Quantcast EasyCap s-video worse than composite? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
02-18-2019, 03:20 PM
AndyF AndyF is offline
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I am just playing around with this cheap toy and noticed that capturing from composite looks much better than from S-video. The clips have identical settings, bit rate etc. The only difference is the input. The VCR is a Panasonic NV-HS1000 with both TBC and AI engaged. The clips were captured with the DVR 2.5 software but using VirtualDub does not make any difference. The ghosting is all over the picture and the pulsating white areas and flagging makes me wonder if it is a gain related problem but AGC is disabled.

Or: Is this normal for all capture cards when using S-Video with out frame TBC? I mean, does S-video generally require tighter tolerances?

I measured S-Video pin 1 (GND Y) and 2 (GND C) on the card and there is 0 ohm between them. Sure ground is ground but I thought they were supposed to be separate. If 0 ohm is normal then something else is going on...


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File Type: mpg S-Video.mpg (3.23 MB, 10 downloads)
File Type: mpg Composite.mpg (3.55 MB, 10 downloads)
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  #2  
02-18-2019, 06:10 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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Never seen that happen on any capture card. Does it happen with other video sources?

Also side note, it's possible to make the dropouts (black stripes) less visible):
Panasonic NV-HS1000 noisy image at start of tapes, random spots?
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  #3  
02-18-2019, 06:51 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Y and C ground are the same and there should be essentially 0 ohms between the pins at the card and at the player. The impedance between the hot pins (3 and 4) will be different, what you measure will depend on the circuit and its state but I would expect it to look like 150 ohms to a video signal. DC and power off resistances/impedances may well be very different.

Y/C generally has wider bandwidth and thus will allow more of the noise on the tape than composite will. Given that VCR composite output is generally created by adding the Y and C signals together near the output point, the degraded Y/C capture is likely due to issues within the capture device. A frame TBC may help with some of this, subject to limitations of the capture device.
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  #4  
02-18-2019, 07:20 PM
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jwillis84 jwillis84 is online now
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s-video is Y and C signal output, same as on the tape, they have to be combined to produce the CV before output.. the model of VHS player suggests its a PAL model, which suggests NTSC 4.33 or 3.58 or PAL selections are involved

You can get all kinds of barely viewable output on Y and C from a loose SCART connection or selecting PAL60 or NTSC 4.33 when it should be NTSC 3.58.. in other words a lot of variables here

my bet though is on a loose barely connected s-video or loose SCART adapter.. you can still get luma and see a picture but lose all color without chroma.. if luma is loose then sync will be tricky at best.. but like I said my bet is on the connector versus the composite connection

Last edited by jwillis84; 02-18-2019 at 07:47 PM.
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  #5  
02-18-2019, 10:00 PM
AndyF AndyF is offline
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Thanks for all replies!
The VCR is PAL and so is the cassette. I have tried PAL B, G, D etc but that makes MO difference. I did notice that when the S-video connector to Easycap is just barely engaged when fully coupled. The DIN ring is sticking out a bit too far which prevents full connection. I will try to grind it down and see if maybe the Luma can get better connection. Thanks for the Panny noise link. Will check it out. Fanrastic forum btw!

-- merged --

I ground down the overly protruding DIN ring and got a better seating in the connection and ohmed from VCR end of S-video cable to the EasyCap PCB and the connection is good. Unfortunately it didn't solve the problem. Next I desoldered the chip on the PCB as it looked like it had a few bridged legs. Didn't help. Running the VCR to a TV with same cable gives a good picture so dont suspect the cable. Feeding the same cable and EasyCap from known good MiniDV or Hi8 also looks crap and fine using composite. So there is something weird going on with the EasyCap for sure. Next step is to get a ATI TV Wonder USB 2 with Theatre 200 and hope it helps! Thanks again guys.

Andy
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  #6  
02-20-2019, 02:53 AM
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Good luck finding that "gem" of a capture box.. the ATI USB2.0N is quite good in all ways. But be absolutely sure you do not try to playback "audio" while capturing with it. Its introduces random dropouts throughout the video that look like "static" or "artifacts" and de-syncs the audio capture.. but it works splendidly as long as you [do not playback] audio while capturing video or video+audio. Its the playback at the same time its being captured that ruins the capture.

Last edited by jwillis84; 02-20-2019 at 03:21 AM.
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  #7  
02-20-2019, 03:20 AM
AndyF AndyF is offline
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Thanks! Why is is called 2.ON or 2.0N?
So far it seems to be called ATI TV Wonder USB 2.0. Or are there two varieties? Win XP is fine. Got lots of computers running XP SP2 never connected to Internet. Love how stabile they are and how fast they start☺.
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  #8  
02-20-2019, 09:47 PM
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ATI made four attempts at "native" or designed in house USB capture "Wonders"

1. USB 1.1
2. USB 2.0N
3. Cable USB 2.0
4. PVR USB 2.0

Its easy to get them mixed up.

The name ATI USB2.0N comes from a string that identifies it inside the device driver file installed on Windows XP. That name is also referred to by ATI employees in several old documents.

