The ezcap 159 is amongst the latest analogue capture devices that has been updated for later operating systems like Windows 7, 8 or 10. Which is great in my opinion because we’re not wasting time having a device that was built to only work on windows XP. So in this article, let’s see what’s so good about the ezcap 159 for PC.
Looking at the ezcap website there is only three analogue capture devices they offer these days. There is the ezcap 172, the ezcap 158 and the ezcap 159. The last two devices are slightly different being the drivers they have. The ezcap 158 has the UVC driver and the ezcap 159 has a 64bit driver that has to be installed.
Last update on 2024-02-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Random ezcaps I’ve reviewed in the past are now considered legacy products on their website, which I find amusing.
Legacy meaning old!
ezcap 159 Closer Inspection
The casing for the ezcap 159 reminds me of this device which I did (at one stage) like very much.
There is a large button for capturing still photos as you record. I’ve mentioned this once before but there are different methods to capture still images from your home videos. This button only works on the PC side and not for the Mac OS.
There is a 50cm extended USB 2.0 cable making connection between a VCR and computer much easier to deal with.
The other end has the composite connections. Yellow for video, Red/White for the audio. There is an S-Video connection as well if your VCR has that output.
ezcap 159 What’s in the Box?
What box? Mine came in a plastic bag and that was it! That’s not saying there shouldn’t be a box, mine never arrived like that.
The basic package will give you a install guide of the software and driver. You could also visit the ezcap download support page (if you computer doesn’t have a CD drive) and download the software.
The product code is on the back of the paper sleeve. Install of the software will take approximately five minutes.
ezcap 159 Connection
While majority of my tests are only VHS tapes, the ezcap 159 is able to capture Hi8 and Video8 as well.
Not that it probably needs to be stated, but I’d recommend that you have the tape playing by the time you start the software, just so you are seeing the image appear and that connection is correct.
Connection is simply a case of matching the composite adapters to their matching counterparts.
VHS to DVD 5.0 SE Walkthrough
After how many years I finally find a capture device that has a newer version of Honestech’s VHS to DVD software. If you go to VIDBOX website I noticed they have VHS to DVD 9.0 in their downloads page (and also for a device that looks similar to all their others).
After the install you will greeted with the splash logo then straight into the software itself.
Before commencing with any capture, you may need to change some options in the settings. Clicking onto the cog wheels will open the Capture Settings window.
Inside here you will have access to change quite a few settings, the Quality (still stuck with Good, Better, Best – I personally hate that), Save Location etc.
Under the Capture Format you can choose between DVD type files or a digital MPEG format.
So using the above example I’ve changed the following: Capture Format to MPEG 2, Resolution to 720×576 PAL, quality as Best and also the Video/Audio Devices.
Clicking further into the Video Settings, you can change the Composite or S-Video input signal.
The Audio Settings allows for a basic level control.
There are certainly extra options added when compared to VHS to DVD 3.0. For starters there is now a slider option in the center allowing you to change the Brightness, Contrast and Saturation. The downside to using these tools is that any correction is applied to the whole length of the video.
Also to note, if you are recording – then play around with these sliders , that will appear in the final capture.
Next to that is an option to import from a MiniDV camera. I haven’t checked that for this article, but still that is an impressive feat for these somewhat basic capture software.
There is an option to take snapshots during the recording.
The EDIT tab is a little on the bland side. You drag the captured video and drop it into the center block which will then let you add transition effects, special video effects, adjust the brightness contrast and saturation (same as the capture sliders while recording), or add text.
There is the option to trim the video into smaller clips if you desire. Otherwise you could simply burn the disc as one file.
Something that did happen for me during the test, was a blank screen when trying to edit.
Before you burn a disc, there are a numerous settings that can be changed. I do like the fact that you can alter the bitrate manually as opposed to previous versions that have one set preset.
When it comes to rendering the MPEG file into another format, it does offer a plethora of video sizes. Maybe too much to be honest. Does the average person using this software know if they want high quality iPad AVC file or high quality MP4?
Rendering output never goes above 30FPS as well.
The ezcap 159 is also compatible with other video editors that allow for capture via analogue sources. Also OBS Studio won’t be an issue as well.
ezcap 159 Results
The sample video shows a side by side of VHS to DVD 5.0 verses Magix Video editor.
I do tend to think the Honestech software has a bit too much contrast (and this is without touching the slider options during recording). The Magix version, while softer, at least have more freedom to add your own contrast if needed.
ezcap 159 For PC Conclusion
When using the ezcap 159 on the PC I think you’ll certainly be able to transfer your videos without any hindrance. I still wouldn’t throw out the tapes until you were definitely satisfied with the quality.
Out of these simpler USB capture devices, the ezcap 159 is definitely the leader of them, not just in price but having a device that is compatible with both Windows 10 and 64bit Mac OS. About time I say!
I would still use this device with other capture software instead of the supplied VHS to DVD 5.0 to get better results. I mean if you visit honestech.com these days you get an Error 404 message. Oh well.
The Ezcap 159 gets a thumbs up from me.