Convert VHS to DIGITAL & DVD
In 2017, the VHS tape turned 40 years old. To put that into perspective, that was the same time the first Super Computer was launched at a cost of $8.8 million; The Muppet Show, Family Feud and Laverne & Shirley first premiered and the U.S. celebrated its bicentennial. 40 years later, your smartphone is more powerful than that 1976 Super Computer, but your VHS tapes are not improving as they sit in a box in your basement. In fact, the magnetic tape inside the VHS case is deteriorating quite quickly.
It’s more important than ever to convert VHS to DVD or USB because there are a lot of things that can go wrong with these old analog formats. At EverPresent we’ve seen it all and we take extra care to handle your VHS tapes with expertise. Have you ever heard of tape slipping? What about magnetic tape deterioration? Tape warping? Tape crease? These are all things that can destroy your priceless family memories if they’re not caught and handled by experts. Tape slipping can make your whole tape start to skip in the VHS player and it’s a common problem with tapes stored over long periods of time. When you digitize VHS content, you can store it forever on your mobile devices.
Our technicians examine all tapes before we transfer VHS to digital formats, often re-spooling the tape in new plastic cases. Our best advice beyond digitizing is to make sure all your analog tapes are safely stored away from the elements. Your living room or hall closet are both much better choices than the basement.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CONVERTING VHS
Common VHS Conversion Service Questions
What equipment is used to convert VHS to digital files or DVD?
Converting VHS tapes starts with using commercial grade VHS players from companies like Sony and Panasonic. The key to good VHS to digital transfers is keeping them clean. After that, the files move directly to computers, reviewed and converted to .mp4 or .mov file for Mac or PC, optimized, blue screens clipped out and custom labeled using our advanced software. At that point, if clients choose a DVD, we build custom DVD menus on the computers, and then use Epson’s excellent DVD authoring equipment that creates custom printed labels and menus.
How many VHS tapes fit on a DVD?
The newer DVDs we use have dual layers, which means they can hold up to 7-8 hours of footage, as opposed to the 2-3 hours on the DVDs we used to rent at Blockbuster. When we convert VHS to DVD, the average tape we receive is roughly 1.5 hours long, so clients can often combine 3-5 tapes onto a single DVD. Our VHS to digital service allows you to select which video you are watching from a custom DVD menu our team creates for you. If your tapes are labeled, you will see those labels on your menu or your DVD. You can also store your home movies on a hard drive or in the cloud to download onto your devices anytime.
Can a broken VHS cassette be converted to digital?
Absolutely! Our experienced team of video technicians can take your broken VHS tapes and cassettes and repair them before digitizing. Often the repairs are common issues we find with tapes and have handled thousands of times throughout our history of performing the VHS to DVD service. We can even take a tape out of your VCR if it’s stuck!
VHS to Digital & DVD – From Our Blog
Understanding VHS tapes
Didn’t get enough info about your old home movies above? We have more history and technical information about VHS to digital & DVD conversions in our blog post.
Read more about your VHS format…
5 Potential Tape Issues
Your VHS tapes might look like they’re in great shape to convert to DVD, but there are a number of problems that can occur with VHS tapes during the digitizing process.
Read more about potential tape issues…
Can you save moldy tapes?
Minor mold is still ok for our VHS to DVD converter! Serious mold is uncommon and requires chemical treatments that can damage audio/video quality of your VHS to DVD transfer.
Read about how we handle moldy tapes…
“I have used EverPresent to convert my old VHS video tapes to DVD. The customer experience was excellent. The staff was friendly and helpful and the product was perfect. They make it convenient with local drop off and pick up to save the customers time. I would certainly recommend EverPresent to friends and family.”
Visit one of our Northeast locations:
HEADQUARTERS - Newton
Back Bay & South End
or work with us from the comfort of your own home.
You can also ship directly to us!
- Consultations from the privacy of your own home
- Perfect for large or complex projects with multiple formats
- Our certified consultants travel across the Northeast
- Free, no obligations estimate
- Speak with our certified consultants over the phone
- Ship to our headquarters in Newton, MA
- A less expensive way to digitize tapes when you aren’t sure of the content but you want to make sure your memories are preserved
- Easy to download, edit and make copies later
- Site live for 180 days
- Included high grade USB or DVD allows for easy enjoyment and a redundant form of backup
- Included transcription of labels keeps things organized
- Includes the digital download files for 180 days for unlimited sharing with loved ones while avoiding cost of extra copies
Thank you for supporting local business
WE ORGANIZE AND DIGITIZE ALL OF YOUR MEMORIES
GET AN ESTIMATE ON OUR VHS CONVERSION SERVICE!
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How long are VHS tapes and will I pay more for long ones?
VHS tapes could be as little as a few minutes long or as long as eight hours long. VHS has three recording modes – SP, EP and LP – with certain formats allowing you to trade quality for length. In our experience, 99% of tapes are under 2.5 hours long, so we charge a flat fee for tapes of that length to create predictability in your VHS digitizing budget. Longer tapes have a surcharge. There are also surcharges for VHS tapes if they are in the PAL or SECAM formats, which means they were recorded on international equipment.
If I have content on VHS tapes that’s also on other formats, which format should I convert to?
