1) First, you’ll need to know the specs of your computer. The slower the computer, the slower the capturing and rendering. Not only will this slow down the process, but this can lead to all sorts of video and audio problems. Make sure that your computer can handle the raw data coming in. An ideal system is one with at least 512MB of RAM, a large hard drive (a half an hour of television takes up about 5 GBs), and a processor that’s at least 1 gHz. Of course, there’s leeway with these specs, but one thing is for sure: if you don’t have the space, you don’t have the video.
2) Next, your computer has to have a Firewire port. If it doesn’t, you can buy either a Firewire card for your computer or buy a Firewire hub. Search on the internet for prices and compatibility. Mac users do not have to worry about this, because Apple invented the technology, so Firewire is on all Mac computers. Do not use USB if you can aviod it! Firewire is the better of the two for capturing video, and most editing programs only work with Firewire.
3) Then, you have to have a converter that converts the analog signal from your television to digital for your computer. If you have a camcorder, some have a “Pass Through” technology where the camcorder converts the analog to digital for you. Check your manuals! If you do not have a camcorder, then you’ll need a video capturing hub. They range from $50-200 bucks, and they can do the job easily.
4) Next, you’ll need some cables! Depending upon what you buy to convert the video to digital, you’ll need different cables. This time, you’ll have to do your research and read those manuals!
To find out where to buy the above: TigerDirect.com, ZipZoomFly.com, and Pricewatch.com (good source for finding good prices).
5) Finally, you’ll need a program that will capture the video onto your computer and edit out the commercials. Mac users have it easy because iMovie is already there on the comp for this job. PC users can try out VirtualDub. It’s an open-source program, so it’s totally free!