To copy VHS to DVD or other digital format, the connections from the video cassette recorder to the digitization device are important factors in determining the quality of the end product.
The type of connections that will be required when digitizing VHS depends on the type of VCR that plays the videotape and what type of device is being used to digitize the analog video. Three possible types of connections are discussed below.
The composite connection is a three plug system of red, white, and yellow and often called RCA connectors. The red and white are for audio connections, with the red for the right channel audio and the white for the left channel audio. The yellow jack is for the video signal. The video signal is a composite of three signals, namely brightness or luminance (Y) and hue and saturation or chrominance which is the color portion (UV).
This is the most common output connection found on the back of VCRs and most consumer VCRs only have this type. Pro VCRs and S-VHS units will likely also have a composite output system in addition to other options. This composite wiring can be used to copy VHS to DVD but it is the connection that provides the lowest quality output signal. Unfortunately, unless you have a VCR with better connection options, this is your only choice for digitizing the VHS tapes to DVD or to another digital format.
The S in S-Video stands for Separate. What this means is that the video information is encoded on two separate channels, namely luma or luminance and chroma or color. This is different than the composite connection described above, where the luma and chroma are combined together. The audio needs to be connected separately via a different cable, such as using RCA jacks or the red and white audio plugs from the composite cable. The S-Video connection usually is a connector with a 4-pin arrangement and provides a better output video signal in order to copy VHS to DVD or other digital file format. The S-Video connection is not often found on standard consumer VCRs, but is available on pro VHS video cassette recorders or S-VHS (Super-VHS) units. When copying VHS to DVD, if it is possible to use a S-VHS machine and the S-Video output, then this is preferred.
Component connections provide better video quality than composite or S-Video. The video signal is separated or transmitted in three components. The audio information is transmitted using separate connections. The component connector is typically identified by three plugs that are red, green, and blue in color (RGB). Although this is a better way for outputting the video signal, it is not very useful to copy VHS to DVD because no VCRs come with this type of connection.
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