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  1. Member
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    *This question is not about getting 1080P detail out of VHS. This is about adapters.

    I'm having a dilemma right now...

    So I have VHS tapes and Hi8 tapes that export the image in 480i. I'm looking to digitize my tapes. However my television sets are 1080P HDMI. My capture cards are 1080P HDMI. I have a few options to consider, and I don't really want to buy a desktop card with S-Video unless the picture quality will be significantly better. I would need to finish building my desktop tower in that case. I have an iMac with Thunderbolt.

    Are there S-Video to HDMI adapters that don't upscale? If not, does upscaling make the image worse such as blurring the image? Would 480i blown up on a 1080P television look better upscaled or non upscaled? I was thinking about purchasing a Framemeister and forcing it 4:3 aspect ratio only in 1080P resolution. I want to use HDMI if at all possible for convenience.

    What are the best options for upscaling? Or is this something I should avoid all together and go with s-video capture card?
    Last edited by BenKlesc; 18th May 2021 at 15:13.
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  2. Member Skiller's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BenKlesc View Post
    Are there S-Video to HDMI adapters that don't upscale?
    Highly doubt it, but even if there are: those adapters are not suitable to the task of capturing a jittery analog tape source. The fact that they upscale is not the worst part, it's the actual way they handle the instabilities of analog tape. Most likely they go into blanking mode (black screen) very easily.
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    Originally Posted by Skiller View Post
    Originally Posted by BenKlesc View Post
    Are there S-Video to HDMI adapters that don't upscale?
    Highly doubt it, but even if there are: those adapters are not suitable to the task of capturing a jittery analog tape source. The fact that they upscale is not the worst part, it's the actual way they handle the instabilities of analog tape. Most likely they go into blanking mode (black screen) very easily.
    That's interesting. It would be great if someone made an HDMI capture device that is optimized for 480i. Don't think there is a huge market for that. Then I wouldn't have to rely on 1990's capture cards and I would be able to use the latest versions of Windows and OSX.

    I should also note I will be using an external TBC along the signal path. Interestingly enough I was looking on Amazon at the various cheapo S-Video > HDMI adapters and someone asked the same question I am curious about. More or less what I may be looking for.

    Can it convert the signal rca to hdmi without upscaling?
    A: It's just channels RCA signals(video, audio- right and audio-left) to HDMI single output and does not upscale quality of signal.
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  4. Member Skiller's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BenKlesc View Post
    I should also note I will be using an external TBC along the signal path.
    That will help dramatically. With a TBC any S-Video to HDMI converter at least won't struggle with the signal, but you still get sub-par scaling and deinterlacing.

    Originally Posted by BenKlesc View Post
    Can it convert the signal rca to hdmi without upscaling?
    A: It's just channels RCA signals(video, audio- right and audio-left) to HDMI single output and does not upscale quality of signal.
    Sounds to me like it does not visibly enhance image quality but most likely still does upscale the video.
    If a device claims 1080p (which afaik they all do) and does not have any user controls such as switches and buttons, you can be pretty darn sure it'll always upscale to 1080p because there is simply no way disable that.

    You could however look into (Panasonic) DVD-Recorders with HDMI output. Those generally have options for what format the HDMI output should be. In fact I do use a Panasonic DMR-EH 575 for capturing VHS via it's HDMI output set to 576i (PAL here) into a Blackmagic Intensity Pro (PCI-E) and it works great.
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    Originally Posted by Skiller View Post
    You could however look into (Panasonic) DVD-Recorders with HDMI output. Those generally have options for what format the HDMI output should be. In fact I do use a Panasonic DMR-EH 575 for capturing VHS via it's HDMI output set to 576i (PAL here) into a Blackmagic Intensity Pro (PCI-E) and it works great.
    That sounds closer to the solution I am looking for. So it can be used as a pass through? Also does it keep 4:2:2 or downgrade to 4:2:0/4:1:1?

    I'm also assuming if I have an NTSC VCR I would want an NTSC model of the DVD recorders if that matters.
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  6. Member Skiller's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BenKlesc View Post
    So it can be used as a pass through? Also does it keep 4:2:2 or downgrade to 4:2:0/4:1:1?
    In my case it takes the signal from the VCR via S-Video and stereo RCA and then outputs it via HDMI into an HDMI splitter and then into my HDMI capture card. The splitter is unfortunately necessary to remove HDCP from the HDMI output because the Panasonic recorders have it switched on all the time. Output via HDMI is in 4:2:2 and it is not downgraded at any point.
    As a bonus, this line of Panasonic recorders has pretty good "TBC like" capabilities (straightening jiggly vertical lines) and copes very well with analog tape signals (so I don't need to use an external TBC at all).

