The primary purpose of converting your VHS tapes to DVD is to preserve the video content so that it can be viewed in the future. VCRs are becoming a thing of the past and your video tapes have been deteriorating from the moment the video was first recorded.
No more degradation, image quality will always remain the same
No more rewinding and fast-forwarding to find the right scene
Interactive DVD menu with chapter points
What conversion to DVD can and cannot do
Some people think that when their old VHS video material is converted to DVD format, the image quality will significantly improve and it will be like watching a modern DVD movie. This is not the case.
While it is true that the conversion process that companies use for conversion of VHS material employs high quality equipment which will retrieve the best possible picture from the tape, and can in some circumstances correct adverse picture effects, the process is limited by the quality of the source video tape.
Before submitting tapes for conversion to DVD, you would be recommended to play the tapes in your own VCR to remind yourself of what VHS quality looks like.
Conversion to DVD will preserve your memories by transferring the video images to the modern DVD format. This will enable you to watch the videos for years to come in your DVD player, even if VCRs become a thing of the past. However, it should be noted that converters can only do so much to improve the image quality during the transfer to DVD.
The deterioration of your video tapes is a result of a number of processes; mechanical, chemical and magnetic.
Every time a video tape is played, the physical tape inside the casing is pulled from the cassette, wound around the heads in the VCR and pulled from one reel to the other. This can result in stretching of the tape. A stretched tape can result in distorted images.
Also when the tape passes over the heads in a video player dirt and grime can be picked up by the tape. This can make the tape difficult to read and can lead to problems displaying a picture.
The tape inside a cassette is basically a plastic ribbon coated with a magnetizable material. The exact magnetic compounds involved vary depending on the manufacturer, age and quality of the original product. For best preservation of the recording, the manufacturer will have recommended storing the tape in a cool, dry environment. Over time, moisture and heat cause damage to the chemical make-up of the tape, affecting the magnetic materials. In reality what this can result in is tiny, or not so tiny, flakes of the magetic material becoming detached from the plastic ribbon. Any loss or damage to this material will result in degration or even complete loss of picture when those sections of the tape are read.
The process of recording to tape involves using magnets to create a magnetic representation of sound and picture on the tape. The magnetic material on the tape is sensitive to magnetic fields. These can be generated by electrical equipment and if the video tape is placed close enough to these magnetic fields, the magnetic representation of your recording will be affected. The worst case scenario of this effect is that the tape can be erased, although this would require a very strong magnet.
Over a period of 5, 10, 15, 20 years your video tapes will have been subjected to some or all of the above deterioration processes. Depending on how and where the cassettes were stored will affect the quality of picture that remains today.