Great question. The most common situation we see is someone who has a VHS tape with old 8mm or 16mm film footage – meaning that someone previously converted old films onto VHS. The answer here is simple. Given the quality of film transfer equipment at the time, you are much better off digitizing the original films and passing on the VHS tapes. That said, digitizing the VHS tape will be much cheaper, so if budget is the priority, transfer the VHS tape instead. On the flip side, if you have VHS tapes that were upconverted previously to more modern formats, most likely a DVD, it makes more sense to convert the DVDs UNLESS you weren’t happy with the original VHS transfers. But if they were adequate, the DVDs have deteriorated less than the VHS tapes in the interim, and will be cheaper to transfer.
Can my VHS footage be edited after it’s converted to digital?
Yes. You can commission EverPresent to edit your VHS footage for an hourly fee. That said, when we digitize your VHS tapes we provide the transfers in standard h.264 .mp4 files which work on Mac or PC and have no restrictions. You can edit these VHS files on any normal computer on free software. So editing VHS footage is a low-pressure decision you can make before or after you commission EverPresent or anyone else to convert your VHS tapes to digital.
Will my transferred VHS footage play well on my mobile device?
Yes, your VHS transfers will play well on the small screen, whether streaming from the cloud or on a mobile app. Our transfers to the modern h264 codec provide exceptional quality at ~1.4GB/hour of footage, which means that the footage will not take all your phone storage and should stream adequately even with a so-so internet connection. All that said, it will always be a better experience to fully download your output from the private link we provide, and then play the footage once it’s fully stored on your phone or computer.
Where should I store my digitized VHS files?
Please be safe about this, and do not rely on your mobile device alone. You’ll want three storage locations, at least one of which is outside your home. At home, you can use our included flash drives of discs, and the hard drive on your computer. You can also keep the original VHS tapes as a true backup copy. In terms of outside the home, most of our customers choose cloud storage. Many go with cheaper backup solutions like Amazon, but increasingly we see many of our clients storing their VHS footage on YouTube due to the easy streaming. If you go in this direction, please read the appropriate guides on YouTube and don’t accidentally select the wrong privacy options and accidentally make your private family VHS tapes viable to the world! This is a lesson you’d rather not learn the hard way with your videos showing up in search engines.
What’s the best way to preview my VHS tapes to decide which tapes to digitize?
Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer here other than getting your hands on a VHS tape player. We’ve put together a blog post to help you find VHS players online. Thankfully, VHS decks are much cheaper than those for other formats. If you only have 5-10 VHS tapes or less, buying a player will probably cost less than just digitizing all of the tapes. But if you have many dozens of tapes, it could be worth it.
What’s the difference between hiring EverPresent for VHS digitizing vs. doing it DIY?
Let’s assume for the moment that you would read up properly and do the work as carefully as our technicians – and also assume that you have the time for the painstaking work. What that leaves is two main issues. First, we have experience dealing with broken or damaged tapes that fail. Second, our equipment is very robust. We carry commercial grade machines from Sony, Panasonic and JVC and can mix and match to find the right answer for your tapes. Further, all of the at-home solutions use less stable USB connections and capture cards that down-convert the footage. We are using IEEE1394 firewire connections into capture cards that can capture over 14GB/hour of footage. The at-home VHS transfer rigs often cost under $100. Our VHS transfer station costs over $100,000. This is not to say that doing VHS to digital work at home is a bad thing; it can be a really fun project and you can adequately save a memory while saving money if you have the time and inclination. But when it comes to pure VHS transfer quality, we’ve invested a lot to build our capabilities and you certainly get what you pay for.
If I’m planning to convert VHS tapes at home, do you have any advice?
Certainly, and we should say, we support DIY VHS transfers and all at-home digitizing. There are trillions of items in this world to digitize and it will take all of us to preserve it all. In terms of buying an at-home VHS converter or machine, honestly, they’re all going to give roughly the same quality. If you want to turn your VHS to DVD, do check if the software allows you to generate DVD files from VHS (usually called a .iso file) and if it has a built-in DVD burning technology. You will also want to check that your computer specifications will work with the VHS convertor you buy. Also, VHS transfer requires you to run tapes real time, so make sure you actually have time for this. There’s no shortcut. If you have 20 two-hour VHS tapes, it’ll take 40+ hours of your time to transfer those VHS tapes to digital. Further, your hard drive needs space – at least 3 GB per tape. You will need that amount of space free on your internal hard drive, and if you have too many VHS tapes such that your internal drive will max out, you need to buy an external drive for the overage. Lastly, you might want to do some math to assure the DIY VHS digitizing project is worthwhile. Buying the converter and cables is an expense, as is buying a VHS player (or potentially a second one if the first craps out). In our experience, it’s rare that under 10 VHS tapes is cheaper to do at home vs. with a VHS transfer service. But if you have 50+ tapes, a DIY project can potentially save you money vs. a digitizing service.
I’m thinking about trying DIY VHS converting. Any tips?
Absolutely. If you want to do this process right, you should purchase a proper video capture card rather than a USB based converter system. You’ll want a high quality VCR and a set of cleaning tapes to keep it pristine while you do the recordings. Make sure you have a decent set of RCA or S-Video cables for the transfer. It may be worth buying new cables for the project so the recordings move well between your VCR and the computer. They will just cost a few bucks on Amazon or at a local store. Finally, when you buy a capture card and/or download some video capture software, make sure the tech is compatible with Mac or Windows PC as is appropriate to your setup at home.