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  #1  
01-17-2022, 10:12 PM
ThumperStrauss ThumperStrauss is offline
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I have hopes that I will one day stumble across a DataVideo TBC-1000 after reading my 100,000th Facebook Marketplace listing, or 500th garage sale. That got me thinking about what city and what type of person is more likely to have these. Here are my questions:
  • How many of the DataVideo TBC-1000 units were manufactured, more or less? Ten thousand? A hundred thousand?
  • Who was the typical buyer? A guy who wanted to make his VHS tapes look better on his CRT television or TV-stations that needed to play VHS tape on air? Or someone else?
  • How many of these individual units have been up for sale over the last 20 years? Is it the same 200 units circulating or do new pre-owned ones come on the market all the time?
  • What would it take for someone with right knowledge to reverse-engineer one of these and fund it through Kickstarter? We're all trying to preserve the past through digitizing a disappearing media. This is important work. We all need the tools to do it, better.
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  #2  
01-17-2022, 11:58 PM
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You need to read some of my recent comments here: Datavideo TBC repair experience?

I heavily doubt the TBC-1000 saw anywhere near those high production numbers. Due to the serial numbers, we know it's less than 100k units. But serial numbers don't start at 000001 and go sequential. Most serials also contain non-numeric metrics. So, as an example, the serial 075100 doesn't mean 75,100 units were made.

The typical buyer were, and still are, small studios (conversion shops lumped in here, both pro and quacks), hobbyists, DIY'ers, some degrees of more pro work (not conversion specialty). Once upon a time, you also saw AV needs like big chuches. Broadcasters never really used these models that support consumer analog formats.

20 years is too far back. The units were still sold new in the 2000s. In the early 2010s, we saw a post-recession lull with low prices, and with younger units. More trades, less costly. But it's the 2020s now. The TBC-1000 model specifically sees several monthly at the usual sites, but condition is now very variable, with bad caps now being a concern since the end of 2010s.

We're mostly seeing the same handfuls of units bought and sold, over and over. Most units are now either held permanent (or semi permanent), or trashed/recycled.

You cannot reverse engineer these. Contemporary companies tried, and made crap that is mostly forgotten now. The chips have security, so you can't read the firmware. Almost none of the chips are made anymore anyway, which is the main reason why DataVideo and Cypress existed this now-niche hardware.

I can understand the "hey guys, we can do it!" attitude, but it's misplaced. This isn't something that be crowd-sourced or open-sourced. Most of the people who suggest this haven't even seen more than one TBC, or even none. No concept as to what a challenge this is.

The other question is this: At what price? Most of the people suggesting this are just being cheap bastards, expecting some unrealistic (divorced from reality) low pricing for the final product. Most people are completely oblivious to licensing costs, mandated testing costs, etc. So again, what do you think the price would be for a modern new TBC using current (and scarce) components?

Food for your thoughts.

It is very important, but it's not as easy (or cheap, or fast) as some seem to think lately.

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  #3  
01-18-2022, 01:24 AM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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Originally Posted by ThumperStrauss View Post
What would it take for someone with right knowledge to reverse-engineer one of these and fund it through Kickstarter? We're all trying to preserve the past through digitizing a disappearing media. This is important work. We all need the tools to do it, better.[/LIST]
TBC is a small part of problem, The biggest part is the capture cards and Windows 10, If you go to the trouble of forking few hundreds of thousands of dollars on a piece of equipment that only few are going to look for, You should focus on the big picture here, the entire process of getting the analog video signal from VCR into hard drive.

So what you really want to invest your money on is an entire new capture device that takes care of the signal from the VCR all the way to the HDD, It will include everything, line TBC, DNR, 3D comb filter, 2D comb filter, proc amp, frame TBC, Every function should be turned on and off individually without fiddling with cables like in the old fashion workflows. It will have S-Video and composite in and USB 3.0 out, and works on every platform on the market, If you start this I will be the first backer.
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  #4  
01-18-2022, 03:31 AM
RobustReviews RobustReviews is offline
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Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
You need to read some of my recent comments here: Datavideo TBC repair experience?

