If you want to quickly convert your VHS tapes to digital, you may use a VHS to digital converter, also called a VHS digitizer.
So, you want to save your VHS tapes before they degrade permanently?
Instead of sending them over to a tape-to-digital service, you can convert them to digital yourself.
Assuming you have a VHS player, you yourself can convert your VHS tapes to digital. Especially if you have dozens of tapes to digitize.
Not only will you save money, but you’ll also have more control over the conversion.
With a little video editing know-how, you can cut out a portion of a captured video, add effects, and transitions and even replace the audio with a new track.
In this post, we shall look at how to convert VHS to digital with a computer.
All you need is a USB VHS converter. Such a converter would be well within your budget these days.
Why Use a USB VHS to Digital Converter?
You can conveniently use such a converter. Computers, whether laptops or desktops, come with USB ports.
All you have to do is plug the USB end of the converter into any spare USB port. You don’t have to open up your desktop computer casing to install the converter.
There are many types of converters out there. This post will help you choose the best one that will suit your needs and budget.
What is a VHS Digitizer?
A VHS digitizer takes a video signal from a VHS player and converts it to a digital format like AVI or MP4.
The signal is converted from analog to digital in the converter. This digital signal is then captured by a software program installed on your computer.
Once the digital signal is captured, you can edit it.
If the VHS tape has already been edited, you can burn it to a DVD. You may also upload the digital file to a video-sharing site like YouTube.
Types of VHS Converters
There are basically two types of VHS digitizers.
The first type requires you to use a computer with a USB connection.
The second type allows you to convert VHS to digital without a computer. It captures VHS directly to a flash drive.
What to Look for When Choosing a VHS Converter
What type of analog connections does a VHS converter have? A standard VHS digitizer comes with RCA or composite ports.
Do you have a VCR with an S-Video out port? It could be a VHS player or most likely an S-VHS player or VCR.
Using an S-Video connection, allows you to capture a higher-resolution video.
A composite connection offers you 240 lines. Using an S-Video connection, however, won’t improve the quality to 400 lines.
S-Video minimizes signal loss. You’ll see improvement in the quality of the video captured.
Computer Operating System
You would need at least a computer running Windows 7 to use a VHS digitizer.
If you have an older operating system like Windows 98 or Windows 2000, you may have a problem.
Most of the converters out there will support a Windows system. However, not all are compatible with a Mac computer.
If you foresee working with both systems, choose one that works with both.
Some of them work with Mac computers as well.
Video Capture Software
As mentioned earlier, you need video capture software installed on your computer to record VHS to digital.
If you’re buying a new digitizer, you don’t have to worry about it. The software comes bundled with the video converter in the form of a disc.
You may not have computer disc drives to use the program CD. In this case, you may download it from the manufacturer’s site.
If for some reason you can’t access the manufacturer’s software program, you may use a free VHS to digital software program.
A good one you can use for free is OBS Studio. It’s highly recommended by users of USB video capture devices.
That said, here are the top VHS to digital converters you can use.
With the Elgato VHS to DVD converter, you don’t have to worry about what your video source is.
It could be NTSC, SECAM, PAL or even PAL/60.
Elgato will recognize it and convert it to digital.
Elgato comes with RCA, S-Video and SCART inputs.
Video is captured at a resolution of 640 x 480 in either the 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio.
This VHS to digital converter works with Windows and Mac.
For Windows, you would need Windows 7 or later. For Mac, it would be Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later.
Video is captured in H.264 or MPEG-4 over a Mac.
Over a PC, it would be H.264.
Audio is captured in the AAC format.
Learn more about the Elgato VHS digitizer.
UCEC works very much like the Elgator VHS digital converter.
No software installation is needed if you’re using a Mac. You can use the QuickTime Player.
Open QuickTime Player, go to File – New Movie recording and you’re good to go.
This VHS-to-digital converter comes with complimentary RCA cables that you can use to connect your VCR or camcorder to it.
Check out the UEC VHS to Digital Converter.
If you don’t mind a conspicuous piece of hardware sitting on your table, check out this VHS to digital converter.
It comes bundled with its proprietary Studio HD software program. You can use it to capture video from VHS players and analog camcorders.
You can then edit the footage, and export it to a digital file.
A drawback of this device is it doesn’t work with all versions of Windows.
It works with Windows but only with 64-bit versions of Windows 7. 8, 10 and 11.
So, if you have a 32-bit version of Windows or a Mac computer, you can forget about getting this VHS to digital converter.
Video inputs supported are RCA and S-Video.
Check out the Pinnacle Dazzle VHS Digitizer.
With the Roxio VHS to digital converter, you can get down to converting your VHS tapes to digital in no time.
All you have to do is connect the converter to your computer’s USB port. Then download the required software from the Internet.
The software should be able to detect your video capture device and the AV signal that flows through it.
In case you want to convert your VHS tapes to DVD, two blank discs are included with your purchase.
You may use an S-Video or an RCA connection.
You may also output your captured video in the DVD, ISO, MPEG2, or AVC (H.264) formats.
With a disc burner, you may copy the video to a standard DVD or a mini DVD.
The bundled software may not be suitable for video editing. However, it works well when capturing video.
This VHS to digital converter has been tested to work with the free Virtualdub2.
Roxio works with Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8 and Windows 7 SP1, However, to use MyDVD, the bundled capture software, you would need to run a 64-bit version of Windows.
Check out the Roxio Easy VHS to Digital Converter.
Fret not if you have an older Windows computer.
DigitNow VHS to digital converter works even with Windows XP and Vista.
It works with Macs (10.14 and below) as well.
Video is captured in the AVI, MPEG2, or MPEG4 formats.
NTSC, SECAM, PAL and PAL/60 video TV systems are supported as well.
You can also convert your LPs and audio cassettes to MP3 with this converter.
The unit comes bundled with RCA cables.
Check out the DigitNow VHS to digital converter.
With VidBox you get to choose three options – PC and Mac, Mac or PC bundle.
You can use this unit with Windows 10 or Windows 11.
With a Mac, version 10.12 or higher is supported,
The PC version outputs video in the MPEG-2, MP4 and DVD formats.
For Mac, only MP4 is supported.
You may capture from NTSC, PAL and SECAM tapes.
Video resolutions available are 720 x 480 and 640 x 480.
USB and RCA cables are supplied, to get you started right away.
Video capture software is included.
Check out the VidBox VHS to Digital Converter.