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Old 12 Jul 2002, 01:50 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Albuquerque, NM USA
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Thumbs down Avoid ADS USB Instant DVD like an STD!

I just finished a two month struggle with an Instant DVD box. It's an external analog capture device that encodes into MPEG-1 or -2. The interface is USB1.1. Their marketing hype claimed that it does "real-time" DVD burning' while you capture, like a set-top recorder. It doesn't even come close. It needs post-capture processing like all the other cards out there. The bad part is that it doesn't even capture right.

The thing is a sync nightmare. The box relies on the PC's audio card to capture the audio. It assumes all systems are alike and is engineered with a mid-point.

The Instant DVD is based on the Cirrus Logic CS92210 Reference Design. Here's the Cirrus website for the CS92210:

http://www.cirrus.com/design/product...tail.cfm?d=950

They used to have a web page for the reference design which shows how the audio is handled with a multiplexer feeding the PC sound card, but I couldn't find it. If you're interested, I have the hard copy of it and I'll be happy to e-mail a scanned copy of it to you. Just drop me a note at kevin_abq@yahoo.com

Using the CS92210 and trying to externally sync the audio to the video was bad engineering judgment, but probably the only option open to ADS when it was first developed and later marketed back in Fall 2001.

I would only occasionally get captures that had good lip-sync, and it was not reproducible. It was a random thing. I had tried every conceivable adjustment, tweak, HDD configuration, multiple OS reinstalls, demux/audio resample/remux experiments. Finally it became obvious that I "ain't gonna get there from here".

I replaced it with a brand-new Snazzi III USB2.0 capture box. It uses the brand new USB2 interface (480 Mb/s), but it also works with USB1.1 (12 Mb/s).

It has hardware A/V lock, that is, it captures and encodes video and audio on-board and outputs a USB stream. In fact, with my bitrate set at VBR 3.0 - 4.0 Mb/s, the device works just fine with a USB1.1 interface (old USB). This is where most of my captures will fall since I'm converting 1000+ VHS movies to DVD and a higher bitrate would be overkill. I do have USB2 on my PC and it's nice to know that I can switch to that one if necessary.

I highly recommend this device. I highly discourage anyone considering the ADS USB Instant DVD because they're tempted by the price (about $200USD). Don't do it. The ADS forum has several users that are happy with the IDVD, but there is an alarming number of users that have had the problems I have had with it, and some that have come to the same conclusion.

The device sells for $300USD, and they also have a package that comes bundled with a PCI USB2 card for $380.

Here's the website for the manufacturer:

http://www.snazzi.com/newsite/pages/homepage/index.asp

Here's the website for the US reseller:

http://www.esbuy.com/snaziiiusgol.html

By the way, ignore the video specs listed at the ESBuy website. They accidentally put the 1394 card's specs there instead of the Snazzi III. Get the video specs from the manufacturer's website instead. Those are accurate.

I hope this post saves someone just starting out from having the same awful experience I had.

Cheers,
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Kevin
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