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Thread: Have a Media Center, how do I tranfer my VHS to my computer?

  1. #1
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    Default Have a Media Center, how do I tranfer my VHS to my computer?

    Hi, I just recently bought a Sony Viao (sp?) Window's Media Center. This thing is enormous, and it has a lot of interesting hardware including front and back AV ports. Sadly, this computer has been giving me hell ever since I brought it home! Nothing seems to work the way it's supposed to, almost all of the pre-installed software isn't working right, and it just seems to be flawed.
    My biggest concern right now is getting one specific feature of this thing to work - I want to transfer video from my VHS tapes onto my computer. I'm a big fan of a few specific TV shows that have been kicked off the air (stupid reality TV phenomenon!) and want to put my precious episodes that I've recorded onto my computer then onto DVD. I have NO idea how to do this! (I can do the "onto DVD" part, but can't figure out the "to my computer" part)
    I've looked through all my software and did not find any program that would allow me to do this. I have Adobe, Window's Movie Maker, and I recently downloaded Movie Mill and Window's Encoder based on someone's recommendation, but I still can't figure out how to do this.

    Thanks in advance!
    -Droganzundt
    From Beneath You, It Devours

  2. #2
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    Before you start the software side, you ned to ensure you have the hardware connected up properly. Can you describe how you're connecting your VCR to you PC?

  3. #3
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    I'm connecting my VCR to my computer through AV cords (the red, white, yellow cords; are they called something else besides AV cords? I'm not so good with the computer lingo). My computer has imput and output spots and my VCR has both input and output spots as well. I've tried connecting my VCR's output to my computer's inputs with a 2-way AV cord.

    So, what would be the next step? I've already tried every program I can think of to catch the footage - I've tried my preinstalled Movie Maker, my downloaded Movie Mill, and my preinstalled DVgate. None of them seem to be able to catch from my AV inputs; I think that they all think that I'm trying to connect a digital camcorder to my computer, not a VCR. I'm so confused! Am I going about his all wrong? Do I need a different kind of connection, or with this way work with the right software?

    Thanks again!
    -Droganzundt
    From Beneath You, It Devours

  4. #4
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    I went to Sony's Vaio webpages to see what the multimedia PC has. And I see it's set up for digital video and not analog, darn it.

    So digitizing your analog VHS library is going to take more hardware. there are several devices to do this, but deciding which to use depends on exactly what you intend to do with the results.

    If you just want to make DVDs quick and easy with no fancy menu effects or video effects, it's hard to beat the new, low cost direct video to DVD stand alone boxes. They're under $300 now at Walmart. But there is a caveat, they will not copy Macrovision copy protected commercially produced VHS tapes. And sometimes home recordings can trip the copy protection filters.

    Another route, that's not nearly as easy but should work for all VHS tapes, is to use a Hauppauge PCI bus PVR-250 TV card. It has external video input (composite) that works with VCRs and doesn't react to the Macrovision. It also has a hardware MPEG2 compression chip that takes the load off your PC's processor. The resulting files can then be edited and a little special effects added then used with a DVD authoring program to make the final files needed for a DVD. (You don't want to edit MPEG2 files too much, each edit requires decompressing and recompressing and adds a lot of distortion each time.)

    Last, and probably the most appropriate for your computer, is an external video to firewire/DV converter, like Canopus' ADVC100. This will let you use the DV software that came with the Vaio to do all the editing and authoring.


    POST EDIT ---

    I rechecked their webite and eventually followed a bunch of different links that led to something called the 'Giga Pocket® Personal Video Recorder' that is available for the Vaio. It comes with hardware and software. See if you can find that software on your Vaio. If it's there, then that's what to use.
    Fav quote - "Experience is whatcha don't get 'till ya don't need it no more."

