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Video Tapes to Digital Converters

There is a convenience to capturing old home videos without having to worry about the device not being compatible with your computer.

Unfortunately this does happen quite a bit with manufacturers not bothering to list updates to drivers or even vice versa, when computer companies decide they are taking away ports from their products.

My daughter has a MacBook which only has a USB-C port which is useless for trying to copy over old video tapes. I can only assume there are people all around the world with the exact type of issues.

I’ts like Apple are saying You were supposed to capture your videos back in 2012! Too late now.

Well, the great news is, it’s not too late.

In fact in this post I’ll do a quick comparison of three capture devices that will allow you to copy straight to USB then to your computer.

Ezcap 284

The ezcap 284 (in my opinion) is certainly my top choice out of the three devices listed.

As far as composite goes, the ezcap 284 supplies an adapter that will connect to composite cables or component.

Unfortunately component recording is a shambles, recording at 12FPS. But that’s only with a component source.

Composite and especially HDMI are exceptional with quality transfers.

USB doesn’t need to be formatted to a pre set format (NTFS, FAT32), so you can record to a flash drive or even a portable hard drive.

Another recording option the ezcap 284 offers are onto SD cards. So if you did have an unused cards laying around they could definitely be put to a better use other than sitting idle inside a camera you may not use anymore.

As far as powering the device itself, the ezcap 284 can be powered by a mini USB to computer USB port, or a USB power adapter which is supplied in the box.

There is an initial waiting time of approximately 8 seconds while the device recognizes which cables are connected.

Ezcap284 Standalone Video Capture Card, All in One 1080P Capture Card via HDMI/Ypbpr/AV Input with Remote Control, Compatible with Nintendo Switch PS4 and PS3, Xbox one,N64, Blu-Ray
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Last update on 2024-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Digitnow! HD Video Recorder

Digitnow! have had their own no computer needed capture box for a while and is definitely worth a look for reliability.

You have the option of changing the resolution input source but as far as copying over old videos, you won’t notice any visual difference. Is that a bad thing?

No, of course not.

The Digitnow! can record from composite, component and HDMI sources.

Powering the device will require its supplied power cord. It cannot be powered by a USB port.

USB does not need to formatted, so both NTFS or FAT32 will work fine.

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Last update on 2024-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Ezcap 283s

The ezcap283s is an earlier model very similar to the ezcap 284. It’s encased in a hard metal shell and is definitely built with game recording for streamers in mind.

Recording options will let you capture at 720p or 1080p with function buttons allowing you to set time and date for recording.

External microphone can be added for voice over and even have the volume of the voice over monitored to a certain level.

The ezcap 284 will let you add an external microphone, but there certainly is no mic level control.

Unlike the ezcap 284, this metal beast definitely requires a power supply.

Along the back there are option to record from from composite and component inputs. Although I’m afraid to say, the component issues of slow FPS still applies here – just like the ezcap 284.

That being said, HDMI input and composite will record at great bitrates.

Again the USB will not need to formatted, so there’s no issues there.

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  • Support HDMI, Component,CVBS and Microphone input,with line audio out and 1080P HDMI Pass through to HDTV,you can play...

Last update on 2024-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

HDMI Results in a Video Editor

If you are simply recording VHS video from a composite source the following will not affect you.

The following example is from a VHS tape captured from the HDMI source of a Samsung DVD/VCR combo drive to the Digitnow! HDMI in.

When importing the captured results into an editor, the image will appear squished.

Why has this happened?

Because the capture device thinks the source is coming from a full 1920×1080 signal (even though its not) and thus it just fills the whole frame regardless.

If you have a DVD/VCR combination drive and are transferring home videos in this manner, you may encounter this issue.

To fix any sizing issues, you will need to use an editor. In this example I’m using Magix which lets you set a new video size regardless of the original source dimensions.

I personally haven’t seen the same options in iMovie, but if you are on a MacBook, you could install Openshot which is free video editor and is cross platform.

Side by side you can see the difference, the way it’s meant to be sized on the left verses the stretched HDMI captured view on the right.

Conclusion

Most popular of the three is definitely the Digitnow! HD recorder but it certainly isn’t the best in value.

The ezcap 284 will allow you to record from USB or SD card which the other two devices can’t do. Video bitrate quality is higher than the Digitnow! but that may not be visually noticeable due to the standard definition video being transferred.

The ezcap 283s offers the exact same quality as the ezcap 284 but allows for the added voice over commentary via an external microphone.

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Author: Matt

My name is Matt and I'm a bit of a nerd for software that helps people digitize cherished memories including photos and home videos.