Capture has been the leading company for digitizing analog media for over 20 years. We want to pass some of our expertise on to you by providing a guide that weighs the pros and cons of the best VHS to digital converter in 2023. Continue reading to learn about digital converter equipment, major retailers that digitize VHS to digital copies, and the Capture transfer service. Then, you can decide which choice is best for you and your home movies.
- Why Should You Convert VHS Tapes to Digital Format in 2023?
- How Do I Convert VHS to Digital at Home?
- Is it Better to Convert VHS to DVD or Digital?
- What are the Best VHS to Digital Converter Options Available?
- What is the Best Way to Transfer VHS to Digital?
Why Should You Convert VHS Tapes to Digital Format in 2023?
There are lots of reasons to convert analog video footage to digital files. Digital versions offer advanced functionality, easier storage, and preserve your home videos for future generations to enjoy.
Preserve VHS Memories
Old VHS tapes deteriorate after 10 to 25 years and, over time, the magnetic tape can decay. This can cause discoloration, reduced quality, or complete loss of VHS memories. When you convert VHS to digital video, you preserve your memories exactly as you remember them. In addition, you also protect them from theft or damage caused by humidity, flooding, fires, and natural disasters.
Save Storage Space
VHS cassettes take up a lot of space, but all the video footage contained on them can be transferred to digital video format on your Mac OS or Windows computer. You can also transfer them to a hard drive, smartphone, or cloud storage application like iCloud or Google Photos that offer the ability to rename, archive, and add information to your precious memories.
Ensure Future Generations Can Enjoy Your VHS Home Movies
As VCR players become more obsolete, a VHS to digital converter machine or service can ensure your loved ones can still enjoy your home movies. It also makes it fast and easy to share digital files using social media or email, which makes a perfect gift.
Use Advanced Features
After committing to a VHS video conversion to digital, you can start using archival platforms like Google Photos to view, share, and organize your memories. In addition, you can use video editing software like iMovie to edit, combine, and enhance your home videos. With a video editor, you can even combine old footage with new to create new memories!
How Do I Convert VHS to Digital at Home?
If you want to convert VHS to digital at home, you can use one of the best VHS to digital converter equipment products. Though, you might be wondering, “do VHS to digital converters work?” These products certainly work to transfer your VHS tapes into digital format but may be time-consuming or targeted toward tech-savvy people. In addition, the quality will depend on the equipment you decide to buy and how much time you spend learning how to use the VHS to digital converter.
Is it Better to Convert VHS to DVD or Digital?
The best format depends on what you are looking to do with your new digital videos. VHS to DVD is perfect if you want to give a physical gift to someone or if you plan on watching your camcorder tapes on a television set. On the other hand, digital download versions are easier to transfer between different devices, share over social media, or send through email.
What are the Best VHS to Digital Converter Options Available?
When deciding on whether to use a VHS to digital converter service or do it yourself, you have several options to choose from. We will review these options to give you a good idea of the pros and cons of each choice, so you can make the best decision for your precious VHS memories.
Video Converter Equipment
If you want to digitize VHS tapes yourself, then a digital converter, also called a video capture device or capture card, is a good DIY option for tech-savvy users. Some options will work directly from a camcorder or VHS VCR, while others run through a Mac or Windows PC computer. These options usually create Mp4, AVI, MPEG-2, or other compressed video recording digital formats.
You can find affordable options on Amazon, like the Diamond VC500 video capture converter that simply uses RCA and USB port cable inputs with a simplified design that makes transferring as easy as possible with one touch. Another highly reviewed option is the UCEC USB 2.0 Video Capture Card Device that’s only $23.99.
You can even find options made by reputable brands like Sony and Panasonic. Some even have built-in screens or speakers, like the DIGITNOW Video Converter with HDMI compatibility or the ClearClick USB capture device.
One of the best VHS to digital converter options is the Elgato Video Capture which costs around $87.99. It not only works for VHS video transfer, but with the right adapters or camcorder, it can also digitize mini DV, Betamax, Hi-8, DVD, and Blu-Ray video format.
If you are looking for a local store that has a VHS to digital converter, Best Buy sells the Roxio Easy VHS to DVD converter for $69.99. This option is designed only for creating DVDs specifically, but it works well if that’s your goal.
A final VHS to digital converter is the VIDBOX Video Conversion Suite that, like other types, will connect directly to your VHS video source. While the price is very affordable, many users love this option because of the high-quality result it provides, despite not having it’s own screen to view your memories during transfer.
While the best VHS to digital converter options work well, they are very time-consuming because the video transfer process will be completed at normal playback speed. In addition, they are targeted toward tech-savvy users and may take some time to understand, especially if you want to produce high-quality digital video files. Finally, some may not be able to transfer VHS formats like PAL or NTSC, so be sure to research to make sure you get one that works for you.
- Affordable options are available
- Produces good results (some options even offer upscaling, real-time playback display, and other features)
- Convenient with options that work with Macs, PCs, and VCRs
- Time-consuming with real-time digitization for every VHS tape
- Designed for tech-savvy users, so it may be frustrating or complex
- May require extra adapters (like a camcorder connector, RCA cable, or SCART adapter)
- Could risk losing your original videos if something goes wrong
- Still need a VHS player
We like this option for users who like technology and have a little bit of time on their hands. We don’t recommend it for people who don’t like learning new technology applications.
