TVs & Home Theaters forum


Best VHS to DVD "Converter"

by KristiAmbrose / February 7, 2013 1:42 AM PST

Like most people, our family has a ton of movies on VHS that are taking up room because we only have a DVD player lol. We would like to find a way to convert these VHS's to DVDs. Don't need anything fancy like editing or anything like that since they are movies not produced by us. I read a few people on another thread but the OP was looking for something a little more complex since he was transferring home movies. Is there a standalone system I can purchase or something like that? Looking for something that is no higher than $150. Also, do I need to worry about piracy laws or anything like that? Don't plan on selling them, I just want to convert VHS to DVD so we can get rid of the VHS we no longer need in order to make some room.


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All Answers

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Sold at WalMart
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / February 7, 2013 11:59 PM PST
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Copy Protection
by Dan Filice / February 8, 2013 8:31 AM PST
In reply to: Sold at WalMart

The DVD recorder is nice, but will it side-step copy protection? It seems that the OP wanted to take VHS movies that were not his and burn them to DVD, and he asked about Piracy laws. Most if not all DVD burners won't allow this, unless that Magnavox is one of the old models that allowed copying? When I converted my VHS movies I had to use a hardware device that too S-Video from my VHS player and converted it to a digital signal fed into my computer via Firewire cable, then I could burn them to DVD. Boy, what a time consuming pain that was.

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So far none do that unless it's a fluke or rogue unit.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 8, 2013 8:49 AM PST
In reply to: Copy Protection

There are a lot of folk that want to enter into an argument about that, but depending on what country you are in, it rarely works out.

About the TIME CONSUMING PAIN. I hear you. If I can't go direct or use my Philips HDD 160GB DVD recorder it takes about 6 hours to make 1 hour of video. On the Philips it takes 1 hour to record one hour of video (1 to 1 so far.) Then I can snip off the extra at the beginning and end then dub to DVD in 15 or so minutes. That's more like it.

The OP's budget is too low.

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Whole copies
by mjd420nova / February 8, 2013 9:37 AM PST

Those VHS to DVD recorder have or were forced to prevent the copy to DVD of copyrighted tapes. This would best be accomplished with a USB type plugin that accepts composite video inputs. A desktop might accept an internal videocapture card but some hardware problems abound. I use the Funai stand alone to do whole copies of VHS-C tapes to DVD, once on that media it can go to any number of machines to edit, mix and reburn to DVD. there are some devices that will allow you to work around the copy protection but that is fraught with problems too.

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My early Canopus had no issues
by Dan Filice / February 8, 2013 1:59 PM PST
In reply to: Whole copies

My early model of Canopus took composite inputs from VHS and converted the signal to DV and used FireWire to computer for digitizing into my software. This device did not have the sync problems of many cheap hardware or software solutions and did not use USB, which does not really work for importing DV. And this old unit bypasses copy protection. Thankfully most movies I had on VHS became available on DVD. Most people did not want to spend $200 or so on a Canopus unit but they were happy spending $50 - $100 on methods that didn't work. The new Canopus units don't bypass protection.

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Now Wait A Minute!!
by Tom_SF / February 8, 2013 3:16 PM PST

Why is it when I asked this question I was accused of trying to bypass copy-protection???

In any event, I put as many tapes as I could on to DVD using a stand-alone VHS machine and a stand-alone Panasonic recorder. I was able to put most of the tapes on DVD but for those that wouldn't allow copying, I just kept the tape and use the VHS machine.

One thing I wouldn't do is put a label on the DVD. For some reason it causes tracking errors.

It would also help to do a search to see if your VHS movies are now available on DVD. If so, there are plenty of sites that would have them cheap.

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by Dan Filice / February 8, 2013 10:33 PM PST
In reply to: Now Wait A Minute!!

Sorry, I didn't mean you. I was responding to "Kristi" above who stated in her post "Do I need to worry about piracy laws"? For me, I copied tapes for my own purpose so I didn't worry about piracy. Oh oh, there you go FBI, come and arrest me. Anyways, when my copied movies come out on DVD, I toss the copied version because the quality suffers on copied versions.

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Wait another minute...
by Tom_SF / February 9, 2013 4:28 AM PST
In reply to: Piracy

Sorry, I referred to a question I asked maybe a year ago. What I did was look up titles that by now should be on DVD. After all, there are some titles (especially sports titles for some reason) that I never see on DVD. So I just labeled "CP" on my tapes and don't lose any sleep over not finding them on DVD.

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I didn't read that.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 9, 2013 2:14 AM PST
In reply to: Now Wait A Minute!!

I do read where members highlighted the copy protection issue and you need to make and live with your choices.

However since all the models I see today honor the usual protection, you may be upset at the results.

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I read dat...
by Tom_SF / February 9, 2013 5:04 AM PST
In reply to: I didn't read that.

The only thing I really don't like is that I never know if a tape is copy-protected until the DVD machine stops itself from recording and renders the actual disc unusable.

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Re: unusable
by Kees_B Forum moderator / February 9, 2013 5:30 AM PST
In reply to: I read dat...

So you try with a rewriteable DVD until you know it's good. And only then you start over with a non-rewritable. Problem solved.


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Oh, if only DVD burning w/ standalone devices...
by Pepe7 / February 9, 2013 10:49 AM PST
In reply to: Re: unusable

...were that simple.

FWIW, quite a lot of them puke up certain types of blanks DVD-RWs, and others won't accept/finalize specific brands. YMMV. Been there, done that. That's why most folks stick with the cheaper but much more reliable single layer DVD blanks.

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