family gathers to watch a home movie

 

Written by Jacob Terranova

 

Maybe it’s a movie of your favorite family vacation together, a highlight reel from grandma and grandpa’s 50th wedding anniversary, or those special moments captured on camera when you first brought your newborn home from the hospital. Many of us have special memories and home movies saved on old VHS tapes and other formats.

 

But with the last known VHS manufacturer ceasing production back in 2016, it’s time to think about converting these movies to digital — and preserving them for future generations to enjoy.

 

Do-It-Yourself VHS to DVD

If you plan on doing it yourself, you’ll need a working VCR. If you don’t have one, check on sites like Craigslist, eBay, or Facebook Marketplace. You can usually pick one up at a low cost.

 

From there, there are three ways to convert your old VHS tapes. The first method involves purchasing a DVD recorder and an A/V cable to connect your VHS to the DVD converter. Connect the video output of your VHS player to the video input of the DVD recorder and follow the instructions on your DVD recorder to start transferring your videos to DVDs.

 

An easier solution is to purchase a VHS/DVD combination recorder. Operating these combination recorders is pretty straightforward. It’s as simple as pressing a button to transfer old tapes to DVD format and it saves you the trouble of having to find a working VCR.

 

A third option is to connect your VCR to your computer and use VHS/DVD recording software. There are several software programs out there. Some, such as Audacity, are free — while others will cost a fee to use. Some of the paid programs, such as Diamond, include both the software and cables required for transfer (check out this list of the top-rated VHS/DVD conversion programs). This option also has the additional benefit of converting the analog VHS movies to both DVD and digital formats.

 

Other Services

If you aren’t tech-savvy and don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, no problem. There are several affordable services out there that can do conversions for you. And not just VHS to DVD either — many of these services specialize in converting everything from Betamax to Blu-ray.

 

Here’s a rundown of some popular services:

 

Company Formats Cost
Walmart VHS, S-VHS, VHS-C, Hi-8, 8mm, Digital 8, MiniDV, DV, DVCAM, DVC, Betamax Starts at $24.96 for one tape
Target VHS, S-VHS, VHS-C, Hi-8, 8mm, Digital 8, MiniDV, DV, DVCAM, DVC, Betamax Starts at $25.99 for one tape
Sam’s Club VHS, S-VHS, VHS-C, Hi-8, 8mm, Digital 8, MiniDV, Betamax, DV, DVCAM, DVC, Micro/Mini Starts at $18.96 for two tapes
Costco VHS, S-VHS, VHS-C, Hi-8, 8mm, Digital 8, MiniDV, Betamax Starts at $19.99 for two tapes
Walgreens VHS, S-VHS, VHS-C, Hi-8, 8mm, Digital 8, MiniDV, Betamax, and Micro/Mini Starts at $24.99 for one tape

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