Frame grabbers | Products | Epiphan Systems

By: EPIPHAN SYSTEMS  09-12-2011


Epiphan Systems manufactures a wide range of VGA capture cards, also known as VGA frame grabbers or RGB capture cards.

The Epiphan frame grabbers allow the user to capture, record, or broadcast a high resolution and high frame rate VGA display signal using an Epiphan frame grabber with their image capturing computer. The Epiphan frame grabbers can also emulate a high-res camera compatible with DirectShow on Windows, QuickTime on Mac OS X, Video4Linux on Linux, Epiphan's software and other third-party applications that support cameras or frame grabbers as a video input source. This open architecture for Epiphan frame grabber devices enables seamless integration with applications such as Adobe Premiere, Final Cut, Windows Video Encoder, QuickTime and many other 3rd party applications.

If you are developing your own custom solution that involves video capture, Epiphan offers a free SDK and API with examples to help you with development.

Frame Grabber Resolution and Frame Rate Performance Comparison

Frame grabber performance considerations center mostly on resolution and frame rate capture at the desired resolution. The VGA Frame Grabber Comparison diagram below illustrates frame rate to resolution the trade-offs between frame rates and maximum display source resolution.


  • certain frame grabbers will perform interlacing at certain resolution ranges

VGA Frame Grabber Comparison table

$ 299.95 $ 799.95 $ 1600.00 $ 2000.00 $ 999.95 $ 800.00 $ 1600.00 $ 2000.00
Interface USB 2.0 USB 1.1 and 2.0 PCI-E 1.1 Gigabit Ethernet
Video Source Input VGA VGA, DVI / HDMI1 VGA VGA / DVI / HDMI1 VGA
Video Format Options
Analog: R,G,B plus
separate HSYNC and VSYNC signals
R,G,B plus separate HSYNC and VSYNC signals;
R,G,B plus CSYNC signal;
R,G,B with Sync-on-Green synchronization.
Digital: TDMS
Single Link
HDCP ready
Single Link
HDCP ready
VESA modes:
up to
up to 1280×1024
up to 1600×1200
up to 2048×2048
up to 1920×1200 up to 1920×1200 up to 1920×1200
up to
custom VGA modes
Frame Acquisition Rate (frames per second)
Resolution Frame rate varies depending on content
640×480 29
30 - 60
30 - 60
30 - 60
30 - 60
85 28 - 60 28 - 60
1024×768   10
15 - 60
15 - 60
15 - 60
15 - 60
80 13 - 30 13 - 30
1280×1024 5.6
10 - 51
10 - 51
10 - 51
10 - 52
50   8 - 30   8 - 30
1600×1200 4.3
  8 - 33
  8 - 33
8 - 34
35    5 - 30     5 - 30 
2048×1536 2
  5.6 - 22
   4 - 30 
2048×2048   5 - 18
   3 - 30 
Sampling Mode Interlaced Progressive Progressive up to 1920×1200 Progressive
Board Features
On-board cropping, Color space conversion,
USB Transfer Accelerator™, Compression Booster Filters™
Color Resolution RGB16 (5:6:5) RGB24, (8:8:8); RGB16, (5:6:5); RGB8, (2:3:3);
8 bits per pixel, 256-grey scale format ;
16 bits per pixel, YUY2(422), UYVY;
Windows 2000 / XP / Vista / 7,
Linux, Mac OS X 10.3.x and up
Win XP, Vista, 7
Mac OS X 10.4.x and up, Linux
Win 2000/ XP/ Vista/ 7,
Linux, Mac OS X 10.3.x +
Windows: DirectShow API, Proprietary API (C/C++, VB 6, C#, Delphi, Java)
Linux: Video4Linux API, Proprietary API (C/C++, Java)
Mac OS X: Quicktime API, Proprietary API (C/C++, Java)
Weight 3.2 oz, 90 g 4.8 oz, 135 g 335 g 2 oz, 57 g 11.2 oz, 318 g
Dimensions 3.54"×2.36"×0.91"
90×60×23 mm
170×109×30 mm
202×105×35 mm

1HDMI support limited to non copy protected content, and does not include digital audio source. Requires HDMI to DVI adapter cable.

Reasons to choose Epiphan frame grabbers:

  • A choice between local portable USB, remote Ethernet, and internal PCI Express solutions
  • Compact external devices, easy to transport between different locations, rugged enough
    to withstand the stresses of an industrial environment
  • Support for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux
  • Price/Performance based on your application requirements
  • Emulates hi-res camera compatible with DirectShow on Windows and QuickTime on Mac OS X, which allows third-party applications to use frame grabber as a video input source
  • Free SDK and API with examples letting you use frame grabbers as part of your own solution
  • Free software that lets you capture, record, and broadcast VGA or DVI or HDMI1 display stream in resolutions
    up to 2048×2048 and rates in excess of 60 frames per second

Epiphan VGA Frame Grabber Comparison and Selection Guide

Whether you need to record the video from a computerized device to create training material such as an ultrasound machine or even a Microsoft X-Box 360, Epiphan manufactures a VGA capture device that will fit your needs. The Epiphan frame grabber products that is ideal for your application will depend on the requirements for your applications requirements such as:

  • Performance: multiple resolutions, frame rates, with or without onboard pre-processing and combinations thereof.
  • Video display source input interfaces : (VGA, DVI, HDMI, composite, RGB)
  • Form factor : internal-USB, internal-PCIe, external capture card, multi frame grabber rackmount system
  • Data Stream Uplink Interface: USB-external, USB-internal, Ethernet, PCIe (more info)

Performance Considerations

The performance of a frame grabber is determined by a number of factors such as:

  • the type and quality of video display input being captured
  • the power and cost of the on board compression processing capability
  • the amount of on-board buffer memory available
  • the data uplink interface (e.g. internal, Ethernet, or USB)
  • interlaced or non-interlaced video
  • the resolution, frame rate and nature of the changes to image content

Video display source input interface considerations

One consideration in choosing a frame grabber is the nature of the video display source(s) your application would like to capture. Some display outputs can be converted using simple cables or adapters, while others should be captured in their native form in order to maintain maximum original quality.

The table above identifies frame grabbers that support direct VGA connections, except that in the case of VGA2Ethernet, this device has a DVI connector that can be used with VGA to DVI conversion cables.

Form Factor Considerations

Epiphan offers a number for factor and packaging options to suit your application

Form Factor Description

Pocket Sized External USB
An external USB device, self contained with aluminum case. Great for applications that are portable, and will be connected to different computers. No need for tools, no need to open up the computer to install a card.

Internal USB
An internal USB frame grabber , but packaged with a card bracket that fits inside your computer. Great for applications where you want the frame grabber and computer to be physically attached together, such as a lecture capture podium.

External Ethernet Appliance
An external frame grabber appliance with Gigabit Ethernet network connection. Can be shared on the network from different capture stations, including iPhone, iPad, iTouch using free application from iTunes

Internal PCIe
An internal PCIe card, idea for high performance applications where the frame grabber capture stream is transmitted directly to the PCIe bus.

A rackmount system where up to 6 VGA2USB frame grabbers can be installed into a rack mount frame. We can customize which VGA2USB models are built into the rack. Great for computer farm type applications.
Custom OEM Epiphan can supply custom form factors to OEMs for private label products, card level and system level solutions. Please contact us for more details
The information in this article was current at 06 Dec 2011



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