The Best Way to Convert VHS Tapes to DVD

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As VCRs become more difficult to find, more people are seeking to convert their VHS tapes to DVD. Doing such a conversion will allow you to continue viewing your home movies long after the VCR has exited the consumer electronics market. You can go about converting your VHS tapes to DVDs in several different ways. Directly connecting your VCR to a DVD recorder is the simplest and best.

Things You'll Need

  • DVD recorder
  • 2 sets of composite (yellow-red-white) video cables
  • Connect your VCR to your DVD recorder by plugging one end of the composite video cables into the AV Out plugs on the VCR and the other end of the cables into the AV In plugs on the DVD recorder.

  • Use the second set of composite cables to connect your DVD recorder to your television. Connect one end of the cables to the AV Out plug on your DVD recorder and the other end to the AV In port on your television.

  • Turn on the television and switch to the A/V channel. Power on the DVD recorder, making sure the DVD menu appears on your television, and set the DVD recorder to its A/V In channel. Turn on the VCR. If you made all your connections correctly, the VCR menu will appear on your television screen.

  • Insert a blank DVD into the DVD recorder and your VHS tape into the VCR. Press "Record" on the DVD recorder, and then press "Play" on your VCR. When the segment you wish to record is complete, press the "Stop" button on the DVD recorder.

  • Repeat Step 4 as many times as necessary to convert your entire VHS collection to DVD.

Tips & Warnings

  • Organize your VHS tapes prior to conversion. Doing so will ensure everything gets recorded in your preferred order and nothing goes missing.
  • The default settings on most DVD recorders will allow you to record two hours on one DVD. You can modify this setting, allowing as little as one hour per DVD or as much as eight hours per DVD. Just note that more hours on each disc correlates with reduced audio and video quality.
  • Prior to converting all your videotapes, create a test disc. You can use the test disc to confirm that you connected everything properly as well as test the quality of different recording settings.
  • When you finish recording, return to the DVD recorder's main menu and finalize the discs. Finalizing allows the DVD to be played in other DVD players or computer drives.
  • Other ways to convert VHS to DVD include sending the tapes out to be professionally converted or recording to your computer. Giving your tapes to a professional is the easiest method, but it is also the most expensive. Recording to a computer allows you greater freedom in editing, but it also requires special hardware and software to complete the task.
  • Photo Credit Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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