How-To Guide: Convert Analog to Digital

Most of us have boxes of photos, not to mention slides from the 1970s, sitting in the garage. And what about those VHS tapes that you never threw away? Even worse--if you owned a camcorder in the 1990s you probably have dusty old tapes from that as well. If you've ever thought about how to save that stuff from extinction, we've got the guide for you. Check it out on Tom's Guide.

We checked out a bunch of scanners--including slide scanners--to see which works best for photos, negatives, and slides. We tried to find the best balance between price, quality, and ease-of-use. We also looked at different software titles (at various price points) for converting old video tapes from analog to digital.

Do it for your family: Save that analog junk before it goes bad, and turn it into digital gold.

  • dingumf
    ugh. I have that exact same Pinnacle thing in the picture and Pinnacle software is horrible.

    Keeps crashing, buggy as hell
    One of the best ways to convert old VHS tapes is to do what i have done for years. Get a DVD recorder (home theater stand alone type) hook up the audio and video outputs directly to the inputs on the DVD recorder press play on VHS hit record on the DVD recorder. Use XP mode for the DVD conversion for best video results. If you have a recorder that does DVD ram you can do above process then with the ram disc you can make clean edits then burn ram disc to regular dvd-r. This does require 2 machines to do though but end results are worth it for special projects or archived memories.
  • IzzyCraft
    Ionno why i would a computer enthusiast who reads this and is well versed in how to take apart and modify a computer not just use an internal capture card like from hauuppauge or another company that uses that same old composite or s video inputs for that same price it's not like i need multiple inputs and uncompressed video and audio at a professional level like something from Blackmagic.

    Although not as easy quality and flexibility of use is a tad more important to me when it comes to replicating video and audio.
  • I do much the same as PLATTERMAN. VDR to TiVo and then over the home network to my PC, where I edit and burn to DVD.
  • bustapr
    Thats not new???!!!
    Ive had one ever since windows 2000!!!
  • I never thought this would be such an involved process. Goes to show you learn something new everyday. I think at the very least converting pictures to digital is an excellent idea. Now you can share them with everyone anytime.

  • tank
    So is this article going to recommend anything... LOL. I would be really interested into getting recommendations from analoug to digital
  • I have an Sapphire Theatrix 550 PRO Tuner card which came with an input tuner block. Most of my old tapes were actually on S-VHS converted from camcorders. These were mostly tapes of the kids birthdays, Halloween, Christmas, etc. I simply plugged in my old JVC S-VHS recorder and (using S-Video, red, white) and set my GB-PVR software to record to my hard drive at 7500 Kbits/sec Video feed, Audo at 224 bitrate witha an audio sample rate of 48khz. That resulted in about 3.3GB per hour. But the quality was equal to the original source. Then I would use Womble DVD video editor to edit it down, add motion title screens to the menus. Each chapter has a window showing a segment equal in time to the main title screen. Worked perfectly. the only thing I was missing was an Epson printer that could print cover art for the discs.
  • dragoon190
    wasn't that article out... like a week ago or something?
  • abbadon_34
    Should this be under the "Olds" catagory ? Or maybe archive. I was doing this 15 years ago on my Cyrix 166+ with 2MB video card.