Are you wondering how to digitize VHS tapes? If you would like to digitize VHS movies, there are several options available. You may have a bunch of old VHS tapes lying around, and it is important for you to digitize them if you would like to preserve and share them. VHS movies are not going to last forever, and you do not want the footage to degrade. What do you need to do if you would like to digitize your VHS tapes? Take a look at several important steps below, and remember to reach out to a professional if you would like to make sure your footage is protected.

How VHS Digitization Works?

If you are looking for a way to digitize your VHS movies at home, you are going to need a good VCR (Video Cassette Recorder), Analog to Digital Converter (ADC) hardware and a computer with the necessary software. First, you need to make sure you have a working VCR. Even though they are not impossible to find, the one you have sitting in your attic may not work anymore. There are three possible outputs from the VHS VCR, they are composite, S-Video and component. Most consumer ADCs accept composite (yellow RCA cord) and S-Video (special S-Video cord). If your VCR has S-Video output, you will get better quality using that. Professionals use component out. Connect the video out, composite or S-Video and the audio output to the Analog to Digital Converter.

The ADC unit will then connect to your computer with a USB wire. Software will need to be installed and can usually be downloaded from the web site of the company from which you purchased the ADC. With the software you will be able to monitor the picture and adjust the VCR tracking and the audio levels. Here is a Pro Tip, if you do not hear the audio try changing the VCR audio from stereo to normal, it can be done with the VCR remote control or in the VCR menu.


The software will create video files. The file types are important based on how you want to use them. For editing on a PC, you will want to select .AVI. AVI files are large because they have less compression, and they are very good quality. For editing on an Apple computer select .MOV for the same reasons. For compatibility with TVs and video sharing services like YouTube and Facebook select MP4. We do not recommend going to DVD as they are old technology, but if you want to burn DVDs select the format that your DVD burning software requires and don’t forget you will need a DVD burner.

After this, you need to inspect the video tape for damage or mold, put the tape into the VCR and rewind it to the beginning. Next, press play on your VCR, and hit the record button on your computer software program. This will get the VHS cassette to start converting. It is going to be done at real time so if it is a full 2 hours tape it will take 2 hours. Be sure to check the recording from time to time and adjust the tracking as needed. When the video is finished press stop on the computer software or you will record a lot of extra junk that will make the file bigger. Name the file and save it in a folder so you can find it later.

The files can now be copied, uploaded to the internet, played back on the computer or played back on your TV. Laptops have HDMI outputs so you can connect it directly to your TV. Flash drives can be formatted to plug directly into the TV USB port and viewed. Pro Tip, there are three different formats for flash drives, Fat 32, exFat, and NTFS, Apple computers prefer exFat and TVs prefer NTFS, check your manual.

It might be difficult for you to track down all of this equipment, and you need to make sure the equipment can talk to each other. If you are patient, and you are willing to invest in this, you may be able to do this on your own. Ultimately, it would probably be better to use a professional service.

The Best Method for Reliable Results

Clearly, there is a lot of equipment you need to purchase if you would like to digitize your VHS tapes on your own. Furthermore, this is going to take a tremendous amount of time, which is probably better spent elsewhere. Of course, you still need to make sure your VHS video footage is protected, which is where we can help you. Here at ARS Video, we have a tremendous amount of experience digitizing VHS footage of all genres. We already have the professional equipment ready, and we have a tremendous amount of experience we can use to help you. We will repair your tapes, if necessary, upscale them to High-Definition MP4 files delivered to you on a Flash drive for your TV/PC, and archive them in case you need more copies. We are always open, honest, and transparent about our services. It would be our honor to help you as well. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you digitize your VHS movies!