TVs & Home Theaters forum

General discussion

How Do I Convert VHS Movies to PC .wmv or .avi (etc.) Files?

by dutch184 / August 28, 2009 11:28 AM PDT

I am attempting to store my VHS movies onto my hard-drive and save space on my book shelf. Currently, I am converting the VHS to DVDs then I play the DVD on my computer and use the "download" feature of Real Player to create the file and store it on my hard-drive.

This is a very time-consuming and boring process. Is there an easier way to complete this task? Is there equipment I must purchase that will help perform this function?


Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: How Do I Convert VHS Movies to PC .wmv or .avi (etc.) Files?
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: How Do I Convert VHS Movies to PC .wmv or .avi (etc.) Files?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Have you try doing it with a dvd recorder?
by ahtoi / August 28, 2009 6:50 PM PDT

If not, then your reasons for not using it. Of course tape will have to ran in real time. There is no way of getting around that (2 hour tape will take at least 2 hours).

Collapse -
Creating PC Files From VHS Tapes
by dutch184 / August 28, 2009 11:49 PM PDT

Hi Ahoi:

Thanks for the information, but I am looking for a way to eliminate the (create) DVD step, or at least find a way to speed up the process of burning a DVD disc from a VHS tape.

Is there a way of going directly from the VHS to the PC? I guess that's the question that more accurately addresses what I want to accomplish.

Collapse -
Now I think I understand what you are trying to do.
by ahtoi / August 29, 2009 6:44 PM PDT

You want to copy your video tapes to your computer harddrive in wmv or some other .avi formats. The time consuming process is the encoding process when we use "software". Encoding, using hardware is lot faster and the only format that I know is divx (a form of .avi). The capturing device that has this encoding that I use is made by ADS, model DVD Xpress DX2. However, 2 hours tape will still take 2 hours (like I said there's no way of getting around it but we do get rid of the encoding time); but I am not sure if they still sell that anymore though.

Is there a specific .avi format you are after?

Collapse -
I use a DVD recorder too.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 28, 2009 11:20 PM PDT

Connect the VHS player to the DVD recorder. Press Play (VHS) and then Record (DVD recorder) and come back in 2 hours.

Collapse -
Eliminating the "create" DVD Step
by dutch184 / August 29, 2009 12:05 AM PDT

Hi Bob:

Thanks for taking the time to reply to my question about creating a PC file from a VHS tape.

But I was wondering if there was a way to eliminate the (create) DVD step. It seems that this is a step that adds the extra time in accomplishing what I am trying to do. What I currently do is:

1. Create a DVD from my VHS tape using a VHS/DVD Recorder (2 hrs)
2. Play the DVD on my PC (up to 1 hr)
3. Use the "download" feature to create the video file (1 hr)

It takes up to 3-4 hours to create one video file on my PC, and that's if I'm sitting there waiting for the DVD and download(s) to complete.

I just thought there might be a way to go directly from the VHS tape to my PC where I can use the download feature without first having to create a DVD disc.

And, as I write this I guess there must be equipment that can read "analog" data and convert to "digital" so it could play on my PC. Do you know of anything that can address what I need?

Is there a way of going directly from the VHS to the PC? I guess that's the question that more accurately addresses what I want to accomplish.

Collapse -
Direct to PC?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 29, 2009 12:09 AM PDT

I think you already know how. At least it appears so in your posts. Why would we duplicate what you already know?

"Currently, I am converting the VHS to DVDs then I play the DVD on my computer and use the "download" feature of Real Player to create the file and store it on my hard-drive."

The method I use ends up with a digital copy that plays well in players and one that we don't have the issue of backing up our hard drive.

Collapse -
Eliminating the DVD Step
by dutch184 / August 30, 2009 9:08 AM PDT
In reply to: Direct to PC?


Thanks for your observation, but what I am looking to do is eliminate the "create" DVD step.

Since I entered this post I realized what I needed what something (anything) that would convert analog to digital for my video tapes. Upon searching for this capability I have found that there is equipment that will do this for me.

So, thanks for your time and interest.


Collapse -
Dedicated USB device or capture card needed
by Pepe7 / August 29, 2009 8:25 AM PDT

You could use either a breakout box type USB capture device or PCI card. That's how you could avoid having to burn a DVD. Keep in mind that this process generally requires a more powerful PC. It will go faster if you have fast hard drive(s) and a dual core CPU with lots of (fast) RAM. It will still take a long time to capture the analog footage. Personally, I'd heed the advice which has already been given.


Collapse -
Satisfied with the VHS Process
by dutch184 / August 30, 2009 9:13 AM PDT

Hi Pedro:

Thanks for the information you provided. I have since found equipment that would convert analog video tapes to digital files for my PC.

I am prepared to accept the 2 hour VHS download process, but this is acceptable because it eliminates the DVD creation step.

Again, thanks

Collapse -
What equipment do you use
by thereaper420 / January 28, 2010 3:50 AM PST

I actually had the same question as yours `i wanted a drive that can me installed in my pc and the vhs would go into the drve and somehow be able to copy the analaog data directly to my seemed to have found a method if you could tell me the method or equipment that you use it would be great help

Collapse -
I do this, but...
by Dan Filice / January 28, 2010 8:30 AM PST

My process still utilizes software that takes time to encode the ingested video into a playable file. I use a Mac, so my method is different than a PC, but I use a dedicated Analog-to-Digital box that converts the analog VHS signal so my Mac edit software will ingest the footage. Then I use other software (Roxio Toast) that will take the saved data file from my edit software and converts it into a Disc Image. No DVD creation required, but it still takes a long time because of the encoding process.

Collapse -
TV Tuner
by BlueEyedLady / September 22, 2013 4:41 AM PDT

Use a TV tuner device to connect your VHS player to your PC. After you have connected everything you will be able to simultaneously play a movie on the VHS player while recordingthe video data to your hard drive through windows mediacenter . This will eliminate the need to first connect DVD recorder and then download the DVD file separately to your hard drive

Popular Forums
Computer Help 49,613 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,349 discussions
Laptops 19,436 discussions
Security 30,426 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 20,308 discussions
Windows 10 360 discussions
Phones 15,802 discussions
Windows 7 7,351 discussions
Networking & Wireless 14,641 discussions

Coming soon

Get behind the wheel with Roadshow

Love cars? Climb into the driver's seat for the latest videos, reviews, shopping advice and picks by our editors delivered to your inbox every week.