Wisely.. there is not a Wireless option.. only solid physical full size port Ethernet. WiFi would only make it more complicated to setup, and likely to effect all the other WiFi devices in your home while its capturing, and there would be a greater chance for dropouts and disconnects.

    Auto-DHCP and Manual-Static IP addressing are what it uses.. so no sign of IPv6, only IPv4.

    The NAS setup menu has some weird word choices for SMB variables, but at least they give you one example in the setup menu for what a "Network Place" should look like.. "//Server/Share path" ... would have made more sense.. but apples.. potatoes. same difference.
    Last edited by jwillis84; 21st May 2021 at 15:46.
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    Holy Moly.. it arrived two days ago, shrink wrapped and brand spanking new.

    Firmware version 1.1.6.1 created 01-20-2021

    Since that time its had firmware updates available on its support website:

    2021-01-20 1.1.6.1
    2021-03-11 1.1.7.3
    2021-04-19 1.1.7.5
    2021-05-19 1.1.8.2

    I could not for the life of me get NAS to work.

    I updated the firmware from 1.1.6.1 to 1.1.8.2 and the same configuration for a NAS share that I had tried over and over again, worked first try.

    Since I was using Linux Centos 7, I could run smbstatus:

    [root@TWadf01 josh]# smbstatus

    Samba version 4.10.16
    PID Username Group Machine Protocol Version Encryption Signing
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    19849 josh josh 192.168.2.175 (ipv4:192.168.2.175:39406) SMB3_00 - -

    Service pid Machine Connected at Encryption Signing
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    josh 19849 192.168.2.175 Fri May 21 10:09:24 PM 2021 CDT - -

    Locked files:
    Pid User(ID) DenyMode Access R/W Oplock SharePath Name Time
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    19639 1001 DENY_NONE 0x100081 RDONLY NONE /samba/josh . Fri May 21 21:35:20 2021

    And pressing the REC button records to the NAS:


    [root@TWadf01 josh]# ls -al
    total 2016
    drwxrws--- 4 josh sambashare 125 May 21 22:15 .
    drwxr-xr-x 5 root sambashare 41 May 21 21:02 ..
    -rwxrw-r-- 1 josh sambashare 1219815 May 21 22:15 20210521-221522-H264(NAS)-00.tmp.mp4
    -rwxrw-r-- 1 josh sambashare 32768 May 21 22:15 20210521-221522-H264(NAS)-avt_idexs.mrf
    drwxrwsr-x 2 josh sambashare 6 May 21 21:35 New folder
    drwxrwsr-x 2 josh sambashare 51 May 21 22:15 .thumb
    I don't see a good way of uploading a 3 MB clip to the forum.

    Being h.264 its tiny.

    Image
    [Attachment 59060 - Click to enlarge]



    It also records to NAS using H.265 if that is what you want to use.

    Windows 7 browses the share and can playback the H.264 in the Preview Pane, but will not playback H.265 (i guess its too old).

    VLC plays back the H.264 or H.265 files without an error, and continuous loop playback works so both the beginnings and ends of the files have no fluffy ragged edges to confuse the player.


    Image
    [Attachment 59061 - Click to enlarge]



    So I can reason that (out of the box) firmware version 1.1.6.1 has a problem and the NAS connection does not work.

    I did not test the intermediate firmware versions and went straight to the latest available today, 1.1.8.2 and it was smooth sailing.

    I can say that the Streaming option connected to my YouTube account as intended.. I thought perhaps using a different type of connection was required to get the NAS option to work.. it did not. Only updating the firmware got it to work.

    Now I can get down to checking (cringe.. composite video capture).. I so.. so wish.. this was an S-Video connection.. gosh do I wish it was S-Video.

    The onscreen menus look somewhat familiar.. but adequate for a Standalone Streaming or NAS capture device.

    For a Size comparison, the box is the same size as my "smallish" Apple iPhone SE2 and about double the height.

    Its all plastic, but a "hard grippable - non-soft touchpaint" box with a little bit of heft.. so it stays put.

    I (love) the fact once its configured for NAS, you can ditch the remote and use the single (Big button) on the Left front to [Start-REC] to NAS or [Stop-REC] to NAS. This is just darned "smart".

    The onscreen menu confirms its starting and confirms its stopping.

    So you can loose the remote or put it away after its configured so it doesn't get lost.

    It is an IR remote, there is a little LED poking its face out the front lip... so using it in a bright room, or with drained batteries would likely be annoying. The Big-button solution is Perfecto !!

    This device is obviously still really new, and may have been launched prematurely.. since they have been finding bugs and fixing them with firmware updates.

    I sure like the modern Codec aspect of it, NAS aspect, Remote-less capture mode (aka the Big Red Button) and the SD (cringe.. composite) input. SD Component just wouldn't make sense for any one who wasn't trying to capture from a Cable, SAT box or Camera with Component output.. but S-Video would be perfect for the majority of VCRs that are still being held on to and used to convert or recover VHS tapes.

    I can't speak much to the "Studio" editing software built-in to the unit.. once the video is on my NAS. PC, or share space.. I'd probably just use something else.. like VideoRedo to edit the video.

    These initial tests were carried out with an NTSC / PAL test pattern generator.

    It records either type of signal, NTSC or PAL.

    To be absolutely clear.

