Device to capture & digitize analog audio/video

June 3, 2013 at 14:38:40
Specs: Win 8, Pentium 987 / 8 GB
Hello, I would like to convert my old VHS tapes to digital format that can be either saved on my computer or burnt to a dvd. I've checked out Newegg and Amazon and there are many devices, but I though I'd ask if anyone has personal experience with this that could help.

The computer is running win 8, so it needs to work with that. Also, this is a laptop so it needs to be an external USB device. Price is NOT my main concern, I want something that will give me good quality recordings, and comes with good software, etc.

Thanks for any input!

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June 9, 2013 at 21:36:41
A lot depends on the output options on your VCR. The best possible quality you'll get is governed by the quality of the original source (VHS tape), then by the quality of the source equipment (VCR). The most common outputs on VCR's are RCA sockets, and the tv antenna socket. Neither of these is a high quality source point, but RCA is acceptable, if left with no other option.

Here in Australia we can get an EasyCap USB capture card for around $10AU on eBay. They have inputs for composite (RCA) and s-video. If you have s-video output on your VCR, it's a stroke of luck, because it's a better source to capture (HDMI would be better, but then you'd need a more expensive capture card.) You may need to use the red and white RCA connections for audio (not sure on this but, I don't think s-video carries audio data).

I've never used the software that comes with EasyCap, and prefer to use another software product, with more render options (codecs, etc.) The quality of your capture software is the next possible barrier to getting a good final product. If you can capture a good source, via good hardware, the right software will give you a good result.

Codecs are another thing to consider. There are lossy codecs (lower quality) and lossless codecs (high quality). Lossless codecs tend to create much larger file sizes. Lossless codecs are more suited to video that is still to be edited, before final render.

I use a similar (older product) USB capture card, connected through RCA, to capture using my favorite software. The quality isn't great, but it suits my purposes.

Hope this helps.

Please let us know if you found someone's advice to be helpful.

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June 23, 2013 at 13:49:12
Yes, my VCR does have an S-video output, as well as the typical RCA outputs. No, I know S-video does not carry audio, so I would need to still use the red/white audio cables. This is not for editing purposes, I don't need anything of crazy quality, but something that would at least look similar in quality to the original VHS tape. Other than cutting out "blank spots" on the tapes, I will not be editing the video at all. The main purpose of this is to "back up" my years and years worth of family home movies onto digital media (external hard drive, DVD's, etc) in order to better preserve them.

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September 1, 2013 at 08:58:02
I am looking to re-visit this, I kinda put this on the back burner but am now looking to actually purchase something. Just wondering if anyone may see this that has experience with some more options.


message edited by eric212

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