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Author Topic: Getting a video capture card: any comments?  (Read 2991 times)


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Getting a video capture card: any comments?
« on: August 06, 2012, 12:09 PM »
I want to get a video capture card to transfer all sorts of stuff to my computer.  For example, all the old VHS family recordings we have, i'd like to convert to digital.  Also would like to connect video feeds from my camcorder into it direct (live stream).  Etc.  I don't want a usb connection because usb sucks.  For video stuff, I want maximum no-throttle speed, which means a pcie device connected to the motherboard.

So I'm looking for a pcie video capture card.  I have no idea what to look for.  Something like this I'm guessing:

If anyone has suggestions please let me know.  Also, if there are things I should be concerned about please let me know also.  Am I going to have issues adding a video capture card to my system?  I don't know, anything like that.  Thanks.


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Re: Getting a video capture card: any comments?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2012, 12:54 PM »
Looks like that AverMedia Game Broadcaster HD is the one to get.

I'm reading a little more and another device I need to consider is whatever is going to play the VHS.  Apparently it can't be a regular vhs player, it needs to be a TBC type:
Note: I wrote an updated/expanded guide at: What is a TBC? Time Base Correction for Videotapes

A TBC is usually what people start looking to buy when they decide to improve the quality of their recordings, not just accept whatever the tape, VCR and capture card/DVD recorder decide to do on their own. And it is a good first step towards hardware restoration, though often misunderstood...

There's really not much to this.
Here's the quickie, all you really need to know:

    Price. Under $50? Good luck, shop eBay, and cross your fingers. Expect to pay $225-450 for a new TBC, prosumer grade full-frame. Maybe half price used. Maybe. DataVideo TBC-1000 and AVToolbox AVT-8710 are the two most popular models.
    Improve quality? An external TBC corrects the signal. It is not there to "improve quality". It may improve quality, usually seen to remove jitter or odd movements. The visual improvements are often small, but very valuable. Many people observe that it works best to remove slight vertical jitter.
    Line? Full frame? Do not confuse a "line" TBC (mostly worthless, for the purpose of stabilizing) with a "full frame" TBC. DVD recorders have worthless line TBCs, do almost nothing. Those line TBCs are better off in cameras, can actually make a difference there.
    Passthrough TBC? Camera TBCs are not why passthrough "removes" MV. It just digitizes a signal and has no way to interpret MV in the hardware. Simple as that. TBC has zero effect.
    JVC TBC? The JVC series S-VHS VCRs have DigiPure DNR (digital noise reduction) circuits integrated into the TBC. It is a special kind of TBC, and is why this one can "clean the picture quality". It is NOT only a TBC at work here.
    Audio TBC? TBCs with audio connections merely passthrough the audio, nothing more.
    TBC makes my tape worse? No TBC is perfect, so about 1% of the time, it's known to make a tape worse. (Or more often if all of your tapes have the same flaw.)


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Re: Getting a video capture card: any comments?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2012, 08:45 PM »
What condition are the tapes in?

As long as they are original, (ie. not copies of copies), haven't been excessively played so that the tape has stretched and don't have Macrovision you should be fine if you use a decent VHS playback machine.

Best indicator of whether you may need a TBC is if when you play the tape back on different machines you get flag-waving in the picture, (you also need to try playback to different TVs to check this, as TV timebase could be off if you just test with one).  Flag-waving is where the edge of the picture on the TV is oscillating like the waves on water on the movements of a flag.

It's also better if you can play back the tapes from the machine they were recorded on, (depending on head condition), as any timebase fluctuation, (between different machines), is minimised.

More info on if you need a TBC here.

FWIW, I use a ~15 year old mono Samsung VHS machine, (has had little use), which I connect to a Lifeview FlyTV 3000, (old TV card, ~10 years), and then IUVCS to do the recording.

I have used in the past: Sony Stereo Betamax VCR, Sony Mono Betamax VCR, NEC Stereo VHS VCR, Sony Mono VHS VCR.

Results have always been satisfactory except where the problem lies with the tape.

A cheaper option than a TBC to try may be one of the devices that "remove" Macrovision, they do this by cleaning up the timing signal, (as opposed to completely regenerating it as a TBC does), by removing any spurious signal components, (ie. anything that really shouldn't be there: spikes, etc).

Do you intend to do any video restoration after the capture, ie. colour correction, denoising, etc ?

If so, you might be better off using a capture card that has the option of software encoded capture rather than the increasingly common hardware based capture compression, (usually h.264 or MPEG2).