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VCR to PC Hookup


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VCR to PC Hook up

Want to transfer your VHS tapes to DVD? Want to watch TV on your PC or record TV to hard disk? For about $70 you can get a video capture card, software and cables or a video capture device which will allow you to hookup a VCR and/or TV antenna to your computer.

Video Capture Card for PC

How To Install a PCI Card in your computer

Cable Types and connections

There are all kinds of capture cards with all kinds of connection options. Some video capture cards have Firewire ports or USB ports or S-Video ports. Get the one which matches your hardware/software setup and will do the job you want to accomplish. Some cards come with a TV tuner and/or FM tuner for watching TV on your PC. Some have RCA phono input jacks which will be easy to hookup to your VCR. Many are PCI cards, so if your computer has an available PCI slot, and the software that comes with the card is compatible with your computer's operating system, all you have to do is install the card into the computer, load the bundled software, connect the VCR to the card with audio/video cables, play your tape in the VCR and record/capture on the computer. Video takes up large amounts of disk space so be sure you have enough free space.

Video capture card with TV Tuner

See Hauppauge TV tuner and video cards

Look on for video capture cards and also, look for Pinnacle, Plextor and Canopus products.

FEATURES you will want to look for in a video capture card:

- Full motion display @ 30fps
- Resizable video window from free size to full screen
- Full screen display: resolution up to 720x576
- Full motion video capture up to 30 fps
- Video capture format: AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2
- Video capture size: up to 720x576 (AVI)
- Interface : PCI 2.2
- Composite video input
- Audio input
- Outdoor antenna or cable TV connection

System requirements

- Pentium III 500MHz or higher processor
- 64MB of system memory recommended
- Windows 98 SE / Me / 2000 / XP with DirectX 8.1 or higher
- DirectX 8.1 compatible VGA card


Enables you to watch live TV / Video, recording full-motion videos , and snapshot the still images. You can record the video as VCD format , MPEG or AVI files on your PC.

Editor for digital video editing capability to your PC.

Encoder allows you to convert AVI files into MPEG 1 or 2 files.

VCR to PC Connections

Depending on which inputs your capture card uses, connect the appropriate cables from the VCR to the PC. Most standard VCRs have RCA phono style video jacks (yellow) and audio jacks (white and red). Connect a RCA video cable from the VCR video output to the PC capture card's video input. Connect a RCA audio cable from the VCR audio output to the PC capture card's audio input jack. Some capture cards may not have audio inputs, so try to use your sound card's audio input.

Once you have installed the capture card and software, connected the VCR to the capture card with audio/video cables and started the capture software on the computer, insert your video tape in the VCR, hit PLAY on the VCR and hit record/capture on the PC software application. The video will be converted to digital format and stored as a file on disk. Once you have the video on disk you can run software to "burn" a DVD if your PC has a DVD writer. If not you can add one.

Another option if you have a digital camcorder is to copy from VCR to camcorder and then from camcorder to PC by using the USB port or the Firewire port on the PC. Digital camcorders typically come with software to capture video from the camcorder to the PC. There are also DVD burners which you can connect directly to a digital camcorder to create a full-sized DVD without the need for a computer. Sony is one maker.

For a hookup diagram see: HDTV basic setup

Hookup Diagrams

See also:
PC stereo hookup
Windows Sound Recorder
VCR Recording
VCR to PC connection external

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