Roxio Easy VHS to DVD for Mac

I haven’t touched a VHS tape in some time. It’s been so long that I had to dust off the old VHS player that’s been hidden in my old cupboard for several years just so I could test out this new product from Roxio. It’s called the Easy VHS to DVD for Mac. It comes with a USB capture device and cable ports for connecting up the video player to your Mac.

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Despite the irrelevance of VHS in today’s consumer electronics market, Roxio have come up with a product that serves an audience that is still relevant – those with archives of analogue tape from VHS or camcorder format. If you’ve still got previous memories stored on tape, it’s worth considering transferring them on to DVD or investing in a decent sized external hard drive for archiving this content. There’s nothing worse than losing an important part of your family history or special occasion such as a wedding to what I consider to be a miserable technology today.

The Roxio Easy VHS to DVD package bundles a USB to analogue adapter and a copy of Toast Basic (Toast 9 Basic) for an all-in-one solution to digitise your analogue tapes.

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Cable connectors that come in the box plug into the USB adapter and provides audio, S-Video and Composite connections for attaching any analogue audio and video source (such as a VCR or analogue camcorder). You will still need your own set of cables depending on what you’re connecting for it to attach so make sure to check that you have these. If you’re working with a camcorder, you probably have the yellow composite cable already and if it’s a VCR, then you’ll either have bought one at some point in the past or you’ll need to get one.

Setup on the software end is really simple. It’s a drag and drop installation as it is with most Mac software and then just run the Easy VHS to DVD application. The application launches in wizard format and walks you through some basic diagnostics to make sure that the video and audio connections can be detected. Quality settings come in five formats with a maximum of 720 x 556 at 8Mbps. A useful option for bulk recordings gives you the ability to automate the recording process so that it stops after a pre-determined period of time (e.g. 60 minutes).

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Recording quality is as good as the output, since everything is digitised in its original format. This means you can capture, store and share these recordings in a digital format that will easily exceed the lifetime of an analogue tape.

After the video capture is complete, you’re presented with options for exporting the video to Toast for burning, iMovie for editing or QuickTime for playback. And that’s the whole process from start to finish. There’s no complicated procedures or the need for extra software, conversion or adapters. Roxio has put together a simple package for accomplishing what used to be quite a difficult task.

2009-07-14 Onwah Tsang

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