How to Buy a VHS-to-DVD Converter

By James Clark

Now is the time to convert your old videotapes to a longer-lasting digital format. As VCRs become obsolete, it will be harder to find the equipment necessary to convert the old analog signal to a digital format for recording on media such as DVDs. The key to this transformation is converter hardware, which you can purchase online and at electronics stores.

Step 1

Shop around for your best price on a VHS-to-DVD converter. All of the products accomplish essentially the same task--converting an analog signal to digital. Some models process analog signals faster and thus cost more.

Step 2

Decide what you really need and how many tapes you wish to convert. Inexpensive converter models have RCA-type audio/video plugs on one end of a cable, with the converter box in the middle and a USB jack on the other end. This type is for a VCR-to-computer connection. The downside is that you'll need additional cables and time to transfer the audio-video data from the hard drive of your computer to a DVD recorder, on which you can then burn a DVD. The only alternative is to convert VHS tapes to a computer with a built-in DVD burner.

Step 3

Buy a converter with RCA-type composite plugs on both ends if you want a direct connection between the VCR and a DVD recorder.

Step 4

Look for converters that come with enhancement features such as software to reduce noise on old VHS tapes and to stabilize and color-correct the video image.

Tips & Warnings

  • If money is tight, you can get a VHS-to-DVD converter for less than $100 online and at most electronics stores.
  • If you can spend more, consider buying a VCR/DVD recorder combo unit, which will allow you to copy videotapes onto DVDs with one component and no external connections to other equipment. The hassle-free recording environment may be worth the extra money.