How to Copy & Convert Macrovision Encrypted VHS Tapes to DVD

Written by dan seitz
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How to Copy & Convert Macrovision Encrypted VHS Tapes to DVD
Preserve your favourite films. (death of vcr tapes image by jimcox40 from

Macrovision is the standard protection on most videocassettes. It will scramble any attempts to record the image onto another videocassette or DVD, generally by creating lines or a jumpy picture that makes the copy unusable. This copy protection can often frustrate people who simply want to transfer a film not available on DVD, which they have purchased on VHS, into something viewable. Fortunately, it is possible to circumvent Macrovision with widely available circuits that will stabilise the signal and allow a clear copy to be recorded.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • VCR cleaning kit
  • VHS tape cleaning kit
  • Conversion device
  • DVD recorder
  • Composite cables

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  1. 1

    Clean your VCR thoroughly. Use a VCR cleaning tape to clear the heads of any dust or dirt. Open the case of the VCR and clean any dust from the circuit boards that may drift into the videotape. Also clean any tapes that you plan on transferring to ensure the best possible image. Connect your VCR with the composite cables to a television and play back a tape. Check the image for any jumpiness, static or other problems. Clean the VCR again if you see any.

  2. 2

    Connect your VCR to your device, and then to your DVD recorder, using the composite cables. Connect a television to the VCR and the DVD player. The first television will show you the signal being sent out, and the second will show you the signal being recorded. Test your converter by recording to disc using a test tape with Macrovision. If you see jumpiness or other problems, press firmly on the cable connectors to make a better connection.

  3. 3

    Play back your VHS tape and adjust the tracking, colour and playback speed to ensure a proper recording. Record the tape to disc from the beginning. Do not fast-forward or rewind the tape at any point. Do not attempt to record more than one tape on a disc. Once the recording is complete, take it to another DVD player and test the playback. If you are not happy with the image, make a new recording with a second disc.

Tips and warnings

  • If you're handy with a circuit board and want to save money, you can build your own converter.
  • Violating copy protection is illegal; do not sell copies of your VHS to anyone, for any reason.

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