This is the easiest option to digitize VHS tapes on your own. Screen recording involves playing your home movies on a projector or television and then recording it with a digital camera, modern camcorder, or smartphone. However, this is not the best VHS to digital converter option because the outcome is low quality. In addition, when you record video in this way, you will have to account for lighting, audio, stability, and other factors, some of which may be impossible to control.
This choice may be worth trying if you just want to quickly preserve your videotapes before choosing another option to create high-quality digital files. It’s convenient, easy, and affordable as long as you already have a digital camera or smartphone to record the screen with.
This choice can be combined with video editing apps and software programs to get a better result, but, like digital converters, these are targeted to technologically inclined users. Still, it might be worth a shot if that sounds like you.
- Easy because you simply stabilize the camera and record
- Convenient because you can easily set up a screen anywhere
- Affordable, possibly even free, if you already have a camera
- Low-quality results because you are recording the original home videos
- May need a tripod or other adapters to ensure stability
- The result could produce glares, outside sounds, and other imperfections
- Time-consuming because you must record in real time
We don’t recommend ever using this option because the results are poor, and the process is still time-consuming.
There may be local shops that offer VHS to digital converter service in your local area. This makes digital conversion easy, but the quality and cost can vary greatly from one local shop to the next. It is always important to research reviews and other information to ensure you get the outcome you want when creating digital memories from your old VHS home movies.
Some local shops might have a lot of experience with digitizing VHS tapes, and if that’s the case then it may be a good choice. One thing to consider is price, because these options are often expensive compared to companies that specialize in digitizing memories.
Some local shops may be able to include your memories on a DVD-video, CD-ROM, SD card, or USB flash drive in addition to digital file formats. This is good if you want to share physical copies with others or view the home movies on your DVD player or television.
- You won’t have to ship your VHS tapes
- Professional quality results
- Expensive because it’s a specialty service (not their main offering)
- May not be able to handle larger orders
- Can take 70 days or longer (especially if the shop has a waiting list)
While we like this option, we don’t think it’s the best VHS to digital converter option when factoring in the premium price and long wait times.
Capture VHS to Digital Converter Service
Capture offers the best VHS to digital converter service available because we have over 20 years of experience with turning your analog memories into high-quality digital heirlooms. Plus, we have the fastest service available. That means you get your digital copies and original VHS tapes back in less than 30 days, which is much faster than the industry average of 70 days or longer.
We also use a state-of-the-art tracking and security system to track your VHS tapes every step of the way, so you can always have peace of mind knowing your precious memories are in good hands. Our satisfaction guarantee also means that if you are unhappy with the result, we will reprocess your memories free of charge.
In addition, we include minor VHS repairs and cleaning with our service to ensure the digital version is always of the highest quality possible. The one downside is that we do not offer enhancement or video editing services, so you will have to do that on your own. We’re confident when we say we offer VHS to digital converter service available.
- Professional quality results
- Results in less than 30 days (including transit)
- State-of-the-art tracking and security for your home movies
- Can convert many VHS types including VHS-C, S-VHS, S-VHS-V, and PAL format
- Produces your choice of DVD, digital download, or USB flash drive
- Satisfaction is guaranteed or we will reprocess for free
- Doesn’t offer video editing services or enhanced color or resolution
- No expedited option faster than 30 days
Capture is the best way to transfer VHS to digital with peace of mind knowing that your VHS tapes are safe, and the digital copy will be of premium quality.
Major retailers like Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, and CVS offer digital conversion services most likely fulfilled by Capture, which means you get all the benefits of professional digital transfer, media security, and friendly customer support, but can do so locally instead of online.
However, different retailers offer different pricing structures for their services. In addition, they can get busy and backed up because they offer so many different services, which means some of them may still take longer than 30 days even though Capture is doing the digitizing for them.
- Fulfilled by Capture at many retailers for professional quality service and results
- Good customer support and guaranteed satisfaction
- No need to ship through the mail
- Pricing depends on the specific retailer’s fees (for example, CVS pricing starts at $25.99 whereas Walmart starts at $12.96 for the first 30 minutes)
- May get busy and stressful, which can delay processing times
- Not every retail location offers VHS to digital converter services
We like this option because it produces high-quality results, but due to the retailer’s unique fees, we still recommend going through Capture directly to save time and money!
Other Online VHS Transfer Services
Services like LegacyBox and other online services that can digitize VHS tapes are a convenient and simple way to preserve home movies. Some will even send you the kit with a pre-paid label, so you can do everything from the comfort of your home. These services also offer professional results and consistent quality.
However, customer reviews indicate that some of these options, like LegacyBox, tend to lose original VHS tapes and other media more often than you might expect. The popularity of such services sometimes impacts efficiency as well, which is why time delays are fairly common. Some of these options do offer a 10-day expedited option, but it’s expensive, costing as much as $44.99.
- Professional results
- Online convenience
- Many services offer loss guarantees, digital backup, and other features
- May take 70+ days unless you pay exorbitant fees for faster delivery
- Quality depends on the company and type of media
- May not offer security for your precious memories
If you decide to choose one of these services, we highly suggest you read reviews, compare prices, and research how long it takes them to digitize VHS tapes.
What is the Best Way to Transfer VHS to Digital?
As you can see, there are lots of options that could qualify as the best VHS to digital converter option in 2023. Some options, like DIY converter equipment, are best suited for tech-savvy audiences while options like Capture and other online services are perfect for those who want premium quality results.
Your old videos and the memories they contain are a valuable part of your legacy, so you must do your due diligence to find a reputable company to help you preserve them. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about Capture’s services, click here.