Recently I’m really into archiving. Be it old movies, shows, books, or music, I have a server set up in my house and I’m fiendishly addicted to deploying open source services on it to serve the weird (out of license) content I find.

Since I like to lean into hobbies if they come up, I’ve started picking up any weird VHS tapes I find while out and about, or traveling, with the intention of digitizing them, because they’re not available online.

Digitizing VHSs is a whole ass thing and a remarkably expensive hobby to get into. I hired a friend to do some research into it, and we determined probably for now the best thing is to just outsource it to someone here that really knows what they’re doing.

Below is the verbatim research.

Info on Digitizing VHS Vhs are analogue tapes. S-video is an analog signal. Digital noise is different from analog noise. Analog noise (in theory) has unlimited resolution. Analog noise is inherently different from digital noise.

Capture analog medium in high def can avoid pixelation problem. In theory you won’t get better lines or definition, but you will get cleaner signal when you blow the resolution up (like in a high-def TV or Youtube video).

Uncompressed 1080 is recommended. Black magic mini converter UpDownCross HD.

DV recorders/converters record in 4:1:1 aspect ratio, which takes away 50% of color information. Will make washed-out colors.

Don’t get DV converter, get TBC. DV converter is easier

TBC recommended: FS1 Asia (~300 usd), BrightEye 5 Ensemble Designs Analog Composite TBC/Frame Sync (~1500usd),

“Professional decks” like the 7750 Panasonic AG aren’t necessarily better. They are meant for professional recorded VHS, not amature vhs like home records. They also need to be professionally maintained.

Home recorded VHS typically need a lined TBC

What Are The Best TBCs For Digitizing VHS?

The way in which you digitize your tapes is going to depend on the tape format and the quality you wish to achieve.

If the tape is recorded pre-1999 it’s likely analog.

Digital tapes: Digital8 & miniDV

Hardware: camcorder + firewire card (this is basic set up)

Analog tapes: VHS, VHSC, Video8, & HI8.

playback device is the most important part of your capture chain.

Clean the heads. Clean your camcorder or VCR head before you start & after.

Use S-signal.This is higher quality connection than using RCA cable.

For VCRs:

Recommend JVC that has S-video output. Anything with line TBC is plus.

TBC (Time Base Correctors)

Can be quite expensive, probably isn’t worth it unless it’s important tape or bulk. VCR is more important as that’s where quality comes from.


There’s two main reason to get a prosumer/professional JVC S-VHS VCR: the TBC, and the image “picture mode” filters (Auto/Norm/Soft/Sharp), which drastically improve the quality of VHS tapes. Most of the 9000-series decks also have the Dynamic Drum, which can be very helpful for tracking. Though not important, the 7000 series has 2mb TBC memory, and while the 9000 series has 4mb.

Note that the “professional” SR decks are simply a continuation of the prosumer 7000 series. The “Professional” badge is just branding/marketing, and does not make these better units. Several of the SR series machines were part of professional-quality “combo” decks that mixed in DV player/recorder and hard drives.

  • JVC SR-S388E / SR-388EK
  • JVC HR-S7600EK
  • JVC HR-S7800EK
  • JVC HR-S7955EK
  • JVC HR-S7965EK
  • JVC HR-S8955EK
  • JVC HR-S8965EK
  • JVC HR-S9600EK/EU
  • JVC HR-S9700EK/EU - same as NTSC JVC HR-S9600U
  • JVC HR-S9850EK/EU - same as NTSC JVC HR-S9911U, final PAL prosumer model
  • JVC SR-V10E / SR-V10
  • Philips VR1000 - JVC rebadge
  • Philips VR1100 - JVC rebadge
  • Philips VR1500 - JVC rebadge
  • Philips VR1600 - JVC rebadge


環球攝錄影器材有限公司 Universal Photo Video rate is 400 ntd/1 vhs. Company worked with museums & NTU.





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