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To preserve your VHS memories, you deserve to transfer the tapes come digital video files on your computer.

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Time stops because that no one, and for no technology. There to be a time when you more than likely preserved family memories by conserving them to videotape, but videotape is now fully obsolete. If you’re prefer a many people, you have a cabinet complete of VHS tapes but haven’t had actually a VCR come play lock on in 10 years or more. And also while it’s possible to convert VHS come digital, don’t wait too long to actually do that. Eventually, the contents of your old tapes will be unable to do forever, since the video clip stored on VHS degrades by as lot as 20% every 10-25 years.

Even if your grandkids’ robot butler will someday be able to 3D print a VCR native archival blueprints that 20th century customer electronics, by then her old tapes might be too fuzzy because that them come watch.

If you desire to keep your household VHS tapes as video files top top your computer hard drive, you deserve to do the without much trouble; you just need to rally a few components. From there, friend can transform the videos practically effortlessly end the course of a couple of lazy weekends.

But remember: The clock is ticking. With every year that goes by, her videotape arsenal degrades a little more. If girlfriend haven’t checked out a videotape in a while, you might be shocked by how low the quality is contrasted to video from a smartphone or digital camera, and your tape collection has actually probably already lost 10-20% of its quality contrasted to the work it was shot. So, don’t waste one more minute—here’s what you should know.


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What You’ll need to transform Your VHS to Digital

To convert your VHS tapes to digital, you’ll need four significant components. We’ll walk over the list first, and also then you can join us further down the write-up once did you do it figured out and also gathered every little thing you need.

The Playback Medium: VCRs and also Camcorders



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If girlfriend didn"t store your VCR from the before Times, this is the trickiest part of the equation, since it’s increasingly difficult to uncover a working VCR. VCRs space no much longer manufactured and also finding one new-in-box is vanishingly rarely (and relatively expensive, if you are lucky enough to uncover one).

Consequently, your ideal bet because that finding a VCR is come buy one indigenous an virtual auction in ~ eBay. Here, you can browse a large selection of used VCRs and also pick one that, based upon the photos and description, looks most likely to work. They’ll all be used, and also mostly from individual sellers—not refurbished or factory reconditioned—so you need to not be surprised if your first VCR purchase is a bust and also you must return it because that a refund. If you’re persistent, though, you will do it land a VCR that works well sufficient to play, rewind and eject tapes.




If you have mini-sized tapes (called VHS-C tapes), you could need a camcorder quite than a VCR. There are likewise adapters that let girlfriend insert those old VHS-C tapes into an plain VCR.


VHS-C adapter

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Whatever you pick to buy—camcorder, VCR or VHS-C adapter—be certain you check it appropriate away as soon as you obtain it therefore you have actually plenty that time to paper a claim with eBay or every little thing site friend purchased the from because that a refund if needed. And constantly test a new acquisition v a tape you don’t treatment about. The way, you don’t shed anything vital if the VCR or camcorder destroys the very first tape friend insert.

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The video clip Converter

A video converter is what goes in between the VCR and computer. It takes the analog video clip signal and converts it come a digital input for your computer’s USB port.

Roxio easy VHS to DVD 3 Plus


Roxio basic VHS to DVD 3 Plus


Roxio has been in the business of video editing and also conversion for numerous years, and the easy VHS to DVD 3 add to is a refined product that reflects that expertise. The box contains a USB capture maker that associate to your PC’s USB port and has inputs because that the VCR or camcorder’s analog calculation cables.

You likewise get Roxio’s capture software, which allows you compose the videos straight to DVD or come a video file on your tough drive and also includes a host of editing options—you deserve to make rapid edits, boost color, add transitions and also even stabilize old video clip footage. Roxio includes a couple of blank DVDs to obtain you started, but not the cables. You’ll need to provide those yourself.

VIDBOX video clip Conversion Suite


VIDBOX video Conversion Suite


The VIDBOX video clip Conversion Suite contains a capture machine that connects her computer’s USB port to the audio and video clip outputs ~ above the VCR or camcorder, and has assistance for both Mac and PC. You likewise get every the cables friend need—both USB and RCA analog audio. (If you desire to usage the slightly higher-quality S-video connection, you’ll need your own S-video cable, though). The software has a trusted step-by-step magician for capturing your video to the hard drive or DVD, but doesn’t offer lot in the means of video editing to fine-tune your footage.

Elgato USB Analog video clip Capture


Elgato USB Analog video clip Capture


Compatible v both PC and also Mac, the Elgato video clip capture maker predictably plugs right into the computer’s USB port and connects to her VCR or camcorder’s audio and video clip cables. It also supports S-video for slightly far better image quality, however the S-video cable isn’t included. Prefer the others, the Elgato package has software that allows you save video clip from VHS come DVD or your hard drive. As well as the ability to trim the beginning and also end that the video, though, there room no editing and enhancing capabilities here.

