Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 04, 2016, 08:27:35 PM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Author Topic: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters  (Read 8053 times)

barney

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,282
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« on: November 24, 2011, 04:59:40 PM »
Folk,

I just picked up a 55" LG.  It has 3D capability, wireless Internet access, Web apps ... you know, all those little goodies that I prolly didn't need in the first place.  Been planning and saving for this for a while.  Didn't really want 55", but everything that was available to me went from 47" to 55", no in between <sigh />  :D.

OK, so I got the box.  As it happens, I have a number of VHS movies that I'd really like to be able to see on this screen  :huh:.  Haven't been in a rush to do anything about conversion, since I still have a VHS/DVD box, which is connected to a smaller screen.  Unfortunately, there's not a really convenient way to plug that box into the new screen  :o.  So now I have a valid reason - and a certain impetus <chortle /> - to start converting those VHS tapes to some sort of DVD medium.  (Baby Daughter would like to see them on the new screen, and I like to keep Baby Daughter happy  :-*.)

There are a number of converters available, but I'd like to hear from folk that have actually used one (1) or more of 'em.  Somehow, I have little trust for so-called review sites, as I seldom know which [reviews] are honest and which are house shills  :-\.  (Hey, it could be worse - I could have all Beta-Max <snicker />  :P.)

So, once again, I'm falling back to the folk I can reasonably trust for opinions and, hopefully, some first hand experience  :Thmbsup:.  Anybody with any experience in this arena  :tellme:?

Oh, yeah ... as a side issue, but less important at the moment, any thoughts on Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Vudu vs. whatever?  (I was a Netflix CD subscriber about a decade ago, but have no experience with the streaming products.)  I currently have a stated 8Mb pipe, but could upgrade to a [max] 12Mb pipe if need be for this purpose  :-\.

Shades

  • Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 2,097
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2011, 02:30:35 PM »
All is well and good, but the content from VHS tapes has usually a resolution formatted as 4:3.

How does your new screen handle that format? This could be potentially disastrous for your viewing pleasure.

Better to copy the content from the VHS and store it digitally on your PC and edit (the format) if necessary with software. Put the content on memory stick (formatted as FAT32, so watch out with file sizes!) and connect it to the TV or hook the TV into your network and access the content through the TV interface.

This sounds more complicated, but in practice it isn't.

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,294
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2011, 02:45:31 PM »
I just picked up a 55" LG.

 :o Me too! ...Must be an epidemic. ;) I don't get mine delivered till tomorrow  :(; how you liking the "Magic Motion" (Harry Potter) remote??

Unfortunately, there's not a really convenient way to plug that VHS box into the new screen

Is it a space/distance issue?? Seems like you should be able to get the VHS <-> LG55 connected using component video - They should both support it.

I'm assuming the TV should be able to hit damn near any resolution (for the price on these things it better...), My brother's 32" did when I had it connected to my computer for testing.

NigelH

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 205
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2011, 04:06:25 PM »
Honestech VHS to DVD 5.0 Deluxe
Amazon
Newegg

Very favorable reviews- I bought one recently
Have not yet got around to using it though

Armando

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,727
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2011, 04:18:29 PM »
There are lots of analog to digital converters out there, in the form of USB/RCA connectors + converter.
I personally bought the Diamond VC500 One Touch Video Capture Device a while ago. It does an ok job. Enough for my needs. BUT, cheaper alternatives might do exactly the same job : http://www.google.co...biw=1087&bih=716

And +1 for what Shades suggested.

barney

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,282
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2011, 05:30:14 PM »
All is well and good, but the content from VHS tapes has usually a resolution formatted as 4:3.
...
This sounds more complicated, but in practice it isn't.

That's part of the reason for the question.  The LG seems to handle 4:3 well enough, just a lot of black space on either side.  However, some of the hardware/software I've seen in times past purports to perform some degree of conversion during the transfer.  This is needs must be essentially an automatic thing - no way I'll be able to find time to store/edit/convert 40-50 VHS tapes manually.  I need to be able to load a tape, start the process, let it run to completion, repeat as needed.  Serif currently has a $30 VHS-to-DVD software, v4.0, that might let me automate that - the editing, I mean - to some extent, but if it's a case of reconfig for every tape, they'll never get transferred - apart from the time element, I'm just too damned lazy  ;).  The Serif software, as near as I can tell, would make it a two (2) step process, but I can dedicate a laptop to that for whatever time it takes.

:o Me too! ...Must be an epidemic. ;) I don't get mine delivered till tomorrow  :(; how you liking the "Magic Motion" (Harry Potter) remote??

