Digital Media Services

VHS Usage and Support

VHS Cassettes

Desktop Support Services is in the process of upgrading classroom technology, replacing VHS/DVD combo units with Blu-Ray players. These devices will also playback DVD media. This process is being phased in over an extended period to ease the transition from VHS to a more reliable digital format.

The VHS format has served us well but, over the past decade, has been replaced by DVD and digital media. The popularity of the later coupled with decreased demand has lead to the universal discontinuation of VHS media and VHS player manufacturing. While VHS players and recorders will remain on the market, the current supply is projected to be exhausted soon*.  The implications are stark. Parts and replacement equipment for VHS machines will be harder to acquire. Quality blank VHS media will become less available and soon be exhausted.

Given these facts, we recommend the following:

1. Purchase classroom media only on DVD, Blu-Ray, or digital media (such as CDs, digital downloads or digital video repositories).

2. Assess your current VHS collection. Determine what items are critical (i.e. irreplaceable).

3. Seek out the current DVD version of your critical VHS titles (especially feature films, documentaries and learning series).

Steps for Conversion from VHS to DVD

Obtain permission from the publisher to convert the VHS title to DVD. Normally, if a VHS title is available on DVD the publisher may ask that you purchase the DVD.

Faculty should also consult with Multimedia Services in Gannett Library (third floor, library center). This office can assist you with obtaining permission from the publisher and or to obtain the title on DVD.  The library has created a form http://www.ithacalibrary.com/forms/formatMigration.php  accessible from the Library Film page so faculty can let us know which VHS tapes they are still using. From there, they will either purchase a DVD replacement or inquire about rights to dub.  Feel free to use this form as appropriate.

Once permission is obtained, Digital Media Services can assist you with conversion. It is important to understand that the conversion process may decrease the quality of the video to some degree depending upon the quality of the original VHS tape. Converting VHS to DVD is a lengthy process. For example, if a VHS tape is two hours in length it will take us two hours to make the conversion. Please be aware that, during the semester, it make take a significant amount of time to convert your media so please plan accordingly by prioritizing the titles you need converted based on when you use them in your course.  

There is a nominal charge per DVD conversion of $2.00 per disc. If you would like the disc labeled, please indicate the title on each disc.

Also, please be aware that most students have conveyed to us that they expect relevant and updated materials in a modern classroom. The use of old outdated video (other than historical reference, etc.) can be seen as distracting and counter productive to your teaching efforts.  Many times outdated clothing, music, or hairstyles distract from with the principles discussed in the video.  Something to keep in mind.