Best method for removing Macrovision and CGMS-A? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 12-30-2011, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi there,

Today DRM had another surprise for me. I just found out that the Xbox 1 embeds a CGMS-A (and possibly also a macrovision) signal in the output even when playing games, after unsuccessfully trying to capture a level of Bloodrayne 2 with my DVD recorder. Since capturing gameplay footage probably falls within the fair use limits, how can I get rid of the CGMS-A and the macrovision signal?

I 've heard people get good results with Macromaster+ and with SmartLeads IS Pro, but I thought I should ask around if there is anything better or newer (if there isn't anything better or newer, should i get the Macromaster or the Smartleads?). I 've also found this, but it confused me more than it helped.

PS: No, I don't want to use a PC.
PPS: Some people recommend using a TBC (time based corrector), but I am not sure if it can remove all of CGMS-A and macrovision.
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post #2 of 34 Old 12-30-2011, 06:55 PM
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Here are some external "filters" that may do the job.

I've read that games downconvert their composite or S-Video outputs (if they have them) so the HDMI filter may work best?
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post #3 of 34 Old 12-30-2011, 07:54 PM
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If your recording to a standalone DVDR you must be OK with SD? If so then we'd need to know what outputs you have available from your Xbox. If you have component then one of the component-to-S-video converters in Wajo's link would probably the cheapest and quite acceptable. If you have S-video or even composite then a DVD filter might yield you the best results, although more expensive than a component-to-S-video box. Lastly if you only have HDMI output then one of the HDMI to S-video converters should work and are about the same price as the Component converters.
About the only think that won't work would be one of the cheap VHS type filters which only remove macrovision, not digital CP.
What brand of DVDR do you have? Some brands are more prone to false CP, Sony and Toshiba come to mind. Panasonic or even Magnavox seem to only react to real CP, not imagined like some other brands.
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post #4 of 34 Old 12-31-2011, 02:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

If your recording to a standalone DVDR you must be OK with SD? If so then we'd need to know what outputs you have available from your Xbox. If you have component then one of the component-to-S-video converters in Wajo's link would probably the cheapest and quite acceptable. If you have S-video or even composite then a DVD filter might yield you the best results, although more expensive than a component-to-S-video box. Lastly if you only have HDMI output then one of the HDMI to S-video converters should work and are about the same price as the Component converters.
About the only think that won't work would be one of the cheap VHS type filters which only remove macrovision, not digital CP.
What brand of DVDR do you have? Some brands are more prone to false CP, Sony and Toshiba come to mind. Panasonic or even Magnavox seem to only react to real CP, not imagined like some other brands.

Thanks for the reply! I use composite (yellow rca) (this is the only output my Xbox has as of now) (i have not enabled PAL 60) and my DVD recorder is a Sony RDR-HX780.

(Though i would also like to be able to get rid of cgms-a and macrovision from S-Video too, just in case, don't care about component or HDMI)
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post #5 of 34 Old 12-31-2011, 05:14 AM
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I use Dimax filters at $100 shipped and can record anything.
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post #6 of 34 Old 12-31-2011, 06:54 AM
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^^^ I agree, that or the more expensive(and probably better quality) Video Filter brand filter. Your Sony DVDR is probably OK, when I mentioned trigger happy Sonys I was more referring to the non HDD models, if yours is the one I'm thinking of (rebadged HDD Pioneer) they are very well made machines, from what I've read.
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post #7 of 34 Old 12-31-2011, 09:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies again. Does the Dimax produce a better quality that the SmartLeads? I don't mind much if it's 20 or 30 bucks more expensive, as long as it produces the best quality (or to be presise, degrade the quality less than any other).

I know, tough question, but if you know which of the macrovision+CGMS-A removers produces the best results, please please post.

Also, there is brand called "Video Filter"? (link?)

PS: How can the SmartLeads work without an external power supply? How does it's circuitry work?
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post #8 of 34 Old 12-31-2011, 10:04 AM
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http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...t=video+filter
Check out post #2 for a recent Video Filter link.

"PS: How can the SmartLeads work without an external power supply? How does it's circuitry work?"

