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IDS Falcon compared to £41 MSI tv@nywhere (CX23881 10-bit capture card)

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Rob.Screene, Oct 12, 2002.

  1. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Can't quite justify £650 on a holo3dgraph? Me neither!

    I tried the above MSI card in my Windows Me P3 1GHz/128MB HTPC. I wanted it do do clean Laserdisc captures until DScaler support appears, when I can make it my main analog input card for Playstation2 and Laserdisc real-time viewing.

    I got the updated capture drivers from the drivers link under
    http://www.msi.com.tw/program/products/per/per/pro_per_detail.php?UID=342&MODEL=

    I used my AV amp to switch S-Video from a Laserdisc and Playstation2 into both the old IDS Falcon bt878 card and this new chip based card at once.

    What's good:
    +I think colours have a little less noise than the Falcon, i.e. large areas of saturated red have less noise on them.
    +The Intervideo MSIPTV (WinDVR?) bundled app can be to to 720x576 and set to full screen. It seems to do reasonable, probably Bob only deinterlacing to allow full-screen scaled viewing until DScaler support arrives. (DScaler auto-calibration would be particularly useful for set-up). Brightness and Contrast sliders don't show numeric values so it's hard to set exactly. It looked quite nice watching the PAL Empire Strikes Back SE Laserdisc. Probably because Weave deinterlacing is like 2:2 pulldown. I bet it'd never do 3:2 pulldown removal for NTSC film sources!
    +Has some real potential, but I need some help. See below...

    What's bad:
    -I think the black-and-white lumina may be cleaner on the Falcon, not very surprising as the TV@nywhere includes a TV tuner and the Falcon appears a minimalist, well designed board (just using an old bt878 chip).
    -Capture driver seems much less efficient than the opensource btwdm driver I use with the IDS Falcon.
    -The Intervideo MSIPTV (WinDVR?) app can only capture to MPEG1 or MPEG2 codecs. MPEG2 codes drop frames with 576 full-height resolutions like 352x576.
    -No DScaler support yet.

    Capture note:
    I tried VirtualDub 1.4.10, which only seemed to allow use of the "VFW wrapper for WDM capture" capture driver.
    -This only seems to support a max of 352x576 resolution. I cannot capture anything without dropped frames as it only manages about 12fps. I tried Huffyuv2.1, DivX 5 and MJPEG compression codecs. I tried RGB 555 and YUY2 capture formats.
    !On the same hardware using the IDS Falcon, I can capture 768x576 YUY2 with no dropped frames.

    I tried the AMCAP DirectShow capture app that I think came with the opensource btwdm drivers. This allows selection of a "Conexant 88x capture driver" and also shows the other card. I think this is using WDM capture drivers, as opposed to VFW which VirtualDub seems to only work with?

    This capture driver allows all resolutions to be set, up to 768x576. Capture drops frames. The only way I could get full-height capture without dropped frames was to set 352x576 and use MJPEG at 90% quality. Not comparable with the 720x576 easily available using the IDS Falcon.

    Next:
    Test the card on a more powerful or Win2000/WinXP machine.
    Get VirtualDub working without the VFW capture wrapper.
    Test using Composite input so see benefit of "true adaptive 2d comb filter": http://www.msi.com.tw/html/products/per/per_htm/8876-2.htm
    Promote DScaler support!

    Summary:
    Until the card can be used to capture at least 704x576 with no dropped frames, ideally with losless HUfYUV codec, it's not much benefit over an IDSFalcon with DScaler. I'd say the DScaler calibration helps get as good an overal picture from the IDS Falcon as the MSIPVR can get out of the superior CX23881 10-bit chip.

    Your comment, assistance and support appreciated.

    John, did you ever get your hands on a CX23881 card?

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  2. Jeff

    Jeff
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    Rob,

    I'm sourceing a XCapture card for John to play with, it should be with him some time next week.

    Jeff
     
  3. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Nice one Jeff.
    The Xcapture doesn't have a tuner, so perhaps there's a little less lumina noise on it? I couldn't find any suppliers of it and wrote to prolink-usa who replied suggesting I "try my local dealer"!

    Anyone know more about VirtualDub/WDM/VFW captures to help with the above?

    cheers,
    Rob.
     
