hardware/software to transfer VHS to DVD
April 28, 2004 9:17 AM   Subscribe

I need suggestions on a good hardware/software combo that will allow me to transfer some stuff from VHS to DVD (along with any other advice).

I have a ton of videos I would like to get rid of. Bunches of old TV shows that haven't even been re-broadcast in 15-20 years ("Paper Chase"? "Brothers"? "It's the Garry Shandling Show"??? "Dream On"????). I have about a dozen PBS Shakespearean productions that don't even seem to be available theses days, not to mention a Masterpiece Theater or two. Mostly, I'm concerned about personal tapes -- family stuff I wanna archive and pass around to relatives. Thus: I need suggestions on a good hardware/software combo that will allow me to transfer some stuff on VHS to DVD. (Maybe DVD isn't the optimum way to go? Should I look into other formats?)

Some of you know I am just now assembling a new system, so this is a great time for me to think of what I need.

I've been looking at a Hauppauge recorder card (I'm told Pinnacle has a better one and software suited for it). Will I need a better sound card than the run-of-the-mill?

We'll say the system is Windows XP (though I have Linux and FreeBSD as well) and I have a DVD/CD burner already installed. I assume that the more memory I have the better. Now what are the key components I should be looking at?
posted by RavinDave to Technology (6 answers total)
I just happened to notice this article earlier today. I didn't read it, but the intro seemed to cover what you are asking.
posted by smcniven at 9:42 AM on April 28, 2004

I bought a Sony DV camera (since we were in the market for one anyway) that has an analog-digital pass-through option that allows me to hook a VCR up to it and then connect the camera via Firewire to my PC to record the video. It's worked quite well thusfar.
posted by laze at 12:05 PM on April 28, 2004

I've never actually tried it Laze's way. The other options that I cna think of would be to use an analog to digital bridge (Sony makes a good one, but on ebay it costs at least $300) then transfer the video to your computer.

Or, you could buy a Pinnacle Bluebox to transfer the video from the camera into the computer (cost at most $35) but you also would need a firewire card with 26 pin connector (cost $10) and then you would need to get the set up to work (I haven't)...

On a PC, I can't tell you how to get it onto DVD, but I know Pinnacle makes software to do this.
posted by drezdn at 2:11 PM on April 28, 2004

HP makes an all-in-one box, the dc4000, to do this that Walt Mossberg really liked. His article about it was last year in the WSJ, and its too old to be on the web, alas, but I'd think searching HP's web site would turn something up. (I have no experience with it myself.)
posted by pmurray63 at 7:55 PM on April 28, 2004

I recently bought a ReplayTV (about $150) in part to do just this - ReplayTVs have inputs that allow you to treat them just like a VCR. Once you have your video duped onto the Replay, you can use dvarchive to transfer it to your computer and do whatever you like to it (archive it as smaller compressed mpeg/mov files or make a DVD or whatever...)
posted by soplerfo at 7:59 AM on April 29, 2004

I have been seeking to do this for my old 8mm camcorder tapes. With a little research I found some very helpful comments from someone named Pauli in this thread from Anandtech. Basically, you feed the signal in through the video input of a suitable video card (which I will need to buy), convert to MPEG2 (the DVD standard and which took Pauli 5 hours on a 2.1 MHz machine for one half hour of video) and then burn the resulting file to DVD. Oh, you can edit it if you like prior to converting to MPEG2. Whew. Those new video cameras which write directly to DVD are looking better and better, despite their stratospheric pricing.
posted by caddis at 8:31 AM on April 29, 2004

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