Saturday, August 1, 2009





It’s a good bet that you’re probably like many other people with a VHS or Betamax tape collection looking for an easy way to preserve tapes to DVD. How to do it, and at what price? ROXIO, the makers of Toast and many other useful software programs, recently introduced EASY VHS to DVD in a MAC and PC edition. Both systems work basically the same way. Since I’m a MAC person, I tested the MAC version.

The kit consists of a USB capture device with composite, S video and stereo RCA audio connections, USB extension cord, plus capture software and a basic version of Toast. Toast is a ROXIO program that makes burning a DVD, on your DVD burner-equipped computer, a snap. Toast is not supplied with the PC version.

Once the operating software is installed, simply plug the capture device into a USB 2.0 port on your computer. The software automatically detects NTSC and PAL sources, so no selection is required to determine the TV standard. When a deck, camcorder or other analog video device is plugged in and the software is selected from the application’s folder you will be directed to a step-by-step setup checklist that allows you to see and hear the source you have plugged in. After everything is verified to be working, you will be asked how long a segment you wish to record and if you would like to automatically stop at that preset time limit. This is a great feature and worth using since video downloads utilize very large amounts of hard drive space, and should you be distracted during the recording process, you won’t fill up the drive. You are also given the choice of quality, standard (1.8 GB per hour), or high quality, (2.7 GB per hour), that are MPEG-2 recordings. The next step is to start the playback of your source material and to start the recording process. Once the recording is completed you have three choices: send to Toast for immediate burning of a DVD; edit with iMovie software which came installed in your MAC, or Creator for PC, and not included in the ROXIO kit; send to QuickTime Player for creation and immediate playback in the QT format, handy for adding to iTunes and then syncing to your iPod or iPhone. If you opt to quit the program in a MAC your movie file will be found under users/name of hard drive/movies/Easy VHS to DVD capture. On a PC look for the file MY VIDEOS.

The use of this kit is so easy and quick, especially since you can make DVD’s without the use of complicated editing software, that copying your analog library becomes a breeze, even for the novice. Prior to purchasing either package be sure to check the system requirements at the ROXIO web site to insure your computer is up to the task.
I give the EASY VHS to DVD system three thumbs up. ROXIO products are available at retail locations and on-line. For more details go to

MSRP: $79.95 (MAC version) and $59.95 (PC version)

Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer who may be contacted at or