For this review I had my darling husband Greg give this product through testing and he wrote the review and posted videos on his blog, whyrendog.com. He is going to be reviewing and testing out electronics and audio/video equipment on his blog!
These are some videos made with Honestech VHS to DVD. I also just used the program to capture to mpeg then used Xilisoft Video Converter Ultimate to convert to AVI/DivX, and Camtasia to cut and convert to MP4. These are from the late 80s. The Honestech device did much better than I thought it would, although I also was limited to “good” quality rather than “best” otherwise I would not have a decent framerate. The sound quality turned out good, but I couldn’t get the Honestech device to work so I used an RCA to 1/8″ plug and had to run it through an Altec Lansing USB headset converter (not sure why but that solves all my headset problems and also solved this one). My downgrade to XP was most likely the cause for the Honestech device not working for the audio since there is always some hangup when you use XP and HD Audio on these newer ASUS mobos.
I immediately liked this product when I saw there were Youtube videos of people using them with a laptop and a VHS recorder and nothing else. The first thing I did was get a vcr that we weren’t using anymore (due to lack of audio outputs) so it is now a laptop stand!
The hardware is extremely easy to set up, but the audio was another thing. I will talk about that later.
The first thing I did was put in a tape of the Detroit Tigers 1984 World Series (game 1). It was pretty shaky and all over the place. So next I put in a movie to make sure it wasn’t the capture device and to my relief I could watch the movie fine. I noticed though, no audio was coming out.
I spent probably an hour on getting the audio to work. I switched to an RCA to 1/8″ audio plug and that didn’t work at first. I had to eventually use the the USB adapter that came with my USB headphones and select that as the device (Altec Lansing which appears as “C Media” in volume controls). Once that was in Windows, it was very loud at first, I deselected the advanced C Media capture option “AGC” whatever that is. Now everything works fine. To be fair, the whole reason I use the USB “gaming headphones” is because my mic inputs never seem to record or work with voice on my laptop. Might be because I downgraded to XP, who knows.
So I captured my first clip, a family christmas video from 1988. It looks almost exactly like the tape. I like that you can view and hear it in real time while it’s recording. I had to do a second take since “Best” video quality was a little low on the framerate. “Good” looked just as good to me, and was nice and smooth. I have an ASUS G50VT-X5 which is quite a fast laptop with high end video so I imagine many might be disappointed if they are thinking about doing the highest quality on anything less than a 2.13 GHz Core 2 Duo with 4 Gigs RAM and 512 MB DDR3 NVidia 9800m gs. My hard drive kept up fine also, but I have a 7200 RPM RAID setup that outperforms any PC I’ve ever had. But it looks like this is FINALLY something I can use. I’ve bought video capture cards, and external devices like this before and they NEVER work this good.
A successful capture is what I wanted, I already use other software for converting, editing, and burning but it is nice that it is all rolled into one. I tried out the editing software a little and it is simple drag and drop and pretty much everything that is included is fast and easy to understand. I am still impressed that the video just worked from the second I opened the program. You can watch VHS on your laptop without recording if you want. I imagine most audio setups will be much smoother. The included USB device is supposed to do the video and audio and I’m sure it works with most setups. Windows 7 support is a plus. A lot of my audio worked better with Vista and WIndows 7. But for many who have XP and motherboard audio, you may have to get a few things. The RCA to 1/8″ audio plugs are about $2 with shipping on eBay so I have a lot of those kinds of things laying around. The USB headset adapter that I used to get the audio input working comes with an Altec Lansing headset but you can get those for less than $20 unless you order from a clearance site like I did ($7 each for me on ThingFling).
Anyway, I’m still uploading videos and doing things with this 4 hours later. I’ve had some good cries seeing departed relatives again. Well worth the price and more.
4 out of 5 stars
I can attest that Greg has been spending many hours taking old VHS tapes from the 80′s and 90′s and converting them to digital format. He edits the tapes and then saves the videos in pieces for uploading. We’re getting our DVD’s this week through amazon so he is going to save these home movies to dvd for archiving. They will stand a much better chance of staying in ok shape on DVD then if we left them on VHS. Sound quality was already degraded on these tapes. We archived our wedding and reception video too and I feel so much better about it!
The VHS to DVD Deluxe 4.0 retails for 79.99 and you can buy the VHS to DVD Converter from Honestech.