"Great Solution for Video 8 Cassettes"4.0 starson by DefaultCharacter
Pros: Easy to Use
Cons: Not Useful for Much Else (?)
Summary: About 4 years ago I tried to load my ancient (almost 20 year old) Video 8 cassettes onto my computer using a device (sorry -- forgot what it was) that connected my old Sony Handycam Video 8 camcorder to the s-Video port on my computer, and while the video seemed okay, the sound was completely messed up. I tried for about 5 hours to correct this using various adjustments, but couldn't get anything to work and gave up.
At that time, I did more research on the internet and it was recommended that I purchase a digital camcorder and connect my old video camcorder to it and record straight to digital. I put off buying a digital camcorder (I'm just not into that anymore), until last month (12/07) when I found out that the digital cameras no longer have any input plugs for this type of thing. Well that figures - but I still didn't want to spend any $$$ for a camcorder anyway.
My alternative was to purchase Sony's DVDirect DVD recorder or to send off my tapes to a lab to have them copied to disk. The lab fees weren't that outrageous, but would still be more than the DVDirect.
I bought the Sony and have been pleasantly surprised. The set up steps are really straight-forward, and while you can't really do editing, you can easily copy the old Video 8 cassette contents to DVD by connecting your old camcorder to the DVDirect. And, no kidding, the quality of the DVD created is as good as the original tapes I have. Of course, some of the originals are crappy quality, but I can live with that.
I fouled up a couple of DVDs in trying to pause the DVDirect when it was recording to skip over some of the cassette contents that I didn't want (who wants to see their ex-spouse?), so I'm not convinced that the editing features work very well for video input. I suffered through the instruction manual, but maybe others wouldn't find it so cryptic. I think having digital media as input to the DVDirect is probably a lot easier than copying from tape. When using regular DVD+r to record onto, 60 minutes is the max, so I had to baby-sit the whole thing which was a pain.
I got around the previous reviewer's complaint about not being able to do anything with the resulting DVD by copying the contents to my computer (to my gigantic 500GB external HDD - you will need about 4 GB per hour of Video 8 tape) and purchasing AVS Video Tools from AVS Media (no, I'm not a salesrep for them). From there I can convert the DVD contents to whatever format I want and do the editing I want; the software will also burn DVDs in DVD-player readable format after you are finished with editing. You will definitely need some sort of viewing software for the DVDs and you can get a decent (and free) player from AVS Media.
So overall, if you have some really old Video 8 Cassettes, this is a great solution for about $230. This could also be useful if you have regular VHS cassettes you want to convert to DVD.
I'm hoping that I can use the DVDirect for other things besides this once all my old video 8 cassettes are converted.... Ciao.