written by: Bruno Kos•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 1/28/2011
If you want to connect a device that outputs S-Video or composite video with your computer through a USB port, you will need a USB to RCA video adapter. This article provides an overview of some great, yet affordable solutions. Cheap no-name solutions offering low signal quality are not included.
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StarTech.com USB 2.0 to S-Video & Composite Video Capture Cable
StarTech’s USB to RCA video adapter enables you to connect devices that output S-Video or composite video directly to a computer, using a USB 2.0 port. This is a great solution if you are bridging an S-Video or Composite video source and a computer. Because of its small size, the StarTech.com USB 2.0 to S-Video & Composite Video Capture Cable is particularly suitable for mobile applications. This USB to RCA video adapter has the following connectors: 1 x Type A male USB 2.0 USB, 1 x female S-Video and 1 x RCA female. Furthermore, it comes in black color, 1 year of warranty, free lifetime technical support, and it offers real time MPEG 1, MPEG 2 and MPEG 4 recording. This product starts at $34.43.
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StarTech.com USB S-Video Audio Video Capture Cable
The StarTech.com USB S-Video Audio Video Capture Cable allows you to connect S-Video or composite video output devices with a computer, using a USB 2.0 port. Additionally, it allows capture of the video and 2-channel RCA stereo audio. Furthermore, it supports TWAIN drivers (for use with third party software), so you can use your favorite video capture software. You can use it for real time MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 recording, while its dimensions allow you to carry it around with your mobile devices or laptop. StarTech’s solution has the following interfaces and ports: 1 x type A USB 2.0 USB, 1 x RCA Composite Video In, 2 x RCA Stereo Audio In and 1 x female S-Video In. It allows both video recording and capturing and it can work with NTSC, PAL and SECAM video system. It works on Microsoft operating systems, starting from Windows 2000 onwards. As is the case with other StarTech’s products, it comes with 1 year of warranty and with free lifetime technical support. This USB to RCA video adapter starts at $46.22.
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Black Box USB 2.0 High-Quality Video Adapter
A bit more of an expensive solution (starting at $103.19), this USB to RCA video adapter manufactured by Black Box provides a high quality of signal. The Black Box USB 2.0 High-Quality Video Adapter has a compact design, it has a high speed compression (30 frames per/sec), it does not need additional batteries or power supplies, it works with both NTSC and PAL video systems, and it comes with 1 year of warranty. It is designed to work with Windows operating systems and comes with the following connectors: 1 x RCA composite, 1 x S-Video F and 1 x USB type A M. The main feature of this USB to RCA video adapter is that it captures and converts live analog signals to a digital format and finally, it supports VGA resolution snapshots (640 x 480 pixels). Finally, while talking about speed and resolution, it works at 30 fps/CIF size (352 x 288 pixels) and 30 fps/QCIF size (176 x 144 pixels).