How Can I Watch VHS Tapes Without a VCR?
How Can I Watch VHS Tapes Without a VCR?
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How Can I Watch VHS Tapes Without a VCR?

By Dillon Wallace

You’ve just found an old, battered cardboard box with “Home Movies” sprawled across the side.


You ask your dad about it, and in typical dad fashion, he’s oblivious to its entire existence. So, you pull it out yourself and dive in to find a treasure trove of all your family’s old VHS tapes. Each one is meticulously labeled (thanks, Mom) –– everything from your 7th grade battle of the bands performance to your sister’s ballet recital to the whole family vacation at the Grand Canyon and more. It’s hours and hours of memories.


But as you dig through the box, you don’t spot a VCR among the VHS tape collection! And thanks to showing your parents the beauty of Netflix a few years ago, they no longer have the old clunky VCR anymore.


So, what are you to do? How can you relive these VHS tapes full of memories without a VCR?


How can I play my old vhs tapes?

These days we have Netflix and video on demand, but back in the 90s, we had to watch VHS tapes. Watching them was a huge process. Endless rewinding and fast-forwarding ruined any movie nights you thought you were going to have.


These days, VHS tapes are rare, but the means with which to watch them are even rarer. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I saw a VCR. That makes watching VHS tapes basically impossible.


With that being said, here are 4 ways to watch your old VHS tapes without a VCR.


1. Find a VHS Player

That’s right, start trolling your local flea markets and yard sales. Ask Best Buy employees if they have any working VCRs in the stock room in the back. Scour eBay and Amazon.You may be able to find a DVD player/VCR combo since those are a little newer. Do what you have to find a VCR player, then you’ll need RCA cables to connect it to your TV. If your TV doesn’t have RCA video input, you’ll have to get an adapter for use.


2. Find an Old TV with Built in VCR

While you’re out at those flea markets look for old tv’s with a VCR built in. They may be 30 years old at this point but it’s worth looking for one if you want to watch old, cherished family memories. I’m sure those people at the flea markets can’t wait to get rid of it. 


3. Use a HDMI Converter Box

An HDMI converter box connects to your VCR and TV for VHS video playback. This analog to digital converter allows videotapes to be played on digital video devices. This means you can play your cassette tapes on your TV or computer.


4. Get your VHS tapes digitized

The best way to watch VHS tapes without a VCR is to get them converted to digital. There are a couple of different ways that you can get your VHS tapes digitized


The first way that you can get your tapes digitized is to record them again in real time. This involves taking a camcorder or other recording device and simply recording those home memories. This will not be the fastest, or result in the most high-quality video files, but it can get the job done. 


Another way to convert VHS tapes is to use a video capture device on your computer. In order to do this you will need to purchase expensive equipment as well as possibly video converter or editing software. If you want to learn more about the DIY conversion process, check out this guide on digitizing tapes


These professional services will do the heavy lifting and send you a flash drive with all of your precious home videos as digital files. This will allow you to watch your videos on your computer and save backups to your hard drive for easy access.


woman with legacy box products

Digitize with Legacybox

In three easy steps, Legacybox can help you relive your glory days while preserving the past. Just take that trove of old VHS tapes and pack them in one of our pre-paid, self-mailer boxes (depending on how many tapes you’re sending in) and ship it off. Besides VHS tapes, we also digitize other types of tapes including VHS-C, MiniDV, Beta tapes, and more. 


From there, our team of professional digitizers will get to work converting your old VHS tapes into digital copies, while providing personalized updates along the process.


Then, in a couple weeks, you’ll receive all your old tapes back along with shiny new digital formats, including cloud downloads, thumb drives or DVDs.

Instead of tackling the digital conversion process yourself, let us take care of everything for you. Take advantage of our $9 per tape offer today, and we'll help you preserve those precious memories before they fade away.


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