MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 for converting VHS tapes : LUSENET : Video CD : One Thread

I'm interested in capturing my VHS tapes , digitizing them and burning them to CDR. Considering the source quality (VHS tapes), is MPEG-2 any better than MPEG-1? What is the best device (at a reasonable price) to accomplish this ? I have a 233mhz PII, 20gb HD, Yamaha SCSI burner, 128 mb RAM.

-- WILLIAM THOMPSON (, February 25, 2001


With an appropriate capture card you can capture MPEG-2. Such cards, however, capture using a s/w codec, and for this, your PC is simply too slow you will have dropped frames galore. The lowest, basest that you have to start with is at least PIII500. If you do not want to part with your motherbaord you can get a capture card that uses h/w codecs, but these cards will cost $1000 or more and will then probably make you want to update your motherboard and processor first.

-- Mehmet Tekdemir (, February 26, 2001.

im so glad somebody has mention the whole sw codec/hd codec issue. ive been wondering for quite sometime about certain inexpensive capture devices (namely the ati cards - the a-i-w assortment) that claim to capture mpeg2, but yet have such high cpu requirements to do so. my theory has always been that they were capturing an avi, then using software to convert the avi to mpeg1 or 2. i also have this concern about the dazzle DVC2. i know the dazzle dvc that only does mpeg1 has actual hardware for that, but does the dvc2, or is it a software conversion? i ask because if these devices (the A-I-W cards and the DVC2) are using software compression, then the same quality could be accomplished with a $50 wintv card and the appropriate software. or is their compression done by hardware?

-- ndumu (, February 26, 2001.

ok, i just read in another post about the dvc2 having a c-cube chip of some sort. i know they make mpeg hardware, so i guess the dvc uses hardware ( atleast partially) to encode. its still too cheap for me to believe there isnt a catch somewhere. so whats the catch?

-- ndumu (, February 26, 2001.

MPEG-1/2 has always been sought after for their efficient use of the available data space when used in their default IPB GOP modes. But they can also be used with I-frame mode only. This may seem to negate the whole idea of low data rates and HDD space efficiency at first, but since no inter-frame compression is involved (preserving whole frames, each frame a potential keyframe like that with *.avi) the attending CPU is not as taxed as would be otherwise. The benefits extend to NLE; since frame identity is preserved techniques used for *.avi or *.mov can still be done with frame accuracy. You can say it has become like MJPEG; but unlike MJPEG, where there are available s/w and h/w codecs galore (one incompatible with the next), MPEG is a standard across the majority of present platforms. This I-frame only mode for MPEG-2 s/w codec (h/w-assisted on some) is amenable to being added as a feature for these capture cards which would probably have used MJPEG in the not-too-distant past. Of course one still has to have a reasonably fast, memory-rich, properly tweaked base PC (PIII500 min., UltraATA100, 256mB) to make it all behave properly.

-- Mehmet Tekdemir (, February 27, 2001.

Thanks for the info provided . I understand that I need to upgrade my CPU ( I sorta expected that). It appears that i need to use a device like the DVC or DVCII to use hardware decoding rather than something like the AIW, which uses S/W decoding. However, many posts to this list indicate they are capturing to VCD's in MPEG-1 (White book standard) format. Some indicate a dissatisfaction with the quality; others seem satisfied. Since I will be capturing VHS analog data and its quality isn't that great, my original question remains: Is there a significant difference in quality of the MPEG-2 format as compared to MPEG-1 when recorded on CDR's and played on a DVD player, when the source data is VHS ?

-- WILLIAM THOMPSON (, February 27, 2001.

No matter what solution you use there will always be a certain CPU usage. However, the Dazzle DVC uses HARDWARE codec, both the DVC1 and DVC2 model, in fact the DVC2 model comes in PCI version which itself is the MPEG2 capture card, it has both hardware encode and decode. Quality of a VCD or any video depends on the hardware. Not because let's say 5 different cards capture at MPEG-1, means they will all give SAME results, that is false.... I've seen a few VCD made with different hardware and there is a hell of a difference. Take for example HEURIS, in my opinion they make the best software MPEG1/2 codecs ! I've seen a VCD made with a HEURIS software codec, the VCD looked as clean as a VHS tape recorded in EP on a good VCR, in fact there were a lot of fast moving scenes and transitions and I could not see any artifact! Another one I've used is Cyberlink PowerVCR 1.3 and PowerVCR II, and WinVCR, those 3 gave extremely poor results, same VCD, same capture card, same bitrate, but the video looked more fuzzy, and more artifacts even in highest bitrate MPEG2.... As for the the Dazzle DVC, stay away from that one the quality simply sucks. C-Cube has a lot of tweakable parameters, but the Dazzle software does not take advantage of it, the same way the ASUS cards containing video capture don't take full advantage of the Phillips SA711X video chipset. Dazzle DVC's quality gives a somewhat fuzzy looking image with lack of contrast, chroma and hue levels are off balance and introduces a bit of redshift. I have an old VIDEO BLASTER gathering dust that I have for ages, the big one that fit in an ISA slot, I put it in someone's system with an ISA slot, and captured video, the video was much better looking than today's cards. I've seen some better video capturing from those dinky USB webcams than the DVC....... :D :D :D

-- John Rimmer (, February 28, 2001.

I would need a (free) program that can capture to mpeg 1. I've got an ATI RAGE FURY PRO VIVO. VIRTUAL dub (wich usually hangs) can only make AVI files and there's that 2GB limit so I would need mpeg 1. Email me if you can help. My computer:i celeron 600, 128 mb ram, 30gb hdd, ati rage fury pro, plextor 12 10 32 so i would write videos to cds. i'we got Easy CD Creator 4.03 so I can't burn video cd-s. Do you know a (free) burner? Thanks!

-- KoVi (, May 04, 2001.

if u r capturing from a vcr it must have four or six heads.also change ur pc atleast a p4

-- prasanth (, November 25, 2002.

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