I bought this little USB based video capture device from DealExtreme.
It allows to show and capture video and audio via an USB connection. Ideal for notebooks, and for me ideal to see the video output of my retro computers like the MSX and the Apple Replica’s without the large video monitor on my desk.
Price was low ($16.89, which is even less in euro’s 🙂 ) And includes shipping from HongKong.
Video quality turned out to be good enough. It took ofcourse the usual couple of minutes to load the driver, attach the device, had it find the USB device and configure it the right way. But I had a problem with audio: a crackle sound, first some crackles, then some more and then a constant annoying crackle/hiss.
Being a software guy I thought it was the supplied driver. Alas, it does require a special driver for the video part (supplied on the accompanying cd, toegether with Ulead Video Studio 8 SE), but the audio part is driven by the standard USB Audio driver and I already had the latest. Some suggestions made me suspect other drivers like the wireless, so a new experiment was performed with a cold video capture device and a freshly started notebook. No crackles! Turn on wireless, still no crackles! Capture a piece of video and audio and all was well. Ok, do it again and wait, what do I hear? Crackle , crackle, lots of crackles, constant crackles ….
Now let me think about this. A cold device, fresh started, no crackles. Several minutes later the crackles start and become more frequent over time … Either something is wrong in the driver (memory leak, is it a C application?) or it is hardware and heat related.
The next experiment did let me solve the problem: blow via the small ventilation holes air into the device, and the crackles disppear! Wait a minute and crackle crackle crackle … Blow again and no crackles.
Ok, it IS heat related. The case opens easily, and without a case it has enough cool airflow over the IC’s to let the crackles stay away! Quality is allright, small price, lousy hardware.