Can I capture a video directly from TV (bypassing VCR running the tape and sending the signal to the TV.)

A query. Is it possible to capture to my Laptop hard drive,  the contents of a Video Cassette tape,  directly from the picture displayed on the TV (e.g. not capturing it via the capture  device  attached to the VCR.)
My TV has USB socket, HDMI sockets etc.
Laptop: running Windows 10.
Michael MurphyAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I am not sure I understand.  You wish to capture the video (and sound) contents from a VCR tape. This is old enough to not have any concept of USB or HDMI, so you need to play back the tape on the TV and then record what is being shown on the TV.
Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
No.  Not off the TV directly, unless the TV has auxiliary video output jacks.

Off the VCR?  Yeeeesss ... but it sounds like you've already tried the cheap method and didn't care for the results, which is the usual case.

There are these cheap -- and I use "cheap" and not "inexpensive" deliberately -- "Easycap" USB dongles that plug into a system and capture video.  They only capture analog NTSC TV, and they won't capture off-the-air (since NTSC off-the-air doesn't exist any more) so that fairly well limits them to use converting old VCR tapes.

There are several problems with them, but most notable are dropped frames and poor quality.  After all, this is a USB 1 device, it's not very fast, and it must convert frames fast enough to shove them down the USB channel so they won't be full quality even with compression.  (Ignore the "USB 2.0" on the listings; it's a USB 1.0 device that works plugged into a USB 2.0 port, just like any other USB device.)

And the drivers are pretty poor, and buggy, and have been reported to have free malware in the install kits.

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=usb+video+capture&_sop=15

Personally I would drop $10 per and instead take the tape(s) to a local video production house where conversion will be done with professional equipment.

If you have a *lot* of tapes, and I mean 50 and up, you might instead look at getting an old Windows 2000 system and a Pinnacle DC30 or DC50, which is inexpensive and pretty good for consumer grade equipment even though well obsolete.  But then, so is NTSC video.

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=m570.l1313&_nkw=pinnacle+dc50&_sacat=58058&LH_TitleDesc=0&_sop=15&_osacat=58058&_odkw=dc50+video&LH_TitleDesc=0

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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
unless the TV has auxiliary video output jacks.   <-- I assumed that.

I like your idea of outsourcing it. That is a good way to go.
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Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
Will probably go with the outsourcing. There are about 90 tapes and some are of historical interest (relating to West Africa). I will check up about outsourcing. But before doing what is involved with: Dr Khaln's option mentioned above: "If you have a *lot* of tapes, and I mean 50 and up, you might instead look at getting an old Windows 2000 system and a Pinnacle DC30 or DC50, which is inexpensive and pretty good for consumer grade equipment even though well obsolete." . It would mean the purchase of the Pinnacle DC, but what else.
Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
The DC30 / DC50 were supported only through Windows 2000, so:

Dig up an older system capable of running Windows 2000 (something like a Dell Optiplex would be fine)
scrub the system drive
reload Windows 2000 on it
strip W2K down to the minimum including disabling services and networking
install a second IDE drive to receive video on the secondary controller (W2K does not understand SATA)
install the DC30/50 and the software.

It would then be able to capture video directly to the DC30/50 input connectors.
Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
Side note:  If the video is not NTSC but rather PAL instead, I don't have a clue on what to do.  The DC30/DC50 may have been capable of doing PAL, but it would be necessary to read the documentation to find out.
Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
Thanks.  I think the question is clearly answered. Outsourcing the optimum answer. The other option also an option. Thanks both.
Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
Thanks. I know where I stand now.
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