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Ask Slashdot: Which VHS Player To Buy? 201

stkpogo (799773) writes "I have several old VHS tapes that I'd like to digitize but my old VHS machine died years ago. What's a good VHS player to get so I can make nice clean digital videos from my old tapes before they're gone? I have a few TV -> USB adapters." How would you go about this, especially with tapes (like old home movies) you might be worried about sticking into a low-end VCR? And with what number of tapes does it make sense to outsource the digitizing?
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Ask Slashdot: Which VHS Player To Buy?

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  • by Hamsterdan ( 815291 ) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @04:08PM (#46909541)

    I did about 15-20 of them last year, some of them Macrovision protected. I used an Hauppauge PVR-150 capture card (didn't seem to mind Macrovision like my Theatre 550), or I could have used my video stabiliser.

    I used two vcrs. A really nice JVC from around 1986 (HR-830U) for most of the tapes with the PVR-150. for some of the tapes where I couldn't get audio from both channels (mangled tape), I used a Samsung VHS/DVD combo since that one allowed me to force left or right on both channels (but no manual tracking).

    Most important thing, be prepared to clean the machine quite a bit using a wet cleaning system, not the abrasive ones, as those old tapes could flake (or be dirty). For capture, I used DVD movie factory (came with an old burner) and Video Redo (trial) for commercial removal and editing. Figure about 2GB/hour on DVD Quality (not worth going higher since it's only VHS.

    If it's an old VCR, be prepared to replace straps as some of them might have dried out or decomposed / broken (like I'm about to do on the old Beta, one of them is slipping).

    As someone else said in the thread, some home movies might have issues with white balance, a video stabiliser is helpful to help fix that issue...

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first. -- Blaise Pascal