How to capture VHS & 8mm analog tape to MPEG 2 (under $300)

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Linda Donovan, Jun 15, 2004.

  1. Where can I find an AVI-to-MPEG2 hardware converter for $300?

    On the consumer (not commercial side) say under 300 dollars,
    is there a hardware conversion box existing that I can connect
    my 8 mm camcorder & digital (USB DV in/out whatever that means)
    and VHS tapes (so I can convert my entire collection to DVD)?

    All I want is to play from the VHS deck or camcorder and hook
    into this hardware thingey which would then output streaming
    MPEG-2 audio/video digital compressed files suitable for DVD.

    Once I have MPEG2, I think I can figure out how to save it
    to my ThinkPad disk to then burn on to my new Yamaha DVD burner.

    All the boxes I looked at so far at Good Guys & Best Buys
    (Pinnacle Studio MovieBox DV, Avermedia DV, etc) seem to
    create AVI files (but I want the hardware to create MPG2).

    Where can I find an AVI-to-MPEG2 hardware converter?
    Please help me.

    Linda Donovan
    Linda Donovan, Jun 15, 2004
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  2. Linda Donovan

    JR Guest

    this is really easy

    can you connect your camera to your computer with a firewire cable?
    JR, Jun 15, 2004
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  3. Linda Donovan

    Adam H Guest

    Where can I find an AVI-to-MPEG2 hardware converter for $300?
    I am not a big fan of consumer hardware MPEG2 encoding, so I hate to say
    this... the Hauppauge PVR cards can be picked up for a lot less than $300,
    typically from $100-200 depending on the model, and they produce an...
    uuurrrggg... acceptabe quality MPEG2 encode you can burn straight to DVD.
    Adam H, Jun 15, 2004
  4. Linda Donovan

    J. Clarke Guest

    I don't think you're going to find a hardware device made for the purpose of
    converting AVI to MPEG2. That's normally done with software and the
    software works fine.

    It sounds like you'e looking for a device that takes an analog input and
    captures direct to MPEG2. If that's what you're looking for then the
    Hauppauge PVR-250 would be your best bet I think. However be aware that it
    is MPEG2-only, it cannot be made to capture uncompressed video--the chip it
    uses has compressed output only.

    If you need an external box, rather than a board then take a look at the
    J. Clarke, Jun 15, 2004
  5. Linda Donovan

    Rich Guest

    If you have a digital video camera it should be able to output via Firewire
    or i.Link or IEEE 1394. Then you can transfer from your camera to your PC
    via a Firewire or i.Link or IEEE 1394 cable ($20 to $30) with free software
    such as WinDV or Microsoft Movie Maker (Do you have an XP system?). That
    will leave you with an AVI file. Assuming you have a firewire card in your
    PC, if not you need one ($20 to $30). Now you need to determine if you want
    to edit that file or just make a DVD. The DVD authoring program will take
    the AVI file and burn it to DVD.

    Here's the Sonic my DVD and Power DVD sites:

    There is plenty of software and many opinions. Power DVD has a free trial
    download, I'm not sure about Sonic.

    I would not reccomend trying to use USB

    Rich, Jun 15, 2004
  6. Linda Donovan

    luminos Guest


    DV is compressed.
    luminos, Jun 15, 2004
  7. Linda Donovan

    GMAN Guest
    GMAN, Jun 15, 2004
  8. Linda Donovan

    luminos Guest

    luminos, Jun 15, 2004
  9. Linda Donovan

    Adam H Guest

    Adam H, Jun 15, 2004
  10. There is an external box available which takes analog video (S-Video, or RCA
    connectors), connects to USB2 and produces MPEG2 files or burns directly
    DVD. It also includes software to edit (cut, add titles, author) the MPEG2
    It is AverMedia's EZ-DVD Maker USB2 and costs about $50. If USB2 is not in
    the PC a card can be bought for about $8.
    Ingeborg Mann, Jun 15, 2004
  11. Linda Donovan

    Ken Maltby Guest

    I AM a big fan of consumer hardware MPEG2 encoding. Unfortunately
    the OP also wants to "capture" and convert Digital Video, I know of no
    card or box that will do hardware MPEG encoding from both an analog
    and a digital source (at the consumer level at least).

    For the analog captures any Philips A/D and Broadcom Encoder
    based card or box, like the older (not now in production) Adaptec
    VideOh! AVC-2000 or the Snazzi Bali III (early ones used that chipset);
    can produce excellent results, with Movie Mill software.
    (the Broadcom Chip is the one used in the Series 2 Tivo units)

    There are settop DVR DVD recorders that will input both analog
    and DV. In terms of ease of use that may be your best bet. The
    main drawback is that they lack editing capability ( at least those
    I've seen), certainly the ones without a hard drive (those closest to
    your $300) couldn't provide any editing capability.

    Ken Maltby, Jun 15, 2004
  12. Linda Donovan

    luminos Guest

    The new Matrox hardware will, I believe. For discount it is $900, however,
    and retails for around $1,200.
    luminos, Jun 15, 2004
  13. Linda Donovan

    Jan B Guest

    "Any editing" is a perhaps a too general statement.
    There are +RW recorders that can trim a recording and remove (hide)
    parts and add chapter points with the same presision as can be done
    with an authoring program like TMPGEnc DVD Author. That is they both
    cut with a resolution of a GOP which is like 10 frames or so.
    I find it useful, although not perfect.
    Jan B, Jun 15, 2004
  14. Linda Donovan

    Ken Maltby Guest

    Good to hear, and I hope they keep adding to that
    capability. Even without editing the OP's goals might be
    met. The standalone DVR makes utmost since for copying
    VCR movies, where you want the whole thing as it is. ( The
    only problem might be with the VCR version of Macrovision.
    That can be defeated if necessary with a add-on device.)

