Tip #1776: Import VHS Media Using USB

… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1776: Import VHS Media Using USB

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Roxio Easy VHS or QuickTime Player seem the best options.

The Roxio Easy VHS to DVD software package.

Topic $TipTopic

A recent forum thread on MacRumors discussed low-cost options for batch importing VHS tapes of home movies into an iMac using HDMI or S-Video connected via USB.

While Photo Booth works, it is inflexible and hard to use. FaceTime sees the video, but doesn’t record.

The reader reported that iMovie and FCP don’t recognize video coming in via a USB port. What did readers recommend?

One suggested QuickTime Player. However, “the only quality control is “High” and “Maximum”, which are still much higher resolution than VHS in wide format. No option to save to external drive when digitizing, or auto stop after 1 hour or 2 hours.”

NOTE: However, you can work around some of this by capturing internally, then manually moving the file after capture to another drive. You could also compress it manually, as well.

Another reader reported using Roxio, but importing tapes “takes forever.” [Editor: By this, they mean that all video imports in real-time, unlike the high-speed transfer from an SD card.]

General consensus was Roxio Easy VHS to DVD for Mac. “When I used the Roxio software, I had to set it on “medium” quality. If I set it higher, the audio would begin to drift, and be really out of sync the longer the video went.”

Just thought I’d pass along the conversation.


First, a caution. I was not able to verify that Roxio supports Big Sur. You may need to run it on earlier versions of the macOS. Or, use QuickTime Player.

Roxio says: “Easily convert VHS, Hi8, and Video8 tapes to popular digital formats.” This requires USB 2.0 (which every computer today supports).

Video quality is selectable between:

  • High. Apple intermediate codec at 640 x 480 (square pixel) resolution
  • Medium. H.264 at 640 x 480 (square pixel) resolution
  • Low. H.264 at 320 x 240 (square pixel) resolution.

Here’s the link.

Please rate the helpfulness of this tip.

Click on a star to rate it!

2 replies
    • Larry Jordan
      Larry Jordan says:


      There are days when I can’t remember what I had for breakfast.

      Thanks for pointing this out.



Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *