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  1. Member tugatomsk's Avatar
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    In order to archive my PAL VHS and Betamax tapes, I created a dual boot system on my computer. Adding to my previous win10, I now also have Windows XP Pro SP2 32bit (that I can boot through the boot menu). I was lucky that the MB of my i3-2100 (Intel Corporation DH61SA (LGA1155 CPU 1)) still supported WinXP.

    A friend of mine borrowed me a USB capture pen-drive Pinnacle PCTV PMC 800e, which only works on WinXP 32bit. He claims that "it was one of the last truly good ones". He advised me to archive my data using the codec FFV1 version 3, as it is very good. Virtualdub2 includes that codec, so off I went and connected my VCR via SCART directly into the composite plugs of the pen-drive. (The VCR is a Sony SLV-SX700 (Hifi with 6 heads.)

    I started "Capture AVI" in VDub2 but there was no image whatsoever from the VCR. I couldn't start video capture or even test video capture because it would invariably return the error "unable to capture video". Everything seemed correct: the PAL settings, the codec, the drive in "device" was selected, the drivers had been updated, yet I still couldn't even start.

    However, I discovered that the original video recording software from Pinnacle included a hardware options in settings where I could test the video preview of the pen drive. To my surprise, there was image from my VCR!

    Then I found the log in VDub2. As it stands:

    * with ffdshow_rev4533_20140929_clsid (32bit).exe *

    "CapDShow:failed to build filter graph: create renderer (VFW error code 80040273, VFW_E_DDRAWW_CAPS_NOT_SUITABLE)"


    I can't get around this error.

    Then I remembered to test it with VirtualDub 1.10.4, my latest non-VDub2 version. To my amazement, there was signal and I was able to capture the video! However, with 1.10.4 I can only capture in FFV1 with ffdshow (I set to yuv422p), whose encoder settings seem a big finicky to me. I'm not sure I'm getting as much video quality and fidelity as I would be getting with VDub2's FFV1... Not to mention the interlacing seems a bit off to me...

    Another strange thing is that, in Capture Filter -> Video Decoder, there's no signal or lines detected, despite clearly having video signal coming from my VCR. Is this important?

    I made a test video using Virtualdub 1.10.4 with fddshow's FFV1 to show you. Tell me what you think of it.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rgCDASiTF6P7v6kl016jjPP7Ucn8Wq9_/view?usp=sharing

    Here's the most dubious test: there are no interlaced fields even though it's a standard PAL recording from a VHS VCR!
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uOZjfLBzTugx0B9KMdfXRvYqmZie0xiK/view?usp=sharing


    How can I solve the issue with VDub2? Should I just switch to 1.10.4 or even an earlier version? Is fddshow's FFV1 just as good as VDub2's FFV1?

    Thank you in advance.


    Cheers.
    Last edited by tugatomsk; 18th Aug 2022 at 20:17. Reason: aditional data
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    I have two of the Pinnacle PCTV 800e.

    Afraid I have bad news for you.

    First there are Windows 7 compatible device drivers as well as for Windows XP , one from 2007 and one from 2010.

    The one from 2007 is slightly more stable than the one from 2010.

    The one from 2010 is the one your most likely to download from the Internet, and was the later released driver, but its worse than the earlier one.

    However there is a flaw in the design that makes synchronizing the captured video to audio impossible.

    AMCap will capture and Preview both audio and video with the 2007 driver on Windows 7 x64, but the sound is way off and drifts behind further and further the longer it runs.

    AmaRec will capture video, but will shutdown with a message that the driver works for capturing audio, but the timing is so far off it cannot reconcile even in preview mode and stops the capture.

    VirtualDub 1.9.11 will capture audio and video, but it will not warn you of the increasing drifting sync between audio and video. The sync error panel to the right records +0 error for the entire session.

    So while AmaRec does detect a problem and aborts, VirtualDub will merrily attempt a capture but its far from useful. The capture from AMcap is not much better, it avoids clicks and pops but the drift just keeps running away.

    The 800e has a Texas Instruments tvp5150, so it does really good video capture, but its partnered with an eMPIA 2883 combo USB bridge and audio capture chip.

    The design came after they stopped using lesser quality video capture chips but before really good audio capture chips were partnered with a USB bridge chip.

    The eMPIA 2883 is fundamentally an 8051 microprocessor with extra hardware to do things like audio capture and USB port interfacing on the same silicon.. it was heavily tasked with doing so much it could easily be overwhelmed.

    Eventually eMPIA would come out with a do-all chip that captured both audio and video in one chip.. and other manufactures would use a different design that was more stable and reliable.

