How your tapes are doing

I've run across these retarded articles talking about how long VHS tapes last, and what you should do with them.
From what i've read in these articles, it appears that they're BS, so here's what i've learned from using VHS tapes in 2020.

Index of this page
How long do tapes REALLY last?
If you want your tapes on DVD or a video file...
VHS Tapes that aren't VHS Tapes

How long do they REALLY last?


VHS Tapes last a lot longer than 25 years...

If you look it up, most articles say something like 5-20 years before they go kaput, but that's not true at all.
I have tapes (Home Movies, TV recordings) that are over 30 YEARS old, and on my VCR they still look great.

If i'm gonna be honest, I bet that it's just a marketing strategy for these "transfer services" to get more money. Greedy bastards.


Screenshot from a random VHS tape of a guy working on a house

It also depends WHERE the tapes have been.

If they're in your TV Cabinet in your warm house, then that's great! They're probably just fine.

If they're in your basement, then they might have deteriorated a little bit. If your basement maybe gets a bit humid or something, then your tapes are probaby moldy. Do not try to play any tapes that have "white stuff" growing on the tape spools. You can look up on Google on how to get them cleaned, but don't throw them out.

If you want your tapes on DVD or a video file (hdd/flash drive)

If you want to do that, then you can hire a professional to do it for you.
In my personal opinion, and because i'm cheap and don't like spending money, I don't like that method.

I prefer to do it myself with a capture device. BUT don't just buy any video capture device. Most of them are shit.
You can read my The Best Video Capture for VHS page. I bought bad capture devices so you don't have to.

To start your video capturing, you'll need a VCR. If you don't have one anymore, your local goodwill or value village probably has 20 VCRs that nobody will buy.
Some VCRs are better than others. I happened to pick up a JVC unit from around 2000 and it works flawlessly.


The said VCR (JVC is rebranded as a Sears)

You'll need to plug in the Composite Video cables from the VCRs output into your capture device.


Open your video capture software, prefferably OBS (Read about getting the best video quality using OBS here!), press Play on the VCR and start recording on the software, and you're ready to go!


Screenshot of the OBS video software


VHS Tapes that aren't VHS Tapes

If you have home movies, they might not be on VHS. There are other Camcorder formats such as VHS-C and Video8 / Hi8.