Mine's sitting on a coffee table right now, but it's destined for the fireplace above the mantle - I can even see that from the patio whilst grilling  :-*.  The wand is a bit difficult for me to control - arthritis and not-quite-Parkinson's contribute to a very wayward aim  :P.  I went ahead and tried Netflix - Baby Daughter and I watched Limitless last night - no perceptible lag, so I guess that concern is eliminated, at least for the while.  Now I have to check Hulu & Vudu, both of which have pre-loaded apps, kinda, sorta.

Warning about the LG:  Internet access is extremely slow, at least on mine.  Not the access part so much as the amount of time it takes to load a browser, load an app, and the like.  Seems like I'm back on an old 88 processor  :o.  Haven't done a great deal with the browser, as yet, but it seems to work OK.  And I'll rue the day I have to type in a URL  :down:  ;D.

Back on the VHS/DVD converter, seems as though I remember seeing a standalone system for that - maybe some of Kim Komando's ads? - and that seems to be a viable approach.  I just don't have any gauge as to how well it performs.

Only other need I can see at the moment is to get a wireless speaker bar for the living room and a wireless remote speaker, somewhat weatherproof, for the patio.  Thought about getting one of the home theater speaker systems, but that's no good.  I found out, when stereo was just getting started, that I'm simply unable to hear the difference between Bose or Harman-Kardon and a RadioShack cheapie in a home-built enclosure  :P.  I appreciate my guests, but not enough to spend mucho dinero on something only they might be able to hear :'(.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2011, 05:38:51 PM by barney »

barney

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,282
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2011, 05:41:04 PM »
@NigelH
@Armando

Thx for the references - I'll check 'em out.

JavaJones

  • Review 2.0 Designer
  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,717
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2011, 01:45:24 AM »
You'll get used to the 55" and eventually be glad you have that instead of something smaller. At least I and everyone I know who has one of similar size did. :D

From my experience all TV's Internet access (and additional "fancy" functions) are awfully slow. Another reason not to bother.

Regarding 4:3 and "conversion", just what exactly where you hoping/expecting to have "converted"? You can't change the aspect ratio without distorting the content or losing some of it (chop off the top and bottom). Neither one is desirable. The best "conversion" that I've seen, which works "OK" for *some* things, is to progressively stretch the edges of the video frame the further you get from center. Since your focus is usually on center, this helps keep any distortion to the edges of the frame where you're less likely to see it. Still, it does not look good in many cases. Better, in general, to just ignore the black bars on the sides and treat it as a big (but slightly smaller at that aspect ratio) square TV.

I don't have any specific experience regarding hardware, but 2 thoughts do come to mind:

First, if you want something as easy as possible and have no interest in editing the VHS video contents, or combining multiple VHS into a single DVD, then an all-in-one unit, a straightforward converter, that avoids the computer step might be best.

On the other hand if you may want to edit *or* you don't actually want "VHS to DVD" specifically, but rather "VHS to something I can watch on my new TV", *and* if you have got it working to stream stuff to the TV from your other devices, then using something like Nigel posted and grabbing the VHS content to a computer for streaming might be ideal. That's what I'd do, no need for more DVDs laying around, just build up a nice digital library of old VHS stuff.

- Oshyan

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,294
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2011, 07:52:50 AM »
Regarding 4:3 and "conversion", just what exactly where you hoping/expecting to have "converted"? You can't change the aspect ratio without distorting the content or losing some of it (chop off the top and bottom). Neither one is desirable.

That's a clearer phrasing for where I was coming from earlier. Fancy software solutions are nice...If, they're necessary. But if he's already got a VHS player (which he said he did), then the simplest answer would almost have to involve just using it. This sounds like a job for a $3 splitter type solution that will allow the existing hardware to be used as intended to me.

barney

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,282
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2011, 08:47:51 AM »
Oh, yeah, I forgot to 'splain 'bout the VHS player:
  • physically, it simply cannot be used where the LG is to be located
  • decoratively, it definitely cannot be used where the LG is to be located (Baby Daughter (BD) has a whim of iron  ;))
  • a 1TB NAS unit is under consideration for storage (see follow up)
  • a DVD/Blue Ray player is a must (see follow up)

OK, the physical thing should be pretty well self-explanatory. 

While I do not have a decorator's eye, BD does:  I can appreciate what she's done after the fact, but cannot plan things out the way she does, and she's adamant that player not be in the living room  :P.

I'm still undecided about the NAS drive, but it could be viable for immediate storage - however, HD only storage is out.  I've had three (3) lightning strikes here that were close enough to screw things up - one (1) of 'em was on the back of the house next door, and it blew a TV, killed two (2) external drives, and zapped one (1) laptop.  Note that none of these were power-line casualties - the EMP (electromagnetic pulse) from the lightning strike was the culprit.  I have five (5) UPSes around the house, but none of them can prevent EMP damage.  Yeah, statistically I should be safe.  Should be!  (And statistically I should never have seen that last strike, should I  :-\ :P?)  But I'm a belt-and-suspenders kinda guy in certain arenas, and this is one of 'em.  (Oh, yeah, I had at least one (1) VHS tape scrambled, presumably from the same event.)  So transfer to digital, non-magnetic media is requisite.

