It goes without saying that any FireWire port will let you capture from a typical digital camcorder, but for those of us working with analogue signals from Hi8 camcorders or VCRs will be more interested in the DV2000’s analogue inputs, which allow for connection of both composite and S-Video devices. To be blunt, capture quality from either of these sources is about what you’d expect from a product with the DV2000’s price tag, with frequent interference causing errors on both audio and video tracks (most likely caused by crosstalk within the PC), lost detail, and a gamma level that gives much of your footage a bleached out appearance. Digital captures understandably fared much better.
While captures may not have proved all that impressive, the encoding options help to compensate, and this applies equally to recordings made from the TV tuner as well as external sources. In addition to a wide range of MPEG1 and 2 presets, the DV2000 also gives you the option for Windows Media encoding on the fly, plus there’s a range of Direct to Disk options, so you can create VideoCDs or DVD movies straight from the source – which is great if editing isn’t high on your list of priorities.
Should you want to get a little more creative with your footage, you’ll find a collection of relevant tools in the box, in this case Ulead’s VideoStudio 7 SE DV, DVD Movie Factory 2.5 SE and Cool3D 3 SE. We’re not entirely sure where the last title comes into it, but the first two provide a useful, if basic, editing and DVD authoring platform to get you started.
It’s unlikely that companies like Pinnacle will be sweating over lost revenue as a result of the WinFast DV2000, as it doesn’t really match up to the promise of the feature list. But take a moment to consider the price. So what if the analogue capture isn’t so great. Surely the FireWire port, TV/FM tuner, PVR features and remote control are worth the asking price alone? With that in mind, we’d certainly recommend that you take a look at this product. It might not make all that good a video capture card, but it’s still a pretty impressive package for the money.
Oh, and be wary of the minimum spec quoted by Leadtek. You might be able to do some things with a 300MHz system, but we reckon that you’ll need at least 1GHz, 256MB and a 7200RPM HD in your box to get the best out of this product.