You cannot reverse engineer these. Contemporary companies tried, and made crap that is mostly forgotten now. The chips have security, so you can't read the firmware. Almost none of the chips are made anymore anyway, which is the main reason why DataVideo and Cypress existed this now-niche hardware.

I can understand the "hey guys, we can do it!" attitude, but it's misplaced. This isn't something that be crowd-sourced or open-sourced. Most of the people who suggest this haven't even seen more than one TBC, or even none. No concept as to what a challenge this is.

The other question is this: At what price? Most of the people suggesting this are just being cheap bastards, expecting some unrealistic (divorced from reality) low pricing for the final product. Most people are completely oblivious to licensing costs, mandated testing costs, etc. So again, what do you think the price would be for a modern new TBC using current (and scarce) components?

Food for your thoughts.


It is very important, but it's not as easy (or cheap, or fast) as some seem to think lately.
If that's aimed at me, I think you've misunderstood what is being discussed.

To quote yourself:

Quote:
Just FYI, in decades past, I had programmed ASICs/etc, reverse-engineered/written firmware, etc. I'm not some low-level low-brow user. In fact, about 20 years ago -- and it happened twice, with two very different video/media areas, and within a year of each other -- I wrote code that was considered "impossible". ("Impossible" was the community consensus -- and I was scoffed at when I told others of my work, and then again after it had succeeded. Trolls/a-holes being online isn't anything new.)
I don't think crowd-funding is the way here, but with modern hardware and enthusiasts, it's not without the realms of reality to start with a 'clean sheet' design. That's all I've said on here.

Remember, this is an enthusiasts project, not a commercial product for retail.

I have also written commercial firmware (although not FPGA, I'm a PIC/STM guy) and done digital signal processing, not with video freely admitted - but it's an interesting thing to set up a board for and throw it out to the community. Costs aren't that high if you're not profit-motivated, the idea of what we're sketching at the moment is entirely open, people can take with it and do what they with, test, program, adjust, and tinker. We're only working on core DSP and filtering at the moment. A true community project, also if anybody has ever thought about something like this, is a programmer, EE or mathematician (professional or just well versed in the topics) do please drop me a PM and I'll send some links to get involved.

The one I'm working with continues apace anyway, whether LS thinks it will come to anything or not. It could well fizzle into nothing, but a shoulder shrug and a remark of 'pfft... can't be done' won't help, chip in, provide sensible criticism or don't get involved are the three options as I see it.

It's certainly a 'trivial' exercise compared to making a new video machine - I wish anybody trying that every success but tooling for video heads if nothing else is going to be quite eye-watering!

Last edited by RobustReviews; 01-18-2022 at 04:05 AM.
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  #5  
01-18-2022, 10:48 AM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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This TBC/Capture card idea has been brought up numerous times here before and I think that's what LS is talking about.

Anyway, I think the best way of doing this is to approach a company that owns the IP cores of a certain design, Meaning that they do have the Soc FPGA design already, It just needs to be tailored to one's specific needs in terms of what I/O will be implemented and what functions need to be enabled or disabled, For instance Sing-Mai is a company that specializes in the A/V field, it costs them almost nothing to cook up a Gerber file and a firmware ready for ordering from a third party PCB manufacturing plant such as JLCPCB, If someone or a community approach them for such thing and say look we want your design for running a small batch can you help us out? Then a crowd funding will help in this scenario to see if you reach your goal of say 200 backers @ $500 a piece, Take away the manufacturing costs per unit say $50 and another $50 for shipping and packing and associated fees, Now that you have $80k to offer to the design company assuming you are doing this on a non profit basis just to see how things are going, if all well then raise the price for another batch to make some profit, that's how it is always being done in these situations where the market is unknown.

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  #6  
01-18-2022, 11:08 AM
RobustReviews RobustReviews is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
This TBC/Capture card idea has been brought up numerous times here before and I think that's what LS is talking about.

