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Old 08-19-2011, 07:12 PM   #1
Steve Rindsberg
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 6,874
Default Converting old VHS tapes to DVD

I've got a bunch of old VHS tapes that I want to convert to DVD.

Originally, I bought a gadget from Diamond that's supposed to do this. If I can't get my money back for it at the store, I'm going to drop it on the floor and stomp on it. Utter trash, from documentation to hardware to software install to software uninstall, and likewise to the software in the middle.

Next, I got a similar gadget from honestech (VHS to DVD Deluxe 5.0). World of difference; minimalist but professionally done documentation, the software works smoothly (and isn't a cobbled together horror of three or four distinct apps like the Diamond abortion). Plug, Play. Quality? Can't really speak to that; the original tapes are pretty awful to begin with. The DVDs don't seem markedly worse than the tapes, but there's not a lot of ROOM for worse. <g>

Remaining nuisances:

The capture's in real time, which I suppose can't be avoided. You have to tell the software how much time to allocate (which in turn determines the quality of the capture). That's not TOO bad, since I can just give 'em, say, 90 minutes. All the stuff on the tapes is that or less.

Or in theory, and even better, I could just have it record the whole contents of the tape, then edit it into individual programs and record each of them off to DVD. The software allows for that, I'm pretty sure. BUT ...

The tapes are old and mechanically cranky. They're prone to just stopping midstream. I can't just set it to recording and go do something else while the magic happens. Grrr.

I've tried FFing then rewinding the tapes a couple times prior to starting the transfer but it doesn't seem to do much good.

Does anyone have any ideas for making the tapes work better? I'm going to try them in another player when I get a chance, but that's a PITA, since it'd be in another room on another floor in the house where it'd annoy SWMBO while she's working.

Steve Rindsberg
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