Programs to convert videos to digital and transfer them to the PC

Nowadays, analog devices have become obsolete and outdated, since they have all become digital. Virtually any electronic device has been digitized. That is why at home we have a good amount of analog videos, such as VHS or Beta, that we can no longer use today, so it can be interesting to be able to convert them to digital and transfer them to our computer. This is something we can do by using various programs that allow us to change, process, compress or change the encoding of these.

If we have a good collection of analog videos at home that run the risk of being forgotten, since we will not be able to reproduce them on any current device, we are surely interested in the possibility of having them always available in digital format. Therefore, we begin by knowing what coding is, what characteristics the applications must have that allow this work and later which ones we can use.

Programs to convert videos to digital

What is encoding a video

We speak of encoding to the process by which videos are passed from an analog format to a digital one, for example, our VHS movies to the PC. This process includes the conversion of the video file format, the video format and the audio format. This is something especially used nowadays, especially if we want to transmit live videos, as it will not allow us to reach a greater number of users.

If we want to make these conversions to digital on a Windows PC, we will need software to help us encode the videos. Most of the programs are in charge of compressing the information so that it can be stored or transmitted occupying the minimum possible space.

When choosing the appropriate software, it is important that it has great compatibility with different encoding formats such as H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.265, etc., for its treatment. It is also important that it is capable of batch converting, in this way we can process several files at the same time. In addition, it is also important that you can change some of the audio parameters such as the bit rate or the codec.

Free programs to transfer VHS videos to your PC

Next, we are going to see different programs with which we are going to be able to encode so that we can convert our analog videos to digital.

HandBrake, the most complete

It is a popular video encoding program that is known for being free and open source for Windows. With it we can pass a video from one digital format to another, with encoders such as H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.265, VP8, VP9, ​​among others. It also allows us to change the audio parameters such as the bit rate, the codec, the audio channel, etc. Another great advantage is that it allows you to process files in batches , which will allow us to pass and convert several files at the same time. Along with this, this software allows us to perform other tasks, such as video editing. Thus, we can crop, flip or rotate any video, change its resolution and even add borders. In addition, you can convert them to a web and make them compatible with Android devices, Apple and Xbox and PlayStation consoles, among other video profiles.

Convierte archivos con HandBrake

HandBrake is a multiplatform application that we can download for free from the developer’s website.

VCT – Video Converter & Transcoder, transfer videos to PC in seconds

It is another interesting option, also open source and free. As we can guess from its name, this software has been designed to convert video formats on our PC. This software allows us to convert from MKV to MP4 or MP4 / M4V to MKV in just 1 minute. It also allows batch file conversion in H.264 or H.265, HEVC, ACC, MP3, among others. It also allows us to perform editing tasks such as rotating or resizing a movie, extracting the audio, selecting the audio sequence to encode with video, adding subtitles and recording AV broadcasts from the Internet.

Video Converter & Transcoder

We can download VCT for free by clicking on this link to the SourceForge website .

VLC Media Player, the popular multi-functional player

Without a doubt, we are facing the most popular and used multimedia file playback program worldwide, developed by VideoLAN. However, VLC is much more than a simple player as it has a large number of functions such as the ability to convert videos from analog to digital , change their format and convert them. It also supports batch conversion, so we can save time when doing our jobs. It supports formats such as H.264 + MP3 (MP4), H.265 + MP3 (MP4), WMV + WMA (ASF), VP80 + Vorbis (WebM), etc. In addition, we can select the type of codec, the video resolution, apply filters (motion blur, mirror, invert, etc.), the audio codec, among other video output options.

VLC 4.0 - Nueva interfaz 1

VLC Media Player is a multi-device player that we can download for free from this link to the VideoLAN website .

MediaCoder, pass analog videos to the computer

It is another free program with which we can transfer videos to our PC. With it we can change from one format to another. It supports a wide variety of formats such as H.264, H.265, VP8, VP9, ​​Theora, Xvid, MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4, among others. It also allows us to customize a wide variety of output formats such as audio conversion, video bit rate, audio sample rate, etc. In addition, it has H.264 / H.265 GPU accelerated encoding and is capable of extracting from optical storage devices such as Blu-Ray, DVD, VCD and CD, as well as taking video captures.

MediaCoder cambiar formato

MediaCoder has a version with installation and another portable, which will allow us to run it from any external storage device connected to the PC. We can download it for free from its developer’s website .

Movavi Video Converter, for all types of users

We are talking about a conversion platform that is compatible with more than 180 formats and also includes other functions such as adding subtitles and performing other video editing tasks, as well as cropping and merging them. It can be used by both beginners and more expert users as it has a learning curve suitable for all types of users. It is a very complete program, with which, in addition, we can create, edit, convert, capture and burn discs.

Movavi Video Converter

Movavi Video Converter has a free version with some limitations, since the video output contains watermarks, and only half of the video is saved until we buy the full version. We can download it from this link to its main page .

FFmpeg, command line use for expert users

It is a software characterized by not having a user interface , but instead performs its work from the command line. We are talking about a solution especially suitable for advanced users that allows us to record and convert them between different platforms. It is not the easiest and most intuitive platform that is why it is aimed especially for those with a higher level of experience. From there we can use a simple command to convert video formats. In addition, it can also be used to change, rotate, resize, play RTSP streams, etc.

FFmpeg is cross-platform and we can download it for free from this link to its repository on GitHub .

WinFF, little known but efficient

It is an open source and free multiplatform software with which you can transfer VHS or Beta videos to your computer. It is based on FFMPEG , but unlike it, it does have a user interface. We can use it to pass videos using various encoders and using a wide number of formats such as MPEG, MOV, AVI, MKV and FLV, among others. It also allows us to modify some parameters of the output by configuring its profile (frame rate, bit rate, resolution, aspect ratio, etc).


We can download WinFF for free from their website.

What is the most recommended?

As we can see, we have a good number of applications that can be very useful if we need to carry out work of converting our old VHS or Beta videos to digital. As they are free programs, we can always download them and test which one best suits our tastes and needs without having to shell out a euro.

Any of these softwares will be able to encode a video file in a format of our choice. When deciding on one, possibly this would be Handbrake , a specialist in the field, with which we can perform batch processing and it supports preview before encoding. Likewise, if we use VLC as a multimedia player we can also try it if we do not want to have to download more programs.