If you have VHS tapes, but don’t know how to turn them into lasting digital copies to preserve your home movies, then this guide will help you decide which digitization option is right for you.
Capture has been helping customers preserve millions of videotapes for more than 20 years.
We created a guide to show you many options to transfer VHS to digital including using a digital converter, going to a local shop, using a major retailer, or choosing Capture for your digitization needs.
Why Would Someone Want to Transfer VHS to Digital?
When you convert old VHS tapes to digital files, you expand the possibilities and ensure the memories contained in your home movies are never lost. There are many reasons that you may want to consider a VHS transfer to digital.
Preserve Old VHS Tapes
Over time, videotapes can deteriorate, which can cause your precious memories to become discolored, damaged, or altogether unviewable.
By digitizing the analog video files, you preserve them on a hard drive, as a DVD copy, or as a thumb drive for a USB port.
Plus, this can give you peace of mind knowing that your videotapes won’t be lost due to fire, flood, theft, or natural disaster.
Save Storage Space
VHS cassettes are bulky and take up a lot of space. Whether you are downsizing or simply want to organize, digital files will take up significantly less space.
In fact, you can store them on a hard drive, on a computer, or in the cloud using applications like iCloud, Dropbox, or Google Photos.
Plus, with digital features, you can rename, archive, and add additional information to your old home movies – something that wouldn’t be possible on the analog versions.
Ensure Everyone Can Enjoy
As VCR players become more obsolete, it’s important to transfer VHS to digital to ensure that your loved ones can enjoy your home videos without fighting over physical copies.
Plus, you can easily share digital files with anyone in the world instantly through email or social media.
Use Advanced Features
With digital copies, you can use platforms like Google Photos to take advantage of advanced features like search, archive, and reminder tools.
Plus, after you turn your old VHS tapes into digital heirlooms, you can use your own digital video editing software to improve the quality or create new memories by combining old video footage with new ones.
How to Transfer VHS to Digital?
When looking for the best way to transfer VHS to digital, you will soon discover many options to choose from.
There are DIY options that include using converter equipment or simply recording from a screen using a digital camera.
In addition, some companies transfer VHS to digital, which you may want to consider.
We are going to 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.
Buying and using a digital converter is a good DIY option for tech-savvy users. They are convenient because you can use them with a VCR, your Mac, or your Windows computer, depending on the product you select.
There are affordable options on Amazon, like USB capture devices that simply use RCA or S-video cables and USB inputs. You can even find options made by reputable brands like Sony or Panasonic.
One of the best is Elgato Video Capture which costs around $87.99 and not only works for VHS video transfer, but with the right adapters, can also digitize mini DV, Hi-8, DVD, and Blu-Ray video format.
If your primary goal is to turn VHS tapes into DVDs, then you may want to consider the Roxio Easy VHS to DVD option for around $50 to $60 depending on the retailer.
However, digital converters are often time-consuming and difficult to use unless you already have some technical knowledge.
More expensive options can produce better results by offering integrated video editing tools, high-definition upscaling, and more, but they can cost as much as $200 to $300 or more.
For $243, the DIGITNOW! option on eBay offers a 5” OLED screen with built-in speakers, HDMI capability, and a long-lasting battery.
Affordable options are available as low as $20 to $30
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 there is a learning curve
May require extra cables, attachments, and other device
Could risk losing your original videos if something goes wrong
We like this option for users who like technology and have a little bit of time on their hands but recommend avoiding it if that doesn’t sound like you!
This is the easiest option to digitize old VHS tapes on your own. Screen recording involves playing your home movies on a television and then recording it with a digital camera, modern digital camcorder, or smartphone.
As you might have guessed, this option offers poor-quality outcomes, even if you account for lighting, audio, stability, and other factors.
That being said, it may be worth trying if you just want to quickly preserve your videotapes before choosing another option for higher-quality digital files. It’s convenient, easy, and, if you already have a digital camera or smartphone, very affordable.
