This is in response to this thread.
I've decided to go with a desktop-based video capture card as I believe it'll provide a better quality capture. From what I've heard from this thread here, these are considered the best capture cards around
ATI All In Wonder 9600 AGP
ATI All In Wonder 9800 Pro AGP
ATI TV Wonder HD 600 PCI
Diamond ATI TV Wonder HD 600 PCI
The "cream of the crop" is said to be the AIW AGP, while the current best is the TVW HD with the Diamond coming in second. Out of these models, which one is most recommended for capturing SD analog media?
The best advice I've heard for this is that an SD capture card should only be used to capture SD, and an HD card should only be used to capture HD.
Also, does CPU play a role in the quality of the capture?
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Last edited by jealousy91; 23rd Nov 2022 at 19:02.
Just to make sure, you are aware that these ATI AGP and PCI cards are about to become 20 years old and require a dedicated old desktop PC with Windows XP to run them?
Unless you already have a suitable desktop PC to put a really old piece of hardware in, I wouldn't consider the old ATI AGP cards to be an option and go with the Diamond. Just my 2 cents.
Last edited by Skiller; 21st Nov 2022 at 19:55.
Last edited by jealousy91; 22nd Nov 2022 at 16:25.
The 9800 Pro is an AGP card, which is a special form of PCI that had a direct connection with the CPU, AGP was mostly used during the Windows XP days.
The X800 (PCI express hence the "X") and 2006 (came in both forms, AGP and PCI express)
PCI was the old parallel version of computer buses, wide connectors.
PCI express was the jumping off point when everything went serial, narrow connectors
At the same time PC hard drives went from parallel to serial, ATA/IDE(PATA) to SATA
There were a lot of reasons, electronics had finally caught up to methods that enable serial connections to be as fast, and exceed those of parallel.. and it was cheaper and less error prone to have fewer parallel connections on a connector.. and less wear and tear connecting and disconnecting.. but that affected hard drives more.
PCI express was first native to Windows Vista and Windows 7 and beyond, adding it on to Windows XP with special ad on drivers was less "Easy" and less stable.
Today OS'es are more familiar with PCI express.. and Thunderbolt incorporated a PCI express extension into those connectors.. which eventually got incorporated into USB 3.1 C and beyond
The ATI cards have a hefty 12 bit analog to digital converter chip that basically digitizes "everything" from the raw analog video signal.. its a do all chip, from there the digital data has to be software massaged into whatever storage format you want, be that compressed or uncompressed, lossy or lossless.
That is kind of uncommon, it was more common to offload the video decoding function into a separate chip for that purpose, like from Philips or Cypress or Analog Devices.. back in those days.. after it was turned into digital data.. you could perform either software or hardware massaging of the digital data, say in preparation for conversion to AVI, DV, MPEG2 or h.264 file format storage.. you could even do things like digital filters.. to clean out digital artifacts, noise or time base correct.. all in separate chips.. by the time of 2010 most of all those separate chip functions had been taken onboard into singular do all chips.
The cheap way was if you just wanted uncompressed raw frame data.. you captured.. then shoved it across a connector to the PC.. like across USB.. and dumped it into a file on the PC or then did software compression realtime, or software compression (transcoding) after on the capture file. But you had little opportunity to correct for lost data like missing frames, glitches in the signal, or missing audio samples.. and got lip sync errors.
A different way was to try try to clean up the signal and pass it into a hardware compression device before sending it to the PC, that was more immune to lip sync problems.. but you then had to make decisions up front and lost the ability to second guess yourself after the capture.
Yet another way.. was to convert over to a format called SDI, which digitized the frames and interleaved the audio but did not perform compression and stored and forwarded the audio video pseudo live.. but always in sync.. but was far more expensive for the hardware.. what used to cost $!5k usd has fallen in the used market to around $500 usd today.. for that cost they also had frame synchronizers meant for genlock, but that could also make decisions while capturing if there were missing video frames or audio samples.. what to do .. repeat frames, insert blank frames, abort the capture, report the missing frames and continue as soon as signal reacquired. Video switchers also had genlock abilities because they "Switched" between sources and had to have that ability..and today are sometimes used as pseudo frame sychronizers.. with fewer options over exactly what they do when signal is lost or reacquired.
