I could use your help

Dear Friends,

  Here’s the long and the short of it. I want to be able to transfer some older family VHS & 8mm tapes to DVD. I also want to be able to copy some DVD movies to DVD. I gather from questions that I’ve asked that the best way to do that is to copy these mediums to my Hard Drive and then transfer them to a DVD disk. What I believe I need (and you can help me with this) is a DVD +- Burner, something that will enable me to connect my VCR to my computer, and software that will enable me to edit & enhance my VHS tapes and in some cases compress my DVD’s so they will fit on a regular DVD disk without loosing quality (and if you have suggestions on which disks work best, that too). I’m a poor working stiff so I want the highest quality for the lowest price. If you guys (and girls) have some ideas, some names, and or some prices (and maybe where to purchase) I’d really appreciate them. How to’s will help as well. Whatever you can give me I’ll take. If it helps, looking at my systems properties it says that I have a AMD Anthlon™ XP 1800+ (processor), 256 megs of RAM, I use Windows 98SE, and have about 33 gigs (of 60 gig) available on my Hard Drive, a 3D fx Voodoo Banshee Display Driver, and I don’t know what else. Anyone who has equipment similar to mine and has had success at doing the things I want to do please advise me as to what you used. Anything you can tell me will be appreciated. Thanks in advance you guys (and gals) have been most helpful in the past.

Thanks & God Bless
Uncle Bob

All you need hardwarewise is a capture card which costs about 40-80$ USD depending on technical specifications.
I’m not very familiar with computer stores in USA so I just used Pricewatch to find cheap retailers. On today’s capture card you can find at least 3 different capture chips (I’m only going to mention two).
One of the oldest is BT878 which still provides good quality and has great software support. Another one is CX2388X which provides better picture (yes, it’s noticeable) but is more sensitive to noise and software support isn’t great but it keeps getting better.

A BT878 based capture card is Pinnacle PCTV Pro and it costs about $80 USD.
A CX2388X(3 I think) is PixelView PlayTV Pro Ultra which is a bit cheaper than the Pinnacle card, 56$ USD.

I personally own a PixelView PlayTV HD, it doesn’t perform as great as Pro Ultra but I think it’s a great card considering that you’re using an analogue source (antenna/vcr) and it doesn’t cost that much either.

As for DVD-Burner I suggest that you get a NEC ND-2500A which is also reviewed on this site.

For more information use the search box.

I guess t:is is very personal but I’ve used this setup without any issues.
Capturing: iuVCR
Postprocessing: avisynth , VirtualDubMod
Encoding: TMPGEnc Plus
Authoring: TMPGEnc DVD Author
Some may say this is unnecessary on dvds but I strongly recommend that you teach yourself how to use avisynth to reduce noise and improve the image. It may take some time to get it good but you’re only going to capture it once anyways. If you want to know more I suggest that you visit Doom9’s forums.
You’ll need about 20gb per hour if you want to capture at full dvd res without any lossy compression (recommended).

I guess that’s all you need to know for now.