October Question of the Month

Question: What’s the best way to digitize VHS tapes?

Answer: Many are realizing the importance of preserving their VHS footage and would like to digitize it; however, do not know how to go about doing it. The simplest method to digitize such tapes is to use a VHS video converter, such as Elgato Video Capture.

This type of converter allows any computer running Mac OS X or Windows 7 to turn these plastic rectangular contraptions into digital copy. Then, that copy can be easily shared across multiple devices, letting you send these videos to family and friends via smartphones and more. The actual converter is quite small and easy to store or tote. It’s simply a cable with a USB connector on one end and another hookup for a working VCR. This, of course, assumes such devices in operable condition exist and are on hand.

The Elgato Video Capture and other similar products come with software to control the copying process that is simple to understand and operate. Users are essentially guided through the steps by a wizard to create a mistake-free copy. In the case of the Elgato version, there is also built-in editing capability which allows users not only to digitize VHS footage without a lot of fancy equipment, but also to make the video better than ever. The main disadvantage of this product; however, is that it doesn’t offer much file formatting options, so you either end up with gigantic-sized files or poor video quality.