Quantcast Preserve VHS commercial tapes, need capturing advice - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
03-05-2010, 07:33 AM
RobertVHS RobertVHS is offline
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Hi lordsmurf,
after finding this and some other boards and reading alot of your posts, I got the impression, that you might be able to help me.

The VHS tapes I want to convert are commercial ones, so the quality is rather good, but I think you can see, that they are 15 years old.

I want to preserve these, because the DVD versions are terribly cropped/crippled 16:9 versions (I own the ones available), so quality is very important, while my budget is limited unfortunately.

While I did some quick and dirty conversions some years ago, I'll have to start from scratch, because I have no functioning (s)vhs recorder anymore, my tv card doesn't work in my new pc and I never had a TBC (-> it seems that none of the films is copyprotected).[/quote]The card may have ignored anti-copy.

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  #2  
03-06-2010, 06:06 AM
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Quote:
Hi lordsmurf,
after finding this and some other boards and reading alot of your posts, I got the impression, that you might be able to help me.
Probably so.

Quote:
The VHS tapes I want to convert are commercial ones, so the quality is rather good,
Always a good source to start with. Even the LP or EP/SLP retail tapes can be decent in the right VCR, with the right hardware.

Quote:
but I think you can see, that they are 15 years old.
Age really doesn't have anything to do with it. I've been working on some research lately for a new article. Most video tapes kept in a home will last 30-65 years on average, not this 5-15 years BS you sometimes see spouted by companies trying to seel you products or services. A 15-year-old tape is still in its prime. Starting to age, yes, but still good.

Quote:
I want to preserve these, because the DVD versions are terribly cropped/crippled 16:9 versions (I own the ones available),
I want to find some of my fellow editors and smack them in the back of the head, for things like this. Simply pathetic, isn't it?

Quote:
so quality is very important, while my budget is limited unfortunately.
Always a problem, when it comes to video restoration. Give me a budget, a number in dollars (or pounds or dinar or whatever).

Quote:
While I did some quick and dirty conversions some years ago, I'll have to start from scratch,
It really depends on how "dirty" dirty was.

Quote:
because I have no functioning (s)vhs recorder anymore,
Ewww... not good. The VCR is the most important piece in a hardware chain. Not having a good one is like trying to work for Sports Illustrated with a point-and-shoot from Walmart.

Quote:
my tv card doesn't work in my new pc
Most video workstations need to be based on Windows XP. Even if you swap hard drives, have a bootloader -- whatever -- to get XP on the system. Vista and 7 screwed up so much stuff for video editors and forensic specialists.

Quote:
and I never had a TBC (-> it seems that none of the films is copyprotected).
The card may have ignored anti-copy.

Quote:
Now my first question:
At the moment I could get a JVC HR-S7500E, a Blaupunkt RTV-950 (same as Panasonic NV-FS 200) or a Panasonic NV-HS 950.
Obviously you're in Europe. The JVC gives the cleanest image quality, but the RTV-950/FS-200 (1980 clone, but PAL) will track SLP tapes better. If your commercial tapes are SP, JVC probably fine.

Quote:
For the first two I would get a 12 month warranty, so I would prefer them.
There's really not much benefit to many a/v gear warranties. Read all the fine print, you'll understand. It really depends on the details, the word "warranty" doesn't mean much if they're allowed to give you a "just as good replacement" (translation: piece of crap).

Quote:
Can you recommend either of them?
Originally I was hoping for the JVC HR-S7965E and
JVC HR-S8965E models
The HR-S7965EK is my favorite PAL VCR, one on the shelf right here.

Quote:
as I read somewhere, that the Panasonic NV-FS 200's noise reduction can lead to artificial looking video, but these are not available in my country at the moment.
It can over-sharpen when the slider is at the "0" setting, but just slide it 1-2 notches soft. End of problem.

Quote:
I could also bid on a Panasonic NV-HS 860, which has the little advantage of NTSC playback (I guess the other ones don't have that).
Nah.

Quote:
The next problem would be the tbc. I can't seem to find an affordable one (less than 500$) here in central europe.
Do you know of a cheaper solution?
Read this about TBCs: http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/show...=9889#post9889
How much to import AVT-8710 from B&H in USA?

Quote:
Is it possible at all, that I don't need one?
It's always possible. Not likely if you have a bunch of tapes, but possible.

