Preserve VHS Content with TerraTec

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I’ve always been a fan of the TV program The Twilight Zone. In the mid ‘80s, when I was furiously taping every movie I liked even just a little bit, The Twilight Zone was broadcast two and sometimes three times a night, so I taped those episodes, too. Did you know that there were 156 episodes of that program? And did you know that one season consisted of hour-long episodes? Most people don’t know that, but I do, because I taped almost every one of them—I’m missing maybe four episodes. Unfortunately, those old tapes are pretty much unwatchable today.

 

 In the ‘80s, blank tapes were relatively expensive, especially at the rate I was burning through them. You had to pay about $7 or $8 for a high-quality tape, but I found a way to beat the system. I was buying VHS 3-packs at the Wiz for about $10, but they were generic no-name brands that sometimes seemed pretty good and sometimes not so good. But the passing of time is cruel to VHS quality, and most of my Twilight Zone tapes now produce just a snowy mess of a picture.

 

My entire collection of movies on VHS tape looks terrible on a modern 46-inch flat panel TV, especially because they’re not widescreen or high definition, and also because I used the thrifty six-hour format. But movies are, for the most part, replaceable. In fact, I purchased many of my favorite movies on DVD over the years, although now I would certainly prefer Blu-ray—but that’s another story of technology evolving over time.

 

Regardless of how poor the quality of VHS seems today, some of my old tapes are irreplaceable. Old vacation videos, my wedding video, and tapes of my kids when they were babies are not going to be released on Blu-ray any time soon. While I wish the quality of these old tapes was better, I do need to preserve them somehow, before they become as unwatchable as my Twilight Zone collection.

 

TerraTec offers simple solutions for converting VHS to DVD, or at least converting them to files that can be stored on a hard drive where they won’t deteriorate any more than they already have. Of course, I’ll have to back the files up, but that is simple common sense.

 

TerraTec G1

 

Converting old VHS tapes into digital video is just a few mouse clicks away with the new TerraTec G1 (right), which connects a computer’s USB port to a VCR’s composite or S-Video output. The TerraTec G1 is compatible with NTSC, PAL and SECAM video standards, so it will work with most VCRs. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a VCR; the G1 can capture video from anything that has a composite or S-Video output.

 

To capture video, all you have to do is press PLAY on the VCR and press the RECORD button on the G1, and the software included with the G1 turns your VHS video into a digital file. You can capture video in the MPEG1 or MPEG2 format. The bundled software also lets you edit out parts you don’t want, such as commercials, and add cross-fade effects, add music or narration to the audio track, and add whatever titling you like. Once you have what you want, you can burn it to CD or DVD blanks. The TerraTec G1 also includes all the cables you need to use it. The G1 costs $79.95.

 

TerraTec G3

 

If you want something a little less dongle-like than the G1 and maybe a bit more rugged, the TerraTec G3 (left) is the answer. Housed in an anodized aluminum enclosure, the G3 features gold-plated inputs and high-quality cables. In addition to composite and S-Video inputs, the G3 also features a SCART input, which is popular in Europe, especially
France
. Like the G1, the G3 will capture a video signal from any device that has one of those outputs, and it’s compatible with NTSC, PAL and SECAM video formats. The video source and format are detected automatically and digitized in the highest quality possible. You can capture NTSC up to 720 x 480 pixels at 29.9 fps or capture PAL up to 720 x 576 pixels at 25 fps. The TerraTec G3 costs $99.95.

 

Both the G1 and G3 are powered by the USB bus, so no additional power supply is required. In fact, both units come with everything you need to convert analog video to digital. If you’ve got old tapes in dire need of conversion, you can now do so, quickly and affordably.

Have you used either of these TerraTec video-conversion products? Tell us about your experiences preserving those happy moments in the Comments section below.

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Thanks for this.

Looked not too long ago for a VHS-only deck, but no joy. Don't suppose you have any recommendations for one of those handy?

:)

I've got one of these at home and it's quite serviceable. I will doubtless be using it to archive a few precious VHS tapes in the near future. It's not VHS-only, but the price was right and I needed a way to play VHS tapes.

Thank you, Marc - This is exactly what I need to transfer my old VHS tapes to present-day tech.   Got plenty of those to digitize plus home movies that were recorded to VHS-C (mini) tapes that require a full-size VHS adapter (casing) to playback.    The GI ought to be sufficient for my purposes.    I figure so long as the old laser disc player's still working, that should be easy (digital).   No, I have no 8-track tapes, haha!

