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VHS tapes deteriorate over time, but A VHS-to-DVD converter machine can preserve those precious videos in digital form. While the era of VHS tapes is long gone, many of us still have VHS cassettes containing important memories. A VHS-to-DVD converter can help rescue those images before they fade away completely. But VHS-to-DVD converter machines are not made equal, so you need to get one that fits your specific needs. To help you decide, we’ve curated this list of the best VHS-to-DVD converter machines for a variety of users.
- Best overall: Elgato Video Capture
- Best budget: Pinnacle Dazzle DVD Recorder and Video Capture Device
- Best for mac: Diamond Multimedia VC500MAC
- Best for windows: Roxio Easy VHS to DVD Converter
- Best commercial: Diamond Multimedia VC500ST
- Best recorder converter: JVC VHS to DVD Recorder
Things to consider before buying a VHS-to-DVD converter machine
Before you dive into this conversion process, it’s important to manage your expectations. While these machines will rescue your footage, they can’t magically upscale your shots to pristine HD. Some machines will do a better job than others, however.. If you use the best VHS-to-DVD converter machine, you won’t lose resolution and may notice an improvement in image quality. And by converting from VHS to a higher-resolution format, your content doesn’t degrade every time it’s played. Here’s what to consider when shopping for the best VHS-to-DVD converter.
Most VHS-to-DVD converter machines come with RCA and S-Video connectors to link to a VCR and a USB port to connect to a computer. However, some camcorders and VCR players use a SCART connection and may need a connection converter. Before buying a VHS-to-DVD converter, check if it’s compatible with your VCR or computer. If you’ll be using it with your computer, make sure it’s specifically designed for the operating system.
Whether you’re looking for the best converters to digitalize documents and photos or to convert your VHS tapes to DVD, they should come with the tools needed for the job. Ensure the kit contains a converter, connection cables, and conversion software. Also, the converter machine should be compatible with your video player and computer.
Conversion software capabilities
The bulk of your workflow experience will stem from the software. The hardware mostly just provides a simple direct connection between two devices. The most basic software should be able to convert video files from one format to another. Higher-quality converters come with software that can customize and edit video files. The software can improve video quality and resolution, add special effects, and edit commercials. It can easily convert copy-protected VHS tapes to DVDs.
Video file formats supported
Whether you want to move VHS videos to a DVD or save the files on your computer, the converter should support the file formats. It should support popular file formats for importing, editing, and exporting video and audio files. Most VHS to DVD converter software supports MPEG-2, MP4, and MPEG-4 file formats. H-264 compression combined with storage in the MPEG-4 file format is the best combination in the industry today. You want to avoid any wacky proprietary formats that some companies may offer because you won’t be able to play back your footage down the line if the company no longer offers or supports its software.
Since conversion takes place in real time, a 45-minute video recording will take at least 45 minutes to convert. Burning the content to a DVD takes several minutes more. The conversion speed mainly depends on the computer hardware, but a low-quality converter and subpar software can affect conversion speed as well. That may not matter if you’re only converting a small collection of tapes. But, if you’re trying to digitize a huge library, you’ll be glad you spent a little extra to get a faster solution.
Best VHS-to-DVD converter machines of 2023: Our picks
Best overall: Elgato Video Capture
Why it made the cut: It’s compact, easy to use, and novice-friendly. It works with both Windows and macOS and converts footage from VHS and DVD.
- Inputs: SCART, S-Video, RCA,
- Outputs: USB 2.0
- Compatible with: Windows 7+, macOS 10.6.8+
- High-quality, near-original transfers
- Easy to use
- Small, compact, and effective
- Can digitize video from various analog players
- Can’t burn to DVD
- Lacks advanced editing and customization tools
The Elgato VHS-to-DVD converter machine is our top pick for several reasons. It supports S-Video, SCART, and RCA inputs and transfers footage from several legacy media players like VCRs, DVD players, and camcorders. It’s also compatible with the latest versions of macOS and Windows.
The transfer quality is excellent. Audio and video footage closely resembles the original. We also love that the device is easy to use and comes with step-by-step instructions. Once a transfer is complete, you can use the software to trim the beginning and end of the video to remove any unwanted content. You can edit it in iMovie or another video editor, then upload it to online services such as YouTube.
However, you’ll need a third-party tool to burn footage to DVD as the device misses this crucial feature. It also lacks advanced editing and customization tools, and you will need a video editor to add transitions, effects, and audio. Still, this will leave you with a high-quality digital file that you can use for a variety of purposes.
Best budget: Pinnacle Dazzle DVD Recorder and Video Capture Device
Why it made the cut: It’s one of the best VHS-to-DVD converter options you’ll find on the market today. Its Studio HD software allows you to capture analog video, edit it, and output it to a variety of formats.