Anyway, I think the best way of doing this is to approach a company that owns the IP cores of a certain design, Meaning that they do have the Soc FPGA design already, It just needs to be tailored to one's specific needs in terms of what I/O will be implemented and what functions need to be enabled or disabled, For instance Sing-Mai is a company that specializes in the A/V field, it costs them almost nothing to cook up a Gerber file and a firmware ready for ordering from a third party PCB manufacturing plant such as JLCPCB, If someone or a community approach them for such thing and say look we want your design for running a small batch can you help us out? Then a crowd funding will help in this scenario to see if you reach your goal of say 200 backers @ $500 a piece, Take away the manufacturing costs per unit say $50 and another $50 for shipping and packing and associated fees, Now that you have $80k to offer to the design company assuming you are doing this on a non profit basis just to see how things are going, if all well then raise the price for another batch to make some profit, that's how it is always being done in these situations where the market is unknown.
That's an interesting post, however, to roll these boards in small amounts is going to come in well above $50, especially at the moment. You're not wrong, it's definitely one approach though.

They would have a good deal of HDL already in place though, I can totally see where you're coming from there. My idea was just to assemble some fellow nerds and knock our heads together for a dev-board to see where we could go, 'spit-balling' if you will. My personal preference would be to make the whole thing totally open, hardware and software as (sometimes!) work great things come from the synergy of people working together, especially enthusiasts, but that's not the only way; naturally. There's a stack of 'wheel-reinventing' to be done.

If it's open, it can be modified, improved upon by a community etc.

It's somewhere between a thought experiment and some very rough proof of concepts on various bits of hardware at the moment, it's hardly 'coming soon', if at all.

I have ordered a few bits for experimentation and a dev-board at the moment, I'll feedback the full details in 'another place' as and when there's news.

Ultimately, as it stands, it's little more than a thought experiment, and a 'pub discussion' about the hardware required to accomplish, I'm happy to roll a couple of pre-alpha boards once there's something worth looking at.

That's all I can say really
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  #7  
01-18-2022, 01:14 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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The only problem is that “let’s get together and build something” hardly works, people are busy in life and they have other priorities, Just look at the VHS-decode project, it’s been dragging for years with no final outcome even when the hardware is readily available under the open source scheme. The only way to get it done unfortunately is to pay someone so that way if there is a bug or a delay you can bitch at somebody so they can get their shit together and get it done. I’ve seen so many crowd funding projects fail because of this I can or we can do it on our own, It just doesn’t work. So we have to disagree on this.

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  #8  
01-18-2022, 03:46 PM
RobustReviews RobustReviews is offline
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Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
The only problem is that “let’s get together and build something” hardly works, people are busy in life and they have other priorities, Just look at the VHS-decode project, it’s been dragging for years with no final outcome even when the hardware is readily available under the open source scheme. The only way to get it done unfortunately is to pay someone so that way if there is a bug or a delay you can bitch at somebody so they can get their shit together and get it done. I’ve seen so many crowd funding projects fail because of this I can or we can do it on our own, It just doesn’t work. So we have to disagree on this.
You know, I'm not disagreeing with you really. You've raised important points.

However, at the moment I'm one person and I'm not prepared to put a couple of my businesses up against this to bankroll it. What I am able to do is get a few geeky types together and let us sketch it out and knock some ideas around.

Idealistic maybe, I do not disagree with you, but I also believe until you've 'had a go' at trying to do something then, well you're left with just moaning about prices or waiting for somebody else to do something if you catch my drift? That's accomplished the square root of FA so far.

It costs a little bit of time to sort out a basis to start from and a few hundred dollars, that's an investment I'm willing to make (personally) as it's an opportunity to learn if nothing else. If anybody else wants to be proactive I'd do nought to stop them.

