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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 9, 2007
Using iMac (late 2006) with OS 10.6.8 to convert VHS tapes to digital files for storage on external hard drive. Playing tapes through a Samsung DVD/VCR combo (DVD-VR357) machine with HDMI output. Want digital files to mirror tape clarity/quality as close as possible without sacrificing a mortgage payment.

Should I invest in a capture device with HDMI input? Knowing the inherent limitations of VHS tapes, would an HDMI video capture device produce a higher quality digital file than using an S-video cable with Roxio Easy VHS to DVD for Mac?

If the HDMI video capture device would result in better picture clarity/quality, can you folks please suggest some options.

Much appreciated.
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Dave Braine

macrumors 68040
Mar 19, 2008
Warrington, UK
Here are a few options to consider until someone else comes along with any recommendations.
hdmi video capture mac

However, I think it's unlikely that any of them will give you any improvement on the poor quality(compared with modern digital video) video of your VHS tapes.


macrumors 68000
Apr 18, 2003
I had this same consideration about a year ago; Had about 150 VHS tapes to convert in the office. Purchased Blackmagic's H.264 Pro recorder:

Now, I've used BM's products before in the past, the Intensity Pro PCIe and I have one of their cameras. Issue I had with the Pro Recorder is the audio would drift out of sync. Now, I'm not sure if having a TBC in the middle would have corrected this, but I had to end up sending the Recorder back to B&H, and instead went with an Elgato Video Capture:

Converted over S-Video and Composite and to be honest, I think having a better quality VHS deck matters more than the image quality difference(whatever they may be) in HDMI vs Analog outputs. I was fortunate in being able to find a Panasonic S-VHS deck around the office that had some tracking controls.

The Elgato Video Capture encodes .mp4 files in easily manageable file sizes and while I know I could have gotten an "Uncompressed" version, as opposed to the H.264 compression, but given the low quality of VHS to begin with, it'd be like trying to squeeze blood from a stone, and a 6 hour tape may have yielded monster files with minimal if none at all image quality differences over the H.264 version.
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macrumors 68040
Feb 10, 2008
When I researched HDMI capture a year or two ago, the Elgato Game Capture HD box was the best for capturing HDMI for my purposes. Not sure if it and the recorder would produce better video than the Elgato Video capture from s-video. But if you want an HDMI interface, its a good box and the capture software is excellent. It captures any non DRM protected HDMI signal regardless of source (game or receiver) and plugs into your Mac via USB2.

Usually about $125, but I've seen sales for $80-$90 once in awhile. Dunno if they have a SW version compatible with your OS, you may need 10.7.,bing,2763659971,1105202454760
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