Some of the cheap VHS video filters use a 9v battery, maybe thats what they do? Personally I'd want a mains power supply, but thats just me, I'm not big on batteries when they can be avoided.
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post #9 of 34 Old 12-31-2011, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...t=video+filter
Check out post #2 for a recent Video Filter link

Wow! 180$ just to get around macrovision and CGMS-A? I was expecting something between 70$-120$. Anyway, lots of info in the link, thanks a lot for posting.

Sad to find out the Dimax Grex letterboxes the picture (and softens it too). Do the DPX7000 and the SmartLeads maintain the widescreen flag, or they letterbox the picture too? Letterboxing is very bad IMO, as it not only reduces the lines from 576i to 432i, but also looks bad on widescreen TVs. So if the DPX7000 or Smartleads can't preserve the widescreen flag, i 'll have to go with Video Filter.

If you know anything or have the DPX7000 or SmartLeads, please post.
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post #10 of 34 Old 12-31-2011, 11:56 AM
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MV you can get rid of for $25, its the CGMS-A thats a total expensive PITA. Nothing you buy will be transparent: everything from $25 vhs filters to $50 component>composite converters to $1000 rack-mount TBCs will soften the picture to some degree, and you may see color shifts and black level errors as well.

Once you get up to "Video Filter" territory (he really needs to come up with a better name), you're talking TBC money. The Video Filter is very elaborate and the designer is certainly dedicated, but as one approaches $200 its probably a good idea to look into a TBC instead of a filter. The AVT 8710 is very popular and runs $228 approx from dealers like B&H. Alternatively you might check around on eBay or Craigs List for a second-hand DataVideo TBC1000, they occasionally pop up for under $200 used but are overpriced new at $479.

Besides clearing MV and CGMS, they repair other errors in the video signal and can be helpful with unstable cable tv and many types of tape issues (besides MV). The whole point of buying a "filter" instead of a TBC is to save significant money, but once you hit filters that cost more than $150 you may as well go for the TBC and get the added capability. The only filter remotely comparable to a TBC is that "Video Filter" offered by a fellow AVS member: its very nice. Your particular situation is unique: very VERY few people here can get a 16:9 signal from their decoder box over composite or S-video jacks. I think it unlikely that a TBC would alter the aspect ratio to 4:3 letterbox, but if that is crucial the price of the "Video Filter" becomes more attractive (since he guarantees aspect ratio will not be affected).
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post #11 of 34 Old 12-31-2011, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
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My worry with TBCs is that they may "flatten" the VBLANK completely, obliterating the widescreen flag. Most consoles and satellite boxes can output 16:9 anamorphic nowadays (as long as you change the output to 16:9 from 4:3), so i really don't want to miss that. Plus i really can't go a buck above 180$.

So, if DPX7000 or Smartleads can preserve the widescreen flag i ll go with these, or else it's Video Filter. So the only question remaiming is:

Can the DPX7000 or Smartleads preserve the widescreen flag? (which is on the same line as CGMS-A dammit)
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post #12 of 34 Old 12-31-2011, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
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I am positive that my sony recorder can see the WSS flag. If i record a widescreen TV channel, it then plays as widescreen on my HDTV (the DVD recorder is connected to the TV via HDMI) but if i record a 4:3 channel it plays pillarboxed (i know there is a setting that changes this but i don't want to because it ruins the proportions). Anyway my point is that recent recorders can see the WSS flag and do create widescreen anamorphic DVDs.

So, I would like to maintain the WSS flag during the filtering. Can the DPX7000 or Smartleads maintain the WSS flag? If you know, please post.

The Grex can't maintain the WSS flag, so in order to prevent the signal from potentially being showed as horizontally squezzed, it letterboxes it. At least that's what the link above says.