A computer system To procedure The Conversion


HP 15 Laptop


Most modern-day computers, either laptop or desktop, are up come the job of conserving a video paper from the USB port using the converters provided earlier in this article. This HP 15 laptop is representative that what you need: one Intel core i5 processor and also 8GB RAM will serve girlfriend well. In addition, be sure you have at least one easily accessible USB port and also you’re ready to rock.

Storage space For Safekeeping


Samsung 64GB USB 3.1 speed Drive


You won’t need a lot of of hard drive space—your videos will consume around a gigabyte every hour of footage. Unless you have actually a important monstrous library, you have the right to probably to the right your entire family video library on a 32GB USB speed drive, or archive that in a cloud storage service like Dropbox. That offers you a the majority of options; you have the right to keep all your VHS movies on the same hard drive as all your other files, or placed them on a special portable USB drive simply for those type of memories.

We recommend storing them through all your various other data files and also sync them with a cloud organization like Dropbox or OneDrive. That means they’re safely kept for future generations.

How to transform VHS to Digital

Once you have all the aspects on hand—video converter and also computer with sufficient storage room to transfer and also convert your an initial video—the procedure to transform your very first video is really straightforward. Remember, you must probably shot this process with a test tape first, ensuring friend don’t lose anything in the occasion that your equipment malfunctions.

Step 1: Follow the instructions the came v the video converter to download the software and any maker drivers essential to prepare your computer for video clip converting.

attach the cables from the audio and video clip out top top the ago of the VCR come your video clip converter. Johnson

Step 2: Place the VCR or camcorder and also computer close to one another and then affix them via the video clip converter. You must run the RCA-style audio and video cables indigenous the output of the VCR or camcorder to the input jacks on the video clip converter. This wires are usually color-coded to make sure you affix them properly; red and white space for stereo audio and yellow is for video.

Step 3: If you have a VCR or camcorder through an S-video output, that’ll create a slightly higher image quality than the yellow analog video clip cable. It’s a great idea (but not essential) to connect the S-video cable rather of the yellow video cable.

The S-Video cable offers slightly much better image high quality if your VCR support it. Johnson

Step 4: Plug the converter into your computer using the USB cable.

Step 5: Insert a VHS tape and rewind it.

A VCR, laptop and video clip converter prepared to transfer videotapes come digital. Johnson

Step 6: Start the video converter software program on her computer and also follow its indict to start the video clip capture process. You’ll most likely need to name your video project and specify whereby you want to save the video clip file.

Step 7: When you ready, push Play top top the VCR and the appropriate Record switch in the video software on your computer.

use the software program that came v the video converter to "record" the videotape to a digital file. Johnson

Step 8: The videotape will certainly play and record in real time—in various other words, if you have actually a two-hour videotape, it’ll take two hours to revolve it right into a digital video file.

Step 9: When it’s done, protect against recording on the computer system and enable the software program to save the file to a folder on her computer.

Tips and also Tricks because that Converting her VHS Tapes come Digital Video

Thankfully, converting her old VHS tapes is pretty simple once friend have everything you need—the video clip converter does every the difficult work. Yet here space a couple of tips and also tricks to aid you preserve your videos:

You don’t need a TV. As you most likely noticed, there’s no television provided in the points you need previously in this article. The VCR connects to your computer via the video converter, and you’ll see the videotape play on the computer screen. So nothing waste any time in search of a method to attach the old VCR to a brand-new all-digital TV. also if you execute no progressed editing come your video files, you must trim them using the integrated trim tool in the video clip conversion software. That’ll permit you remove static and video glitches native the an extremely start and end of every tape. Make sure you earlier up your converted videos. ~ you conserve your convert videos come digital files, make certain they’re a component of your computer’s regular backup or put a copy of castle in a cloud organization like Dropbox or OneDrive. After you go with all the problem of converting your videotapes, you wouldn’t desire to lose them come a failed hard drive or broken computer. Don’t bother copying her videotapes to DVD. DVD is no a lot far better than VHS for irreversible storage that your video collection. DVDs fail together the optical layer degrades end time. In general, DVD discs have a expectancy of somewhere between 25 and 100 years. The bottom line: The best method to keep your videos is in computer storage, with a regular and reliable back-up on one more physical difficult storage device or in the cloud—preferably both.


I’m a senior editor at and also though I began out in new Jersey, ns am currently living in Los Angeles. After ~ college, I served in the Air force where i operated satellites, taught space operations and performed room launch planning.

After that, I spent eight years together a content lead top top the windows team in ~ Microsoft. As a photographer, I have photographed wolf in their organic environment; i have additionally been a scuba instructor and also co-hosted number of podcasts that encompass Battlestar Recaptica and currently, Rick and also Dave regulate the Universe.

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I am the author of nearly three dozen books about photography, mobile tech, and more; I’ve also authored an interaction storybook for kids. I have contributed to sites consisting of CNET, pc World and also Business Insider prior to joining the team in ~ Vetted.