And ATI card is near the beginning of "time" when video capture was just becoming possible, they came out before hardware compression was really available or affordable. I have a lot of ATI cards.. and I marvel at them.. and learned a lot from them.. but they are of a time when you really needed to run Windows XP or Windows Vista or Windows 7
Concurrent with all this your likely to eventually run into the SD versus HDTV limitations of PCIexpress USB2.0 and USB3.0
SD was mostly a 720x480 pixel or sample spot image frame format.. around 2010 HDTV got popular and blew that resolution out of the water.. and it really wasn't possible to shove that much data across a low end PCIexpress or USB 2.0 connected device unless is was precompressed with a hardware compression device.. often yet another chip inside whatever capture device was used.
Places like Blackmagic experimented with the USB3.0 connector.. and is was basically a disaster of epic proportions.. the USB 3.0 chip Manufacturers ganged up on the standards committee and basically dissolved the USB 3.0 standard so it was meaningless.. just about the only faithful manufacturer to make a USB 3.0 chip was NEC/Renesas .. everyone else said bah humbug and made chip kock offs and put them in cheap motherboards and laptops.. so one USB 3.0 device could not work with just any USB 3.0 chipset. Blackmagic tried an education program.. but got drowned out and gave up.. and eventually just went SDI like everyone else.. SDI was scalable and went from 3G to 6G to 12G to mad levels.. they just kept upping the silicon to handle larger and larger bandwidths and higher and higher resolutions to connect to the PC.. they made multilane PCI express cards, then Thunderbolt (PCIexpress in disguise) and now USB3.1 USB 4.0 and beyond Thunderbolt devices.
The bad rap Blackmagic gets is for not making a cheap SD timebase corrector / frame sychronizer for people converting less than perfect signals like from a consumer VCR. In 2009 the US government discontinued SDTV broadcasts and the rest of the world followed. Everything went compressed digital broadcasts.. so the need for poor signal correction fell off the priority list and places like a Blackmagic or AJA didn't see a need to support those needs. Snell &Wilcox a place out of the UK did an admirable job with NTSC and PAL.. but eventually got sold off again and again and became part of the GrassValley where their products were eventually discontinued. S&W did make two very nice compact TBC/FS but they were not cheap.. today and in the past others looked towards used DVD recorders with pass-thru to perform the same jobs.. in a brain dead super simple manner.. but little control over how and what they actually did to the signal in pass-thru modes. .. well thats not entirely true.. but for all practical purposes it is true. Blackmagic did make one last attempt at the ultimate SD capture device with all the bells and whistles and even threw in SDI and USB 3.0 .. but the device is so rare to find these days.. its really not worth a mention.
Last edited by jwillis84; 22nd Nov 2022 at 11:52.
I hope you have an external frame TBC that can also remove the copy protection.
The ATI cards were known to be very sensitive to copy protection (Macrovision). This also applies to recordings with no copy protection and only the ATI cards recognized a copy protection.
But since the ATI cards are the ultimate capture cards for some users this is not a bug but rather a feature. Just google it.
Do not get the AIW PCIe cards. Issues.
AGP is best.
There's also a rare USB, and a single/certain very rare PCI version of the early AGP. Those allow for far more modern hardware, such as Intel 7th gen i7/5/3, SATA3, etc. Certain boards from 2017 work well, using the modern Integral unofficial community edition of XP.
Because whatever you're seeing here is incomplete. For example, in the 2020s, TBC-1000 has common issues with bad caps, and it can be difficult to fix. Sometimes impossible, irreparable.
Almost all cards have issues with signal/timing errors, including the artificial errors that are anti-copy (Macrovision and others).
I just wanted to point this out because often enough I read about someone new to this on a forum, expecting all of the hardware they read about in 10+ years old threads to work great with their newest, beefy PC.
But setting up 20 years old computer hardware to run an AGP graphics card for capturing is not for everyone either, and I certainly would not recommend it for the beginner. It's for the enthusiast.
