PROS / This VHS to DVD converter comes bundled with a full-fledged video-editing application that lets you edit and enhance your captured footage.
CONS / This VHS converter produced lower-quality discs than the other award winners in our review.
VERDICT / This hardware-software combo is hard to beat, but the quality of the end result leaves a little to be desired.
In our review of the best VHS to DVD converters, AVerMedia DVD EZMaker earned the Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award. It did so for many reasons, but chief among them is the outstanding software package that comes with the physical converter. CyberLink Power Media Suite has two programs that allow you to capture, edit and burn VHS tapes to DVD. It also lets you export your captured videos into stand-alone video files as well as upload them to sharing sites like YouTube and Facebook. And it does so in a way that is easy to learn and use, even for those with minimal computer experience.
Capture & Customize
The first thing you need to do with any VHS to DVD converter is install the drivers that allow your computer to recognize that your VCR is connected. Once that’s done, you can use the converter hardware with any software capable of capturing content from analog devices. This works for not only VCRs but also cassette and vinyl record players. Pretty much anything that has RCA outlets can be used with this device.
All of the VHS to DVD converters we reviewed come bundled with software that helps you capture and transfer your tapes into a digital format. This one comes with CyberLink Power Media Suite, which includes two programs: PowerDirector and PowerProducer. They’re not the latest versions of the software, but they’re still extremely useful, and not just for transferring VHS to DVD.
When you hook up your VCR to PowerDirector, it easily recognizes it. When the digitizing process is done, your converted footage appears in your media bin just like any other video file. Then you can drop it on the timeline and trim away extraneous footage, add transitions between clips, and set chapter markers for your DVD.
Most of the editing tools in the other VHS to DVD converters we reviewed are basic and minimal. PowerDirector, however, is a full-fledged video-editing program that can transform your footage from a bin full of clips to a professional-level video. This software has earned the top spot in our best video editing reviews for more than a decade.
The version of PowerDirector that comes with AVerMedia is a few years old, but it still has powerful tools. You can fix common problems in old, home-shot videotapes like shaky footage, extra noise and distortion, and you can even adjust the lighting and color of the picture. It also has a library of more than 500 special effects that you can browse to enhance your footage so you get exactly what you want.
When you’re done making your videos, PowerDirector allows you to build a menu for the DVD before you burn it. This is a great feature because it lets you program your DVD so it functions just like one you would buy at the store. It has several menu templates and thousands more user-created ones in its video-editing community, Director Zone.
You can use PowerDirector to burn your converted VHS tapes to a DVD. It works fast; it only took 21 minutes to burn a 40-minute DVD. Some of the programs ranked lower on our side-by-side comparison chart took hours to perform the same task.
One of the things that kept this product out of the top spot on our side-by-side comparison chart was the relatively low quality of the burned disc. Compared to the other award winners, this VHS to DVD converter produced noticeable edge distortion, digital blocking problems, picture tilt and frame rate issues. You can still watch and enjoy it, but you may be distracted by these imperfections.
PowerDirector also allows you to create stand-alone video files of your tapes. You can export your videos in six different formats, including AVI, MPEG-2, H.264, WMV, MP4 and MKV. You can also optimize your videos for playback on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. In all, PowerDirector has 21 optimization profiles for iOS, Android, BlackBerry and more. It also lets you upload your converted VHS footage to video-sharing sites like YouTube, Facebook, Dailymotion and Vimeo.
PowerDirector is only one of the programs in CyberLink Media Suite. You also get a copy of PowerProducer, which is exclusively devoted to making DVDs. It’s not as easy to use as PowerDirector, but once you learn it, you can dig deep into the creation of the exact DVD you want. It also has some tools that are convenient for VHS to DVD conversion, such as the ability to automatically detect and delete commercials. This is great if you recorded something from television and want to cut out the commercial breaks.
Help & Support
AVerMedia makes great products, but it doesn’t have all the technical and customer support options we look for. If you have an issue, you can consult the FAQs section on the company’s official website for an answer or open an email support ticket. However, you can't contact the company by phone or live chat, which would be very helpful when you need to speak to someone immediately.
Every VHS to DVD converter we reviewed comes with hardware and software, and both of AverMedia DVD EZMaker’s components performed excellently in most of our tests. You can use the hardware with any application that recognizes analog signals, and the included software does so much more than burn your VHS footage to DVD. PowerDirector alone is worth the price you pay for both it and the converter unit.