Technology Review: VHS to DVD

Technology Specialist Jessica Foust with Top Ten Reviews explains how it’s done.

Equipment Needed:

1. VCR

2. Composite-video (yellow RCA) and stereo audio (white and red RCA) jacks.

3. Computer with a DVD/CD burner

4. Analog to DV Converter

5. Editing Software

6. Blank DVDs

7. External Hard Drive (optional)

Computer Memory, Disc Space, and DVD Burner

We recommend having a computer with at least a 2.8 GHZ and at least 512MB of RAM. Converting VHS to DVD could be a slow process depending on how much memory your computer has.

Make sure you have plenty of free disk space on your computer since capturing video can take up a lot of space. Video files are large. Plan to have at least 40-120GB of storage for you video files. This is why an external hard drive can come in handy. They are relatively inexpensive and can save needed disk space on your computer.

Finally make sure your computer has a DVD burner so you can burn you disk for playback in your DVD player.

Connect Converter, VHS, and Computer

An analog to DV converter is the easiest option to use because you don’t have to open your computer to install any hardware. You can find several different kinds of converters at most electronics stores online. Converters will hook into your computer via USB or FireWire connections. Make sure you have the correct inputs on your computer before you buy a converter.

Once you have all the equipment, it’s time to connect all the machines. In order to connect the VCR to the computer or converter you will need RCA cords. These are the cords that have red, white, and yellow outputs. You’ll probably already have these cords because they should have come with your VCR. If you don’t have these you can pick them up at any electronics store for usually less than $15.00.

Connect the RCA cords to the jacks on your VCR and converter. Then the USB or FireWire cord connects the output jack on your converter to the input jack on your computer.

Video Editing Software

To copy VHS tapes to DVD, you will need video editing software that can capture analog video, edit the video, and burn (publish) the video to a final format, such as a DVD. TopTenREVIEWS recommends using Cyberlink’s PowerDirector 8, Corel VideoStudio, or Adobe Premiere Elements.

In the editing software, start the capturing process and press play on your VCR. Once you have all the footage captured you can either edit the video or keep it as is. Then you’ll use your software to export your video onto a DVD. Once the DVD is finished burning you can use it in almost any DVD player.

It may seem like a lot of work, but once you have all your tools in place and have learned to use them, you can archive your old videos quickly onto quality DVDs.

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