Scan converter / mixer? Not sure what I need!


Standard Member
Hi guys,

First of all, apologies if this is in the wrong forum, as I am genuinely not sure what hardware I need.

My current setup is as follows:
These are used to combine the output of the PC screen with 1 or more of the video camera feeds using picture-in-picture or split screen, which is then output into the HDD/DVD recorder and displayed on a TV.

The problem is that both the scan converter and video switcher have composite outputs, which results in a very poor quality image of the PC output on the HDD/DVD recorder and TV.

Can anyone recommend any hardware that would be able to perform a better job, perhaps with s-video and vga/dvi ouput?

Please let me know if you need any more information.

I would be very grateful for any suggestions or advice you may have.

Thanks in advance,


Previously Liam @ Prog AV
The problem you have is that video is 480i or 576i i.e. 480 lines, interlaced format. A PC display say XGA on a monitor is 1024x768 progressive. The converter is down scaling and interlacing this signal, which wherever it is done is going to be poor.

The first thing I would consider is a new graphics card for the PC which has it's on video output. At least now the graphics card will be generating the 480i signal natively, rather than generating a higher resolution signal that some other box will be downscaling again.

Second thing would be dependant on what exactly you are showing from the PC which is being mixed. But see if there are alternatives to generating the signal or better software or whatever it is that you are doing.


Standard Member
Thanks for the reply.

I'll certainly look into a new graphics card. One thing I failed to mention was that the PC will still have to be hooked-up to a regular monitor as well, but I presume most modern graphics cards can output to both a monitor and s-video at the same time...

We will be using the setup for recording people interacting with websites and other software applications and also displaying it on a TV. Being able to read the text displayed on the screen would be ideal!

Thanks again.

Joe Fernand

Outstanding Member
Hello mtheuma

Tricky one - your choice of Vision Mixer limits you to a relatively low resolution system; though I'm not convinced you don't have a decent enough set-up in place (see below).

Capturing a 1024x768/60Hz PC screen to camera, mixing it via a Composite/S-Video Mixer and recording down to DVD will make it nigh on impossible to read the content of the web pages your are testing via the output of the DVD player (especially if the PC screen is only one Quad of a split screen).

Rather than chase the impossible you may be better combining your current set up with a different type of tool to assist you in your web analytics - see

Joe (currently reading 'Web Analytics' by Avinash Kaushik)


Standard Member
Thanks for the reply.

We are not really concerned with Web Analytics, instead we are primarily using the setup for usability and accessibility testing.

We are quite open to suggestions on improving the hardware we have in order to gain a better quality output, i.e. changing the mixer if necessary.

Thanks again,

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