Quantcast ATI Theater 550 Pro capture filter not showing PAL-N? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
02-03-2019, 09:26 PM
rinaldimj rinaldimj is offline
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Hello everyone. Based on the amazing and detailed information found on this forum, I've bought two capture cards to test on different system/configurations:
  1. ATI AIW 9000 AGP card (Theater 200)
  2. ATI TV Wonder Elite PCI-E card (Theater 550Pro)
The first system works perfectly. No issues at all.

BUT the second system doesn't allow me to capture in the system of my country (PAL-N, Argentina). Works perfectly on NTSC-M and many PAL variants (B, I, H, etc), but the PAL-N option does not appear in the "capture filter" options. I've read in the forum that the Theater chips are not system-specific, so it should be a driver issue.

Did anyone have this same issue? Is there a specific driver known to work in this situation?
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  #2  
02-03-2019, 10:08 PM
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The Theatre 550 card is not good, only the 9000 AGP with Theatre 200. It's a lousy limited card, many known issues, has never been suggested on this site. The 200 and 550 are vastly different.

Replace the card with a Theatre Rage/100 or 200 chip, problem solved.

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02-03-2019, 11:18 PM
JPMedia JPMedia is offline
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Quote:
ATI AIW 9000 AGP card (Theater 200)
What has your experience been capturing at 720x480(or 576) resolution using VirtualDub? I also use a ATI AIW 9000 AGP and my captures become problematic whenever I set the horizontal capture resolution higher than 704.
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02-03-2019, 11:43 PM
rinaldimj rinaldimj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPMedia View Post
What has your experience been capturing at 720x480(or 576) resolution using VirtualDub? I also use a ATI AIW 9000 AGP and my captures become problematic whenever I set the horizontal capture resolution higher than 704.
None at all! The drivers can be problematic, but once they're installed, the capture is solid, no glitches or frame dropouts. What do you exactly mean with "problematic"?
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02-04-2019, 11:22 AM
JPMedia JPMedia is offline
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My mistake. I actually have the 9200. I am in an NTSC region so I try to capture using 720x480. When I record at that resolution my AVI files will have either an inconsistent frame rate, or will capture a single frozen frame.
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02-05-2019, 07:46 PM
rinaldimj rinaldimj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPMedia View Post
My mistake. I actually have the 9200. I am in an NTSC region so I try to capture using 720x480. When I record at that resolution my AVI files will have either an inconsistent frame rate, or will capture a single frozen frame.
I believe it could be a drivers issue. Start with a fresh Windows installation, install the drivers in the order specified in the guides, and everything should be OK. I needed to repeat the process two or three times to get the system working optimally. As some said in this forum, the ATI drivers are "some kind of octopus" that drives Windows mad.
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02-05-2019, 09:15 PM
jwillis84 jwillis84 is offline
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I happen to have a 9200.. it was a bargain card for Walmart.. at least when I got one. It has the really good 12 bit Theater 200 chip on board, but its not immune to a busy bus in the computer.

I use a lot of USB capture devices at the moment, and discovered recently that using the [Audio Playback] while capturing would cause USB packet loss and effect audio sync with the video capture. I also lost video packets when [Audio Playback] was enabled in VirtualDub. The amount of memory or CPU speed did not matter. I still lost audio sync and dropped frames with [Audio Playback] enabled.

I do know that with really expensive capture cards and very good drivers.. you can drive the losses down, but they do not disappear.. until [Audio Playback] is turned [Off].

Its been a while since I have had the 9200 in one of my machines, but if your VirtualDub has the [timing graph] feature, try turning that on, and then a Test Capture. Do one test with [Enable audio playback] checked on, and one with it un-checked. The timing graph will display sync and display when its lost while a Test Capture is running.

I would bet that with [Enable audio playback] un-checked, or turned off, that your sync and dropped frame issues will go away.

