What Should You Do With Your Old VHS Videos?

If you’re like many Americans who came of age during the 70s, 80s, and 90s, you may still have stacks of old VHS cassettes or microcassettes that contain a variety of videos — from sitcoms and movies recorded straight from the television to priceless home videos from decades past. Each year that passes can make it more and more difficult for you to find the technology to play this media; and unless you’ve been diligent in your labeling, you may no longer even have the ability to determine what content can be found on certain tapes. When is it worthwhile to have your VHS tapes converted to a more user-friendly digital format? Read on to learn more about digital media conversion. 

Can your old VHS videos be converted?

Although it may have been years since you’ve seen a VHS player for sale in a department or electronics store, this form of media is still common enough that the analog-to-digital conversion process is quite simple. If you’re fairly tech-savvy and have more time than money, you may even opt to perform this conversion yourself using your home computer and some relatively inexpensive video-capture software. Alternatively, you can send your videos to a conversion company (such as Prime Time Video Digital Productions) that will recycle them and send you a USB drive or DVD containing all usable video sent.

Keep in mind that copyright laws can prevent you from being able to legally convert movies, television shows, and other licensed media without express written permission from the license holder. If your VHS tape contains copyrighted material, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to have this media converted without some extra documentation. 

How can you keep the cost of conversion down? 

Regardless of whether you choose to convert your VHS tapes yourself or pay a professional, you’ll save money by converting only the media you truly want to keep. This can mean purchasing a VHS player at a yard sale or consignment store to play poorly-labeled videos so that you can decide whether you’d like to keep the content. Providing your conversion service with specific instructions and time stamps can allow you to have a seamless DVD created from multiple VHS tapes while editing out any irrelevant or dated material. 

What should you do with the old VHS tapes after conversion?

Not only is recycling a good way to ensure that the heavy-duty plastic used in VHS tapes can be reused, it will help prevent iron oxide and other heavy metals from leaching into nearby groundwater supplies. Although VHS cassettes may seem fairly harmless, they do contain plastics and metals that can cause damage if left in a landfill. Fortunately, there are a number of local VHS recycling facilities as well as mail-in services that will dispose of your cassettes for free or a small processing fee. 

Author: Randy Ross

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