HolidayBuyer's Guide

Audio & Video Software forum

General discussion

How to transfer vhs tapes to PC

by ctblubird / September 6, 2008 5:36 AM PDT

I have been reading so much on this, I'm confusing myself. I watched the video on this site, but it is an older video and I'm wondering if I can do it without having to purchase the converter.
Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.
Here is my situation:

I want to 'upload' my vhs tape that contains old 8mm movies on them to my pc in order to share them with my family via website, e-mail, etc.

I have a laptop that has this capability (HP Pavillion Entertainment). It runs on Vista and has Windows Movie Maker and an analog tv tuner card. When I record from the vcr to the laptop, it gets a little 'fuzzy'. I'm not sure how to fix that. Also, the hard drive on my laptop is not very big which is why I would rather record to my desktop.

On my desktop, which runs XP, I have an older version of WMM. Therefore, I can't open the clips from the laptop on the desktop if I emailed them to myself.
I have an HP a810n - there is an s-cable spot on the tower, along with usb ports. I have a sylvania vcr/dvd player that also has an s-cable spot (I'm not technically literate).
I guess my question is, with these devices, can I record to my desktop? How do I connect the vcr to the pc?

Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated. I'm looking for the way that would get me the best quality and not break the bank.

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: How to transfer vhs tapes to PC
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 to transfer vhs tapes to PC
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 -
Here's an easier way for just $150...
by Mike_Nintendo / September 6, 2008 11:38 AM PDT

This is the only way I know how to do it:

I have an Aiptek A-HD+ 1080p SD Card/Hard Drive camcorder that has an AV input on it (the camcorder comes with an AV cable for it). Here's how to capture a VHS tape on the camcorder:

U have to plug the AV cable jack into the camcorder's AV input port on its back, then plug the yellow, red, and white jacks into the TV's AV output. Then turn on the camcorder via opening its LCD, and u should see a screen that has 3 options: "Headphones", "AV out", and "AV in". Choose AV in because u want to take the video from the TV. So then after all that, u should see watever is on the TV on the camcorder's LCD with very good quality, then just record it to have the video shared between the TV and camcorder. This is called video capturing I think, and u can also do this with a capture card. Capture cards r like $50-$90 or soemthing, but I have to use a $150 camcorder cuz the capture card's USB port can't reach the computer cuz the only TV in my house with AV outputs is in a seperate room.

I hope this helped. I used this method and I was able to get VHS tape footage on the camcorder, and since ur getting the footage from the TV thru the AV cables, it'll be like watching a mini-TV on the camcorder's LCD.

Collapse -
Or for a cheaper way...
by Mike_Nintendo / September 6, 2008 11:43 AM PDT

U could use a capture card. Google "Dazzle capture card". They r pretty cheap; around $70 or so, I'm not sure. If u can't afford to get the camcorder, then look up on YouTube, "Dazzle capture card set-up tutorial" and u will see wat it looks like, and all the things u need with it. U will ened to buy cables for it, like RCA splitters, S-video cables (if u want), etc. The capture card also needs to be able to go from ur video source to the USB port on ur computer.

Collapse -
I have a camcorder
by ctblubird / September 7, 2008 12:25 AM PDT

OK - I have an HD Camcorder. So what you are saying is capture the vhs video to the camcorder and then take the camcorder to the computer and download the footage? There are cables that came with it...hmmm...let me go give it a try. Thanks so much!

Collapse -
by Mike_Nintendo / September 7, 2008 2:48 AM PDT
In reply to: I have a camcorder

Make sure ur camcorder has an AV input. All u have to do is plug the AV cable into the camcorder's AV input, then the red, yellow, and white jacks go into the output ports of the video source, whcih would be the VCR. So in the end, u will see a camcorder with a able going into the back of a VCR. It's very simple. Then all u have to do is connect ur camcorder to ur PC via USB port, and the clip will be in the file there. I did it this way, and I was able to take VHS footage, and watch it on my computer.

Good luck!

Collapse -
by CodyG [WINDOWS-TEAM] / September 16, 2008 10:13 AM PDT
In reply to: I have a camcorder


Hi, my name?s Cody, and I?m with the Windows Outreach Team. I noticed you?re trying to get rid of some of that VHS clutter by putting some old movies onto your computer. Your computer that runs Vista should make this a really simple process. I found an entry on the Microsoft website that should walk you through the entire process:

I?m not sure of all the specs on your specific hardware, but I think this guide is a fairly handy one to get started with, and I hope it?s helpful. Please let me know if you have any more questions, or if you?re still having trouble!

Good luck,

Windows Outreach Team

Collapse -
Isn't that a little much?
by Mike_Nintendo / September 16, 2008 10:54 AM PDT
In reply to: Re:

It is an alternate solution, but since he already has a camcorder, all he needs to do is plug it into the back of his TV with an AV cable and record the VHS tape that way. Then just upload to the computer via USB port, and ur basically done, unless u need to shorten the file size, just import it into WMM and save it to ur computer, and it will dramatically reduce the file size. It's a lot shorter than ur method, but it can also work.

Collapse -
by CodyG [WINDOWS-TEAM] / September 17, 2008 8:01 AM PDT


No doubt, your method should totally work. I just looked for the most in-depth and thorough instructions I could find because I wasn't sure of the exact setup/model of camcorder ctblubird might have. Just trying to make sure all the bases were covered! Thanks for your help!

Windows Outreach Team

Collapse -
No problem
by Mike_Nintendo / September 17, 2008 9:39 AM PDT
In reply to: Re:

It's ok, I was just saying. But yea, I was explaining how to do it with an Aiptek A-HD+ camcorder like I have, but idk if his camcorder has an AV input, and TV AV outputs.

Collapse -
Thanks everyone
by ctblubird / September 18, 2008 11:24 AM PDT
In reply to: No problem

THanks so much for all of your help and guidance.
Actually, I realized (after many tries) that my new camcorder does not have the 'in' feature. So I can't use that.
Although I could use my laptop with the tv tuner card it came with, it does not have a lot of space. I think I need something 'bigger' to work with.
So I bought a $50 converter - pinnacle. I haven't tried it yet. I got it scheduled for this weekend.
Stick around...I'm sure I'll have more questions!
Thanks again.

Popular Forums
Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions


Cameras that make great holiday gifts

Let them start the new year with a step up in photo and video quality from a phone.