I have a substantial VHS and DVD movie collection that I want to back up. What is the best approach (hardware and software) to allow me to back up both tapes and dvd?
Lets start with backing up the dvd’s. This is relatively simple. You’ll need a reasonably modern computer, I’d suggest a Pentium 1.5ghz or faster, or an AMD Athlon XP based system. 512mb ram or more will help also. You can do it with less but it will be slower. You’ll need a fair amount of room on the hard drive. 40gb minimum I’d think, more would be better.
Next you’ll need a good dvd recorder. Lots of choices these days on those. If you can afford them, look for an 8x burner like the Plextor 708 or the soon to be released Pioneer A07. If the budget won’t allow that, look for a Pioneer A06.
If you buy retail, the burner will come with a burning program–Nero or Roxio usually. If you buy OEM, you’ll have to get the burning program seperately if you don’t have one already that can handle DVD Video.
Then you’ll need programs to get the dvd movie onto the hard drive. DVDDecrypter is a good ripping program, available for free. DVDShrink can both rip the movie and compress it to the necessary size to fit onto a dvdr disk. It is also free. Look for the guides here at the transcoding forum or at www.dvdshrink.info
There are alternatives to Shrink that some people prefer, including DVD2One, CloneDVD and the new Nero Recode 2.
You should go to the transcoding forum to learn more about them.
That’s about all you’ll need for transferring dvd’s, other than good disks. Getting VHS tapes to dvd’s is more difficult. I’ll let someone with more experience answer that one, but in the meantime, you should check out the forums at dvdrhelp.com and doom9.org for information on that topic.