  4. Tim Cooper

    Tim Cooper
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    Hi Rob,
    Would be interesting to see the new MSI card against my Ken Hotte modified TView 99, i get the smallest amount of noise usually when scenes are "fast cutting" (e.g music video's) the noise is more prevelent in the darker portions of the scene usually the blue, the noise is a diagonal pattern for the briefest moment until i suspect, that Dscalers noise filter kicks in & cleans it up. I have used Dscaler 4 & have found the filters better, but my poor old Pentium 3 800 has a hard time & i get unacceptable amounts of stutter when i switch them on (any of em :( ).
    My main aim is to get a clean picture as possible for my beloved LD collection, i don't know how long i can hold out though with regards to getting a H3D card.
    Do you know if the new MSI card will get Dscaler support soon?
    Cheers.
    Tim.
     
  5. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Dscaler support probably depends on how quick Jeff or I can get a card to John! Remember DScaler (timeshift feature) can't currently be used for full-res captures anyway.

    I'm still trying to get a decent resolution capture off the MSI board. I've learnt that it doesn't include old VFW capture drivers, that's why VirtualDub won't work with it properly. I'm about to try capture using:
    * FlyDS14
    * Ulead Video Studio
    These are supposed to be good WDM capture utilities.

    I'll try them on my 1GHz HTPC. If that fails, I'll move the card to an Anthlon 1900+ WinXP desktop to see how that fares.

    I have noticed some speckles using the MSI overlay that aren't there with the IDS Falcon. I think the avs forum concluded the Falcon was very, very similar to the KBK modded cards. I suspect the tuner on the TV@nywhere, whereas the Xcapture doesn't have one so may be better.

    Still, not much use unless I can get full-res lossless CX23881 captures, like I can with the BT878 IDS Falcon.

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  6. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Good news, but first the bad news...

    I tried the above two capture programs and amCap seems to do a better job of capturing with the DirectShow WDM capture drivers for this card. (see Download, wdmmiscutils2.7.0.zip under http://btwincap.sourceforge.net). Still getting only 15fps on a 1GHz Pentium3.

    I then tried the card in my Athlon 1900+ running WindowsXP Pro (sp1).

    Good news:
    With amCap I can capture full-res, full speed 720x576 PAL or 720x480 NTSC (YUY2 format) with 0 dropped frames.

    Unfortunately, amCap doesn't seem to allow me the option to choose a compression codec, like it did for the "Conexant CX2388X Video Capture" driver, like it did on WinMe. This means video is stored at around 19MB per second, so a very fast harddisk is required.

    NTSC captures are beautiful. The best I've ever seen in to my HTPC in fact.

    I used an old high-end Philips LDP600WS Laserdisc player because of it's clean, pure composite output (compared to my digitally re-combined Pioneer CLD925 Laserdisc composite output).

    I used amCap to capture and VirtualDub and it's levels filter to check the peak-white and black levels. I ended-up with
    a) PAL discs Brightness=5507 Contrast=2316 Saturation=4800 Gamma=0 ColorEnable=CheckedOn. This gave a captured black-level of around 16 and a peak-white of 248.
    e.g.
    (Warning, IE shows these .PNG files as black squares, but they are actually fine. I used save to desktop to then view them using Windows Explorer)
    [​IMG]
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rob.screene/cx23881/ep5-PALcx881Cabin.PNG http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rob.screene/cx23881/ep5-PALcx881Chewie.PNG

    b) For NTSC discs Brightness=5345 Contrast=2494 Saturation=4800.

    The ColorEnable checkbox seems to clean-up and brighten the colour (see Capture Filter..., Video Proc Amp option). Perhaps this is something do do with the workings of the CX23881's 2D comb filter.

    I used an AVsynth script do do Inverse Telecine to get back to the original 23.976 progressive frames, crop the image and do very low noise reduction
    e.g.
    AVsynth script.AVS
    LoadPlugin("E:\PROGRA~1\AVIsynth\decomb.dll")
    LoadPlugin("E:\PROGRA~1\AVIsynth\Avisynth_Spatial.dll")
    AVISource("H:\cx881cvbsNTSC.avi")
    # guide=1 can make the field matching more accurate for some clips. Ensure you get latest Decomb 4.0 as it's much better.
    Telecide(guide=1,gthresh=80,chroma=true)
    Decimate(cycle=5)
    Crop(0,102,704,276)
    SpatialSoften(1,0,1) #for perfection moving frames; very little noise
    TemporalSmoother(1,1)

    I opened this .AVS file using VirtualDub to save it out as a HuffYUV lossless codec at about 1/6th of the data-rate. I can then 2-pass MPEG2 DVD encode this without repeating the IVTC or noise reduction, making the total processing smaller.

    So, it's possible to capture very, very clean NTSC with this card. It just requires a fast 80GB hard disc and a bit of patience.