    System - Athlon 1.4GHz, Win98, Hauppauge PVR250 receiver and compressor.
    Software -Magix Movie Edit Pro 10, Nero 6 + NeroVision Express, Moho 4.61, PSP 8.1, Bryce, Quicktime 6.52 pro, Goldwave 5, DVD-Lab.
    Cameras - Panasonic GS9, Canon ES8400V, Canon EOS D20 and Canon A70

  5. #5
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    Wow, thank you! You have already been a million times more helpful than any salesclerk or Sony online help person has ever been! I really appreciate it!

    "Giga Pocket" sounded really familiar, so I looked for it on my Viao but could not locate any software under that name. Grrg! This is so extremely frustrating!

    I bought this computer from Circuit City and the computer department manager was the one that sold it to me. I made sure that I thoroughly researched the latest computers to see what I wanted and to see what was available; I actually originally planned on buying a (much less fancier) Dell with some added hardware that I hoped would allow me to transfer my VHS-recorded shows onto a computer then onto DVD. But, at Circuit City they were having this incredible sale on the Sony Viao Media Center, and I was dragged into buying it from all the fancy features (TiVO! An 8x DVD Burner! A fancy Printer/Copier/Scanner with purchase!).
    I tried to make sure, though, that it would do exactly what I wanted it to do. I repeatedly asked the salesperson about the transfer VHS thing, and I also asked him some other stuff too such as whether or not I could hook up a videogame system to the Viao and use the Viao as a screen, and whether or not I could capture music from videogames and/or TV shows. He told me that I could do all of these things.
    I can't!
    I breaks my heart - all this fancy hardware, fancy software, an insanely large price, and friggin' AV ports - and it can't do what I was told it could specifically do. Maybe my mistake was not asking if it could do all these things automatically, without additional stuff. I feel so betrayed!

    The most depressing part? This thing can capture from digital cameras and digital camcorders like nothing else can. And I don't even own a digital camera or a digital camcorder! That's what this thing was apparently made for! I feel like I really should not be owning this thing.

    Sorry about the rant. Was it my mistake in buying this computer, or does this kind of thing happen to a lot of people? Do salesclerks often lie about these kinds of things, or was a matter of me not being bold/specific enough? I know that I should have researched this computer a lot more; I didn't research it that much before I bought it because I had already spent many hours scouring for information and computers online, and I thought that I had found "the one".

    Well, is there possibly another kind of device or maybe a special VCR that I could buy that would allow me to do what I want to do without any more pricy hardware? Also, this is really bugging me - what the friggin' heck are the AV ports used for then?
    Thanks so much for all your help!

    -Droganzundt
    From Beneath You, It Devours

  6. #6
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    You're welcome!


    Ok.. Your Vaio may still be able to do the job but Sony and their dratted obfuscated and convoluted interface website design make it almost impossible to find out how. I did a lot of searching on Google.com to find if other people have had as much trouble and it seems they have. There is a forum just for Vaio owners, created by Vaio users, to handle people with your situation (and get away from Japanese Marketing Weenie think) -

    http://p200.ezboard.com/bunofficialsony
    Fav quote - "Experience is whatcha don't get 'till ya don't need it no more."

    System - Athlon 1.4GHz, Win98, Hauppauge PVR250 receiver and compressor.
    Software -Magix Movie Edit Pro 10, Nero 6 + NeroVision Express, Moho 4.61, PSP 8.1, Bryce, Quicktime 6.52 pro, Goldwave 5, DVD-Lab.
    Cameras - Panasonic GS9, Canon ES8400V, Canon EOS D20 and Canon A70

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    14

    Default VHS To Computer

    I appreciate it is another expense but I have recently purchased
    DAZZLE FUSION, which connects to your computer via USB. and using the relevant red /white/yellow cables connect direct to the VCR. The only problem I had was that I had to purchase a SCART input/output adaptor as my VCR didnt have an output. I can now download VHS tapes with no problem using the software (pinnacle studio) supplied. The cost of the dazzle fusion was £48,
    Hope the above is of some help

    Reg G
    Reg G

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