capture is rather commonplace with today's digital video products. IEEE-1394 (iLink)
interfaces are widely used by consumers to capture video onto PCs for editing
and recording. However, many of us have older analog video recordings that we
would like to store in a digital format. As DVD recorders drop in price, many
consumers are seeing this as an excellent way to archive old content. Since existing
analog video is vulnerable to degradation over time, digitizing the old tapes
is one way to ensure longevity. Belkin Corporation, known for many PC support
products, has a new video capture system called the Hi Speed USB DVD Creator.
For just under $90, consumers can capture and edit analog video and make it completely
compatible with current digital formats. Video is captured at a full 30 frames
per second at resolutions of 352x288, 640x480, or 720x480 and can then be stored
as MPEG or AVI files. Once converted, the data can be played on a PC or recorded
to CD or DVD media. There are a couple of key requirements for this system to
work properly. First, all audio must be handled by the PC's existing sound card.
An audio adapter is provided to convert two female RCA jacks to an 1/8" stereo
plug. This allows a standard pair of RCA cables to interface directly to the line-in
inputs on the sound card.
current PC (Sony Vaio PCV-RX550) that was used to test the Hi-Speed USB DVD Creator
did not have the latest USB 2.0 interface built in to the system, but instead
the slower USB 1.1 found in most of today's older computers. Belkin was nice enough
to supply us with their latest high speed USB 2.0 5-Port PCI Card (Part Number:
F5U220) for our tests. This USB 2.0 PCI card has four external ports and one internal
port. Drivers are included for all current Microsoft Windows operating systems
with the exception of Windows XP. In our case, we required a quick download from
Microsoft's website for the latest XP driver. Based on my experience with this
card I can highly recommend it for those who need USB 2.0 capability, not only
because it worked great in our setup, but the 480Mbps speed exceeds our current
iLink interface at a fraction of the cost. USB 2.0 is claimed to be 40 times faster
than USB 1.1 and with all the new high speed products on the horizon including
video cameras, scanners and portable drives, it's an inexpensive and beneficial
Belkin High Speed USB DVD Creator kit includes the popular ULEAD software for
video capture and editing. We used this software to put together our own video
content and it was very easy and intuitive to use. Several video clips were assembled
with titles and included selectable scene transitions for a professional look.
We did run into a snag that required the latest USB 2.0 driver from the Microsoft
site since our PC was not up to the latest Windows XP revision. However, once
this was resolved, everything worked great.
do they do it?
design of the Belkin USB DVD Creator is impressive. The pod that holds the electronics
looks simple with a USB connector on one side and the two video connectors on
the other. The composite and s-video inputs interface to the Philips SAA7113H
video decoder chip to convert the analog video into a standard digital format.
The digital video then interfaces to a Cresentec DC-1100 USB 2.0 controller chip
to handle the high data rate needed for streaming the uncompressed real-time video.
The Philips ISP1501 USB transceiver chip interfaces directly to the USB port.
All this is designed onto a card measuring about 1" x 4". This is an
impressive design that gives the consumer the capability to capture real-time
analog video with no frames dropped.
Belkin High Speed USB DVD Creator is really quite an amazing deal. We found the
kit provided all the necessary hardware and software to completely convert analog
video with sound into any number of usable formats. Our tests produced an S-VCD
that played perfectly in our Sony DVP-NS900V DVD player. While there are more
powerful video capture systems available for analog sources, you'll have a tough
time finding a product with this kind of performance for the dollar.