I am in the research phase of putting together a system to do video capture/edit/DVD-creation. I have a Shuttle PC with 2.4 GHz P4, 1 GB RAM, built-in 1394, 80 GB second hard disk, DVD +-R burner.
In the near term I simply want to transfer piles of VHS tapes on to DVD with basic chapter editing. I do care about quality so I have already written off the products below $100, but I would like the initial investment to be under $400 if possible. I have seen nothing but good reviews for the Canopus ADVC-100, but it doesn't come with any software. It looks like its price ($299) plus decent editing software might be out of my price range. Alternatively, products like the ADS DVD Xpress or the Pinnacle Studio/MovieBox come bundled with software for alot less money.
So after this long-winded introduction my questions are:
Does the superiority of the Canopus product justify it over the ADS and Pinnacle products for my purposes?
What are the advantages/disadvantages of analog-to-firewire versus analog-to-USB converters (or analog-to-AVI vs analog-to-MPEG2)?
The ADVC-100 is an analog-to-DV fire wire converter and the ADS DVDXpress is a USB 2 Mpeg encoder.
I maintain that, for what you say you want to do (digitize analog video, trim the clips and create DVD's), you can get video with DVDXpress that is comparable to video from the analog-to-digital converters. Also, on your system if you used the included Video Studio 7 software, you would have a finished Mpeg 2 file as much as 6 times faster than you would on by capturing as DV and encoding to Mpeg 2 in the software. The downside is that if you decide to get more creative, Mpeg 2 is not a good editing choice.
What software came with your DVD burner? It may be that it would work with the ADVC-100. In any case, I would recommend that, if you get the ADVC-100, you should use trial versions of the various video editing software before you make a decision.
I would be interested in learning if the ADVC-55 works as well as the ADVC-100. From the spec's it seems to lack only the AV out that the ADVC-100 has.