TerraTec – Grabby review

VHS to DVD capture equipment
Photo of TerraTec – Grabby

The relentless march of the digital revolution means that some of our most precious memories that were previously captured on VHS seem destined to gather dust in the attic forever. However, help is at hand in the shape of a nifty new device from TerraTec, who have done a deal with media software company Magix to produce a quick and relatively painless way to preserve those old videos in a more modern format.

The Grabby connecting device has a USB 2.0 connector at one end and a choice of Composite (RCA) or S-Video inputs at the other, with stereo audio. There’s no additional power unit needed as it draws on the power from your PC via USB, and you can choose to copy PAL, NTSC and SECAM tapes with a capture rate up to 720 x 576 pixels / 25fps for PAL and up to 720 x 480 pixel / 29.9fps for NTSC.

It’s worth pointing out, though, that as most VHS players tend to have only SCART connectors linking them to a TV, you’ll have to shell out for a supplementary SCART/RCA adaptor before you can start copying. Once your connectors are in place, then it’s time to install the software, which is a special TerraTec edition of Magix Movies on DVD.

A separate record button is built into the Grabby but you may find it just as easy to work everything through the software’s intuitive user interface. The opening screen offers you three simple choices – record, edit and burn – and when you elect to record, you have a further four options: recording straight from a digital camera, analogue video, audio and screen (i.e. directly from your PC screen).

You have full stereo sound and video previewing as you record and when you switch to edit mode you can then add up to 11 fades, use more than 25 effects, and adjust gamma, contrast, sharpness and saturation. You can then create your own credits, titles and subtitles before either burning the finished result to DVD or saving it to your personalised Online Album in widescreen (16:9) or standard (4:3) format.

As well as just preserving those valuable VHS archives, the Magix software includes a number of extra features for recording via other sources. So if you record TV programmes you can automatically find and remove those annoying ads, and you can decorate your final video with a range of fun designs.

Company: TerraTec

Contact: +49 (0) 2157 8179 0

At an affordable price you can now archive those old videos on DVD or online using a simple combination lead (although you may have to supplement it with a SCART/RCA adaptor) and some excellent record, edit and burn software from Magix.