6 Best Formats to Convert VHS to Digital
6 Best Formats to Convert VHS to Digital
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6 Best Formats to Convert VHS to Digital

By Shelby Burr

You’re doing it! You’re taking the step to convert your precious home movies stuck on clunky VHS tapes to digital. What a sigh of relief. Those memories are precious, sacred, one-of-a-kind and can fade away if they aren’t taken care of properly. But not your memories! You’re the hero saving those family moments so you can rewatch them again and again for years to come. Well done. 

Now that you’ve taken the first step in digitizing your home movies, we need to discuss what digital format is best for you!

There are many digital formats available for you to use but you want to stick to common video formats you know are going to be around a long time. In this article, we put together a list of 4 well known video formats you should consider when converting your VHS home movies to a digital format. Let’s dive in.

Top 6 Common Video File Formats for Digitizing Old Home Movies

These are the most common formats used for digital videos.

1.MP4 (MPEG-4)

MP4 is the most popular video file format. We use it the most here at Legacybox! Some history, Apple created MP4 to use as an audio file and/or video file, or just solely audio. However, because of its low video compression formatting, the quality is greatly reduced when compared to other video file formats. 

A big reason why the MP4 has become so popular is because of its seemingly universal compatibility with Apple products, YouTube, social media platforms and any other streaming device or app. If you’re looking for the most amount of storage with minimal loss in video quality for your home movies then the MPEG-4 file format is likely the best choice. 

2. .MOV

QuickTime (QT) movie format was originally created by Apple but has since released a version that’s compatible with the Windows ecosystem. The .MOV file format has a higher image resolution quality than MP4 making the file sizes larger when sharing files via Email or other apps. MOV was designed specifically for the Apple QuickTime Player on Mac computers; however, the files are still compatible with Windows devices because it still uses MP4 encoding. This video format is also supported by the major social media channels if your desire is to share these videos online. Remember, due to the lack of compression with this format you will end up using a large amount of storage space but have higher quality videos. 

3. WMV

The Windows Media Viewer (WMV) file format is similar to Apple’s MOV in that it limits compression resulting in a higher quality video with a large file size. Developed specifically for the Windows Media Player but it can still be used on Apple products as long as the apple product downloads Windows Media Viewer. Video sharing platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, etc support WMV. 

4. AVI

AVI is a high quality video file format and one of the oldest developed at Microsoft. It can run on various web browsers and operating systems like Apple, Microsoft and Linux. Of course, the high quality of the format also entails a large file size, making .AVI ideal for video files stored on computers or hard drives.

5. MPEG-2

If the goal for preserving your home movies is to convert them to a DVD then they’ll likely be stored as an MPEG-2 on a DVD. MPEG-2 allows for the highest quality videos because it’s encoding prevents shrinking file sizes. That’s why this file format is reserved for DVD’s and it’s what we use here at Legacybox. 

6. FLV

FLV was designed by Adobe using the Adobe Flash player. It was a common web browser plugin for streaming and game sites. But ever since iOS devices stopped supporting Flash, the video file format has lost significant popularity. If you and your loved ones all use Android, then FLV is still a useful format. Even when compressed, the .FLV video file format quality remains sharp and vivid. However, you’re better off using a more universal format like MPEG-4 or MOV.

The Best Way to Save Time

So, we’ve gone over the 6 best digital formats for your memories. 

Do you have family members that would rather have a DVD, but you want your memories on a thumb drive? Pick both! You’ve learned which video formats are best for each.  

Here at Legacybox, you’re the hero. You’re the one saving your memories, we just want to help cater that experience so that your home can be filled with those special moments again. We offer a VHS to digital conversion service for only $9 per tape to save you time and headaches, that way you can simply enjoy your family memories and share them with your relatives!

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