Convert your old VHS tapes to digital in time for the holidays

Dec 4, 2022, 5:00 AM
(Pexels Photo)...
(Pexels Photo)
(Pexels Photo)

Think you can only score free shipping on Amazon? Tap or click for five tricks to get free shipping on most major sites. Call me Santa’s little helper.

If you are sticking to Amazon for this year’s gifts, don’t let digital breadcrumbs ruin the surprise. Tap or click here for tips on hiding your holiday gift purchases.

You can also go the more personal route. Digitized home movies make for an excellent gift — or a fabulous way to relive old memories at your next get-together. Put away the projector and check out the best ways to preserve and share your home movies.

Save your old home movies

Today, you take videos on your smartphone, but I bet you have a stack of VHS tapes sitting around full of treasured moments. Tapes degrade over time, so you should do this now to prevent any more wear and tear.

The good news is you can convert home movies to digital and easily enjoy them again while sharing them with others. Here are your options.

Best VHS to digital converters

You’ll need a VCR or VHS camcorder if you want to go the DIY route to convert your VHS to digital. If you don’t have one, check places like eBay, where you can buy VCRs for as little as $35.

Ensure the seller has good ratings and ask questions before placing a bid. It can be as simple as asking, “Does it function?” and “When’s the last time you tested it?” You can also try using OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace or some other local sales platform.

You’ll also need a converter like this option from Elgato that digitizes video onto a computer. Simply plug the device into your computer’s USB port and connect your analog video source (VCR, DVD player, DVR or camcorder) using the included RCA composite or S-video cables.

The included software guides you through every step of capturing your footage. You’ll have to transfer your VHS recordings in real-time, so set aside some time.

Another option is this handheld video-to-digital convertor. You can record and digitize from numerous sources, including your VCR, camcorder, DVD player or DVR.

You don’t need to use a computer or any software with this nifty little gadget. Connect it to your video source and insert a USB drive or SD card into the converter. Hit the Record button and watch your movies get digitized in real-time on the LCD screen.

Have a company convert your old tapes for you

Not up to the task? That’s OK. You can send VHS tapes to companies like Costco to digitize them for you. You’ll get a USB drive with your footage, plus access to a MemoryCloud account. You’ll have 90 days to sign in and download your footage.

Prices start at $24.99 for the first tape (any length) and then $16.99 for additional videos. Go here for more details on this service from Costco.

Keep a couple of copies

Now that you have your videos digitized, you need to keep them safe. Just as with any other files, your videos can get corrupted, hacked or accidentally deleted, so some redundancy is a good idea.

You can save your files locally to an external hard drive or securely back them up to the cloud but be careful. Here are four data backup mistakes that could cost you your photos, videos, and other files.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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Convert your old VHS tapes to digital in time for the holidays