Its a simple matter of too much traffic on the computer bus, no matter how fast the computer, capture requires a lot of constant data traffic, anything that competes will stress that and make it wait.. making it wait will cause the software to discard some data to keep up.
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02-06-2019, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rinaldimj View Post
I believe it could be a drivers issue. Start with a fresh Windows installation, install the drivers in the order specified in the guides, and everything should be OK. I needed to repeat the process two or three times to get the system working optimally. As some said in this forum, the ATI drivers are "some kind of octopus" that drives Windows mad.
Ultimately I might end up needing to do this. While cobbling together my XP capture PC I went through more components than I would like to admit. By the time I found a consistently functional motherboard and properly configured my HDDs, SATA controller, Sound Card, etc. starting from scratch might be the right move. I recently discovered that I probably installed more ATI software than is necessary for functional capture. I would be well served to follow sanlyn's directions in this thread: Setting up a computer for an ATI AlW 9200 capture system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
Its been a while since I have had the 9200 in one of my machines, but if your VirtualDub has the [timing graph] feature, try turning that on, and then a Test Capture. Do one test with [Enable audio playback] checked on, and one with it un-checked. The timing graph will display sync and display when its lost while a Test Capture is running.
Hi jwillis84. I’m happy to hear that there is another user out there with the same capture card. You wrote a detailed post a while back about the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz which was very helpful when choosing a sound card. Fortunately I learned the benefits of disabling [Enable audio playback] early on in my journey down the analog video capture rabbit-hole.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
Its a simple matter of too much traffic on the computer bus, no matter how fast the computer, capture requires a lot of constant data traffic, anything that competes will stress that and make it wait.. making it wait will cause the software to discard some data to keep up.
I might not be describing by problem accurately. This particular problem appears even before capture begins. After opening VirtualDub, I go to [File] --> [Capture AVI…]. Then VirtualDub goes into capture mode. Under [video] I have [Overlay] enabled. Then I go into [video] --> [Set custom format…].



Using these settings I can see moving video in capture mode. Across the bottom of the capture window I see the following information:



When I go back into [Set custom format…] and change the horizontal resolution,



This is what I see at the bottom of the capture window:



The image in the capture preview window will now either be black, or a frozen and scrambled image. Before attempting a clean reinstall of windows are there any other known fixes I should attempt?


Attached Images
File Type: jpg 704x480 (Before) 01.JPG (39.4 KB, 27 downloads)
File Type: jpg 704x480 (Before) 02.JPG (6.5 KB, 30 downloads)
File Type: jpg 720x480 (After) 01.JPG (39.6 KB, 28 downloads)
File Type: jpg 720x480 (After) 02.JPG (4.4 KB, 31 downloads)
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  #9  
02-06-2019, 07:49 PM
jwillis84 jwillis84 is offline
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Let me back up a second did you do this first?

Go to Video (menu) > Capture filter > Video decoder > : Video Standard > PAL_N

Last edited by jwillis84; 02-06-2019 at 08:05 PM.
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02-06-2019, 09:27 PM
JPMedia JPMedia is offline
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I had previously configured VirtualDub as follows:

Video > Capture filter > Video decoder > : Video Standard > NTSC_M



Not sure why I would have a need to use a PAL video standard. All of the tapes I'm working with are from North America.


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File Type: jpg Video Standard 01.JPG (17.4 KB, 28 downloads)
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02-06-2019, 09:50 PM
jwillis84 jwillis84 is offline
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I must be lost in the thread, the original poster mentioned PAL_N. That's me trying to multi-task. I should really stop and be quiet for a while so you can get some real help.

If its still a problem this weekend, I'll toss my 9200 in a machine and see if I have any problems or insights to mention.

Last edited by jwillis84; 02-06-2019 at 10:23 PM.
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  #12  
02-07-2019, 10:35 AM
rinaldimj rinaldimj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
Let me back up a second did you do this first?

Go to Video (menu) > Capture filter > Video decoder > : Video Standard > PAL_N
LOL, that was my question, I created the post for this but then the conversation migrated to the problem of another user.