You've raised completely legitimate points though @latreche34 and they need careful contemplation. Also with VHS Decode, I'm going to start looking at this at you're right, it does seem to be running out of steam somewhat, it's a great project but could also be considered a warning.
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  #9  
01-18-2022, 04:00 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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If I have the skills I would but I'm nowhere near capable of reading the codes let alone writing them, It's just the way I look at it from previous attempts I've seen. Are there skilled people out there? Sure, I know quite few and they have been working on projects for years, PCM encoder for VHS, PCM decoder for VHS, VHS-decode, Cassette decks and turntable projects just to name few. Where are the results? No one knows.

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  #10  
01-18-2022, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by RobustReviews View Post
If that's aimed at me
It's not aimed at anybody, it's aimed at the topic.

Quote:
That's taken completely out of context. That was a hardware hacking scenario, not a built-from-ground-up scenario. Completely different. Hardware R&D, and hacking aka reverse engineering, has nothing directly causal to do with the other.

Quote:
Costs aren't that high
Right. You do know we have a chip shortage, right? That will last for years. Certain chips are backlogged well in Q4 2023 right now, and keep getting pushed further back. Folks are vastly misunderestimating the costs here. Random amounts like $50 or $300 are not going to come close.

Quote:
a remark of 'pfft... can't be done' won't help
Again, these notions are often the results of being cheap, not that it's impossible. The cheapness is impossible. We're never talking $1.5k or $1k instead of the current going rate of $2k+, but $100. Some really stupid divorced-from-reality number. Then the person always has a cockamamie idea to add lots of features -- which of course would push the price back up, but the person seems oblivious to that.

You'd have better luck building a DeLorean, and going back to the 2000s to buy used DataVideo units, during that brief time when units were ~66% avg of new MSRP. Odds are, the person would still b!tch that it costs too much. (And it ignores paradoxes of removing supply.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobustReviews View Post
but a shoulder shrug and a remark of 'pfft... can't be done' won't help,
You remind me of certain parents and teachers. "Don't tell somebody that they can't do something! They can do anything if they put their mind to it!" But no. Example: I'm a dude. I can't birth a kid, no plumbing for it. (Not that I'd want to, but great example.) Sometimes realism needs to be injected into half-baked ideas. This is the type of nonsense than gave us the "everybody gets a trophy" generation. Unwilling to dole out the hard lessons on what didn't, can't, or shouldn't. Just lollipops and candy canes, tralalala.

Quote:
provide sensible criticism
You confuse "not liking" advice with "not good advice". No.

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Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
This TBC/Capture card idea has been brought up numerous times here before and I think that's what LS is talking about.
It has, over and over again, for years. That and software TBC. I'm often approached about this by somebody that has a can-do attitude, but lack the skills/knowledge that make it a can't-do. And I don't mean general IT/hardware/whatever. It takes more than "hey guys, let do it!!!". I now have a list of criteria to even bother discussing TBCs at this advanced level. Show me you actually know something first.

Quote:
200 backers @ $500 a piece, Take away the manufacturing costs per unit say $50
No.

Again, random maths. I'm not laughing "at you", but "at the statement". You get a pass here, you know that you don't know. But it's a great example of the complete absurdity of these conversations. $50 doesn't even buy a single chip. (As some of you may be understanding now, I'm gotten very far into this over the years. With talented others, not alone.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobustReviews View Post
My idea was just to assemble some fellow nerds and knock our heads together
synergy of people working together
If it's open, it can be modified, improved upon by a community etc.
Utopian philosophy.

Quote:
I have ordered a ... dev-board
<sigh> Let me guess: the same Analog Devices "dev board" that has existed for years, and been looked over far more times than you can guess. It's a non-starter. No usable frame or line, unless the source is so good that it almost doesn't need a TBC at all. Then again, sometimes that TBC also makes decent video worse. I almost want to bang my head into the keyboard when somebody comes across that thing, and thinks they found some super double-secret item that nobody knew about. No, no, no. Not it.



Quote:
it's little more than a thought experiment, and a 'pub discussion'
Yeah, well, like your bar buddies, you're going to get ribbed for the dumb idea.
And next round's on me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
The only problem is that “let’s get together and build something” hardly works, people are busy in life and they have other priorities, Just look at the VHS-decode project, it’s been dragging for years with no final outcome even when the hardware is readily available under the open source scheme. The only way to get it done unfortunately is to pay someone so that way if there is a bug or a delay you can bitch at somebody so they can get their shit together and get it done. I’ve seen so many crowd funding projects fail because of this I can or we can do it on our own, It just doesn’t work. So we have to disagree on this.
That's exactly it.

