I want a video capture card and don't know anything about them

For christmas my brothers and I buy each other gifts and try to keep it under $50. I have alot of VHS tapes and since i’m also getting a DVD burner I want a video capture card to convert my VHS to my hard drive then burn them to DVD. however I don’t know anything about capture cards. Can I get one that will work for $50-ish? Over on pricewatch they have things like pvr, dvr, mpeg2, mpeg4, etc. and I don’t know what any of it means.

Also my current setup is a 1200 Ghz athlon w/512MB DDR Ram. is my CPU fast enough for a DVD burner and video capture card? I assume not fast enough for both at the same time but is it fast enough in general?

Also I dont think I have 2 AGP slots on my motherboard and I need 1 for the regular video card. Do video capture cards require an AGP slot too or will they work on PCI slots? If they only work on AGP then I need a new motherboard too I bet. Does it have to be a particular kind of AGP (2x, 4x, etc) or does it not matter? Do I need a faster video card (I have a GeForce 2 Titanium right now) or does the video card itself not matter? Are there converters to plug an AGP card into a PCI slot on a motherboard?

The quality of my converstions from VHS to DVD don’t have to be great (IE, they don’t need to be HDTV quality by any means) as the VHS tapes are recorded in SLP mode and a DVD recording that is the same quality as a VHS in SLP is fine by me. However is there a way to increase the quality of a SLP VHS recording so my DVD has the quality of a SP or higher or is that not possible since the original recording is on SLP quality? Its not necessary but if possible it sounds interesting.


I’m curious about something Wesley. I frequently read your posts and you seem to have no actual experience at all. Do you know anything about anything? Have you ever been outside of acedemia? It’s a really big world!!!

He still has time because he is in college and trying hard to learn. That is more than you can say about most people. What is your excuse?

I know that boards filled with fighting ignorance tend to attract some interesting characters who probably shouldn’t have children.

PS thanks for your input, so you are recommending the MPEG4 format card over the firewire card for transferring VHS tapes to be burned as DVDs?

For one thing, I think that your cpu, while passable, is underpowered for video capturing and rendering. The processing that’s involved will be very taxing on your computer. You did not indicate how much free hard-drive space you have. Maybe you are not aware that the captured video will chew up gigabytes of storage if it’s captured in DV-AVI format. You can lower the storage requirements if you can capture directly to MPEG2 format (for rendering to DVD), but then you’ll need more processing horsepower than you have. A good resource is www.dvdhelp.com. My experience with video capturing and making DVDs is that you generally will get what you pay for. There’s a lot satisfaction when you see the final product, but it can be a real headache to get there (meaning the self-education about the software and hardware). Oh, that reminds me that you’ll need DVD authoring software too if you want to be able to view the DVDs on your standalone DVD player.

I have about 30-40GB of storage, do you think that is enough? If need be I can buy a 80GB HD or something and connect is as a slave, but that sounds kindof excessive since i’m just deleting the movies afterwards.

However if I got an 80GB HD (giving me 120ish GB of storage) maybe I could use my TV-out function and use my computer as a TiVo of sorts.

That should say I have about 30-40GB of extra empty storage

As nivlac says, MPEG2 is the format used on DVDs. Furthermore, your processor should, indeed, be powerful enough provided you get a capture card that does hardware encoding. Unfortunately, I don’t think you’ll find anything in your price range. I think you’re looking at $100 min for a decent card w/ hardware encoding. Check here for more info.

I’m curious about something as well, hlanelee. Do you know how to stay on topic and not make snide comments outside of The BBQ Pit? Do not post in this manner again in IMHO, please.

Wesley, please, please forgive me for being an ass. This is my first Thanksgiving without my wife in 17 years, she passed on in June. I’ve been tense and took a cheap shot to amuse myself. Someone should shoot me.

Some cards do a lot of the video processing onboard, and therefore are much easier on your CPU. The Hauppauge PVR-250 for example spits out MPEG2 directly.

I should note that I’ve never used this card to do what you’re trying to do, and have never even used it under Windows. I use it in a Linux system as a home-built Tivo-like thing. However, my experience with the card has been very good, and it’s reputed to be very good in the ways you would use it.

Funny you should bring that up Wesley. Last night at AA I was telling someone that habitual drunkeness is rampant on my Father’s side and schizophrenia goes back 2 generations before me on my Mother’ side. Any half-assed dog breeder can recognie a bloodline that should end. I have chosen not to have children. Again, Wesley, please forgive me.

Carcasm, please don’t run me off. I will endeavor to be have myself in the future.

120GB is plenty. Just make sure you capture it, burn it, and delete it. Don’t let it sit on the machine long.

On re-read of the OP, I realize the PVR-250 is a bit out of your price range. It runs around $130

Not gonna run you off, though I am disappointed that your apology came so quickly-I was so looking forward to reading an entertaining BBQ Pit thread about you . :smiley:

I’m willing to buy it myself for $130 if its worth it and if the $50 models are crap. Its just that when I ask people for computer help sometimes they want me to spend 4-5x as much on the high end devices that are maybe 20% better than the cheap devices so I am not sure what type of card fits my needs. Like when I built my computer a few years ago and got a Geforce 2 for $80 people were telling me to spend $300+ on a geforce 3 (which was the highest end card at the time). The Geforce 2 worked fine for my needs and still does. At the end of the day all I really want is something that can record VHS onto DVD with the same quality as a SLP VHS tape. But if I have to get a new CPU, motherboard, a tuner and new HD to make this TiVo setup work (which will probably make my computer unusable for several hours a day anyway while it records video) it would probably just be cheaper and a better idea to get another TiVo on ebay for my bedroom instead and just focus on a card that lets me transfer video onto my computer.

hlanelee - If you’re serious that your wife died then you don’t need to apologize. I actually find it kind of funny when people attack me for stupid stuff.

Czarcasm it might have been amusing to be served up in the Pit but I would refer you to this (read #10). Hey, it’s why I’m alive today.

How much do you value your time? Because the process you’re wanting to do can take a lot of time. It may be more sensible to wait for the after-Christmas sales and buy a DVD recorder for your TV and set that to record direct from your VHS.