How to Copy Macrovision VHS Tapes

Written by michael faye
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How to Copy Macrovision VHS Tapes
Most commercially released VHS tapes contain a copy-protection called Macrovision. (vhs tape image by Canoneer from

Macrovision is a type of copy-protection that originated in VHS tapes in the mid-1980s. It's a difficult protection to deal with, as it interferes even with some of today's most advanced home theatre equipment. Macrovision manipulates your VCR's "Auto Gain Control" by making it think certain colours are brighter or darker than they actually are, thus distorting the film's picture on the copy you're trying to make. Through the use of a Macrovision removal device, you can eliminate this distortion and produce a high-quality copy of a Macrovision VHS tape.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • 2 RCA cables (with yellow, white and red plugs at both ends)
  • Macrovision removal device
  • Recording device (another VHS VCR or a DVD recorder)
  • Blank VHS tape or blank recordable DVD

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Place the source VHS tape in VCR 1. Cue the tape to the beginning of the program.

  2. 2

    Plug the three multicoloured jacks on one end of your first RCA cable into the VIDEO OUT outputs in the back of VCR 1. Match the yellow, red and white jacks with the yellow, red and white VCR outputs.

    How to Copy Macrovision VHS Tapes
    RCA cables transmit picture signals through the yellow jack and audio signals through the red and white jacks. (jacks audio video image by robert mobley from
  3. 3

    Plug the red and white jacks at the other end of this RCA cable into the AUDIO IN inputs in the back of your recording device, either a second VCR or a DVD recorder, referred to in the rest of this article as VCR 2.

  4. 4

    Invest in a Macrovision removal device. These devices are widely available at electronics stores and vary in price depending on their capabilities. Plug the RCA cable's remaining yellow jack into your Macrovision removal device's VIDEO IN input. It is a yellow input just like you find on the back of both of your VCRs.

  5. 5

    Locate the VIDEO OUT output on the Macrovision removal device. With your second RCA cable, plug one of the yellow jacks into the VIDEO OUT output. Locate the yellow jack on the other end of your second RCA cable and plug it into the VIDEO IN input in VCR 2 next to the red and white jacks you plugged in during Step 3.

  6. 6

    Place the blank VHS tape or DVD into VCR 2. Press "Record." Press "Play" on VCR 1. The Macrovision removal device will now prevent the Macrovision copy-protection from distorting the picture of your copied video or DVD.

Tips and warnings

  • In some cases, Macrovision removal devices will come with their own video cable with two yellow jacks at either end. In this case, you will not need a second RCA cable.
  • Most Macrovision removal devices have their own power source. Make sure the device's AC adaptor is plugged into the device and the power of the device is switched on.
  • Copying films and loaning them to friends and family or selling them is illegal. When copying prerecorded films or television shows that you have purchased as a backup, that copy is considered fair use but must not be distributed in any way.

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