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-   -   Hauppauge HD PVR and transferring Betamax tapes to Digital (http://www.avsforum.com/forum/100-digital-recorders-pvrs-general/1520408-hauppauge-hd-pvr-transferring-betamax-tapes-digital.html)

cinclema 03-01-2014 07:20 AM

I am hoping someone can give me their expertise on transferring 28 year old betamax tapes to digital format. My issue is that the quality seems to be degraded in my transfers to digitial.


My setup is that I have a Sony SL-HF600 Betamax player/recorder which is in excellent condition hooked up to the Hauppauge HD PVR through the front Audio Input and Composite Video ports. The PVR is connected to a 42 Flat Panel through the Audio and Video ports in back, and the USB cable is connected to a Dell OptiPlex 755 Computer with a basic video card(This may be my problem but I need to confirm prior to spending any money on a video card.) The OptiPlex has 2 internal drives, one for the OS and programs, and 1 for the data that is converted to be written to which is a 10000 RPM Enterprise Class SATA drive.


The Betamax standard is 350×480 resolution and the PVR is stating input of 720X480 Resolution, and the Bit Rate Encoding is set to 5MB. I have tried increasing this to the maximum of 13.5 MB but that did not help the quality of the digital file. I am not expecting High Definition conversion. I am hoping for similar digital to what I am seeing directly form the tape to the monitor. What I am seeing is a crisp (for a Betamax tape) image that is played on the Flat Panel, but the digital recorded image is quite a bit more blurry with less detail than what is displayed on the Flat Panel.


I am using the TotalMedia ExStream 2 Software that came with the Hauppauge PVR, and on the Computers LCD screen as it is recording, I can see that the image is blurry. I have tried recording to MP4 ant TS formats but the quality seems to not change.


So, I am wondering if the computer, the video card is causing this, or if there is a setting that I should be looking at that changes the quality. 


Thanks in advance for any assistance with this.



scoosdad 03-01-2014 09:11 AM

Go into the "Device Settings" button and set the sharpness control all the way to the max. Unfortunately the Hauppauge box excels at capturing HD from its component video inputs, but is very sub-par when recording SD from its video or svideo inputs.

Then you need to judge if the applied sharpness is good enough by viewing the image only in the ArcSoft preview screen. You won't see any change in the quality of the image on your monitor connected to the 'through' output of the Hauppauge box. That output is just an analog copy of the input and doesn't reflect what's going on with the actual image being captured.

Bit rate really doesn't affect the overall the sharpness either. It will give a better picture when there's a lot of moving objects in the original video, but setting the bitrate higher and higher with the hopes of getting a sharper recording is just a waste of bits. For something like Betamax, anywhere between 3-4 MB should be more than enough.

Your computer setup sounds OK and your video card has nothing to do with your ability to capture. Crank up the sharpness in the Device Settings, and if that's not good enough then you need a different capture device from someone else. The Hauppauge devices have always put composite video in the back seat, quality wise.

cinclema 03-01-2014 12:53 PM

Thanks for the quick reply. I will try to increase the sharpness and see if that helps. Would you recommend a capture device for Composite video inputs for Betamax video?





garyalex67 03-02-2014 08:28 AM

Does your Betamax have s video out? If yes that might be worth a try. Here's a discussion which might be of some help: http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/355959-problems-capturing-videotapes-from-a-VCR-with-Hauppauge-PVR

cinclema 03-04-2014 07:27 AM

Thanks for replying Scoosdad and GaryLex67.


The Betamax only has the RCA Composite and the standard coax outputs.  I did turn up the Sharpness, but is still is not what I would expect. Can someone recommend a good composite video capture device that will improve my capture quality?


I am an IT professional so I know how different computer components can help, but I do not spend much time with video transfer, and production so my knowledge on these devices is limited.


From Consumer website's reviews, The Diamond VC500 ranked high, but I question the quality that I will get with this device. For under $50.00 it seems as though the quality of the hardware and software would be limited. I have also read that an internal PCI or PCIx card would improve the quality at a higher cost. Since I am not a video expert, I can't say if this will help me or not. Is there anything that is a Pro-Consumer quality that doesn't break the bank account?


I have read several posts on several websites, and to be honest, most of the answers to posts seem to forget that resolution 25+ years ago was no where close to today's resolutions and the answers don't seem to take that factor into the quality of the transfer to digital.


Thanks again for the replies.

garyalex67 03-08-2014 08:43 AM

I've used my HD PVR1212 several times for archiving of VHS tapes. For example, I archived a copy of "It Came from Beneath the Sea". The picture quality of the digital file was excellent, given the age of the film. That VHS is a prerecorded tape. I didn't do anything special to create that file. I used the13.5 setting and turned off the review setting while the recording was being captured. I used the composite inputs on the 1212 and TMT 2. The HTPC is nothing special - just a machine I built from parts I had available to me. Video is on the board - Intel HD 4500 graphics.

I'm at a loss at to why your files are blurry. From my experience the 1212 does a good job in capturing this material. What's the source of the tapes you're trying to capture?

Doug O 03-19-2014 06:02 AM

Have you written to Hauppage? I find they are very good at solving problems like this. They might also provide you with alternative capture software as they did in my case with a stripped down version of Arcsoft Showbiz that I use for all my captures. For high def at least it works great and preserves the 5.1 Dolby surround sound from those sources. I have not tried to use the Hauppage to capture SD as I have Pioneer video recorders for that and they work great. My sources include SVHS recorders as well as Beta and Super Beta decks.

olyteddy 03-19-2014 07:12 AM

Have you tried burning some of the video as a DVD and playing it back on a standalone DVD player? That would eliminate the computer and video card from the loop.

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