Quote:
I thought, I could get a canopus ADVC-300, because I read somewhere, that it had a TBC, and I wouldn't need an extra capture device. But the TBC is only a Line TBC as I learned now, and I also learned,
No. Just .... no.
The ADVC-300 has aggressive video filters that can cause as many problems as it fixes. It can be turned down or off, but then what's the point of it over the cheaper ADVC-100? The TBC functionality in these boxes is another point of contention, often discussed in forums, blogs and articles in the past 5-10 years. These boxes are old tech, from the days of Pentium III computers and CD burners. This specific model is from 2004.

The boxes work, they capture video -- but it's nowhere near as special as the marketing hype wants to make you believe. Spent double the money, and a Matrox card will bury it in quality.

The whole "locked audio" thing is honestly why I think it caught on. Some 6+ years ago, crappy computers and crappy integrated audio cards just could not keep good a/v sync. And here this device was, making promises that it would always "lock" the sync. It did work, mostly, but the problem it was invented to fix died years and years ago.

To be completely truthful, I can get a better capture from a USB2 stick I bought at the Aldi grocery store in 2008, some little Tevion branded capture card. It records a clean HuffYUV lossless AVI into VirtualDub, not a hiccup, and that's with an dual-core laptop. For the money Canopus wants, I could buy another cheap laptop from a Tigerdirect sale and another cheap stick.

Quote:
that you are not a fan of the DV format.
People disagree about this all the time, but I have never seen anything that shows this was ever the intention of DV, for the very problems it poses by using compressed 4:1:1 and the nature of the encoding. It's passable for better-than-VHS shooting, but it's craptastic at converting old tapes. You can just as easily do lossless or uncompressed (or even MPEG-2 I-frame only at high bitrates) for better quality. The DV box was just an unfilled market, and 2-3 companies took advantage of it. I find it about on par with "gold DVDs" or "DVD safe markers" -- it's all useless/inferior crap that shouldn't be made, bought or used.

Quote:
So, do you have any recommendation for a capture device?
It should be PCIe, if it needs to be an internal card.
It seems, that the capture device is still important.
Yes, important.
Are you open to using a PCI card, and swapping between it and the PCIe in the BIOS. In other words, reboot computer, change to PCI in BIOS, start computer and capture video. When done, reboot computer, go in BIOS, put back to new fancy PCIe card, and do non-capturing work. An early ATI All In Wonder AGP Radeon card does that.

Quote:
I hope I don't/didn't bother you too much, and I will be very grateful for any input as this project is quite important for me!
Thanks in advance
Rob
I'm waiting on something to finish processing, have to do something other than watch the blue bar. Tired of music and TV. Don't feel like reading my book. That's when most of my posts are made. I live from blue bar to blue bar, sometimes.

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  #3  
03-06-2010, 06:21 AM
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From an article shortly after the ADVC-300 came out:
Quote:
Canopus' proprietary Line Time Base Correction (LTBC)
Since there is apparently no industry standard for what a "TBC" is, that can pretty much mean whatever they want it to mean.

Note the word "proprietary" in there. Sometimes that can be a scary term, and right now is one of those times. You just don't really know what something like that actually does.

Panasonic had a similarly "mushy" term when it talked about the filtering abilities of some of its ES line of DVD recorders. I talked to a person claiming to be a Panasonic engineer back in 2005 when the units surfaced, and he had a hard time describing what it did exactly -- I'd also note that I don't doubt the authenticity of his claim or information. What he did say is that it did not filter video like a S-VHS TBC or a standalone TBC. As an owner of a ES10 unit, I can see only mild frame synchronization at best -- mostly good for cleaning up tearing VHS video signals.

A true timebase corrector will obliterate copy protection (fake signal errors), as a TBC wipes out video signal errors, including the fake ones. When it doesn't do that -- as the Canopus or Panasonic devices mentioned above do not -- then you have to ask yourself: What is it? The TBC's inside S-VHS VCRs, for example, are mostly there to assist the noise reduction systems, and are very basic in scope, line TBCs. The Panasonic AG1980 is full-field (multi-line), not to be confused with full-frame. While that may be true for those others devices, too, the strength of the NR or TBC (or both) is puny, because it can't seem to even fix basic chroma noise.

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  #4  
03-06-2010, 06:50 AM
RobertVHS RobertVHS is offline
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I was surfing the web trying to see methods to restore/enhance VHS tape.

Like so many others, I have several home VHS tapes of my family from decades ago. The image quality is starting to deteriorate to some degree. By that I mean the image is starting to get "soft".

Are there ways to enhance the image when trying to archive the video to digital on a PC ?
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03-06-2010, 06:54 AM
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Quote:
I was surfing the web trying to see methods to restore/enhance VHS tape.
Good, glad you found me and this site. Tell others about it.

