A Mess of Activity Leads to a Fortuitous Conclusion... [Photos inside!]

Bill Loguidice's picture

After literally taking four hours to drive home in this afternoon's New Jersey snow storm for a trip that usually takes me around one hour, I didn't expect much from my night-time activities. My curiosity got the best of me, however, as a second cheap video capture solution came today, a Cardbus TV Card, to go along with my oft-talked about Adaptec GameBridge TV USB adapter. I was very curious if this new solution would give me the results I was after - capturing those systems that the GameBridge had trouble getting a sync on, like the Apple II and Panasonic JR-200U. After having the seller e-mail me the contents of the CD-ROM that he forgot to include, I was able to install the card to my trusty Gateway Tablet PC and after I looked up a registration code for the included InterVideo WinDVR 3 (turns out the registration code was in the zip file after all), I was in business. Or so I thought. Long story short, after multiple cable variations and going back to my usual InterVideo Home Theater application, I was getting the same scrambled result I was getting with the GameBridge, and in fact in some cases getting less of a result. After spending way too much on this, I was about ready to give up, when I decided to try a solution I was thinking about and others agreed was a possible answer - using a VCR as an intermediary between the vintage system and the capture device. So I went into my very-much-needs-to-be-organized-and-cataloged storage area under the basement stairs to grab an old VCR. I hooked it up and was unable to switch to the video input because I didn't have the remote.

I found the remote, but of course the batteries had exploded. I pulled those batteries out, wiped as much of the corrosion away as I could and put in a fresh set of rechargeables I had handy. Nothing. Then I got it working and switched the video input. Same scrambled signal using the GameBridge. However, I then tried the new TV Card, and sure enough, I finally got a lock, as can be seen in photo 1, The Oregon Trail, running on an Apple IIc (it happened to be in the computer at the time), and the startup sequence for the previously discussed NTSC VZ200, which is now confirmed working, as shown in photo 2!

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So what does this now mean? I should finally, after all this time, have unrestricted screenshot and video capture for the majority of my systems with standard video out. This is a huge step, particularly as I try to honor requests as I offered a few blog posts ago. The story above was a lot more convoluted and involved, but you get the idea. I'm just happy I have a viable solution! And the interesting part is that this should work for PAL and SECAM systems too, since that's an option, though I'm not necessarily going to hold out for that... (and may have a possible intermediary for that as well anyway, but that's a story for another day)