movies

Record TV Shows and Cable Movies Directly to your Computer

Many people pay an extra $10 - $15 a month for a DVR to record TV shows and movies and view them later.

Did you know you could be recording TV and cable shows directly to your computer for free?

All you need is an audio/video capture adapter that plugs into your computer's USB port, like the EasyCAP USB2.0 Video Capture VHS-to-USB Adapter. Once you've hooked the adapter up between your TV and your computer, you'll be able to record any show directly to your computer in a digital video format of your choice (avi, mpeg, wmv, etc).

You can also edit the videos to remove commercials, and can even transfer these videos to your iphone or other mobile device to view them on the go.

Here's what the adapter looks like, with cables that will plug into your TV's RCA or S-Video jacks on one end, and into your computer's USB port on the other end:

The USB end plugs into your computer, and the RCA jacks plug into your TV, VCR, or cable box.

The adapter comes with Ulead Movie Maker software that you'll run on your PC. With the software running, you'll click "Video Capture" when your TV show or movie comes on and the show will be saved to your computer in high quality digital video and audio.

Yes, this adapter could also be used to make backup copies of your DVD or VHS movies (just be sure to honor any copyright laws that may exist in your country).

Blockbuster vs Netflix - Which Movie Rental Service is the Best?

Remember when you used to have to drive to the rental store and pick out VHS movies to rent? You might even remember renting a VCR machine before they became common place.

Then DVDs hit the market and DVD players became so affordable that almost everyone owned one. High quality movie media combined with high-end flat panel HD TV screens provide for a top notch movie viewing experience right in your own home.

Blockbuster and Netflix have jumped head first into the movie rental business, and both will ship 3 DVD movies to your home at a time for a low monthly fee. You can rent as many movies as you want throughout the month, but you can only have up to 3 at a time.

So which movie rental service is the best? Blockbuster or Netflix?

I've tried both services for several months, and ended up choosing one of them and sticking with it for over 2 years. Before I tell you which one, let's compare the facts:

Netflix

The first service to start with free delivery movie rentals was Netflix, and they quickly captured the market with their low $18.99-a-month fee for as many movies as you could watch.

Netflix has a very user-friendly website that lets you browse thousands of movies, new releases, classics, and every imaginable category and genre.

My wife and I were Netflix evangelists for several months, and encouraged our friends to check out the service. It was far cheaper to pay the low monthly fee than to pay for each individual rental movie, especially when you consider late fees for forgetting to return them on time.

How to Backup Copy-Protected DVD Movies

Question: I have a few DVD movies that I'd like to copy for backup purposes, and would also like to view them on my laptop when I go on business trips. The software that came with my laptop isn't able to do it though - it says the DVDs are copy-protected. Is there an easy way to do this?

Answer: You'd think it would just be a simple matter of plugging the DVD into the DVD drive on your computer, and clicking a "Create Backup Copy" menu somewhere in Windows Explorer (or in the Finder for Mac users). It turns out however that copy-protection and encryption on commercial DVD movies have made it a lot harder than that.

Your operating system will not let you make backup copies of your favorite copy-protected commercial DVD movies without the help of third-party software programs. You'll also most likely need to find software made outside the United States. Thanks to some confusing legislation, and the fear of copyright law suits in the states, companies like Roxio, Nero, and others have removed the ability to copy commercial DVDs.

Is it legal?

If you're intentions are to copy your DVDs and sell them for profit, then you're clearly violating copyright laws and will be subject to fines or imprisonment if caught.

But what about making backup copies of your own DVDs that you paid for? I'm not a lawyer, so I recommend that you read the copyright laws for your country and decide for yourself what's legal and what's not. Personally I found them confusing at best, and conflicting with regards to fair usage laws that should allow me to protect my personal property by making backup copies of my own DVDs.

I'm a firm believer in the right to protect your own personal property. For DVDs that means being able to burn backup copies to your heart's content, provided they're for your own personal viewing (ie. you aren't selling them or using them to make a profit).

The search for a good DVD Ripper and Burner

Pages