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Can I Back up Old VHS Tapes to DVD?

by | Jun 15, 2017

Can I Back up Old VHS Tapes to DVD?

In this day and age, we use our smartphones to record memories, both spontaneous and planned. And why not? Almost everyone has this portable device that fits easily in a pocket. But what about the box of old VHS tapes that’s taking up valuable real estate in your closet? VHS is an outdated format, but the home movies, holiday gatherings, weddings, and other celebrations from years gone by are precious memories you don’t want to lose. Maybe it’s time to go digital. Here’s how to back up your VHS tapes to DVD.

Benefits of Transferring VHS Tapes to DVD

Besides that fact that the VHS format, as well as the VCR equipment on which the tapes are played, is outdated, these old tapes will eventually deteriorate if they haven’t begun to already. DVD players are more accessible. Many laptops are already equipped with them and standalone players are still on the market.

Although the best reason to convert is to preserve your memories, DVD is also a more versatile format. Once digitized, a home movie can be edited more easily and you don’t have to fast forward or rewind to get to the good parts. Discs are easily navigated because they are divided into chapters you can select. And one more thing, VHS tapes don’t support high-quality video like HD.

A Brief History

Now that you know the benefits of transferring VHS to DVD, here’s a brief synopsis of how these formats came to be. In the 1950s, the first VHS tape and recording system came into play. This technology was originally created for professional use and the equipment was expensive. In the late 1970s, VHS tapes and VCRs were available to the general public. This form of video playing and recording ruled the industry for about 20 years, but ended in the 1990s with the arrival of the digital video disc or DVD.

How to Transfer a VHS tape to DVD

The first thing to consider before you transfer a VHS tape to DVD is the legality. Only use your own tapes and never use copyrighted material.

There are three methods of transferring. All three take time and require the use of a VCR. Either get your VCR out of storage, borrow one, or purchase a used one. Garage sales, thrift stores, and online sites like eBay are good places to find them. Before you begin, make sure the tape is clean and the quality is good.

  1. Connect the VCR to a DVD player to record. This requires a VCR, DVD recorder, an RCA cable (you may already have one that came with your TV or cable box), and a blank disc.
  2. Find a VCR and DVD combo machine. Although this is the most direct way to do the transfer, you’ll need to get your hands on a combo machine first. You’ll also need a blank DVD-R disc.
  3. Use an analog-to-digital adapter to connect the VCR to your computer. Once a video is on your computer you can burn it to a DVD or upload it. Now you can watch, edit, and/or share some, if not all, of your digitized video. Best of all, your memories and more are better preserved.

Or Let the Experts Handle It

Unlike other mediums, VHS tapes must be played through in entirety to be transferred. That means a two-hour video takes two hours, or even more, to convert. If you are short on time or confused about the methods, let a professional do the work for you. An expert also can determine the quality of your tape and properly clean it, as well as the equipment used in the process.

Call Disc Hounds at 610-696-8668 with any questions about transferring VHS tapes to DVD, as well as other formats. We’re happy to help you preserve your memories for years to come.