You pop your old VHS tape into the VCR player and it won’t play.
You panic because you know what’s on it – precious home movies of your kids, birthday parties, summers at the beach, thanksgiving memories of uncles, aunts, grandparents who may have passed on.
But why won’t your VHS tape play?
Here are the possible reasons:
1. The VCR player is jammed – the equipment is quite old and if you have not maintained it regularly, there’s a good chance the VCR player is not working well anymore. To test this, use another VHS tape. If the second tape won’t play as well, chances are the equipment is the problem.
2. The VHS tape ribbon has detached. VHS tapes are fragile and after years of being played and exposure to the environment, the tape sometimes snaps off from the housing when it’s rewound. You can check this easily by flipping open the side of the tape housing.
3. The VHS tape housing spinning mechanism is broken. This prevents the tape reels from spinning smoothly. Do not force it to spin, bring it in to be repaired so the tape ribbon is preserved.
A word of caution: if you see white specks on your VHS tape, that’s mold. Don’t put it in the equipment because the mold will fly off into the equipment and gunk up the fragile mechanical parts of the equipment. You’ll need to get your VHS tape cleaned and restored, a very expensive process.
VHS tapes have a shelf life. The best time to transfer your VHS tapes to DVD or other digital formats is: Yesterday. A DVD does not deteriorate, does not jam, does not grow moldy.
Even if your vhs tape plays, you will notice that the quality has deteriorated, the sound has started to crackle. A VHS tape is made of magnetic media and even in the best storage condition, the earth’s magnetic forces will affect the magnetic particles on the tape. The cost to transfer a VHS tape to a DVD is minimal, only about $25 depending on the length of your tape. That’s a very small price to pay to preserve the precious memories of families and love ones.
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