I have a Panasonic AG=1970 that I'd like to use to transfer VHS to DVD.Does anyone know how to connect it to my PC or have a better idea? I have no manual and not so much of an electronic mind. I'm willing to sell this VCR if this doesn't get easier soon, any takers?
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Thread: How to connect an AG-1970p ???
Hauppauge makes various PC capture cards and devices, but the current best ones are in the HDPVR/Colossus family of products and they only record video as H.264 and audio as (usually) AAC or AC-3 (less often). Such recordings would have to be converted to DVD format. I've done it before, but it may be more than you want to do. The older cards are capable of recording directly to MPEG-2 video and I think they used AC-3 audio.
The simplest method is to connect the VCR to a DVD recorder, but in the USA only Magnavox still makes DVD recorders. If you have commercial tapes with Macrovision or there is enough noise in the tape to make the DVD recorder think it's got Macrovision, you will have to buy a TBC (time base corrector) and put that between the VCR and DVD recorder. WalMart is probably your best source for Magnavox DVD recorders if you want to do this the easy way.
I understand your frustration, but it seems a little misplaced: why would you expect any random PC to have analog video inputs for a VCR? This was never a standard PC feature, one almost always needs to buy an accessory video input board or USB video device.
The AG1970 is a solid old VCR, about the best you can buy short of the amazing (and amazingly unreliable) AG1980 or a JVC DigiPure. It makes a great starting point for a VHS digitizing project: you'll either be happy with it, or decide the performance (and price and headaches) of the top-shelf models is more to your taste.
To connect the a VCR to your PC, you first need to determine your options. If its a laptop, you will be forced to buy a USB video interface. If its a desktop, you can probably get a more traditional input board that fits inside the case. There are several brands with a variety of features, jman98 mentioned a few and other members will make suggestions once you post back with your PC details.
You sort of implied you aren't much of a geek, if this is true you will not enjoy the VCR to PC workflow. The various encoding choices and settings are confusing, and the software interface could make a NASA scientist wince. The basics can be learned with a little effort, and its worthwhile if your end goal is video files that can be played on all kinds of devices (TV media player, tablet, phone, computer). If your primary interest is making DVDs, and you have more than a few tapes, then pick up a Magnavox MDR533 from WalMart web store as jman98 suggested. The Magnavox is kind of a simplified PC dedicated to making DVDs from analog video. Other than recording speed, which you should just leave permanently set to SP (125 mins per DVD), there aren't any complicated settings to make.
You connect the audio and S-Video outputs of the AG1970 to the corresponding inputs on the Magnavox, tell the Magnavox which inputs you're using (front or rear), and record your tapes to the Magnavox hard drive. You can make simple edits on the HDD, like cutting out commercials, then burn a DVD copy at high speed (approx 16 mins per two-hour DVD). Learning how the Magnavox works takes a little study, but not as much as using a PC solution, and you get the added benefit of a TV recorder that can make and play DVDs. WalMart has a great return policy, so you can try the Magnavox and if it doesn't suit you return it and go the PC route. As jman98 noted, the DVD recorder market has dried up: there are no other practical choices than the Magnavox MDR533 (aside from cheaper versions of the same recorder without the HDD). Its either that, or the PC.
You can sometimes still find a couple of Magnavox (and identical twin Toshiba) combo VHS/DVD recorders available new, but their built in VCRs are crap compared to an AG1970 and they are overall less reliable and much less useful than an MDR533 + external VCR. At roughly the same price, the MDR533 is a much better value than a combo.
Be sure to note what jman98 said about commercial Hollywood tapes: they are a PITA to digitize, requiring yet another additional box that will cost between $50-$229 depending how problematic the tapes prove to be and whether you use a DVD recorder or a PC (PC typically needs the more expensive add-on box). The results are usually not too great, so if most of your VHS collection is pre-recorded you're better off just buying the official DVD versions from Amazon and other web dealers @ $5-$7 each. That sounds expensive, but the hardware to do it yourself begins at a total of $300, plus how much is your time worth? DIY vhs transfer only makes sense for things you can't buy commercially remastered on dvd or bluray.
Last edited by orsetto; 13th Sep 2013 at 12:43.
