Looking to keep your old movies or videos from your birthday party from 20 years ago stored on VHS tapes? An option is to convert them into digital formats and transfer them to DVDs.
Here, we will discuss the different options you have to convert your old VHS movie cassettes to a Digital DVD format. Also, we’ll provide a list of our recommendations for some of the best VHS to digital converters available right now.
So without further ado, let us begin.
Choosing a VHS to Digital Converter
As we can see, connecting your VHS player/VCR to your computer via a digital converter cable is the most versatile option you can use whether you are only looking to convert your VHS videos into digital files or into a DVD.
Nowadays, there are plenty of these converters to choose from, with various price tags and unique features, so admittedly choosing the right one according to your budget and needs can be quite confusing.
With that being said, here we’ve compiled some of the most important features to consider when choosing the best VHS to digital converter for you:
To convert the VHS video into a digital file, you need more than just the converter unit/cable, but you’ll also need software on your computer that will perform the conversion process.
The converter product should come with an included software, and the quality of the software, as well as the features included, will vary from one product to the next.
Most of these apps are now pretty easy to use, and most of them have easy-to-follow instructions.
However, some will offer advanced editing features (that can feature a steep learning curve) and others might only offer the basic functionalities.
If you don’t need the editing features and just want to keep a digital version of your recording, then ease of use should be your main priority.
However, if you do need the editing features, then you should look a bit deeper into the features and tools offered by the software in making your decision.
Your VHS Player/VCR
To record a VHS tape, you’ll need something to play it. If you already have an existing VCR capable of playing a VHS tape, then you are good to go. But if not, you’ll need to get a new one.
If you are only looking to convert one or two VHS tapes, then you might not want to commit to getting a new VCR, and then your option is to borrow a VCR from a friend or family member.
Another important factor here is to choose a VHS to digital converter that is compatible with the VHS player/VCR.
In most cases, this shouldn’t be an issue, as most converters nowadays will support all kinds of outputs in your VCRs. Nevertheless, it won’t hurt to double-check, as we’ll discuss below.
VCR Output and Cables
Check what types of cables the VCR is compatible with. Typically most of them use RCA and/or S-video cables, and most newer VCRs have both. So, we should look for a VHS to digital converter that has both types of these cables.
Alternatively, you might need a SCART adapter (there are some converters that come with this). Make sure you have the right cables according to your VHS video player’s output.
Obviously, we’d want the converted video quality to be as high as possible, but it’s important to understand that a converter won’t be able to enhance the picture quality of the VHS video: if the quality is already bad, then it won’t improve it.
Also, VHS tapes degrade over time, so if the recorded video is already degraded, the converter won’t help.
In this guide, we’ve made sure that we are only including the VHS to digital converter products that can convert VHS videos into digital files without degrading the quality.
A similar principle to the above and a very common issue with low-quality converters is audio quality degradation. Make sure you get a converter that can maintain audio quality and also to ensure the audio can stay in sync (won’t lag) with the picture.
Most proper VHS to digital video converters will convert your VHS videos into an H.264 file before it will convert the file again into a familiar format like MP4.
Most converters now support many familiar video formats, but you’d want to double-check just in case.
Top 10 Best VHS To Video Digital Converters
- Record to DVD+/-R/RW, DVD+/-VR, and DVD-Video
- Supports NTSC, PAL Video format with USB connectivity
- Can capture analog files from VHS, V8 to H.264.MPEG-4; Could capture audio without the sound card
- Editing tools for controlling brightness, contrast, hue, and saturation
- Includes an easy to use converting and editing software
- Support for Windows and Linux (Ubuntu)
- Full 720×480 live video and recording (NTSC)
- Indicator LEDs showing that USB-Live2 is powered on and a video signal is present
- Snap and print stills from whatever you’re watching (BMP and JPEG supported)
- Record video clips from your camcorder or VCR to create your own high-impact presentations
- WinTV v10 and Hauppauge Capture are included
- You can transfer video from a VCR or other analog video source to your Mac or PC.
- Captures video in the universal H.264 digital format – works for iPad, Windows Live Movie Maker, and YouTube. Transfer them to DVD and other digital formats, such as AVI, MPEG2, MPEG4, and MP3(Audio only) to preserve your vinyl records in digital format.
- Includes UCEC All in One Video Capture, User Manual, Disc with the software, Composite Connection.
