ION Audio VCR 2 PC - VHS Video Tape Player with USB Output

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ION Audio VCR 2 PC - Front View with Accessories

ION Audio VCR 2 PC - Front View with Accessories
ION Audio VCR 2 PC - Front View with Accessories. Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

The VCR 2 PC from ION Audio allows transfer of home recorded VHS videos to your PC and copy them onto DVD, iPod, or compatible mobile phones. The VCR 2 PC is actually a VHS tape player that has a USB interface connection.

To make the transfer and copying process easier, ION provides video capture and basic editing software. Another convenient feature are the auxiliary AV inputs for connection of a camcorder, thus using the VCR to PC as an analog-to-USB converter for your camcorder or other external video source. For a close-up look at the VCR 2 PC, check out the following photo gallery.

Also, after growing through this photo gallery, also check out my VCR 2 PC Product Review.

To start of this photo look at the ION Audio VCR 2 PC, here is a look at what you get when you purchase it.

Shown in this photo, in addition to the main unit, are a quick start guide and safety instructions, as well as USB cable and attached power cord. Also includes is a CD-ROM that includes any needed drivers for your PC, as well as the VCR 2 PC editing software. In addition, a complete user manual is included on an the CD-ROM that can be printed out or saved on your PC for reference.

The controls on the front panel of the main unit, starting on the top row, between the VCR 2 PC and ION logos is VHS tape loading slot, tape eject, and tracking controls.

Moving to the bottom row, starting on the left, is the power button, basic transport controls (Rewind/Reverse Scan, Fast Forward/Forward Scan, Stop, and Play/Pause. It is important to note that VCR 2 PC does not record, it is only a playback unit; technically it should be referred to as a VCP (Video Cassette Player), rather than a VCR (Video Cassette Recorder).

Continuing to move to the right of the transport controls are a set of AV inputs and a USB connection. The USB connection is what you use to connect the VCR 2 PC to your desktop or laptop computer.

The other features of the VCR 2 PC include:

  •  VHS tape player with USB connection for video transfer to PC.
  • Outputs: One set of RCA Audio/Composite Video connections. USB connection for PC.
  • Inputs: One set of RCA Audio/Composite Video for connecting external sources, such as a Camcorder.
  • Auto-tracking, variable speed slow motion, playback, and rewind. Soft-touch, backlit buttons
  • Available in PAL version with SCART output connection upon request.
  • Minimum PC Requirements: Windows XP (32-bit) or Vista (32-bit), USB 2.0 port.
  • Box includes: VCR 2 PC player, Software CD, USB cable, Quick start guide
  • Note: VCR 2 PC works only with the included EZ VHS Converter software.
  • Note: Not compatible with 64-bit versions of Windows XP or Vista at this time.
  • Note: VCR 2 PC is not compatible with Mac at this time. However, finished files created with the included software can play on a Macintosh using QuickTime 8.

For a closer look at the controls and features of the VCR 2 PC, proceed to the next series of photos in this gallery...

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ION Audio VCR 2 PC - Front Left

ION Audio VCR 2 PC - Front Left
ION Audio VCR 2 PC - Front Left. Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Here is an extreme close-up view of the VCR 2 PC transport controls located on the front of the unit on bottom left side.

As you can see, starting on the left, there is a power button, Rewind, Fast Forward, Stop, and Play/Pause button. It must be noted the Fast Forward and Rewind Buttons also function as Forward and Reserve scan buttons when the tape is in play. Also, when each button lights up when activated, which is very convenient.

Proceed to the next photo...

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ION Audio VCR 2 PC - Front Right

ION Audio VCR 2 PC - Front Right
ION Audio VCR 2 PC - Front Right. Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Here is a close-up look at the VCR 2 PC transport controls and inputs that are on the front right of the unit.

On the top row are the VHS Tape Eject and Tracking buttons.

On the bottom row is a switch that allows the user to transfer video either from the VCR 2 PC or from an external device that is connected to the AV inputs. What this means is that even though the VCR 2 PC does not record from external sources, you can use the VCR 2 PC as an analog-to-digital video converter.