Thank you both for your time and expertise. Sounds like I better go the route with Walmart and the DVD recorder. To be honest, I was still a little lost with your jargin on electronics but I'm trying. Can I just hook a DVD burner device to my TV and record what is coming through via VCR. or does if have to be in between as orsetto stated?
These are home movies recorded in the 70's and 80's. Also my computer is a Dell "deminsion E510" not to sure if it's 2000 or xp or what but doing a capture card, as you said may be over my head. This is why I am considering just a one machine thing ( VHS to DVD recorder) if you have one you would recomend.. I do hear many good things about this AG-1970 but I guess you need to know how to work it. Just plugging it in is already a problem. Also radio shack tech thought I could use a BC connector from the AG1970 to a USB port in my PC if I could find such a connector. I suppose thats to easy or you would have also told me to do that, right?
From your reply, it appears you are not a particularly tech-savvy person. Nothing wrong with that, but what you want to do might perhaps be a bit over your head with even the simplest solutions we could recommend. The biggest hurdle is DVD does not work at all like VHS: getting the hang of how weirdly DVD recorders operate has turned off so many consumers that the product never really caught on in North America. Doing VHS transfers to a PC triples or quadruples that confusion if you don't have an aptitude for technicalities.
Members here usually advise to steer clear of combo DVD/VHS recorders due to unreliability problems and their tendency to produce sub-par results compared to a VCR like your AG1970 connected to a separate DVD recorder or PC. But since this kind of thing seems way out of your comfort zone, you might need to compromise with a combo recorder. They can work and make adequate DVDs, just be prepared to discover they aren't the one-touch idiot-proof miracle boxes that we were led to believe. You still need to understand how DVD differs from VHS and how the two sides of the unit interact to copy tape to dvd.
The only easily-available combo unit left in USA is the Magnavox ZV427MG9, new from Amazon or refurbished from WalMart. An identical model with the Toshiba brand is sold by Amazon and may still be around at local Best Buy stores. I would recommend the new over refurbished when shopping a DVD/VHS combo. The instruction manual is quite confusing, the procedure for copying VHS to DVD is buried in it. I sorted thru the manual for someone else recently, pointing them to the few pages that apply and explaining the process. You can find that info in this post. The Toshiba is the exact same recorder as the Magnavox, but the instruction book may reference different pages. You can download the Magnavox version of the instruction book here, follow my notes in the other thread, and decide if this is something you feel you can tackle.
This combo unit can make adequate DVD copies of VHS tapes, but by no means should you expect them to look any better than the original tapes: they generally look a bit worse. VHS is just very hard to get fantastic-quality copies of, even if you're a tech guru. You may want to run the $$$ numbers in your head: depending how many personal tapes you need to copy, it may be easier to just pay a service like WalMart to do it for you. The $200 cost of a DVD recorder should buy you at least 20 tape dubs from WM.
Re the Radio Shack guy: he is clueless. The BNC connections on the back of your AG1970 are just the professional-style version of the ordinary RCA video jacks on consumer recorders. They are still analog, and PCs cannot do anything with an analog video signal unless it is first encoded by a USB input converter or a video card added to the PC case. You can buy a little adapter from Radio Shack that changes the BNC connector to a standard RCA connector, or better yet just use the AG1970 multipin S-video connector instead (S-video often provides a sharper cleaner signal).
Your idea to patch the VCR thru your TV into your PC will not usually work. TVs cannot do such conversions, they have no digital video output other than HDMI. You would still need to buy a video accessory for your PC that would give the PC an HDMI input, so no money would be saved and using the TV as a converter is not the best way to go.
Any DVD recorder you buy would connect between the AG1970 and the TV: you would play the AG1970 thru the DVD recorder into the TV (so you can see what both machines are doing). If using a DVD/VHS combo, you would not need the AG1970 at all, so you would just plug the combo itself into the TV.
Last edited by orsetto; 13th Sep 2013 at 16:12.
Well it turn out that I never used this Panasonic AG-1970 and would like to sell it for @ 150. I am still a newbe and can not find the spot to place an ad. Is there a good place on this site or am I not supposed to sell stuff on here? PS the AG looks brand new and puts out a nice picture. I do not have a manual but It seems I have all the wireing. Please let me know where this should be posted or not Thanks