If you have boxes full of old VHS tapes containing home movies, then you might have considered VHS to digital conversion to preserve the memories. However, there are different video transfer methods to consider and for most people, one of the most important factors is cost.
That’s why Capture digitization experts used our 20+ years of experience to compile all the information you’ll ever need to answer the question, “How much does it cost to convert VHS to digital?” Then, you can choose the best option for converting VHS to digital video that not only meets your time and quality needs, but your budget as well.
Keep reading to learn why you should convert VHS tapes, the different video transfer methods to choose from, the average costs and tips, and how to choose the right conversion service.
- Why Convert VHS to Digital
- Methods of VHS to Digital Conversion
- Factors Influencing Conversion Cost
- Average Costs of Converting VHS to Digital
- Choosing the Right Conversion Service
Why Convert VHS to Digital
There are a lot of reasons to convert VHS to digital. First, not only are VHS tapes obsolete, but it’s very hard to find a new VCR for sale in 2023. That’s because they do not still make VCRs and even if you have a VCR, your VHS tapes won’t last forever and are likely already starting to degrade.
While how long VHS tapes last will depend on storage conditions and other factors, they typically start degrading after 10 to 25 years. While physical VHS tape repair is an option, it will only do so much. In fact, if you convert to digital copies then you can use video restoration software to improve the image quality more than you can with physical VHS cassettes.
Digital files are also easier to share over email and social media, take up less space when stored on a hard drive or cloud storage option, and don’t degrade over time. That means your precious home videos will be preserved for future generations to watch, enjoy, and share.
Methods of VHS to Digital Conversion
As you can see, there are a of benefits of digitalizing VHS tapes, so how can you do it? There are a few different options to consider including DIY VHS to digital converters, transferring to a DVD before converting to digital, and professional video transfer services.
DIY digital converters are machines that use an RCA adapter to connect to a camcorder or VHS to transfer the contents of video tapes to digital files, SD cards, or other digital storage devices. While they are time-consuming because they convert in real time playback speed and some are better than others, the best VHS to digital converters will produce decent quality results.
The second option is to convert to DVD first. There are a couple of options for how to turn VHS into DVD, but they will still require a camcorder or VHS VCR that can read the data on the analog videotapes. This leaves you with the same downsides as digital converters for the most part but is a viable option if you have a computer with a DVD drive or a DVD/VCR combo player.
Finally, VHS conversion services offer the highest quality because they use professional equipment to retain the best quality of video files. While we will look VHS conversion prices in another section of this page, some of the other benefits of a VHS to digital service are fast turnaround (for some companies), repairs, protection for your precious memories, and the ability to convert other formats like VHS-C, Video8, Digital8, Betamax, PAL format VHS, MiniDV, DVCAM, and even film reels.
Factors Influencing Conversion Cost
Since you’re wondering, “How much does it cost to convert VHS to digital?” it’s important to examine some of the factors that can impact the price.
If you choose DIY methods, one of the most important factors is whether you already have a VCR or vintage camcorder. If you do, then you might only need to buy the video capture card or converter, but if not then you will have to add the price of an analog playback device. The same goes for the right adapters, necessary SD cards, potential storage subscriptions, or blank DVDs.
If you decide on using a video conversion service, then the duration of your tapes is an important consideration. While some transferring VHS to digital services charge per videotape, others will charge depending on duration. You also need to consider additional services like repairs, restoration, editing, USB flash drive or DVD copies, and more.
The difference in videotape to digital and VHS to DVD costs can vary greatly from one service to another as well. That’s why it’s important to choose the best company to digitize home movies based on your budget, preferred quality, turnaround expectations, and security for your most precious memories. Read on to learn about the average price for VHS conversion and how to choose the right conversion service.
Average Costs of Converting VHS to Digital
The average cost depends on the VHS to digital methods that you choose as well as the factors above, but remember not to only consider cost when selecting a method because the quality of your digital video format is also important.
You can find digital converters on Amazon for as little as $20 or as much as $500+, but the average price is generally between $40 and $200. While it might be tempting to choose a device on the lower end of that range, you’ll get the best quality by spending a little more.
If you have a Mac computer, then make sure you choose a device that will work with it or select a standalone digital converter with an LED screen and SD card slot. Most of these types of devices have everything you need other than a camcorder or VCR, which can be an additional $20 to $300.
Professional video transfer services can vary from around $8 to $30 per VHS transfer, with additional charges of $5 to $20 per DVD or USB copy. Some, like Capture, include cloud storage and a digital download version with the price, but others charge for those extra services as well.
Choosing the Right Conversion Service
If you’ve done a little research, then you can see there are tons of different conversion service options available, so how do you choose the right one? Well, comparing prices of places like Legacybox vs Capture vs IMemories and others is a good first step. For example, Capture charges $29.99 for 2 hours of footage while Legacybox without discounts costs $299.98 for 10 VHS tapes.
In addition to comparing prices, you should also consider convenience. While you will have to consider alternative options to Costco because they no longer offer VHS transfer, there are some in store drop off options available like Walmart and CVS. In addition, turnaround time can vary from as little as 30 days to as much as 12 weeks or longer, so that’s a crucial consideration as well.
Since you probably want to keep your original tapes in good condition while creating digital format versions, you must go with a service that offers guarantees, security, monitoring, and other protective features.
For example, Capture spent millions of dollars on a state-of-the-art tracking and security system that monitors your tapes through every hand and back to your doorstep. Other brands like ScanCafe offer security services like video and weight monitoring as well, while others only offer very basic protections like order tracking.
The best advice is to read reviews of different services in addition to checking out their services, pricing, and guarantees. If you go through Legacybox, Capture, ScanCafe, and IMemories reviews, you’ll start to notice patterns or common grievances that will start to differentiate the high-quality services and reputable options from lesser quality ones.
For example, check out some of the most common Legacybox complaints and you’ll see that longer than stated turnaround time, expensive add-on services, and poor customer service are common. You should also check how much experience a brand has. While Capture offers the most experience with 23 years in the industry, other services offer over a decade of experience as well with the next oldest being IMemories with 18 years of service.
Not that you know the answer to, “How much does it cost to convert VHS to digital?” you can decide on the best method to digitize old tapes. While cost is an important factor, you also need to keep quality, turnaround time, security, and other factors in mind as well.
While we might be a little biased, we believe that Capture offers the most cost-effective services with not only affordable pricing, but industry-leading turnaround time, security, and quality. Plus, we can convert most tape formats and also offer Super 8, 16mm, and 8mm film transfer, photo transfer, and more! Click here to see exactly how we stack up against the competition.