Just like every other technology, video home system (VHS) recording tapes are being affected by technological change. Just as consumers become used to one form of home technology, a new and better technology comes along. Unfortunately, consumers have already recorded many precious moments on their VHS tapes and are increasingly finding that they do not have the same quality as the new technologies being offered today. In some cases, the tapes themselves are beginning to deteriorate. Generally, this deterioration takes place because of incorrect storage, but overall, it usually happens because the recording wears away the tape.
Like many other technologies, VHS tapes are becoming a victim of the digital conversion process. VHS tapes are analog recordings and, as such, will not last if the recording was from a video camera. Commercial movies will last quite a bit longer, but if they are home recordings, they will likely have a storage life of the order of one or two decades, depending on storage conditions.
What Can Be Done?
In many respects the VCR tape is going the way of the cassette tape. There are plenty of uses for the basic function of the VCR tape, like recording TV shows, but the focus has shifted to digital recording devices. The tapes themselves may be around for a while longer, but the machines to play them will likely be gone first. Transferring the VHR images to a digital form becomes the only recourse if you wish to save precious events like an important soccer game or a birthday party.
Will Technological Innovation Ever End?
It is unlikely that it will ever become unnecessary to transfer recordings from one technology to another. Technology just does not stay still. Right now, you need to transfer your VHS tape data to a digital form of a certain format. Five to ten years down the road you will likely be doing the same thing all over again. In a way, it is sort of like death, taxes, and data transfer! Fortunately, as the technology has progressed, engineers have taken notice of this reality and made the process of transferring data about as easy as it can get. In case you happen to be a total technophobe, which is unlikely if you are reading this, there are businesses that will be happy to do the transferring for you.
Transferring VHS data
There are a few options that you can use to transfer those precious moments to a digital format. Generally, it is very easy to do. If you happen to have a dual VHS/DVD machine, simply pop in the VHS tape and a DVD disk and push some buttons. Models may vary just a bit, but generally it is just a matter of play and record in each medium. If you have a digital DVD camera, it is even easier. Ensure that your tapes and disk are in their machines and connect a cable, which you may have to buy, to the Aux hole at the back of the VHS machine and the camera. Press the Play button on the VHS and record on the DVD camera.