Product Review (November 2003) - AVerMedia
DVD EZMaker USB 2.0

Video capture devices are making their way into the mainstream as the demand increases and cost drops. These new products are taking advantage of the high speed USB 2.0 interface available with today's PCs, which offer much faster data rates (480 Mb/s) than the previous USB 1.1 standard. In fact, the data rate for USB 2.0 is ideal for streaming real-time video. AVerMedia Technologies, Inc. has introduced the DVD EZMaker USB 2.0 product that leverages from this interface, capturing analog video from a composite or s-video source in full 720x480 resolution. The design is a small, palm-sized unit with a USB 2.0 plug and 1/8" audio connector on one side and A/V connections for capturing audio and video on the other side. Home movies can now be stored on recordable CD (VCD) or DVD, thereby extending the content of old analog tapes that hold all of our precious memories. No external power adapter is required with this product since the USB connection powers the unit. Although audio cables are provided, an existing sound card capable of capturing audio is required on the PC. Two RCA jacks convert the audio signals to a single 1/8" stereo plug for the PC's sound card with no processing taking place in the EZMaker capture device. This allows a standard pair of RCA cables to interface directly to the line-in inputs on the PC sound card. To complement the USB 2.0 capture hardware, AVerMedia includes MedioStream's neoDVDstandard DIGITAL SUITE software for a complete capture, edit, compress, author and burn (DVD or VCD) package.

Setting up
The PC (Sony Vaio PCV-RX550) we used to test the DVD EZMaker USB2.0 system does not have the latest USB 2.0 interface, so we installed Belkin's High Speed USB 2.0 5-Port PCI Card. Once this was complete, the video capture hardware was automatically recognized by our system when we plugged it into the USB 2.0 port. We then connected the 1/8" stereo plug into our existing sound capture input and we were ready to go.

MedioStream's neoDVDstandard DIGITAL SUITE software included with the EZMaker system is capable of performing all the functions needed to create a Video-CD or DVD. We found the software easy to use and very intuitive. The software has three basic steps, Capture, Create/Edit and Record. The Capture function archives the video footage to files for further processing. The Create/Edit function allows the user to cut, remove and combine video clips for the ultimate video presentation. Additional audio tracks can also be added, including music clips. Titles and credits can be overlaid to give the final video a professional look. The software even supports DVD-VR (Video Recording) which allows the user to edit the contents of the DVD after the video footage has been recorded to the DVD. Finally, the Record mode takes the final data and records it to either DVD or CD (Video CD).

We tested the product with two different video sources. The first was from our old Sony TR-500 Hi-8 camcorder and the second was from our Pioneer CLD-D704 laserdisc player. We used the s-video input in both cases. Video captured from our analog camcorder looked as good as the source when using the MPEG-2 mode. The resolution of Hi-8 is similar to S-VHS or about 400 lines of resolution. The laserdiscs had similar results with very good picture quality given the source. The software has a powerful Direct to Disc Recording™ feature that is a simple one-step capture and burn process. Captured video is recorded directly to the CD or DVD burner without having to go through the file creation step. This recording mode significantly reduces the overall recording time.

Summary
The AVerMedia DVD EZMaker USB2.0 product is a full featured product capable of capturing, editing and recording video to VCD or DVD. All the necessary hardware and software is included for capturing older video tapes using s-video or composite interfaces. Our tests produced an S-VCD that played perfectly in our Sony DVP-NS900V DVD player. While there are several video capture systems currently available for analog video sources, AVerMedia's DVD EZMaker USB2.0 offers an economical solution with great performance.
- Kevin Nakano

Review System

Desktop PC - Sony Vaio PCV-RX550, 1.5GHz Pentium 4
Speaker System: Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 System
Display: Viewsonic G810
21" Monitor

Review at a glance

AVerMedia DVD EZMaker USB 2.0

Specifications:
Input Signal:

S-Video & Composite Video, 2-Channel Audio Input RCA Jacks

Output Signal: USB 2.0, Two-channel audio 1/8" plug
Dimensions: 4" x 2" x 0.50"
Weight: 0.29 lbs.
Warranty: One year limited parts & labor
Compliance: FCC Class B, CE

Recommended System Requirements:

  • 1 GHz Pentium® 4 or equivalent (for DVD or VCD authoring)
  • Available Hi-Speed USB port
  • Windows® 2000 or XP
  • 128MB RAM
  • 500MB of free hard-disk space
  • CD-ROM drive
  • Sound card, speaker, microphone or line-in required for audio recording

    Source: Manufacture supplied
    MSRP: $89.99


    Company Information
    AVerMedia Technologies
    1161 Cadillac Court
    Milpitas, CA 95035
    Phone: 408-263-3828
    Fax: 408-263-8132

    Technical Support:
    Phone: 408-942-2121
    (Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 5:00pm, pacific standard time)
    URL: www.avermedia.com

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