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Home > Hardware Reviews > General Computing

Wednesday, November 17, 2004
ADS DVD Xpress Converter

1. Introduction

ADS DVD Xpress Converter - Page 1

Don't you just wish you could backup your old VHS movies to DVD media or convert your camera captures to DVD quality clips? ADS Technologies is here to grant you that wish with DVD Xpress. Since 1990, ADS Technologies' success is based on low priced, high quality products. Some users might remember the "PYRO 1394" product line. And in 2004, ADS Tech offered a way to preserve your family treasures for a lifetime!

With the DVD Xpress device, you can edit and archive home movies and videos on CD or DVD, convert VHS tapes to DVD, VCD or SuperVCD, easily edit and share videos, and last but not least, capture video and burn DVDs or CDs in real time.

- Features

This device uses the popular USB2.0 interface to connect to the PC. There is also backward compatibility with USB1.1, but this is not recommended since data bandwidth is greatly reduced and synchronizing problems might occur. The ADS DVD Xpress uses several new features to improve video quality and performance. Most important are the "Audio-Lock" technology for perfect lip synch, and temporal and spatial video pre-processing filters that reduce video and audio "noise" on old VHS tapes and TV signals.

The DVD Xpress can easily convert video from any video source to MPEG-2 and MPEG-1 video formats. Video bit-rates vary from 2MB/sec to 15MB/sec, although when the USB1.1 interface is used, video bit-rates can reach up to 6MB/sec. It also supports MPEG-1 Layer 2 compressed audio which it can capture using constant or variable audio/video bit-rates. You can also get a list of "quick tips" to get you started from here.

- Specifications

The device is compatible with PAL, NTSC and SECAM video signals, ensuring compatibility for all users around the world. The following table shows the main specifications of the ADS DVD Xpress.

Video Format
Resolution -NTSC
Resolution - PAL
Video Bit Rate
VCD
352 x 240
352 x 288
1.15 Mb/sec.
SVCD
480 x 480
480 x 576
2.4 Mb/Sec.
DVD
720 x 480
720 x 576
2-15 Mb/sec.

 

Video Standards PAL/SECAM (720 x 576, 352 x 576, 352 x 288)
NTSC (720 x 480, 352 x 480, 352 x 240)
Video Input S-Video or Composite (RCA connector)
Audio Input Stereo audio (2 x RCA connectors)
PC Interface USB 2.0
Power Connector 5VDC 2.4 mA

The DVD Xpress is compatible with all Microsoft Windows versions newer than Win98SE, but under Win98SE and WinME, the device connects at USB1.1 speed.

CPU Intel® Pentium® III 800 MHz or higher or AMD Athlon/ Duron CPU
Hard Disk Drive 4+ GB free disk space for video capturing and editing
500MB free disk space for program installation
RAM 128 MB
Monitor Resolution 1024 x 768,24-bit color windows compatible display
Graphics Card Video card with 24-bit resolution capability
Sound Windows compatible sound card
Interface USB 2.0
CD-ROM A CD-ROM drive for installation (CD installation)
CD-RW To burn CDs, Video CD or mini DVD (DVD format on CD)
DVD±RW To burn DVDs
OS Support Microsoft® Windows® 98SE, 2000, ME or XP

- Retail Package

The European retail package contains everything that end users will need to get them started. It includes the DVD Xpress device, the required audio and video cables, one USB2.0 certified cable, power supply and a CD with bundled software. Although the provided cables will do just fine, they are standard quality cables and not high grade cables that would provide better quality and higher video noise reduction.

The User's manual comes in English only and the software included, covers users needs with capturing, authoring and recording. It includes ADS Capture Wizard, an easy to use software to capture your video clips, and Ulead DVD MovieFactory to create professional looking DVDs. MyVee AutoProducer 3 is also included as bonus software to further expand authoring capabilities.

The device comes with a 1 year Warranty.

The front panel of the device looks very attractive, with the "power" and "capture" led on one side, and the ADS TECH logo on the other. The device comes in black mirrored cover.

On the rear panel, you will find all the connections on the device. From left to right, you can see the power input, audio and composite video in connectors, S-Video connector and USB connector.

The above label is located on the bottom of the device. You can see that we received a Revision 2 device.

- Installation

Installation was as easy as can be. Device installation was completed successfully with the drivers provided in the root folder of the provided CD. Under Windows XP, the device is recognized as: "ADS DVD Xpress B"

The following screen is the main screen of the DVD Xpress disc.

The only thing that users should pay attention to is the installation order with the software included. Software should be installed in the following order.

Ulead DVD MovieFactory is in fact the special edition of this program and all necessary plug ins to make the device compatible with this software are included. However, the main difference between the professional edition and this special edition is that MovieFactory 3.0SE does not support the DVD-VR format, although this should not worry most users.

- Testing software/procedure

It should be noted that throughout this review, and especially on zoomed images, by clicking on images, a full sized high resolution picture will be shown for comparison purposes. In general, we were interested in capturing still images, moving pictures and test screens. These test screens are used mostly to investigate the clarity of the external converter. Of course, we used not only light images and scenes, but also darker ones. In any case, the created image files/snapshots are compared with the images included in the "Plasma TV Demo DVD" provided by Pioneer, without any form of conversion or compression.

We tested the device on several computers, to ensure that the minimum requirements are correct. The device produced audio/video synchronization problems with CPUs running below 800MHz. We also tested the device with several Pentium IV systems, but the results were the same, regardless of CPU speed. We decided to use one of our standard test PCs. The main specifications for this PC are shown below:

Test PC
CPU Intel P4 2.8Ghz Prescott, 1024Kb cache 800FSB
RAM DDR 512/400Mhz
M/B Intel D865GBFL
Graphic Card Ati 9800Pro based graphic display
HD Western Digital WD 1200JB 7200RPM 8MB cache

In order to perform our tests we used:

  1. ADS Capture Wizard 3.5
  2. Cyberlink PowerDVD 5.0
  3. WinDVD Platinum 6.0
  4. VideoInspector 1.2.1.71
  5. VirtualDUB 1.5.10 (18160)
  6. AviChecker 2.0
  7. MovieID 1.02
  8. Nero Burning Rom v6.6.0.1




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