View Full Version : built in av card aka personality card

04-23-2006, 02:50 PM
In the Beige (and 8500/9600) there is the personality card that is supposed to convert analog video and audio.

I have recorded audio, but can't get the video signal to be seen by any software or system. "no signal found"

Does any one know the deal with this card?
Is this a waste of space? or is it acutaly useable?


beige tower, g4 gigHz, 750 ram ;)

04-23-2006, 03:35 PM
What OS?

04-23-2006, 07:48 PM
using OS 9.22

tried quicktime pro, imovie, videoviewer, and a couple of shareware apps. none could "locate a signal"

cleaned reformatted new hds, new pram batt, one monitor on p-card, one monitor on av card, one 10/100 eternet card, extra cooling fans. everything works well (as far as os9 can) but i expected to be able to connect analog devices as the advert suggested.

04-23-2006, 08:06 PM
the personality cards in those machines most likely do not work in 10.x + ... you will have to use OS 9 to record audio or playback audio / video.

Again not 100% sure on this, but fairly.

Try a post in the XPostfacto forums, they most certainly will know... I know I could not make the personality card work in 10.x on a 7500AV, so assume the same holds true for 8500 as well... which is why I asked what version of OS.

04-23-2006, 08:38 PM
I did try to use 10.2 on the beige, but it really doesnt work well -- i have heard some say they have no problem, I say it just is not worth trying to make the beige bend that far.

For certain: the personality card does not function in os x
the software will recognize that it is there, but can not use it at all.

I am using os x.39 on a 9600 g4/400 and have had no problems.

On the other hand, I thought analog capability was built in to os 8&9.?

05-06-2006, 10:38 PM

the info I have found on this subject is as follows:

The AV Macs are the first computers capable of capturing video without additional hardware. A chip onboard the AV Mac handles the video in and out chores. Macintosh AV’s have RCA and S-video in&out-puts. However, any pro level input would be wasted on the AV’s onboard video capabilities.

The AV card, although it will transfer incoming video signals directly to the Mac’s monitor, capturing video is another story altogether. Full-screen/ full-motion/ full-color/ video capture and output takes more than just a chip. Enormously enhanced throughput capabilities are required, along with extremely fast hard disks, accelerated scsi, and advanced hardware compression.

Apple’s own built-in Touchstone technology can input and display “flicker-free” video, creating an interlaced signal like that of standard televisions and video equipment.

The software application Apple supplies to use the AV card is FusionRecorder, on Power Mac, VideoShop (oem bundle from Avid). Any quicktime capable application can use the clips after they have been captured.

Same info presumed for G3 AV “personality card”

Bottom line: the AV card is mostly useless. See vendors like: Radius, & YARC for PCI cards and software drivers.
PowerMacs up to and including Beige, and even the Blue & White G3s are functionally NOT up to the practical application of video production.

Best bet, save your money and get a G5 with some software. Seriously, trying to make one of these older Macs do video is just one headache connected to another headache connected to another headache connected to another headache……


05-23-2006, 09:33 AM
The beauty of Beige G3s is that they are practically being given away. Because of this I bought two for $30 each at a local resale shop to upgrade with some extra parts I had. A 300/MT Rev.C and added a 600MHz G4, Rage128VR, USB/Firewire and 10/100 Ethernet under 10.3.9 and 9.2.2. It took a while to get 10.3 to fully install with XpostFacto, but it did finally work. It's useable and stable doing audio editing with Peak as an extra computer at my work, it only crashed once in the 9mos or so it's been running, and that was really my fault. :) The A/V inputs and outputs on the 7X00-8X00 and Beige G3s worked without extra software (only in OS9 or earlier), as long as the hardware was present during the OS installation. It installs a program called Apple Video Player which lets you record analog video from the built in video inputs. It also installs an extension called Video Startup which is sometimes installed on other computers as well. They weren't intended to record full screen video though. Their purpose was to record quarter screen video (320x240) with the component video codec or take still frames from video. The video output was used to mirror the desktop for demonstrations, and of course if you had Premier or Video Shop or towards the end Final Cut Pro 1.2, you could output video also. The beauty of the built in outputs, is that it had a chip which did what Apple called Pixel Doubling and played back 320x240 video at 640x480. It usually maxed out at 20fps, so wasn't really usefull for video, but was great for 15fps animation and graphics. Some people would capture smaller resolution video to get higher frame rates, but it would start to look blocky.

If you're wanting to edit video on a Beige G3 in 9 or X, look into getting an Aurora Igniter. They were easy to find and cheap on ebay for while, and you could use it in another computer later on. The earlier versions that are on ebay won't work in G5s though. The software drivers come with an easy to use video and still capture program called Media Grab. These machines were great for video with third party capture cards, but at this point 10 years later, it's not worth it unless it costs you nothing to build one. Especially when Sawtooth G4s are so cheap.