Family memories are priceless. Until you go to convert them to digital, then you’ll see how pricey they can actually be.
“The technology keeps evolving and it's left a lot of people with home videos they can’t even watch,” said Elias Arias of Consumer Reports.
Experts at Consumer Reports have some guidance on getting your old media out of the attic and onto your computer. Including how to do it yourself.
If you’ve got VHS tapes, you’ll need a VCR.
Sites like eBay and Craigslist may have low-priced options.
You also need to pick up something called an analog video capture device.
Look for one that comes with software. It has audio and video inputs on one end that you connect to the VCR and a USB on the other end, which plugs into your computer.
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It allows you to capture what’s on your old tapes and digitally transfer it to your computer.
“The biggest investment is probably time. It’s an analog process, and an hour of video is going to take an hour to transfer,” Arias said.
More work than you bargained for? You can also pay a service.
Several chains, including Costco, Walgreens and Walmart Photo, can transfer old photographs and videos in many formats and even film.
Besides the expense, the only other potential drawback is that you’ll be sending irreplaceable memories through a shipping service.
So, make sure your package is trackable.
Now, imagine that somewhere down the line, even today’s digital format may also become obsolete. Consumer Reports suggests saving your files in well-labeled, easy to find places places on your computer. And also consider backing them up to an external hard drive and to the cloud.