My guess is they had a problem with people confusing it with the "older" USB 1.1 TV Wonder because it had already been on the market for several years from Win98, NT, 2000 and finally XP.

Today we look backwards at the product line and the first ATI USB Wonder we think about is this Black Brownie colored "Butter Dish" with Shredded Wheat style "skin" to promote air flow without a fan. Or the Midnight Black Cable Card USB TV Wonder which looked like something out of the 1980's Movie Dune.

The older Grey/Gray ATI USB2.0N with great big proud ATI red badge, is almost forgotten.. it was designed with the Theater 200 chip but had "no" onboard hardware compression.. so it delivers "pure unadulterated" full Chroma YUV packets over the USB cable. Because of that it was also easy to support on Apple Mac OSX as well and Elgato adopted it over there. Its simplicity.. and its frankly overly obsessive, over engineered video capture chip.. with audio capture in the same box.. is a marvel to behold.

Be sure you get something like an AC Infinity "Fan" or "Laptop cool plate" to rest it on.. it gets very hot..

Also.. not that it matters today, but it also has an old Analog NTSC TV Tuner onboard.. which Microsoft "required" if you wanted full support from Media Center and many of their applications.. it was BDA - Broadcast Device Adapter compliant.. which made it [extremely cheap] for the day it came out.. and [extremely over designed]. It had full VBI, Close Caption support, Parental Channel lockout controls, and Macrovision signal detection and copy controls.

Sadly.. today many people use it as a doorstop.. and don't understand how nearly [ indestructible ] it is, the only thing that goes wrong is the wall adapter (power supply) its rather cheap, and dies over time.. the power supply is under powered. The replacements for its power supply can be bought from Digikey (today is 2019) or Mouser (today is 2019).. and they were chosen because (100-240V switching) they have "world clips" which switch out the power prongs, or "fangs" that go into the wall.. when you buy a replacement off Digikey for example you have to "buy" the power "fangs" for your country separately.. or you'll literally receive a "toothless" wall adapter.

The device driver software supports NTSC, PAL and SECAM.. unlike many other models which have fewer world wide choices for support. And the PAL is region specific.. I think they have every letter of PAL in the alphabet.

Most ATI capture is performed best on the AGP computer bus.. its what they did best, but they put there all into this USB device. They were clearly excited by the full video capture bandwidth that USB2.0 finally offered. They had to compress the video on the older USB1.1 device to get it across the slower USB1.1 cable. They did not have to do that for the ATI USB2.0N, full video YUV 720x480 at 29 fps was finally possible.

Some people don't plan to perform full frame "YUV" video capture and then software or hardware compress it later.. so they want a PVR "style" onboard h.264 or other video compression built-into the video capture card or USB device.. The USB2.0N does not have hardware compression. Its naked raw and "full" video with all of the details, its for capturing "the best" possible digital capture.. for people who are artists or preservationist.. and need every advantage when planning on "cleaning up the signal" after its on the computer.. but before compressing it.. which bakes in all the capture imperfections forever.

This is a very unique box.. with a very rare set of skills.. and found at incredibly low prices (although that may be changing). The tough part is adapting to using Windows XP, giving up on using it on Windows 7 or Windows X or silly XP Mode.. those sabotage any serious attempt at video capture and people always blame the capture device. Stop doing silly things.. and it works beautifully as designed.

From my recent Digikey order for a replacement power supply

[beefier 12W design, an upgrade to the original in same form factor]

993-1360-ND
PSAC12R-060
AC/DC WALL MOUNT ADAPTER 6V 12W
$9.78

993-1054-ND
RPA
INPUT PLUG US FOR R WALL ADAPTER
$0.61

note: the problem is always the power supply

Last edited by jwillis84; 02-20-2019 at 10:24 PM.
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  #9  
02-21-2019, 12:45 AM
AndyF AndyF is offline
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What an essay☺! Thanks alot JWillis. Great to have all the characteristics in one post. It is definitely the box I am after but since it is never listed as ATI Wonder USD 2.0N:

1. Does it look like the one in the attached picture?
2. Is the official part number 100-703156?
3. Is it the only ATI USB capture device using the Theatre 200?


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  #10  
02-21-2019, 01:05 AM
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jwillis84 jwillis84 is online now
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That's the one.

There is no other like it.

I don't think any other USB device ever had the Theater 200 chip. The USB 1.1 version was too old it must have had the Theater Rage chip.. which some people debate as being the same.. but I doubt it. The newer models had chips from a company ATI bought out when they were planning to make home set top boxes to compete with Tivo.. that didn't work out and they sold that to Broadcom? I think.. or a company Broadcom eventually bought.

The Shredded Wheat box in Black had the 650 chip which was "sort of" based off the tech they sold off, but kept in house for PVR efforts. If I recall they dumbed the 650 chip down immensely removing a critical feature called "AGC override" leaving it to an algorithm to always decide when to ramp the Brightness of the image.. it overreacts and "Blows out" video by over exposing it during capture to everyone's irritation.. but by then AMD had bought ATI and sales were someone else's problem.

