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Hardware Review of:
Hollywood DV-Bridge
Convert Your Past into the Future

 

Dazzle

Larry Grosskopf is a Clinical Psychologist at the San Antonio State Hospital, with a very hearty interest in computers and technology. He and Marta, his wife, are raising two rambunctious and lively children, daughter Zoë, age 9, and son Jackson, age 7.

From the October, 2002 issue of PC Alamode Magazine

Dazzle Multimedia, Incorporated manufactures the Hollywood DV-Bridge DM2200, which is a hardware device that attaches to your computer. With this product you can truly do some amazing things. Foremost, it lets you convert your old VHS tapes in analog format into higher quality Digital Video (DV) format. Be sure to check to see if your system meets the needed requirements to operate the Hollywood DV-Bridge. It will need at least a Pentium II, 500 Mhz CPU, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Me, Windows 2000 or Windows XP as the operating system, 128MB of RAM, a 1024 x 768 pixel resolution, 24-bit color Video graphics output, a Sound Card, an I-EEE 1394/FireWire port, a CD Burner for VCD, S-VCD, cDVD Creation, and/or a DVD Burner for DVD Creation. 

Now that we are in the process of moving into the truly “Digital” age, with DVD’s widespread, DV camcorders everywhere and big-screen and High Definition TV’s becoming more commonplace, have you ever wished you had this modern technology 5 or 10 years ago when you were making that library of VHS tapes of the children or grandchildren? I certainly have wished that, many times, in fact. Lo and behold, onto the scene arrives the Hollywood DV-Bridge, aptly named to bridge the gap between where you were and where you want to be. This handy little apparatus takes your older Analog Video and converts it to the more robust and stable Digital Video format. 

The Hollywood DV-Bridge comes with a standard 6-pin to 6-pin IEEE 1394 FireWire cable but does not include an S-Video cable, Composite RCA Video cable, Composite RCA Audio cable or a 6-pin to 4-pin IEEE 1394 FireWire cable. Depending upon what you are going to do, you may or may not need these additional cables. Flexibility is one of the real strengths of this device. You can convert Analog Video to Digital Video, you can send Digital Video to your computer in a “pass-through” mode or you can convert Digital Video to Analog Video. The DV-Bridge automatically detects which mode it should be in according to what you have connected to it. 

When I hooked up my old VHS (Analog) camera to the device, it recognized the change and switched to the Analog to DV mode. That will create Digital Video files on my computer that can be then edited with my choice of video editing software. Once I completed editing the video file I had chosen, I connected the DV-Bridge to my VCR and sent my edited Digital Video file back through (converting it back to Analog) and made a much cleaner and neater VHS tape of my kids when they were much younger. This apparatus will be even more useful in the future, I believe, once Digital VCR’s are on the market and readily available at affordable prices to consumers. At that point, the DV-Bridge can be used to transfer or even back up those old analog (VHS, etc.) tapes to Digital format for archival purposes. You can also peruse your videotape on full-screen since the DV-Bridge provides connections out to an external monitor source. Linking a TV to the Analog output on the DV-Bridge allows you to see the video full-screen, making it easier to determine where to start edits and what parts of the video you want to leave alone and what you want to edit or even exclude.

Even today, many of us who have Digital Video camcorders also have Analog (VHS, VHS-C, 8mm, etc.) video or tapes that they might like to combine or mix with their newer Digital Videotapes. The Hollywood DV-Bridge makes this possible. What I did was take some video of my children around Christmas several years ago (in Analog format) and converted it to DV format for editing purposes. I also put some more recent (summer vacation at Disney) Digital Video on my computer and edited the files with my video editing software, combining both images into one file. From that point, I was able to convert it back to Analog and make a new tape of the combined video output file. It was fun, even though I got funny looks from my family because I had alternated back and forth from the Christmas scenes to the summer vacation scenes several times. 

Although I have only tried this once, the DV-Bridge can also convert Analog video to Digital or Digital video to Analog without using your computer for editing. For example, if you just want to cross backup your tapes (both Digital and Analog) you could do that with the DV-Bridge without even running them through your computer. The beauty in this is that you just convert the video without having to edit it. Editing is easily the most time-consuming aspect of home video making. If you love to manipulate and play with videos you have made or if you need to edit them, then this is the tool for you.

You can find the Hollywood DV-Bridge in local computer stores and the price is coming down but it is still a very expensive item, with a local price tag of $299.99. Online, however is a different story, as I found one available at $227.99 by comparison shopping at the Pricewatch Web site. This price included the shipping and handling, with prices varying from one company to another.


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