Project dev usually ends because:

- "It's good enough for me." (but works like crap for everybody else)
- "I need to spend more time with my kids."
- "I'm getting married."
- "Due to health, I have to take a leave." (and usually never returns, even if condition improved)
- aka in-fighting, which often leads to forks that also go nowhere
- Even
- But most often, the person ghosts, MIA, disappears entirely. (Sometimes, years later, decade later, the person returns. "Oh hey, is this still happening? LOL.")

For some things to succeed, there has to be a profit motive. That's the only way to ensure long-term interest and viability, and to have some degree of accountability (not even necessarily financial, but things like reputation).

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobustReviews View Post
However, at the moment I'm one person and I'm not prepared to put a couple of my businesses up against this to bankroll it.
But that's what it'll take to happen. There is reward, but only if you take risk. Not just money, but time.

Quote:
Idealistic maybe, I do not disagree with you, but I also believe until you've 'had a go' at trying to do something then,
To me, that's a problem. A wise person learns from the mistakes (and successes) of others. A dumbass has to repeat the mistakes, and only dreams of the successes (heads in the cloud type). Don't be that guy. You and I don't see eye to eye at times, but I think you're better than that.

Contrary to fun little sayings, dreamers don't do shit in this world. Doers do. But to do anything seriously, you have to have a realistic approach. That starts with research, in-depth knowledge, etc. You can't just jump in, hope for the best. That either won't end well, or just not have an ending at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
Where are the results? No one knows.
Yep.

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  #11  
01-18-2022, 08:49 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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I think you misunderstood my $50 figure, although it is an approximation but it is for the PCB printing only, I've had quotes for a similar size PCB with all the components on it for $37 a piece from JLPCB, And that was for 10 batch, 500 plus I assume it will be cheaper, SMD components are cheap even the most famous chips. What you have missed though is the $80k I allocated for the design and testing. Off course the IP core holder may say fuck off but at least this is the cheapest way to go by vs doing R&D on your own, It would take you 100's of thousands of dollars.
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  #12  
01-18-2022, 10:16 PM
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Ah, gotcha.

But we understand each other. The costs are way higher than typical "geeks" think. And given how these conversations always start due to costs of existing TBCs, it's a non-starter.

Can it be done? Uphill battle, but maybe. And lots of costs, time.
Can it be done cheaper than existing units? No.

Again, I like the enthusiasm about using quality gear, and even making it. But you have to separate this nutty idea of it being a cheap process, crowdfunded, open-source, garage project, etc.

I don't know about $100Ks, but certainly a fistful of $Ks. Not including time = $.

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  #13  
01-18-2022, 10:48 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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Neither am I for this idea of lets get together and make a capture card, I was just making the contrast between paying a pro to do it vs spending years of fiddling with an idea with zero money in it, that's all.
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  #14  
01-19-2022, 12:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
Neither am I for this idea of lets get together and make a capture card, I was just making the contrast between paying a pro to do it vs spending years of fiddling with an idea with zero money in it, that's all.
I'd be satisfied with somebody simply making Win10 (or even Win7) drivers for classic quality cards like the AIW. As a bonus, making ATI MMC work. That'd be a lot easier than trying to make a new card. This idea of "let's make a new capture card" has about as much of a chance as magically turning the Easycap into a quality card. No, what we get instead are superfluous promises that fall flat, be it RetorTINKs or whatever.

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  #15  
01-21-2022, 07:30 PM
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I think the RetroTink is a good first step, probably its main weakness is that it expects a high quality video signal. It needs more memory for buffering, maybe a more powerful FPGA to handle timebase correction, and it needs to output an interlaced signal and provide the standard proc amp functions that you find in capture cards.
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