Re: Linux VCR driver?

Magnus Hiie (
Wed, 4 Dec 1996 09:48:02 +0200

> > "There are controllers available for many PC's that allow a VCR to
> > be used as a backup device. This is an inexpensive way to get a
> > lot of backup capability on a PC. However, in order to utilize
> > such a system, a device driver will have to be written..."
> >
> There may be such beasts, but I wouldn't trust my data to them.
> Better get a "real" computer tape drive.

I have been using an ISA card (its name is Arvid) that does such
thing. I'm completely happy with it. It stores about 2GB data on a
240min VHS cassette. Its speed is about 150KB/s. I have found no
errors in data restored from the cassettes (not including one which
got wet). Compared to my (quite old) HP 2GB DDS tape drive, I find
them quite competitive.

> Problems with these video beasts:
> - No read-after-write, therefore no decent error control.

Correct, but as I said, I have encountered no errors. Maybe it stores
data with a lot of error control (parity) extra data.

> - The additional conversion to an analog video signal means that the
> speed
> is nothing to speak of.

I'm satisfied.

> - No filemarks, i.e. one backup per tape.

Wrong, I have more than 10 backup sets on each tape.

> - How do you push the rewind/play/record buttons with the computer?

It has a remote control connected to a wire connected to the card
(actually a simple infra-red LED)

> - Timing of the signal (usually, parallel-port) is likely to be
> rather
> critical -> writing a Linux driver is difficult at best.

It is an ISA card as I mentioned.

BTW, it costs only about $50! And it works with about every VCR there
is on the market.

Magnus Hiie
Computer Manager
Eesti Ekspress
Tel: +372 6408046
GSM: +372 50 57507