- UCEC provides 24-hour online technical support and 1 YEAR money-back warranty.
- Transfer and capture video and audio from VHS/VCR/Hi8/DVD/TV BOX to your Mac and Windows PC
- Converts video to the universal H.264 digital format, ready for Windows Live Movie Maker, and YouTube. Handles NTSC, SECAM, PAL and PAL/60 video
- Convert LPs and audio cassettes to CD or MP3 format, automatically identity tracks to add title, artist, and genre information
- Create polished videos with professional editing tools for reducing video noise, color correction, stabilizing shaky videos, adding transition effects, and more.
- Split videos across multiple DVDs for sharing or storage
- Includes: Digitnow! Video Capture, Composite-to-SCART Adapter, Composite video/RCA Stereo Cable
- No software and computer required, just hook it up to the device and start recording
- Record and digitalize video from VHS, VCR, DVD players, DVRs, camcorders, Hi8, and retro gaming systems
- Recording Resolution: SD 720×480 pixels.
- Extra-large 3.5” preview screen
- Auto-stop feature (60, 90, 120, 150 minutes)
- Mobile-friendly MP4 recording format, pause/resume while recording
- 1-year warranty and tech support from ClearClick
- Convert your VHS Tapes Hi8, and V8 cameras – to Digital format and burn to DVD. You can capture videos from almost any sources that support RCA or S-Video outputs
- 3 step easy installation: (1) just plug it into the PC Connect the video cables to your source (2) Install the drivers (3) Launch the Cyberlink PowerDirector Capture program
- Supports Windows 10, Windows 8.1, 8 and 7
- Convert to DVD and other digital formats -AVI, MPEG2, MPEG4, and MP3(Audio only)
- Customer support via Toll-Free 800 telephone number and On-Line. Customer Support is available from our home office in Los Angeles, Ca. Diamond Multimedia offers a one-year warranty for all our products
- Includes DVD Software and USB Capture Device (plug in your camera, VHS, etc. to this capture device and connect to your computer)
- Professional-grade editing tools for reducing video noise, stabilizing shaky video, color correction, transition effects, and more. Easily split videos to span across multiple DVDs for sharing or storage
- Record home movies direct to disc with the click of a mouse. Share and upload using your iPhone or iPad to various social websites
- Convert LPs and audio cassettes to CD or MP3 format, identifying tracks automatically to add title, artist, and genre information
- Supports Windows PCs, compatible with Windows 10
- Includes USB video capture device, USB Cable, RCA AV Cable, Quick Start Guide, Installation Software CD (software can be downloaded from the manufacturer’s website also).
- Capture old VHS, Beta, 8mm, or camcorder tapes and convert them to DVD or other digital formats.
- Capture and edit high-definition video from HDV camcorders. Add various special features including background music, take still images of video scenes. Upload to YouTube and Facebook.
- Record audio from your cassettes and LP records to create WMA files or audio CDs. Create photo slideshows by converting your pictures and videos into slideshow DVDs or movie files.
- Supports Windows 10,8,7, Vista
- Supports both Mac and Windows
- Easy-to-use software guides you through every step and turns your analog into digital
- Captures video in the universal H.264 digital format – ready for iPad, iMovie, Windows Live Movie Maker, and YouTube
- Handles NTSC, SECAM, PAL and PAL/60 video
- Includes: Elgato Video Capture, Composite-to-SCART adapter, Composite video/RCA stereo cable
- Video resolution: 640×480 (4:3) or 640×360 (16:9)
- Includes video converting software (for Windows and Mac)
- Includes: USB video capture device, USB Cable, RCA AV Cable, 2 Quick Start Guides, 2 Software Download Cards
- Capture old VHS, Beta, 8 mm, or camcorder tapes and convert them to DVD or other digital formats
- Step-by-step pictorial instructions guide you through the process.
- Compatible Video Players: VCR (VHS, Betamax, S-VHS), camcorder (8mm, DV, mini DV, HDV, AVCHD), TV, DVD player, game console and more. PC System Requirements: Other VCR or camcorder for video conversion, DVD Writer for DVD burning, Other player-specific cables as needed
How Do You Convert VHS to Digital Video Formats?
While this process may vary slightly depending on the VHS player and conversion software your use. Here are the general steps for converting VHS to digital formats:
Step 1: First and foremost, you should connect the VHS video player to your computer (PC or laptop) with a USB VHS to digital converter.
