How to playback hi8 tapes

Written by nathan mcginty
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How to playback hi8 tapes
You can playback your Hi8 tapes on a TV. (8mm image by Randy McKown from

Sony introduced the Hi8 tape format to the world in the late 1980s. This was Sony's answer to the Super Video Home System format that was beginning to gain popularity. Consumers loved Hi8 because of its small size and portability. Hi8 tapes gained a further lease on life when Sony introduced the Digital8 format, which can read Hi8 tapes as well. You can playback your Hi8 tapes for watching on TV, as long as you have a Hi8 camcorder to use as your play deck.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Hi8 camcorder
  • RCA cables
  • TV with RCA inputs

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  1. 1

    Set the Hi8 camera up next to your TV, VCR or media centre. Plug the camera into an AC socket.

  2. 2

    Connect an RCA cable to the outputs on the Hi8 camera. Your Hi8 camera will have two to three outputs, depending on the model. These outputs look like the standard RCA jacks you might find on a home TV or stereo. They may be hidden behind an access panel or cover, which needs to be removed before you can proceed. All Hi8 cameras will have two of these jacks: a yellow one for video, and a white one for audio. Some cameras will have an additional red jack for another channel (stereo) of audio. The end plugs on the RCA cable is similiarly colour coded.

  3. 3

    Connect the other end to your TV. On the back of the TV, you should see an "Aux Input" or "Video Input" label on a series of jacks similar to the ones on the Hi8 camera. Plug the other end of the RCA cables into these jacks, ensuring to match up the colour coded plugs to the appropriate jack.

  4. 4

    Insert the Hi8 tape that you want to playback into the Hi8 camera. Rewind the tape.

  5. 5

    Change the video signal on the TV where the Hi8 camera is connected to the "Aux" channel. For example, if you have the Hi8 camera hooked up to your TV, use the TV remote until you reach the "Aux" channel.

  6. 6

    Press "Play" on the Hi8 camera.

  7. 7

    Watch the playback of your Hi8 tape on your attached device.

Tips and warnings

  • With an analogue video capture card or breakout box installed on your computer, you can capture Hi8 tapes to your computer for editing, watching online and burning to DVD.
  • It's also possible to watch Hi8 tapes through your VCR by connecting the Hi8 camera in the same fashion to the "Video In" jacks on the VCR.

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