Really simple and still flexible? Here you go:
by Gerdd - 1/16/10 7:59 AM
In Reply to: Re: What is a simple way to convert old VHS tapes to DVDs? by mtrehan
I don't use a combo. I use a VCR that can play all my tapes, including the S-VHS ones. I use a simple connector cable and at the other end of it I use one of these hard drive recorders with built-in DVD writer.
Now, load a tape, start recording to the hard drive, start playback on the tape. Wait until the tape is over and stop the recording.
Now you have a choice:
REALLY simple: copy the recorded file to a DVD choosing the compression that will fit it all on one DVD. Don't worry too much about quality, you will be able to clearly see all the flaws of the original VHS recording.
A bit slicker: Use the HDD recorder's editing features to trim off leading and trailing bits you don't need. Trim out commercial breaks. If there were multiple programs on the tape, slice things up and maybe collect all your episodes from "Married With Children" or "Three's Company" or whatever on your recorder's hard drive. You can then sort things onto collection DVDs.
Really slick (and I haven't worked that one out yet myself): Find a way to overcome Macrovision or similar copy protect schemes so that you can continue to watch what you already paid for - this may be under some restrictions in your jurisdiction.
The best part of this method: Your computer remains free for other things, such as researching the proper sequencing of the episodes.