September 2, 2008 Many of us remember the years when men were men, movies came on thick black VHS cassettes, and a well-dressed gent would wear an onion on his belt, as was the style of the time. Of course, these days we expect our media to be much more flexible, and with this in mind ION have released the VHS 2 PC - a VHS player with a simple USB output cable that lets you digitize all your old VHS content in one step and watch it online, on a DVD or a portable video player.
The VCR era really wasn't all that long ago - so there's a lot of people out there with substantial collections of old VHS tapes that quietly and slightly degrade with every viewing. Digital content, however, is far more robust. A hard drive full of movies has a very long shelf life, as well as being much more flexible to use.
The VHS 2 PC unit couldn't be simpler - it operates as a normal VHS player when plugged into a TV, and when you plug it into a PC (Windows XP or later only) and run the included software, it lets you rip content from the tape into MPEG4 video files.
Older handheld camcorders can be plugged into a jack on the front of the VHS 2 PC, and their content digitised in the same way. There's PAL and NTSC versions available, both costing around US$250.