PRZOOM - /newswire/ -
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 2010/06/02 - Frame grabbers are suitable for tasks that require high levels of data reliability. They are broadly used for recording, security and surveillance, streaming media, webcasting, and remote viewing applications.
VGA and its supersets are at the heart of most video cards used in PCs. Although many video cards support color modes and resolutions which are far beyond what VGA really is, but, for compatibility, they also support the original VGA modes. The VGA output is used in a broad range of devices applied in various fields – medicine, science, education, engineering, etc. Possibility to capture images is important for the most users dealing with this equipment. Time-critical goals often need to be reached with the help of image processing. The images can be viewed, recorded, broadcasted to the web, and edited remotely. Digitizing of the captured images is a principal function for the equipment users. One should seriously examine the solutions available on the market basing on its needs and used equipment.
Graphic Boards and Converters
Among the great number of VGA capture solutions currently available on the market video converters are at the lower end of the price range. VGA converters are standalone devices that connect VGA source output to the video input on your TV. VGA2Video from Svideo ensures watching video from the computer on VGA monitor and TV at the same time. The unit is powered through the computer’s USB socket. Sewell’s PC-to-TV converter provides similar functionality.
If you are looking for low-cost solutions for capturing video signal, then choose a graphics board with video capture support – capture video card. These internal devices are offered by all main manufacturers (ASUS, NVIDIA, ATI, Matrox, etc). For example, a cheap ATI Radeon VIVO card features 3D resolutions (32-bit color) and 64 MB of video memory. External conversion units allow users to connect analog video equipment to the PC and they can edit the video content. ADVC110 from Grass Valley connects to all digital and analog cameras. It requires no power supply and there are no drivers to install.
Frame Grabbers: Different Types
It is obvious that low-quality video capture may not be convenient for the users due to multiple reasons. For instance, you may need to capture video from cameras with high data rates or multi-camera systems with overall data rates more than 100Mbyte/s.
Life-like quality and high resolution rates are required when video capture is performed from scientific or military equipment. And it is here that the frame grabbers should be used. These tasks are performed by frame grabbers. These rather expensive solutions capture video signal, and convert it into a digital stream. Currently there are a lot of VGA and DVI frame grabbers on the market, each with its advantages and disadvantages. As frame grabbers generally deliver a broad range of functions, sometimes they are more complex to operate.
Generally, internal frame grabbers are PCI cards installed in the computer. These solutions capture video signal through VGA port and convert it into a video file or a series of images. This content is then saved in a proper format. Usually the VGA capture cards are supplied with specialized software but sometimes they support third-party applications.
PC2-Vision Express from Dalsa is a PCIe image acquisition board. It interfaces with standard (RS-170 and CCIR), nonstandard (progressive scan), RGB and dual-channel analog cameras. PC2-Vision Express features six inputs and high digitization rates. VGA-Master from PixelSmart is an internal PCI card featuring resolution up to 1280x1024. The card is supplied with its own software that allows snapping screenshots. The card supports Windows 2000. Datapath VisionRGB-PRO1 captures the VGA output and displays it as an independent application. This card uses specialized dual-port video memory ensuring high performance. It captures data at maximum resolution 1600x1200. Digitizer DCC 3.1 Card from NCast features VGA, DVI, S-Video and Composite Video inputs and works with both Windows 2000/XP and Linux PC desktops. TopDomain XI102AE video capture card allows saving captured data in different formats (WM9, REAL, MPEG4) and supports resolution up to 1920x1440. This PCI-E card supports multiple cards operation in a single PC and allows for streaming or broadcasting over PAL/NTSC network.
XtremeRGB-Ex1by EMS-Imaging is a PCI-Express card that captures images either form VGA or DVI sources. It has input mode detection, supports seven RBG modes and features maximum analog RGB capture resolution of 2048x1536 and on-card processor for sync detection and real-time mode. Using a special option you can choose between transferring data to the card via system memory affecting performance or directly.
External frame grabbers are standalone solutions providing VGA capture to USB. This product line is less frequently offered by manufacturers. External frame grabbers can be connected to PCs via USB input or directly to the Ethernet allowing remote users to view the captured stream and record it on PC. Currently Epiphan Systems is the only manufacturer of the high-quality external VGA frame grabbers.
Microvision’s MV-U2000 external frame grabber box is a portable USB color/monochrome frame grabber box with resolution up to 768x576. VRmFAVC-1OEM frame grabber from VRmagic is available both in internal and external versions and features 64 MB ring buffer to prevent loss of image data. Its maximum resolution is 720x576. iPORT Connectivity Solution streams video or imaging data from analog cameras in real time over Ethernet. It converts the data to IP packets. IP packets are transported continuously to PC which is connected to Ethernet. This device requires installing several software packages on the PC. Epiphan Systems’ VGA2USB frame grabber captures VGA signal from any sources – all kinds of equipment featuring VGA output and workstations running under Windows, Mac OS, Linux. It captures video at an extremely high resolution up to 2048x1536. VGA2USB software provides viewing and saving captured data in a real time or copying captured data to a clipboard. It is compatible with DirectShow on Windows and QuickTime on Mac OS X. VGA2USB supports 13 VGA modes with frame rates up to 28.0.
Solution to Choose
Choose an appropriate VGA capture solution depending on the following considerations. First of all, decide for what purposes video signal will be captured? Will the quality of captured images be principal? If the quality does not matter and the resolution provided by video converters and capture video cards is sufficient for the user, there is no need to look for more expensive solutions than those at the lower end of the price range. If you need a solution for capturing high-quality images, then frame grabbers are worth the cost.
Internal frame grabbers are suitable for home and consumer needs. They are fitted in the PC’s motherboard and obviously are not suitable for the cases where portable equipment is preferred. You will have to open up the PC each time you need to install the frame grabber.
If you work in scientific, industrial, military, secure environments an optimal decision will be a lightweight and easy pluggable external frame grabber, such as Epiphan VGA2USB.
Frame grabbers are suitable for tasks that require high levels of data reliability. They are broadly used for recording, security and surveillance, streaming media, webcasting, and remote viewing applications.