VCR to DVD Conversion – Video Capture Cards and PC Hardware

There are a number of important hardware factors when transferring your VCR to digital video. For most people a balance needs to be struck when buying PC hardware for any purpose, compromising somewhere between performance and cost. On this page we’ll take a look at the main considerations: the video capture card sound capabilities CPU RAM Hard drive – speed and capacity PC interfaces Video capture cards essentially provide a PC with a video ADC system. They allow a user to convert analogue video tapes in to a digital format which can be stored and manipulated on a computer. The digital video data may be stored in an uncompressed or raw format, but this is rare as the file sizes quickly become enormous. Far more commonly the files are compressed using a codec – a file compression method. Early video capture cards employed a hardware Motion-JPEG codec, which used the still image JPEG compression method on each video frame to achieve smaller file sizes while retaining editing capabilities. Later, the huge success of digital video (DV) based camcorders in the late 1990s led to the creation of purpose developed DV codecs. (Refer back for more on digital video compression.) The best capture cards deal with most of the codec processing onboard using their own GPU and RAM, leaving CPU and motherboard resources available for higher level activities. However, these can be costly, and in any case may have unnecessary power for most home users. Less expensive capture cards will compromise more with software to perform the codec work. This will make more demands on the PC’s own hardware resources,...

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