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DAC - Digital Analog Converter

The following were all recommended in a forum or magazine article.
Company Product Price format † interface Mac/
input output input output
Canopus ADVC-110   NTSC, PAL DV S-video, Composite firewire
Elgato EyeTV 250 Plus   NTSC, QAM, ATSC MPEG S-video, Composite USB
Elgato Miglia Digital TV Recorder for Mac
DataVideo DAC-200
  NTSC/PAL DV S-video, Composite firewire M/W
Plextor ConvertX PX-M402U $160 NTSC/PAL DivX, MPEG-4, MPEG-2/DVD, MPEG-1/VCD S-video, Composite USB 2 M/W
Dazzle Multimedia * Dazzle Hollywood DV Bridge
  NTSC, PAL DV, MPDEG-1, MPEG-2, DVD, VCD, AVI,RealMedia, Windows Media   firewire
Pinnacle Video Capture for Mac $100NTSCMPEG-4 encoding in H.264 at up to 720x480/576S-video, CompositeUSB 2 M
Pinnacle Video Transfer $100NTSC/PALDVD or DVD-imageS-video, CompositeUSB 2 W
* In 2003 Pinnacle Systems completed the acquisition of the Dazzle home video editing business from SCM Microsystems. The Hollywood DV Bridge is no longer listed in the Dazzle product line so I assume it has been discontinued.

† See Formats)

Many digital camcorders have a pass thru mode which converts from analog to digital.

USB vs firewire:
A 2008 post at VideoHelp.com/ says: "The USB route will either be poor (often MPEG1) and/or have little support from most DV-based software.

You can also use the EyeTV Hybrid, but this is a device that converts first to MPEG2, so there is an extra step to convert the MPEG2 to DV or h.264 for editing. This extra step may result in some quality loss, so many people prefer the Canopus DAC.
The EyeTV 250 has a built in encoder for analogue to digital while the hybrid doesthe encoding in software. Quality with the hybrid depends on processor powe

Since his stated purpose is to edit his video with iMovie or FCE, the appropriate format is DV or Apple Intermediate Codec. Not MPEG2 or H.264, which are highly compressed delivery formats. There would be a significant loss of quality going through the muliple conversions.

About Audio - Video in technology
Digital Video (Formats)
PC Video Capture & Editing Devices
Making a high quality MPEG-4 ("DivX") rip of a DVD movie

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last updated 25 Apr 2009