Vhs To Dvd: Convert Now

What's to love about videotapes? They take up shelf space, the picture gets grainy after multiple playbacks and they can fade to black after a decade or two. For keepsake videos like a school play or family trip, you might want a better archive--like DVDs. Converting analog video into digital data used to be for pros only, but new services and better technology make it easy.

Two major players are YesVideo and HomeMovie. Available under the Kodak banner at such chains as Walgreens and Target, YesVideo charges $34.99 for a two-hour video and uses software to drop in chapter stops at blackouts and abrupt changes in movement. HomeMovie is only online--sign up at and it'll send you a mailing kit--but has a range of options, from $49 to $115. Both companies take two or three weeks to send back a disc (and your original videos).

If you're technically inclined, you can do video transfer at home. DVD burners run about $500, but there's no dominant standard for the technology, which could mean compatibility problems with DVD players. Warning: even your director's commentary audio track won't make those home movies of Hawaii tolerable.

Copyright 2002 Newsweek: not for distribution outside of Newsweek Inc.