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WHS: Convert VHS tapes to a Digital format

Have you got VHS movies? And you want to preserve those special memories in a digital format on your home server? Here you go. You will need some hardware before you do anything:

  • A Windows Home Server computer
  • A video capture device, such as a Personal Video Recorder or a TV tuner.  If you do need to buy something, this is a good time get a TV tuner.  One that will handle both analog and digital signals would be preferable for future use.  In the U.S., I do not believe that you can even buy an analog-only tuner any more.
  • A VCR or VHS player.  If yours is gone, you could always go down to your local Wal-Mart (U.S.), or equivalent budget store, and buy one.  For some reason, they are real cheap these days…
  • RCA cables and adapters to complete the bridge between your VCR and your capture device.  The adapters are usually included with the device.
  • A DVD burner (optional)

You will also need some software:

  • Video capture software. This is usually included with your capture device.  I wasn’t impressed with the software that came with my tuner, so I used the Media Import component of Roxio Easy Media Creator.
  • Video editing software. Again, there will usually be something included with the capture device.  In my case, I found Windows Movie Maker to work quite well for my needs.  It is also free, as it is included as part of the Windows installation.
  • Viewing software. Windows Movie Maker, Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center (MCE 2005, Vista Home Premium or Ultimate) are programs that are included with Windows.

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