Quote:
Like so many others, I have several home VHS tapes of my family from decades ago. The image quality is starting to deteriorate to some degree. By that I mean the image is starting to get "soft".
Softness is often a VCR issue, combined with modern HD displays for TV and computer both. The video didn't "get soft". It just doesn't really degrade in that manner.

Quote:
Are there ways to enhance the image when trying to archive the video to digital on a PC ?
Yep. The most important part is hardware filtering, in the VCR, and between the VCR and the capture device. By the time it gets to a digital file version, many corrections are impossible, or at least very difficult to fix. Few errors require software, but many errors require hardware to do a good job.

From the PM, it appears you already know some of this, based on devices you're looking to buy or already have.

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  #6  
03-07-2010, 04:47 AM
RobertVHS RobertVHS is offline
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First of all, thank you very much for your answers and advices.
Very helpful explanations!

And no, the 'earlier mail' was not from me.

I think I will take the/a JVC then and just try it.

The AVT-8710 seems to be a good option. However, it will get more expensive when imported (price + 150$). It's still the cheapest option I know of, except for a used TBC-1000 I could get right now. I will have to think about it a bit more.
Before I'll need a TBC I have to own a good working vcr anyways.

Going to XP is no problem. But I just don't have a AGP slot on my mainboard. So I can't imagine, how an All-In-Wonder AGP can work?
I can free a PCI slot, but there is no PCI All-In-Wonder to be found here as far as I could see.
Any more advice, any alternatives?
I just found my old TV card. It was one of the oldest and cheapest models of WinTV from Hauppauge, so I don't think I want to use that. It works under XP to an extent, but VDub says it doesn't support capturing in more than 320x240.
Is a (slightly) newer Hauppauge WinTV card like the PVR350 worth anything or would that be similar to using one of the usb sticks you mentioned?

Thanks
Rob

-- merged --

Well, I couldn't get the JVC HR-S7500 and just got a JVC HR-S7700, which seems to run fine. I might get a HR-9600 or 9800, when one becomes available.

So I'm in search for a good capturing device now.
I think you got me confused a bit with the swapping between a PCI card and the PCIe in the BIOS. You were talking about a ATI AIW Radeon PCI card, right?
Yes, I would be open to do the swapping! The only card I can find right now is called '64MB ATI ALL-IN-WONDER VE RADEON 7500 VE PCI'. Would this work/be a good choice?
I guess I can't use the ATI TV Wonder 600 USB device as an alernative, because it's NTSC only. Or can it capture PAL video also?

Rob
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03-09-2010, 11:29 PM
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I bet the 600 USB does PAL.
I'll test it out here in a couple of days for you.
Would do it now, but system is in use.

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  #8  
03-10-2010, 07:31 PM
RobertVHS RobertVHS is offline
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Great, thanks!
I'm looking forward to reading your test result.
If the device does PAL, it's probably the best option for me. And if you can recommend it, I will get it.

One more thing I hope you can answer:
I could get a 'new' boxed JVC DR-M100 (PAL DVD recorder) for a decent price. Could it be used as a 'pass through' device also, so that I could still capture losless avi on my PC, while benefitting from the LSI chip?
If not, which model would (if any)?

Thanks
Rob
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03-11-2010, 07:43 PM
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That's an excellent DVD recorder. While it does NOT act as a pass-through filter, you could also capture everything to XP mode (1-hour) DVDs. While still compressed, it's only mildly compressed, and the benefits of the LSI Logic MPEG encoding chipset may outweigh the disadvantages of MPEG compression.

These JVC (LSI) units fix two main problems:
  1. Suppressing analog tape grain
  2. Removing the red/blue misty or flickery color noise (chroma noise) from VHS/S-VHS tapes.
It works well for many average-quality tapes, though not all, and not necessarily the best option for advanced restore needs. For that, we again re-visit a capture card.

It's why I have both types of setups in multiples.

I will say this --- it used to take $400 (USD) minimum for one of these good DVD recorder OR capture cards. These days, you can often find a good old-model DVD recorder AND a good capture card (new or old) for a total price of under $400. Adjust $$$ to your local currencies at www.xe.com

What's your location, again? Europe? (country specific, if you don't mind). Also which Amazon, if any, do you typically buy from? I ask because that information will help give you certain answers.

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  #10  
03-12-2010, 08:36 AM
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Yes, I'm in Europe, Austria at the moment. I use Amazon Germany in most cases.

Thanks for explaining the benefits of the LSI units. Sounds very interesting, especially because advanced restoration should not be needed for most of my tapes.
I would need to capture a movie in two parts/sessions though, if I use the XP mode.

