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Boom 13th Mar 2009 6:48 pm

Transferring VHS to DVD?
I have a pile (50ish) of VHS family videos that date back up to 30 years which have survived with suprisingly good quality. I now want to transfer them to DVD.

Would I be better off hunting around for a VHS player with a built in DVD recorder or buying an adapter card for the pc? Any recommendations for either? I.e make/model. (I have a good working JVC VHS machine with SCART in/out.)

This is probably the only time I will use such a system so don't want to spend a fortune if I can help it.

Interestingly it was said by many in the trade that a VHS tape recording was only good for about 6 months. Have they been proved wrong....

Any advice?

Thanks - Dave

dave walsh 13th Mar 2009 8:14 pm

Re: Transferring VHS to DVD?
Hi Dave. I bought a basic combi [one touch] job from Maplin to go with a portable TV [Freecycle]. The combis were 99 [no built in digi tuner]. Most people use the Computer but I struggle. Also, with a huge pile of tapes there is some advantage in having a dedicated unit not tying up anything else while you copy. It's probaly not the cheapest option if you already have a PC and something to play tapes on but it could be more domestically convenient to have your own "transfer suite":-). It's a bit a time consuming job, especially when those video "nuggets" are unearthed.
My earliest video is circa 82. I think the tape medium is proven to be [generally] pretty long lasting by now Digi mediums are a bit Abba [take a chance on me] but I think I'm getting converted. Essential given my embarrassing No of videos. A row of 100 Cd's/DVD's is still only about the lengh of one video tape [in paper sleeves]. Going backo the original question, if you've ony got 50 tapes I suspect that a bit of software is all you need. Over to the more enlightened experts.
Dave W

tvden 13th Mar 2009 9:26 pm

Re: Transferring VHS to DVD?
I take it these combi machines only copy your home recorded tapes and some commercial ones which dont have macro???

dave walsh 14th Mar 2009 12:11 am

Re: Transferring VHS to DVD?
Well I've not had a problem with any sort of tapes but then I don't know what Macro is ;) ? If it's a commercial protection I don't want to defeat it anyway. I expected a lot of responses by now! Dave W

paolo 14th Mar 2009 2:23 am

Re: Transferring VHS to DVD?
I am just going through this very exercise. Having a stack of VHS tapes taking up valuable space is a luxury we can no longer afford (or so my wife tells me).

The best way would be to use an SVHS machine because it will output an s-video signal which would give you the best quality input for the DVD. However, I've just used my old Akai hi-fi VHS machine and used its composite video outputs. I've got a Panasonic HDD/DVD recorder and its been working just fine. I can record either direct to the DVD or the hard drive and edit as required before making the DVD.

You can get "video stabilisers" which will sharpen up a VHS image and add some degree of TBC but, to be honest, getting one of those just seems like a lot of faff :)


reelguy 14th Mar 2009 10:03 pm

Re: Transferring VHS to DVD?
I have used a combi VHS to DVD ----DVD to VHS bought from ASDA a few years back . DUAL is the name on it. I hve found it very good. Easy to use. Stck a blank DVD-R or DVD-RW in and a prerecorded VHS tape home video . Press COPY and away it goes. Obviously it works in reverse also.
It won't copy all commercial DVDs as some have copyright protection which is possibly another name for macro ?.

It may be a good idea to edit your VHS tapes first using two VHS recorders before transfering the finished edit to DVD.

I haven't tried to copy anything via the PC as it seems a long way to go and I have enough grief with computers as it is.:(.So I cannot comment on that way to go .

I wonder is it a good idea to copy videos of whatever format to DVD as this format also will be on the way out as the next format comes rushing in.. Just a thought.
Peter W .............Reelguy???

KeithsTV 14th Mar 2009 11:25 pm

Re: Transferring VHS to DVD?
I believe copy protection is built into the DVD specification as part of the data stream, something that wasn't included in the original CD specification hence it is easier to make a digital copy of a commercial CD than a commercial DVD.

Macrovision is inserted by the DVD player onto the analogue output to prevent copying by upsetting the video AGC of VCRs and DVD recorders.

I normally copy any VHS tapes using the PC as I can edit out any unwanted bits but this does take time and for a straight forward copy then a combi VHS to DVD unit is a good idea. Remember that the quality will only be as good as the original VHS tape.

I would hang onto the original tapes and keep them safe as you cannot guarantee that the DVD media will outlast the tape. Don't leave recorded DVDs out in the sun for long periods as this can destroy the recording. They could also be used to copy the video to the next format.


trevwgb 15th Mar 2009 12:31 am

Re: Transferring VHS to DVD?
Hi All
I have just converted all my Home videos with one of these. It worked very well and required very little effort
ION VCR2PC USB Video Converter
It plugs into the computer USB port and will make a DVD if needed - otherwise you can view it from your hard drive

Boom 15th Mar 2009 11:01 am

Re: Transferring VHS to DVD?
Where did you get it Trev and how much?

ukcol 15th Mar 2009 5:51 pm

Re: Transferring VHS to DVD?

Originally Posted by David Tilley (Post 233622)
Where did you get it Trev and how much?

Google "ION VCR2PC USB Video Converter" and you will see loads of suppliers and a range of prices.

