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Q&A: Converting Video Tapes to Digital
Moments Blog by iMemories
May 1st, 2023

Q&A: Converting Video Tapes to Digital

If you’re like most people who once owned a camcorder or other handheld recording device, you have boxes of old VHS tapes stored away—but no longer have a VHS player to view them. This is because our modern-day technology era is always evolving, with new and exciting ways of filming and photographing quickly replacing the previous. This leaves us with precious memories stored away on old forms of media, with no way to play them and relive those moments.

Fortunately, there is hope for those who want to convert VHS tapes to digital and view them once again—and for years to come. In this blog post, we’ll answer your most pressing questions about converting video tapes to a digital format, including the various options available. With all your questions answered, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about how to best convert those treasured memories currently stuck in a stack of VHS tapes.


Q: Is it possible to transfer video tapes to digital at home?

A: The good news is that there are easy ways to convert VHS to digital at home. All you need is the right equipment and a bit of patience. The necessary equipment includes:

  • The playback medium, which would be a VCR or camcorder that supports the specific tape format you have
  • The video converter/capture device, which goes between your VCR and computer
  • Computer with an available USB port to capture the conversion
  • Proper cables and adapters for connecting everything
  • Editing and conversion software
  • External storage to save the digitized videos

You can usually find this equipment on online marketplaces such as eBay for a reasonable price. Once you have all the necessary equipment and software, you can start converting all those VHS tapes them to a digital format. Just keep in mind you’ll need some storage space on the computer to store all the memories you’re transferring.


Q: Is it easy to convert video tapes to digital?

A: The process of converting video tapes to digital format is relatively simple and straightforward, and there are plenty of YouTube videos to walk you through the process. View a few step-by-step videos before you purchase the equipment to ensure you’re investing in exactly what you need. With the right equipment and software, virtually anyone can transfer VHS tapes to digital format at home. The process does not require expert technical knowledge, but it does require patience.


Q: How much does it cost to transfer video tapes to digital?

A: If you’re going the DIY route detailed above, the cost is variable depending on what you can find for equipment on eBay or other online marketplaces. It could range from a couple hundred dollars to more than $1,000. If you use an online or professional service, the cost of transferring video tapes to digital format depends on the service provider and the specific options selected. The average cost to transfer a single 2-hour VHS tape to DVD or digital is $22, but prices can range from as low as $12 per tape to up to $30 or more. Many companies charge a flat rate per tape, no matter the quantity, while others may charge based on length. Specific editing and enhancement options can also increase the price. It’s worth noting that some digitization companies, such as iMemories, offer safe shipping services of your original VHS tapes to ensure they are all returned to you after digitization. They’ll even make sure those newly-digitized memories make it to the Cloud for easy access on any device and sharing with anyone, anywhere.


Q: How much time does it take to transfer video tapes to digital format?

A: The time it takes to transfer video tapes to digital format depends on the length of the video tapes, how many you have, editing needed, and transferring the digital files to CDs or DVDs. Generally speaking, transferring video tapes to digital format happens in real-time. This means that each video tape will take at least the same amount of time to convert to digital as it takes to watch the entire analog video. For example, if you have a two-hour video tape, it will take approximately two hours to convert it to digital format.


Q: Am I risking losing my cherished memories if I attempt to convert my video tapes to digital myself?

A: While it is possible to convert video tapes to digital format at home, there are certain risks that come with the process. Tapes can break, resulting in lost footage, and the quality of the converted digital files may be lower than those produced by professional services. This would be due to inadequate equipment or software used for conversion. You might also come across damaged VHS tapes in your stack, which could break or become further damaged when attempting to convert, versus a professional service which would restore it before digitizing. It’s important to consider these potential risks before attempting to convert your video tapes to digital yourself.



Q: Are there professional services or companies that convert video tapes to digital?

A: There are professional mail-in video services and companies, such as iMemories, that specialize in converting video tapes to digital formats, as well as other analog memories such as film reels, miniDVDs, slides, negative, and even photo prints. These services can provide a higher quality conversion than what is possible at home due to their advanced equipment, software, and professional teams of experts. Professional services also offer additional features, such as tape restoration, editing, and enhancement options to ensure you’re happy with your digitized memories.

Converting video tapes to digital format is a great way to preserve cherished memories for future generations. Utilizing the right tools or a professional service, you can transfer old VHS tapes to digital with ease. While it is possible to convert at home, utilizing a professional service provides better quality and an overall easier experience. It might even be cheaper when you factor in the cost of equipment and software needed for at-home conversion.

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