If your most cherished family memories are stored away on old VHS tapes, you need to act now. As time passes, videotapes lose their magnetic signal.
The sharpness, quality and color deteriorate. Worst of all, the tape grows brittle and breaks as it’s played.
To preserve the content of your videotapes, digitizing them is a must.
Here are three services that make it simple to modernize your old video collection.
Costco offers a digital transfer service through its Photo Center. You can transfer several types of videotapes to DVDs including VHS and S-VHS, Beta, VHS-C, Hi8, Digital 8, 8mm and MiniDV.
The service includes two personalized DVDs with intelligent chapters, personalized themes and custom music. Each transfer begins at $19.99 and each DVD can hold up to two hours of video. If the footage on your tape exceeds the two-hour limit, the content will be split onto two DVDs and you'll be charged as if you'd placed two separate orders.
You can place your order using Costco's website and drop off your tapes at your local store. When your DVDs are ready, simply pick them up and take them back home to enjoy. Just make sure the footage you provide them is not copyrighted material.
Every transfer you make also comes with your own private online account at no extra cost as long as you remain an active user. This online account lets you view your transferred videos from any computer or device. To keep your account active, you must view or share videos at least once per year.
Costco's digital transfer service is not limited to videotapes. You can also transfer film reels, 35mm slides, photo prints and memory cards to DVDs.
Walgreens is another retail location that offers a digital transfer service. With Walgreens Photo, you can transfer videotapes, movie films, HD videos and photographs onto DVDs.
The pricing for Walgreen's service is complex. DVDs cost $24.99 per videotape, plus an additional $9.99 for the DVD itself. If you'd prefer to have the final footage in Blu-ray format, the cost is $20. Movie films cost $19.99 for 50 feet of film, plus $9.99 per DVD and are only accepted in 8mm, Super 8 and 16mm formats.
Walgreens also offers cloud storage for a monthly fee of $4.99. This service allows you to share or watch your films with anyone, anywhere, at any time. If you're on the fence about whether or not the cloud is worth it, your first order includes a one-month free trial.
Walmart also offers a DVD transfer service. Videotapes, movie film, photographs and slides, and digital media can all be transferred to DVD.
Like Costco, Walmart places a two-hour limit per DVD. The cost is $24.96 to transfer one VHS tape, which makes it the more expensive option. However, transferring movie film is cheaper at Walmart than it is at Walgreens. The first 100 feet of film costs $24.96, and you'll be charged $.20 per foot thereafter. Additional DVDs cost under $9.96 and additional Blu-rays cost $13.96.
If you're still not ready to part with your old VHS tapes, Walmart also offers a special service to repair any that are damaged. This service costs $19.96.
Feeling nostalgic? Great way to watch your favorites
I realize it's sometimes hard to get rid of your favorite DVDs and VHS tapes, after all, they hold some sentimental value. If you still have tapes you'd rather hold on to than convert, you can now watch them again and again with this enhanced VCR/DVD Player Combo available in my Komando Shop. This gadget features Hi-Fi Stereo audio playback, a Progressive Scan Component for better picture quality and Dolby Digital audio output.
So you've converted your old videotapes, what now?
Once you’ve brought your video library into the 21st century, don’t stop there. There are more valuables you can preserve and enjoy for a long time to come.