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Needing to know the relationship between firewire, USB, and IEE1394 Connections

Posted on 2004-09-26
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Last Modified: 2013-11-09
Hi Everyone:

       Recently, I have been trying to make sense out of the different types of interfaces between a digital camcorder and pc.  For instance, it appears that some camcorders require different types of interfaces.  With this in mind, I am interested in knowing how IEE1394 connections, firewire adapters, and USB tie into the scheme of things when interfacing a digital camcorder with a pc.  

       I look forward to reading everyone's thoughts on this post.  

       Thank you

       George
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Question by:GMartin
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by:
tosh9iii earned 200 total points
ID: 12157650
FireWire versus USB 1.1 and USB 2.0
FireWire and USB are both widely used in the computer and consumer electronics industries.  USB 1.1 is well suited for computer mice, keyboards, and other lower-bandwidth input devices.

Even though USB 2.0 provides a tremendous speed advantage over the older v1.1 USB standard, FireWire remains the high-speed interface performance king for external devices such as hard drives, DV camcorders and 4X and up DVD burners/writers.

http://www.firewire-1394.com/what-is-firewire-800.htm

Digital Video
Digital video (DV) camcorders capture video and audio and can send a perfect copy
to a computer for editing, adding special effects, and making other modifications to
create a finished video with a FireWire 800 card and digital video editing software.  FireWire provides the high-speed connection required to download digital video quickly. FireWire 800 even has the necessary throughput for bandwidth-intensive applications that were not possible over the original FireWire, such as multiple-stream, uncompressed, standard-definition video.  The long-distance capability of FireWire 800 also gives production studios and similar businesses more flexibility to locate each piece of equipment where it’s most appropriate, rather than having to put everything adjacent to the computer.
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by:GMartin
ID: 12157728
Hi There:

       Thanks so much for your feedback.  Incidentally, do most entry level digital camcorders support a firewire connection?  And, if so, is there a way of visually looking at a camcorder to determine if it will interface with a pc via firewire connection?  

       George
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by:cwkhang
cwkhang earned 50 total points
ID: 12157731
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Author Comment

by:GMartin
ID: 12157739
Hi Everyone:

         I believe I am sold on the IEE1394 FireWire Card.  Just out of curiousity, how expensive is this card on the market?

        George
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Author Comment

by:GMartin
ID: 12157753
Hi

        Incidentally, I plan on having an external HDD as well as the digital camcorder.  
Will both be able to connect to a firewire IEE1394 without conflict?  Or, should I simply plan on connecting the HDD to a USB port and connect the digital camcorder to the firewire IEE1394 card?  By the way, I do not believe my pc has USB 2.0.  It is a 2000 model pc.  Therefore, I assume it would be to my advantage to also plan on purchasing a PCI USB 2.0 Card.  The USB 1.0 and 1.1 probably will not be enough to support the necessary data bandwidth between the external HDD or digital camcorder and pc.

       Any thoughts about his part will be appreciated.

      Thank you

      George


       
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by:bottlegreen
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ID: 12157793
Just as an example, a Belkin FireWire 3-Port PCI Card (F5U502) will cost you AUS$69.96, or roughly about $US30 - $US40.
Plugging in a IEE1394 external HDD and a digital camcorder simultaneously will have no conflicts. My recommendation is to get
the above product; there is no need for you to also get a USB2.0 card in addition to a firewire PCI card.

If you wish to have both USB2.0 and Firewire capability in your computer, you can purchase a USB2.0/Firewire combo PCI card, which offer both USB2.0 and Firewire IEE1394 ports.
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Author Comment

by:GMartin
ID: 12157794
Hi Everyone:

         I just checked out prices, so, please omit that portion of my question.  Upon visual inspection of the fire wire cards, I noticed they have 3 ports on their ends.  Is each port reserved for a device much like a USB port on a pc?  For instance, I assume an IEE1394 cable would be necessary to link a device, like a digital camcorder, with the fire wire card.  Port 2 of a firewire card might can be used for an external HDD and so forth.  
These devices can share this one fire wire card without conflicting with each other.  
I assume this is right, but, if not correct me.  

        In closing, I appreciate everyone's indulgence on this question.  This area is very new to me and I am trying to gather as much information as possible before commiting myself to any purchases.