Almost finished copying 100's of CDs to PC (& external backup drive).   For most the process is wholly automated, but many have to be labeled/tagged manually, quite a project, more than anticipated.   After this, there are audiotapes & vinyl record albums (33's & 78rpms).  Wish there existed a single device for all.   If you know of any, please do tell?!!

 If you have so many tapes that it's overwhelming, you can always use a professional service like ours www.inmotionnc.com, where we will take the headache away from transferring any format (including film) to a digital format of your choice... plus you get very personal and professional packaging included in the standard price. Check us out.

If you start looking very hard for a VCR you might come across the one I used to have that was a self-contained VCR/DVD Recorder. I could record my tapes directly to DVD with the touch of a button. Of course, that would make this whole discussion superfluous. :)

Work's in apple imac sistem?

All very well and good, but nowhere in the product description does it mention the tech requirements for the software.

"and the software included with the G1 turns your VHS video into a digital file." 

That would have been a good place to mention it…

My experience has been that if it don't say, it's PC only.   ??

Joe

Could I connect just the red & white audio plugs from my old LP turntable and use either of these devices to convert music from 33 1/3 LP's to digital and burn onto CD's?

Per the infomation posted on the manufacturer's web site, the G1 and G3 include software for both Windows and Mac systems.

There are a lot of VCRs in GOODWILL and SALVATION ARMY Trift stores. Most of them are working  perfectly  ( try to find  made in Japan)  All "old" electronics had  much  higher  quality   than  these we have  today.  My question is: may I  transfer with  G1 manufactured  VHC movies (not  only my own  amator's).?  Thanks you.

Are these devices able to ignore VHS copy protection such as Macrovision? I have tried a combo VHS/DVD recorder and find it frustrating to have it refuse to copy tapes I OWN.

For a 30-minute tape how large are the digital files?

I have got some old tapes Vedio 8 and i need to tranfer them to CD's. need to see if there is any gadget which can do this for me. if anyone has an idea please advise me. thanks

 I'd just like to point out that after having transferred your videos to another format, DO NOT under any circumstances ditch your tapes or deck.   I watched a major university throw out two thirty yard containers of films after they had transferred them to that paragon of viewing, VHS. 

Put your tapes back in their cases, and put your deck in the box it came in (or a reasonable substitute) buy a large dessicant brick and put all of it in a clean and vermin proof container, put that container in an area of your home that remains a comfortable temp, not an attic or basement/crawlspace.

Once every year or so remove everything, fire up the deck and fast forward and reverse each tape and check on the dessicant.  When done return everything to storage just like outlined above. If that's too awkward then start thinking about which tapes to throw away . . .  

This is the best way for consumers to deal with this issue, not the only way.  There are varying levels of adherence to this system with of course, varying levels of success

Please remember, Drives fail on a regular basis and operating systems change to a format that doesn't recognize prior file systems so really not much is permanently "safe".  

Tapes and decks CAN be repaired and much less expensively than a drive. 

Thanks again to B&H for their great customer service and for providing a means for people to assist others. I've recieved good advice in the past.........just had a chance to repay that favor!

Would this Terratec work on Beta? How come no one asks by Beta? Even those it was not as popular as VHS, are there no people are there who need to convert Beta?

como es q ***** octener  credito  con la  compañia lla  q  yo  siempre compro con ustedes

I'm a Mac user. The G3 has a scart video input, but in the programme (Terratec Video Capture that came with the hardware) one can only choose composite or svhs video input. If I use other video recording software other, the recording device (terratec g3) is not found. 

Any suggestions?

Hallo,

With TerraTec G1 can i grab my KARAOKE Vedio to MP4 ? 

Hi Shomor -

This product is discontinued and no longer available. You may use something like this instead: 

The Elgato Systems USB Analog Video Capture Device is a compact USB device, perfect for converting analog video to a digital format. You'll be able to use the device to capture old home movies, VHS recordings, or any other analog media to a modern digital format. Simply plug your playback device into the S-Video or RCA composite input of the device, and capture.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

hi

 i am trying to convert analog hi 8 camcorder to digital,   i have the terratec g3

the finished result is not very good, i am using pinicle 12 to capture and edit, 

can you help please

byeee

jd

Capturing through USB adds compression to the video so if the quality of the video is not optimal results can vary. If your computer has a firewire port there are better capture options available.

yes this product can help to convert the old VHS souvenirs film to DVDs