Starting in 2019, TBC-1000 started to have massive issues, like AG-1980P, and it just gets worse. You can no longer buy that model from random places, it needs attention, refurb work. Otherwise it will have ghosting, chroma issues, etc, if it even turns on anymore.
Especially do NOT buy from eBay, as almost all units are now sold by know-nothing resellers, not video users. I've written multiple posts on why eBay is now bad for video gear in the digitalFAQ.com forum General section. At the moment, I have 3 units here needing refurb, and it only gets harder with time. I'm starting to get fed up by TBC-1000 the way Deter is getting fed up by AG-1980 decks, because unskilled hacks have made these worse with botched DIY fix attempts. Lots of recent dFAQ posts on that, too, by other members there, trying to re-DIY repair botched DIY repairs. And that's the crap you now find on eBay, Craigslist, Facebook, etc. Lots of bad gear gets resold to the next sucker. Refuse to believe me at your own peril, again refer the those threads mentioned.
Realize that I detest sounding so negative, like orsetto, our friendly resident curmudgeon at VH. But shit stinks out there, it's not roses. It needs to be stated as a warning to newbies that have a tendency to run to eBay, believe the "tested" and "working" BS, and smack the buy button, oblivious to the likely consequences. eBay is gambling not buying. If you want to take a chance (and realize that the "buyer protection" has lots of caveats and gotchas, you're not as safe as you may think), then go for it, pull the handle, hope for cherries. But if you just want to use good gear, not futz with (often not-great to bad) gear, then seek out safer places to buy it. There's a few of us that refurb gear, PAL and NTSC.
The entire reason I got into gear refurb was because it was disappearing, either entirely, or in good condition. I refuse to let "little weird" Youtube idiots lead you to $5 HDMI adapters, thrift store VCR, ruin the quality, and make crap video conversions. To do a good DIY job, all you need is the quality hardware.
, there is no need to use old cards and old OS, because we have excellent solutions with modern cards and OSs,
or with a HDMI capture from a specific DVD-R recorder.
Almost never. That almost exclusively happens in the early 2000s, with budget systems (VIA/AMD), with non-quality audio cards (onboard/SoundBlaster/etc). If using AIW, use TBSC for audio, done.
avisynth scripts, solutions, etc. despite your aliases and signatures. Ever.)
or with a HDMI capture from a specific DVD-R recorder.
Few DVD recorders from back in the day did have some standardization over HDMI in 480i mode, the trouble is are often designed with TV display in mind so the video processing chip is tied to brightness, Hue, contrast and audio volume control, not sure if all DVD recorders have image and audio processing but I now few that do have control over those parameters so I wouldn't call that raw lossless if it was processed, Lets not get into Chinese analog to HDMI adapters because we all know those are not compliant. Generally, legacy HDMI SD 480i is not that bad especially if it's the only way to a stable image.
Last edited by dellsam34; 24th Nov 2022 at 04:30. Reason: spell
Lets not get into Chinese analog to HDMI adapters because we all know those are not compliant
legacy HDMI SD 480i is not that bad especially if it's the only way to a stable image
On the other, hands nobody here is diminish the excellent value of specific AIW capture cards. It's just that there are other proved options.
The green units are highly variable, due to heat damage to internals, due to poor/cheap design of the unit. Some are failed, many have "attitude problems" (flaky), the minority are still fine. But you must take care of it, no leaving it on for a full day, overnight, etc. Use a UPS, not wall power, not a pathetic "surge" strip.
Never trust eBay sellers to know what "working" truly means, as it takes a few sustained capture sessions to see the issues, not just a 2-minute test, not just plugging it in and seeing LED lights. Some shady sellers have even swapped black cases onto greens, this was seen just a few months ago. There's also a quasi late version green, which is only viable if certain criteria are met.
Again, where you get these, who you get them from, matters more than a model number. Don't random buy, $K is too much to gamble, even several $$$ is too much to gamble. Fools easily part with money, don't be one.
I've covered most of this, multiple times, in the digitalFAQ.com forums.
There are various Cypress clones and "clones", but general rules are the same as the AVT-8710 model, some specifics to the models. (Some of these are a bit rare, so really not worth discussing unless found.)