Advice on preserving VHR tapes - by transferring them to other formats (DVD or Hard Disk)

I want to transfer Video Tapes to DVD or other formats.  Would appreciate some advice on which programs to consider

I am not looking for free software (unless there is something exceptional available)

The Tapes are of historical interest and I want to preserve them

I find that DVD disks tend to deteriorate so are there any alternatives (such as large hard disks  - like My Passport Ultra?  It seems to me that  it would make more sense to transfer to master hard disks and then   I can always burn DVD's from these.
Michael MurphyAsked:
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AlexProject Systems EngineerCommented:

Given the significance of the tapes, your best and safest option may be to send them to a specialist company in order to facilitate this. Otherwise, you'll need a TV Receiver card (WInTV), use the software to rip the video as it plays, direct to an AVI file.

IF you send them off, they will use other, more reliable methods to move these to DVD. They may be able to clean the video up too.


WakeupSpecialist 1Commented:
I have never done this myself, VHS to DVD/Digital etc.

But here seems to be a good thought process or idea on how to get started.

Either doing it yourself or paying.  Paying however seems to be pretty pricey if you have a bunch.  
If you just have maybe 2 or 3 of them? it can be easier to pay someone.  However if you have a bunch it could cost a ton. Costco seems to charge $20 for 2 hours.
WakeupSpecialist 1Commented:
Oh and to answer your other questions, sorry I am at work. So I wanted to get you something first.  I re-read the question.
DVD burned media can have a shelf life.  But could last a while as well.

Digital is probably the best way.  And then have a backup by moving to DVD.  If you choose the digital route, you have a copy of it digitally as you stated and can make duplicates from there.  

If these movies/historic events are valuable to you (obviously the have some value otherwise you would not care to preserve them) then the question is how valuable?  If you were to lose them today, would you be heartbroken?  If so then you certainly want to make a backup of them and a second or perhaps third backup elsewhere.

Hard drives can fail Spinning rotational drives can last a few moths to several years 1-10 years...10 is pushing it.  SSD drives or non rotational, Pen drive/Thumb drive, or larger SSD drives can last a bit longer, but can also fail just as quickly too.
So perhaps backup up to cloud, or burn to DVD.  Weather can also cause DVD media (burned especially) to deteriorate.  And will deteriorate quicker if they are not taken care of.
Only other issue is theft/lost media If you store your drives after you saved your data. Acts of God (lightning, Fire)
Also another option is to save to cloud storage for access on any computer any time you want.
Downfall is you generally have to pay for it.  And/Or need an internet connection to access.

So your Passport drive is an option.
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Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
Thank you for that input. That is most helpful.  One further question, I am not too sure how to digitalize the tapes  Have you any recommendation on programs which will accomplish that for me best
WakeupSpecialist 1Commented:
Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to test or try any software apps myself.

Digitizing the media you have (VHS), you will need to be able to connect the VHS to the computer.  Usually some sort of RCA input adapter or Dongle (USB).
So the question is what kind of computer are you trying to connect to?  Do you have such an adapter?

On Amazon here's what I am able to see:

But again I do not know what works well or not.  So I would suggest viewing some of the comments and such.
sorry I have not done this.  I have done video capturing from a digital video camera some years ago over firewire.  

The other issue is TIME.  VHS will only move at a certain speed.  So if your videos are large.  3 hrs worth of video from a VHS is 3 hours at minimum worth of time to capture.   So most likely one to one.  And then if you need to clean up the video or chop the video or modify it you may need more time.

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Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
Thank you again for that. i think I already have an adapter. I will get at it in the next few days and let you know the outcome.
WakeupSpecialist 1Commented:
Ok sounds good.  Let us know what adapter you might have as well as computer and we can try and help out where we can.
Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
I've ordered this model.  Checked various websites discussing different programs. This one was most recommended. Wont get it until October 8th, so will be back with results after this date.  This is the model.

Diamond VC500 USB 2.0 One Touch VHS to digital file and DVD converter, Video Capture Device with Easy to use Software - Convert, Edit and Save to Digital Files For Win7, Win8 and Win10
Believe it or not,for long term storage ,tape has a shelf life of over 20 years as opposed to cd rom or spinning disk.
If you're serious ,I would rip to a digital format like mp4,avi or whatever and back them up to a digital tape medium like dat.
WakeupSpecialist 1Commented:
I agree DAT Tapes may last long if stored in appropriate conditions (Temperature and Humidity.)
However if you don't already have the DAT Drive and media, it may not be worth it in my opinion (Cost of drive, media, and potentially controller card).  Storing to cloud and alternative drives SSD, USB thumb drives etc, may be more cost effective, as well as having it stored in multiple places you should be fine.
Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
There has been a very good response to my query. I want to wait until I try out the equipment before I close the question. Am I allowed to do this. It might take two or three weeks before I get it and see how it goes?
WakeupSpecialist 1Commented:
Hey Michael no problem.  Just please come back and give us your findings or questions when that time comes.  I'll be interested in your findings!
Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
I have succeeded in getting the tapes digitalised, at last. It took a long time, but the advice given above worked in the end.
Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your help. It got me there eventually
WakeupSpecialist 1Commented:
Great!  glad you were able to get it done.  It certainly can be a time consuming service if you have many to do.

Thanks again for coming back.

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