I am smart enough with computers to waste a whole bunch of time getting in over my head.
Welcome to the forum Steve. Your probably right about the bundled software issue. Both Pinnacle and Ulead Studio Max are good tools for encoding video captures from vhs / camcorders.
However, you also need a capture device. Some newer camcorders have a firewire port and youcan capture directly from it if you pc has firewire as well.......if not, you need a capture card or capture box. Capture boxes usually cost around $120.00USD or less for a good one that connects to your pc via usb. Couple of brand names to look at are ADS , Dazzle, Plextor..
As far as the burning part of it.....Nero is an excellent tool, and may have come with the pc....Roxio is not bad either....both will get the job done.
Joe does have a valid point about dvd-r / dvd+r on older set top boxes, or also playback on devices like xbox or playstation2. Most newer set top boxes should play fine with dvd+r burns...but dvd-r has a reputation for better compatility.
Hope this helps, any more questions....I'll be available...