NOTE: The Internet Archive.org appears to be having problems this morning. Many of the links in this blog are to that site, and may be temporarily offline. (10-25-08). If so, try again at a later time.
Updated: 12:50 ET 10-25: Archive.org appears to be back online, but is VERY slow in responding. Obviously they are still having `issues' and may be intermittent for awhile.
If you are serious about collecting old time radio and public domain movies and TV shows, you will probably need to augment your computer with a couple of specialized software packages.
I tried, valiantly, to find freeware programs that would capture streaming video, MP3 music (or radio shows), and a decent - easy to use- DVD burning package. About a year ago, I gave up.
After installing, and testing, dozens of programs I came away disappointed with just about everything I tried.
Some programs worked part of the time, but failed other times. Some never worked on my machine (Dell E521 Windows XP) at all.
I finally bit the bullet and purchased two commercial packages. And I am happy with both of them.
First, I spent roughly $70 and bought NERO 8, for burning CDs and DVDs. I know there are freeware burning programs out there, but none seemed to do everything I wanted them to do.
In the past year, some of these freeware and shareware programs may have improved. I don't know. I'm happy with NERO now that I've bought it.
I'm also aware that NERO 9 has just been released. I'm not sure when, or if, I'll upgrade.
ROXIO is another DVD burning package that has a lot of users.
The second thing I needed was a way to record streaming video. I tried a number of programs, including Videodownloader (firefox add on). I had hopes for videodownloader, but the author stopped updating it in 2006. For many `tube' sites, it was broken when they upgraded their protocols.
I finally found a program called Replay Media Capture by Applian Technologies that does everything I want it to. It captures 90% of all streaming video feeds (Youtube, Google, etc.) and most streaming MP3 streams, as well.
I bought the complete Video Capture Suite last year for $99, but found I really only use the Replay Media Capture software. If I had it to do over again, I'd just buy the one module for $39.
Luckily, in many cases, you can simply download an audio or video file from these public domain web sites (Right click Choose `Save As' or `Save Link As'). Some, however, insist on only streaming them, and that is where capture software can come in handy.
I've no stake in Applian technologies. I'm just a satisfied customer (although I wish I hadn't bought the full suite!). That isn't to say the other tools that came with it aren't useful. They are. But most can be duplicated by freeware on the web.
For instance, I use Prism Video Converter Software to convert between video formats. NCH Software offers a functional freeware version (for windows or Mac) in hopes the user will upgrade to Prism Plus.
So far, I haven't felt the need to upgrade.
I would be grateful to any of my readers who have tried some of the freeware solutions out there if they'd share what they are using, and how well it works.
Particularly software to:
- Burn CDs/DVDs
- Capture Streaming Video
- Convert Video Formats
- Edit, split, or join Audio or Video files
If you've got a recommendation, please leave a comment on this thread.
And happy collecting!