EasyCAP 4 channel input USB Video Capture

Video capture card; a gotcha

Once again, life proves when it comes to commercial offerings, you get what you pay for.

I found a £13 (~US$20) USB device with 4 composite video inputs, and one audio input, called an EasyCAP 4 channel device, on Amazon. I was planning on streaming 4 video captures from it at some quality. The unit turned up very efficiently, and emblazoned across the stick is “4 CHUSB DVR”, and a neat little Win32 utility called Multiviewer 2.0, by Zhong Kai Ran.

Fire up the software and an impressive 4-screen display is shown, however, its not until you plug in a video camera to one input that you can see that the device rotates through each of the video inputs; it doesnt appear to be able to stream all four simultaneously. A pity. So, if you’re looking for a “poor man’s multi-camera CCTV”, this is a very good choice, but be aware that you’ll only get (configurable) number of seconds from each channel in sequence (or selectable) but not a live continuous stream of all four inputs.

At least, that’s my experience under MS Windows thus far. I haven’t yet thrown it at a Linux system yet to see if it detects the device and/or it works any differently, but I’d suspect not.

Either way, it’s a start at what I’m looking to do anyway, so I am not too disappointed.

Next up, a small PC to house it in that I can run my GStreamer video processing on… hmmm… I want an Asus Eee Box B204 with its cute built in HDMI… its flirting with me promising Full-HD 1080p, but I guess if/when I have a spare £300 to play with I may find its also a little short!

On the variance of price

I want to play with an RFID reader. I found a nice one from Parallax here. So, how much does this cost? Well, the Parallax web site says $39.99. Shipping and tax are all extras, but lets look at base price.

So a UK supplier quotes £37.50 for the unit. Using today’s FX conversion rate, which will vary wildly, the US$ equivalent is US$54.83. That represents a markup of almost 40% compared to the US listed price. Now taxes and delivery included, it looks like I’d be around the same percentage better off if I order in the US and pick it up next time i am there, than get it her in the UK.


Ikea scrapheap challenge

Ikea has some useful affordable stuff. But why does it always descend into a scrum like scrapheap challenge? Invariabley when looking at a display, thee is one sample product that is cracked or broken left on display as a trophy of the hoards that have tossed over every item.

The maze of homewares. The shove of crowds. The products that meet 90% of what you want, but at a price that seems worth settling for…..

Yes, its another day at the Viking shop!

Posted from my blackberry, on the second floor of the Lakeside stor, surrounded by light fittings!

Private Gallery?

Well, after almost 10 yeras of dumping photos here, its come to a point where I now have to split some of the gallery into publicly accessible images, and those I must keep private. What was over 7,500 images has been slightly reduced to around 6,000. They’re not all art, but some are useful – if you’d like to use the pictures ask me and I can send you a high-res.

Repairing the car

Well, the brakes on the car weren’t so good, to the point that it was more effective to try and ‘will’ the car to a halt by the sheer power of the mind in place of using either the pedal or the handbrake! Turns out the front pads were gone, and brake fluid had leaked on the rear ones making them ineffective. Luckily, its only about 150 quid to get it fixed.