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VHS Tape, Cam, to DVD Options?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
My winter project.... I am looking for options to convert old VHS, VHSC, and Sony Digital 8mm to DVD. I used to have a LiteOn All Write in my HT rack that was really useful, but it bit the dust several years ago. Back in the summer I almost picked up a Sony DVDirect at Best Buy, now I am kicking myself because they are suddenly nowhere to be found, except for almost double retail. It also seems that DVD recorder units are getting harder to find in stores. I recently picked up a used JVC S-VHS player that is in really good shape. Now I need to find a good DVD recorder.

What would you all suggest for around $200 range?
post #2 of 8
Consider a Magnavox MDR535 with hard drive and DVD burner....it is excellent....lots of info on AVS forum.....sells at WalMart.com.
post #3 of 8
If you are copying a lot of tape to dvd, is it possible you may want to do some editting, combining scenes, resquencing, etc? If yes, forget the Magnavox, get a Panasonic EH59 from B&H, about $350 new, or spend a little time watching for a used one in the $200+ range. The Panasonic has the best dvdr editting capability on the planet; learn to use the PLAYLIST function. You can collect scenes from anywhere on the hdd, multple times if you wish. Earlier Panasonics had good editting capability, but the later ones kept adding additional covenience features. The B&H price for a new (import) is good; I paid $400 or more, sometimes much more for some of my earlier machines, used! Check J&R also for occasional used recorders.

The Magnavox is good for recording, and has a digital tuner, unfortunately useless for your tape copying project. The Magnavox editting is primitive, basically allowing deletes of scenes from a title. Period. Deletes are final. Multiple titles cannot be combined into one title on the dvd. You can, of course, record several titles onto the dvd as long as there is room, but they retain their individual title identity.
post #4 of 8
While I am no expert, I suggest you check out the forum on the various Magnavox DVR's.
I have a 515 and am very pleased with it.

The forum is huge and is loaded with info.
Models vary by size of their hard drive.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the recommendations. I don't really think I will need a unit with HDD capability, I really have no desire to record SD Cable broadcasts. The Panasonic unit with editing sounds intriguing but is to expensive for my project. I have a USB dongle with video inputs that is about 10 years old. I used it a few times back then with an old Windows XP PC. It was so frustrating, I would edit, go through all the steps and then it would crash, or if it didn't it would literally take all night to burn a DVD. I tried the dongle with my newer PC but the software company doesn't make a usb driver for Windows 7 for it. Anybody know a work around?

I've been looking at a Toshiba DR430. It has all the inputs I need and its only around $100. Its just a simple stand alone player/recorder, but it should fit my needs.
post #6 of 8
I personally wouldn’t use a consumer 10-year old USB tongle. Some of those old consumer USB units tend to go out of audio/video sync and can drop frames like crazy, leaving jumps and blank screens from unstable home tapes. Although some folks report good luck with such units so there must of been decent ones available. Maybe someone can recomend a good one.

If you think the Panasonic HDD/DVDr or even the Magnavox HDD/DVDr is overkill for your needs – the Toshiba non-HDD recorder sounds like a better bet than an old USB tongle. It would be tough for me to go with a HDD-less recorder but you obviously have diferent needs and priorities.

Of course the new USB capture cards like the Hauppauge 1212 don’t suffer from ill effects but again probably over-kill for your needs and you need a powerful enough PC.
Edited by Super Eye - 1/7/13 at 8:23pm
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terminator840 View Post

My winter project.... I am looking for options to convert old VHS, VHSC, and Sony Digital 8mm to DVD. . I recently picked up a used JVC S-VHS player that is in really good shape. Now I need to find a good DVD recorder. What would you all suggest for around $200 range?

"If one word does not suffice, 10,000 are of no avail."

I will risk it one more time.

What is on your tapes? Are they home movies, family occasions, recordings off the air, or are they commercial feature tapes? Your mention of VHSC suggests it may be a mixture, a hodge-podge of all kinds of "stuff'.

If they are all, or nearly all, feature tapes, that is, complete, ready to go one tape on a disc or two tapes on a disc, then a non-hdd recorder may be adequate.

Just this fall, a couple of my step-daughters brought about 18 VHS tapes, many recorded in EP, plus one VHSC for which I did not have a cartridge, so on that one I ended up splicing the tape onto the end of a tape in a regular size cassette. I spliced at 45 degree angle, hoping that would yield less risk to the playback heads than a butt cut. Anyhow, I found duplicates, tv recordings, some good stuff mingled here and there.

I just recorded it all, one hdd title for each tape, (that records in real time, you know), and when one of the daughters came back later, I let her choose what she wanted and where. With the hdd, she could fast-forward up to 300x.

She weeded out what she didn't want to keep, left a couple for her sisters to decide, and recorded what she wanted to disc, 2 hour disc in about 15 minutes.

With the Panasonic it is very easy to pull things together from the various titles on the hdd. You can't do that with the Magnavox.

If your tapes are well behaved, that is, ready to go unchanged to dvd, then go for the least expensive you you can find.

Concluding remarks: I don't know of anyone who regretted getting a hdd recorder. B&H has the best price I've seen in a long while, $325 for a new Panasonic EH59, free shipping. Or watch for used for around $250 (plus shipping).
post #8 of 8
I fully agree with Richard on this. Never has anyone on this forum ever reported regreting getting an HDD equipped DVD recorder. Many though, who have said that they would never need it, have come back muttering that they can't imagine how they ever got by whout one.
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