VHS Tape Won’t Play – BOSTON

What to do when the VCR player refuses to play the old VHS tape you just put in?

Especially when you remember what is on the VHS tape – precious home movies of your family, summers spent at the beach, memories from Thanksgiving and Christmas.

What are the reasons your VHS tape refuse to play?

Here are three possible reasons your home video tape will not play.

1. The VCR machine is jammed – If the equipment is old and you have not routinely maintained it, there’s a good likelihood  the VCR player is not working well anymore. A good way to verify this is to use another video tape. If the second video tape also does not play,  it is likely that the equipment is the issue.

2. The VHS tape ribbon has detached. VHS tapes are fragile, and after decades of years of usage and exposure to the environment,  when you rewind the tape, the force of the rewinding coming to an end can caused the tape to snap off. This can be checked by simply flipping open the flap on the side of  the tape housing and checking that the tape ribbon is still connected to the housing.  If not, take it to a video transfer lab, it can be easily reconnected.

3. The spinning mechanism within the VHS tape housing is broken. The tape reels cannot spin smoothly with this problem. Do not attempt to spin the sprockets it by force.  Save the tape, not the housing.  Take it in to a video transfer lab and transfer the tape to a new housing so it can be digitized into DVD or other digital formats.

A word of caution: if you detect grainy white specks on your old home video tape, that is most likely mold. Do not put tapes with  mold in your equipment because the mold will be transferred into the equipment and contaminate the fragile mechanical parts of the equipment.  Now you’ll have a bad tape and a bad equipment.  The best way to resolve this is to get your VHS tape cleaned and restored by a professional.

VHS tapes have a shelf life. Question, why are you still hanging on to this decade-old media anyway?  It’s time you transfer them to a digital format that will not jam, mold, deteriorate and will last you a lifetime.

Even if your vhs tape plays, you might notice that the quality has deteriorated, the sound has started to crackle. Over long periods of time, magnetic media – which is what VHS tapes are made of – will degrade, even under the best storage condition. The cost to transfer a VHS tape to a DVD is minimal, only about $25 depending on the video footage length on your tape. That is a worthwhile investment for the precious memories of families and love ones that cannot be brought back.

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Other services offered by our lab:


BOSTON Film Transfer

BOSTON Slide Scanning

BOSTON Photo Scanning

BOSTON Audio to digital Transfer