Customer Reviews: ION Audio VCR 2 PC USB VHS Video to Computer Converter (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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on January 8, 2009
I purchased this unit after trying various other methods of getting my old family VHS tapes onto my computer to make DVD's. I was not happy with anything I had tried so this was my last resort. Truthfully, I hated to spend the $ on another VCR. I read the reviews on this product after I purchased it and immediately second-guessed my reasons for purchasing. I planned to return it due to the dismal reviews but it ended up sitting in the box for a month. Finally I decided I might as well try it. I'm so glad I did!

This product is easy to use out of the box. Plug it into the wall, plug the USB into the computer, install the software, put in a tape and press record. I like that you can leave it recording and go do something else. I found the software installation very quick and easy. The documentation with the unit is not very detailed but it is a very simple program to figure out. I like that you can edit the video within the program before burning to DVD. I like that it saves the files onto computer in JPEG files so I can further edit and play with them in MovieMaker or another program. This unit/program can not be faulted for poor quality from old VHS tapes. I feel that some reviewers blame this unit for that. I have not yet tried this with my vhs-c tapes and adapter. If any problems are encountered I will report.

The software burns DVD's very nicely, has a menu format and different choices of menu designs. It also will print DVD jewel case inserts to match. Someone's review also seemed to blame this unit for their machine not having enough memory for video. It's fairly common knowledge that video eats up memory. Each of my 2 hr. vhs tapes is hogging up to 4 GB's on my harddrive. My solution was to purchase a portable external hard drive that I will put all family video on and that takes care of that!

I've had no problems with dropped frames but do occasionally have some problems with tracking that I feel are not the fault of this machine but due to the fact that most of my tapes are a quarter of a century old! The only fault I can find so far with this unit is that the tracking buttons don't make much difference in quality when I do have a problem. During these times, I take the tape and put in another VCR in my house and tweak it as much as I can. I expect to lose some video after all this time in storage and so far, out of 15 tapes, I'd say I've only had to edit out about 15 minutes due to tracking problems.

This unit, in my opinion, has already paid for itself. The cost of someone else converting these was expensive. I am very happy with this product; it's doing exactly what I needed it to do!

Update: All vhs tapes copied fine to pc. I then moved onto vhs-c and mini-dv tapes. I did not use the adapters and instead used the cables that came with each camera. I used the video cameras as the vcr to play the tapes and then ran them through the Ion VCR 2 PC. (The video and audio cables plug easily into the front of the unit) Set the tape/other switch to other and you're good to go. Everything went off without a hitch. I am very happy with this machine and the software. The instructional manual can be accessed while running the program by pressing the F1 key on your keyboard. This is very helpful with the software.
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on February 24, 2009
just finished my first VHS Tape to MPEG conversion with the VCR2PC and it couldn't have been easier. the only issue i ran into was installing it on Windows 7 x64 because the driver on the CD isn't digitally signed. however, you go to the site and under documentation & downloads i got the instructions on how to update the driver and the digitally signed driver for x86/x64 XP/Vista/7

the video and audio quality was an exact replica of the original tape.

here are the steps i took:
1. plug VCR2PC into outlet
2. insert cd into PC
3. plug usb cable into PC and VCR2PC
3.a at this point it should have auto installed but i just got a message box in the tray that said your hardware was not installed correctly.
3.b i went to Device Manager and there a yellow exclamation on VCR2PC, i right clicked on it, updated the driver and pointed to the CD
3.c the driver installed successfully but Windows Vista/7 x64 disabled the driver because it was not digitally signed by the publisher
3.d i went to [...] click on Documents & Downloads and downloaded the following:
3.d.1 VCR 2 PC - NTSC Hardware Driver [v1.43.07.50]
3.d.2 VCR 2 PC - Driver Update Instructions
3.e i unzipped the NTSC Hardware Driver zip file to a temp folder C:\Temp
3.f i went back to Device Manager right clicked on VCR2PC and updated the driver again this time pointing to C:\Temp
4. from the CD i ran the setup file on the root of the CD and ran the default settings
5. i opened EZ VHS Converter (ArcSoft product, excellent software package that is compatible with Media Center remotes)
5.a i got an error that said there is a problem with my sound device, i ignored this error
6. i put in Rush Hour VHS tape which wasn't rewound so it started automatically in the middle. i got audio perfectly and in sync so i figured the error about the sound device wasn't worth looking into
6.a i rewound the tape and played from the beginning
7. the movie box says approx 97 minutes so i set EZ VHS Converter to record for 1 hour 40 minutes
8. when the tape got to the point where i wanted to start the recording i just clicked Record
8.a 1 hour and 40 minutes later i had my MPEG version of my VHS in my Videos folder. (My Documents/My Videos)

