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In search of ... information/opinions on VHS to DVD converters

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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.
-Shades (November 25, 2011, 02:30 PM)
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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??
-Stoic Joker (November 25, 2011, 02:45 PM)
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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 :'(.


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

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:
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.-JavaJones (November 27, 2011, 01:45 AM)
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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.

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.


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