Anyway, this thread has grown too big, so let's keep it focused on what removers can maintain the WSS flag. It's the only question that remains...
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post #13 of 34 Old 12-31-2011, 06:35 PM
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I think you should PM member logic design, the maker of the Video Filter. I know he has made posts about the WS flag and his product, saying something to the effect that only his can set the bit.
My Sima filter does nothing with the bit, my US Panasonics record everything without the bit and when playing back anamorphic material I must use WIDE on my TV and use NORMAL when playing back 4:3 material. FWIW the newer international Panasonics(EH-59/69) do have a setting to set the WS bit but again not the US or older internationals.
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post #14 of 34 Old 01-01-2012, 08:17 AM
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The Video Filter can set the CGMS AND the WSS flags which are in the same command line.
If your DVD recorder monitors the WSS flag, it will respond to 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratio that you can set with a switch dedicated for that function.
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post #15 of 34 Old 01-01-2012, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Logic Design View Post

The Video Filter can set the CGMS AND the WSS flags which are in the same command line.
If your DVD recorder monitors the WSS flag, it will respond to 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratio that you can set with a switch dedicated for that function.

That confirms that The Video Filter is a proper anti-macrovision+anti-CGMS-A filter, although a bit pricey. I ve sent an email to world-import asking whether the DPX7000 can maintain WSS, so if the DPX7000 can't, i 'll go with the video filter.

PS: The video filter can remove the CGMS-A and the macrovision, right?
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post #16 of 34 Old 01-01-2012, 06:28 PM
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This thread is not too big yet, kurkodsr, and you raised some points of interest, especially the confusing wide screen flag business. Initially I thought you were talking about the DVD-based letterbox/16:9 flag, but I now realize you meant the flag some TV sets use to auto-unsqueeze 16:9 video (rather than show 4:3 distorted until you manually select 16:9 with the TV remote).

My Pioneer twin of your Sony 780 recorder doesn't seem to capture any widescreen flags: all 16:9 material gets recorded as straight anamorphic 4:3. My Sony TV usually auto-switches between 16:9 and 4:3 with broadcast or cable signals, but not with anamorphic DVD-Rs recorded from those same sources (I always have to manually press the "full" 16:9 option on the remote, or the TV plays the widescreen DVD squeezed into 4:3 with black bands on the sides).

When I patch the 16:9 source thru my Sima CGMS-A filter, or thru my DataVideo TBC1000, nothing changes. They do not take the 16:9 input and convert it to 4:3 LBX. I end up with the same 16:9 anamorphic DVDs I would get without the filters in the chain (they require manually switching the TV to 16:9 so it decodes the signal properly). The DPX7000 is a derivation of the earlier Simas used by jjeff and me, so shouldn't interfere with the basic WS format in any way. Whether it strips the TV WS flag, I don't know, since I've never been able to record such a flag.

I don't have an Xbox, but I assume you're telling us it somehow inserts a flag into the signal that a Sony/Pioneer CAN record and pass on to the DVD, which would let you avoid manually hitting the stretch button on the TV remote. This would be an oddity, and most TBC and "video filters" would likely strip such a flag in the process of removing CGSM-A. They would not change the 16:9 to letterbox, but you would lose the convenience of the TV automatically sensing the 16:9 and changing its format accordingly. You would get what I get: an anamorphic squeeze in 4:3 that the TV must be told is 16:9.

The high cost of the Logic Design filter is due to the designer taking all of these "little things" into consideration and giving the user control over them. The unit allows you to add a WSS flag to tell the TV to auto-stretch (conversely, if the WSS flag is already in the video Logic Design will not remove it). The stripping firmware in the Logic Design is "smart": it removes only the unwanted sections of the VBI, leaving closed captions and WSS untouched. This feature preservation is what you pay for. TBCs and other less expensive filters use a brute force approach, reconstructing the entire VBI and often deleting everything that isn't purely "video" (ferinstance, my Sima is 50/50 with closed captions).