you can also set it to record for more time and just click Record/Stop to manually adjust the length of recording time.
there is also a check box you can check for automatically creating a DVD.

the 1 hour 40 minutes converted to a 2.94GB MPEG.

it also has composite out and single channel audio out so it can double as a standard DVD player.

the one drawback to this product is the lack of editing software. i don't need it but it is definitely something that should be included. however, there are plenty of free editing tools out there.

i'm sure some of the negative review are from people using underpowered computers that couldn't keep up with the conversion. i have no idea what the minimum specs would be as i haven't found them anywhere. you shouldn't need a real powerful computer but i could the average user with their junked up PC having an issue.

it says right on the FAQ that it isn't compatible with XP/Vista 64-bit. but in the drivers both on the cd and the downloaded version there is a 0140_x64.sys file and a 0140_x86.sys file so obviously the drivers are either compatible or they aren't fully tested yet. i've tested both Win7 and Vista 64 and both work fine
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on June 27, 2009
I was really hopeful about this product. I really would like to easily convert a bunch of old videos we have from my childhood.

Beyond the hardware complaints, my #1 problem is: THEY INSTALL AD SOFTWARE ALONG WITH THEIR OWN SOFTWARE.
- The software that you have to install to record things from this unit also installs Arcsoft drivers for video encoding/decoding. The Arcsoft drivers install a service on your computer that ALWAYS runs in the background, and another service that displays ads for their products in the bottom right hand corner of your screen... even if you have all other software closed.
- You can opt to "stop showing these", but their background service called "Arcsoft Connect" continues to run in the background doing God knows what.
- There is no way to UNINSTALL this without uninstalling all of the recording software.
- Do a quick Google search for "Arcsoft Connect" and you'll see many other complaints with this software.

My other problems were with the tracking. On many older tapes, the tracking would continually adjust itself. There is no way to manually adjust it; after playing with this thing for hours, the tracking buttons on the front don't seem to do anything. Even when the auto-tracking gets it right, it starts auto-tracking again and messes up all over again.

This is a great concept, but very poor implementation. Cheap hardware, cheap software. Not many options. They probably cut a deal with Arcsoft to use their drivers for free if Arcsoft could display ads.

This seems to be a problem with all of Ion's products; they're just cheaply made.
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on February 6, 2009
Like you I read the reviews for the Ion VCR 2 PC converter. The reviews seemed split between fantastic and piece of crap. Tough to reconcile, huh? It really worked quite well right out of the box. Loading the software was simple and the controls were pretty intuitive. I've enjoyed loading different VHS tapes, etc.

It seems that the complaints are glitches - computers that didn't work well with it and/or folks who expected a lot of editing abilities - they aren't there. This is great for converting VHS to PC - just what I wanted, just what I got - I love it!
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on December 16, 2009
This was very easy to use, installed first try. I am using Windows 7 on a quad core computer with 4Gb of memory. Video-wise it was OK although it seemed to have tracking problems once in awhile where a noise bar would work it's way down the screen.

