Why Buy a VHS to DVD Converter?
The top performers in our review are Diamond Video Capture, the Gold Award winner; Roxio Easy VHS to DVD 3 Plus, the Silver Award winner; and AVerMedia DVD EZMaker, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing a product to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of these 10 VHS to DVD converters.
In today's world of high-definition streaming services, digital downloads and Blu-ray, it's easy to forget that the obsolete VHS tape once dominated the home entertainment market. If you wanted to watch movies, TV shows or other special programming at home, you either had to wait for them to air on broadcast television or go to a video store like Blockbuster or Hollywood Video to rent or buy them. Now VHS has been relegated to the realm of nostalgia.
It wasn't just high-budget Hollywood blockbusters that made up VHS collections. Home movies recorded on VHS camcorders captured millions of hours of personal and family moments – and you can't download those from iTunes. It's a high probability that you still have at least some of your VHS library stored in a box or a closet somewhere. And unlike today's advanced formats, these tapes will not last forever. The magnetic tape that contains all that footage will slowly degrade until they're no longer watchable.
Fortunately, you can save your videotapes from this fate by digitizing them with VHS to DVD converters. These products allow you to transfer VHS not only to DVD, but also into digital video files that you can store on your hard drive, upload to the internet, and share with your friends and family. Once you transfer your VHS videos to a digital format, they have a whole new life, one that will outlast the tapes they were originally carried on – and you can finally throw out those obsolete cartridges and VCR. Be sure to check out our articles about converting your videos to DVD format and more.
What to Look for in VHS to DVD Converters
We tested, rated and ranked the best VHS to DVD converters on the market today. Below are the criteria we considered in our evaluation.
Capture & Customize
Each product on our lineup comes bundled with software that allows you to transfer VHS to DVD. We tested each VHS converter program to determine how intuitive it is and how easy it is to access and use common functions like starting and stopping the capture process, editing footage, creating DVD menus, and burning a new disc.
Many commercially produced VHS tapes are copy-protected, which means that you can’t transfer them to DVD. The best VHS to DVD converters have the ability to circumvent these protections so you can digitize the tapes you’ve bought and paid for. This is especially useful if you have movies or shows that aren’t available on DVD or other home media.
The editing tools in these VHS to DVD converters allow you to trim away unwanted footage, as well as add effects, transitions titles and more. The best VHS converters give you the ability to add chapter breaks and DVD menus to your conversion. These features allow you to give your converted discs a professional look and feel, as well as access converted footage quickly and easily.
We used each VHS converter on our side-by-side comparison chart to make a new DVD of an old VHS tape. Our video experts then examined the results and compared the quality of the audio and video against the source tape. They looked for imperfections in the video such as pixelation, motion blur and artifact. Each program was then given a grade from A to F based on this evaluation.
All of these VHS converters must capture the footage in real time as it plays on your VCR. However, each converter program burns discs at different speeds. We timed how long it takes each product to burn a new disc from a converted VHS file. The best programs can create a new disc in less than 10 minutes. Lesser programs can take over 14 hours to burn a single disc.
The best programs we reviewed can do more than simply transfer VHS to DVD. They also have the ability to create stand-alone video files that you can use on your computer, upload to the internet and watch on your mobile devices. Some of the converters in our review can even optimize your conversion for playback on a specific device like a smartphone or tablet.
Help & Support
Transferring VHS tapes to DVD can be a complicated process. The best products offer technical and customer support options to help you with any problems you might encounter. Most common problems can be solved by consulting the FAQs or knowledgebase section on the converter’s official website. The best manufacturers also allow you to contact them via email, phone and even live chat. These avenues help you use your VHS converter to its fullest potential.
Our Verdict & Recommendations
At the end of our evaluation, we found the following programs to be the best VHS to DVD converters you can buy.
Diamond Video Capture comes bundled with a copy of the award-winning video-editing program PowerDirector, which does far more than simply capture your videotapes and burn them to a DVD. You can also use it to create complex video projects, complete with titles, transitions, effects and more. The quality of the burned discs is the best of all the products on our side-by-side comparison chart.
Roxio VHS to DVD 3 Plus is a software-hardware combo that Roxio specifically designed to convert VHS tapes. It walks you through the conversion process step by step and eliminates the guesswork. This is a great program that anyone can use, even if they have only limited computer skills.
AVerMedia DVD EZMaker not only comes with a copy of PowerDirector, but also PowerProducer, an advanced tool for constructing professional-level DVDs. While burning discs with this software isn’t as straightforward as it is with PowerDirector, it’s definitely worth learning if you want to create a more advanced VHS to DVD conversion.
In the world of home entertainment, there's no such thing as a permanent format. Some new tech will always come along and replace what came before. Fortunately, VHS to DVD converters give you the ability to preserve the past and bring it into the digital age. And once it's there, you can burn discs, share your videos on social media and basically save your tapes from obsolescence.