Over Engineering "see ATI" -- The Theater 200 chip had 12 bit Analog to Digital converters, at a time when Brooktree had 8 bit. It would be another three years until anyone had a 10 bit ADC in their video capture pipeline and six years until Sony and Pioneer used 12 bit again in their DVD recorders.

The rational as best I can tell is 12 bit makes a lot of heat, that 8 bit or lower levels of ADC do not. But 12 bit "over samples" the waveform and allows for better noise discrimination, or filtering. If you don't have 12 bit then filtering smooths out the video faster and washes out the detail. Basically you have less room for error and less control over how much filtering can be applied before damaging the video. -- I'm no video technician.. I am a rank amateur.. but that's how I understand it. To my eyes.. its much easier to capture good video, even if the signal is awful.. without skewing it up.

The Theater 200 has (two) Analog to Digital converters by the way, one 12 bit ADC for video, one 12 bit ADC for audio.. I don't know audio either.. but I do know some sound cards get by with 8 bit or 16 bit depending on mono or stereo.. but it seems "better" than average.. and could error on the side of ludicrous to sample audio at 12 bits.

I would also caution that the number of "bits" in the ADC is not the only measure of a good capture device.. the noise rejection on the inputs, and prefilters on the input to the ADC are also very important. The device drivers can be pure mud and prevent any kind of reasonable capture rate.. there are a lot of variables to consider.. ATI just had a long ramp up during the 90's and hit its stride in the early '00s and went to ground after 2006


One of the better reviews
Introducing the ATi TV Wonder USB 2.0

USB2.0N-1.jpg



Elgatos repackaging for using it on Mac OSX

eyeTV WONDER USB 2.0

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USB2.0N-2.jpg




reminder:

USB 1.1
- Theater Rage chip (Theater 100)

USN 2.0N
- Theater 200 chip (full AGC control)

Cable Tuner USB 2.0
- Theater 550 chip (no AGC override)

PVR USB 2.0
- Theater 650 chip (no AGC override)


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Last edited by jwillis84; 02-21-2019 at 02:04 AM.
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  #11  
02-21-2019, 03:15 AM
AndyF AndyF is offline
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Brilliant. You seem passing tell about this and I like it. I come from the audio world and used to produce records for Sony in the 80s and 90s. 12 bit audio can have its charm but I would say 16 bit is minimum for anything at semi pro level. You are right about over sampling. I see people ask why sample at 12 bits when vhs is such a crap format. Same reason we used to master CDs at 24 bit for processing. After all was done we would down convert to 16 bit for the CD glass master. For the audio part of a VHS capture I am not to bothered with the sound as I would likely use a Focus rite AD running at 16 or 24 bit and sounds really nice too☺
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  #12  
02-21-2019, 03:23 AM
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Your original signal clips look to be a problem with tracking and sync.

That tear at the top is usually fixed by using a vcr with a line tbc. But the overall pulsing of the video makes me think its more likely a bad s-video cable, or bad s-video connector on the vcr or the capture device.

I'm still no fan of anything Ezcap.. too many variables. The downside to using the ATI USB2.0N is that you have to use XP and have to get the drivers installed properly. That means install XP with no service Pack, then install Service Pack 1 (after uninstalling the 'original' USB device drivers so that the new ones install by SP1 take their place). Then install the ATI device drivers.. you cannot succeed by installing the ATI device drivers on XP with SP2 or SP3.

Finding a ATI USB2.0N (ATI TV Wonder USB 2.0) will not be easy.. and then there is the power supply and learning to use it.

Some people "prefer" to use Windows 7 or Windows X, in which case the ATI 600 USB will work, it is 10 bit, but its phenomenal compared to anything else in its class. It does not use the Theater 200 chip, it uses a Texas Instruments chip, but its very good with VHS signals. -- Its also getting hard to find.

"Real" video capture people though don't use the audio decoder bundled with the video capture device.. they route the audio cables "around" the video capture box and into a high end sound card.. and let that do the "sound design capture" instead. Video capture software usually lets you select the sound source separately from the video capture source.

The thing with video and audio capture is each pipeline has to add as little delay as possible because both are free running, they are not "locked" and can de-synchronize.. or "hunt" around a common period in time along the programs timeline. Anything over 41 msec is generally noticeable and irritates people. Good capture cards with fast computers and fast hard drives get the video images to the hard drive with minimal processing as fast as possible and add minimal delay. Good audio capture devices do as much of their processing on card with their own ADC and sound processor and get the audio samples to the hard drive as fast as possible. A large capture volume is not necessarily a bad thing, each adding minimal delay and keeping close to sync... but its late.. I ramble on.

Last edited by jwillis84; 02-21-2019 at 03:39 AM.
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  #13  
02-21-2019, 03:40 AM
AndyF AndyF is offline
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The VCR is a Panny NV-HS1000 and the TBC did not make any difference. The cable at least give a good picture is the Easycap is bypassed. Perhaps a TV is more tolerant and that is why it works but I think the Easycap is the problem. I am getting the ATI USB 2.0N from Lordsmurf so hopefully that will improve things. I will allocate a computer to this exclusively and follow your installation recommendations. Let's see how it pans out.
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