In a previous Tech Tip I listed three companies that offer video tape to DVD services. In each case, it cost about $25 per tape. Do you have a box full of tapes that you want to convert? If so, it might be more economical for you to do the conversion yourself. A colleague, Tim Lusk, wrote the following about his experience using a Sony DVDirect to convert VHS tapes to DVD:
I used a Sony VRDMC6 DVDirect [Update: This product has been discontinued]. It works great for transferring VHS tapes to DVD. Here is a basic overview.
The DVDirect is a great investment for someone who has VHS tapes that are going to run more than $200 for conversions. It has multiple connection choices for camcorders (USB, FireWire 400), SD cards and Memory Sticks, as well as Composite Video. I was able to easily connect a Panasonic VCR to it and quickly have things up and running to transfer the video. The LCD display was a great addition, as you could quickly view what you’re recording without having to guess where to start and end.
The DVDirect allows each DVD to be formatted prior to buring and gives roughly 60 minutes of recording time per DVD. (So, this isn’t meant to copy VHS movies over to DVD) The DVDirect is also smart enough to know when the tape is finished with the recorded content–I transfered a few school presentations that were 5-9 minutes long.
Once a DVD is finished with the transfer and you press the eject button, the DVDirect will ask if you would like to finish. By doing this it goes through a few steps to ensure that the DVD will play in a DVD Player. (NOTE: If you choose not to finish the DVD or cancel this request, the DVD will fail and will be wasted.)
Even though I did only a few transfers, I know that I could have consolidated the school presentations onto 1 DVD by swapping out the VHS tapes after a transfer and continue to hit record, allowing up to 6 10-minute presentations to live on 1 DVD.
I have yet to transfer the DVDs onto my hard drive, but the DVDirect definitely did what I was looking for.