What Is the Best Way to Transfer VHS to DVD?

By Darrin Meyer

One great thing about recordable DVDs is the ability to save your video collection without having stacks of tapes taking up space and worrying about loss of quality over time and losing your favorite movie when a tape breaks. There are a few different ways to transfer VHS movies to DVD, each involving different devices and equipment, but the fastest and most efficient method is with a VCR/DVD recorder combination unit.

VCR/DVD Recorders

VCR/DVD recorders can be found in major electronics retailers like Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target, and various online outlets as well. Prices for new models are usually $200 or more, so it is pricier than connecting a basic DVD recorder to your old VCR, but it can save the hassle of having another piece of equipment and set of cables to deal with. You'll also need recordable DVDs; keep in mind that they have a recording limit of two hours unless you purchase the more advanced dual-layer DVDs.


Connecting a VCR/DVD recorder is the same as connecting any other audio/video component--connect the cables (HDMI, component or S-Video or composite, depending on the options of the unit and your TV) from the output of the device to one of the TV's inputs. Also connect cables from the VCR/DVD recorder's input to an output of a cable or satellite receiver to record from that source. Select the VCR/DVD recorder's input on the TV to check the connection and monitor the recording.


Recording from VHS to DVD is quite simple with a combination device. Select the recording mode according to the quality and recording time desired. Insert a blank DVD and the VHS tape you want dubbed, and press "Play" on the VCR as you press "Record" on the DVD. To make things even easier, many models offer one-touch recording to start the process. Studio-produced VHS movies may not allow for a quality transfer due to built-in copyright protection. Consult the owner's manual for recording modes, settings and options for your particular model.