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Which TV capture card?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by calscot, Oct 28, 2003.

  1. calscot

    calscot
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    Ok I've done a search and although this question is asked again and again, there has been few clean answers.

    Usual thing - I want to watch live TV on my projector using DScaler and also record to hard disk.

    I have Sky - RGB
    DVD recorder - RGB, SVideo
    NTL Analogue - RF

    I want to spend between £50 and £150.

    Cheaper end would be nice but I do want excellent quality comparible with my DVD recorder. I already have a Radeon All in Wonder which is not up to scratch for video capture.

    Can anyone recommend a card?

    At the most basic level would be a good S-video card as I could use my DVDR as the source.

    At the most advanced, there seems to be a Pinnicle (sp?) one which works straight from the sky lnb and also has svideo and rf. But what kind of card do you need? I have a freeview card at the moment as I only really want the BBC, ITV1, C4 and Five channels.

    I've read people go on about Nebula, Win TV, PB-TV100 etc but all the cards are not found on a uk google search so could any recommendations come with a url?

    Thanks in advance for any help given.
     
  2. Alex Simon

    Alex Simon
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    Well, I guess there's two questions in here
    1 - is there a good Freeview card
    Yes, I've only ever heard good things about Nebula
    http://www.tv-cards.com/digitvpci.php for an independent review.

    2 is there a good capture card.
    Well, there are a few. The PixelView XCapture is a cheap and chearful (£30-40) s-video and composite capture card that offers more than decent performance.
    Similarly with the TV-100.

    There's our card which is the first sub-£200 card to offer RGB capture.
    More info at http://www.pluggedin.tv/sweetspot
    This helps with Sky especially where most sky boxes don't have s-video outputs. It also captures component, s-video, PDI (which connects to the RealMagic XCard) and good old composite.

    There's the Holo3dgraph and version II which have a hardware deinterlacing chip and a nice gui. These can capture all of the above formats and also SDI (number 2 also offers HDTV component capture)
    http://www.immersiveinc.com/products_holo3d.html

    That's enough for starters!
    Hope that helps
    Alex
     
  3. BBD

    BBD
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    For recording Freeview I don't think you'll beat a Nebula DigiTV card it records the digital stream straight to the harddrive. I also use a TV-100 type card for use with DScaler and Sky. This allows me to watch one channel whilst recording another. I have a sky box with svideo input. This allows me to connect it straight to the svideo input of the TV-100 type capture card. If your sky box (like most non sky+) boxes doesn't have a svideo ouput you will also need a RGB to svideo converter. The cost of the converter is more than a TV-100 type card so it may be worth paying the extra and going for a capture card with RGB inputs (Sweetspot??) but you'll need a £300 budget for the DigiTV and Sweetspot.

    I'd buy a DigiTV card now and wait for some reviews on the Sweetspot before making your mind up on a capture card.
     
  4. calscot

    calscot
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    The nebula card sounds good but the trouble is I don't get a good Terrestrial FreeView signal where I live.

    So I use sky for digital but use a freeview card as I only want the basic channels. I've registered with a pay per view channel so that I still get ITV1, C4 and Five.

    My sky box only has RGB and composite but my DVDR has RGB and s-video.

    So I can use my dvdr as an RGB to S-video convertor and tuner for basic analogue NTL (which I have for watching something while recording something else).

    The sweetspot sounds really good but a bit on the expensive side and although I will pay for high quality it's only as long as the cost/benefit ratio is reasonable.

    Maybe I should start with the XCapture but even though it's reasonably cheap I'm wary as I'm loath to spend good cash on something that I don't use because it's just not good enough. This hobby is expensive enough as it is. So I suppose I need some user feedback on cards like this. Are people really satisfied with the picture on a 2m screen?

    Where can I buy one?

    Thanks for the help,
    Cal.
     
  5. BBD

    BBD
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    Pity you can't use the Nebula. The TV-100 card is okay for DScaler but in my opinion the capture to harddrive is pretty poor you'll need a capture card with good mpeg compression capability. I'm not sure if your dvdr will convert RGB to svideo. Have you thought about recording on your dvdr and then copying the files onto your pc via a dvd drive? I don't know if anyone can comment on the picture quality of this versus direct capture and storage on your pc. I spotted this last night you may find it useful.
    http://www.dvdguideuk.dsl.pipex.com/dvdguide/editing1/editing1.htm
     
  6. Alex Simon

    Alex Simon
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    Have you tried Freeview recently?
    Or spoken to people local who might use it?
    Many people speak of a better quality picture than sky and obviously the signal goes through far fewer conversions.

    I know that my signal is just enough to get a decent picture most of the time but even though it galls me to pay money to murdoch, I'm a fan of Sky+ especially for it's WAF.

