Plextor's Software-Based PX-AV100U

Article Index
Plextor's Software-Based PX-AV100U
A Look at the PX-AV100U
Performance, Testing and More

Product: Plextor ConvertX PX-AV100U
Provided By: Plextor America
Price: $104.68CDN @ PlextorShop Canada


Plextor has really come a long way in the past few years.  At one point they were the uber expensive cadillac of CDRW drives and not a whole lot more.  Today, they are still considered by many to be the cadillac of optical drives, but they've also ventured into video capture devices as well.  Previously, I've taken a look at the PX-M401U and the DivX certified PX-M402U.  These are both hardware-based video capture devices which offer both great perfomance and quality, but at a premium price.  Today, I'll be taking a look at the PX-AV100U which uses software compression instead of hardware compression.  This unit is cheaper than the other two, but at what expense?  We'll take a look at this unit and see how it compares as well as how taxing it is on your system.  If you're in the market for a video capture device, keep on reading to find out if the AV100U is for you.

Bundle & Specs:

The PX-AV100U comes with everything you'll need to get started capturing video.  It includes a quick-start guide, software cd, rca-type a/v cables, a 1/8" male-male stereo cable, and a USB cable.  Also included is a subscription card to "Computer Videomaker" magazine - which includes a free issue.  Note the lack of power adapter. . .

While the PX-AV100U supports S-Video input, it doesn't include a cable, which is not really that big of a deal as most people that would use S-Video probably have at least one or two extra's laying around.  Also, there is not power adapter.  This is because the AV100U is completely USB powered.  Because this is software based and doesn't feature a video processor, it doesn't require external power.  That's a huge bonus in my book.


The Software CD is a little lite on the goodies.  You just get the basics here.  A copy of WinDVD Creator 2, the driver, Adobe Reader and a good PDF manual is all you get, but it is adequate.

Before we take a deeper look at the hardware, let's take a look at what Plextor says it can do for us.

Total Solution Features:

- Capture from various sources: Capture video to your PC from a TV, VCR, camcorder or DVD player.
- Real-time video compression: Video is automatically compressed into the MPEG-1 (Video CD) or MPEG-2 (DVD) format while it is being recorded to your PC, saving you lots of time and hard disk space.
- Hi-Speed USB interface: Connect using your Hi-Speed USB 2.0 port for the highest quality video.
- USB bus powered: This ConvertX draws all its power from the USB bus, so there’s no need for a bulky AC adapter.
- Bundled WinDVD Creator 2 software: For capturing, editing, authoring, and exporting video to CD or DVD or to share on the internet.
- Includes DivX® licensed software.
- Convert video in Software to DivX® video to share on the internet.
- Easily upgradable: Just download the latest software from the Plextor web site and upgrade quickly.
- Easy-to-use personal DVD or VCD video creation software.
- One-year full warranty (parts, labor or replacement)
- Unlimited toll-free tech support

Minimum System Requirements:

- CPU: Pentium® 4 1.8 GHz minimum (SIF resolution)
- Pentium® 4 2.4 GHz recommended (D-1 resolution)
- RAM: 256 MB
- HDD: 5400 RPM minimum (SIF resolution) 7200 RPM recommended (D-1 resolution)
- Monitor Resolution: 1024 x 768, 24-bit color
- Graphics Card: Video card with 24-bit resolution capability and DirectX® support
- Sound: Windows® compatible sound card that supports 48KHz playback (PCI recommended)
- DirectX: DirectX 9.0b (included in software disc)
- Interface: Hi-Speed USB 2.0
- CD-ROM: A CD-ROM drive for installation (CD installation)
- CD-RW: To burn CDs, Video CD or miniDVD
- DVD+/- RW: To burn DVDs and CDs
- OS Support: Windows® 2000/XP™

As you can see, the PX-AV100U claims to require some pretty smokin' system requirements, but it also claims to have some pretty handy features.  Please note that it doesn't support Windows ME or 9x.  Head on over to the next page to take a look at some product shots as well as a couple of rigs on which we tested the AV100U.