And a player will be requisite as well, unless I plan to break into every future disk and transfer it to NAS - I don't  :P!

About the software aspect, these are the concerns - if ya can call 'em that.  I'm not looking to convert 4:3 to 16:9 - the LG screen works just fine for either.  However, much of the software associated with the planned conversion offers enhancements that tend to go unnamed.  Some have to do with sound, some have to do with image/colour/formatting, some have to do with i wot not what.  So I was curious whether anyone had used such software, and what the outcome might have been.  Basically trying to copper my bets before $pending $hekel$  :P.

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,294
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2011, 09:55:56 AM »
Oh, yeah, I forgot to 'splain 'bout the VHS player:
  • physically, it simply cannot be used where the LG is to be located
  • decoratively, it definitely cannot be used where the LG is to be located (Baby Daughter (BD) has a whim of iron  ;))
  • a 1TB NAS unit is under consideration for storage (see follow up)
  • a DVD/Blue Ray player is a must (see follow up)

While I do not have a decorator's eye, BD does:  I can appreciate what she's done after the fact, but cannot plan things out the way she does, and she's adamant that player not be in the living room  :P.

Hm... Okay, so you have some 80's era eyesore and no strategically convenient bit of nearby furnishing that it can go in/under/behind/etc. ...Damn. Okay... *Shrug* ...Thought I'd try. ;)

Shades

  • Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 2,097
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2011, 10:13:03 AM »
If the player is from the 80's...you could mistake it for a freezer or something  :P

barney

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,282
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2011, 10:44:19 AM »
It's not unlike a '60s era amp/tuner, say an old Panasonic  :-*.  Actually, I've had reel-to-reel tape decks that were smaller (7", not 12") :P.

barney

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,282
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2011, 11:00:10 AM »
On order:
  • VHS to DVD 4.0 (with Capture Device)
  • Honestech VHS to DVD 5.0 Deluxe
  • Diamond VC500 One Touch Video Capture Device

As well as here, I've been discussing this with some more-geographically-available folk.  We all [three (3) of us] have [differing] need of such a device/software, so we're gonna see how these work, then redistribute them according to specific requirements.  That way, we get to try all three (3), then decide what's suitable - providing, of course, that we don't come to blows  :stars: over one (1) of 'em and that we lucked into grabbing the right ones in the first place  :P.

Armando

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,727
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2011, 02:48:47 PM »
The three will provide the same kind of functionality. Honestech VHS to DVD 5.0 Deluxe looks like it's better quality overall. Diamond VC500 One Touch Video Capture Device is the cheapest looking, and even if it work, I'd probably go with the Honestech VHS to DVD 5.0 Deluxe for almost the same price.

barney

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,282
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2011, 03:42:45 PM »
Well ...

We'll see when they arrive - just got an email that the order has shipped, so should see delivery in a few days, prolly Thursday or Friday.

Then the three (3) of us will test each one to see what might develop.  I'm likely to be the heaviest user, but both my compatriots will have use for at least one (1) of the units/software.  One of 'em has a bunch of personal recordings on VHS - birthdays, weddings, other such personal celebrations - pretty decent for home recording stuff.  The other has a bunch of sailing recordings, pretty low quality, but stuff he wants to keep.

Don't really foresee any real conflicts amongst us, particularly since we're physically so close that swapping out/loaning shouldn't be any problem.

Ah, well, time will tell.

JavaJones

  • Review 2.0 Designer
  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,717
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2011, 05:06:18 PM »
You're lucky you can get a 3-way test going with some friends, very cool! Pretty soon you'll be able to tell *us* what the best option is. :)

- Oshyan

Armando

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,727
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2011, 05:08:53 PM »
+1 ... keep us posted !

Your thread reminded me to convert a few things while my VCR is still alive. I still have about 20 unconverted tapes (family stuff and mostly artistic performances). I decided to do 1 tape every second day... Will see if I have the patience.  :)

The one I did today with the Diamond VC500 was converted properly, but... with a small sound/video sync problem. This won't be hard to fix with a video editing software (I'll either move the sound track slightly OR "compress" it a tad). But be warned : this is a common problem.

barney

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,282
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2011, 05:43:40 PM »
That's interesting to know  :o.  I can just imagine some of the movies with the sound track shifted a couple-two-t'ree frames.  Kinda like the Singing in the Rain scene, "Yes, yes, yes.  No, no no."  Some of the sci-fi stuff could get really interesting.  Something to watch for, thanks.

