back to article What's the best way to digitise VHS tapes?

There is an interesting product to allow PC users to listen to/rip audio cassettes - the Ion Tape2PC USB cassette deck - so our dodgy 1980s collections can be saved to MP3 or similar before being consigned to the bin. Does anyone know of a similar product that can be used for VHS? I realise that size might be a problem here. …


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  1. michael

    stating the obvious but

    looks like a good bet

  2. John
    Thumb Up

    Sony has a nice little unit too;jsessionid=ZXVG5MZIW5IMACWSCFCSFEQK0IIUIIV0?id=VRDMC3

  3. Enda Cronnolly

    Use a dual deck (vhs + DVD) DVD / vhs recorder

    any dual deck vhs / dvd recorder is the way to go, they all have a function to go straight from the vhs deck to the DVD and the quality is better than anything I've tried with cables.

  4. Peter Hood

    What's the best way to digitise VHS tapes?

    This is for audio cassettes, not VHS. To make the point this comment appears in the original Reg article "you can switch between regular, chrome-dioxide and metal tapes".


  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Old school

    I've had success with a direct VHS to DVD recorder connection - not top quality, but remember the source material!

    Another alternative - consider the cost of buying any new kit compared to the cost of replacing videos with cheap DVDs from any well known Jersey based retailer :)

  6. Mark Hartman

    Mini-DVD camcorder with analog-to-digital passthrough

    I'm in the middle of doing exactly what you're describing. Most newer inexpensive hard disc DVD camcorders have no analog-in, so I scoured ebay and found that most circa 2005 Canon mini-DVD models have a direct analog input and a passthrough mode that allows you to record VHS footage directly to your computer drive. That way you can edit, chapter and burn. I scored a basically new unit on ...blech...ebay...for around $90. A 300-gig drive to record material onto was another $100.

    Of course, the final edit is only as good as the source material, but chances are if you're converting old VHS home tapes, it will be good enough.

    For complete instructions, Macworld has a good article:

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Maybe Even Upscale...

    I haven't tried this, but it should work. Get a VCR with the highest level video out - maybe even component. Run it through an upscaling receiver. Denon has several. Then HDMI it to a DVD recorder, or maybe a Blue-Ray recorder to possibly get a reasonable 1080P. This last way is on my things-to-do list. I have many dozens of valuable family videos that I want to transfer in the best method possible, so the cost is worth it to me. Now, about my 8mm films...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    Most any DVD/VHS combi recorder will allow you to convert VHS to DVD.

  9. W


    It's admittedly messy and not "internal", but what about just plugging the RF output from a VHS into a cheapo analogue USB TV stick and recording to the PCs HDD?

    Gotta be a candidate for cheapest option, no? 10 years ago at uni, I used to run a VHS recorder & Sega Megadrive through a PII PC with a TV card to save on having an actual TV. Of course, the modestly sized 2GB HDD wasn't really up to the job of storing any meaningful amount of recorded video but playback was fine.

    Granted, it's never gonna be top quality, but it's VHS we're talking about here.

    Similarly, and contrary to my best space-saving intentions, scanning in my old photos and the cheap and cheerful job of plugging my 3.5" jack into the PC line in socket and MP3-ing my tapes and records are jobs that I'll probably never get round to doing. I'll probably just end up keeping the media packed away with a player and pulling 'em out once every 5-10 years for a old times sake.

  10. Paul Parkinson

    not possible

    It's pysically impossible to build a VHS deck that would fit into a PC without designing the PC around it...

    biggest available slot on the front of a PC would be a 5 1/4" drive bay, offer up a VHS cassette and you'll see the problem :P

    insert it sideways? - NO, the tape needs to wrap around the head so needs space to be unlaced from the casette - tends to make the "footprint" of a VHS deck about the same depth as the cassette is wide.

    Face it - whatever way you transfer from VHS to digital media will need wires and a VHS player.

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