Originally Posted by Cyclone82
They are not Knock offs of the AVT 8710. AVT8710 is not the true original. Most, if not all the ones you see are all made by Cypress in Taiwan they all come from there and are just made in different colour cases to suit each re-sellers requirements. They make the CTB100 for various compaines such as AV Tool, TVone, Hall Research etc as well as under their own brand name as CYP. I had a read of their wesbite last night and it was quite interesting. They have been in this business since 1989. They also made the Sima SCC colour correctors.
In the end it doesn't matter: we're still dealing with clones and knockoffs, even if they come from the same factory. No one here thought they came from anywhere but Taiwan anyway, whether it was labeled AVT8710 or CBT100 or Sima-XXX or whatever. The same casing is used for everything from the old Sima "clarifiers" to the full-bore AVT8710: the filters and the TBCs share much common construction. That construction leaves a lot to be desired depending which model you buy, its age, which brand is affixed, which country you buy it in, and what mood the factory was in the day they made it. User reports on all these units (AVT, CBT, TVone, Sima, DPX) run the gamut because of the poor quality control. And even if you get a "perfect" unit from this mfr, they all have a design flaw that results in overheating (the AVT , TVone and CBT time base correctors are especially infamous for barely making it thru a 130 minute tape before blacking out, requiring a cooling off period and dubbing long videos in segments).
When it became known that the CBT, TVone and AVT were seemingly identical, some of the more advanced geeks here on AVS and at several other boards disassembled them to compare notes. Rather surprisingly, it was discovered they are not exactly identical: the CBT/TV1 version uses some different parts and somewhat simplified circuitry. Comparative testing indicated the CBT/TV1 was better with some tapes, the AVT with others, but differences did not manifest unless they were connected to very twitchy PC input boards. Upon seeing how these TBC were built inside, several members opted to remove the outer case to aid heat dissipation, or installed the guts into their own fan-equipped custom cases.
There is no perfect "amateur" TBC: Cypress has virtually zero quality control so no two units have the same issues (aside from heating up like a toaster within minutes). The DataVideo TBC1000 is much more solidly built and cooler running, but includes a relatively useless one input/four output splitter that weakens the signal and is prone to interference (not to mention the retail price is double the Cypress cost). If buying new, test any of these thoroughly before your exchange/return period expires. Second hand is much more economical, esp with the DataVideo, if the seller has a return guarantee. The larger pro-grade TBCs are wicked expensive brand new, and most sold second hand are worn out (many aren't as good as the disposable MCM filter when it comes to VHS protection).
The Grex filter is a little more consistent in QC than the Simas or DPX, but has its own issues. The best filter you can buy is the generically-named "Video Filter" which is virtually hand-made to a very high standard by an AVS member: very little degradation of video quality compared to other filters. It is not a full TBC yet is priced very close to the CBT100, making the choice difficult if you think you'll need the full TBC feature. After trying most of these, I settled on a second-hand DataVideo TBC1000 as the least of all evils. I avoid using it unless absolutely necessary, preferring the more transparent (and affordable) MCM-type VHS filters.
The S-video socket is vastly overrated: that connection option in itself doesn't guarantee significantly better dub quality. Much depends on the VCR, the tape, and the encoding device (PC or DVD recorder). S-video helps with ordinary tapes you recorded yourself from TV, its great with camcorder tapes, and noticeably better for dubbing from DVDs. But the minute you start dealing with "protected" commercial VHS, all bets are off: the stupid "protection" has already crippled many aspects of the tape signal. The more extravagant filters and TBCs tend to have a softening effect, they need all the help they can get, so benefit from S-video connection. But perversely, the cheap little VHS filters don't soften as much and can get away with composite connections, often besting a TBC or pricier filter using S-video cables. Making digital archives from analog videos is unpredictable: sometimes the crap VCR you buy for $10 at a yard sale works much better than a $400 Panasonic NV-SF200, and sometimes the $20 VHS filter beats a $300 TBC. You have to experiment with your own gear and tapes.