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, not converting, the original home movies
May need a tripod to stabilize the camera or smartphone
Recording conditions must be quiet and clean, but results may still produce glares 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.
If you search for “transfer VHS to digital near me,” you may find out that there are local options that can convert your old VHS tapes into digital files.
While this is certainly convenient, the quality, cost, and other factors depend on the specific company or store.
Still, these local shops that regularly transfer VHS tapes to digital are typically expensive compared to bigger or more specialized companies that transfer VHS to digital.
Convenient, especially if you don’t want to deal with shipping your videotapes
Good quality results provided by a professional service
Expensive because local shops usually offer this as an add-on service
Cannot handle large orders
May have waiting lists or take 70 days or longer to complete their process
While we don’t dislike this option, it’s still not the best way to transfer VHS to digital because you will end up paying premium fees and potentially waiting longer than you would with other options.
Capture is the only brand that can maintain the highest quality standards while getting your original VHS tapes and digital format copies back to you in less than 30 days.
Plus, we do everything possible to guarantee the safety of your original media including minor repairs, barcode tracking, 60-day backup, and more.
If you aren’t satisfied, Capture will even reprocess your VHS tapes for free! However, if you want higher-resolution or video editing services, you will have to use your own video editor to do so.
Also, while we do offer the fastest digitization service in the industry, we do not offer an expedited option like some competitors.
Professional quality results every time
Transfer VHS to digital in 30 days or less (counting shipping!)
State-of-the-art barcode tracking and security to keep your media safe every step of the way
Can convert many VHS types including VHS-C, S-VHS, and S-VHS-C (as well as Super 8 reels and Betamax).
Produces your choice of DVD, digital download, or USB flash drive
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 original media is in good hands and the digital files will be of the highest professional quality.
With major retailers like Costco, Walmart, and CVS offering digital conversion services, you never have to wonder where to go to transfer VHS to digital.
The digital conversion services at major retail brands are most likely fulfilled by Capture, which means you get all the benefits of professional digital files, efficient processes, and friendly customer support.
However, these stores can get busy, and sometimes you will have to wait in long lines and feel rushed as you talk to the employee at their photo center. Plus, not all major retail locations offer VHS to digital services.
Fulfilled by Capture at many retailers for professional quality service and results
Good customer support and guaranteed satisfaction
Efficient compared to the industry standard of 10 to 12 weeks
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, especially during the holiday season
Not every retail location offers VHS to digital services
We like this option because you still get the highest quality digital files fulfilled by Capture. However, because of 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 VHS transfer to digital services are a convenient and simple way to digitize home movies. Some will even send you the kit with a pre-paid label so you never have to leave home to send it. They also offer good results and consistent quality.
However, customer reviews do show that some of these options, like LegacyBox, tend to lose original VHS tapes and other media.
In addition, the popularity of such services sometimes impacts efficiency, which is why time delays are common. Some of these options do offer a 10-day expedited option, but it’s expensive, costing as much as $44.99.
Professional processing and service
Convenience of pre-paid labels
Many services offer loss guarantees, digital backup, and other features
May take 70+ days unless you pay exorbitant fees for faster delivery
Quality may vary depending on the company you choose and the type of media
Reviews show that some brands tend to lose original media often
If you decide to choose one of these services to transfer VHS tapes to digital copies, we simply recommend you do your due diligence by reading reviews, comparing prices, and examining how long it takes to digitize media.
What is the Best Way to Transfer VHS to Digital?
When looking for how to transfer VHS to digital, you will discover many different options to choose from including using your own video converter or video capture device or using another company for video conversion.
After deciding if you want to do it yourself or pay for a premium service, you should compare the efficiency, pricing, quality, and tracking protection that each service offers.
You will find that Capture is the best because of its exceptional 30-day or less processing, high-quality guaranteed results, and superior tracking and security for your VHS tapes. Learn more about Capture VHS transfer services.