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How to Convert Your VHS Tapes to Digital Video for Less Than $50

Updated on July 30, 2012
Save your videos, convert them to digital.
Save your videos, convert them to digital.

The Family Video Collection

My father, over the years, amassed quite a collection of VHS tapes – a whole trunk full. However, with the introduction of the DVD, these old tapes have become obsolete (it’s happening for all tape media). Today, you will hardly find a household with a VHS recorders or movies. So what happens to the tapes I already have?

Fortunately, you can have all your tapes converted to digital for less than $50 and I will show you how in this hub. But first, let’s look at the things you need.

All you need is a VHS recorder (VCR) to playback your tapes and a USB video capture device (this comes with its own software).

You also need a PC or notebook which was built within the last five years.

Which Are You?

Do you still have VHS tapes?

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What is a USB Capture Device?

I know you’ve already got a fair idea of what this device by its description is but let me elaborate more about what it is.

The device has a USB connector at one end and a series of color coded sockets on one end; red, yellow and white – 3 RCA connectors, and an S-Video input. You will also need an AV cable.

Red and white are for the left and right audio channels while the yellow is for video. Connecting them is easy because the VCR ports are also matched with same color codes. EzCap should cost you less than $40 on Amazon.

Follow the Color

Since the cables are color coded, matching them will be easy. Firstly, connect one end of the AV cable to its matching ports on the VCR. The other end is connected to the color matching end of the USB video capture device.

It's Ez

Before you connect the USB end to your PC or notebook, install the software that came with the device. Install the drivers then the video capture software. Once this is done, connect the device and run the capture software.

Put your VHS into the VCR and play it. Then press the ‘Record’ button on the capture software (you can do this in either order). When you are done, click ‘Stop’ on the software and on the VCR. The video would be saved as an .MPG with MPEG-2 video compression in your computer.

Recommended Video Settings

These setting will ensure you capture the highest quality available.


The important thing is that you have enough space to store your recording. On average, it would take about 2.5GB for an hour of recording.

You can also transfer the files to a flash drive and watch on a compatible DVD player. Alternatively you can covert the video to DivX using DivX Plus.


As you can see, converting your old VHS tapes to digital format is quite easy and cheap. All you need is time because you will have to play the entire tape to capture it.

If you have those old family tapes you’d like to save then now you know how it’s done.


Submit a Comment

  • bernard.sinai profile image

    Bernard Sinai 4 years ago from Papua New Guinea

    Thank you. :-)

  • smga22 profile image

    smga22 5 years ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

    It is a never ending stuff. Great information provided. Thanks. :)