PROS / The hardware component of the package is easy and intuitive to use.
CONS / The software component is sub-standard, stopping and starting without interaction from the user.
VERDICT / The hardware is great for transferring VHS tapes to DVDs. However, you should find better software to capture your footage.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from viewing as part of this site because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
VHS tapes are quickly fading into history, but we all have stacks of old videos on VHS in our closets, waiting to be given new life. Some are movies that haven’t been re-released in a digital format, some are old TV shows that aren’t around anymore and some contain precious memories or home movies that we can’t bear to part with. The answer to this problem is VHS to DVD converters.
The Gigaware VHS to DVD converter is an interesting case; on one hand, the hardware is the definition of plug-and-play ease of use, while the software is a massively unstable, unworkable mess. The converter device itself can be used with almost any system and almost any piece of software. The included software makes Windows ME look user friendly. If the software even performed parts of its job well, this product would rank much higher on our matrix. As it stands, however, we can’t recommend this converter because of the horrendous software that comes with it.
The only saving grace keeping this device on our list of the top 10 VHS to DVD converters is its wide range of compatibility with other software and overall ease of use. The device is fantastic; you’ll have no problems using the converter itself with almost all generic video capture or editing software.
Simply connect the RCA cables to your VCR and the USB cord to your computer and you're ready to start converting your VHS tapes into a digital format. That is, after you install the software. This is where we ran into many problems.
The software included in the box alongside the Gigaware VHS to DVD Converter is the ShowBiz DVD 2 application from ArcSoft. By any standards, this software is subpar. It suffers from numerous problems, including poor performance, limited functionality and overall poor design. Fortunately, the hardware portion of the Gigaware VHS to DVD Converter is not proprietary to this particular software application.
The biggest gripe we have with ShowBiz DVD 2 is its stability issues. The application contains no less than five reproducible crash bugs. It's hard to imagine that any self-respecting software company would release an application as unstable as ShowBiz DVD 2.
Another problem we had with the software portion of the Gigaware VHS to DVD Converter is its slapdash editing features. The controls are counterintuitive, and capturing video using the software is problematic at best. Editing chapters and scenes is nigh unto incomprehensible.
The good news is, as we mentioned before, that you don't have to use ShowBiz DVD 2. The hardware component of the Gigaware VHS to DVD Converter is compatible with nearly any application that is capable of capturing video.
If you choose to buy the Gigaware VHS to DVD Converter, we recommend tossing out the software in the box and buying a better capturing and editing solution. TopTenREVIEWS provides great options that get the job done. Head over to our video editing comparison and review page to see those products.
The Gigaware VHS to DVD Converter is available both at Radio Shack retail stores and online. It's truly a tale of two products, one of which is not worthy of the other. The hardware component is a great piece of technology; however, the software it's chained to throws an anchor on the package's usefulness.