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Need help with capture card & software for VHS to DVD

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Need help with capture card & software for VHS to DVD
on Apr 26, 2007 at 2:02:43 am


I have a big stack of about 100 SECAM videotapes I want to convert to PAL DVDs.
There are also a few NTSC videotapes (maybe 10) that I want to put on NTSC DVDs.
I have a multistandard converter VCR as the source - an Aiwa MX100.

I have bought and returned many video capture devices so far from my local Fry's electronics in Sunnyvale. The customer service people know me by name now ....
With most of the devices, I couldn't get any picture. Some of them would just a
really bad pitcture, or choppy.

The list includes :

- yesterday, ADS video express USB2 - really horrible flashing picture . Going back to Fry's this week

- Plextor PX-TV100U . The first time I got a box with a warped software CD. Went back to Fry's. When I got a readable CD, I found that I could never get any picture with out of it.

- ADS Pyro AV Link API-555 firewire. The Adobe Premiere Elements software that comes with it requires SSE2, which is not present on my dual AMD Athlon MP 2800+
(2.1 GHz) 32-bit CPUs. There are no socket A CPUs with SSE2, and I didn't feel like a brand new computer should be needed for this task, so I returned it. The Pyro box mentioned that it worked for Athlon XP, and the Athlon MP is the same as the Athlon XP except for multiprocessor support - so this was clearly a lie on
the Pyro box.

- Pinnacle Moviestudio Plus USB2 . I could never get any picture with it, though the sound was great ...

- There is probably one or two more that I forgot.

I just can't believe how badly all those products have behaved so far. I am a novice to video capture, but certainly not to computer and technical issues. I am
a software engineer by day, and I also build my machine myself and have built all my computers from parts myself for the part 15 years. Yet almost none of these products have worked at all !

The one that I haven't returned yet is the Pinnacle Dazzle Video Creator platinum. But I'm about to. First, I had to change USB card because the ALI chipset USB card I had was incompatible and the capture from the Dazzle kept freezing, requiring a reboot. Now I have a VIA chipset USB card, and there is no longer any capture problem.

The remaining problem I have with Pinnacle is with the software. The studio 10.7 software crashes after about 5-6 minutes without any error message. But I'm doing something very basic and don't need to edit, so I'm using the Instant DVD recorder software 1.8 to record. It works fine and the capture quality is great for both audio and video, with the exception of the fact that about 50% of the time, the software hangs generating DVD menus after the end of the capture Sad . If I don't generate menus, then it works 100% of the time.

Unfortunately the support for Pinnacle is very bad and they aren't willing to acknowledge this bug even though many other users in their own forum have this problem. So I'm not at all hopeful they will fix it. Also, the device does not work with any other software but Pinnacle's.

So, I am looking for something more reliable. The device should preferably be external, either Firewire or USB2. I am not opposed to buying separate software, but the total of the hardware and software should be no more than about $300. It
needs to run on the following computer :

Asus A7M266-D motherboard
Two Athlon MP 2800+ CPUs (2.1 GHz each)
ATI Radeon 9200 128 MB, with Dell 2001FP 20" LCD
Sound Blaster Live Value audio (using SPDIF to my A/V receiver)
LSI 21040 Ultra160 SCSI 64-bit / 66 MHz PCI controller
Promise TX4302 4-port SATA PCI 32 bit / 66 MHz PCI controller
PPA 6-port USB 2.0 / 3-port Firewire PCI controller
Intel Pro/1000 MT Gigabit network PCI controller
Seagate 750 GB IDE drive with Acard AIC-7726Q Ultra160 bridge, hooked up to the
Seagate Cheetah X15 36 GB 15,000 rpm Ultra160 hard drive
Mitsumi FA404A floppy + USB card reader
Sony DRU-700A IDE DVD burner
Plextor PX750A IDE DVD burner
Lite-on LH20-A1S SATA DVD burner
Asus DRW-1814BLT SATA DVD burner

I also have two Seagate 750 GB eSATA external drives

The box is running Win XP SP2 with all the latest Microsoft updates. The OS install was recent (december).

I would be interested in any of the following :

1) software that I could use to generate menus on a DVD that doesn't have any. I am just looking to split it into tracks every 3 minutes. Instant DVD recorder is supposed to do this, but just hangs unfortunately as mentioned above. But it can record to files on the hard drive, so I could process them with software before actually burning ... If only I knew what software to use.
Free would be nice, but I don't mind paying.

2) Another Firewire or USB2 capture device that does MPEG compression in hardware preferably, and is known to work well and has good software to burn VHS to DVD. If there is a very good one, I could go for a PCI solution, but then I would have to get rid of one of existing cards since all the motherboard slots are full. I could probably do without the SB Live and use the motherboard C-Media audio, even though it does only analog and has no SPDIF.
The device should also be compatible with a variety of software preferably, and
not just the bundled one like the Pinnacle Dazzle unit.

3) Even a standalone DVD burner (appliance type) without a computer would be OK
for me at this point. But it needs to be able to accept both NTSC and SECAM (or
PAL) video input, and be able to produce either NTSC or PAL DVDs as output. I have a converter VCR but I hate the picture when I convert from SECAM to NTSC due
to the frame rate difference; but using it to conver tSECAM to PAL is fine.

Thanks for reading and saving me from this insanity hopefully !

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A/D conversion
on Apr 27, 2007 at 5:40:21 pm

Well I would definately try Canopus advc 110 for what you want. It detects as a standard camera device which means its standard firewire communication. Couple that with Vegas 7 movie studio which is a streamlined version of their Vegas 7 software and you should be great. The package adds up to alittle over 300 with both together. I would definately look into that. Also consider getting a Siig firewire card for your system. That could be half your problem depending on what firewire chip your board has. TI is definately what you want.

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