Dan wants to get a VHS to DVD player. Leo says that analog VHS is really low in resolution. It's only standard definition at 480 lines, and it's interlaced. We're now at 10 times that. But on an LCD screen, they are dimmer and scan progressively. The DVD side is 480p. It's a little brighter and the LCD screen tries to upscale the resolution. It improves it, but there's only so much he can do. It's really just old technology and it's time to move on. The reality is that VHS and DVD are both going away as most people are preferring streaming media now.
Tony wants to digitize his VHS home movies, but he's not very tech saavy. Leo says he can get a VHS to DVD recorder, but if he's going to do it, why not digitize them and then edit them down? Then he can burn them to DVD. Leo recommends Adobe Premiere Elements.
Bob has been trying to digitize his old VHS home movies and he's getting some jitter. Leo says that it could be that his computer isn't powerful enough, but it could also be the device he's using to capture the video. External USB 2 devices aren't as fast, especially for higher quality video. And it'll compress it greatly.
If you have old VHS video tapes, it's a good idea to convert them to a digital format. There are services that will convert these tapes for you, and send back a DVD, which may be the easiest option. ScanCafe.com will convert VHS, VHS-C, SVHS, Hi8, Digital 8, and MiniDV to DVD for $19.99 per tape. This is also a good option if you're dealing with Hi8 tapes and don't have a playback device.
John bought a 60GB hard drive to rip VHS tapes and digitize them, but they won't play on most of the computers he's tried. Leo says that file size could be an issue. There's a 2GB and 4GB barrier and he'll need the most recent version of Windows 7. The other problem could be the codec John used to encode the videos. Leo recommend VLC VideoLan Client. Leo also suggests reformatting the drive to NTFS so he can play the larger file sizes.
Roseanne doesn't watch TV and her new iMac doesn't have an optical disc player in it. She'd like to watch both her DVDs and her VHS tapes. Leo says that DVDs are just the VHS tapes of today. The real trends are towards streaming online via services like Netflix and Hulu+.
Panasonic makes a dual drive machine that will enable him to play the VHS Tape while he presses record on the other side. If that's what he wants to do, he'll have to do it soon before they stop making those devices.