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Archive for February, 2013

Going Digital: Converting from VHS to DVD

Monday, February 18th, 2013

There’s a growing number of people who are unable to access their library of VHS video
footage. Players for the old tapes have become increasingly scarce, and loss of quality based on wear
and tear is a real issue with the old medium.

Converting from VHS to a digital video format and saving all of those precious memories on
DVD disc is something that isn’t that difficult to do. It is often possible to handle the conversion at
home with a fairly minor outlay of capital. There are also numerous professional conversion companies
whose facilities have all the tools in them to handle updating a collection to a digital format.

DIY Conversion

There are four components to converting VHS to DVD in a home environment. The first is the
computer with a DVD burner, which costs from $300 on up without a monitor. The second is a player
for the tapes; something that runs $40 plus excluding a TV. The third is a cable to make a connection
from the VCR to the computer; a piece of hardware which may be bundled with software and costs $25
and up. The final component is a piece of conversion software; something with a starting price of free.
Even including a cheap TV and monitor it would be possible to get a conversion setup for around $600.
For those with most of the equipment already, you might spend just $25 plus the (low) cost of blank
DVDs.

Setting up to do the conversion is fairly simple. You just set the VCR and TV up then use the
cable to connect the VCR to the computer. On the computer you install the software. Put the tape to be
converted in the VCR, the DVD to be burned in the optical drive, and then utilize the program to first
transfer the digital video, then (either using the same program or a DVD authoring program) burn the
DVD. The exact specifics will vary depending on your setup, but that’s the gist of it. Simple, and not
terribly expensive.

Getting Expert Help

In the event that you want to avoid your own time and materials to handle the task, there are
plenty of professional services available. Most major cities have businesses which can handle the
conversion of VHS to DVD for a flat fee per tape. Some of them offer video cleaning services which
will enhance the quality of the videos before they are put on tape. This is something that is available as
a DIYer, but is a bit more complicated and might be better left to professionals if it’s something you’re
interested in.

Fees for these services vary by business, and you have to balance the convenience of a local
business with potential price savings available online. If you’re lucky enough to live near a business
with great per-tape prices and a solid offering of video cleanup services, your choice will be easy.

Bear in mind that professional services can offer conversion to DVD from other sources than
VHS. Many will scan photos or negatives, handle 8mm film, and work with MiniDV or Hi8. A good,
professional conversion service is generally very well-rounded, and can help you update your family’s
entire history to an appropriate digital format and store it on DVDs.

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