How To Record Digital Video
From Your PC To VCR

You'’ve probably heard about how you can save a digital movie from your PC to a digital camcorder, but did you know you could save it directly to a VCR as well?

The benefits of this are many. First is that there’s no need for a digital camcorder to do it. You most likely already have a VCR that you can output your video to. The tapes for VCR are fairly inexpensive too, unlike digital tapes.

record digital video from pc to vcr

Converting video from PC to a VCR yields many benefits

Connecting VCR to PC is a simple process as you’ll see. Once you know how to connect VCR to PC you’ll probably use this technique over and over again.

Step 1: Check Your Hardware

The first step in your VCR to PC hack technique is to check your hardware. That usually goes without saying, but both software and hardware are needed to connect VCR to PC and get the results we’re after.

You will need to check out your graphics card. Get behind your computer and look at the output connections. Connecting VCR to PC requires that you have what’s called a 'TV Out' connection. This should either be labeled 'S-Video' or 'Composite'. Either of these will do.

If you’re at all familiar with video connections, you probably know that there are many different types of connections that you can use. Between 'S-Video' and 'Composite', S-Video is generally regarded as providing the better picture quality. S-Video works by separating the color component of the picture from the brightness of the picture, giving a better-looking final image. Nonetheless, for our purpose, either connector will do.

Step 2: Figure Out Those Cables

Okay, you’'ve found your connectors and they fit in one of the above categories. Now we have to take the next step. To connect VCR to PC we need cables.

Cables come in a wide assortment so you need to find the one that fits into your connector. How do you exactly which cable you need to connect VCR to PC? Check both the connectors on your graphics card as well as the connectors on your VCR.

For example, do you have S-Video connectors on both the graphics card and the PC? If so, you need an S-Video to S-Video cable. However, if you find that the resulting picture on your monitor is black and white, you may need some help with a S-Video to composite converter. Beyond the graphics, you need to connect the audio.

Find the output connectors on your sound card. You will use a 2 x RCA female to 3.5mm phono Jack cable to connect it to the audio connector on your VCR. Check online for the cables you need or go to your local electronics store.

Step 3: Get the TVTool Software

Now we’re going to the software part of connecting VCR to PC, but first let’s check our results so far. If you'’ve hooked up everything properly, go ahead and turn everything on. Turn on your TV and switch it to VCR channel, and make sure the video recorder is set to the right AV channel.

No magic yet, just a black screen. The next important step in your VCR to PC connection is a software tool. It’s called TVTool, and you can download it from their website. You can install a trial version of their software.

Once it’s installed, it will present you with a tabbed control interface. To see your video on TV, click on the big green 'TV Mode' button. Once done, toggle back to your PC using the F2 key on your keyboard.

Now, how do we record? It’s simple. Find a video player for your PC. I recommend the Zoom player because it lets you manipulate the final image for a correct fit to your TV. Then, click 'Record' on your VCR and you'’re done!

Conclusion

Connecting VCR to PC might seem a bit outdated to some people, especially in this age of digital camcorders. However, there are simply times that you need your digital video creations output to the tapes you play in your VCR.

If you were to use your digital camcorder to accomplish the same feat, you would first have to record back to your digital camcorder (from your PC), and then record from your digital camcorder to your VCR. It’s a two-step process. But if you connect VCR to PC, you can do the whole thing one fell swoop!

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