As this transpires, I'll post progress - or lack of it  :tellme: - here.  Might be able to keep someone else from making my mistakes - and I know there will be mistakes  :P.

Side note:  I usually spell-check my posts here - don't wanna embarrass myself in such an august assemblage  :huh:.  It's amazing and frustrating that the spell checker doesn't recognize some very simple Web things - like Google, for instance  :P.

4wd

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,473
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2011, 08:14:44 PM »
The one I did today with the Diamond VC500 was converted properly, but... with a small sound/video sync problem. This won't be hard to fix with a video editing software (I'll either move the sound track slightly OR "compress" it a tad). But be warned : this is a common problem.

I wasn't going to chime into this thread since it seemed barney was after a kind of one-shot device, (sorry if I'm wrong), but the video/sync problem you mention hasn't affected me out of the 50 or so transfers I've done because I spent a lot of time looking for software that didn't do it - the only one I found out of all the freeware I tried and quite a few payware was iuVCR, (or the updated iuVCS), as I mentioned here, (I still use the same transfer methodology).

I've yet to have this software give me sync problems, I have had no audio problems, (as in silence), due to me not selecting the right input  :-[ but that's it.

barney

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,282
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2011, 08:55:01 PM »
Interesting.

I'm more and more getting a feeling that most of the hardware is adequate, but the accompanying software may leave a bit -  :huh: - to be desired.  Won't know, of course, until the hardware is delivered, but it's nice to have alternatives - assuming the stated hardware will allow it, of course  :-\.

You're pretty much right about one-shot - well, 40-50 shots  ;D - but I've found in the past that once something like this gets started, new opportunities, previously unforeseen, for utilization will arise.  This is not always advantageous  :P.

BTW, thanks for the thread - I managed to miss it (why am I not surprised  :-[.).

Armando

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,727
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2011, 09:12:36 PM »
I wasn't going to chime into this thread since it seemed barney was after a kind of one-shot device, (sorry if I'm wrong), but the video/sync problem you mention hasn't affected me out of the 50 or so transfers I've done because I spent a lot of time looking for software that didn't do it - the only one I found out of all the freeware I tried and quite a few payware was iuVCR, (or the updated iuVCS), as I mentioned here, (I still use the same transfer methodology).

I've yet to have this software give me sync problems, I have had no audio problems, (as in silence), due to me not selecting the right input  :-[ but that's it.

Oh ! Thanks. I'll that out.

4wd

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,473
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2011, 11:30:40 PM »
I wasn't going to chime into this thread since it seemed barney was after a kind of one-shot device, (sorry if I'm wrong), but the video/sync problem you mention hasn't affected me out of the 50 or so transfers I've done because I spent a lot of time looking for software that didn't do it - the only one I found out of all the freeware I tried and quite a few payware was iuVCR, (or the updated iuVCS), as I mentioned here, (I still use the same transfer methodology).

I've yet to have this software give me sync problems, I have had no audio problems, (as in silence), due to me not selecting the right input  :-[ but that's it.

Oh ! Thanks. I'll that out.

I'm not saying it'll work for you but since I tried capturing analogue video the same way using each different program, (eg. close extraneous programs, turn off W7 Aero when using Win7, don't play games - really hard not to do when the machine is sitting there 'idle' :) , turn off screensaver, etc), it was the only program that just happily recorded everything without me having to fool around in Vegas re-syncing the audio/video.  Most recordings I did were under XP it should be noted but the same applies.

Default sync settings as follows:

2011-11-28_15-59-42.jpg

2011-11-28_16-00-00.jpg

Normally capture to HuffyYUV encoding, (ffdshow), and 48kHz PCM stereo - CPU has minimal work to do.
2011-11-28_16-27-07.jpg

2011-11-28_16-05-30.jpg

About the only trouble I have is making sure I have the correct audio input selected and I was actually plugged into the input I thought I was.
iuVCS can also get a little cranky if you try to start a second recording after finishing the first, not a problem for me - I just restart the program.  iuVCS is still technically beta software, I have to say that while it's layout is fine, finding the right area which contains the setting I want can be a little confusing at times.

While I understand why I could get sync problems using the setup I do, (separate capture card and audio input, ergo different signal paths), I have wondered why the USB devices can suffer from sync problems since both signals are digitised in the same blackbox and sent over the USB cable to be encoded.  Unless there is some inherent delay in the hardware they use or the drivers - why is it so?
« Last Edit: November 27, 2011, 11:36:58 PM by 4wd »

Armando

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,727
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters
« Reply #23 on: November 28, 2011, 02:41:41 PM »
Thanks for all the details. I won't be transferring anything before next Saturday, but I'll try that out for sure. Will keep you posted.