Video Capture: Video capture converts an analog video image to a computerized digital image. There are many ways to do this but most dental offices will use a video capture card installed in the treatment room computer. Any existing intraoral camera can be used with a video capture card. It is not the camera, which makes it a digital system it is what you plug it into. In old analog systems you plugged the camera into the printer in the new digital systems you plug the camera into a card in the back of the computer.
Once the video image is captured the computer electronics can be used to freeze, store, enhance, or print the image. In other words the computer takes the place of the video printer or mavograph, which was at the heart of old analog video camera systems.
Using a video capture card makes the intraoral camera much more effective and saves thousands of dollars over hard-wired video (TV) systems. An analog video mavograph costs at least $1500 plus the cost of wiring docking stations and TVs. A video capture card costs less than $200 and plugs into an exiting computer.
A new and possible better approach is a direct USB connected camera. These cameras eliminate the need for an expensive docking station, light source, power source, fiber optics and a capture card. They plug directly into the USB port of any computer. The USB port provides the power and captures the images. The cameras have tiny LED lights built in, which are powered by the USB connection. Images are frozen with a button on the camera. The cameras are light, extremely portable and inexpensive, some sell for less than $3,000. The only problem has been limited focus and image quality.