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Can I import analog video into my computer?

Answer: Analog video is recorded using an analog video camera rather than a digital video camera. The video is stored on an analog medium, such as analog film or a VHS tape.

While computers are highly capable machines, they only recognize digital data. Therefore, in order to import analog video into a computer, it must be converted to a digital format. This can be accomplished by running the video through an analog-to-digital converter, or ADC.

ADCs are available in many forms. Most are small boxes that include analog input ports, such as composite video and audio connections (yellow, red, and white connectors) or S-video or component inputs. The output ports may be Firewire, USB, or HDMI connections.

While ADCs are typically standalone devices, some digital video cameras include analog inputs and can be used as ADCs. Regardless of what ADC you use, it must be supported by your computer. This may require installing drivers or a supporting software application for the ADC. Once your computer recognizes the ADC device, you can set the computer to Record, then play your analog tape through the ADC to import it into your computer.

Published: February 17, 2011 — by Per Christensson

Answer from the PC Help Center