Mass Media & Technology

Converting VHS to DVD/PC

(December 2015)

This site closed in March 2021 and is now a read-only archive
VM
VMPhil
I'd be grateful if anyone could recommend the best device and/or software to convert old VHS tapes to either DVD or a computer (Windows or Mac). Are there any simple options out there or will I have to buy a proper DVD recorder to plug the VCR into?

Thanks in advance.
BL
bluecortina
I've used a Pinnacle Dazzle analogue video/audio to PC (via the USB port) convertor in the past to ingest old Betamax cassettes to my Windows PC, edit them and then blow them to DVD. I found it to be an excellent product at the time.

I see the 'Dazzle' range is still available - but not the old model I used, so do look at some product reviews before you buy (whatever you buy).
NJ
Neil Jones Founding member
Argos were selling a VHS/DVD combi drive that could do video to DVD direct, and I know this as I bought one. It was expensive, but as my video had packed up (to the point where I had to take it apart to get the tape out!) it seemed a good buy at the time.

a lot depends on whether you want to do anything with the video quality, though there may not be a lot you can do with VHS to enhance it. If you just want a direct copy and you have access to a HDD recorder, you may be able to feed it as an input and record off that.

Failing that, there are no end of companies who will do it for you, at cost obviously.
WO
Worzel
In the past I've simply connected the Scart output from my old VHS player into the Scart input on my DVD recorder. That worked well for me. I then ripped the burnt DVD to my PC using some freeware when I wanted to archive something.

That may not be everyone's preferred way of doing things but it was adequate at the time (4/5 years ago).
NW
nwtv2003
In the past I've simply connected the Scart output from my old VHS player into the Scart input on my DVD recorder. That worked well for me. I then ripped the burnt DVD to my PC using some freeware when I wanted to archive something.

That may not be everyone's preferred way of doing things but it was adequate at the time (4/5 years ago).


That's pretty much how I got all the VHS clips I had onto my YouTube channel, it's time consuming but once it's done it's so much easier, I've since had to downsize so all the tapes have been binned, sad I know but they took up far too much room. Everything I want is online or in a very neat compact DVD wallet, so I can always watch on TV if I want to, but what with the internet I rarely do that.
BE
benriggers
In the past I've simply connected the Scart output from my old VHS player into the Scart input on my DVD recorder. That worked well for me. I then ripped the burnt DVD to my PC using some freeware when I wanted to archive something.

That may not be everyone's preferred way of doing things but it was adequate at the time (4/5 years ago).


I also still do this to this day. Simple and recommended idea.
VM
VMPhil
In the past I've simply connected the Scart output from my old VHS player into the Scart input on my DVD recorder. That worked well for me. I then ripped the burnt DVD to my PC using some freeware when I wanted to archive something.

That may not be everyone's preferred way of doing things but it was adequate at the time (4/5 years ago).


I also still do this to this day. Simple and recommended idea.

Unfortunately we skipped the DVD recorder, and went straight from recording onto VHS to recording onto PVR (the then-called Telewest TV Drive), meaning I have tapes from as late as 2006. In fact I actually have some tapes from after then since with the TV Drive (and still today with the V+, but not the TiVo) you could archive recorded programmes to VHS/DVD. Since 2009 I now use a USB tuner to archive programmes directly to the hard drive that may not be released commercially, as well as to share clips on here.


As well as that of course there are the home videos recorded onto VHS-C that would be nice to have digital copies of.

I see the 'Dazzle' range is still available - but not the old model I used, so do look at some product reviews before you buy (whatever you buy).

In fact the reason I started this thread is that there are few in depth reviews online for many of these VHS to PC devices - so thank you for your recommendation.
BA
bilky asko
There are quite a few VHS-DVD combis on eBay, though they do seen to command quite high prices.
LL
London Lite Founding member
I still have my VHS/DVD recorder combi which I've used to convert my old VHS home movies. Sadly no longer writes to DVD-RW's, but still works with -R.
JB
JasonB
I used to record from VHS to DVD. I'd then insert my DVD in to my laptop and import the footage in to an editing software and convert the video afterwards. My new laptop doesn't have a CD drive so i'm a bit stuck on what to go for in terms of capturing/recording.
JA
james-2001
Personally I use a USB thing that captures to the computer in DV format (which is 25mbps i-frame), then I use Adobe Premiere Elements to compress it down to MPEG-2 in a 2-pass VBR format- that way I have control over the bitrate, and the quality's a fair bit better than it would be using the real-time MPEG encoding on a DVD recorder. Then I save the files onto hard drive (multiple drives for backup in case one fails obviously!). And as they're already in MPEG-2 format I can easily burn copies to DVD to give to other people without needing to re-encode the video, which speeds things up. And easy to make more copies of the stuff to other devices & hard drives as well.

I certainly wouldn't trust only having copies of stuff on DVD-Rs, they're notorious in corrupting and becoming unreadable after only a few years.
BL
bluecortina
Personally I use a USB thing that captures to the computer in DV format (which is 25mbps i-frame), then I use Adobe Premiere Elements to compress it down to MPEG-2 in a 2-pass VBR format- that way I have control over the bitrate, and the quality's a fair bit better than it would be using the real-time MPEG encoding on a DVD recorder. Then I save the files onto hard drive (multiple drives for backup in case one fails obviously!). And as they're already in MPEG-2 format I can easily burn copies to DVD to give to other people without needing to re-encode the video, which speeds things up. And easy to make more copies of the stuff to other devices & hard drives as well.

I certainly wouldn't trust only having copies of stuff on DVD-Rs, they're notorious in corrupting and becoming unreadable after only a few years.


Yes, the Dazzle card and supplied software could do that. Ingest at various rates/formats. Edit the material to suit and blow to DVD. You could also make up your own dvd menus and chapters etc - quite good really. I too then archived the raw material as mpeg2 for the same reasons you mention.

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