Converting Those Old VHS Tapes

August 7, 2009 | By | Comments (0)

This October, my husband and I will celebrate 10 years of marriage. If ever there was a time to convert our decade-old VHS tape—the one that lovingly documents the dresses, the flowers and the fun on the dance floor—this is it. I happened upon the dusty tape just a few weeks ago, when I was cleaning out the closet in my home office. Like most, I’ve traded VHS tapes for DVDs, and VCRs for DVD players. And yet I do still have a few VHS tapes around the house that I simply can’t part with. My wedding video being one, and a 1995 segment from a local newscast featuring yours truly, being another.

200px-VHS_cassette_with_ruler Sadly, I hardly ever watch these tapes. But they’re one of the few reasons I keep an outdated 13″ TV/VCR combo set in my home office. (Hmm. I’ve just identified a problematic trend. Home office = dumping ground). So when I found my wedding video the other day, I couldn’t resist popping it into the VCR and having myself a good laugh. Times sure have changed, although I do deserve some props for picking off-the-rack bridesmaid dresses from Lord & Taylor. They were timeless.

If you have stacks of VHS tapes piling up around your house, a new product from ION audio may be the answer.

VCR 2 PC is a
VHS tape player, featuring a simple USB connection to PC. Because it uses
standard USB, the only computer connection needed to send both audio and video
into the user’s computer is the single, included USB cable (if you’ve ever tried getting video from your camcorder into your computer, you’ll appreciate this simplicity). No drivers
are needed for connection of VCR 2 PC to any PC running Windows XP or later
operating systems. Unfortunately, it is not compatible with Macs. The device can
also save the videos from other types of camcorders, such as VHS-C or 8mm.

VCR 2 PC sells for around $150, which may seem out of reach if you have only a few VHS tapes to convert. Pool your money with your siblings and parents, however, and it might be worth it. Of course, you now have a new piece of electronic equipment to store somewhere in your house. It’ll probably end up in your home office.

I haven’t tested this product myself, but it looks fairly simple to use. Another option is to purchase software that works with your existing VCR and PC. Roxio’s Easy VHS to DVD software is available for both Macs and PCs ($80 and $60 respectively) and can also convert your old record albums into digital music files. Here’s a great video that shows you how.

Are you concerned that your video memories will someday go the way of your grandfather’s home movies—boxed up in the corner of some basement or attic—never to be watched again?