So basically its down to how much of a big deal you think it is to manually hit the 16:9 button on your TV remote to unsqueeze the anamorphic recording. If that doesn't bother you, the DPX7000 or a cheap used TBC should do just fine. World Import is OK to deal with but they aren't the brightest bulbs in the box: they may not understand your email re the DPX7000. You could buy it with a credit card to be sure of getting your money back if it doesn't work as you'd like. If you don't want any potential hassle at all, just pay the extra to buy the Logic Design in the first place (since he's guaranteed it will do what you want).
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post #17 of 34 Old 01-01-2012, 06:38 PM
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I've never used a Video Filter brand filter but a common complaint I have about almost every filter I've tried is they raise the black level. Blacks aren't totally back but have a slight grey about them. This is most noticeable during titles against a black background. If I knew the VF brand filter kept blacks black I might actually be interested in one. Of course it would also need to not soften the picture to a noticeable degree, something my Sima filters don't do but cheaper filters I've tried do.
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post #18 of 34 Old 01-02-2012, 04:09 AM
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I have the DPX7000 but do not recommend it. I picked it up in person at World Imports.
It did work as advertised, backed up Blu-rays to my Panasonic DVD Recorders.
But, there seemed to be vertical black/grey stripes during black backgrounds. So, I'm no longer using that unit. Right now I'm using the Monoprice Component to S-vid/Composite adapter and I'm happy with the results. I like that adapter better than the HDMI one. Also have a couple of Sima CT-2's.
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post #19 of 34 Old 01-02-2012, 07:18 AM
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Never had a complaint regarding raising the black level or any other picture quality related issue with the video filter.

Another clarification on the WSS flag is that, even if the video sent to the filter doesn't have a WSS flag in it, the filter will insert it. It is not just that the filter doesn't alter the flag if it is present but, it will insert it it it's not present. The same is true for the CGMS flag.

By the way, I understand that the "Video Filter" name is generic but, It is that way intentionally in order not to imply that it's used for a specific purpose. It filters out unwanted signals and inserts signals you do want like WSS.
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post #20 of 34 Old 01-05-2012, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Logic Design View Post

I understand that the "Video Filter" name is generic but, It is that way intentionally in order not to imply that it's used for a specific purpose.

The problem with the "Video Filter" name is that it doesn't show up on Google, even if you type the full name. It's hard to build brand recognition when people cannot find your product on Google, and must follow a specific link instead. Try changing into something like "TVF1000 Video Filter", so that "TVF1000" (a unique model name for video filters as far as i know) makes sure your product shows up on Google.

Also, does The Video Filter remove macrovision? Please answer.
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post #21 of 34 Old 01-05-2012, 02:57 PM
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This is the unit I use once in awhile http://www.ebay.com/itm/Audio-Author...item5d2c6f06d7 works perfect BLACK ARE BLACK. PAID $80.00 on sale.

MickinCT
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post #22 of 34 Old 01-06-2012, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickinct View Post

This is the unit I use once in awhile http://www.ebay.com/itm/Audio-Author...item5d2c6f06d7 works perfect BLACK ARE BLACK. PAID $80.00 on sale.

Too bad that not all devices have component out.
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post #23 of 34 Old 01-24-2012, 03:28 AM
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I have done some reading on here as I have been considering a video filter/copy protection remover and a TBC. After reading here the clear favourites are

GoDV! DP-X7000 from world import and the Video Filter sold by a guy on here. I am leaning towards the Video Filter as long as it will work with PAL & NTSC tapes?

Also I would hate for the internals to be exposed like this. Please tell me there is a panel covering it?


It seems like these are the most popular.

Now i would also like a Time base corrector, something under $300 USD i would say

This has been mentioned a little
AV Tool AVT-8710 so i am considering that, how ever i also found this one

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Video-Time...item4840a5e8d8

which looks the same but different colour. Would this simply be a rebranded one? My guess is all these things are made at the same place in China and are just rebranded for different markets/retailers etc

Would this blue/grey one be a wise choice? To me i think it is the same as the AVT-8710. I just like the idea of being bale to fiddle around with settings.

I also found this but its probably a bit out of my price range unless they are cheaper off ebay?
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/TV-One-1T-...item2eb719da62


Are there any other TBC's that i should consider?

I have got a fair few tapes that are really jittery and have messed up colours/contrast etc and i have simply fiddled with settings on my TV screen and made them look better so i know that i should be able to get some better results from my really old tapes

Thanks
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post #24 of 34 Old 01-24-2012, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclone82 View Post

...After reading here the clear favourites are GoDV! DP-X7000 from world import and the Video Filter sold by a guy on here....Also I would hate for the internals to be exposed like this. Please tell me there is a panel covering it?
Thanks

Besides these two, another device that appears to be popular with users of this forum is the GREX. I have no experience with it.

My Video Filter does NOT have any panel covering it. It looks just the same as in the photograph.