400$ sounds good for both a DVD recorder and a capture card. However, I will probably need a TBC also, and the AVT-8710 will be 370$ for me, so alltogether this will be close to exceeding my actual budget (maybe I can raise it next month). All help and/or advice is appreciated.

Rob
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03-12-2010, 06:56 PM
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I'd like to vouch for what LS said about the JVC LSI units. Easily my most impressive example was an old "Circus of the Stars" tape I converted, taped off our local CBS affiliate in 1988.

For whatever reason, the CBS analog signal ALWAYS looked like crap here, with lines and streaking, grain and weird ghosting effects (seemed to be picking up noise from another channel), plus the tape had terrible chroma problems. I popped it in my JVC VCR and even with the TBC and NR on, it looked pretty ugly on my output monitor, so I wasn't expecting much. However, when I played the DVD back, it had made it look 1000x better, eliminating the chroma issues entirely and minimizing the appearances of the lines and ghosting. It basically went from unwatchable to decent, which I'm sure is not always going to be the case, but for this particular tape and the circumstances it was testament to the amazing ability of the LSI chipsets.
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03-13-2010, 09:12 AM
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Thanks robjv1 for sharing your experience with the JVC LSI unit! Seems like I need to get one of those sooner or later.

Is the JVC DR-M10 any worse than the DR-M100?

And back to capture cards:
What about the old 'ATI AIW RAGE 128 PCI'? Is it any good and does the NTSC version capture PAL video?
In case the USB device doesn't do PAL, I would like to find an alternative, so that I can see how much better an ATI card is compared to my old Hauppauge with 878 chip.
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03-14-2010, 05:12 PM
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JVC DR-M10 and DR-M100 are basically the same unit. The DR-M100 tended to have better components inside, as well as a newer burner model, so you didn't get as many LOADING-related issues. There's no reason to not get a DR-M10 and continue to search for a DR-M100.

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03-16-2010, 07:28 PM
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Thanks for another helpful answer! I still haven't decided which one to take - the new M100 for about 250$ or a refurbished M10 for 150$.
But I have decided that I will get one of those!

My final attempts with the 878 chip based Hauppauge convinced me that things have to change now. That stupid card just doesn't do what it should. The aspect ratio is wrong. A few vertical lines are missing (I think and kinda hope that it's the fault of the chip).

I'm still hoping, that the ATI 600 USB unit does PAL.

-- merged --

Today my JVC DR-M10 arrived!
At first I got the message "DISC ERROR". After a while I figured out, that the problem was the DVD+R format of my discs, so I got 2 DVD-RW's for now.
Recording in SP mode worked fine, so I'm quite happy with the purchase.
But I would like to try the XP mode now. And as all my movies are longer than 90 minutes, I'll need to record every movie in two sessions and then 'join' the parts. Can you recommend a program or a way to get a perfect or near perfect result when doing this?
At the moment I only have TMPGEnc 2.5 Plus, TMPGEnc DVD Author 1.6/3 and VirtualDub.

-- merged --

Ok, I found out that it's really easy to join the two parts of a movie in TMPGEnc DVD Author 3.

I got the AVT-8710 today.
When I play or record (JVC DR-M10) a retail PAL movie without the AVT-8710, there is no interlacing. With the AVT-8710 all resulting movies are visibly interlaced. I guess that's normal?

Thanks
Rob
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03-30-2010, 01:14 PM
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The ATI 600 USB card does record PAL.
I suggest getting it from Amazon.com, regardless of you current location: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...SIN=B00138EOH8

Don't let the photos fool you -- it's more than just a coax TV PVR stick. It has a breakout wire for s-video and composite connections. You use Catalyst Media Center for MPEG-2 capturing. (It also offers MPEG-4 capturing, but I strongly suggest against capturing to MPEG-4.) And then you can use VirtualDub for lossless/uncompressed AVI capturing.

I need to create a guide for VirtualDub + ATI PVR cards, because the settings for PAL are not entirely obvious -- but it can be done, yes, absolutely. I plan to upload an ISO file that you can burn to DVD (use a DVD-RW/DVD+RW so as not to waste a disc!), to test it on a PAL DVD player connected to a PAL TV set.

TMPGEnc DVD Author can "merge" videos, simply by using authoring tricks -- namely putting both videos in the same track, and then you can use the built-in editor to trim some parts. It's supposed to be frame accurate, however there can sometimes be offsets, so watch for that, if it's important. Note that you'll have a chapter mark at this break. You must also use matching MPEGs (same bitrate, resolution, PAL/NTSC framerate, etc), else you'll trigger a full re-encode to one or both lips -- not good. That's true of any MPEG editor, of course, you must use matching clips to do a stream copy edit.

