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Does anyone here know of a good HD video capture card that has a good (comprehensive) API? I administer a few servers that do some video encoding right now, but when we make the switch to HD cameras, they won't be sufficient.

In addition to this, the servers we have now are black boxes, closed to me except to start/stop the video capture device. I'd like to be able to roll my own, so we can better integrate it with our existing systems, but I know almost nothing about what kind of HD capture cards are out there, and if I can avoid spending money just to test their APIs that would rock.

So does anyone have any experience with this? All our other software is in C#, and I'd like to set up the new servers with web interfaces to start/stop the capture (also in C#, using .NET 3.5 probably). I'm not sure how language specific these APIs would be, but that's what I'm working with just as a reference point. I appreciate any help the community can give!

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You should use the Direct Show API. Its part of the Windows SDK and should work with any Windows Compatible capture card and of course it works with .net.

As for HD Capture Cards Black Magic design makes some good ones.

Apparently blackmagic supplies their own SDK for their cards for free but Direct Show is probably the way to go if you are developing for Windows.

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Definitely agree with Direct Show. Once you use it you can switch capture cards more easily (although it's not usually as readily swappable as the marketing would make you believe--each often requires some custom programming, but far less than using a totally custom api). – Sam Jul 30 '10 at 1:40

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