Video Capture Card & Software

I am looking to purchase an analog video capture card so as to be able to convert my VHS tapes to MPEG2 VCD's. I will also be using it as a PVR but do not require a tuner considering I'll use it manually and record through either a set top box or VCR via composite or S-video inputs.

My target requirements are:

Selectable compression ratios.
Very high capture quality (3mb+).
MPEG2 output or convertable
No 2gig limit.
640x480 or better.

My system will be:

Athalon 1.0
MSI w/raid
Corsair 256/512mb PC133
IBM 75GXP HD's 1-30g and 2-45g/60g(raid)
Matrox G-400Max 32mb
OS... Best suited for card.

I really will not be doing a lot of editing just a lot of archiving and recording. I do not want to overkill or sell myself short in card or software selection. The following cards have been on my radar but I'm still having a hard time making a selection:

Matrox Marvel
Pinnacle Studio DC10+
Pinnacle DC30 Pro
Hauppauge WinTV-PVR
Canopus DVRaptor
DPS EditBay

Which would you choose for my needs? Heck, add another to the list if you feel it better suited. Don't forget to add s/w ideas.

8 answers Last reply
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  1. I really wish I could comment on the hardware issues, as I'm going to be looking into doing some similar projects soon.

    As for your choice of output, VCD is mpeg1 only. You may be referring to SVCD which uses Mpeg2. SVCD allows 30-60 minutes of video footage with a decent bitrate. The definition of decent varies with the footage being encoded.

    I would highly advise you to pick Win2k as a platform for doing your caps. Since you have plenty of ram (spring for 512 since it's so cheap) and a lot of space with raid, you can make big caps. If I'm not mistaken the Matrox Marvel is a quality card and will automatically span the avi across multiple 2 gig files if necessary. It does this seamlessly.

    Go download Tmpeg Encoder. It's freeware and produces quality mpeg2. Adobe Premiere + Panasonic Mpeg1 plugin will make excellent mpeg1.

    Email me with any new information and your final choice. I'd like to know how everything works out for you. You may want to ask some of the folks in #pcdvd on efnet for more advice.
  2. Canopus DVRaptor is not analog video capture card. It can be used just for DV capture through firewire. Analog connectors are there just for preview.
  3. get an ATI TV Wonder, I have it and captures from VCR no prob. It have real time MPEG-1 compression and will suit your needs quite well. You can compress it into DivX using FlasK as well. It's also a decent TV tuner.
  4. * Matrox Marvel - OnBoard MJPEG hardware compression, AFAIK. That's not quite MPEG-2, but prolly convertible, if at some quality loss price. Generally positive quality feedbacks.
    * Pinnacle Studio DC10+ - Grrr!!! Nice card, but VERY limited. NO Win2k support. No on-board sound capture. NO Premiere plug-ins (at least NO USEFUL premier plug-ins). Onboard MJPEG hardware compression. Generally good quality feedbacks, if at limited resolution and file format. No additional support or plugins planned by Pinnacle, and even the bundled software "Studio" upgrade to newer version (after some 2 years!) will NOT be for free. Pinnacle's hint people should move to more expensive cards.
    * Pinnacle DC30 Pro - Basically same as DC10+, but sports an onboard sound capture, Win2k drivers and Premiere plug-in. Costs MUCH more, with no improvement to video quality (because you're paying for Premiere support and Win2k drivers, not better hardware).
    * Hauppauge WinTV-PVR - something gives me a clue it's just a watching-TV-on-my-PC-screen card, rather than video capture card. Hence, prolly much lower quality, albeit with a tuner. Video capture cards rarely sport a tuner.
    * Canopus DVRaptor - digital video only.
    * DPS EditBay - never heard of them.

    There are also
    * Winnov's cards : Videum AV and Videum1000 - supposed to have good quality.
    * FAST DVnow-AV - but that's rather expensive.
    * ATI All-In-Wonder 128/128PRO - seems to be good all-in-one bundle sporting exhaustive set of video features, including a TV tuner, on-board sound chip, lots of various capture formats (including MPEG-2), lame 3D performance, and possible driver problems. (depends. For me - worked like a charm after a single drivers update, no problems ever since. P-III rig).
    * ATI All-In-Wonder RADEON - Video features same as 128/128PRO All-In-Wonder, but also a kick-ass 3D performance, on par with GeForce2 GTS. Same drivers considerations as above, plus may exhibit some problems on Athlon based rigs.
    * ATI Radeon VIVO - Same as above without TV-Tuner (possibly without onboard sound chip... Check spec).

    In general, AFAIK, video capture/editing might best be done on Intel-based rigs - read too many horror stories about various capture boards not tunning well on AMD/VIA rigs.

    Also :
    "sound chip onboard" = good. No video/audio sync problems.
    Not all cards have video out - check with manufacturer's spec.
    If you don't need the video tuner (i.e. recording not from cables but from some VHS/SVHS source) - consider cards without TV tuner - that adds anywhere between $40 and $100 to the cost.

    Hope this helps any.
  5. I have an ASUSVG800Deluxe card and I'm planning to build a new system for minor video editing and capture. I haven't decided yet what hardware (cpu/board) to buy. The following are my available options:

    1.athlon 750/asus a7V
    2.p3 700/epox intel 815ep
    3.p3 700/asus cubx-e (bx)
    4.athlon 750/epox 8kta2

    Also, I already have a micron pc133 256sdram.

    As far as money is concern, I want the no. 4 option but the manual of asusv6800 says that it's your mainboard should be an asusk7 chipset only.

    HOpe your guys could help me.


  6. By My fumbling around th capture world, I found the ATI TV
    Wonder to do pretty good.The downfall is that it only CAPs
    in Mpeg1 or AVI. So conversion sofware is required.
    Look in to SonicFoundry's Video Factory,it can convert many
    formats to mpeg2.Oh Video Factory is a try before you buy
    thing. So not much to loose there. VideoWave is easyer to use but im not sure if it supports mpeg2. Watch out for the ATI all in wonder it does mpeg2 but has CSS and MacroVision protection so
    that duping is impossible.
    I wish it wasent.
    Good Luck
  7. "Watch out for the ATI all in wonder it does mpeg2 but has CSS and MacroVision protection so
    that duping is impossible."

    i have the all in wonder, and have no problem capturing macrovision protected stuff. you need the latest version of their tv proggy for that to work. i got it, read the part that the vcr button would be greyed out if it detected macrovision and wouldnt capture, so i stayed with my older version. it still works great although i went with avi io instead. better quality with the huffyuv codec. takes a little more space than mpeg-2 (15 gigs for 720x480 42 mins) but the quality is clearly better.
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