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A/V Converting old VHS tapes to DVD

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Wicked_Sludge, 27 Nov 2012.

  1. Wicked_Sludge

    Wicked_Sludge My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

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    I searched BT and I've been scouring the googly trying to find the best hardware for doing this but I keep getting jammed up on bad reviews and iffy software.

    Ideally, I thought I wanted a full-on PCI or PCI-x tuner card thinking it would have more "umph" and deliver better results, but perhaps the composite a/v-to-USB adapters will be fine? Problem is most of the ones I'm looking at on newegg have almost 50/50 split reviews. I don't want something I'm going to have to fight with.

    So, what do you guys recommend for this task? I'll be converting several households worth of VHSs to DVDs so I'll need something robust enough to make it through many hours of recording. If you have a particular software you recommend besides what comes with the adapter I am all ears for that as well!
     
  2. mm vr

    mm vr The cheesecake is a lie

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    I sometimes need to convert VHS tapes to digital videos at work. We have a device called Pinnacle Video Transfer that takes a composite video input and saves the result directly on a USB stick.

    Unfortunately the device is terrible. It doesn't even work sometimes. I have to split the recordings into <1 hour clips and combine them afterwards with Premiere Pro to get any output at all. Otherwise the device just hangs and the result is a 0 byte file. (You probably can't imagine how much time I've wasted with this issue.)

    The quality is also abysmal. The video is encoded as interlaced and the bitrate is low. The video is also noisy; even much more so than you would expect with composite video. I don't know why, but one video I recently recorded turned all green at a third through the tape. Additionally, various high and low pitch static sounds end up in the audio track of all videos.

    You can't see what you're recording either because the device doesn't have any kind of video output.

    On the positive side, as the device doesn't connect to a computer at all, there are no driver or other software issues.

    My advice is to stay away from anything that says "USB". Also avoid anything cheap. This Pinnacle device apparently cost $100 though, so a high price doesn't imply anything.

    I'm all ears for a proper solution. I'm just afraid that it might cost quite a bit more.
     
  3. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    I dabbled with this a while back - after a few bits of kit which were terrible (seems to be a common theme here), I found that kludging it was quite effective - pointing a camcorder at a screen playing the VHS in a dark room, and syncing the audio afterwards.
     
    Last edited: 27 Nov 2012
  4. mrMonkeyChunks

    mrMonkeyChunks EVGA Cheesecake

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    I did this for the original starwars VHS tapes a while back, I simply connected the VHS player's output directly into the DVD recorder's input and hit play/record.
     
  5. mm vr

    mm vr The cheesecake is a lie

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    Yes, a DVD recorder is an acceptable solution quality wise and usually it actually works. There are also VHS/DVD-R combo devices available. The quality can degrade a lot with all the re-encoding involved with ripping the resulting discs though. Some DVD recorders are also very picky on the discs which can be used.

    We have a VHS/DVD-R combo device here at work, but it only accepts certain discs, and those discs cannot be found for sale anywhere anymore.
     
  6. IvanIvanovich

    IvanIvanovich будет глотать вашу душу.

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    My father has Canopus ADVC ? that works pretty well.
     
  7. MSHunter

    MSHunter Minimodder

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    Hauppage has a DVR for consoles with an component imput, should work to connect your VCR to it to make a recording.
     
  8. mm vr

    mm vr The cheesecake is a lie

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    Sounds pretty good. Do you have a link?

    I take it as you can transfer the recorded videos to a computer afterwards? Also, I haven't seen any VCRs with component outputs, but I guess the DVR will also have a composite input.
     
  9. Wicked_Sludge

    Wicked_Sludge My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

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    Thanks for all the advise guys!

    I should have laid out a price point in my original post. While a DVR or DVD recorder would be great, They are a little pricey for this project. I will have quite a few cassettes to convert but after I'm done this hardware probably won't see the light of day again so spending $150-$200 doesn't really make sense. That said, I'd like to keep this sub $100 and preferably closer to $50-60 if possible.

    That's the trouble I'm running into. Something this simple should not be plagued with this many software and hardware related nightmares! Kludging is unfortunately not an option for me as I don't have a regular TV, just my home theater projector which would involve racking up a whole lot of hours on my $200 bulb playing low-def material. Not to mention making my entire living room a no fly zone for dozens of hours.

    So I did spy THIS tuner card. It's one of the few on newegg that has decent reviews and it's also in my price range. It's also said to work with Windows Media Center so theoretically I can bypass their software if it gives me fits.

    I thought about snagging THIS cable to go with it since any VCR I come across will undoubtedly have composite outputs. Will that suffice for going from composite to S-video or is there a better way?

    Thanks again guys!
     

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