It is the audio that is terrible. When VCR's first came out they had a stationary head for the audio that read from a track on the very edge of the tape. The video was laid down by a rotating video head that was able to lay down a terrific amount of information because the rotating head made it appear that the tape was moving at a very fast speed. The actual tape was moving very slowly and so the audio was mono and had a terrific amount of wow and flutter; it would also fade in and out if the edge of the tape had the slightest imperfections. After a few years the audio was added to the rotating video head and so it was extremely good quality and also was stereo. Even the cheapest VCR's today have the audio on the rotating head for good sound quality (I just bought a refurbed VCR/DVD combo for my RV and the sound is great).

I looked everywhere but nowhere could I find where this unit was getting it's audio. My suspicion is that it is getting the sound from that old technology stationary audio head, mono and terrible sounding.

I have returned the unit and will go with a conventional VCR and an analog to digital converter to input into my computer.

Sorry to be so technical but it's the only explanation I think for the terrible sound. This item could be a great item but I think they went the cheap route on the sound and are losing sales because of it.
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on May 21, 2008
I had been shopping around quite a bit for a way to transfer dozens of cherished VHS tapes to DVD. I found this product, and thought it would be a simple easy solution. Yikes! Was I wrong, big time. To begin, the installation was a gigantic pain. After consulting Ion tech support, and installing and uninstalling the software a couple of dozen times, I finally got my PC to talk to the box. OK, now we can get going! So, I loaded in some video, worked well. Then the big surprise... I wanted to edit my video using the Muvee Producer software, which the description says (twice!) is included in the package. SURPRISE!!! Muvee Producer is NOT INCLUDED with this purchase. I called up Ion to ask about this. The response was that Amazon and other dealers had the product description wrong, this software was not supported, and it didn't come with the unit.

This VCR2PC device came with the most basic of editing programs, and it did basically nothing. So, after fighting the unit for a week, finally getting it installed, I discovered no editing software was included. I shopped it back yesterday. Beware!!!
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on August 26, 2008
I bought this unit with high expectations. What a disappointment! First, the unit requires at least a 4 GHz machine to work at all - which is not stated anywhere online or in the literature. Next, the sound quality was terrible - clicks and pops everywhere - even when the tape wasn't playing. Even with a fast computer it dropped frames and really didn't have the kind of quality I expected in the finished product. Also the picture had snow (even with a movie tape that plays flawlessly on my VCR and plasma TV). The software is slow and hogs your machine, and editing is pretty much a joke. I returned the unit and will wait until something else that works comes along.
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on September 8, 2008
I just bought a VCR 2 PC, and it rocks!!! I have all sorts of stuff on VHS that I've been dying to get onto my computer and digitize, and finally somebody came out with a converter box that does this very easily and quickly. This VCR is perfect. The software that's included is very straightforward, and does exactly what it says it will do. I was able to import my video and make some basic edits in Windows Movie Maker. It's not a bad little VHS player either. And you cant beat the price!
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on October 25, 2008
The converter was fairly easy to use and does a great job with regular size VHS tapes. It does have a problem when using VHS-S adapter for 30 minute cassette tapes. It tends to skip and make a knocking sound. The tracking adjustment did not help. Otherwise the results were better than expected.
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on December 14, 2008
This little unit, while no replacement for a regular VHS player, paid for itself in one day by digitizing and saving the contents of a 15-year old VHS tape that was in the process of decomposing. Had that happened, a once-in-a-lifetime event would have been lost forever.

Fairly easy to figure out as there are very few buttons. My only complaint is the tracking controls don't seem to have too much of an affect, and there is no way of 'resetting' the tracking once you've messed with it.

The software was a little complicated as far as installation, but after a couple of tries and a download, it worked perfectly and allows you to edit and add to your data, including music tracks, effects, titles, etc. Very well thought out and a simple, easy-to-use interface.

There are several output options, including uploading directly to YouTube or other online video service of your choice. You can save your finished video in a variety of formats, as well as burn directly to DVD.

The only other comment or request I could give to ION would be to make the converter software Mac-compatible!
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