Your existing software may work for basic MPEG recording, AVI recording, some limited editing (cut/merge), and authoring. TMPGEnc Plus is not a bad encoder, just really slow. It does, however, have some unique restorative filtering abilities! (I've not used them as heavily in recent years, due to new VirtualDub filters and my expanding knowledge of Avisynth scripting. But still useful from time to time. Used them exclusively for several years there, 2001-2004. Need to re-publish that guide, it was removed in the 2005 crash.)

All VHS tapes are interlaced, period. The TBC won't change this, however it might change the exact field order. It won't change TFF to BBF (or vice versa), but it may shift the interlaced image by one field. You might just be noticing this effect. I don't see it often, but I do notice sometimes. Being a retail tape, it might just be making the telecine (added interlace) more obvious. I'd have to know a lot more about your workflow, previews, software, etc, to know exactly what you're seeing. But that's one possible option.

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  #16  
03-30-2010, 03:35 PM
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Thanks for all the good info.

I'm looking forward to your VirtualDub tutorial and the ISO, and I'll be getting the ATI 600 USB card.

My workflow for the comparison of results with and without external TBC was very simple:
I went directly from S-VHS recorder (JVC HR-S7700) to DVD recorder (JVC DR-M10) using a S-VHS cable and recorded a VRO file.
Then I went from S-VHS recorder to TBC to DVD recorder using S-VHS cables again and recorded another VRO file (I didn't change anything else).
According to GSpot both files are MPEG2, I/L, TFF, PAL, 4:3, 25 fps, 50 fields per second, same sar, par, dar...
Then I made a series of jpgs of parts of both VRO files with TMPGEnc Plus 2.5.
The jpgs of the file recorded with external TBC all show interlacing.
None of the jpgs of the file recorded without external TBC show this kind of interlacing.
See the first attachment for an example of the recording with external TBC, the second one for an example of the recording without external TBC.

I made this comparison a couple of more times and with different movies.

From what you said the question is not, why I see interlacing when using the external TBC, but why I don't see it when not using the external TBC.
However, I liked the non interlaced looking version, because I could get nice still images with it.

TBC
tbc-0000013.jpg

No TBC
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03-30-2010, 03:53 PM
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Look at the bumper, bottom-most corner. There is still interlacing in the "no TBC" image. Indeed, it appears to be a field offset, and that's it.

This can vary capture-to-capture, too. It's a thorn in my side, whenever I do separate captures and try to re-merge in the middle of a scene.

If you want nice still images without interlace, use the built-in deinterlacer filter (Yadif option) in VirtualDub 1.9.7 or above, and then copy a still from output frame to clipboard (VIDEO > menu), and that should get you an image. It may still take some hunting across a few frames for a perfect quality still, but that will get you one.

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04-01-2010, 09:43 AM
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You're right, there is interlacing in the "no TBC" image. However. it's much more visible in the TBC versions.

I found out, that by using the "field delay" filter in VirtualDub the movies captured with TBC are transformed to look like the ones recorded without TBC. Kinda interesting.
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04-02-2010, 02:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertVHS View Post
I found out, that by using the "field delay" filter in VirtualDub the movies captured with TBC are transformed to look like the ones recorded without TBC. Kinda interesting.
Interesting, yes.

Concerning that particular filter, I wonder if it just does a field delay, or if it reverse the field dominance, too. Hopefully it does NOT do the latter, or at least warns you if it does.

I'm not so quick to believe the TBC is the cause of the delay. It's often just happenstance of when the digital recorder starts to ingest frames for A>D conversion. It's really possible both ways.

It's nice to see folks that do their own research, a sign of knowledge.
Good job, and thanks for sharing the findings!

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04-08-2010, 04:33 PM
RobertVHS RobertVHS is offline
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Unfortunately the filter does reverse the field dominance. And scene changes still look ugly on the PC monitor.
So my finding was not that great, even though it was interesting to me.

I don't know exactly, what the TBC does, but I also see the difference when using the ATI TV Wonder HD 600 USB stick (I got it yesterday).
With the TBC there are interlacing lines even when the movement is slow.
One thing to note is, that if there are commercials for other movies before the actual movie, these sometimes act the other way round - they look interlaced without TBC and not or not so much interlaced with it.
These observations don't change, they are reproducible for each movie (at least to the human eye).
A movie recorded from TV shows interlacing with and without TBC, but the interlacing looks "milder" in both cases (more like I thought normal interlacing would look like).

All of this confuses me quite a bit. I guess it's a PAL specific problem.
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