How to Convert VHS Tapes to DVD

Updated April 11, 2017

Converting VHS tapes to digital video is easy. Technically speaking, the conversion is from analogue technology (VHS) to digital technology (DVD). The instructions here are for doing it yourself at home. You can also use a professional service if the cost is within your budget.

How much work you will have to do depends on the technology you use. There are some models of DVD/VHS players/recorders that you may still be able to buy or find used. If you can locate one, you will only need the one machine. If not, you will need both a VHS player and a DVD player/recorder. Not all DVD players also record, so make sure the model you use records as well as plays.

Set up your VHS player. Clean the tape head before you begin and in between each tape you convert.

Connect the VHS player to the DVD recorder. Consult the user's manual of the DVD recorder to ensure you have the connection set up correctly before inserting a tape (if you are using an older machine with both VHS and DVD, skip this step).

Insert the VHS tape you want to convert into the VHS player after you have cleaned the tape head.

Insert a blank DVD disk into the DVD recorder. Start with the DVD disk to guarantee you capture all the VHS tape from the beginning.

Press PLAY/RECORD or RECORD on the DVD recorder. Consult the user's manual regarding the process to ensure you are using the proper button for your particular model.

Watch the time. The conversion will occur in real time. When the VHS tape is completed, hit the stop button on the DVD recorder. Your VHS tape should now be converted to the DVD disk.


View the tapes that you want to digitise first. If the tapes have deteriorated, consult a professional service to perform your conversion. Use writable DVD disks.


This conversion will transfer the tape exactly as it is. If you want to re-edit your tapes, or add music or commentary, you will want to convert them using a computer, which requires a different skill set, software and much more time.

Things You'll Need

  • VHS tapes
  • VHS player
  • VHS cleaner
  • A DVD player/recorder
  • Cables to connect the VHS player to the DVD recorder
  • DVD disks
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