Over the years we have had a number of customers contact HDPVRCapture support asking for help with issues they are experiencing when trying to capture content from either a VHS deck or a legacy console. The aim of this post is to try to educate users as to why they are experiencing these issues and whether or not there are any steps they can take to try and resolve the issues they are experiencing.
If you are attempting to capture VHS using the HDPVR 1212 or the HDPVR GE 1445 (model numbers vary depending on what country you are in. For more information, see our Model Matrix), you will find that this can sometimes become a tricky and frustrating process.
If there is a slight drop in signal, the HDPVR 1212/HDPVR GE 1445 device can often freeze or become ‘sick’ when trying to capture content from a VHS deck. When you stop the recording in the HDPVRCapture application, the ‘bling’ light on top of the HDPVR device will stay lit and not turn off as it should. This is a sure signal that the device has frozen or become ‘sick’. The only fix for this is to power-cycle the device and start all over again.
If you are able to capture content from your VHS, the other issue you may face is when you playback your recordings you will notice the screen has split and the content is all jumbled up. I did some testing with this not too long ago. I captured VHS with a HDPVR 1212 and a HDPVR 2 1480 device. I introduced video roll by adjusting the tracking on the video deck. The HDPVR 1212 would often become ‘sick’ resulting in corrupted recordings, whereas the HDPVR 2 1480 recovered from the video roll and went on to capture perfectly fine for well over a hour.
You can watch the videos from this test by clicking on the images below:
Capturing from Legacy Consoles
Other issues can arise when trying to capture content from legacy consoles such as the Nintendo 64, Sega Master System, Playstation One and Playstation 2. In the following video, which was captured from the Nintendo 64, the audio drops out at around 10 seconds and the video freezes intermittently throughout playback. This should be seamless gameplay of Super Mario running around.
Another issue that we see users reporting when capturing from legacy consoles is the video will freeze, but the audio will continue to capture perfectly fine. Unlike the clip above where the video freezes and then continues then freezes again, the video will freeze and never recover but audio capture is unaffected. This can happen two minutes into a recording or ten minutes into a recording, it is completely unpredictable.
Why does this happen?
The HDPVR 1212 and HDPVR GE 1445 models are very susceptible to changes in frame rate and horizontal/vertical synchronization timing, they do not like it. These timing fluctuations often confuse the HDPVR and lead to recording glitches. The HDPVR needs a clean and reliable video signal with accurate timing information in order to successfully capture content.
When capturing from legacy consoles, older generation console games are often not designed to run at high definition resolutions of 720p, 1080i, 1080p with 30 or 60fps, they are designed to run much lower resolutions with lower frame rates. Some games, when loaded, will alter the output resolution of the console device to a much lower standard definition resolution which ‘upsets’ the encoder in the HDPVR 1212/1445 device, resulting in corrupted recordings.
The Nintendo 64, for instance, outputs a video signal that is 240 lines of resolution. Most high definition video capturing devices do not support resolutions this low. The HDPVR 1212/1445 models do not, so it is pretty safe to assume that you are going to have issues when trying to capture content from the Nintendo 64. More information on this can be found here.
What can be done?
- Make sure your HDPVR device is running the latest firmware.
- See our FAQ entry Jerky MP4 playback – Frames skip / glitch in QuickTime and iMovie (Updated for 2012) in the HDPVR / HDPVR GE Related Questions category to find out which firmware your device is currently running.
- If you find you do need to upgrade your device’s firmware, you can find instructions on how to do this in the FAQ entry If you wish to upgrade the HDPVR firmware which is also in the HDPVR / HDPVR GE Related Questions category.
- You could use a time base corrector device to rectify timing issues with the capture stream. While we don’t recommend any particular device, a user named Eric contacted us to say he’d had success with the AV Toolbox AVT-8710 Time Base Corrector from B&H Photo.
- If you are attempting to capture content from a VHS tape, try pressing play on the VHS deck and letting the tape run for 60 seconds or so before pressing record in the HDPVRCapture application. This will give the VHS some time to settle down.
- Do not press rewind, fast forward or pause on the VHS deck while the application is capturing content.
- If you are capturing gameplay from a legacy console, try loading the game first before starting the recording process. This will help to avoid ‘upsetting’ the encoder if the game alters the resolution.