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22 Jul 2008 / Julie

VHS, DVD, and Beta, Oh my! Or what to do with old media

I have a dilemma. I have 26+ years of VHS tapes sitting in my apartment that are starting to show their age. Technically, VHS/magnetic tape only has a life expectancy of 10-20 years (12, if you ask my bf) and I’m waaaay overdue. Luckily, for most of those years, those tapes were kept next to my tv, which, growing up, was in a consistently 60 degree, humidity free basement in my parents house.

However, unlike my parents thermostat, mine is usually set much higher and my analog media is starting to deteriorate, if not completely die.

A few Christmases ago, I got a VHS to DVD converter and had started to convert some of the home videos (the more precious stuff that can’t be replaced) that were originally recorded onto VHS-C.

However, as I think about my space issues, my desire to have as little amount of “stuff” as possible, and my general desire to be techie and forward thinking, I start thinking that VHS to DVD conversions might not be the best route.

I imagine an external hard drive attached to or somehow hardwired to my television that can hold, play back, and perhaps even record all my digitized media. From there, I imagine empty shelves which can now be used in other ways (or gotten rid of completely). The trouble is, I don’t know how to make this work- or if it’s even possible for someone who’s not a professional and *not* willing to spend an arm and a leg.

Converting my audio cassette tapes and vinyl is a no brainer for me since (besides mostly buying digital-born music) Ii store most of my music on my HD anyway, burning things to cd as needed, or dumping into my ipod. Plus, the cassette player and record player i have both plug directly into my computer for easy conversion of “old media.”

This harddrive to tv thing also goes for, assuming i ever have expendable income again, those movies or tv shows i can buy digital-born- where am i going to keep them? I want to have set up where i can watch them on my real tv, instead of sitting in front of my computer- or hooking my comp to my tv each time i want to watch something.

I’m thinking easy (after set up, but if set up was easy too, rock on), streamlined, and protected. Yes, i have to worry about digital format lifespan too, but at least this will take up less room.

Anyone have any ideas?

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