VHS to Digital DVD Converter Adapter - USB Windows and Linux !

I have been feeling a bit nostalgic lately and decided to try and transfer some of our families old VHS 'Home Movies'

So I went ahead and bought a 'USB' VHS/Converter -> The specific one I bought was on Amazon


It was disappointing that the description makes no mention if this device works with Linux. 

I my house I run mostly Linux distros at home. The idea of setting up an instance of  MS Windoze just to record the videos on a laptop was not too appealing.

I was however presently surprised - After plugging in the device it quickly showed up as /dev/video0 on my machine.

As I have had some previous experience with Linux and TV Tuner cards, it was my hope that I could simply cat the device to an output file

cat /dev/video1 > myhomemovies.avi

Alas it would not be that simple, and I got the error "Invalid argument"

I then turned to VLC. VLC did capture the video but have an error that it could not open the audio (device: 'hw,1,0') to record the audio, the VLC logs shows that it had trouble setting the audio frequency.

Constantly playing around swapping things in and out of the converter, the casing quickly fell apart, and I became rather frustrated,  'Ugg I broke it already ??' - 

Luckily, the device was fine. It simply snapped back together and continued to work -I simply added a bit of masking tape just to help it from falling apart.

Let this be a warning to others, that this device tends to 'pushes' down when inserted directly into a laptop usb port (unless you use the supplied extension cable !), and can fall apart if your not careful.

I tried various ffmpeg settings for and was up until after 1am before I finally figured out the problem. I could get getting clear video easily  but the audio just would not work or would be full of static.  As it turns out this device does 96000Hz and you cannot change the sample rate, you must simply 'accept' it for what it is.




The final settings that worked well for me were:

ffmpeg -f alsa -ac 1 -i hw:1,0 -f video4linux2 -i /dev/video0 -c:a aac -ar 96000 -c:v libxvid -b 2500k -bt 300k filename.mp4

This creates a decent quality video file, and uses about 1GB per hour of recording, and produces a synced audio stream. 

A few other settings which were not too bad included: (Tested on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS)

ffmpeg -f alsa -ac 1 -i hw:1,0 -f video4linux2 -i /dev/video0   -c:a copy -vcodec mpeg2video -b 5000k -r 25 $1

ffmpeg -f alsa -ac 1 -i hw:1,0 -f video4linux2 -i /dev/video0   -c:a copy -vcodec mpeg2video -b 5000k -r 25 $1

ffmpeg -f alsa -ac 1 -i hw:1,0 -f video4linux2 -i /dev/video0   -c:a copy -vcodec mpeg2video -b 2500k -bt 300k -async 1 $1

ffmpeg -f alsa -ac 1 -i hw:1,0 -f video4linux2 -i /dev/video0 -c:a aac -ar 96000 -vcodec mpeg4 $1

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