    In the old days you might capture (only the video) using the 800e, and direct VirtualDub or other software to capture the Audio from a Sound card attached to the motherboard. But synchrony is still a major problem. You then have two separate capture and sampling streams and nothing to keep them in sync. At least when they are both coming through the USB connection, the device on the other end from the PC has complete control and the opportunity to attempt to fairly distribute the USB bandwidth between audio and video and drop both if one or the other is captured and determined to be incomplete or corrupt. That introduced an discontinuity in the audio video stream, but its uniform and maintains the sync.

    The Hauppauge LiveUSB

    The AverMedia Ezmaker C039

    The IO_Data GVUSB

    All make better designs and have better drivers which will work with VirtualDub with a lot less trouble.

    I'd suggest you buy one of those instead.

    All of these can still be bought new, and used online from places like Amazon or eBay.. and probably sourced locally in your country since it sounds like your capturing PAL.

    If you really want o use this device though, I'd suggest you use the PCTV TV capture software that came with the device or download a copy.

    Its remotely possible the original manufacturers compensated for the short comings of the device on the Windows XP platform with really large PC memory buffers which understood the timing problems in the design and reformed or reshifted them back into sync.

    I can't be sure of this since I never installed the PCTV TV capture software. It required Windows XP and wants to set up an Electronic Program Guide (EPG) before letting to get to using the Composite and S-Video inputs. Its really meant to be used with its Tuner and over the air TV programs.
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    This is a working Graph for the PCTV 800e

    Under the hood most capture software will be using something similar.

    The extra SmartTee filters are to provide "extra buffers" in case the USB port is overloaded or the stream isn't smooth.. it buys a little stability and can playback.. okay.. but thats only because it pops and clicks dropping samples to keep up with the video.

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    This is a much better Graph, few or no clicks and pops.

    But its highly un-intuitive, most capture software will not want to treat a single capture device as independent free-running pieces of hardware.

    Especially when they are attached to the PC by a single USB connection.

    The fact that I could find a "weird" pattern, to make it work.. which VirtualDub obviously does not want to use it like this.. points towards the possibility that the original PCTV 800e TV Capture software probably does work.

    Its simply that their hardware and driver architecture are so unusual you won't be able to use more conventional "universal" capture software.



    I'm not much of a programmer.. but Directshow has old fashioned VisualBasic 'Bindings' .. so you don't have to write a program in Visual C++ to make a working capture program.

    If you were really into doing stuff old and crusty and not give up on this device.

    Its an interesting museum piece.. but there are easier to use replacements that work better with VirtualDub or AmaRec out of the box.
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  5. Member tugatomsk's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
    This is a much better Graph, few or no clicks and pops.

    But its highly un-intuitive, most capture software will not want to treat a single capture device as independent free-running pieces of hardware.

    Especially when they are attached to the PC by a single USB connection.

    The fact that I could find a "weird" pattern, to make it work.. which VirtualDub obviously does not want to use it like this.. points towards the possibility that the original PCTV 800e TV Capture software probably does work.

    Its simply that their hardware and driver architecture are so unusual you won't be able to use more conventional "universal" capture software.



    I'm not much of a programmer.. but Directshow has old fashioned VisualBasic 'Bindings' .. so you don't have to write a program in Visual C++ to make a working capture program.

    If you were really into doing stuff old and crusty and not give up on this device.

    Its an interesting museum piece.. but there are easier to use replacements that work better with VirtualDub or AmaRec out of the box.
    Thank tou for your detailed replies. I'll have to test the sync of a full length tape.

    Those alternatives you mentioned provide the same video quality as the PMC?
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    Hauupague USB-Live2
    https://hauppauge.com/pages/products/data_usblive2.html
    Connexant cx23102 instead of the tvp5150

    Avermedia EzMaker7 C039P
    https://www.avermedia.com/us/product-detail/C039
    https://vhsconverters.com/avermedia-dvd-ezmaker-7-review/
    Connexant cx23102 instead of the tvp5150

    IO-Data USB GV-USB2
    https://ikidomarinosaki.fc2.net/blog-entry-61.html
    https://iotku.pw/gvusb2-guide/
    Techwell TW9910 instead of the tvp5150

    I talked about those and a few others a little over a year ago
    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/401570-Hauppauge-USB-Live2-vs-IO-Data-GV-USB2#post2619908

    These have been around for many years and 'evolved' from barely working designs to fairly ordinary commodity devices that work fairly well on things from Windows XP all the way up to Windows 11.

    They are becoming less common these days. But new ones are still being made as they get repurposed.

    Most chip makers say they are still making the chips to support automobile backup cameras using analog signal digital video cameras.

