Lifespan of VHS Tapes

1 August 2022 by
Daisy Wong

From the 1970s to the early 2000s, VHS tapes were a staple part of peoples’ movie and video collections. VHS tapes were considered relatively lightweight and durable, and had long play times - each tape could be holding 430 metres of film! For the first time, people were able to easily record videos of TV programs and could even record shows whilst simultaneously watching one. You could also rewind and fast forward the tapes easily, making them a revolutionary piece of technology at the time. Aside from watching movies and TV shows, people used VHS and its smaller counterparts VHS-C, MiniDV, Hi8 to record their daily lives. Chances are, you’ll have a box of old childhood tapes lying around from years ago!

However, as digital media has evolved and storage devices become more compact, old forms of media have been phased out. The last videocassette recorder or VCR for short was manufactured by Funai Electric in 2016. Since then, the only way to buy a VCR is to go on ebay or find a second-hand one. This is a problem for many people who have videos stored on VHS tapes that haven’t been digitised. Years of magical memories can be locked on these tapes, with no way of retrieving them. 

Alongside this, many different factors can harm the lifespan of your VHS tapes, with some becoming unplayable. VHS tapes will naturally deteriorate because the magnetic particles on the tapes will gradually lose their charge. As this happens, footage stored on the tape will become shaky and difficult to play, making the image quality hard to watch. VHS tapes are also affected by mould especially when stored in humid climates like in Hong Kong. If not caught early, the mould can cause the tape to stick to itself, making it unplayable. There is also an issue with rewinding tapes, where excessive playing and rewinding can cause the tape to tear or break completely, damaging your film and losing treasured sections of your tape. 

In order to protect your VHS tapes and preserve the precious memories stored on them, digitisation makes the most sense. This way, your videos can be kept forever and passed onto the next generations with no issue. Here at Capture, we can help you convert your old VHS tapes to a digital format playable on your mobile phone, tablet, computer or web. We are able to upload your videos to Google Photos, allowing you to access them whenever you want. Storing media on a cloud platform such as Google Photos is reliable, safe and can help you to organise your memories - best of all, digital video doesn’t have a lifespan, so you can be assured that your media won’t deteriorate!

life span of videotape

*This article is brought to you by Capture HK.

Capture HK is the premier analogue media digitisation company in Hong Kong.

Capture HK's business covers photographs, photo album digitisation, videotapes digitisation, including VHS, S-VHS, VHS-C, S-VHS-C Hi-8, Video8, Digital8, DV, DVCAM, MiniDV, DVC and digital media digitisation, including Secure Digital (SD), Smart Media (SM), MultiMediaCard (MMC) Compact Flash (CF), xD-Picture Card, Memory Stick, USB Drive, CDROM, DVD.

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