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VHS to DVD Converters Review


Copying VHS to DVD

Your VHS collection is precious; you’ve probably had videotapes sitting in the back of a closet for years, waiting to be replayed and enjoyed. Whether they’re home movies you recorded years ago or the original copy of "FernGully" that you just can’t bear to part with, you can save your old video tapes with a VHS to DVD converter.

To preserve your analog VHS tapes, you’ll need to transfer the movies to a digital format where the quality won’t degrade. When you’ve successfully created a digital version of the movie, you can edit, correct and polish the film to perfection. Of course, getting the video onto your computer is a daunting task.

submit to redditTake a look at the top three VHS to DVD converters that we reviewed: Diamond Video Capture, Roxio Easy VHS to DVD 3 Plus and AVerMedia Video Capture. These products come with software and hardware to help you convert your favorite movies to a digital format. If you want a deeper look at these devices, you can read our articles on VHS to DVD converters.

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VHS to DVD Converters: What to Look For

Computer Memory, Speed and Disk Space
Video editing is a power-hungry task. The more memory your computer has and the faster your CPU is, the quicker and easier the job will be. We recommend at least a 2.8 GHZ CPU and at least 512MB of RAM.
Movies captured from VHS tapes are temporarily stored on the computer hard drive during editing, hogging your hard drive space. To manage this, you'll want ample disc space – at least 40GB to 120GB of storage. External hard drives are inexpensive; you may consider buying a large one just for video editing.

DVD Burner
Unlike CD burners that have only one format, DVD burners and DVD discs come in two formats, DVD-R and DVD+R. Video editing software can burn to both disc formats, but not all DVD burners are compatible with all DVD discs. Check the specifications on both your DVD burner and your DVD discs to be sure they are compatible.
If you plan to watch your finished DVD on a DVD player connected to a television, we suggest using a DVD-R burner and discs. DVD-R is the format used by most commercial DVD manufacturers, so it is the format that is most widely supported by DVD players. Click here to see our reviews of the best external DVD burners.
Video Capture Tools
Your computer must have a video capture card (or a similar device) that can capture or convert the analog video signal from the VHS tape to a digital format. Don't worry, though, because most modern computers are more than up to the task.
Here are three choices for capturing and digitizing video:
A Video Capture Card records (captures) and converts (digitizes) the video. These cards are the best choice for high-end video editing. A quality capture card gives you customizability and top-quality results. If you are not comfortable opening up your computer to install a video capture card, consider a simpler method such as an external capture device. Capture cards cost between $100 and $10,000.
An External Capture Device is a small box or cable that sits between your VHS tape player and your computer. This is the best choice for a computer beginner. Connecting data cords run to your VHS tape player, through the box, and then to a USB port or FireWire port on your computer. This box allows you to capture VHS video without adding a video capture card inside your computer. These devices are easy to use and affordable – we especially like the Diamond Video Capture device – but they don't give you as much editing freedom or power as video capture cards offer.
Graphics Cards with Video Capturing Capabilities are a new commodity being produced by graphics-card manufacturers. These cards incorporate video capturing capabilities, so you don't need an additional video card. This is the perfect choice for those who are purchasing a new computer, because they're less expensive than buying a video card and a separate capture card. A single card also puts less strain on your computer's resources.
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.
You can compare video editing software features, strengths and weaknesses on our video editing matrix and by reading our reviews of the best video editing software. We definitely recommend Cyberlink PowerDirector and Corel VideoStudio, which are two of the best video editing software solutions available. In general, high-ranked products are strong in all three areas (capturing, editing and burning). Top products make the many editing choices understandable and tempting to try.
If you're not into spicing up your video with transitions, sound effects, backgrounds, voice-overs and animations, our lower-ranked products will do a fine job of transferring video from your old VHS tapes to DVDs. Once you have all of your tools in place and you've learned to use them, you can archive your old videos quickly on high-quality DVDs.

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