That's the problem I have: the Theater 550 PRO doesn't show PAL-N in the list. I thought it was a driver issue, but as for now I've tried more than 10 versions, and none of them shows PAL-N in the list. In the other hand, my other system (based on a AIW9000) shows the option from the first use.

I know that there are two versions of the card (Europe and America, basically), but the drivers are not different, so there must be a hardware difference (apart of the TV tuner, functionality I do not need). A lot of messages in the forum claim that there are not different chips for Europe and America, so my suspicion now it that the difference must be in the BIOS of the card.
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02-07-2019, 12:53 PM
JPMedia JPMedia is offline
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Originally Posted by rinaldimj View Post
LOL, that was my question, I created the post for this but then the conversation migrated to the problem of another user.
I'm sorry about that. I didn't intend to hijack your thread. I'll start a different one after work.
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02-07-2019, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by JPMedia View Post
I'm sorry about that. I didn't intend to hijack your thread. I'll start a different one after work.
It's OK! Was as interesting problem anyway
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  #15  
02-08-2019, 07:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rinaldimj View Post
not different chips for Europe and America, so my suspicion now it that the difference must be in the BIOS of the card.
This merits investigation. Perhaps.

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02-10-2019, 05:16 AM
jwillis84 jwillis84 is offline
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Okay, I did throw the ATI 9200 All-In-Wonder card into my XPSP1a system, and XPSP2 system.

The Driver + MMC 8.8 disc that came with the card 180-V01084-100 has a "special" order of installation dependency.

You can "make it work" in many ways after its crashed and burned, but doing that produces disappointing capture quality in the image. The image is not stable and wavers, it looks like a hardware signal issue, its not, however I think its a software "blob" issue that occurs if the drivers are "cobbled" together.

The "install order" is very important.

The disc 180-V01084-100 [only] installs on XP-SP1 correctly.

The disc 180-V01084 [will appear] to install correctly on XP-SP2, but it installs "barely" compatible older device drivers with the [new] XP kernel from SP2. ATI Tests (will) "pass" however TV setup will fail and offer to run the tests again.

You can get VirtualDub to work on XP-SP2 even if ATI TV (or the MMC) apps fail, but the signal quality will be highly degraded and unstable. Software "blob" are small bits of code uploaded to cards to basically "set them up" for use, to optimal readiness to process signals, without them the cards are not completely setup, or optimized.. they are half-a sleep and don't process the signals in an optimal manner. They are usually highly proprietary and a closely guarded product secret. They aren't exactly device drivers and improperly setup driver installs can loose them.. effecting card performance.

A work-around if you can't start again from XP-SP1, and have to continue on with XP-SP2, is to go into Device Manager, find the Display drivers and pull up their Property pages and select [Rollback].. the disc installed [old] drivers when it successfully completed. XP-SP2 changed the Kernel and has newer better ATI device drivers which are rock solid and crystal clear. There are two sets of ATI device drivers which ATI released to Microsoft to bundle with the new SP2 kernel and are included in the Service Pack 2 install.

After "rollback" of the Display drivers, you have to reboot. Then do the same thing for the ATI WDM device drivers under [Sound, Video and game controllers]. All of them..

(set 1)
Display adapters
+-ALL-IN-WONDER 9200
+-ALL-IN-WONDER 9200 - Secondary

(set 2)
Sound, video and game controllers
+- ATI WDM Rage Theater Audio
+- ATI WDM Rage Theater Video
+- ATI WDM Specialized MVD Codec
+- ATI WDM Specialized PCD Codec
+- ATI WDM TV Audio Crossbar
+- ATI WDM TV Tuner

You cannot roll back (set 2) until the Display drivers (set 1) have been rolled back and the system has been rebooted.

If you keep track of the date and versions you will see that [all] of the device drivers installed by the disc are old and walk over the SP2 device drivers. By "rolling back" you are actually (undoing) what the disc did and restoring the newer SP2 device drivers. Once this is done, clicking on the TV app will begin normal setup because the newer device drivers are "fully" compatible with the XPSP2 Kernel.

