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  1. Member
    Join Date: Jul 2005
    Location: UK
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    I want to buy a VHS to DVD converter

    Or should I buy a VHS player and use a cheap adapter with my laptop?


    Are there pros and cons?
    The only thing I can see is the price difference


    The convenience of the all in one machine would be best surely??


    Thanks




    OM
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  2. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2006
    Location: Toronto Canada
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    Originally Posted by OM2
    I want to buy a VHS to DVD converter

    Or should I buy a VHS player and use a cheap adapter with my laptop?
    Both are not ideal for best quality. If I had to choose, I would choose the latter.

    You can buy a good "adapter" (I'm assuming you mean a "capture device") that is "cheap", such as the ezcap.tv and Hauppauge USB-Live2 that can work on a laptop's USB port. There are cheaper such devices, but be warned. Many are fake ezcap.tv clones and can be VERY problematic. If you see anything "easy" or "something else cap" or "grabber", just pass on it. If you want an ezcap.tv, which is the real deal, you will get it from here http://www.ezcap.tv/.

    As well, the problem with laptops is that, unless they have good modern specs, they may have trouble capturing (or doing anything CPU intensive such as encoding, etc), even for SD and VHS source. You may also need a cooling pad since cooling systems of laptops are not as efficient. An overheating processor may slow down during capture and will drop frames when if falls behind enough.

    Originally Posted by OM2
    Are there pros and cons?
    The only thing I can see is the price difference


    The convenience of the all in one machine would be best surely??
    Yes, the pro of an all-in-one is convenience. Nothing could be easier than feeding the machine, tape by tape, and just pressing a button or two and then letting it do the work for you. I agree with this pro.

    The con would be weaker quality. Such machines were designed for convenience, not quality. They are not good encoders, and also capturing, encoding and converting on the fly to a spinning disc doesn't produce the best results. If you want editing, then you have to redo the discs (such as on your computer afterwards). A DVR would be a better "middle of the road" solution, which has a hard drive for editiing and storage, and can burn to better quality afterwards.

    As well - not that I'm encouraging breaking copyrights - if the tape has MacroVision, it won't work with either solutions. The reason I say that is because even legal home tapes are capable of emitting a similar signal, what's called a "false positive", that you will need a TBC (time base corrector) to fix, which is not provided in these machines, or all-in-ones.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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  3. Member
    Join Date: Jul 2005
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    awesome reply - thank ui'm not worried about quality - as long as it's ok to see the old memories
    no copyright issues
    if a taps has the macrovision - happy to bin
    i'll be doing several tapes... so i think ui might go for the dedicated machine as i don't have a good spec laptop
    i do have a mac though... but there don't seemt o be many adapters for mac - only a few on ebay
    any thoughts?
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  4. Member
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    EDIT: just seen the website u gave a link to... only 19.99hmm... my mac is pretty powerful and video editing shouldn't be a problem


    the ONLY thing i am worried about is playing old tapes with lots of dust!
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    Last edited by sanlyn; 19th Mar 2014 at 09:35.
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  6. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by om2
    i'm not worried about quality - as long as it's ok to see the old memories no copyright issues

    i'll be doing several tapes... So i think ui might go for the dedicated machine as i don't have a good spec laptop
    Then go ahead and use the combo unit. It may be a good learning experience at the start. For good measure, you should still keep your tapes in case you change your mind down the road, that is, if you do desire better results and are ready for them.

    Then again, there are some days when I wish I was less nitpicky and just used a combo unit. It's not so much the money I could have saved, but the time I spent on this project, more than I'd like to admit, which includes the learning curve and redos, makes me think.

    Sure my results (at least in my eyes) are excellent, and maybe it was worth it for home projects. But for watching some old episode, or some documentary, etc, maybe not.

    I should write a quick guide to save other people such headaches.

    Originally Posted by om2
    if a taps has the macrovision - happy to bin
    Not sure what you mean, but if you wish to purchase a TBC, they're not cheap, such as this one recommended here:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/276891-REG/AV_Toolbox_AVT_8710_AVT_8710_Multi_St...Time_Base.html

    However, if your tapes are not copyrighted, and don't emit a false positive signal, then you won't need it for any combo unit (wouldn't plug in anyway) or for a DVR.