    BTW, XCapture is fine if you don't watch an awful lot of telly. Untill I got SweetSpot, I was using composite into it then into my Barco 808! I guess I should have bought a jstech convertor but it always seemed like a fudge instead of a solution.
    Now the sky broadcast quality annoys me more than the signal type;)
     
  7. nfordenfield

    nfordenfield
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    Be interesting to see the price in the Uk for the sweetspot,here they are $200, so we end up paying less than £200?
     
  8. calscot

    calscot
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    Alex,

    I rechecked freeview in my area and found out it's now available if you install a special aerial, so you've given me another option.

    Sounds expensive so will have to think about it.

    It still won't help me deinterlace Rangers in the Champions's league for the projector though as it's only on STV (which I get on Satellite) except for the Man U games.

    Cheers,
    Cal.
     
  9. Zarch

    Zarch
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    I would like some advice on which card to purchase too.

    I've currently got a Hauppage WIN-TV PCI and had a play with the capture facility on that and the capture was appalling.

    My intention is to capture some old vhs footage using my video (output scart & i have a scart to svideo lead).

    So i would like a capture card that would be of enough quality to eventually convert the images etc then get them over onto dvd-r so they can be played on my TV. I will be able to work out the video editing/conversion to dvd etc myself.

    So any help on which capture card with svideo input would be very much appreciated. I dont want to spend a fortune , £50 ish?

    Would any of the above suggestions do the job? Xcapture / TV100 etc?

    Many Thanks

    Mick
     
  10. BBD

    BBD
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    Does your video have s-video out? You may be stuck with composite. As I understand it most non s-vhs videos don't have s-video outputs. What's the quality of your 'old vhs footage' like? If the quality isn't up to much then I wouldn't bother spending a lot of money on an expensive capture card. I transfered my youngest videos to his pc using a TV100 type card and the results are more than good enough for this purpose.
     
  11. Alex Simon

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    I'm sure you'd be fine with either the XCapture and the FlyVideo. They seem to get rated the highest for <£50.

    I'm not so sure you'll notice *huge* improvements over your hauppage but they should be better.

    Also, they are much better for viewing external sources through your PC.
     
  12. Zarch

    Zarch
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    My video does not have a s-video connection, but has scart and I do have a scart>s-video conversion cable. The improvement over the Hauppage I am looking for is in the capture size really.

    So the 3 i should be looking for are TV100, XCapture and FlyVideo?

    I agree that I dont need an expensive capture card as you say the quality of vhs in itself is not the good. I'm not expecting miracles, i just want to get those tapes shipped up into the loft once and for all.

    Thanks for your help so far chaps.
     
  13. Alex Simon

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    It's worth noting that a Scart to S-Video lead doesn't normally do any conversion. ie you'll only get S-Video out if it was S-Video in the first place. Unless your's is a special converter.

    TV100, XCapture and FlyVideo are the fellas (although I have no experience with the TV100)

    They should be fairly easy to compare specs and capture size. Video quality is roughly equal between the XCapture and FlyVideo. Some people prefer one over the other but there's enough supporters of each to make it down to personal preference.

    Hope that helps
    Alex
     
  14. gyre

    gyre
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    I have both XCapture and TV-100 (Flyvideo 2000).

    I'm able to get them both to capure at full size 768x576 25fps.

    They both work full-size with virtualVCR, which, I believe, uses the WDM type of drivers. I'm unable to get virtualVCR to keep the sound and video in sync for a 60 min record tho.

    I'm able to get full-size captures with virtualdub with the TV-100, but not the XCapture. I think virtualdub expects a VFW driver, and there is only a wrapper and not full driver for the XCapture. I'm willing to be proved wrong tho.

    There is a 1-line registry fix that gets the TV-100 working under virtualdub here. The virtualdub mod called something like virtualdub+vcr will keep sound and video perfectly in sync.

    Both do OK captures. There isn't really much between them.

    I'm personally waiting for sweetspot to come out. I hope it will prove itself better than these two.

    Hope this helps.

    -- gyre --
     
  15. Zarch

    Zarch
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    You say you have trouble keeping the audio and video in-sync over long captures, is this a common problem?

    Some of the video's i wish to capture are 1 and half hours etc.

    Cheers

    Mick
     
  16. gyre

    gyre
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    I've looked on the VirtualVCR forums and the issue of sync does come up from time to time.

    The author of VirtualVCR has implemented different ways of keeping audio and video in sync, but I've not found a way that works for me personally. Things drift apart over time.

    I'd like to have a working solution.

    The version of virtualdubvcr+sync I have on the other hand is rock solid. I've had 2hr recordings that are still 100% synced even with multiple dropped frames during the recording.

    -- gyre --
     

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