But..

The signal will (not) be as clear and stable as it would be if you started from XP-SP1, installed the ATI disc with those device drivers, then installed SP2.. this is superior to working-around the problem. I suspect some part is not restored with the "rollback" which cleans up "more" of the signal than if all of the device drivers were installed correctly the first time through.. from XP-SP1 to disc to XP-SP2

The device driver + MMC disc [ 180-V01084-100 ] has an installer called the "Catalyst" which installs device drivers, common dependencies for the MMC and then installs the MMC 8.8

Shortly after starting it offers install everything [Express Settings] or install only selected things [Custom Settings]. But the device drivers are "mandatory" .. you cannot [deselect] them and install only the MMC 8.8 .. so its an all or nothing bargain. If you want to install MMC 8.8 you must install the version of device drivers included on the disc, and they are not compatible "Fully" with the XP after Service Pack 2 has been applied. Your ("best") option is to start with a system that has XP but only Service Pack 1 applied, then install the ATI disc device drivers (which are older but "Fully" compatible with XP Service Pack 1 ) then you "can" set up ATI TV, it does not complain. And only then install XP Service Pack 2, this will update the device drivers "Fully" and be compatible with XP with Service Pack 2

It sounds tortuous, but the picture quality and capture signal stability are very apparent. You can tell when the device drivers are wrong in VirtualDub, and when the rollback method has been used. Its "very" noticeable. The correct order makes a very good picture.

Once you have the system in a crystal clear, locked state. Make a good full system backup and keep it handy should you need to restore to that known state.

I did hook up a PAL_B source and captured with the 9200 with no problem. But I see people were speaking of the Elite or 550 not supporting PAL_N.

The 9200 like all of the 9000 series cards had the Theater 200 chip, while the Elite or 550 has the Theater 550 pro chip. They were designed and made by different companies.

The Theater 200 was designed and made by ATI technologies.

The Theater 550 chip was acquired from outside ATI after an acquisition and released after ATI was acquired by AMD.

The 550 chip was targeted as the AMD Tivo killer for cable and satellite boxes as a PVR on a chip. It included full hardware MPEG2 encoding on chip and did not have the flexibility of the 200 chip.

Optional AGC by-pass was removed and many functions were defaulted and optimized for time shifting.

Since it was primarily targeting the US Home market, its not surprising that it may not support all PAL variations. ATI had a lot of International sales experience. AMD was new to the graphics market and focused mostly on the US market.

-- Bonus

If you have the Turtle Beach, Santa Cruz sound card. You can use the systray Santa Cruz "mixer" to [enable] audio playback for the Line Input.. (un-mute it) and that [ will not ] cause latency issues while performing video and audio capture in VirtualDub. To be clear, [Do Not Enable "Audio Playback"] in the VirtualDub Audio (menu).

This particular sound card has an [onboard] hardware mixer which will route captured audio direct to its audio out connector on the back of the card and not add any additional load to the system performing the video capture.

This is definitely not an option on cheaper sound cards. But its a welcome feature with the Santa Cruz sound card.

Last edited by jwillis84; 02-10-2019 at 05:55 AM.
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02-10-2019, 11:04 AM
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Okay threw the Elite (550) into an XP-SP1a, XP-SP2 and XP-SP3

First the PowerCinema 3.0 which replaced Multi Media Center (MMC) is a bit immature, it has TV Tuner, Video Capture and FM radio functions.

Connecting a PAL_B source on the S-Video input and selecting it for Video Capture reveals no way within the application to select broadcast standard. You can however using third party tools like "Crossbar Thing" to configure the broadcast standard from outside the PowerCinema application.

PAL_B support on XP-SP1 is practically non-existent, the picture is corrupt and a mess. Selecting PAL_D however stabilizes it, which is almost the only Broadcast standard in PAL that works with XP-SP1.

