We offer video digitization services to convert VHS video tapes to DVD or video files for your computer. Billing is calculated at our normal hourly rate for the hands-on time involved. [View Rates] Estimates and options are offered below.

Video Project Cost Estimate

For a personalized video project cost estimate, contact us and provide the following information for each tape to be converted.

  1. Tape Title — What is the title of the original recording if known.
  2. Tape Length — The total capacity of the tape in hours and minutes.
  3. Recording Speed — SP (2-hour), LP (4-hour), ELP (6-hour) 
  4. Length of Video — The total length of the desired video clip in hours and minutes.
  5. Recording Date — The date is used in naming the output file.
  6. Video Description — This description helps with editing and transfer monitoring.
  7. Video Segments — Number of video segments on the tape. Provide each segment number and length with titles and descriptions. This helps if separate video files are requested.
  8. Segments Desired — Please indicate which segments are desired.
  9. Output Files Desired — The number of output files desired. Either the entire tape to one output file, or if there are separate videos on the tape, those segments can be saved separately.

Basic VHS Tape Transfer Cost

To convert a 1-hour VHS video tape to a digital file would be $60 with the digital file being saved to a cloud folder for the customer to download. This is a discounted economy price reduced to make small projects affordable.

The $60 fee covers the following time and expenses:

  • Reserving an appointment time-slot for the drop-off and subsequent pickup of the media. These times are reserved just like a typical consultation session.
  • Communications in person, by phone, email, or text regarding the project needs.
  • Setup of a dedicated VCR and the digitizing equipment to be connected to a computer dedicated to the task.
  • Cleaning of VCR playheads at regular intervals.
  • Running the tape fully forward and then rewinding again to ensure it is in good condition and to equalize spool tension if the tape is older.
  • Play the tape at normal speed on the VCR while recording the output to the computer.
  • Adjust tracking if the automatic tracking adjustment isn’t working.
  • Copying the digital file from the computer to the USB drive.
  • Periodically purchasing replacement VCR systems when older units fail.

You will be notified if it seems like a project will exceed the expected timeframe and cost.

Additional Video Conversion Costs

Calculate your additional costs based on the pricing options below.

  • Additional Video Hours ($20). The $60 estimate above for one hour of video can be extended for additional time at a rate of $20 per hour of additional video. The rates below are estimates for longer tapes. These rates presume the digital version of the video will be store on USB or in the cloud. These additional costs cover additional time required to monitor transfer progress, and the additional time required for the export and upload of video.
    • 1-Hour Tape ($60)
    • 2-Hour Tape ($80)
    • 3-Hour Tape ($100)
    • 4-Hour Tape ($120)
    • 6-Hour Tape ($140)
  • DVD Duplication Fees ($5 Each). Additional copies of DVDs are provided at a cost of $5 per DVD.
  • DVD Media ($40). For videos placed on DVD, there is a $40 cost per video. Once a DVD is created, duplicates can be made for $5 each as described above.
  • Editing ($100 per hour). Some video tapes may contain several separate recordings that need to be saved individually. This would require extra time that is billed at $100 per hour.
  • Enhanced DVD Authoring. Fancy DVD menus with multiple videos per DVD are a minimum of $60 per DVD.
  • Quality Enhancements – Basic ($40). If a single adjustment can be made to increase the volume of a video or increase brightness that can be provided. The $40 fee covers the time required to assess the change needed and whether it can be applied across the entire video. If the quality enhancements are more complicated, then they will be billed at the normal hourly rate.
  • Tape Repair ($30)
  • USB Flash Drive – 32GB ($10). For projects requested to be saved to a USB flash drive, there is a fee for the drive cost.

Save Money — DIY

If you have several tapes to convert, and have your own VCR, it’s possible to purchase a converter device for about $100 that can save the video to your computer. [View Device] Cheaper devices may be available, but the conversion quality or software may not be as good.

Save Money with National Services

Because of the diminishing need for VHS services, there are currently few providers of video conversion services. Those who provide such services locally will probably use a typical home VCR and a low-cost analog to digital converter device. National service centers are able to provide video transfer services at lower prices because they have low-paid employees handling the repetitive menial tasks involved in digital conversion. A higher paid employee might handle equipment repair, tape repair, and video editing. In this way, the overall cost of bulk duplication and digitization can be lower.

An example of a national video service center would be ScanCafe. Their website offers a video conversion calculator to determine the cost of the service. [View Pricing

A set of 5 VHS tapes transferred to a DVD set of 5 DVDs would be about $170 with ScanCafe. As of 2019, ScanCafe has been based in Indianapolis, IN. The same conversion services from a local video center might cost about $300. The main decision factor would be how concerned you are about shipping an irreplaceable tape off in the mail.

Equipment Purchase Considerations

If you are doing your own conversions, or converting for others, you may periodically need to replace the deck as components wear out. It’s also good to have two or three VCR decks to accommodate VHS tapes that may have been recorded using slightly different alignment. Automatic calibration helps to correct for recording alignment issues, but sometimes a different deck will produce better results. On Amazon, VCR decks can cost $300 to $900 depending on the model. The prices are generally inflated.

A better source for old VCR systems would be eBay. When looking on eBay, it’s good to search for top name brands such as JVC, Panasonic, RCA, and Sony. Also, by narrowing your search to “Buy Now” you can avoid hassling with the uncertainty and delays of auction purchases. For your convenience, a search link is available here. [View eBay Search Results]

When buying on eBay make sure to check the seller ratings and general reputation. Some decks are sold on eBay that have defects. Consider having an extra VHS tape you can test decks with prior to putting a vintage tape in.

Document History

  • 5 May 2023 at 13:54 — This page was updated to reflect a change in fees. In the past there was a slight discount on the second tape. However, with the scarcity of VCR decks and high cost of replacement, the ongoing wear on equipment needs to be balanced with a flat per-tape billing. The section at the bottom of the page under the heading “Equipment Purchase Considerations” explains some of the challenges and costs associated with maintaining working equipment.
  • 15 Oct 2021 at 9:07 PM — This page was originally created and posted as a reference for those requesting digital video conversion.