- Inputs: S-Video and RCA
- Outputs: USB 2.0
- Compatible with: Windows 7+
- Supports major file formats
- Transfers video from several analog players
- One-click video upload to YouTube or Facebook
- Feature-packed conversion software
- Software isn’t beginner-friendly
- Additional cables and adapters needed
- Slightly low-quality video transfers
This is a sleek device with RCA and S-Video inputs. S-Video offers higher quality than composite video (RCA) because its conductors separate the black and white and color signals. An RCA connection transfers both audio and video signals. S-Video is used in legacy products due to its ability to only carry video.
The Pinnacle VHS to DVD converter can connect to most analog video sources like VHS, V8 cameras, and game consoles. It also supports popular analog video formats and exports footage directly to DVD or other digital formats.
You’ll have to get RCA or S-Video cables to connect this device to video sources since it lacks one in the box. To use the converter, install the software, plug in the connectors, and let the devices synchronize. From there, capturing and converting videos will be easy. It’s worth mentioning that the converter’s outdated drivers slow down the installation.
You may find the software complicated the first time you use it. But once you get the hang of it, you can trim videos and add titles, effects, transitions, and change the audio track. Get creative and share your videos across devices or upload them to YouTube and Facebook.
Best for mac: Diamond Multimedia VC500MAC
Why it made the cut: A high-quality build and powerful converter software make this one of the best VHS-to-DVD converter machines. Experts and novices will both find it easy to use.
- Inputs: S-Video and RCA ports
- Outputs: USB 2.0
- Compatible with: MacOS X- 10.9 and later versions
- Captures videos from almost all analog video players
- Easy to set up and use
- Powerful conversion software
- The hardware is compatible with other video editors
- Doesn’t work with old Macs
- No instructions are provided for using the software
If you’re looking for the best VHS-to-DVD converter machines for Mac, this is a great option. It captures videos from almost any analog source and transfers them to DVD or digital formats. It spits out high-grade footage that’s loyal to the source material.
The conversion software’s editing tools provide creative options along the way. It also makes sharing videos to YouTube and Facebook relatively simple. The software outputs video files in AVI, MPEG-2, H.264, WMV, MP4, and MKV formats. These file formats play well on multiple devices. You can also use the hardware with other video capture applications without compromising quality and video file compatibility.
But it should be noted that the diamond vc500 USB 2.0 one-touch VHS-to-DVD converter is not compatible with older Macs. Also, you’ll have to figure out how to use the software as no instructions are provided.
Best for Windows: Roxio Easy VHS to DVD Converter
Why it made the cut: It’s fast, easy to use, and transfers files with a few clicks. It supports videotapes and audio cassettes.
- Inputs: S-Video and RCA
- Outputs: USB 2.0
- Compatible with: 64-bit Windows 7,8,10, and 11
- Easy to use
- Advanced editing tools
- Quality transfers
- Fast conversion speed
- High video resolution—up to 1024 x 768
- Software sometimes has compatibility issues
- Poor customer support
If you own a Windows PC, we recommend the Roxio Easy VHS to DVD Converter. It can capture video or audio content from any player so long as it connects to it. It also works with any video capture software that recognizes an audio signal.
The VHS-to-DVD converter machine for Windows is easy to use. Connect it to your computer and install the software and you’re good to go. As long as you have the right player, it will convert old videotapes, audio tapes, vinyl records, and MP3 CDs.
You can use the conversion software to clean and edit fuzzy tapes. Balance color, correct lighting, and remove visual noise from aged tapes. You can also add DVD menus, new audio tracks, rolling credits, and transitions. It records, converts, and burns to DVD simultaneously.
The Roxio Easy VHS-to-DVD Converter has one major downside: it’s not compatible with older Windows versions. Some users have also complained that it abruptly shuts down and that Roxio’s customer support team isn’t very helpful.
Best commercial: Diamond Multimedia VC500ST
Why it made the cut: This standalone video converter can accept video from any source with RCA or S-Video outputs without the need for a computer.
- Inputs: S-Video and RCA
- Outputs: USB Flash drive, HDMI, SD card
- Compatible with: Any video source supporting S-Video/RCA connection
- Can record and skip unwanted scenes without creating multiple files
- The clear screen displays videos being captured
- Comes with video editing software
- Captures from multiple video sources
- Easy to use
- Produces files in MP4 format only
- No storage devices included
The Diamond Multimedia VC500ST takes video conversion to a whole new level. It doesn’t require a computer to turn your analog videos into digital files. As long as the video player can connect via component or S-Video output, this converter can change the video to an MP4 digital file. But it doesn’t burn videos directly to a DVD.
