white, flickering weirdness in upper portion of screen

Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

Hello -

I am playing VHS through the composite input on an ATI AIW 9800 Pro, using
Multimedia Center v9. It captures to DVD-compliant MPEG-2 with zero dropped
frames. Everything is working fabulously, with one major problem.

On any tape (old or brand new), VHS playback has a flickering whiteness in
the upper 10% or so of the screen.

A few points of interest to help narrow down the problem:

-This occurs with two different VCRs hooked into the capture card at
separate times
-Both VCRs have played back the same cassettes while hooked up to a regular
television with no problems of any kind
-Capturing a snippet of the tape and playing it back on the monitor reveals
the flickering whiteness
-Burning said capture to DVD+R and playing it in a set-top player hooked
into regular television, it still has the problem
-Capturing television being piped directly into the coax input on the ATI
card works perfectly

As near as I can gather, this eliminates cassette tracking as an issue (if
tracking was a problem, I'd see the same jitteriness on the television). It's
not the source material, as it plays just fine - in the same VCRs, no less -
while through a tv. For the same reasons, it is not either of the VCRs
(although it may be notable that both VCRs are JVC). I doubt it is the card's
ability to display a decent image, since TV comes through very crisp and good.
The tapes do this during playback through the PC even while capturing is not
occuring, so it's not the card's ability to capture (plus the card captures
live TV just fine).

This seems to narrow it down to the signal as it is transmitted through the
(high-quality) RCA cables, and into the composite connector (a purple adaptor
that takes in either an SVHS cable, or the red/white/yellow RCA cables - I'm
using the red/white/yellows), and on into the card itself. Either the main RCA
cables which I bought today are junk, or the Composite connector is junk - or
the card simply does not "interpret" VHS very well at all, whatever that
means.

Any suggestions?? I am almost at my wit's end with this ATI All-In-Wonder
9800 Pro. If I cannot capture VHS, the card is 100% useless to me.
14 answers Last reply
More about white flickering weirdness upper portion screen
  1. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "Brian McCabe" wrote ...
    > I am playing VHS through the composite input on an ATI AIW 9800 Pro,
    using
    > Multimedia Center v9. It captures to DVD-compliant MPEG-2 with zero
    dropped
    > frames. Everything is working fabulously, with one major problem.
    >
    > On any tape (old or brand new), VHS playback has a flickering whiteness
    in
    > the upper 10% or so of the screen.

    Commercial (pre-recorded) tapes, or home-recorded ones?
    i.e. are you sure its not Macrovision copy protection?

    >
    > A few points of interest to help narrow down the problem:
    >
    > -This occurs with two different VCRs hooked into the capture card at
    > separate times
    > -Both VCRs have played back the same cassettes while hooked up to a
    regular
    > television with no problems of any kind
    > -Capturing a snippet of the tape and playing it back on the monitor
    reveals
    > the flickering whiteness
    > -Burning said capture to DVD+R and playing it in a set-top player hooked
    > into regular television, it still has the problem
    > -Capturing television being piped directly into the coax input on the
    ATI
    > card works perfectly

    Those symptoms are 100% consistent with Macrovision.

    > As near as I can gather, this eliminates cassette tracking as an issue
    (if
    > tracking was a problem, I'd see the same jitteriness on the television).
    It's
    > not the source material, as it plays just fine - in the same VCRs, no
    less -
    > while through a tv.

    TVs are specifically designed to ignore Macrovision. VCRs
    and video capture cards are specifically designed to choke
    on Macrovision.

    For the same reasons, it is not either of the VCRs
    > (although it may be notable that both VCRs are JVC). I doubt it is the
    card's
    > ability to display a decent image, since TV comes through very crisp and
    good.
    > The tapes do this during playback through the PC even while capturing is
    not
    > occuring, so it's not the card's ability to capture (plus the card
    captures
    > live TV just fine).

    Again, 100% consistent with Macrovision.
  2. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Excellent observation. I did not consider that. However, consider this:

    -Of all the tapes I tried, only one was manufactured within the past year: my
    son's Bob The Builder cassette.
    -Two other manufactured, pre-recorded tapes I tried exhibited the same
    problem, but they date back to 1990-91.
    -Another two cassettes I tried were entirely home-made. Home movies of a
    friend's father in Argentina, to be specific.

    besides, I was under the impression that Macrovision somehow replaced the
    picture with nothing but static or something. In my scenario, the picture is
    90% watchable, just fine. It's the 10% or so at the top of the window that
    this flickering whiteness affects.

