There are multiple methods of transferring the contents of your VHS video tapes to DVD including an all-in-one converter box that has slots for both VHS tapes and blank DVD discs or simply paying a 3rd-party service to perform the conversion for you.
However, a popular and affordable alternative method is buying yourself an analog-to-digital converter. One of the more popular products is made by Honest Technology (also known as Honestech) and is aptly called VHS to DVD.
Honestech has been producing these products for many years now and continuously update them. Here is a brief review of the Deluxe version.
Setup is straightforward – install the included software and drivers, then hook up the video source (or even audio) with the included composite or S-video cables to the Honestech converter box, then attach the USB cable to your computer.
Hit play on your VCR and check that the software application running on your Windows computer is both monitoring and capturing the output. Once your tape is done playing, you can then either go into the Easy Wizard or the Advanced Mode. The Advanced Mode lets you edit the captured video any way you choose.
You can even include dozens of transition effects such as fade ins, pullouts, etc. between your clips and cut away any unwanted parts.
Once you're done with editing, you head to the 'burn' tab to publish your new digital video to DVD or even CD (video CD). VHS to DVD Deluxe even offers you the ability to convert to formats compatible with iPods, PSPs and many PDAs.
Getting up to speed on VHS to DVD is quite fast considering what you're trying to accomplish and its wide variety of features. However, if you want to learn about all of the possible audio and video codecs and combinations, you'll have to spend some time reading and experimenting.
You should also be aware that any audio and especially video processing will require a decent computer, so a netbook will probably not work very well. You will also need a fair amount of storage space, as video, especially raw video takes up a lot of room.
Despite those caveats, the end result is excellent given that the source is analog and noisy.
Given the one-time up-front cost of this product and that you use it to convert as many video tapes (and / or audio tapes) as you'd like, this is an excellent value for the money.