Use a converter that is suitable for your VHS player, and if the VHS player doesn’t yet have RCA outputs (red, white, yellow outputs), you may need a special SCART cable.
So, check the output (make sure it’s not input) of your VHS player, and get a converter that can fit this output(s).
Step 2: Once the converter is properly connected, simply start the converter software of your choice (some converter/capture dongle comes with an included software) on the computer.
Play the VHS tape from the point you’d want the recording to start.
Step 3: Once the recording is complete, stop both the converter software and the VHS player. Voila, your file conversion is complete.
If you want to burn the captured video to DVD, then the conversion software should provide an option for this, or you can easily use a third-party DVD burner software. We will discuss more of this below.
How Do You Convert VHS To DVD?
To convert VHS into a DVD, we actually have at least three different options:
- Using a PC and a VHS to digital converter (which we have briefly discussed above)
- Using a DVD recorder that can connect itself to the VHS player
- Using a DVD recorder/VHS VCR combination unit
We will discuss each of these options one by one
Option 1: Using a PC and DVD burner software
We have discussed how to connect your VHS to your PC via a converter/video capture device above, so we’ll continue from that.
Once the recording software has finished recording the content of your VHS video, the digital video file should be recorded on your computer’s hard drive. You can then quite easily ‘burn’ this video file to a DVD if your computer has a DVD burner unit.
If your PC/laptop doesn’t have a built-in DVD player/burner, then you’ll need to buy one. They are pretty affordable nowadays, and an internal DVD burner for PCs should only cost around $20 and an external one should only cost around $30.
Then, check whether your video converter software has an option to burn a video file into a DVD format (most do). If not, you can easily use free third-party software like ImgBurn for Windows, or if you are on a Mac, you can use Burn (also free).
The process should be pretty straightforward and you can simply follow the on-screen instructions to burn the DVD.
Option 2: Using a DVD Recorder
You can use a DVD recorder to convert VHS videos into a DVD without using a computer. What you need to do is to first connect the DVD recorder to your VCR/VHS video player.
This will vary depending on the input/output connections on both devices, but typically you can do this by connecting the red, white (RCA), and yellow (composite) outputs of your VHS video player to the corresponding input of the DVD recorder.
Check your DVD recorder for Video 1 Input/Video 2 Input, AV-Input1/AV-Input2, or similar nomenclatures.
This process should be fairly straightforward: use the DVD recorder’s input selection option (with the remote or onboard) and choose the right input depending on the connection you’ve made.
Then, simply place the VHS tape on the video player/VCR and the blank DVD into the DVD recorder. Start the DVD recording and play the video player to start the playback of the tape.
Make sure to start the DVD recording first and leave it for a few seconds before starting the VHS video player or you might risk missing the first few seconds of the VHS video.
Option 3: Using a DVD/VHS VCR Combination Unit
This option is arguably the most straightforward, but you’ll also need a dedicated combo unit for this. Since you are only using one device, no converter and connection cables are required.
Typically in this option, you’ll only need to insert your VHS tape and blank recordable DVD into the combo unit, select the conversion direction (DVD to VHS or VHS to DVD), and then press the corresponding button on the remote/device to start the process.
Some units might require you to hit Record on the DVD unit and Play on the VCR side to start this process.
How to Transfer VHS to USB?
As we know, there are various professional service providers that can help you convert your VHS tapes into USB drives. Nowadays, even retailers like Walmart or Costco provide these services.
These service providers each offer different rates and packages, and nowadays they are typically fairly affordable. However, if you have more than one tapes to be converted, this can grow expensive quickly.
However, if you follow the above steps and use a computer and converter cable to record your VHS videos to your computer’s hard drive, then you can simply move the recorded video files to the USB stick/hard drive.
Simply connect the USB drive to your computer, and copy-paste the video file.
Selecting just one best VHS to digital converter out of the ten in this list is indeed a very daunting task.
There are so many different products available in the market, and each product offers its unique features and supports different OSs, so making our choice is obviously difficult.
For our absolute best pick, although admittedly this is very hard, we’ll go for VIDBOX Video Conversion Suite. Supports both Windows and Mac, has powerful editing tools in the software, and it is also pretty affordable.
However, that’s not saying the others on this list are bad products. We are confident that based on our tests, these ten converters we have reviewed are indeed the best choices you can have right now.
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