Video Conversion: How to Transfer VHS to DVD and Digital Files

With the revolutionary 4k resolution becoming ever-popular by the day, it’s hard to think of the times when VHS tapes were king of the living room. In all honesty, how have 2 decades gone so fast?

Convert Video VHS to DVD


All nostalgia aside, learning how to transfer VHS tapes to DVD and digital files can prove to be quite useful in this day in age. Discussed here are four of the most common method on how to convert VHS tapes to DVD or digital files.

1. Connecting your VCR to a PC

For this strategy in transferring VHS to digital files (and later DVD), you’re essentially going to need four things:

  • An Analog-to-Digital Adapter (A/V cables and USB port combo)
  • A VCR
  • A PC with a DVD writer
  • Relevant recording and burning software

Since you’re most likely getting your VHS tapes from storage, you should first clean them to the best of your ability. Clean the areas where the tape was exposed and try to ensure the spindles are moving easily using your hand. The better the tape condition, the better the results. VHS Video Tape Conversion to Digital

Before starting the VHS transfer process, you should then connect your VHS player to the PC using the Analog-to-Digital adapter. After this, activate the recording software on your PC and also start playing the tape on your VCR from the point you want it to record from.

At the end of the recording, you can now stop both the software and the running tape. Insert a blank DVD into the computer’s writer and burn the video file using the burning software. Depending on your file format, you could also opt to get a video converter to help you get your desired format.

However, if you’re going to opt for this method, ensure your PC’s RAM, storage and processing power are up to scratch. Remember, converted videos tend to occupy a huge chunk of space aside from needing enough processing power to prevent losing video frames.

2. Using A DVD Recorder

For this step in converting VHS to DVD and digital files, you’re going to need:

  • A DVD Recorder
  • A VCR
  • A composite (yellow) video output
  • An RCA analog stereo output (red/white)

Connect the composite video output and the RCA outputs of your VCR to the corresponding inputs on the DVD recorder. You should then place the tape you’re thinking of recording into the VCR and a recordable DVD into the recorder.

Go to the recorder’s input selection and select the appropriate input.

Start the DVD recording then press play on your VCR after 2 or so seconds so that you don’t miss any part of the video. After the recording process, stop both the VCR and the DVD (in any order you choose) then press eject. Your video should be ready for viewing.

3. Using a VHS and DVD Combo Player

As similar as this VHS transfer process is to the one above (Using a DVD recorder), it does bear one significant difference: the VCR and DVD Recorder are found in the same unit.

This specific feature makes the recording process quite easy, so it’s a little more seamless in VHS conversion to DVD. All you need to do is to first insert both the VHS tape and a blank DVD into the players.

Like in using a DVD recorder, hit the record button on the DVD player before pressing “play” on the VCR. After the recording process, stop both devices and eject, as above. That’s all.

Interestingly, most units have a cross-dubbing function which lets you select your preferred method of dubbing: either from DVD to VHS or vice versa.

Others also have a “record button” that takes care of the entire process automatically.

One of the biggest advantages of this process would be the fact that you wouldn’t need to set up too many connections, as opposed to the others. One the downside, these combos can prove to be quite hard to find.

4. Opting for conversion services

If you’re looking for accuracy and precision or are dealing with important videos, using a professional VHS/video conversion service would be the most logical step to take.

Professional video duplicators will often times guarantee a quality outcome when they convert VHS to DVD format. Most media conversion professionals will also ensure your finished product is ready in typically 2 weeks: depending on the load of course.

For the right money, they could also make adjustments to elements such as brightness, contrast, audio levels and color to ensure you have the best quality available.

All that goes without mentioning they can also add special features such as a table of contents or chapter headings, depending on your taste, to enhance the viewing experience.

Additionally, this option also reduces the burden of needing to buy/upgrade your equipment. You can get professional video duplicators online or in any major store near you.

However, unlike the other methods of video conversion, this one could prove to be quite expensive: especially if you have a large number of tapes.

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