How to Convert Commercial VHS Tapes to DVD on a Computer

By Fred Decker

Converting your VHS tapes to DVD will prevent further deterioration, and they'll take up less space
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For movie lovers with a significant investment in VHS films, the switch to DVD has been a mixed blessing. Many movies haven't been re-released on DVD, and videotapes lose much of their quality over time. Fortunately, the "fair-use" provisions in U.S. copyright law permit the creation of backup copies of your old tapes and conversion to DVD. With the addition of a few accessories, your computer provides you with everything you need to transfer most movies.

Step 1

Connect your VCR's audio and video outputs or S-Video output to the corresponding inputs on your computer's video card, if present. If your computer doesn't have a video card with capture capability, you can install a separate video-capture card or purchase an external video-capture device that plugs into your computer's USB ports.

Step 2

Run Windows Live Movie Maker -- note that Windows 7 does not include Movie Maker with the operating system; you'll have to download it from the Windows Live website (see Resources). From the "Import" menu, choose the "Video Acquire Wizard." This will locate your VCR and prompt you through selecting your import options. Choose DV-AVI as your file type.

Step 3

Advance the tape to the start of your movie and begin recording. Movie Maker will save the file on your computer in digital AVI format.

Step 4

Open Windows DVD Maker. Click "Choose Photos and Videos," then "Add pictures and video to the DVD." Click "Add Items," then browse for the file containing your movie and select it. Click the "DVD title" box, and add an appropriate title for your movie.

Step 5

Insert a blank DVD into the DVD drive on your computer. If you have more than one DVD-ROM drive, you'll need to select which one you're using. Click "Burn," and wait while the program creates your DVD. When DVD Maker displays a message saying "Your DVD is ready," close the page and remove your new DVD.