Sure, you can still find VHS video tapes in your local discount or even video rental store, but you need to be realistic and realize that VHS is dead as a video format.
If you have VHS video tapes at home that are more than ten (10) years old and would like them to survive another 10, then you can either take extremely good care of them since magnetic tape does degrade over time, or a better long-term strategy would be to transfer their contents to a more current and hardy format such as DVD or computer format.
There are at least 3 different routes you can choose when it comes to converting your video tapes:
1. Give your tapes to a 3rd-party that is in the business of video conversion. This would save you the time of learning how to do it as well as doing it.
However, it can become expensive very quickly as they usually charge per tape.
2. Purchase a converter box which is a piece of hardware that has slots for both the VHS tapes and the blank DVD discs. Conversion can be as simple as pressing a button. Drawbacks include the inability to edit the contents of your movies or tapes. Some of these converters can be quite expensive.
3. Purchase an Audio/Video (A/V) analog-to-digital (A-D) converter. These converters are typically small boxes, some as small as a deck of cards, that connect to your analog input device (ex: your VHS player) and then hook up to your computer usually via USB.
Of course, the main drawback to this method is that you would have to spend time to convert each tape, as well as any editing you would like.
However, the advantages to this method are quite a few. For starters, as mentioned, you can edit the contents of your tape before you commit it to either your computer and/or DVD disc.
You can have multiple copies of your content: on both your computer (and even backed up elsewhere) and on DVD.
These devices are usually generic analog-to-digital converters and can convert not only VHS video, but magnetic audio cassette tapes, and other analog formats. It only depends on whether or not the player you have has connectors that are compatible with the converter. RCA connectors are quite common on older analog devices and you will find that many of these converters support them.
Since the first place that your content goes is to your computer, you’ll have a chance to edit the movie, cutting out what you don’t want or even putting together clips that were on different tapes.
The cost of these devices along with their software is cheaper than the all-in-one video-only converters and much cheaper than using a service (unless you only have a few tapes).
You can either convert to DVD and/or Blu-ray formats. Blu-ray is the next-generation format that has superceded the initial DVD format, so we recommend that you look for a product that support Blu-ray.
If you’re looking to transfer your VHS tapes to either your computer and/or DVD, then we strongly recommend you take a look at analog-to-digital converters. They do require a bit of reading and learning up front, but you will have full control over the end result.