ADS Tech Instant DVD 2.0 test and review

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ADS Tech Instant DVD 2.0

ADS Tech Instant DVD 2.0 uses hardware-assisted encoding from an external USB 2.0 capture device carrying analogue inputs and outputs. Is this a complete Windows MPEG editing solution?

Affordable, real-time capture to DVD-compliant MPEG-2 makes it possible to burn analogue content quickly to DVD. Over the past two years, we have reviewed a number of Windows analogue MPEG capture devices from V-One MultiMedia (Snazzi) and Adaptec that have come in the form of PCI cards or external USB 2.0 boxes, using hardware-assisted encoding to convert incoming analogue video to MPEG-1/2. But none had output (decoding) capabilities.
This month, it's the long-awaited turn of ADS Technologies' Instant DVD 2.0 (model number USBAV-702) with a street price of £138 (inc VAT). The ADS USB 2.0 box uses the Cirrus Logic 2288 DVD encoder chip for MPEG encoding and offers analogue video and audio outputs for viewing edited content on a TV monitor or for recording to tape.
The package comes with its own capture and output program, Capture Wizard 3.1 (or CapWiz), and two customised Ulead programs - VideoStudio 7.0 SE DVD for video editing and DVD authoring, and DVD MovieFactory 2.1 SE for authoring and burning. Also included are Muvee autoProducer 2.1 DVD Edition for automatic movie creation, and a trial version of Simple Star PhotoShow 2.1 for photo editing, slideshow creation and publishing.
We first started testing in September 2003. Back then, we couldn't output edited PAL content from VideoStudio via the ADS box. Various patches and upgrades have since become available, but some problems still remain.

The ADS Tech Instant DVD 2.0 offers a complete and easy-to-use MPEG solution with editing, analogue capture (and export) at an attractive price. Installation did take time - seven months, in fact, while we waited for patches - and even now, as various crashes and gremlins show, the ADS hardware and Ulead software are not working in complete harmony.
We also found it tedious having to wait five seconds for the ADS box to change video standard to PAL before playback became stable, and would have welcomed the ability to adjust incoming analogue video levels in real-time during preview and capture. That said, we were impressed by the encoded quality of Hi-8 content at 8Mbit/sec. Instant DVD 2.0 will appeal to folk with analogue-only footage to edit and archive, but users of DV and analogue kit might prefer ADS's Instant DVD+DV. This offers DV capture and output, as well as analogue, for £42 more.

Lisa Keddie

Read the full review in August 2004's Computer Video magazine.


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ADS Tech Instant DVD 2.0

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