    Any other ideas? Thanks very much for the reply, BTW.

    regards,

    Brian Mc

    "Richard Crowley" <rcrowley7@xprt.net> wrote:
    >"Brian McCabe" wrote ...
    >> I am playing VHS through the composite input on an ATI AIW 9800 Pro,
    >using
    >> Multimedia Center v9. It captures to DVD-compliant MPEG-2 with zero
    >dropped
    >> frames. Everything is working fabulously, with one major problem.
    >>
    >> On any tape (old or brand new), VHS playback has a flickering whiteness
    >in
    >> the upper 10% or so of the screen.
    >
    >Commercial (pre-recorded) tapes, or home-recorded ones?
    >i.e. are you sure its not Macrovision copy protection?
    >
    >>
    >> A few points of interest to help narrow down the problem:
    >>
    >> -This occurs with two different VCRs hooked into the capture card at
    >> separate times
    >> -Both VCRs have played back the same cassettes while hooked up to a
    >regular
    >> television with no problems of any kind
    >> -Capturing a snippet of the tape and playing it back on the monitor
    >reveals
    >> the flickering whiteness
    >> -Burning said capture to DVD+R and playing it in a set-top player hooked
    >> into regular television, it still has the problem
    >> -Capturing television being piped directly into the coax input on the
    >ATI
    >> card works perfectly
    >
    >Those symptoms are 100% consistent with Macrovision.
    >
    >> As near as I can gather, this eliminates cassette tracking as an issue
    >(if
    >> tracking was a problem, I'd see the same jitteriness on the television).
    >It's
    >> not the source material, as it plays just fine - in the same VCRs, no
    >less -
    >> while through a tv.
    >
    >TVs are specifically designed to ignore Macrovision. VCRs
    >and video capture cards are specifically designed to choke
    >on Macrovision.
    >
    >For the same reasons, it is not either of the VCRs
    >> (although it may be notable that both VCRs are JVC). I doubt it is the
    >card's
    >> ability to display a decent image, since TV comes through very crisp and
    >good.
    >> The tapes do this during playback through the PC even while capturing is
    >not
    >> occuring, so it's not the card's ability to capture (plus the card
    >captures
    >> live TV just fine).
    >
    >Again, 100% consistent with Macrovision.
  3. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "Brian McCabe" wrote ...
    > Excellent observation. I did not consider that. However,
    > consider this:
    >
    > -Of all the tapes I tried, only one was manufactured within
    > the past year: my son's Bob The Builder cassette.
    > -Two other manufactured, pre-recorded tapes I tried exhibited
    > the same problem, but they date back to 1990-91.

    Macrovision has been around for a long time.

    > -Another two cassettes I tried were entirely home-made.
    > Home movies of a friend's father in Argentina, to be specific.

    That might be a result of interchange problems (the tracking
    being different between the recording machine and your VCR.

    > besides, I was under the impression that Macrovision
    > somehow replaced the picture with nothing but static or
    > something. In my scenario, the picture is 90% watchable,
    > just fine. It's the 10% or so at the top of the window that
    > this flickering whiteness affects.

    No. Macrovision uses varying brightness white blocks in the
    vertical blanking region to intentionally screw up the video
    automatic gain circuitry on VCRs.
  4. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    In article <6NILc.3476$eM2.3066@attbi_s51>, Brian McCabe
    <bsmccabe@yahoo.com> writes
    >Excellent observation. I did not consider that. However, consider this:
    >
    >-Of all the tapes I tried, only one was manufactured within the past year: my
    >son's Bob The Builder cassette.
    >-Two other manufactured, pre-recorded tapes I tried exhibited the same
    >problem, but they date back to 1990-91.
    >-Another two cassettes I tried were entirely home-made. Home movies of a
    >friend's father in Argentina, to be specific.
    >
    > besides, I was under the impression that Macrovision somehow replaced the
    >picture with nothing but static or something. In my scenario, the picture is
    >90% watchable, just fine. It's the 10% or so at the top of the window that
    >this flickering whiteness affects.
    >
    > Any other ideas? Thanks very much for the reply, BTW.
    >
    It sounds more like VCR timing problems than macrovision. Macrovision
    gives a fading in-out type of effect.

    The output of VCRs is actually very wobbly especially at the top of the
    picture. TV's are quite flexible about the timing and are good at
    sorting this out, but some capture cards aren't. YOu might need to use a
    VCR with a built in TBC (timebase corrector) to make this work, or run
    it through an external TBC.

