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How to Transfer VHS Copy-Protected Movies to My Computer

Updated April 17, 2017

To transfer a movie from VHS tape to your computer, begin by hooking up your VCR to your computer. You can do this with a video capture card. Just run the signal output from your VCR to the input of the card. After making your connections, it's a simple matter of using video capture software to dub your VHS tape. Transferring a copy-protected VHS tape to your computer requires the use of an additional piece of equipment, called a digital video enhancer.

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Send the video signal from your VCR to your digital video enhancer. Insert one end of your composite video cable (the yellow "RCA cable") into the Composite Output jack on the back of your VCR. Insert the other end of the cable into the Composite Input jack on your digital video enhancer.

Run the audio signal from your VCR to your video capture card. If your computer is equipped with a built-in video capture card, plug the RCA audio cord end of your stereo Y cable into the RCA Audio Out jacks on the back of your VCR. The red plug goes into the red jack, and the white or black plug goes into the white jack. Plug the stereo plug end of the cable into the Line In jack on your video capture card.

If you're using an external video capture card, use your set of RCA audio cables to connect the RCA Audio Out jacks on the back of your VCR to the RCA Audio In jacks on your video capture card. Again, colour coordinate the RCA plug to the RCA jack it's inserted into.

Pass the video signal from your digital video enhancer to your video capture card. Use another composite video cable to connect the Composite Out jack on your digital video enhancer to the Composite In jack on your video capture card.

Plug the USB cable attached to your video capture card into one of the USB ports on your computer (this is only necessary if you're using an external video capture card).

Launch Windows Movie Maker. Click "Start," point to "Programs" or "All Programs," point to "Accessories," then click "Windows Movie Maker" to open the application.

Open the "File" menu. Select "Capture Video," then follow the wizard prompts to complete your set-up. Select your video capture card when prompted to select your video source device.

Insert the VHS tape into your VCR and cue the tape to the spot where you want to begin dubbing. Use the preview window in your video capture software to see where you are at in any point in the tape.

Click the "Start Capture" button in Windows Movie Maker, then start playback on your VCR to begin dubbing.

Click the "Stop Capture" button in Windows Movie Maker when the movie is over. Click "Finished.

Warning

It is illegal to make copies of copyright protected material for commercial purposes.

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Things You'll Need

  • VCR
  • Video Capture Software
  • Video Capture Card
  • Digital Video Enhancer
  • RCA ("composite") video cables (2 cables)
  • RCA audio cables (1 set optional)
  • 3.5mm Stereo Y cable (optional)

About the Author

Maya Austen began freelance writing in 2009. She has written for many online publications on a wide variety of topics ranging from physical fitness to amateur astronomy. She's also an author and e-book publisher. Austen has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the New England Institute of Art and currently lives in Boston, Mass.

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