Vicboduk 16th Mar 2009 6:55 pm

Re: Transferring VHS to DVD?
Hi David, A word of caution, I too considered transferring my tapes to CD/DVD but was put off due to my experiences with optical media. I have had many fail with read errors after just a couple of years, even with well known respectable brands. I've done my best to keep them in the dark with as little fluctuations in temperature as possible. Still no joy.
There is much said about this on the web with no really conclusive results.
I now copy to hard disc (a lot smaller than 50 DVD's) where I have had much better long term stability. But it does create the added worry of putting all your eggs into one basket!!

ben 16th Mar 2009 10:04 pm

Re: Transferring VHS to DVD?
As Vic says, hard disk is useful. optical discs are not 'proven' long-term, so keep those tapes!
I have a DVD-R--HDD and a separate VHS machine. Bung the video onto hard disk, edit it, and from there make as many copies onto DVD discs as you want at high speed. All done in front of the telly with not a PC in sight!

Walt Jabsco 25th Mar 2009 7:39 pm

Re: Transferring VHS to DVD?

Would you get better quality transferring direct from the video tape to computer (then possibly to DVD), as opposed to video tape to TV to HDD to DVD?

I want to transfer all my tapes but only want to do it once and with the best possible quality.


dave walsh 25th Mar 2009 10:29 pm

Re: Transferring VHS to DVD?
Ordinarily a longer "chain" [say via a computer] would suggest a possibility of a weak link but in practise digitally, that may not be the case at all.
Paulo's, post 5* seems to sum it up [SVHS player technically better but not essential]. Subjectively I find that a Combi Transfer seems to enhance just in the copying process itself somehow [like scratchy vinyl to CD] but maybe that's my perception! The real difficult problem [as most people suggest] is whether you do a back-up [maybe keeping the tape] or take an unfortunate chance! The search for ultimate copy quality may like waiting for the definitive computer to appear, before you actually risk buying one. Dave W

chipp1968 25th Mar 2009 10:36 pm

Re: Transferring VHS to DVD?
I def agree about keeping the tapes ,I recon they will outlast the discs . certainly some home recorded Cds i have had have stopped working properly ,and it may be like that with DVD. Video tapes I have had since the 80s are still working well

KeithsTV 25th Mar 2009 10:54 pm

Re: Transferring VHS to DVD?
Agree with the last post. Keep the original tapes, transfer them to a PC hard drive, back up to an external hard drive and create DVDs. Then you'll have a disc to play and be able to recreate the disc if/when it fails. At worst you'd have to recapture the tape but if the files on the PC are backed up then this unlikely (but not impossible).

Keep the original tapes in a safe place also keep the DVDs in a safe place and do not expose them to prolonged sunlight as this can make them unplayable.

Transferring them to the PC has the advantage that your videos can be edited. This is usually done by creating an edit file which tells the software which bits of the video file are to be used. The original video file is not changed in any way. Several different edited versions of one original video can be created, assuming you have the time and inclination.


jamesperrett 31st Mar 2009 12:13 pm

Re: Transferring VHS to DVD?
I know I'm a bit late on this but I'd just like to suggest that, if you record to DVD, you are careful about which brand of DVD blank you buy. Chipp1968's comments about poor lifetimes of CD-R's are echoed by many people but you don't have to put up with this problem. If you use good media they will last for many years with no degradation but good media is hard to find. As far as I know there is now only one manufacturer of decent CD media (Taiyo Yuden in Japan) and maybe only two decent DVD media manufacturers (Mitsubishi/Verbatim and Taiyo Yuden). I have 13 year old T-Y CD-R's which still show low error rates when tested with Plextools and my oldest Verbatim DVD's still seem good.



Walt Jabsco 16th Apr 2009 7:00 am

Re: Transferring VHS to DVD?
Thanks for all your responses on this.

As per Keith's post, I'm intending to transfer from video/DVD (and Sky+ hard drive) direct to my PC, rather than via the combi video/DVD recorder route (as I want to edit, rearrange, list the contents of all my videos when they are on the hard drive).

Does anybody have any tips on what software I should use?

I have something called Windows Movie Maker on my PC and Currys has some products by Pinnacle (such as Dazzle) which appear to provide the cables to link video and PC and also the software to edit.


Duke_Nukem 17th Apr 2009 8:38 am

Re: Transferring VHS to DVD?
Whilst some people find Pinnacle OK, personally I have found it unreliable and certainly not user friendly.

Try Video Studio (I think current version is 11.5). I bought version 10 and that's one of the applications I used in making a couple of the previous BVWS dvds. I've found it very intuitive and certainly way more stable than Pinnacle, my only real gripe is it doesn't handle NTSC->Pal reliably but I don't think you'll find that a problem.

Also recommend you visit; a few sections will be relevent to what you are doing but there are also a number useful FAQ's there ranging from beginners to uber-anoraks.

You'd be amazed at just what free software alternatives there are and just how much old video can be improved, but of course there is a learning curve to go with it. If you just want to get the job done ASAP then I'd recommend the Video Studio route, but if you have any interest in the undelying video processing then have a trawl around Doom 9.

I tend to stick to Verbatim and Imation discs and these seem to write reliably and last the distance, not to say that others aren't as good but these work for me. But whatever you do, once you've transferred them store the tapes away in a safe place.


I tend to stick to Verbatim and Imation discs and these seem to write reliably and last the distance.

German Dalek 10th Jul 2018 7:31 am

Transferring VHS to DVD
Hello folks!

These posts are about 10 years old.:-/

I think it is time for a fresh-up!:beer:

DVD-RAM is known as a long time lasting media.
What about Blue Ray?

What is your experience?

Computers of today are much faster, new software is available.

What is your advice to store our videos?

It will be fine if the result of this discussion will be added to the sticky post!
Thanks in advance!

German Dalek :angry:

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