I’m supposed to tell you that the compelling reason to convert your media to digital is because videotape rapidly degrades in quality while it sits in your drawers and closets. For VHS, VHS-C and Beta that’s pretty much true; it hasn’t aged well. But other tape formats like MiniDV and Sony 8mm, have remained pretty robust. The problem though, is finding devices to play these formats. In 2011, Sony announced that it would no longer support the 8mm, Hi-8 and Digital 8 family of products. Any trip to a big box retailer will confirm the rarity of these devices.
On the VHS, VHS-C side, it’s not much better. The same cable company that took away my favorite shows (ok, I know I can get the box, but it’s the principle of the thing) announced that it was no longer accepting VHS tape submissions for its public access shows. The reason is that they only have a few remaining VCR decks and they are too expensive to repair.
So that’s the bad news. The good news is that the benefits of going to DVD or digital are definitely worth it. Your media will take up less space and your content can be edited together in ways that make sense. You can store digital files on the internet where they can be shared and viewed by others. Even if there is another format change (which is pretty much inevitable), when your tapes are digital they can easily be converted to the next latest, greatest thing.
So, before the tape of your wedding or baby’s first steps become a thing of the past, get them converted to DVD or digital format. You’ll be glad you did.