In other words, you can connect a camcorder or other device with a composite video and analog audio output to the front AV inputs of the VCR 2 PC. If the VCR 2 PC is on, it will be able pass the video from your camcorder or other device through the USB port shown in this photo to your PC.

It is also important to note that the VCR 2 PC only has a composite video input and analog mono input. Also, as well will see in the next photo, on the rear panel, the VCR 2 PC only has a composite video output and mono analog audio output.

Proceed to the next photo...

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ION Audio VCR 2 PC - Rear View

ION Audio VCR 2 PC - Rear View
ION Audio VCR 2 PC - Rear View. Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Here is a photo of the rear of the VCR 2 PC. There is not much see or explain.

On the top left side is the non-detachable AC power cord and on the bottom right is the composite video and analog mono audio output. As mentioned in the previous photo, the VCR 2 PC does not have stereo analog audio outputs.

Proceed to the next photo...

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ION Audio VCR 2 PC - Inside View From Front

ION Audio VCR 2 PC - Inside View From Front
ION Audio VCR 2 PC - Inside View From Front. Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Here is a look at the inside of the VCR 2 PC as viewed form the front of the unit. As you can see, most of internal space is taken up by the VHS loading and transport mechanism. The analog audio and video circuitry is behind the VHS transport, while the power supply is the brown-colored circuit board on the right side. The USB conversion processing board is the small green-colored board near the front right of this photo.

Proceed to the next photo.

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ION Audio VCR 2 PC - Inside View From Rear

ION Audio VCR 2 PC - Inside View From Rear
ION Audio VCR 2 PC - Inside View From Rear. Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Shown in this photo is another view of the inside of the VCR 2 PC as seen from the rear. Here you can get a better view of the analog audio and video circuitry that is "wrapped around" the VHS tape loading and playback mechanism.

Also, located on the front left of this photo is the VCR 2 PC's power supply and the small green circuit board above the power supply is the USB conversion board.

Proceed to the next photo...

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ION Audio VCR 2 PC - USB Board

ION Audio VCR 2 PC - USB Board
ION Audio VCR 2 PC - USB Board. Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Here is an extreme close-up fo the analog-to-USB conversion board.

The main chip on this board is a TV Master TM6010 Chip, which is manufactured by Trident Microsystems. This chip provides the ability to play back analog video and audio on PCs, which is essential for the operation of the VCR 2 PC.

For a look at the Software features of the VCR 2 PC, proceed to the next series of photos...

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ION Audio VCR 2 PC - EZ VHS Converter - Main Menu

ION Audio VCR 2 PC - EZ VHS Converter - Main Menu
ION Audio VCR 2 PC - EZ VHS Converter - Main Menu. Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Here is a view of the introductory page of the ION EZ VHS Converter software that comes with VCR 2 PC.

From this menu, you can access your stored videos, any portable video devices (iPOd, PSP) you may also want to transfer your videos to, and a more detailed setup menu which we will look at in the next photo...

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ION Audio VCR 2 PC - EZ VHS Converter - General Settings

ION Audio VCR 2 PC - EZ VHS Converter - General Settings
ION Audio VCR 2 PC - EZ VHS Converter - General Settings. Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Here is a look at the General Settings Memu of the VHS EZ Converter software.

Here you can access the other sub-menu functions of the EZ VHS Converter software, including how you want to store your captured videos and still images, as well as how you want your videos displayed on your monitor (aspect ratio, etc...).

Proceed to the next photo...

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ION Audio VCR 2 PC - EZ VHS Converter - Capture Menu

ION Audio VCR 2 PC - EZ VHS Converter - Capture Menu
ION Audio VCR 2 PC - EZ VHS Converter - Capture Menu. Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Here is a look at the Capture menu provided by the EZ VHS Converter software. As you can see, the layout and process is simple.

The black box on the right is where you can monitor your video as it is being captured or recorded. You can also view your video on a TV at the same time if you wish, using the VCR 2 PC's composite video and analog audio outputs.

