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You are at: Home nav1 Converting VHS to DVD

Convert VHS to DVD

The functionality of new DVD recorders makes it a snap to archive your old home movies and favorite VHS classics to DVD without a computer

Why would somebody want to take the time to convert old video tapes to DVD? There are several good reasons for taking the time. First of all, VHS deteriorates over time. A VHS tape retains reasonably good quality for about 15 years. After this, the picture and sound gets grainier and choppier with each playback. If that isn't enough reason, consider the fact that DVD playback is easier because you can set up separate chapters, and the sound and picture quality is far superior to tap. How could anyone not appreciate the ability to quickly navigate to any part of the DVD with a couple clicks of a remote?

Fortunately, it has never been easier to convert video tapes to DVD. There is even more than one way to do it. Keep reading and we'll tell you how.

Use the Direct Connect method to swap VHS to DVD

This method of converting VHS to DVD is similar to what you would do to record one video tape copy from an original. To do that, you would simply connect two VCR's together with an RCA cable. This method works the same way. Just connect your RCA cable from the audio and video output jacks on the VCR to the inputs on the DVD. Next, press play on the VCR and record on the DVD recorder and away you go. High tech? Hardly.

This process, although extremely simple to do, does have its drawbacks. First, it is difficult to synchronize the start of the respective media. Second, this is a real-time (read slow) process, although this could give you a nice opportunity to watch your favorite motion pictures and home movies. A simple work around for this is to purchase a combination VHS/DVD Recorder. This makes recording tape to disc similar to using a dual cassette player (talk about old school!). Units like the one below with the inputs on the front are a must if you have a lot of converting to do!

I would be remiss in not giving somewhat of a copyright warning here. Many commercial motion pictures have copy protection. This means that you either will not be able to record them on to DVD at all, or the picture quality may be poor. What I have been able to do, however, is record movies of HBO and then from the VHS to DVD. This is not a violation of copyright law as long as you using your copies for home use only.

The great thing about DVD chapters is the ability to break movies into chapters. You can follow the exact scene breaks, or just put chapter breaks according to a time interval that you determine.

Hard Drive Recorders make it possible to edit your DVD's before the BURN

DVD Hard-Drive recorders allow you to first download a movie to the hard-drive, then burn it onto a DVD. This, in turn, allows you to edit your content very easily. This is a good option for someone who wishes to do a considerable amount of editing.

On the bright side, a hard-drive recorder makes creating multiple copies of a home movie a snap. As the eager grandparents-to-be clamored for copies of our ultrasound movie, I cued it up again from the hard drive instead of redubbing the entire thing.

Use these simple guidelines to ensure that your video to DVD transfer comes out great

Use a good VCR: Your DVD can look only as good as the feed from the VHS player. There's nothing you can do to improve the quality of the VHS tape, but you can use a high-quality, four-head VCR.

Adjust the tracking: Before pressing Record on the DVD player, make sure you've adjusted the tracking on the VCR. Doing so helps eliminate distortion. Many VCRs automatically calibrate the tracking when you play a video tape, so watch out for on-screen displays, which the DVD player will record.

Use Standard Play quality: If your goal is to preserve priceless memories, don't skimp on the recording quality in order to pack more video onto one disc. You can find DVD-R or DVD+R discs for just $2 if you shop around.

Use DVD-R or DVD+R format when possible: Most DVD players can read these discs. Not all players can read DVD-RW.

Finalize the disc: If you don't finalize--an option usually available in the recorder's setup menu--when you've finished converting, the disc won't play in other DVD players.

That's all there is to it. Making the decision to purchase a DVD recorder opens up a wealth of possibilities.

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