Limited PAL.jpg

PAL_B support on XP-SP2 is improved and a few more Broadcast standards work, PAL_G is best

PAL_B support on XP-SP3 is about as good as it gets.

The limited PAL support seems to be because the PAL standards can be grouped into several PAL letter groups which are essentially the same standard differing only in the wavelength over which they were or are transmitted. Since they are no longer actually transmitted in many places the differences have become minor, PAL_N is most like PAL_B, so if looking to capture PAL_N then use PAL_B.

The 550 chip has dual uses by looking at its DirectShow pin outs.

First as an MPEG2 AVStream which outputs Multiplexed audio and video as an MPEG2 stream.

Second as an Uncompressed capture device.

VirtualDub treats it only as an Uncompressed capture device, and it can capture Video rather well, but resorts to Inserting video frames to keep pace with delayed audio if attempting to capture audio simultaneously. Any VirtualDub "filters" will implement compression in "software" not the "hardware" of the chip itself. An application taking advantage of the hardware MPEG2 stream this chip produces would have to be designed with that capability in mind and would need to specifically support the stream media id's produced by this specific hardware.. its not a subtle "maybe" it will be supported.. it will not be supported.. unless the capture application is designed to do so.

If using it for Uncompressed capture, do not attempt to capture or playback audio through the Elite or 550 card, they loose sync badly..(2000-3000 msec badly.. yikes!) which is probably no surprise when you consider its intended as an MPEG2 hardware stream encoder. Use it only for capturing the uncompressed Video, and use a separate sound card for capturing the audio, you will need to hookup the red and white jacks to a mini-plug adapter and connect that to the sound card line input. By-pass connecting the audio to the Inputs of the Elite or 550 entirely.. unless capturing the MPEG2 output from the card.

I only tested MPEG2 streaming capture with GraphEdit. PowerCinema combined with "Crossbar Thing" should also probably be able to do it. And Windows Media Center 2005 edition should work with it very well.

Elite550 Dual Chip.jpg

I really can't recommend it for general purpose Uncompressed capturing, and anyone who is not using the NTSC_M.. broadcast standard (the cards driver default) is going to have a tough time, manually switching it over to PAL over and over again. They would be much better off with an older card from ATI that remembers its settings, the drivers for this card do not.

As mentioned before the AGC control was removed from this chip design. And it has been reported many times over the years the algorithm that replaced manual control is rather "sketchy" and unreliable, it over reacts to sudden darkening and brighting in high motion scenes.. in a distracting way.

As a strictly PVR card for a home theater pc, it might suffice.. but beyond that its had its "wings" clipped at the factory to deliver a low cost chip to the mass market.

The box looks ATI in a spartan way (it comes in a very small box) it has glowing words about Windows MCE 2005 certification and Image Science certified picture quality.. but its really a dedicated streaming device, it takes in input and produces an MPEG2 stream of audio and video.. its more like a DVD recorder in a tiny box without a lot of control.. and no real editing or DVD burner capabilities.


Attached Images
File Type: jpg Limited PAL.jpg (23.4 KB, 3 downloads)
File Type: jpg Elite550 Dual Chip.jpg (72.3 KB, 5 downloads)

Last edited by jwillis84; 02-10-2019 at 11:16 AM.
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02-12-2019, 01:07 AM
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These are the worlds most boring videos (but) I'm testing out a new way to capture card output for training videos.

The first is 14 minutes long. Its a real time install of the "ATI device driver and application" disc for the All-In-Wonder 9200 in a Windows XP Service Pack-1 system. Then configuration of the TV application for the first time and a recording session and playback.

ATI All-In-Wonder 9200 Installing Drivers and MMC

The second is 5 minutes long. Its a real time demo of starting VirtualDub, getting into capture mode and configuring a capture and its source. Then a recording session and playback.

ATI All-In-Wonder 9200 VirtualDub capture

Most people have far too much experience to get anything from these, and people new to performing these tasks would be best advised to play them back on youtube at 1.25 or 1.5 speed.
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