This is how you can digitize your old video tapes

If you have any old video tapes that you would like to keep, it's best to save them digitally before it's too late. Here we explain how you can do this.

Many people still have old VHS tapes on which programs or films have been recorded that have not (yet) appeared on YouTube, DVD or Blu-ray and to which they are attached, or recordings of weddings, parties and other important events that they would like to keep. Also read: Archive your files to last for generations.

If you haven't digitized your video tapes yet, now is the time to do so, firstly because the quality of the tapes deteriorates over time and secondly because it will become increasingly difficult to find devices with which you can use them. can play and/or transfer.

Nowadays you can only find VHS/DVD combination players in the store, a player that only plays VHS you will have to buy second-hand. Fortunately, you're actually better off with a combo player, because almost all of these models have a function that allows you to copy video tapes to a DVD-R.

How does this work?

So first you have to find such a combination player. You will get the best results if you buy a new player rather than a used one, as it is not yet subject to wear and tear and is completely clean inside. The quality of the player determines the quality of the display and that of your copy.

Test the player first with a video tape that it doesn't matter if the player eats it. Insert the unimportant tape into the player and fast forward and rewind to see if the unit is functioning properly.

To start copying, it is useful to connect your combination player to your television so that you can see what is happening. Insert the video tape you want to copy into the player and insert a blank DVD-R into the DVD tray.


Then you can choose a recording quality in the options of the player. The higher the quality, the shorter you can record because it takes up a lot of space. Still, it is advisable to choose the best quality because you are archiving something important that you want to keep for later. VHS recordings aren't great quality anyway, so it's not a good idea to introduce even more quality loss. In addition, DVD-Rs are very cheap these days. You can stop recording when the first disc is full and continue on the next disc.

Start playing the video tape and press the DVD record button on the remote control to start copying. If there is some clutter at the beginning of the video tape, you can wait with your DVD recording until the part you want to keep starts. The copying process is in real-time, so you'll have to wait patiently for the videotape to finish or for the disc to be full.


When you're done recording, you'll need to finalize the DVD so you can watch it on other devices. To do this you usually have to go to the setup menu and look for an option called "Finalize disc", "Edit disc" or something similar. Never just take out the disc without finalizing it first or you won't be able to play it.

Even if the disc becomes full halfway through the video tape copy, you must finalize it before removing it from the player. Pause the video tape, finalize the disc, insert a new disc, start recording and continue playing the video.

If you like to transfer the contents of the DVD to your computer, you will need to use software to rip the DVD. The quality of the recordings from VHS is usually not great, so it might be a good idea to rip the content anyway to try and apply some filters to improve the quality a bit.

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