Is It Hard to Convert Your Old VHS Tapes Into Digital Files

The time of VHS tapes is long gone. These haven’t been used for a few decades now, and truth be told, many young people don’t even know what a VHS tape is. But every family still has a couple of these stored somewhere in the house.

These contain cherished members of your wedding days, your child’s first birthday party, your first family vacation, and so on. You would probably want to watch these again to reminisce about those special moments. However, since we are talking about the VHS tapes, rewatching those recordings is perhaps not an option because you got rid of the VHS player years ago. Still, not everything is lost. You can convert these into digital files, and here is how.

What do you need?


Before introducing you to our step-by-step guide, we need to tell you about the devices or components you need to conclude this task. Firstly, you will need a playback medium, that is, a VCR or a camcorder, depending on the type of tapes you have. Now, if you do not have these devices, finding the one that still works is probably the biggest challenge.

There isn’t a company that produces these anymore since, well, no one uses them, so you have two options. You can either take your tapes to a professional or have them digitalized, or you can buy a used device online. If you go with the former suggestion, our advice is to visit and inquire about the services available to you. Generally speaking, most businesses offer VHS to Digital, VHS to MP4, and VHS to DVD conversion services, but you should still check this. On the other hand, if you want to do this yourself, you should look for a used device on eBay. Here, you will find numerous sellers, and you will have to decide based on the information and photos they offer to choose a device that is in the best condition. In addition, if you already have a VHS player but need a camcorder, you do not have to buy it but instead get a VHS-C adapter.

Moving on, you will need a video converter set. Even though you have many options and should purchase the one only after investigating the feature, each should include a USB capture device that connects the PC and VCR and software that enables you to convert the video to DVD or hard drive.

Lastly, you will need a computer or a laptop and storage device. Nowadays, every laptop should be able to support this process, so there is nothing to worry about. When it comes to the storage space, you can go with a DVD, a USB drive, or a hard drive. It all comes down to your personal preference, although the former two are a better option if you have a lot of tapes that can eat up the computer’s storage space.

Is this task difficult?


The answer to this question is no. Yes, it can take some time, especially if you have a whole cabinet filled with VHS tape. If this is the case, you should consider leaving the task to professionals or plan to spend a few hours doing this.

First things first, you need to prepare your laptop, which means that you need to install the video converter software. Obviously, this is super easy, and all you have to do is follow the instructions from the manual. Next, you have to connect the laptop with the VCR. Even though there are a few cables involved, don’t worry. All wires and output/input jacks are color-coded, so it shouldn’t take you more than a minute to set it up.

Now that these two steps are completed, it is time to initiate the process. Once you insert the tape into the VCR, make sure to rewind it to the beginning. Then, open the software on your laptop, and follow the instructions to being the conversion. Lastly, all you have to do is play the tape and click the record button on the computer. When the recording finishes, name and save the digital file, and that is it.

Should you convert VHS to DVD?

This is the most common question people have, and they are usually in doubt when it comes to selecting a storage device. As already said, you have several options. Most people would go with DVD, but this may not be the best choice. Yes, we use these, but the thing is that they may not be around for much longer. The truth is that technology changes at a speed of light, and DVDs aren’t very popular nowadays. Most people prefer USB drives, external hard drives, and cloud storage services. We are not saying that you cannot go with DVDs, but instead that you will probably have to repeat this task in a few years.

How much time will it take?


Naturally, the answer to this question is that it completely depends on the number of VHS tapes you have and the duration of the videos. When you digitalize the files yourself, you cannot speed up the process. Instead, if the video on the tape is an hour-long, it will take an hour to convert it. As you can see, it can take days if you have numerous long recordings, which you probably do. This is the main reason why hiring professional service may be a better idea.

Wrapping up

To sum up, this entire process is fairly simple, and most importantly, it is not very expensive. As you can see, you do not need any equipment, and if you already have a working VCR, the cost will be minimal since you will only have to pay for the video converter. In a nutshell, all you need is patience and some extra time on your hands.

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