Compro VideoMate LIVE USB2.0

Compro VideoMate LIVE USB2.0 

  • External Analogue USB2.0 TV-Card with NICAM/DualFM stereo sound
  • Hardware MPEG2
  • Stereo sound
  • ComproPVR (TV & PVR with time-shift)
  • ComproDVD (PowerDVD 4.0)
  • Ulead DVD MovieFactory 2SE
  • Ulead VideoStudio 7SE DVD
  • Remote control (batteries included)

Live USB2.0The Hardware

The Live USB2.0 is an attractive silver unit that's slim and lightweight. Worringly it emits a whirr when first powered up as it has a cooling fan. This is the first time I've seen such a fan on a TV-Card and I wasn't impressed. When watching TV the last thing you want is more noise. To be fair, I watched TV with the unit and the fan didn't come on at all.

Live USB2.0 The unit has connectors for aerial in, S-Video in and out, audio in and out, the USB connector and a connector for the external power supply. Compro supply a wide range of cables as standard including S-Video to S-Video, S-Video to composite, S-Video to S-Video and composite (split), composite to composite and 3.5mm audio to RCA (stereo)! An impressive collection, nice to see.

The external power supply is bulky and although it can be hidden behind desktop systems, laptop users will find that it adds considerably to the weight and space required to carry the unit.

Live USB2.0 The unit utilises a Philips Mk3 FQ1216ME/I Tuner, Philips SAA7114H 9bit ADC and Cirrus Logic CS92288 MPEG-2 hardware encoder. USB2.0 connectivity is provided by a Cypress CY7C68013.

As the live USB 2.0 contains a hardware MPEG2 encoder, video and audio are captured and encoded together so the two are perfectly syncronized and no external sound cables are required. The unit is backwards compatible with USB 1.1 (as the USB2.0 specification dictates), in practice this means that if you use a USB1.1 socket you'll be limited to lower bitrate viewing and capture. Previous experience with other MPEG2 units shows that the 12Mbits/sec of USB1.1 provides a very watchable picture so the Live USB2.0 is fine if your laptop only has USB1.1.

The unit acts as a receiver for the supplied IR remote control, a typically high quality Compro branded unit.

The Software

ComproPVR Although the drivers are different, the Live USB2.0 shares the ComproPVR application with the other Compro VideoMate products. This is good as it means that the product will receive software updates and not left behind as has occurred with external USB units by some other manufacturers.

Without wishing to cop-out, my review of the Compro VideoMate TVGold+ describes the ComproPVR software. The only niggles specific to the Live USB2.0 were the lack of a teletext application and the picture in the UK is set to show and capture the first few lines of the TV signal LIVE USB2.0 remote control (batteries included) which are timing signals and shouldn't be displayed (I'm sure a future update will solve this easily). Channel changes are painfully slow and the 'channel surf' function is too slow to be useful. In general the software is very competant and integrates well with the supplied remote control. As with the rest of the VideoMate range, the unit comes bundled with Ulead DVD MovieFactory 2SE for making DVDs, Ulead VideoStudio 7SE DVD for video editing and ComproDVD which is essentially PowerDVD 4.0 with a Compro front-end.

About Compro

Compro were founded in 1998 and initially produced products for OEM customers including HP, Compaq and Visiontek. Support on Compro's website is good. Compro aren't amongst the TV-Card manufacturers who release products and then ignore their customers.


This is another very well put together package from Compro. The hardware isn't perfect with its cooling fan and bulky external power supply but it looks good and works straight out of the box.

That this external unit shares the same software as their internal PCI units (ComproPVR) is very encouraging as it means that users are unlikely to be left out in the cold when it comes to software updates.