Monday, December 14, 2009

Dazzle DVD Recorder Vs Roxio Easy VHS to DVD

So I had a pretty simple task from a customer - transfer videos recorded on a camcorder to dvd. I thought I already had the equipment that I would need except for the camcorder which I was anticipating would have the RCA outputs that I needed to feed straight into my computer.

The good news is that I was right about the camcorder being able to output to RCA, but the bad news is that the RCA jacks on my computer didn't work - nuts! I had visited Office Depot a few weeks back and saw a product that would convert RCA to USB. Perfect!

I bought a Roxio Easy VHS to DVD, and it looked like it would be perfect. It looked like it was even going to save me the step of saving to an AVI before burning to DVD. The program installation was simple, and the device to connect the camcorder to the computer was intuitive. This should have been a piece of cake.

Roxio forced me to use their custom software, but that really wasn't a show-stopper because all I wanted to do was burn camcorder tapes to a dvd. The sound sample being played back through the computer speakers sounded like the audio was being broadcast from inside a tin can. It reminded me of streaming audio on dial up internet. I'm guessing there wasn't enough bandwith being dedicated to audio and more was going to the video. Not really sure. Either way, I found a way around it because the Roxio software let me use my regular mic plugin from my pc, which gave good quality audio.

After getting the audio taken care of, I started recording to a dvd. For a few minutes, everything was fine. Roxio's burning software tried to do me a favor by finishing off my DVD chapter whenver the clip was over. The software detected that there was no video signal, which really meant that there was "video snow" on the recorder separating the next clip. That would have been fine, but it never started recording again for the next chapter - not so good. What this really meant was that every time a clip finished and there was a few second break until the next clip started, there was manual interaction required to stop the camcorder, restart the recording, then restart the camcorder. I looked through the program options, which took all of 2 minutes, and didn't see a way to turn off the auto-create scenes option. I also looked online for other people who may have found a solution, but noone online had a way to turn this off either. With over 7 hours of video to burn, I wasn't about to sit in front of the computer waiting for the next scene to click record again. Easy VHS to DVD was not so easy after all, and I returned it to the store.

Office Depot didn't have any other camcorder to DVD products in stock, so I went over to Best Buy. I found a Dazzle DVD Recorder, and bought it hoping that I wasn't going to run into the same issue.

As far as getting everything set up, the Dazzle DVD Recorder was just as easy as the Roxio version. The program was just as easy to use, but there were a few major differences that made me love the Dazzle version. First off, the audio quality was good, so I didn't have to use my computer's microphone slot. This ended up being a big deal because I didn't see a way in Dazzle's software to record audio from anything but the Dazzle USB device. I didn't hear the "tin can" audio like I did with the Roxio version.

Then came the real test. Would the Dazzle DVD Recorder stop in the middle of my video playback to create new scenes or would it continue to record to the DVD? Lucky for me, 2nd time is the charm. The video continued to record straight through the breaks between clips. I could click record and walk away from the computer to do the 1000 other studio tasks that still needed to be done before I went to bed.

My guess is that for some applications the Roxio device would have done just as well if not better than the Dazzle device. I could see a school play that lasts the full duration of the tape being ideal using Roxio. Also, if you don't mind sitting in front of the computer, auto-creation of scenes on the DVD could be kind of cool. For me though, the Dazzle definitely came out the winner.

1 comment:

  1. Hello. Thank you for the great comparison. I found you by looking for sites similar to my site called DVD VHS Transfer. It is an info site about transferring VHS and other older video media formats to digital. Would you be interested in doing a link exchange? This might be helpful to both of our readers. Thanks in advance for considering my request.