    Now some not so good news. PAL captures seem to be buggy. Scan lines are missing and there's some horrible occasional jitter which also sometimes appears like static interference. e.g.
    [​IMG]
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rob.screene/cx23881/ep5-PALcx881LineErrors2.PNG

    These missing lines seem to number about 3 and are very obvious during any vertical pans, like someones drawn lines across the screen or scored across the lenses. It's my guess these are because of poor drivers (MSI PVS Video Capture 2.1.68.0 TelSignal Co., Ltd 16/07/2002) and not a hardware limitation.

    Also PAL composite input suffers from hanging dots, like the comb filter isn't working properly. e.g.
    [​IMG]http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rob.screene/cx23881/PALcx881ToyStory.PNG

    Finally, here's a comparison between the two cards. It's not a fair one because the top is NTSC off composite off a Philips player into the TV@nywhere and the PAL one is off a different Laserdisc player, over S-Video into an IDS Falcon in a different PC. Both have been given the lowest level spacial and temporal video noise reduction (see script above). Both use Enermax whisper power supplys too.

    They represent the cleanest capture I can currently do with PAL (IDS Falcon, using S-Video off a 2D comb-filter Laserdisc player) and with NTSC (CX23881 off a pure composite non-YV recombining Laserdisc player).
    e.g.
    [​IMG]ep5-NTSCcx881vsPALidsFalcon.PNG

    What I can't show in the above clip is that the CX23881 does have a little less moving noise than the IDS Falcon, the Falcon is very good after noise reduction, but the CX23881 is even better. It's just a pity it's so hard to use properly for anything above 320x288.

    Your comments appreciated.
    regards,
    Rob.
     
  7. Magsy

    Magsy
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    Where can i get either of these cards?? In the uk? or do I have to import..

    Thanks
     
  8. JohnAd

    JohnAd
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    Rob

    I get a black screen when I look at your picture links.

    I expect to have some news on Dscaler suppotr for these cards over the weekend.

    John
     
  9. Magsy

    Magsy
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    Download them and view them off the desktop by double clicking, worked for me. (black in IE)
     
  10. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Yep, Magsy is right, for some reason IE chokes on these large .PNG files. Save Target As... them, then open them using the Windows Explorer.

    Buying such cards in the UK, I got mine from http://www.vgicomputers.com/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_MSI_173.html for £49 plus £8 next day shipping, see http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=45216 for all CX2388x board UK suppliers we know of.

    I think the Xcapture card may be better than the TV@nywhere because the Xcapture card has no tuner on-board. The TV@nywhere has a TV tuner, nice credit card remote and IR port and receiver lead which I'll probably never use.

    You might also want to consider a Philips SAA7134 based card. e.g. http://www.lifeview.com.tw/eng/pro_fly_3000.html Apparently DScaler support may have already been added by some Aussie. It may also have more mature capture drivers if offline captures were what you were planning, I searched and found a review by a distributor stating the drivers were ok, and not too bad (which sounds the best of the next generation bunch at the moment).

    Q: I wonder how it compares to the Philips SAA7118 in the holo3dgraph, which I've read is supported in DScaler (as supplied with the holo3dgraph?).

    More good nows: I did try some more TV@nywhere captures with a different Pioneer CLD-925 digital comb-filter S-Video Laserdisc player, to ensure the PAL problems were not caused by the Philips LDP600WS Laserdisc player.

    I noticed that the video "static" and missing scanlines on PAL captures only occurs with the COMPOSITE input. I tried the S-Video input and the problem is gone.

    More bad news However with PAL S-Video, I then see scanline chroma noise, like the even scanlines have slightly different colours than the odd scanlines. Plus the input definitely looks fuzzy in the vertical direction. I assume this driver is getting the colour information wrong and causing noise and blurring.

    BTW, I can't wait to see how JohnAd's DScaler code looks. Nice one John.

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  11. JohnAd

    JohnAd
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    Quick update on DScaler code:

    Things are going quite well at the moment, I think I'm getting to a point where I'll be able to get a release together over the next couple of days. The testing took a little longer than I had thought (doesn't it always :) ) but so far the results look very encouraging. As usual there are way too many combinations of settings to play about with and the first release is going to have fixed down functionality.

    Anyway, I'm not seeing the PAL problems and even NTSC composite looks OKish.

    John
     
  12. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Nice one John. The issues were looking so varied that I couldn't have believed anyone would have baked such a thing on to a chip!

    cheers,
    Rob.
     

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