    I've never used the all in wonder card you've got but I have a DC30
    analogue capture card which has similar problems sometimes (only on
    really bad tapes though). On these tapes I have to run the video through
    a Panasonic AVE5 digital mixer which stabilises it nicely and the card
    will capture it OK then.
    --
    Tim Mitchell
  5. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "Tim Mitchell" wrote ...
    > It sounds more like VCR timing problems than macrovision.
    > Macrovision gives a fading in-out type of effect.

    Right. It would be helpful if Mr. McCabe could describe his
    "flickering" symptom in more detail. Hard to diagnose at this
    distance.
  6. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    I will post a short clip later tonight that demonstrates the problem.

    One thing I did try this morning involved messing with some of the settings in
    JVC's "Function Set" menu. This lessened the problem but did not solve it
    completely.

    Another respondent suggested a TBC. Any other opinions on this approach?
    Specifically, I am looking into the Datavideo TBC-1000. Also, this unit
    apparently comes in a PCI-slot format at a significant reduction in price. Any
    opinions?

    Thanks for everyone's help -

    Brian Mc

    "Richard Crowley" <rcrowley7@xprt.net> wrote:
    >"Tim Mitchell" wrote ...
    >> It sounds more like VCR timing problems than macrovision.
    >> Macrovision gives a fading in-out type of effect.
    >
    >Right. It would be helpful if Mr. McCabe could describe his
    >"flickering" symptom in more detail. Hard to diagnose at this
    >distance.
  7. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Hello -

    I have posted a clip that is a sample of the problem I am
    encountering. http://www.tgupc.com/misc/sample.zip

    Despite the fact that this particular capture is from a cassette that
    could potentially have Macrovision on it, the exact same problem has
    surfaced in all tapes I have tried.

    Anyone who can view this short clip (6 sec, mpeg-1 quality, ~ 1 mb)
    and post feedback, I would really, really appreciate it.

    Thanks -

    Brian Mc


    "Richard Crowley" <rcrowley7@xprt.net> wrote in news:10fvgi9llv6b00
    @corp.supernews.com:

    > "Brian McCabe" wrote ...
    >> Excellent observation. I did not consider that. However,
    >> consider this:
    >>
    >> -Of all the tapes I tried, only one was manufactured within
    >> the past year: my son's Bob The Builder cassette.
    >> -Two other manufactured, pre-recorded tapes I tried exhibited
    >> the same problem, but they date back to 1990-91.
    >
    > Macrovision has been around for a long time.
    >
    >> -Another two cassettes I tried were entirely home-made.
    >> Home movies of a friend's father in Argentina, to be specific.
    >
    > That might be a result of interchange problems (the tracking
    > being different between the recording machine and your VCR.
    >
    >> besides, I was under the impression that Macrovision
    >> somehow replaced the picture with nothing but static or
    >> something. In my scenario, the picture is 90% watchable,
    >> just fine. It's the 10% or so at the top of the window that
    >> this flickering whiteness affects.
    >
    > No. Macrovision uses varying brightness white blocks in the
    > vertical blanking region to intentionally screw up the video
    > automatic gain circuitry on VCRs.
    >
    >
    >
  8. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "Brian McCabe" wrote ...
    > I have posted a clip that is a sample of the problem I am
    > encountering. http://www.tgupc.com/misc/sample.zip
    >
    > Despite the fact that this particular capture is from a cassette that
    > could potentially have Macrovision on it, the exact same problem has
    > surfaced in all tapes I have tried.
    >
    > Anyone who can view this short clip (6 sec, mpeg-1 quality, ~ 1 mb)
    > and post feedback, I would really, really appreciate it.

    Macrovision with maybe a bit of mis-tracking thrown
    in for good measure. A decent TBC would likely fix both.
  9. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    In article <Xns952EE8B08320bsmccabeyahoocom@204.127.199.17>, Brian
    McCabe <bsmccabe@yahoo.com> writes
    >Hello -
    >
    > I have posted a clip that is a sample of the problem I am
    >encountering. http://www.tgupc.com/misc/sample.zip
    >
    > Despite the fact that this particular capture is from a cassette that
    >could potentially have Macrovision on it, the exact same problem has
    >surfaced in all tapes I have tried.
    >
    > Anyone who can view this short clip (6 sec, mpeg-1 quality, ~ 1 mb)
    >and post feedback, I would really, really appreciate it.
    >
    Ummm, does look like macrovision, although it's worst at the top, the
    brightness of the whole frame is pulsing.
    --
    Tim Mitchell
  10. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    As I mentioned in my post, my home videos do the same thing. I have tried old
    and new tapes, manufactured and home-recorded tapes. They ALL do the same
    thing. As far as I can tell, that rules out Macrovision.