    I recorded NTSC signals to H.264 and H.265

    I recorded PAL signals to H.264 and H.265

    It autodetects the signal type and automatically reconfigures the HDMI output signal indicating the type of signal presented to it on the AV port.. there is no Upscaling or Downscaling. It does this live, I did not have to reset or reboot the box.

    The marketing materials were unclear about PAL support, it has been verified.

    The marketing materials were unclear about H.265 support when recording to the NAS, it has been verified.. you can choose H.264 or H.265 and three different recording "speeds" or qualities.

    Oh.. btw.. the SD slot does support at least up to a 128 GB SD card. I did put one in to upgrade the firmware, and it records to it as well. NTFS is preferred.. so no 4 GB file size limitations.. and being H.264 or H.265 the estimated recording time is "enormous". I don't have a larger SD card.. so this is the lower documented limit at this time.

    The concept and execution is good.. I am just so concerned about real world results with a composite input. I am just not expecting a lot.
    Last edited by jwillis84; 21st May 2021 at 23:41.
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  25. devdev devdev's Avatar
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    How do think it compares to the elgato converter I wonder?
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    sorry if I'm a little confused, but which elgato converter?

    they have a lot of tv tuner converters, which also have a add-on s-video/composite input

    they have a stand alone elgato (white) converter with an add-on s-video/composite input

    they have the eyetv "converters" which are mostly third party tv tuners that began with firewire and went to usb 2.0 outputs, with various inputs

    they have the eyetv hdmi camera "converters"

    elgato got split into two companies and sold off and now plays mostly to the youtube video production crowd

    as for the ER330.. the NAS option is really game changing for the product.. it makes it incredibly flexible, it does work with windows Public folders.. so it will probably work with anything

    the ER330 composite capture input recording looks (awful) as to be expected, bad mistake going with composite.. for the stated purpose, they should have offered at least s-video input.. even component again.. but it does work.. as long as you don't blow up the captured image and hold your nose.. its barely better than nothing

    the ER330 hdmi capture input recording looks (decent), I plugged a Micomsoft Framemeister into the hdmi input so that I had an s-video input and recorded that to h.264 and it worked perfectly

    the h.264 files are pretty well supported across most playback platforms

    the h.265 files are sporadically supported for playback, mostly on newer platforms and they are "picky" some handle the playback ok, some don't recognize the codec even though they are supposed to

    so for compatibility.. stick with h.264 .. or stay with MPEG2 since that has been around almost 30 years

    the ER330 is h.264 or h.265 only.. its current, its modern.. neither the Composite Input or HDMI Input for recording have anything to clean up a bad signal.. if your signal is poor, you need a TBC or Frame Sync.. end of story.. for the price.. signal clean up just isn't included

    i guess.. i should make allowances for if Composite is the only output from your VCR.. in that situation.. it works.. within the limits of what Composite does. The Composite input has dot crawl, color fringing. If the signal drops, it doesn't buffer.. it stops recording. It does record Composite to h.264 or h.265 files.. they look the same. You can crank the bit rate up really high feeding the h.264 or h.265 encoder and produce larger files.. but the artifacts are just in high fidelity "crisp" dot crawl and "crispy" color fringing. -- digitized composite video comes with a lot of baggage, it works.. but the baggage is really hard to ignore
    Last edited by jwillis84; 26th May 2021 at 19:35.
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  27. devdev devdev's Avatar
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    thank again

    this was the product i was referring to https://www.elgato.com/en/video-capture
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    The Elgato "Video Capture for USB version 1 and version 2" are two different capture chips.

    My experience is the version 1 design was based on Empia with external support chips, the version 2 design is "still" Empia but with internal support.. so its a direct evolution of the Empia family.

    Prior to the version 1, Elgato actually sourced the Pinnacle Video recorder designs and even though they are drastically different shapes the same capture software recognized the larger Pinnacle device when the Elgato version 1 was attached. They're all the same design inside.

    My opinion is they aren't that good.. but you don't have a lot of choice on the Apple platform.

    I like Empia capture devices.. but I think the Vidbox device and drivers are "better".

    But all of these are so cheap they don't include anything "really" to stablize or frame buffer a bad signal coming from a VCR.

    If you want cheap and stable.. then you have to start looking at TV tuners that compress the signal down into MPEG2.. they had to clean up the signal, or they couldn't record a 1 or 2 hour program.. they had no choice. But they also don't require as fast a hard drive on the Mac or PC to store the video, because the audio and video stream are precompressed before they jump into the USB2.0 cable to go to the Mac or PC.

    So (really) the cheap dongles can capture.. but only good signals, like from a camcorder, and only to a Mac or PC that has really fast hard drives.. or hard drives that are fast and connected to a fast external interface.. like a eSATA or Thunderbolt port. Macs don't tend to come with more than one Thunderbolt port.. so on the Mac platform your kind of stuck with whatever the Mac has inside. And a single SATA SSD doesn't guarantee success.. its a hard bargain. They only work for small bursts of recording.. maybe 15 minutes.. the capture gets "backed up to the rafters" in memory.. and slowly catches up spooling to the hard disk.

    Prior to Thuderbolt, Macs had firewire.. and you could get MPEG2 TV Tuners for firewire.. they were kind of rare.. but an MPEG2 TV Tuner over USB2.0 works just fine.

    Professionals used firewire for raw uncompressed 422 capture, even 444, but they kind of maxed firewire out.. and had to be buffered on the actual capture device attached by firewire.
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