How Do I Transfer VHS to My Computer?

How to Get VHS to Your Computer

If you have a bunch of VHS home movies that you shot with your camcorder years ago, it’s about time to get them transferred to your computer while you still can. Information stored on tape can degrade over time, so you want to make sure you get these precious memories transferred to digital format before they’re gone.

You’ll need a VHS VCR in good working order along with some hardware (an adapter) that you can buy so that you can connect your VCR to your computer (desktop or laptop). You can use a PC (Windows) or Mac (Apple).

This video explains the process – it’s really easy:

The hardware you’ll need is the “Elgato Video Capture” and it will help you covert the VHS video to your computer. It provides the necessary plugs so that it all can happen. It has the right connections between your VCR and your computer.

It captures video in the universal H.264 digital format which makes your movies ready for an iPad, for editing in iMovie or Windows Live Movie Maker and posting on YouTube.

Virtually Transfer as Many Tapes as You Want!

You can transfer as many videos as you need to as long as you have space on your computer’s hard drive. If you need more space, then buy an additional flash drive to transfer your movies, too.

In fact, that’s probably the best way to do this because if you haven’t watched these VHS tapes in years, you most likely aren’t going to watch them over and over again any time soon. Just get a Western Digital external hard drive that connects via USB port and you can watch them any time you want by just plugging that drive in. This will save space for files that you’ll use more frequently.

Can You Copy Movies?

You can legally copy home movies you’ve made to your computer. If you’re thinking about copying movies – like the ones that appeared in movie theaters – to your computer, then that’s not quite legal. It’s illegal to copy a movie, so doing this isn’t a good idea.

Today, you can get digital copies of movies when you buy them and that’s a different story. In that case, the movie production companies are giving you a license to have a single copy of the movie you purchased on your computer or online account. For example, if you use Apple’s iTunes for your digital copy, then that’s one version in your account, which can be used on any device using that account.

So no, do not copy your VHS feature movies to your computer. Your best bet is to buy a new version of it that’s meant for viewing digitally on your computer.

A Great Gift Idea

Getting old home movies to digital and creating a video of your favorite moments would be a great gift for your parents, friends or other family members for events like holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. By doing this, you’ll be preserving memories for your loved ones. You’ll probably also surprise them with this gift because there’s a good chance they haven’t watches these home movies you’re transferring for quite a while.

Offer VHS to Digital As a Service in Your Area

If you are looking for some extra work, you could post an ad on Craig’s List in your area and offer VHS video transfer services. You would just run the software and let your computer do the work. You could go watch TV or something while the transfer happened and you could charge $10 per VHS tape or something like that. This could be a nice, little side business for you.


By converting VHS to your computer, you’ll preserve those memories and you’ll have a chance to use the latest video editing software to put your favorite memories together.

It’s best to get anything that’s on VHS to digital right away or you may lose your video memories forever – we’re serious about this. Now is the time to do it.

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