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Epiphan DVI2PCIe: First Look

Any modern video capture device is in fact a black box which has some kind of input for a video source and a digital computer interface as its output. This box converts the input video into a format suitable for further processing on a PC. This brief description refers to the whole line-up of Epiphan's products which includes a few dozen models. The video input can be either analog (usually a D-Sub connector) or digital (DVI) whereas the output can be implemented via USB, Ethernet or PCI Express. Such products can be either external (and connect to the computer's external I/O interfaces) or internal (an expansion card).

Thus, the Epiphan DVI2PCIe can be described as an internal video capture device with DVI and PCI Express x4 interfaces. Its connectivity options are broader than you may think at first sight. Its DVI connector is of the DVI-I variety and supports both digital and analog data transmission. In practical terms it means that besides digital video sources, the card can be connected, via adapters, to various devices with composite or component analog outputs or even ordinary D-Sub connectors. Similarly, via adapters, various digital interfaces are supported: HDMI, DisplayPort and Thunderbolt.

In other words, the Epiphan DVI2PCIe is a very versatile solution for capturing video. It is in fact the product’s key advantage. Whatever equipment you have, you will always be able to connect it to the DVI2PCIe.

That’s why another advantage of this card is its PCI Express x4 interface (even though the latter is the first version only). The bus bandwidth is about 1 GB/s, which should theoretically be enough to transmit Full-HD video at a frame rate up to the monitor's refresh rate (60 fps). It's no wonder that this functionality makes the DVI2PCIe one of the best video capture products in Epiphan’s line-up as well as on the market at large.

The Epiphan DVI2PCIe can be viewed as the opposite of a graphics card. It converts video signal from any external source into digital video stream which can be saved, processed or retransmitted by means of a PC. The card carries such conversion out at true HD resolution and without any loss in image quality. The only thing that might happen during the capture process is some reduction in the frame rate of the resulting video (compared to the monitor’s refresh rate) but this problem is limited to high display resolutions.

It is important that the Epiphan DVI2PCIe is not just a multifunctional hardware device but has a software component as well. The card is shipped with drivers for every OS as well as with Epiphan Capture Tool which lets you save or broadcast over the network the frames or video you capture. The Epiphan DVI2PCIe is fully compatible with DirectShow, Video4Linux and QuickTime APIs, so it can be used with various third-party applications such as Windows Expression Encoder, VirtualDUB, Adobe Flash Media Encoder, Adobe Premiere, etc.

Specifications

Here is a summary of the Epiphan DVI2PCIe specs:

It must be noted that the card has flexible hardware design and its specs are prone to improve, especially in terms of supported video modes and refresh rates. The drivers and software are regularly updated to bring about such nice improvements.

The Epiphan DVI2PCIe is shipped together with the following:

  • DVI cable;
  • DVI-VGA cable;
  • DVI-HDMI cable.

So, if you need to capture video from outputs other than DVI, D-Sub or HDMI, you'll have to buy appropriate adapters for this card.

 
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