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S-Video Capture

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Anyone tried the EasyCapture USB system for porting UTV programs over to DVD? I know it is only capable of 1:1 playback/record like a tape, but the generic devices are around $10 and seem to be worth a try. I was going to "plumb" in my old S-VHS deck, but suprise, suprise, S-VHS tape isn't made anymore. At $5.00 for remaining tapes, it looks to be worth trying the S-VHS capture route.
post #2 of 8
Really? No SVHS anymore? I'm sure it isn't easy to find but not made? Like Kodak Kodachrome, not made?

My Mitsubishi SVHS VCRs have a Quasi-SVHS Mode that allows me to use VHS Tape in a SVHS mode (if it self tests that the VHS Tape is of a good enough quality...). I also have a VHS Tape Deck that will "dumb" down SVHS Recordings to VHS Quality for playback (No recording function).

Since going to my UTVs I just haven't used my SVHS VCRs as much... if it is "rare" to get tapes I might just have to look into picking up some SVHS or quality VHS Tapes while they are still around. (Of coarse the VHS Tapes on the market shelves might just be the cheap cheap stuff as the "quality" folks have probably invested in DVD Recorders (which I have too)...)
post #3 of 8
I have a similar set up at home. The brand escapes me at the moment. Mine captures through USB and has connections for RCA and s-video. I bought it 4 or 5 years ago for about $30. It works quite well at 1:1 like you mentioned.

A couple of years back I bought a set top dvd recorder for about $100. Been using that ever since. Just easier, then you can edit on the computer later if you wish.
post #4 of 8
Another item that is beginning to disapear is s-video input for newer flat screen tv's. I was over at frys, after my old 27-in sony tv bit the dust (probably a $2 part but who fixes these anymore for less than a new tv) and I was looking at the quality of the sets.

The only ones that still had s-video in were clearly inferior with respect to pixelization on faster moving scenes. The ones I liked the best were the LG and Samsungs (in the under $500 range 26-in or samller), but these don't input s-video.

I've been trying to hunt down an s-video to dvi (or vga) converter so as to be able to use my computer flatscreen (an AOC 22 in I use to watch captured utv shows after removing commercials). There seem to be only a handful of these for a reasonable price (less than $80). And there are actually some that must be a professional setup, since there's lots for $300 or more, though I don't know who would ever buy these now.

What are others doing about this? In my case I run a 50 foot s-video cable which I would not want to change to the composite at that length.

And what about tv's themselves, if one uses sat tv, then what use is a tv with a tuner anyway? If I could find a computer flat-screen with an svideo input, I'd probably go for it. And generally, these go for much less than a full blown hdtv set now. My AOC was only $180 and it even supports being controlled (color, brightness, dynamic effects etc.) by my laptop over the dvi input.


I found 2 LG flatscreen tv's with s-video input, a 23 and a 27 inch, plenty for my viewing. I bought the 23 inch LG m237wd for $300. At this size, a SD s-video input looks quite good. This model has all the sorts of inputs you'd want so it could someday work with true HD if ever there's a DVR as good as my utv's.

It has one feature that I am thrilled about: on s-video it supports 2 zoom modes which can remove the black bars on letterbox but most important is that one of the zoom modes just crops the super annoying scrolling banners on many sports events. I used to tape black paper over these since they give away the scores of other sports events that I'm recording and so spoil my ability to watch in sequence 2 games that are on at the same time. Also these banners are often ads and are like magnets to the eyes.

Oh, and the LG colors just seem more vivid than any other flatscreens I've looked at. At this small size, from about a 6 foot viewing distance, I don't even see much difference between hd and sd, especially on anything that has a lot of motion. So, hopefully this will let me stay with utv for another 10 years
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by guitars911 View Post

I have a similar set up at home. The brand escapes me at the moment. Mine captures through USB and has connections for RCA and s-video. I bought it 4 or 5 years ago for about $30. It works quite well at 1:1 like you mentioned.

A couple of years back I bought a set top dvd recorder for about $100. Been using that ever since. Just easier, then you can edit on the computer later if you wish.

