How long will my VHS video tape last?

Posted on October 31, 2016 in Blog

How long will my VHS video tape last?

How long will my VHS video tape last?

That’s really the $99 question.

Short answer — no one really knows.

The longer answer — no on really knows, BUT chances are, your tape’s days are limited.

The VHS (Video Home System) tape was developed by JVC in the early 70’s and introduced in Japan in September of 1976. It made its way to the United States in 1977 to wage an epic battle with Sony’s Betamax format.

VHS won handily and started the home movie craze of the 80’s and 90’s. Blockbuster, the original NetFlix, rented and sold millions upon millions of VHS tapes of the latest (and not so latest) movies.

VHS was also the first viable consumer video format that had a portable video camera. Soon, parents across the country were seen lugging around VHS camcorders to every ballgame, dance recital and wedding possible. That created mountains upon mountains of footage stuck away in closets, attics and under beds.

Flash forward to today. It’s all but impossible to find a workable VHS player. The last one rolled off an assembly line in July 2016.

Loading a vhs tape

So what do you do with those tapes now? And are they even watchable?

VHS tape is essentially scotch tape with metal particles scattered on it in a breakable plastic case with a funky hinged door.

We have seen tapes recorded back in the early 80’s play back fine and make a great DVD transfer. We’ve seen tapes from the mid-2000’s sitting in humid conditions encased in mold, needing to be opened up, cleaned and manually rewound to make them playable. So there is no easy answer that can be applied to all tapes.

A few pointers:

VHS tapes should be stored in a dark, dry, cool environment. Humidity can cause the adhesive layer to break down and gum the wound tape together.

Keep your VHS tapes away form anything with a strong magnetic field — like a speaker or vacuum cleaner or the huge CRT console TV you bought from Comp USA in 1999.

If the images on the tapes are special to you, transfer it to another form of media ASAP.

There are a couple of ways to do that.

You could buy a VHS VCR from eBay, a capture card for your computer and do it yourself.

Or you could send the tape to VideoMagic 1 to have it transferred to DVD or a digital MP4 file.

We take your tapes, clean and repair them if necessary (additional charges apply), transfer them to DVD or capture to an MP4, print a color label on the DVD disc, package it in a sleeve and ship it back to you. We can put MP4 files on USB flash drives or larger USB portable hard drives.

We do ALL transfer work in our studio in Starkville, Miss. Your video tapes never leave our facility until they are ready to be shipped back to you.

We have transferred tens of thousand VHS tapes for everyday people who want to see their valuable memories again.

Bulk discounts on transfers are available.

Call or email VideoMagic 1 at (662) 320-9344 or email us at sales AT to learn how you can relive your memories again.