Converting VHS Tapes to DVD

Dennis Faas's picture

Several times this past year, we have had readers write in asking if it could be possible to convert VHS tapes to DVD.

I don't want you to get your hopes up too high, because what I'm going to tell you will not work for Copyrighted Videos. Most of those are protected with a copy protection scheme called MicroVision and cannot be re-recorded to DVD or even another VHS tape. If you want a DVD of those videos you will just have to go to your favorite DVD/Tape Movie store and buy it. But if you want to make a DVD of Uncle Henry's birthday party or the vacation to beat all vacations, read on.

Pinnacle Systems' Dazzle DVD Recorder is a good solution for the problem. Priced at $50 US, you can transfer every VHS tape in your library to DVD easily and completely.

To run Dazzle DVD Recorder, you need (at minimum) Windows 2000 or XP, a 1.4 Ghz or faster Pentium 4 processor (or AMD equivalent), 512 MB of Memory, 1 GB of space on your hard drive, a DVD burner, and DirectX 9. DirectX 9.c is available for free from Microsoft Downloads.

For the $50 price tag, you get a converter box, a USB cable, and a software CD, as well as a set of instructions to tell you how to get it installed and running. You will need to have the necessary cables to connect to your VCR, but those are easily gotten from most retailers that carry TV's and VCR equipment.

Other than digging up your old VHS tapes and dusting off the VCR, the only other thing you need to do is set it close by your system and start connecting things together. If your VCR has S-Video connections, you will be able to get a much better picture, otherwise, use the left and right audio and composite video connections.

The converter itself accepts the VCR connections then connects to a USB port. Installing the software is the only thing left, and you are ready to begin. No cards to install or removing the covers from your system.

So there you are, sitting in front of your PC, which is now a VHS tape converter, and wondering what you need to do next.

It's actually very simple. First you determine the length of your video. There are several ways to do this, including running the tape forward and noting the counter setting when you get to the end of the video recording.

Once you have the number (of minutes) you launch the software and select the Wizard. It will walk you through the various settings needed. Once that is done you start the process. The tape is recorded on your system, the necessary files are written and you're ready to burn your DVD.

As you proceed through the process, the software lets you monitor the video via a small window on the screen and will allow you to set up chapters and menus as you desire, just in case you want to give folks a chance to skip over the part where Uncle Henry does his 'special' dance with the lamp shade on his head -- afterall, he's YOUR Uncle! ;-)

If you are interested in Dazzle DVD, check it out by going to the Pinnacle Systems Web Site and look for Dazzle:

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