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Roxio's new Mac bundle converts VHS tapes to digital format

For those readers old enough to have a stack of VHS tapes collecting dust in their living room, Roxio on Tuesday launched a new hardware and software bundle for the Mac that it's billing as "the fastest way to transfer video from VHS tapes or analog camcorders to digital formats."

The $80 kit called "Easy VHS to DVD" ships with a USB video capture device that users connect to a USB 2.0 port on their Mac. It includes inputs for both S-Video and composite-video input cables (as well as red and white stereo cables), which support full-resolution DVD recording from VCRs, VCR/DVD combo players, analog camcorders, or virtually any other analog source.

"Whether it is weddings, baby's first steps, reunions, or other irreplaceable family memories, it is only a matter of time before the aging footage stored on analog video tape is lost forever," said Roxio vice president of consumer products Vito Salvaggio.

Included with the kit is Easy VHS to DVD Capture software, which steps users through the process of connecting their VCR or other analog device to their Mac before capturing video in either standard quality (4 Mbps VBR) or high-quality (8 Mbps VBR) MPEG-2 format.

Once the video has been imported on a Mac, it can then be burnt to DVD using Roxio's Toast Basic software, which is also included. Alternatively, it can be funneled to QuickTime Player or iMovie (HD, '08, or '09), where it can then be edited further and exported in a wider range of formats, including those that can be embedded in web pages or transfered to iPods and iPhones.

Easy VHS to DVD requires a Mac with a dual processor PowerPC G5 or Intel processor, 512MB RAM, 15GB free hard disk space (recommended), and Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger or higher. Although the product sells for less than similar offerings from Elgato and Blackmagic that don't offer the direct-to-DVD option, Roxio has already come under scrutiny for pricing the Mac version $20 higher than the one it sells for Windows PCs.

Outside of its widely popular Toast disc burning software, Roxio's contributions to the Mac scene have largely consisted of products that dress existing —and sometimes free —technology in an interface familiar to novice Mac users, then turn around and market the product at a premium. While this is again the case with Easy VHS to DVD, some users with limited time or experience may find the offering a suitable all-in-one solution, as some have with the company's Crunch product (review) that exports video for Apple TVs, iPods and iPhones.


Readers interested in a closer look at Easy VHS to DVD can watch this video that Roxio has uploaded to YouTube or check out a series of screenshots from the step-by-step software on the company's web site. It's also worth noting that Amazon is offering the bundle at discount, which brings the price down to within $7 of the Windows version.