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post #25 of 34 Old 01-24-2012, 11:47 PM
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Quote:
My Video Filter does NOT have any panel covering it. It looks just the same as in the photograph.

Damn, that is virtually a deal breaker for me then i think

Wouldn't a lot of dust get in an what about support for the sockets? If there was a pannel it would add support and keep dust out.
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post #26 of 34 Old 01-25-2012, 12:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclone82 View Post

Now i would also like a Time base corrector, something under $300 USD i would say

This has been mentioned a little
AV Tool AVT-8710 so i am considering that, how ever i also found this one

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Video-Time...item4840a5e8d8

which looks the same but different colour. Would this simply be a rebranded one? My guess is all these things are made at the same place in China and are just rebranded for different markets/retailers etc

Your assumption is correct: the AVT-8710 is rebranded for UK. There has been some talk of slight differences between them on other highly technical forums: apparently they are largely the same unit, but the UK version is somewhat more cheaply constructed compared to the AVT. Video performance is similar in PAL but again slightly better using the AVT. Normal mfr sample variation could account for most of the difference, and this UK version of the AVT is probably the European standard in consumer TBCs, just as the AVT is in the States. They're not paragons of build quality, but they do work.

If you can afford the price, consider opting for this instead:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Datavideo-...item256bbef4ac

The DataVideo TBC1000 has significantly sturdier build quality, as it should for double the retail price. In North America, the DataVideo is usually preferred to the AVT if it can be found at a reasonable price second-hand. Brand new, the AVT is a much better deal. They are functionally the same, aside from the DataVideo having a 1 input>4 output distribution amp including audio inputs, and the AVT unit offering a small degree of color/contrast adjustment. Take whichever you can find for the best price.
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post #27 of 34 Old 01-25-2012, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclone82 View Post

Damn, that is virutually a deal breaker for me then i think

Wouldn't a lot of dust get in an what about support for the sockets? If there was a pannel it would add support and keep dust out.

I don't think of the Video Filter as a dust magnet, so I really think you are exaggerating the possible dust problem. As far as it having flimsy construction (unsupported sockets) it does not feel like they flex at all when inserting cables. I have never heard of anyone complaining of it breaking in the manner you were addressing.

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post #28 of 34 Old 01-25-2012, 01:50 PM
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I think the builder left if open for better air flow, some other filters tend to run a bit warm and leaving it open probably helps in that respect. I know it may look untidy but dust really shouldn't be a issue and unless you really rank on the connectors breaking shouldn't be a issue.
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post #29 of 34 Old 01-25-2012, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

I think the builder left if open for better air flow, some other filters tend to run a bit warm and leaving it open probably helps in that respect. I know it may look untidy but dust really shouldn't be a issue and unless you really rank on the connectors breaking shouldn't be a issue.

You are quite correct in at least one respect. The Video Filter runs for very long periods of time without heating up, unlike the Sima which can get uncomfortably warm fairly quickly.

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
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post #30 of 34 Old 01-25-2012, 07:46 PM
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Your assumption is correct: the AVT-8710 is rebranded for UK. There has been some talk of slight differences between them on other highly technical forums: apparently they are largely the same unit, but the UK version is somewhat more cheaply constructed compared to the AVT. Video performance is similar in PAL but again slightly better using the AVT. Normal mfr sample variation could account for most of the difference, and this UK version of the AVT is probably the European standard in consumer TBCs, just as the AVT is in the States. They're not paragons of build quality, but they do work.

Well it may not be a UK version. Its just that i got to it via UK ebay. Here is is in USA

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Video-Time-B...item48426cfa54

and this looks the same too


http://hallresearch.com/page/TBC-100


What is the reason for having Audio pass through the Datavideo TBC1000?

Quote:


I think the builder left if open for better air flow, some other filters tend to run a bit warm and leaving it open probably helps in that respect. I know it may look untidy but dust really shouldn't be a issue and unless you really rank on the connectors breaking shouldn't be a issue.

Ok i get your point, its not that i am going to be rough with it but it just looks 'unfinished' to me. Other alternatives could have been vents/holes drilled or mounting heat generating components on heatsinks. Before i knew this i was 99% going to buy one but now i am just not sure.
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