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Should You Convert VHS to Digital By Yourself or With a Service Provider? 

Should You Convert VHS to Digital By Yourself or With a Service Provider?

Converting one’s VHS (and other older formats) tapes to digital can be both a rewarding and challenging experience.

On the one hand, hiring a service to convert your videos can be an excellent way to ensure that treasured memories are never lost and remain available for generations to come. On the other, doing it yourself involves many steps that could lead to damaging the tapes unless proper care is taken.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of converting VHS to digital through DIY and having a professional company do it.

Converting VHS to Digital Format by Yourself

Let’s first examine the pros and cons of converting videos to digital yourself.

Pros of Converting VHS to Digital Format by Yourself

Here are some pros to converting VHS to digital on your own time.

  • You are in complete control of the process: You will know precisely what conversion you will get and how much time and effort you need to put in to achieve quality results.
  • Cost: Often less expensive than hiring a service because once the necessary equipment is purchased, your labor costs are just you and your time.

Cons of Converting VHS to Digital Format by Yourself

Unfortunately, some significant downsides are also associated with going down this route.

  • More complicated than it seems: While it may seem simple enough on paper — plugging in your VCR or Super 8 camera and transferring footage — the reality can be quite different. Finding the proper equipment, devices, and cables also presents a challenge.
  • Outdated equipment presents problems: Depending on how old your equipment is (and if you even have all parts), meticulously connecting cables and potential troubleshooting issues can quickly become overwhelming. This can especially be true with more advanced formats like Betacam or Betamax, which require special machines that may be hard to find.
  • Quality is not assured: Ensuring high-quality conversions requires knowledge about video formats and technical know-how about which settings should be used for which tape format, which could lead to a poor-quality conversion.

While converting your tapes to digital yourself might seem like a good idea at the time (mainly because it saves money), in the end, you have to decide what your time and energy are worth.

Converting VHS to Digital with the Help of a Service Company

Some people may not have the skills, time, or equipment to convert their old videos. Let’s examine the pros and cons of having a professional service help you.

Pros of Using a Professional Service

Hiring a company to digitize VHS tapes and other outdated formats can be convenient for people who don’t want to or don’t have the time and resources to do it themselves.

  • Saves time and effort: Converting VHS tapes into digital format requires specialized equipment and know-how. You may also need access to rare or outdated technology if old formats like BetaMax or U-Matic require special playback machines.
  • Guarantee quality results: They use professional-grade materials and have experienced technicians, so you know you’re getting the best quality possible. They will also typically create multiple copies of the files in various formats so you can watch them on different devices.
  • Additional services: Many conversion companies offer services such as video editing and creating DVDs or Blu-ray discs from the converted files for an additional cost.
  • Variety of conversion options: A professional service such as Capture can convert many different formats to DVDs, not just VHS. S-VHS, Betamax, VHS-C, S-VHS-C, Video8, Hi-8, Digital8, DV, DVCAM, MiniDV, and DVC are all formats Capture converts.

Cons of Using a Professional Service

Using a professional service to convert your tapes to DVD is the best option for most people. However, before making your choice, you should be aware of some drawbacks to using a conversion service.

  • Cost: Most companies charge extra for archival-quality media, so this might not be the best option if you’re on a tight budget.
  • Location-dependent: Depending on where you live, some services may not be available locally, leading to longer wait times due to shipping costs or delivery times if mail order is used instead of local pickup or dropoff services. 
  • Potential damage: There’s always the risk of damaging your valuable memories if you entrust them to someone else.

Even with these cons, using a professional service is the best option for most people. Unless you are skilled in using the technology and have ample time to do it, trust a professional to convert your VHS tapes to digital.


You have two choices when you decide to convert your tapes to digital format: doing it your self or hiring a professional service. Doing it yourself requires time and effort, while a professional offers assured quality but costs more. The choice is yours!

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