Diamond Multimedia VC500 analog-to-digital AV converter

Reflective Observer
4 min readDec 14, 2022


For quite a while I was considering testing the current generation of Pinnacle Dazzle analog to digital converter. I have a 2006 Pinnacle Dazzle DVC100, and I have been interested in how current product is different from the one Pinnacle released 16 years ago.

Last year it was on sale for $30 on Black Friday. I thought that if I could buy it for $30 this year, it would be cheap enough to keep it, or maybe I could re-sell it and not lose money. It was not on sale this year on Black Friday, but it went on lightning sale on Sunday for $35. Pinnacle claimed 50% discount off $70 list price, despite that on the same page one could see the regular $50 price.

Pinnacle Dazzle DVD recorder lightning sale on Amazon.com in November 2022

While I was thinking whether I should buy it or not, Pinnacle cancelled the sale, selling only 2% of their stock. I was taken aback by this cancellation, so I made an impulsive purchase, buying a Diamond Multimedia VC500 dongle. It is less than $30, not just on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but on every day.

The box, dated 2018, claims new features. Inside there is the converter itself, AV cable, a Mini-CD with drivers, Cyberlink PowerDirector and EZ Grabber, and a thin installation guide. The PowerDirector user’s manual is located on the CD-ROM.

Diamond Multimedia VC500 AV converter

I followed installation instructions and connected the device first. My 64-bit Windows 7 did not find drivers, so I inserted the provided Mini-CD in my computer’s optical drive and installed the drivers and PowerDirector 12.

PowerDirector recognized the VC500 device, which uses Conexant Polaris chip, and I was able to capture video into DVD-friendly MPEG-2 codec. The highest bitrate is 8 Mbit/s, which is about twice higher than on commercial DVDs, so if your analog video does not have too many small details, it will look fine. PowerDirector can then author a DVD, using captured video without re-encoding. Video can also capture into an AVI file, which I haven’t tried.

I have tested the VC500 using three tapes.

The JVC demo tape played on a VHS-C camcorder having time base corrector produced a clean unwavering frame with straight borders. Black level was correct too.

A still frame from “How to make a video letter” demo tape (by JVC, 1989)

The AAA travel tape played on a regular VCR resulted in lots of interline and interfield jitter.

Still frame from “National Parks” (by AAA)

PowerDirector refused to capture the “Doc Hollywood” movie, because it is copy protected, but I was able to do it using VirtualDub. That is, the device itself does not prohibit capturing copy-protected content, it simply passes the write-protection flag to a capturing program. I removed the pulldown using inverse telecine filter in VirtualDub, but the video still exhibited jagged edges caused by line jitter.

Still frame from “Doc Hollywood”

Then I tried installing EZ Grabber. It crashed and broke the drivers. I spent two hours trying to rectify the issue but could not fix it. My Windows 7 setup is currently unusable.

EZ Grabber crash report

I also tried using the device on Windows 10. I was not able to install drivers from the main launcher even when running the launcher with administrator privileges. I had to navigate directly to the drivers folder and installed them from there. Then, the drivers and PowerDirector installed successfully and I captured video from a VHS tape without problems.

VC500 drivers successfully installed on Windows 10

Here is my verdict.

On the positive side, the device costs only about $30, it works both on Windows 7 and Windows 10, it comes with useful PowerDirector software that allows capturing analog video, editing it, and either rendering the result into a file, or authoring a DVD disc. It allows capturing tapes protected with Macrovision if you use third-party software.

As for the negatives, EZ Grabber is buggy and broke my drivers; I advise against using it. Conexant Polaris chip is not very sophisticated and does not have any TBC-like features, so if timing of the incoming video is not precise, you will see jitter, and straight lines will be skewed. The best solution for this problem is a time-base corrector either built into the playback device, or as a separate box, but they have become a rarity now, and could be expensive.

Watch the video, it shows some captured samples!