    Originally Posted by BenKlesc View Post
    I'm also assuming if I have an NTSC VCR I would want an NTSC model of the DVD recorders if that matters.
    DVD-recorders sold in PAL terretories all generally do fully support NTSC. The mentioned Panasonic line of recorders does as well. Look out for DMR-EH and DMR-ES models with HDMI.
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    Thank you very much for the help! That solution is exactly what I am looking for.
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  8. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    PAL recorders do not fully support NTSC. Like their vcr brethren, they support quasi-ntsc. But few allow to switch natively between ntsc and pal, and fewer still do actual standards conversion to the other format.


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    Oh wow. Last night I was looking at the Aja FS4 capabilities. That seems like a nifty unit to have around.

    "AJA Video Systems today unveiled FS4, the most advanced all digital frame sync and universal up/down/cross converter ever from AJA, supporting 4K, UltraHD, 2K, HD and SD workflows in a 1RU frame. FS4 offers unparalleled flexibility and offers two modes. Single-channel mode provides a full suite of video processing options for 4K/UltraHD with the ability to up, down, cross-convert to and from a 2K/HD/SD input or output. Four-channel mode enables four channels of 2K/HD/SD simultaneous processing, offering multi-channel density. Outputs in chosen resolution."
    Last edited by BenKlesc; 19th May 2021 at 05:03.
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  10. Member Skiller's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    PAL recorders do not fully support NTSC. Like their vcr brethren, they support quasi-ntsc.
    Wait, this is not about playback, this is about recording (or passthrough). They all do standard PAL and standard NTSC on their inputs. Yes with the mentioned Panasonics it requires changing the "global" PAL/NTSC setting manually.
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  11. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Maybe I didn't state it clearly, but that is what I thought. I just don't want people to get the impression that it would automatically conform its recording standard based on an incoming signal. Manual switch, even for the best of decks.


    Scott
    Last edited by Cornucopia; 19th May 2021 at 12:07.
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  12. Yeah the PAL Panasonics support standard NTSC 3.58, the newer PAL Pioneer/Sony ones support PAL60 and NTSC 4.43 in addition to normal NTSC, and I think SECAM as well. They all have to be switched manually between 525-line and 625 line still, otherwise you get weird effects on the panasonic one, and a warning on the pioneer/sony ones. Most other PAL dvd-recorders are PAL (and possibly secam) only as far as I know (even though the hardware/video chips themselves in pretty much all dvd-recorders support a variety of formats)

    Besides dvd-recorders, there are the ADV7842 evaluation boards (chip has both full-frame tbc and jitter correction), but it seems they've started refusing selling them to end users now.

    The new retrotink 5x pro also comes with something similar, possibly using the same chip, it's mainly aimed towards game consoles but they seem to have included a buffered mode in the new version (the old retrotink 2x does not work well for videotape stuff.). I haven't seen any details from end-users how well it works in practice though. The planned pixelfx morph scaler seems to have similar capabilities but is not out yet.

    Some AV receivers also contain similar stuff to dvd-recorders and can go from analog to hdmi (and would similarly probably need a splitter), but I haven't seen any tests/reportrs of them from users so I have no idea how well they would work.
    Last edited by oln; 20th May 2021 at 09:05.
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  13. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BenKlesc View Post
    Oh wow. Last night I was looking at the Aja FS4 capabilities. That seems like a nifty unit to have around.

    "AJA Video Systems today unveiled FS4, the most advanced all digital frame sync and universal up/down/cross converter ever from AJA, supporting 4K, UltraHD, 2K, HD and SD workflows in a 1RU frame. FS4 offers unparalleled flexibility and offers two modes. Single-channel mode provides a full suite of video processing options for 4K/UltraHD with the ability to up, down, cross-convert to and from a 2K/HD/SD input or output. Four-channel mode enables four channels of 2K/HD/SD simultaneous processing, offering multi-channel density. Outputs in chosen resolution."
    I don't think they meant by SD, VHS. Those are pro devices made for 4K studio workflow and cost thousands, I highly doubt they can work with noisy VHS signal, Engineers who designed gear made for old tape formats are long gone, the new generation have a different design standards in mind.
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