Note: Also see the review of Roxio Creator 2011 with 3D
I was looking for a way to convert my old VHS tapes to DVD. Roxio looked like my answer. The program has a number of features, from simply converting an entire tape without any editing, to breaking up a tape into segments you want and labeling them. Included is Sound Editor, which converts LPs and audio tapes to digital files.
The package contains the install disk, a USB connector and adapters to connect the computer to the VHS recorder’s RCA cables, and a 27 quarter-page (English only) book of instructions – mostly white space, photos and screen shots. You need to supply the RCA cables – they’re the connectors from the TV to the VHS machine you already have.
Installation looked like a breeze, certainly easy for someone who’s been installing programs since DOS. I decided to use my older laptop for the transfers. I made the cable connections and took a brief look at the instruction book.
It’s easy, once you have the connections made. Just start the tape where you want to begin recording, then click Record. You can time the recording or simply record until the tape ends. I skipped to page 7 – Installation.
Here’s where my frustrations started. Mea culpa – I should have read the system requirements on page 6 more closely. I inserted the installation disk and learned I needed to have Windows XP – Service Pack 3. This laptop lacked that upgrade. “Shoot!” and other such expletives. Looked around the internet, found Service Pack 3 and installed it. Fine.
Back to installation. The program loaded with nothing unusual – language selection, setup, accepting the contract, etc. One choice was to provide feedback to Roxio to improve the program which I decided to put off until I got a better idea of how it worked. It took about ten minutes to install. I removed the installation disc and rebooted the computer to complete installation.
When the Desktop came back up, shortcuts for the program and Sound Editor were there, as promised. I inserted a DVD-R, double-clicked the shortcut for the program and it opened without a problem.
The first screen that comes up gives you the choice of either recording an entire tape to VD or “Record, Edit and Save to DVD.” I clicked on “Record DVD.”
A five-page Instruction Manual opened, the same as the printed version. I clicked the Close button at the bottom, the manual closed and the following screen appeared:
Nothing noticeable happened. I waited some more and then started examining the screen. There was a yellow warning sign saying “Please insert a recordable DVD.” I popped out the disk and examined it. It was recordable. I popped it back in. Same message and nothing happened. Checked the message closer and saw “Toshiba DVD/ROM SD-R2512.” Took a look at the Drive’s Properties and found the drive was a “Read only” drive. As in: it doesn’t record to DVDs. More “Shoots!” and even worse expletives.
Regroup. Boot up second laptop that runs Windows 7. Installed again. Rebooted.
Opened the program. Clicked the Record DVD button. First got a “No Video Signal” message and then it was found. Filled out the items on the pane to the right (see previous screenshot), created a name, selected the write-to drive. I decided to run a test and just record 15 minutes. Clicked back on the Record DVD button at the top of the screen. Nothing happens.
I start to examine the screen but don’t notice the pale blue button with the red dot in the far right, lower corner of the screen – it didn’t say “Start.”
I check the manual again. It just says “click the record button” with a picture of the button, but not where the heck the darn (more expletives) thing is. As frustrated as I was at this point it seemed like it took me five minutes to find the stupid (more & worse expletives) thing.
Clicked it. Worked like a charm. The recording started, ended, wrote the recording to the disk. Took about two minutes to complete. Disc pops out. Got the message “Project completed successfully.” Stopped the VHS player. Popped the disc into our DVD player. Pressed the Start Button. Played like a charm. Plugged the disc back in the laptop. Played like a charm.
I checked the disc. The file sizes for a 15 minute recording totaled 1G. The large files that actually play the recording are .vob files. (“…a container format in DVD-Video media. VOB can contain video, audio, subtitle, menu and navigation contents multiplexed together into a stream form.” Source: Wikipedia) Other, much smaller files are in .bup or .ifo format.
Satisfied, I chose the second option, “Transfer multiple video clips to one DVD and create a menu.” This selection allows you to record parts of tapes, from the same tape or even import video clips (there’s an “Import Video” button) you may have saved previously. You simply start the tape, hit Record, and click the Stop button when you want to. The video clips appears in a video list.
Forward the tape to the next scene you want. Repeat the process. When you’ve recorded to your heart’s content, click the Ready to Export button – what was the Start button has been miraculously transformed for you.
Next thing to investigate was the Sound Editor (shown below), touted as a program that “…converts LPs or audio tapes to digital music files.”
If you examine the screen there are all kinds of buttons, symbols, Add to’s and Export in the left pane.
At the top are a number of elements: Split clip, Cut, etc. Unfortunately there are no instructions for any of them or what they do.
I did manage to “Add Audio File” from my hard drive and “Burn Audio CD,” just to try the program out. Its screen is shown at right. I’m not particularly interested in this feature so I didn’t experiment further or try to find out more. When (if) I get to that point I can always click on Help.
- Before you begin, read the System Requirements page to make sure you can run the program.
- Preview the videos/clips on a TV prior to setting up to record. Check the counter so you can line up the clips you want to record or edit.
- Use the timer function so you don’t have to sit around for hours hitting the Start Recording/ Stop Recording button.
- Don’t make the mistakes I made.
There was one annoying thing about the program. I was using it quite a bit to write this review. After opening and closing the program a few times, the shortcut on the Desktop didn’t work. I looked for the .exe file but double-clicking that didn’t open the program either. I had to shut down and reboot to get the program to reopen.
Roxio – Easy VHS to DVD