    Originally Posted by om2
    i do have a mac though... But there don't seemt o be many adapters for mac - only a few on ebay
    any thoughts?

    edit: Just seen the website u gave a link to... Only 19.99hmm... My mac is pretty powerful and video editing shouldn't be a problem
    I haven't used a Mac for this project so can't give any good advice here, but you can start by looking into Elgato, which has products for Mac.

    Originally Posted by om2
    the only thing i am worried about is playing old tapes with lots of dust!
    Before I capture any tape I forward and rewind it first to remove any particles, and remove any potential stickiness.

    You don't want to abuse the motors of your good VCRs though - you need them for playing the tape for capture. Use a VCR that you don't care for on this unwinding, but keep that unit clean nevertheless.

    As for cleaning, I've had good results with the dry cleaning tapes, but many here will say don't use them, or use the wet ones, or whatnot, and the debate goes on.

    If you want advice with a good conscience on this, clean your VCRs with a brand new tape. Play it for 30-60 minutes per cleaning session. Trash and replace with another one when done.
    Last edited by PuzZLeR; 15th Jan 2014 at 11:53.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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  7. Member
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    @puzzler thanks for the awesome reply - all points are really helpfuli think i will go for a dedicated unit - will save a lot of hassle
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  8. Get a standalone DVD recorder with a line TBC and frame sync built in and a video proc amp. Record in 1 hour mode. That will get you better quality than what you can get capturing on a PC -- unless you want to spend a lot of time and money.
    Last edited by jagabo; 15th Jan 2014 at 12:10.
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  9. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Get a standalone DVD recorder with a line TBC and frame sync built in and a video proc amp. Record in 1 hour mode. That will get you better quality than what you can get capturing on a PC -- unless you want to spend a lot of time and money.
    Yes, this is the best compromise of all worlds - very acceptable results (better than a combo unit), very easy to achieve (unlike the pain of a computer setup - my chain is a nightmare of nematodes).

    And if it's a DVR with a hard drive, even better.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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  10. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    DVD recorders in general are a dead product category worldwide nowadays, even in UK where they remained popular long after failing in North America. So it may be difficult to find a new DVD recorder that is worth the money: all the good ones have been discontinued. You may find yourself stuck needing either a new laptop or a video input accessory for your Mac.

    Standalone combo DVD/VHS recorders were a workable option for some people when they weren't all absolutely garbage. Unfortunately today, only two such models remain commonly available new in the UK: Toshiba DR20, and Toshiba RDVX60 (same unit with a Hard Drive added). These are hardly inexpensive, but quality control at the Funai factory that OEMs them has dropped notably of late. The Toshiba units currently in the pipeline are quite a bit more shoddy than the same units that were sold last year. Many have issues with power supply, video encoder, & DVD burner. If you can find a REALLY good deal on a Toshiba VHS/DVD combo, it might be OK, but be aware it may totally die on you (meaning you'll have no residual resale value if you want to get rid of it later). The VCR in these machines has a very poor reputation for both playback quality and durability, which is also a concern.

    If at all possible, try to find a Panasonic DVD recorder. Some dealers may have leftover stock of various DVD, DVD/VHS or DVD/HDD models. These will be rather more reliable than the Toshibas and will retain resale value (so you can resell on eBay after you finish your project). If you need a separate VCR, second-hand Panasonics are plentiful, inexpensive and usually reliable.

    Recent posts to VideoHelp suggest factory quality control of the most popular, well-regarded TBC has also degraded significantly. Current shipments of the AVT-8710, sold as CTB-100 in UK, appear to be very poorly made. There are no real alternatives to these at consumer prices, so if you do need to dub any rare "protected" VHS I'd recommend you opt for a somewhat cheaper dedicated video filter like the Grex. These seem to be more reliable than any new consumer TBC.
    Last edited by orsetto; 15th Jan 2014 at 18:43.
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