Site Home
  Site Home
  2M SSB
  CT WIN Introduction
  Emergency Power
  JPole Antennas
  Microwave & Up
  Military Scanner Freqs
  Packet Radio
  Sound Card

Testing Session
Next test session is Sept 8th


Back to ATV HOME

Editors Note: this is an outdated page. The kit described is no longer sold, indeed the US Robotics company exists only name these days. There are equivilant kits out there and most tv cards for the PC will take composite video in, so you are free to use what ever camera you like. YMMV

Initial Review of US Robotics Big Picture kit


The USR Big picture kit comes with a CCD color camera and PCI bus capture card. Software bundled with it includes VDOPhone demo, VDO Line browser add ins, Asymetrix Digital Video Producer and Asymetrix Digital Capture packages. The VDO phone and VDO Live programs work well with this particular camera. While I could get the Asymetrix capture to work, I was not successful in getting the producer program to function properly, yet.


I had purchased this product over the others on the market due to the fact that it advertised an NTSC color camera. Most of the other packages use a digitally scanned CCD head that interfaces through the parallel port. This one, however, offered a real camera! Once I opened the kit, I was pleasantly surprised to see the size of the camera head. I looked it over carefully and confirmed that it indeed had NTSC out, included a microphone and even had a green tally LED located on the front (active with power on). Controls on the rear of the unit include Contrast (a push button), BLC, White Balance, and Power On/Off. The power for the camera (5VDC) is supplied through a coaxial power jack located (handily enough) on the PCI based frame grabber card. Installation of the hardware was a snap. I was up and running in less than an hour.


After the inital new rubbed off, I decided to find out all I could about the camera and digitizer board. I eventually discovered that the board is a Hauppage WinCast board, modified to USR specifications. The camera had me stymied, though. Eventually I discovered the source, which has since dried up. If you have a relativly recent VGA card with the overlay capability, (I use the ATI All-IN-Wonder PRO) then you can overlay the video on the background!
Overall impressions:

I am fairly happy with both the board and the camera, so much so, I may consider purchasing another of the cameras from the above source. I have discovered that the camera is not very sensitive to low light level conditions, say a darkened room, but thats common with CCD Color cameras. It is usable with a 60 Watt bulb overhead, though barely. Contrast is adjustable, but I noticed that there is interaction between the BLC control and the contrast adjustment control. All in all, a fairly neat little toy. Look for it on the air soon! Incidently, for those who are curious, I have fired up the camera independently of the wincast card. It takes 5VDC (Center pin positive), but puts out about 1 vPP nominal video. It looks outstanding on a high resolution monitor. The lens is a barrel shaped screw-on affair. You can adjust the focus from about 2 inches to infinity by rotating the barrel. Removing the barrel provides access to the front surface of the video CCD chip (caution).

This is the camera:

Back to ATV HOME



This application and data entered thereinto is the property of KB4OID.
Click here for our privacy and copyright statements.