Q: We had a family reunion in Ireland. A DVD was made of all of us together but I cannot get it to play on my DVD (player). My brother said I have to convert the format to USA format. I have no idea who would do it for me. Can you guide me? I live in South Florida.
This is probably the last family reunion as we are in the upper age bracket! A million thanks.
Q: Eric, I have several VHS tapes that were recorded using the PAL system, which is different from the NTSC traditionally used in North America. Please, what do you advise me to do in terms of being able to convert these treasure collections into the DVD format?
A: Mary and Peter, if you search the Internet for "foreign video conversion," you'll find a few services that will accept your tapes or DVD by mail and convert them from the PAL video format used in Europe to the NTSC video format used in the U.S. (as long as your video is not copy-protected). These services also convert home movies to DVD and 35mm slides to DVD. One such service is Video for You (www.videoforyou.com), and will cost about $19 per DVD.
If you can't find a service nearby or don't feel comfortable packaging your memories to be shipped off for conversion, maybe you'll feel better dropping them off at your local CVS, Costco, Walgreens or Walmart, who'll convert them for you. Actually, they will package your memories and ship them to Yes Video in Atlanta, which does video transferring for those stores and others. Expect to pay about $25.
Why do you need to transfer? The PAL and NTSC video standards display images at different frame rates and at different resolutions, so you'd need a European DVD player or VCR to see that video — and a European TV or a converter box that will let your current TV see the images. Too costly.
Another alternative: The Internet has various software that will let you use your computer and its DVD burner to convert PAL to NTSC and burn it to a DVD, but that's more hassle than a lot of people want to put up with. If you think you're up to it, you can search for "PAL to NTSC," again, as long as your video is not copy-protected.
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