       George

         

         
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by:bottlegreen
bottlegreen earned 100 total points
ID: 12157860
Yep, each port is seperate. You can use entirely different devices between all three ports, for example, port 1 with a camcorder, port 2 with a iPod, port 3 with a external HDD, and not have any conflicts whatsoever.
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by:nobus
ID: 12158276
George, in this article they claim USB ranging up to 480 Mb / sec

http://www.everythingusb.com/usb2/faq.htm
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Highfive is so simple that setting up every meeting room takes just minutes and every employee will be able to start or join a call from any room with ease. Never be called into a meeting just to get it started again. This is how video conferencing should work!

 
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by:winstonep
winstonep earned 100 total points
ID: 12158358
Hi George,
           I agree that Firewire is certainly the method of choice with a number of motherboards now supporting Firewire on board. USB is catching up with USB 2 but Firewire is still better for video capture.

As for entry level digital camcorders, I haven't noticed them having Firewire support. My parents bought one earlier this year and I didn't notice even USB support. However this was a digital 8mm tape camcorder and not a flash memory recorder. The flash memory ones and DV recorders are much more likely to have Firewire.

I'm not sure I've seen Firewire hard discs but there are plenty of good value USB2 discs. You might want to consider a DVD writer though. The new dual layer drives in Britain have come in at the same price as single layer, multi format drives (about £70 or about USD$130). Buy the right external hard disc and you may even be able to upgrade it in the future or replace it with a DVD writer. Unfortunately I haven't seen the latest ones so I don't know which one to get.
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by:Callandor
Callandor earned 50 total points
ID: 12159762
If you see a USB port on a camcorder, that is likely to be used for transferring still pictures to a PC.  Firewire should be present on any current DV camcorder, and Firewire cards are pretty cheap: http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=15-115-002&depa=0

Firewire800 is also available now, though not as cheap.

Firewire/USB 2.0 enclosure (just add a hard drive)
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=17-146-308&depa=0
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Expert Comment

by:tpilg
ID: 12160036
If you get a firewire cable to connect your video camera to a firewire, there are two things to keep an eye on.

Firstly. Buying it from an e-tailer such as www.ebuyer.co.uk/.com will be 1/5th of the price of most high street shops.

Secondly. There seem to be 2 types of firewire port. One is the 6 pin connector and the other is the same connector that comes out of the camera. The latter is on a cheap card that has firewire for DV as well as s-video for VHS or older non-digital video cameras.
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 12160240
tpilg,

I don't think George will have to worry about high street shops, since he's in the USA :-)

Most card manufacturers provide a cable to connect to their card, but these are the different connectors: http://www.cablestogo.com/resources/usb.asp
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Expert Comment

by:DanCh99
ID: 12161636
winstonep may be mistaken for how common firewire is - my slightly aging MiniDV sony camcorder pc101e has it for video transfer, and it works well, plus USB for stills (as Callandor says).

By the way, Firewire and IEEE1394 are the same thing - Firewire was just Apple's nice warm fuzzy name for it!  and it stuck....  and Sony call it iLink.  

My camera came with the USB cable, but I had to buy the firewire one.  Not expensive, though.  
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Expert Comment

by:DanCh99
ID: 12161665
and yes, external Firewire disks are common too - and they seem to offer both Firewire and USB connections on the same device
http://www.ebuyer.co.uk/customer/products/index.html?rb=2033251618&action=c2hvd3N1YmNhdGVnb3J5X3BhZ2U=&subcat_uid=128

It's a UK supplier, but you'll be able to get the kit anywhere.  
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Author Comment

by:GMartin
ID: 12186731
Hi Everyone:

        Before I begin commenting about the responses to this post, I sincerely want to thank each expert for their valued input.  After carefully going over each proposed answer, I noticed some of you provided links while many provided links along with brief personal thoughts on distinguishing firewire and USB interfaces.  From a technical point of view, the responses which consisted of personal clarification helped to make better sense of the links.  Using various links in combination with various clarification statements provided by many experts, I now have a much better understanding of the distinctions between firewire and USB.  

         In closing, I want to thank each and every expert for their critical evaluation of this post.  As a reader, I discovered several enligtening points provided by experts of EE which were skillfully laid out.  

        Thanks once again to all of the experts of EE for extending and sharing your knowledge, insights, and expertise.

         George
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by:bottlegreen
ID: 12187667
No problems, cheers George.
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by:winstonep
ID: 12187799
Glad to help George.
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