    Their suitability for capturing VHS video is.. meh..

    They are fast enough internally now to deliver Standard Definition Video and Audio over USB 2.0 but not great.

    They can drop frames and loose audio samples resulting in de-sync or clicks and pops.

    If you capture one program from a tape at a time.. it won't be "that bad".. but many people would say don't bother.

    Footage from a Camcorder is much shorter in length, so has less opportunity to loose sync.

    Picture Quality wise it looks great capturing from a Satellite box, Tivo or other very stable signal source.

    A VHS player needs signal correction, in the horizontal and the vertical.. and a method for avoiding dropped frames and audio samples. You can play guessing games with buying a Timebase Corrector and Frame Sync.. or try putting the signals through an old DVD recorder inputs and taking it from the outputs and seeing if it processes the Input to the Output and stabilizes the signal. The DVD drive burner doesn't have to work.. its the signal processing circuit in the device that is the "gold" in those throw away devices. There are specific recommendations lists to go hunting.. but many people now just try what ever is available at a second hard thrift store.. or their grandparents attic.

    Playing the game of finding the "best" gear for capture is kind of a fools errand unless your running a business at it.

    I am a "maximum fool"..

    What matters the most at the price level your doing things is the device driver support.. and how the software you choose to use reacts when trying to use it.

    VirtualDub was a hobby project for a guy way back in the Windows 98 days.. and got updated and added on to for years until he quit, the last release the original author made was VirtualDub 1.9.11

    VirtualDub Mod2 was a "branch" or attempt to pickup the code and continue it further by another group of guys.. its been done many times over in different projects.. they go for a while and then stop.

    Mostly there is 1.9.11 and then "there is everyone else".. but that's not really canonical "VirtualDub".

    VirtualDub has its quirks, all versions.. its a good beginners tool.. some semi-pros use it with old gear, like usb capture devices.

    A Step up would be PowerDirector.. but that's a long.. divergent story.

    VH - VideoHelp, has decades of stories and comparisons on USB capture devices.. and the journey for me is still going on.. I've moved on to USB3.0, Thunderbolt, PCIexpress and SDI capture devices.

    And my secret dark side, is I also dabble in the black arts of hardware compressed video capture.. and get ostracized for it quite often.

    WARNING: not all USB capture devices are "good", that is picture quality, device driver quality, stability vary a lot.

    I'm stubborn and try them even if not recommended, and learn my lessons the hard way. Many decades, at least 30 years of USB capture devices means there are some very old, and some very new designs.. with old and new chips.

    And even when new some of the older designs were simply awful. With age, their capacitors have either failed or short circuited and will no longer produce a picture. So newer designs, and newer more recent manufacture dates.. are generally better.

    Hauppauge, Avermedia, IO-Data have been around in one form or the other since nearly the beginning.

    Hauppauge is a US Importer and reseller of designs mostly from China.

    Avermedia is a large company sort of like LG out of Taiwan with designs mostly from Taiwan (all of them I think).. and they like to release update drivers and software often. And SDK kits that support DirectShow.. they've been at it for the long haul and I have a love hate relationship with their designs. They are good.. and will play to any customer base, but they have strongly pivoted towards the Game capture, Re-streaming market.

    IO-Data is a good old fashioned Japanese company which suffers no fools themselves and generally makes gorgeous video capture devices.. but copy cats and counterfeiters make fake versions of their stuff. And IO-Data does not sell direct to the English speaking market, all of their docs are in Japanese. - most of the cheap knockoff devices you can buy on eBay look exactly like some form of IO-Data design.. but they generally come out of China and don't produce great picture quality. Getting a genuine, original IO-Data GV-USB2 usually costs North of $70 usd plus shipping. But markets can vary.. generally I think they keep their value however since people "know" if its made or designed in Japan, and Japan does not sell things cheap.

    Those three are a good sampling of the state of the art today, there have been many others before and many China companies of notable ability.. but the quality varies and the device drivers are rarely updated.

    If you need cheap or get a chance at a Hauppuage USB-Live2, the company is an Importer, but a good filter of good versus bad when they resell something from China. They pick the cream of the crop and sell good stuff. But since the device driver support is one step removed from the source, you usually can't get updated drivers. They have on occasion had employees who left Hauppauge and developed their own drivers and sold them independently, like with the Colossus and Pocket Rocket USB capture devices. They're a fun company to just browse and their website is always top notch and keeps very old device driver support online.. much like Avermedia. They may no longer sell it, but they keep the support up.. which is mega-kudos to me.

    We just spoke of Windows PC video capture; the whole world changes when you talk Apple and OSX/macOS.

