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CNET Membership newsletter August 13, 2004 

The 5 that matter

Dear CNET members:
This week, we received many great responses from our members on how to transfer VHS videos to DVDs. And from reading it all, many of you suggested that Kirk must have some basic prerequisites before considering video hardware or software, such as a large hard drive (one video can take gigs of drive space) and a computer that is fairly fast and has plenty of RAM. I also realized there are many types of methods, hardware components, and software available to accomplish this task. So this week's winning answer isn't so much the only solution, just the tip of the iceberg on how to get started. Please read through this week's winning submission and all the honorable mentions. Hopefully, Kirk and all of you who are interested in this topic will get an overall understanding of what is needed to dip into this new adventure. If it's all too much, a few members even suggest a simple solution: buy a standalone VHS-to-DVD-recorder component; the drawback would be that you could only record, not edit, your videos. Good luck!

1I have a fairly new computer that's running Windows XP, and I would like to take some of my old family videos on VHS and transfer them on to DVDs and play them. I have a DVD burner, but what other equipment and software are needed in order for a novice like myself to accomplish this?

----Submitted by: Kirk S. of Lake Charles, LA

The basic steps to get from VHS to DVD are:
1. Capture the video on your computer.
2. Edit the video.
3. Create the DVD layout.
4. Burn the DVD.

From a hardware point of view, you need a way to connect your VHS VCR to your computer. Video capture devices are available as PCI cards (for desktops), PCMCIA cards (for laptops), and USB cables (for either). All of these come with software for controlling the video capture process and basic video editing. Your DVD burner may have come with beginners' software for creating movie DVDs. Finally, you will need a large hard disk for holding the raw video files during the capture and editing process. A typical DVD can hold almost two hours of video, but this is in a compressed format and takes up about 4.5GB. The same raw video in AVI format may take 30GB. (I'm not sure about the compression ratio, just have a BIG disk handy!)... Read more

--Submitted by David B. of Newton, Massachusetts

(Remember this isn't the only solution; there are many more options in our honorable mentions. So please click here to check them out.

For their efforts, we’re sending them all their choice of any Learning CD.

Check out next week's question:

Why is it every time I print a digital photo, the colors or lighting from the prints never match what I am seeing on my monitor? I want to be able to print exactly what I see on my monitor, color for color, to my printer. Help!

--Submitted by: Donna P. of Orlando, Florida

We feature a new question every Friday. If you have the answer, e-mail us at If we choose your response, you'll get a free CD. Click here for Q&A submission guidelines

Best regards and enjoy!

Lee Koo
CNET Community
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CD ripping, burning, copying and mixing
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1 Is it better to build a computer or buy one off the shelf?
Even with the multitude of ready-made computer systems available, many people prefer the challenge of building their own. Building a system is no easy task. It takes time, patience, and a fair amount of knowledge, but all in all, it can pay off. Some people suggest buying a computer, others say to build one. Are you up for this challenge? Do you actually save money when you build your own machine? What are the advantages of buying prebuilt vs. building it yourself? Got comments on this topic? Check out this discussion and see what others suggest. And if you have some advice to those do-it-yourselfers, lets hear it to see what's best for them. More from the PC Hardware forum

1 Spyware/adware utilities, and the false sense of security
Do you rely on multiple security utilities to keep your computer free of viruses, spyware, and Trojans? Are you finding that some utilities detect problems and some don't, so you have to depend on a slew of programs to make sure everything is captured? It's frustrating, isn't it? Well, you're not alone. In this discussion, this member is fed up with all this madness. He raises many valid questions, such as how can one feel secure if the utility isn't looking for or finding all of the viruses? There probably isn't a solid answer here, but if you would like to give your two cents on this issue, join this discussion and tell us what you think. More from the Viruses and Security Alerts forum

1 Windows XP Service Pack 2 release: what's it all about?
In a matter of days, Microsoft will be officially releasing its second edition of Service Pack (SP2) for Windows XP, to the public. Some members in forums have already received the update because they had Windows XP automatically set to download and install it. This is not a small release, weighing in at a whopping 266MB. This SP2 release will supposedly patch up most security holes in XP and help you proactively improve your PC's protection with a slew of security tools and features. So the question is, will you be the first to update your system with this release, or will you hold off until you're sure it's safe and stable? The forums are really starting to fill up with topics on this service pack release, so I've gathered a few posts for you to chew on to find out what the service pack is all about:

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