Well I picked up a standalone RCA DRC 8335 DVD Recorder/VCR Combo w/ ATSC Tuner. I know the reviews are pretty mixed, but it is a factory refurb and should have a new power supply. As hoped, my RCA UTV remote works perfect with it.

I just started playing with and find only two minor gripes so far: (1) my RCA UTV only has one S-Video out, so I had to order a splitter cable to record S-Video from it and keep my TV connection as S-Video. (2) VHS tracking adjustment is by remote so I do have to keep the original DRC remote somewhere near the cabinet. We'll see how the first DVDs look.

I will probably drop my broadcast feed soon, opt'ing for the DRC's digital OTA. I'm grandfathered with DTV to still get East & West coast network feeds but at $15.95/mo. When I first got the service in '97 it was $4.95/mo and now I think the locals are free.
post #6 of 8

Interesting find. Mind if I ask if this was an found Online or Brink and Mortar?

I'll probably stick with my DirecTV local plan but now that the digital transition is complete I could probably use a "digital" tuner DVD Recorder (VCR function is a plus I guess), and if it functions with the UTV's "DVD" Remote Function, all the better.

Might have to see what other RCA (remote coded) DVD Recorder/Tuner models are available.

Then I'll have 1 (or are many 2 tuner models?) extra channel feed(s) I can use... for those pesky conflicts. (Dang you Ken Burns and your Network conflicting National Parks series... Thankfully PBS has several repeats.)

With that said I've almost never used the UTV's VCR function (where it will IR "blast" your VCR to record a program instead of to the Internal Hard Drive). IF your RCA Model (or others) could support that function (particularly as a kind of "hybrid" setup where the DVD side would record instead of the VCR side) that would be golden.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

eB@y score. $91 w/ free S&H. Haven't tried any sync'd taping. Used to do that with the JVC S-VHS deck and the 8 event timer on the old RCA DTV tuner, but could never get the "cable eye" to work and just programmed both timers.

The VHS side claims to be 6 head HiFi. Tracking was a bit off on a commercial tape I played, but then that stuff becomes very pronouced on our old 52" projection CRT. I didn't bother adjusting it, since I haven't fed the remote batteries yet.

Play back of the first DVD recording was okay. As mentioned I used the composite video in, since I didn't have a way to split the UTV's S-Video out. I suppose I could have patched it directly, removing the TV's input but then I'd have to move the 52" set. I'll try again using S-Video to better offer an opinion. Initial recording quality struck me as halfway between VHS and commerical DVD. Might be inherent to decoding and re-encoding MPEG2. I honestly think the S-VHS deck looked a little sharper since it recorded analogue and skips the re-encoding step.

The menu authoring is also a bit ackward. The unit by default settings wants to add scene indexes every 5 minutes. This can be changed to every 5, 10, 15, 20 and OFF. I turned it off.

DVD playback claims to support a numbert of format though, DIVX, MP3s, JPEG, ... I haven't gotten to playing around with that yet. All my commerical DVDs play fine.

So far not a bad purchase, but I'm not in full endorsement mode just yet.
- Ed
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Some quick follow up on a few months with the RCA DVD recorder and UTV:

S-video splitter added with some improvement but at the default quality of SP (2hr recording), I still notice some artifacts from the encoding. HQ records at 1 hour on a 4.7Gb - single sided disc and looks great. I haven't tried burning a dual layer disc, but the manual makes no mention of supporting it. Real bummer for stuff like 3hrs of The Blue Max and Longest Day.

Auto Indexing can screw up a disc. I let it index evey 10 minutes of the 7 Faces of Dr Lao and after I finalized it, it won't play in the unit. I played it on my computer and found I have 4 different chapters, the 3rd being the full movie? I turned Auto Indexing off and recorded two episodes of Caprica flawlessly on HQ. They look every bit as good as the UTV stream when played back on my SD set.

The UTV remote and the unit marry almost perfectly, but some DVD's are authored such that they roll into the movie automatically versus loading the menu. The UTV remote menu button does not correspond to the DVD remote for the menu feature of the disc playing, instead you get to the player's hardware menu. No biggie for single disc movies, but annoying on multi-episode TV discs and getting at bonus features.
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