    Universally though the whole industry is moving towards a very old specification called UVC/UVA and new new devices are starting to only support that.. which is another rabbit hole.. but essentially they don't give you a lot of control over settings, they output capture frames and its good or bad.. and that it.. you can't tweak anything.
    Last edited by jwillis84; 21st Aug 2022 at 12:39.
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    Considering your location.

    I think AverMedia EzMaker 7 would be the best target, if your looking for something.

    They have the best device drivers and software support, and sdk support for developers. This matters because third parties can get information on their designs and customize their programs to support it.

    Hauppauge offers the same chip in its capture device for about the same price or cheaper, but has a slightly less open or "available" source of information for developers. The USB-Live2 is great.. but there have been batches where they were "not so great". Their chief advantage is cheap and available.. where it might be harder to get an Avermedia so far from Taiwan. In the US and North America, Hauppauge has product on brick and mortar store shelves.. so its a "go to" brand. But probably not so much in Europe.

    IO-Data is the best picture quality in (my opinion) and they went to town developing their own capture chip. But they don't release device driver updates and they are hard to purchase. The setup menus for the device driver and bundled software are all in Japanese.. so you can struggle to get it to work.. and mostly I think people want "reliable and easy to use" over absolute picture quality. I will say their initial device driver is also very good and "just works" with most Directshow software.. but that's sort of the Japanese way.. do or don't do.. if it didn't work out of the box they wouldn't ship it.

    Some other companies would ship it broken and fix it in the web release of their drivers. (now.. wonder.. how I would know that? - sarcasm)

    WARNING!

    All of these were designed for Camcorder footage length capture "Sessions" so they heat up and run (very) hot. This will over time damage and degrade the USB capture device since they have a tiny circuit board inside and little to no ventilation. Its best to buy a USB Fan and keep it flowing over both sides of the case at all times.. even when just starting up. Sitting one on the ledge of a air conditioner to blow cold air over them would be even better.. if more awkward.

    Capturing VHS tapes usually takes more than 2 hours, and full length EP tapes.. could take up to 6 or 8.. its really hard on a VCR to playback a tape that long in one go.. its best to break it up and give the gear a rest. Though opinions will vary quite a bit about that. Some consider the VCR 'sacrificial' and easy to replace.. I don't think so. At least not like they used to be. - Breaking up the capture session into "Program lengths" also puts a hard stop on audio and video drift due to frame drops and audio sample loss; each new session starts "in sync" fresh.
    Last edited by jwillis84; 21st Aug 2022 at 13:11.
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  8. Member tugatomsk's Avatar
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    Thank you for your detailed explanation!

    Fortunately, I have good news: I conducted the ultimate test, recording four straight hours of tape on VDub 1.9.11 using lagarith and WAV. The result: no loss of syncro whatsoever! The 2008 drivers for this pen drive seemed to do the trick. I really like the video quality.

    I'm all set, then.
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    That is good news.

    I am curious about the 2008 device driver.

    And you called it a pen drive.. which makes me wonder if you actually have the 801e capture stick instead of the 800e.

    The 801e is more common in Europe, where the 800e is more common in North America because of the ATSC tuner

    The difference could make all the difference in the world.

    This is the 800e



    This is the 801e



    It would be helpful to other people who come across this thread to know for sure if you were using the 800e or the 801e.

    The 801e used the Conexant CX25843 instead of the 800e Texas Instruments tvp5150 as a video decoder.

    The Conexant CX25843 is a higher end, much later chip design which in theory could do both audio and video and could have simplified the design and been much more stable than the multi-chip design of the 800e.

    Also the numbering scheme of 801e versus 800e suggests it came later and thus could have benefited from learning from mistakes made in designing the 800e.
    Last edited by jwillis84; 21st Aug 2022 at 22:18.
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  10. Member tugatomsk's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
    That is good news.

    I am curious about the 2008 device driver.

    And you called it a pen drive.. which makes me wonder if you actually have the 801e capture stick instead of the 800e.

    The 801e is more common in Europe, where the 800e is more common in North America because of the ATSC tuner

    The difference could make all the difference in the world.

    This is the 800e



    This is the 801e



    It would be helpful to other people who come across this thread to know for sure if you were using the 800e or the 801e.

    The 801e used the Conexant CX25843 instead of the 800e Texas Instruments tvp5150 as a video decoder.

    The Conexant CX25843 is a higher end, much later chip design which in theory could do both audio and video and could have simplified the design and been much more stable than the multi-chip design of the 800e.

    Also the numbering scheme of 801e versus 800e suggests it came later and thus could have benefited from learning from mistakes made in designing the 800e.
    According to those pictures, I do have the 800e.
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