We spent more than 40 hours testing VHS to DVD converters to see how well they managed to switch those much-loved VHS tapes into DVD format, and our top choice was the Diamond Video Capture VC500. We especially liked its versatility and the various functions you can perform while preserving those prized tapes. Diamond Video Capture VC500 is easy to install and operate. When you buy this software, you also get PowerDirector, an excellent video editing application that lets you make improvements to your original video material. This also is the fastest VHS to DVD converter we tested since it could burn the content of a 40-minute video to a DVD in only eight minutes.
The Diamond Video Capture VC500 is uncommonly easy to use. In our testing, this program made it simple to access material on VHS tapes and do such things as start and stop a video capture and burn a disc.
We could easily capture video footage and edit it. Diamond Video Capture let us enhance the image’s contrast, hue and brightness; add titles, transitions and sound effects; eliminate certain footage that we didn’t want; add special effects and more.
If you want to copy and transfer the material on a VHS tape to a DVD, it won’t take long with this product: Our testing showed it took only eight minutes to burn a 45-minute VHS tape to a DVD, which was the fastest of any program we tested. And it lets you capture material from nearly any video source. It also lets you upload to the internet and save videos in six different file formats.
AVerMedia DVD EZMaker 7 is a budget-friendly VHS to DVD converter that includes a somewhat older version of a well-known video editing program, PowerDirector. EZMaker 7 is so easy to use that even if you aren’t especially computer savvy, you can capture old content and save it on DVDs.
However, before you burn any DVDs, you can use the tools within PowerDirector to take on such tasks as cutting away footage you don’t want, adding transitions, including titles and music, creating chapter breaks, eliminating noise, and fixing the color and lighting. This isn’t the latest version of PowerDirector, but you can still do a great deal to improve your original video material with the library of more than 500 special effects.
Then you can preserve the enhanced content of your VHS tapes by burning it to a DVD, and the process is quite fast compared to most converters on the market. Our testing showed it took 21 minutes to burn a 40-minute video onto a DVD, which is excellent compared to other converters. Unfortunately, the quality of the resulting DVD is not first-rate and you will see some flaws, but you nonetheless have saved those treasured moments you captured originally in a format that lends itself to long-term preservation.
The highly versatile Roxio Easy VHS to DVD 3 Plus software lets you capture video material and then provides ways to either burn it to a DVD or transfer the content to a PC and, from there, upload what you have to YouTube.
You also can transfer content to several kinds of mobile devices including an iPad, iPhone and Sony PlayStation Vita.
You can use this converter to record copyrighted content and make your own DVDs. In addition, you can capture and transfer a vinyl record collection to CDs and MP3s.
The Roxio Easy VHS to DVD 3 Plus also provides ways to add some individuality and flair to your personal video content by editing and improving it, and the resulting DVD will be quite high-quality with minimal flaws. You can add music and eliminate footage you don't want to keep as well as adding such things as special effects, transitions, titles and credits. If you want a more polished viewing experience, you can create a DVD menu and put in chapter breaks. In addition, you can make video files on your computer and export them, but unfortunately, you get a choice of only three video format options. Some other models we tested offer seven. One thing this Rozio model does that most other converters don’t is capture video material and burn it to a DVD at the same time. Our testing showed it took 40 minutes to burn a 45-minute VHS tape to a DVD, which is relatively fast.
Most Conversion Options
If you just want a plain video file of your VHS tapes, you should consider Manhattan Video Grabber. It has the most options for converting your footage into different formats – seven of the most popular, such as MP4, WMV, AVI, MOV, etc.
This is good because it’s not very effective at burning discs. In our tests, it took the better part of a day to burn a converted tape onto a disc – so we defiantly don’t recommend it for that. Our top choice takes less than ten minutes to perform the same task.
Additionally, the video quality on the test DVD we created was exceptionally bad. Our video experts noted significant distortion at the edges of the frame as well as blocking and pixilation problems.
Why Trust Us?
We have been researching and testing VHS to DVD converters since 2010 and have invested many hours searching for the best products on the market for you. We understand the value of homemade videos and the cherished moments they contain, and we know how important it is to keep them safe. In our research, we read manufacturer websites, contacted them with questions, examined new products within the industry and, most importantly, did hands-on testing to see if the marketing claims were backed by performance by each model we selected to test.
How We Tested
We invested more than 40 hours testing VHS to DVD converters, examining both the hardware and software that comprises each model we chose to test. We captured VHS content from a 40-minute VHS tape, tried the various editing tools that were included with each model and timed such things as how long it took to burn a DVD. We noted the various capabilities of each product, gave each a score and used our own methodology to calculate how we would rank each one. We also relied on our own experience with this kind of hardware and software to evaluate somewhat subjective things such as how easy each product was to use and the quality of the final DVD we made. In addition, we took into account how much customer support you can expect and how easy, or difficult, it is to get in contact with a company if you encounter a problem. From what we learned, especially from the testing, we produced a numerically ranked lineup of products that can help you choose the best VHS to DVD converter for your purposes.
How Long Do VHS Tapes Last?
If you're thinking about converting your VHS tapes to DVDs, don't delay. Over time, VHS tapes start to decay, thus lowering the video quality. In some cases, this deterioration can even prevent you from converting home videos to DVDs. According to ScanCafe, a company that offers photo- and video-converting services, VHS tapes begin to deteriorate after 10 to 25 years. Considering the last time a major studio released a movie on VHS was back in 2006, your home videos have likely already begun to deteriorate. If you don’t have the time or the equipment to digitize them yet, be careful about how you store them. Tapes kept in cool, dry locations are more likely to preserve longer, while tapes left in humid or extremely cold locations will probably deteriorate faster. The sooner you digitize your videos, the better they’ll be preserved.
Things to Look for in a VHS to DVD Converter
Capture & Customize
The best VHS to DVD converters not only let you move your video content to a DVD, but let you do it quickly and easily. We tested the hardware and software in each model we chose, and the first-rate models are intuitive and offer quite helpful editing options. These can actually enhance the quality of your original VHS material so it looks polished and professional. Some converters also can get past the copyright protections in commercially made VHS tapes so you can preserve your favorite movies, concerts, workout regimens and documentaries.
We tested converters by capturing the content of an old videotape and then burning it to a DVD, checking to see how long this process took. After that, we looked closely at the audio and visual quality of the resulting DVD, which helped us score and rank the products we examined. Along with the VHS to DVD transfer, we also noted whether an application lets you make stand-alone video files to use on a computer, upload to social media or enjoy on mobile devices.
How Much Do VHS to DVD Converters Cost?
VHS to DVD converters can cost anywhere between $30 and $80. Our top pick was the cheapest one we reviewed, so you definitely don’t have to spring for the most expensive to get the best product.
Help & Support
Sometimes making these video transfers, burning DVDs or undertaking other tasks with these programs can be a bit tricky. We looked for solid customer support to help you if any difficulties arise and gave top marks to companies that provide the most comprehensive assistance via phone, email, FAQs or a knowledgebase, and live chat.
Diamond Video Capture VC500
Diamond Video Capture VC500 gives you the ability to capture and preserve your VHS material, and the included video editor lets you improve the quality of the original material.
AVerMedia DVD EZMaker 7
AVerMedia DVD EZMaker 7 is easy to install and use, even if you are a bit unsure of your computer skills. It lets you easily capture and edit content and burn DVDs.