by July 4, 2002 0 comments

The Matrox G450 eTV is an AGP display-cum-capture card that lets you capture video from an S-Video or a Composite video source like a VCR or a camcorder. The display driver is a Matrox G450 chip with 32 MB of VRAM on card. 

Wiring up the card is easy especially because all the connecting cables come well labeled. The card does not have a separate source input for Composite video. However, it comes with an adaptor connector. This input connector can take in a Composite video source and pass it on to the S-Video connector on the card. Similarly, on the output side, there is an adaptor cable to send the output to a composite video destination like a standard VHS VCR. There is also a jack for the tuner part of the card and a standard VGA connector for your monitor.

Wiring up the card is an easy task as connecting cables are well labeledThe software, called PC-VCR, is easy to use. With a full-function remote control like interface, you can access and select the capture source, its settings, audio volume and mode controls and other features like controlling the TV tuner and picture-in-picture mode. The TV tuner interface allows you to scan and store channels and even lock unwanted ones so that children may not view them. The software also has a TeleText browser. 

The card captures video in RGB or MPEG-2 format. The Recording settings allow you to specify the capture resolution, capture path and whether you want to capture only video/audio or both. The picture settings like brightness, saturation and contrast are also accessed from here. Once connected to a source and satisfied with the display in the preview window, just hit the Record button to start capturing your video onto your PC. 

Marvel G450 eTV
Price Rs 18000 with one-year warranty
Features  32 MB VRAM on card, built-in TV tuner, multi-display with second display on TV
Pros Easy to install, good capture frame rates
Cons Slightly expensive
Contact Neoteric Informatics, 
Tel: 022-4172600.

An interesting feature of the card is that though it is not a dual-head display card, you can use a TV along with a monitor to have a dual-head display. This calls for routing the Composite output video signal to a TV and setting the card’s display properties to ‘Dual-head multi-display’. Hence you can either replicate your PC’s desktop onto a TV or have an extended desktop as with other dual-headed display cards.

The card comes with drivers and software for Win 98, Me and 2000. It supports three capture resolutions: 352×288 (for VCDs), 352×576, and 704×576 (for MPEG-2 video for DVDs). In our tests for the capture frame rates, the card did not drop any frames and was able to sustain a constant frame rate of 25 fps at all the supported resolutions. For the quality of capture, there was no pixelation or jerks in the results. 

Other software that ships with the card includes ULead Photo Explorer 6.0 to view your videos and ULead VideoStudio 4.0 SE, an easy to use video-editing package. A DVD player software is also a part of the bundle. 

The capture card is priced at Rs 18000, which is slightly high considering at a lesser price you will be able to buy standalone good quality display, capture and TV tuner cards. Also because it captures video as MPEG-2, we would have liked to have a DVD authoring software as a part of the bundle. 

Ashish Sharma

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