If you’ve got boxes full of childhood memories on VHS tapes, you could end up losing them all if you don't convert them to a longer-lasting digital format. The magnetic material used in VHS tapes can degrade over time, and data can be irretrievably lost. This also applies to other analog magnetic tape formats such as Video8 and Hi8. Once you transfer your videos to your computer, you can play them from there or burn them to DVDs as DVD-burning software is included with the conversion devices.
Whether you’re looking to preserve your memories or just transfer over a recording of your favorite show, finding the best VHS to DVD converter can be a tricky. Be sure to check out our reviews for the top VHS to DVD converters, including Diamond Video Capture, Roxio Easy VHS to DVD 3 Plus and the Honestech VHS to DVD 7 Deluxe. Also, be sure to check out our articles about converting your videos to DVD format and more.
With all the different file formats and connection types, choosing among VHS to DVD converters can be confusing. An understanding of the criteria below will help you find the one with the features and options you need.
Not all converters offer the same features. Some things to look for include the ability to capture content from a DVR, compatibility with third-party video-capture software and the ability to record video-game streams from a gaming system such as Xbox. Before you choose a model, make sure it has the right connections for your device and that it’s compatible with your computer.
Most of the software bundled with these devices handle the basics of capture and conversion. For tasks such as editing, you might need a more full-featured software package. In addition, not all converters can get around the copy protection encoded onto some commercial VHS tapes, so check to see if the converter can capture these tapes. Some VHS copyright protection is too strong for even the best converters. Of course, this won’t be a problem with your own recordings.
It’s important that the converter and its included software can capture video in the format you want. Look for converters that support a wide range of file formats, including MPEG1, MPEG2 and MPEG4. These are the standard formats you need to make DVDs and digital copies for computers and mobile devices. In addition, be sure the converter can save the files in NTSC, the format used in the U.S.
Help & Support
If you’re new to video conversion or need product assistance, it’s good to have competent help sources available. Instruction booklets and online instructions are useful, but email or phone can be even better if you have a specific question to which you can’t find an answer. Many converters come with only minimal instructions and support, so if you think you’ll need a lot of assistance, look for one that offers free phone or email support.
Saving your memories and favorite shows can be quite satisfying, and the peace of mind that you get by preserving them is priceless. Be sure to use the criteria above to find the best VHS to DVD converter that meets your needs, and enjoy reliving your favorite memories on DVD.