Note: The notes below are not the easiest way to rip VHS tapes. I found a great solution that still works to this day, and I wrote an entire blog post about it: http://wonkabar.org/2009/10/02/ripping-vhs/
archives: VHS to DVD conversion
VHS to DVD conversion
The best way I've found to do this is by using MythTV to record, since the PVR-500 provides the best picture on a component input. My VCR won't work with coaxial out. The sound and picture look pretty good, though.
To record in Myth, just unplug the coax cable from the IVTV card so that the component is the only input. Myth will detect the input stream fine, and use that when you go to Watch TV.
Star the VHS tape. Hit 'r' to start recording, and exit out. Go to the Watch Recordings page and edit the entry so that it won't flag for commercials or transcode. Myth will record it as whatever title is set for the program guide for that show.
You also need to tell it to extend the recording past the normal end rate so it doesn't stop. Arrow over in the menu so you have the 'Stop Recording' option available – there is a bug if the recording goes past the program guide time, it will remove that menu option if you aren't already in there.
Once the VCR tape stops, stop the recording in myth.
Copy the .mpg file over, and create a DVD compat file.
First, though, find the cropping values you need and the start and end positions.
mencoder -profile dvd VHS.mpg -o VHS.dvd.mpg -vf crop=x:y:x:y -ss 8 -endpos 8040
Next, do an MPEG4 for personal archives. Be sure to always use -profile first, and override with options afterwards. The audio will already be MP3, so copying is fine.
Deinterlace the video as well.
mencoder -profile divx VHS.mpg -o VHS.divx.avi -vf softskip,pullup,crop=x:y:x:y -ss 8 -endpos 8040 -oac copy
Finally, make a Matroska file. Put the aspect-ratio option first so it accepts it correctly.
mkvmerge --aspect-ratio 0:4/3 VHS.divx.avi -o VHS.mkv --title 'VHS Movie'