    Do you know if the combo DVD/VCR machines enable the
    Macrovision both ways, I am pretty sure they do from DVD to
    VCR, but wonder about from VCR to DVD?

    Ken Maltby, Jun 15, 2004
  15. Linda Donovan

    David Chien Guest

    Where can I find an AVI-to-MPEG2 hardware converter for $300? is one of many places where you can find such. has lots of info on this.

    The =easiest= way is to simply buy a <$300 DVD recorder deck, put that
    on the TV, hook up camcorder, and press record. Simple as that, no PC
    required, and it works great for all analog input sources.

    Lots of choices here on


    Another way is to buy a cheap DV/Digital8 Camcorder with analog
    pass-through to DV cheap off and elsewhere & a <$20 firewire
    PCI card for the PC. Many such sales at Fry's Electronics and other
    places can get you one in this <$300 price range.

    The advantage? They let you convert any analog source to DV format,
    which can easily be converted by the software included with your Yamaha
    DVD burner (usually MyDVD or similar) to a DVD. =And=, you can use the
    newer digital format for future recordings that are already
    ready-for-conversion and use on the PC in the standard DV digital video
    format. Digital8 is nice because it will play your 8mm tapes, too.

    (Hmmm, must be a really new DVD burner - which model? Don't see any
    under their listing on the website...)


    Another way is to get any of the encoding boxes (by Snazzi, ADS, etc.),
    transfer the camcorder video to MPEG-2 (or DV) format on the PC, then
    burn the video file to DVD with the usual lot of DVD creation software
    (almost all of them will take both MPEG-2 and DV formats and make a DVD
    from that).

    Some of these boxes, like the Plextor ConvertX boxes don't need a
    Firewire card, just the standard USB 2.0 port on most PCs, eliminating
    the need to buy more hardware.

    These Plextor ConvertX boxes also give you the advantage of converting
    directly to MPEG-4 (commonly the DIVX subset) format, besides MPEG-1/MPEG-2!

    What's the advantage of MPEG-4?

    1) You can burn them to cheaper CD discs. (Often free after rebate
    when on sale; see -> hot deals -> search for

    2) You can play them on the latest DIVX/MPEG-4 compatible DVD players
    on your TV easily as well as on PCs. (eg. a great one is the Philips
    DVP642 DVD/DIVX/SVCD/VCD/MP3/JPEG/CD player selling for $69 at Walmart
    and - open tray, 7 8 9 OK 0, close tray for all region code
    playback; no at all)

    3) You require far less storage space to save these videos on disc or
    hard drive.

    4) For most viewers, about the same visual quality on TVs when played
    back vs. DVDs when files are properly encoded.


    Another way. Any analog TV tuner card with analog input eg. WinTV or ATI
    All-In-Wonder cards for the PC. You feed video into the card, video
    goes to MPEG-2/DV files on the HD, which then can be burned to DVD. The
    older models, eg. ATI AIW 128, go for <$30; the newer ones about $100 or
    so for the cheap models.


    lots of other ways, see


    The simplest? If you don't want to hassle, simply get the DVD recorder
    deck, plug camcorder in, insert disc, and press record. No PC required,
    and simply enough that anyone can use it in minutes flat. The time you
    spend getting the other options running will far exceed the few minutes
    you spend attaching cables and AC on a DVD recorder deck.

    (ie. in 10 minutes, you can go from box to TV top to everything's
    hooked up and recording the very first tape with a DVD recorder. The
    other methods? You'll barely be finished reading the first chapter of
    the setup manual.)

    After that? Plextor ConvertX is a good choice. The PX-M402U converts
    to all popular formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4/Divx) live, requires only
    the standard USB 2.0 port found on most modern PCs, and is easy to
    use, with all the software you need to edit and burn the videos to disc.
    David Chien, Jun 16, 2004
  16. Linda Donovan

    BWL Guest

    I bought a Pinnacle video capture card, bundled with Pinnacle studio 8 movie
    software, and never did get it to work (I didn't try it out until about 3
    months after I bought it, so I couldn't return it...), and tech support was
    Anyway, after researching a little bit harder, I bought a Plextor ConvertX
    PX-M401U external digital video converter (I think it was between $150 &
    $200 through I connect with USB 2, but it's done an excellent
    job. I had several home movies of the kids I wanted to make DVD's of, and
    this worked to a tee. I would recommend it 100%.
    Oh, and Pinnacle studio 8 didn't want to work with the Plextor unit, so I
    used WinDVD Creator 2, which worked fine.
    BWL, Jun 16, 2004
  17. Linda Donovan

    daorriss Guest

    I have the Pinnacle Moviebox product. It will do MPEG file creation,
    you just have to activate the feature. Activation is free. And,
    might I add, works great...
    daorriss, Jun 16, 2004
  18. Linda Donovan

    daorriss Guest

    I'll agree with you on the Dazzle product, but the Moviebox Deluxe
    product has worked very well for me and I would recommend that to

    The only reason I tell people to avoid Pinnacle products is because if
    they *don't* work, you're screwed - Pinnacle tech support is a
    complete joke...
    daorriss, Jun 16, 2004
  19. Linda Donovan

    David Chien Guest

    I'd pick plextor instead of the dazzle & pinnacle products, IMO, too.
    David Chien, Jun 16, 2004
  20. Linda Donovan

    Guess Who Guest

    Go to, they have lots of products that will fulfill this
    need. I had purchased Snazzi III DVD Movie Mill about 1 1/2 years ago, and
    it captured very good quality video, when it worked. The problem with the
    card is the drivers and software were very buggy.
    Guess Who, Jun 18, 2004
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