Also, it is important that you enter a filename, as it will come in handy in retrieving the file later for editing or DVD burning.

You can also designate the amount of time you want capture or record. However, even if you designate a time, you can stop the recording before your time is up if it turns you your video is shorter than the time you allotted for it.

To record, all your have to do is press the record button on the top left of the screen and then also press play on your VCR 2 PC unit or other device. I found it disappointing that the record button does not activate device playback at the same time you start your recording. My advice, press record first, then press play on your VCR 2 PC.

Proceed to the next photo...

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ION Audio VCR 2 PC - EZ VHS Converter - Editing Menu

ION Audio VCR 2 PC - EZ VHS Converter - Editing Menu
ION Audio VCR 2 PC - EZ VHS Converter - Editing Menu. Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Here is a look at the video editing interface of the VHS EZ Converter software supplied with the VCR 2 PC.

After you have captured/recorded your video onto your PC, this menu allows you to retrieve your video and play it back from your hard drive. You can then make some cuts, eliminating any boring parts. It must be noted that this software only provides basic cut editing. It does not allow the addition of any transition, special, or titling effects. However, it is very easy to use.

After you edit your video, you can create a menu for your DVD, including choosing thumbnail image from your video to put on the menu, as well as cover for your DVD case.

After you have completed your desired tasks, you can save the video and then burn it to a DVD or export it to a portable video device. You also have the option of keep your video on your hard drive or deleting it.

For a more detailed look at the VHS EZ Converter software, you can download the entire software manual.

For some final thoughts on the VCR 2 PC and EZ VHS Converter software, proceed to the next, and last photo, in this gallery...

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ION Audio VCR 2 PC - Dual View

ION Audio VCR 2 PC - Dual View
ION Audio VCR 2 PC - Dual View. Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Here is a final look at the ION Audio VCR 2 PC, which shows both a front and rear view of the unit, along with all the accessories that come with it when you purchase it.

Final Take

The VCR 2 PC provides an efficient and practical way to transfer your old VHS Tapes (non-copy-protected) to either DVD or portable video playback device, using its USB interface and provided software with a PC.

Setting up the VCR 2 PC is fairly easy. After you install the provided VHS EZ Converter Software, all you have to do is connect the VCR 2 PC to your desktop or laptop using a USB cable (which is also provided). After transferring your video to your PC, you can do some basic editing before burning your video to DVD (you must have a DVD writer) or your portable video playback device.

In addition to transferring VHS tapes to your PC, the VCR 2 PC also has additional audio/video line inputs that allow you transfer video from an external source, such as an analog camcorder, cable box, or DTV converter. Also, as you are transferring your video to the PC, you can also watch it simultaneous on your television using the VCR 2 PC's analog audio video output connections.

There are several things I really liked about the VCR 2 PC. However, one thing I didn't care for is that the auxiliary audio/video inputs only accommodate mono audio. For those that have videos recorded with Hifi stereo sound, you don't get that benefit. Also, if you are a PC novice, you may find the software menus not as intuitive as they could be.

Overall, I found the VCR 2 PC to be good option for transferring old VHS videos to DVD without the next for an external analog-to-digital converter box or the need to have analog audio/video inputs on your PC. Although I would have preferred some higher-end features on the VHS playback unit, such as S-VHS and HiFi stereo audio playback, ION is definitely cornering the market on analog-to-PC conversion and transfer devices that fall into "Why didn't I think of that?" product category.

I give the ION Audio VCR 2 PC at rating of Four Stars out of Five.

Note: Since the publication of this review, the Ion Audio VCR2PC has been discontinued, but may still be available used via Amazon.

There isn't a direct VCR 2 PC replacement product available, but analog-to-PC video capture/editing/copying products are available that can be connected to a traditional VCR, Camcorder, or other compatible video playback device. Check out some that are available via Amazon.

Also, for those that still record and play VHS tapes, production of devices with VHS tape record/playback capability are being discontinued.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.