Digitizing your old VHS tapes, analog film reels, and old photos allows you to preserve your most precious memories and share them on social media, but there are tons of digitizing services to choose from. One of the more popular options is Southtree, but do they provide the best services, prices, and security for your memories?
With over 20 years of experience in this industry, Capture knows what people look for when digitizing their family photos, home videos, and films. We put together this guide to Southtree reviews to help you make the best decision for your memories.
Read on to learn about Southtree and the services they offer, examine Southtree customer feedback, compare their services and claims with major competitors, and learn our own opinion of Southtree, both positive and negative.
- Understanding Southtree’s Offerings
- What Customers Are Saying: Southtree Reviews
- Southtree vs. Competitors
- Capture.com’s Take on Southtree
Understanding Southtree’s Offerings
Southtree.com, owned by the same company that owns Legacybox and Kodak Digitizing Box, is one of the most well-known brands in the digitization industry. For over 10 years, they have offered services to convert your memories into high-quality digital files.
However, they don’t ship outside of the contiguous United States, so if you’re English, live in Hawaii, Canadian, or live anywhere else in the world, then Southtree isn’t the right choice. That might be because they have a 3,800 square foot processing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee that converts a wide variety of different analog media formats including:
- Videotapes: VHS, VHS-C, MiniDV, Hi8, Digital8, MicroMV, Betamax, and PAL to NTSC
- Photos: Prints, photo slides, and negatives
- Film: 16mm film, 8mm film, and Super 8 film
- Audio: Cassettes and reel-to-reel
After digitization, you will get your choice of digital download, thumb drive, or DVD, each one costing $9.99 to add to your order (one required). Since they have lots of experience and a whole page on their website with reviews, it seems like a brand you can trust with your most precious family memories, right?
Well, the best way to know for sure is to check Southtree customer stories to see what other customers thought about the services, pricing, turnaround time, quality, and more.
What Customers Are Saying: Southtree Reviews
Since Southtree has been around for a while, there are plenty of reviews available to browse. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) can tell you a lot about a brand, so it’s a good place to start when looking at both positive and negative Southtree experiences.
There are tons of different complaints regarding poor quality results, long turnarounds, and other issues. In fact, it seems someone complains every few days. However, Southtree strives to resolve the issues, which is a good sign that they are reputable and offer decent customer service, even if the number of complaints is concerning.
On Trustpilot, as their partner brand LegacyBox, they have a 4.0 rating. But most of those are specifically about LegacyBox reviews. Instead, it might be better to look at Southtree’s profiles on Yelp and SiteJabber. On SiteJabber, they have a 3.6-star rating and with Yelp the rating stands at a worrisome 2.8 stars.
Digging deeper, a lot of the positive reviews mention things like great barcode tracking and status updates, professional customer service, exceptional communication, and quality. For example, one reviewer says, “I had a great experience using Southtree!... Some of my tapes were falling apart and they somehow managed to convert them. It has been a blast watching old Christmas and birthday celebrations when my kids were so very young.”
However, the negative reviews are impossible to ignore considering Southtree has more 1-star ratings than 5 or 4-star ratings on Yelp. Negative reviews consistently mention “horrible shipping time” that takes weeks or even months. If you are using digitizing as a gift for grandpa or grandma, excessive turnaround time is the last thing you’d want.
Another common complaint is the higher price than advertised. Part of this is that customers are required to add either a digital download, DVD, or USB flash drive during the checkout process, which instantly adds $9.99 to your order subtotal.
Other complaints refer to quality problems. One customer reviewer says that “Digital pictures are blurry, over exposed, and cut off.” Other reviews say things like, “quality control is horrible,” “customer service is terrible, basically nonexistent…I wouldn’t trust them with my memories again.”
As you can see, there are some glaring issues that seem to outweigh the positives that Southtree has to offer. So, if you decide against using Southtree for digitizing home movies, photos, and film rolls, which options are better?
Southtree vs. Competitors
When comparing Southtree versus other digitization services, it’s a good idea to look at some of the most important factors like turnaround time, price, security, and services.
Starting with turnaround time, Southtree claims that they complete orders within 10 to 12 weeks. Southtree reviews often mention even longer wait times, but 10-12 weeks is close to the industry standard and similar to LegacyBox.
However, if you look at the turnaround time between Southtree vs iMemories vs ScanCafe vs Capture, you’ll see that Southtree is the slowest with Capture and iMemories being the fastest at around 3-4 weeks. Additionally, these brands like iMemories and Capture include digital download and access to your memories without an additional charge, unlike Southtree which charges $9.99 for any digital media format.
When it comes to price, Southtree looks pretty good, as long as you don’t count that $9.99 against them too much. They charge $15 per videotape, 25 cents per photo, $25 per film reel, and $15 per audio item. This is slightly lower than other competitors, but they also don’t allow you to choose a precise number of items on their website. That means that if you have 3 videotapes, you have to either get 2 or 5 digitized, which is not only more expensive, but frustrating.
Southtree offers barcode tracking and status updates throughout the process and that’s something they are good at according to Southtree reviews. However, they don’t use weight tracking like ScanCafe or a state-of-the-art tracking and security system like Capture.
In conclusion, Southtree offers average security, excessive turnaround time, standard services (although they do convert audio cassette to digital), and pricing that’s confusing. They include required add-on fees for digital download, USB drive, and DVD that isn’t clarified on their homepage or FAQs sections. None of this promotes trust in their brand.
Capture.com’s Take on Southtree
From what we’ve seen, Southtree does produce good quality results when they convert photos to digital, transfer home movies, or digitize old film reels, but customer reviews and how they stack up with competitors like Capture or ScanCafe make it hard to trust them. Not only that, but there are much better services available for a similar price.
Unlike Southtree which offers a 10-12-week turnaround time, Capture will finalize your order and upload it to your included MemoryCloud storage within 30 days. Plus, our multi-million-dollar tracking and security system is the best in the business.
Additionally, while Southtree offers standard photo scanning services, Capture offers the first touchless photo album scanning, which means we can create digital images without touching any of the photos in your photo albums or books. Finally, we offer a satisfaction guarantee, so if you don’t like the outcome of your order, we will reprocess it for free.
Southtree digitizing has been around for more than 10 years with services that turn your analog memories into digital files. While their services sound great, Southtree ratings and complaints should make you think twice about using their service. That way, you can avoid common Southtree complaints like excessive turnaround times, unexpected charges, or blurry results.
If you still don’t know which brand to choose for your most precious memories, click here to see how Capture stacks up against some of our biggest competitors!