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How to Digitize Your Old Movies with a DVR

by Paul Sanders

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DVR converting movies to digital files

Things You Need:

  • DVR
  • VCR
  • VHS tapes
  • A/V cables

Preserve your old home videos and movies by converting them to digital video with TiVo and DVRs. You can connect your DVR to a VCR or DVD player and record your old movies into digital formats that won't get scratched or degraded over time. Here are some simple directions for setting up your own DVR system and converting your old tapes and DVDs.

Digitizing Movies with Your DVR:

  1. Choose a DVR that converts video. Some DVR recorders will convert DVDs and tapes that you have recorded yourself, but they won't record copy-protected content, even if you own the DVD or VHS tape. Be sure that you choose a digital video recorder that reads and records the type of video that you want into a digital file format that you can watch on other devices.

  2. Connect the DVR to a video source. Connect your VCR or DVD player to the video recorder with the appropriate A/V cable. Your DVR may include an adapter cable for this purpose. Connect the video and audio output ports on the video source to the input ports on the DVR.

  3. Connect the DVR to your TV. Connect the video-out port on the DVR to the input on your TV with another set of A/V cables. This should allow you to monitor the video's progress as you record. Choose the appropriate video input channel on your TV and then proceed.

  4. Insert a tape or DVD. Pick a video to do a test recording and insert it into the DVD player or VCR. Try testing both a home video and a commercial DVD or VHS tape.

  5. Start recording. Press "play" on your DVD player or VCR. When the video reaches the appropriate start point, press "record" on the DVR. When the video ends, press "stop" and follow any additional steps according to your DVR instruction manual.

  6. Transfer video files. The DVR will convert the video into a digital file in its memory. You can then connect the DVR to a computer or other device and transfer the files via a USB cable. Some DVRs may include a memory card slot through which you can transfer files.

DVR Tips:

  1. Each DVR supports different video file formats. Likewise, your smartphone, media player and other devices may only be able to play certain formats.

  2. With the appropriate software, you can convert between different file types. Keep formats in mind when selecting a DVR or devices that you wish to play your videos on.

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