The converter can do more than convert VHS tapes to digital files. It can record TV shows from cable set-top boxes and record as you play on gaming consoles. You can watch the footage directly on the 3.5″ LCD screen or connect the device to a bigger screen via the HDMI port.
The VHS-to-DVD converter records ready-to-edit or play video files to an SD card or USB Flash Drive. If you use it to record TV programs, you can schedule recordings daily, weekly, or on a per-need basis. You can use video editing software to edit the recorded footage on a computer. The software lets you convert the recorded footage to other file formats as the device only records in MP4.
Best recorder converter: JVC VHS to DVD Recorder
Why it made the cut: It’s a multi-format DVD recorder and player. It plays both videos and MP3 CDs with great audio playback.
- Inputs: Component video and audio
- Outputs: HDMI, component video output (DVD only), S-Video, Optical digital audio
- Compatible with: DVD-Video, DVD-R/W, DVD+R/W, CD, CD-R, CD-RW, MP3, and JPEG files
- Very easy to use
- Remote control adds convenience
- High-resolution and low-distortion playback
- Multi-format playback capabilities
- Sometimes audio and video get out of sync
The best VHS-to-DVD recorder converter lets you back up your existing VHS collection to more modern media, keeping your precious videos safe. You can transfer any media from VHS to a blank DVD.
The JVC VHS to DVD Recorder comes with all the features you need to convert VHS videos to DVD easily and successfully. Its standout features include progressive scan, time-link recording, and multi-format DVD playback. It also has several connectors to output video and sound to your TV and sound system.
The progressive scanning feature scans the entirety of the footage before dubbing. This gets rid of the scar lines typical of interlaced videos. Progressive scanning presents a much higher-quality image for each individual frame. The HDMI output allows for high-resolution low-distortion playback of converted videos and audio files. Multi-format capabilities allow this converter player to play and write movies, music, and images in various formats.
This model provides one-touch VHS-to-DVD conversion. You only need to put in a videotape and a blank DVD and hit the dubbing button. This device also works with VHS C tapes, but you’ll need a videotape adapter to play them. But it’s not perfect. There have been a few complaints that the recorder sometimes dubs files with the audio and video out of sync.
Q: How much does a VHS to DVD converter machine cost?
A VHS to DVD converter machine costs between $50 and $1,500. The retail price largely depends on the kit’s features and conversion software. The most expensive VHS to DVD converters are also recorders, like the JVC VHS to DVD Recorder. However, you can get a decent converter for less than $100.
Q: How many VHS tapes fit on a DVD?
A single-layer DVD that can hold 2-3 hours of footage can fit three 2-hour VHS tapes. Double-layer DVDs with 7-8 hours run time can hold 3-5 VHS tapes. The number can vary if you factor in file size change due to edits and customization.
Q: Is it better to convert VHS to DVD or digital?
It’s better to convert VHS tapes to a digital format than burn them to a DVD for two reasons. First, digital file formats have better video resolution and can offer HD quality. Secondly, DVDs are getting phased out and fewer of them are produced yearly. As a result, DVD players and writers are also disappearing. If you own a modern computer, you may need to get an external writer to watch your DVDs.
Q: How long does it take to convert VHS to DVD?
Converting a VHS tape to DVD takes about one to two hours. If it’s a simple conversion, factor in the tape run time for computer recording and add a few minutes for burning to DVD. Conversion may take longer if you need to edit, remove commercials, and add special effects.
Q: What is the best quality VHS to digital converter?
The best quality VHS to digital converter is the Elgato Video Capture. It boasts excellent video transfer quality and is novice-friendly. It can connect to any analog player with RCA, S-Video, and SCART outputs and is also compatible with recent Windows and macOS versions.
Q: Are VHS movies copy protected?
Yes, most commercially produced VHS movies are copy-protected. But you’re not prohibited from making a backup copy of any movie you bought and own, so long as you keep the original. However, it’s illegal to sell or distribute the copies you make. Generally, these devices are best used to back up home movies and other personal footage.
Final thoughts on the Best VHS-to-DVD Converter Machines
If you have old VHS tapes you’d like to watch, convert them into digital format and relive the memories. Finding a VHS-to-DVD converter machine isn’t hard, you just have to know what to look for. Get one with quality conversion software that delivers results easily and quickly.
To prepare this roundup of the best VHS-to-DVD converter machines, we compared the best products from different manufacturers. We checked their ease of use, conversion quality, speed, connector options, software, compatibility, and the video formats supported.
To write honest evaluations, we pitted the converters against their peers to see how well they performed. We relied on a combination of personal experience, editorial reviews, user feedback, and spec comparisons.