    Tim Mitchell <timng@sabretechnology.co.uk> wrote:
    >In article <Xns952EE8B08320bsmccabeyahoocom@204.127.199.17>, Brian
    >McCabe <bsmccabe@yahoo.com> writes
    >>Hello -
    >>
    >> I have posted a clip that is a sample of the problem I am
    >>encountering. http://www.tgupc.com/misc/sample.zip
    >>
    >> Despite the fact that this particular capture is from a cassette that
    >>could potentially have Macrovision on it, the exact same problem has
    >>surfaced in all tapes I have tried.
    >>
    >> Anyone who can view this short clip (6 sec, mpeg-1 quality, ~ 1 mb)
    >>and post feedback, I would really, really appreciate it.
    >>
    >Ummm, does look like macrovision, although it's worst at the top, the
    >brightness of the whole frame is pulsing.
    >--
    >Tim Mitchell
  11. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    In article <vD8Mc.147355$%_6.39442@attbi_s01>, Brian McCabe
    <bsmccabe@yahoo.com> writes
    >As I mentioned in my post, my home videos do the same thing. I have tried old
    >and new tapes, manufactured and home-recorded tapes. They ALL do the same
    >thing. As far as I can tell, that rules out Macrovision.
    >
    Yes, I'd forgotten that bit. It must be a timing thing then. Are there
    any options on the card driver? My DC30 has a "VCR" checkbox which
    relaxes the timing and will cope with more wobblyness.
    --
    Tim Mitchell
  12. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    The card's software differentiates between three different signals coming in:
    cable tv, composite, and S-Vid. Since the deck is hooked in via composite, I
    select that input to display the tape's images. If the card's reaction to this
    input is different than CATV, I would think that the adjustment would occur in
    the background, triggered by the selection of Composite as the input source.
    To my knowledge, there isn't a customizable setting the user can tweak. I'll
    check though.

    Thanks!

    Brian Mc

    Tim Mitchell <timng@sabretechnology.co.uk> wrote:
    >In article <vD8Mc.147355$%_6.39442@attbi_s01>, Brian McCabe
    ><bsmccabe@yahoo.com> writes
    >>As I mentioned in my post, my home videos do the same thing. I have tried
    old
    >>and new tapes, manufactured and home-recorded tapes. They ALL do the same
    >>thing. As far as I can tell, that rules out Macrovision.
    >>
    >Yes, I'd forgotten that bit. It must be a timing thing then. Are there
    >any options on the card driver? My DC30 has a "VCR" checkbox which
    >relaxes the timing and will cope with more wobblyness.
    >--
    >Tim Mitchell
  13. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Thanks very much to all respondents, and for having a look at my sample clip.
    Your expertise is very helpful to us "aspiring experts." :)

    I have been investigating TBCs for the last little while. Anyone have a good
    recommendation?

    Thanks -

    Brian Mc

    "Richard Crowley" <rcrowley7@xprt.net> wrote:
    >"Brian McCabe" wrote ...
    >> I have posted a clip that is a sample of the problem I am
    >> encountering. http://www.tgupc.com/misc/sample.zip
    >>
    >> Despite the fact that this particular capture is from a cassette that
    >> could potentially have Macrovision on it, the exact same problem has
    >> surfaced in all tapes I have tried.
    >>
    >> Anyone who can view this short clip (6 sec, mpeg-1 quality, ~ 1 mb)
    >> and post feedback, I would really, really appreciate it.
    >
    >Macrovision with maybe a bit of mis-tracking thrown
    >in for good measure. A decent TBC would likely fix both.
  14. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "Brian McCabe" <bsmccabe@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:%_9Mc.147797$%_6.6723@attbi_s01...
    > Thanks very much to all respondents, and for having a look at my sample
    clip.
    > Your expertise is very helpful to us "aspiring experts." :)
    >
    > I have been investigating TBCs for the last little while. Anyone have a
    good
    > recommendation?

    I have bought a couple of Horita ("industrial"/lower-end
    broadcast quality) TBCs on eBay that I'm quite happy with.
    Good functionality, reliability, quality, and full proc-amp
    controls and gen-lock when necessary.
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