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Free Software to Convert VHS to DVD or Blu-Ray (Plus Hardware Requirements)

Hardware Video Capture Card Needed_thumb If you ever wanted to convert your VHS collection to DVD’s or even Blu-Ray’s then we prepared a little guide for you and what software we recommend to get the job done quickly

Video editing suites can be very expensive, but suppose you don’t want to make a feature film, just a copy of your old home movies? Is there any way you can do this for free? Well, there is free software available for this task, but that’s not all you need. Let’s take a look at the process of converting VHS tapes to DVDs for as cheaply as possible.

Hardware Pre-Requsisites:

  • TV / Video Capture Card (make sure it has Video In and Video Out)
  • VCR + Audio cables
  • Coaxial Cable
  • Working VHS Player
  • DVD Burner
  • Free Software For Conversion
  • A handy hardware guide from http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/

Tip: When converting a VHS to a DVD the software isn’t really the problem, but the hardware is. You will need a TV card and a coaxial cable. Unless you’re a geek you probably don’t have the former lying around at home so you will first have to order it. You might find a coaxial cable somewhere

When it comes to TV and Video capturing cards, we recommend to buy one from Hauppauge:

Additionally, you will need a coaxial cable if you can’t find a spare one:

Other Vital Hardware

It’s important to note that whatever software you choose, you will still need some kind of basic hardware to work with the VHS tape. This will include a working VHS player to play the tape on, as well as a computer equipped with a DVD burner. Last, you need some kind of device to connect the VHS to the computer. In most cases this will be a component called a TV capture card. This device takes information received through a coaxial cable and turns it into a digital signal. Some software, however, requires a special device. Be sure you have the right one before you start.

Tip: Do Not Try Golden Video

The program requires specialized video and audio cords, which must be purchased separately. Golden Video has lots of low ratings, with customers complaining of constant crashing, video being transferred poorly and installation refusing to start. However, the company releases bug fixes fairly often, so check back in a few months when these issues may have been cleaned up.

Our Software Recommendation: Windows Live Movie Maker

For most users, Windows Live Movie Maker will be the best bet. For users of newer versions of Windows, the download is free through Microsoft’s site, though it may already be on your computer. Movie Maker is bare-bones, compared to paid programs, but it will get the job done, and the program has tons of support available. The program also has a small editing suite with a surprising amount of functionality for a free program, and includes a DVD-burning program.

The saying “you get what you pay for” is usually right, and video conversion software is no exception. However, if you just have one or two projects that need doing, or your existing VHS tapes are in good condition, you may not need to spend a lot to get a serviceable conversion. Free software can be the way to go for some, and new programs are appearing all the time. Keep an eye on consumer reviews to decide what is right for you.

 

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Published: Monday, November 26th, 2012 Last Modified: April 15, 2014

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