All analogue tape based formats will lose 'some' quality over time, but if they are rewound fully and stored in a dry place away from magnetic sources like speakers you should'nt notice a major drop in quality. I'd look out for 'snow' in the picture, audio dropping out or colours fading in the picture (this indicates the magnetic signal on the tape is getting weaker)
Of course this all depends on how many times you play them as tape sheds it magnetic coating every time its played. The only way to preserve a VHS is to capture and encode it to a digital format and archive it (i.e dvd or PC). The choices are now endless, you can even have Poldark on your video Ipod if you want!!!!
When a VHS tape has been captured it is possible to make it look better than the original by colour correcting and reducing the noise in the signal, it all depends on the quality of the original source. The cleaner the VHS tape is the easier it is for the encoding process to deal with, MPEG 2 (used on DVD) does not like alot of noise in the original source and creates it own artifacts when presented with it.
It is also possible to clean the audio up as well (more time consuming) but worth it especially with older material.
simon wrote:As long as the original VHS copies are in good condition
Though I havenít watched mine to bits Iíve had my full UK VHS video set for so long (since the 90ís I think) they must be getting pretty tired by now. Do they get brittle or fade or anything else to look out for first ?
I run a small VHS to DVD conversion service and was contacted today by a member of this forum. He suggested that you are having problems getting the 1990's UK (PAL) VHS versions of Poldark in the US and wanted to know whether it is possible to transfer them to US (NTSC) DVD format.
This is technically possible and not as complicated as it sounds. As long as the original VHS copies are in good condition it is possible to capture them to a PC editing programme, clean them up (noise reduction,colour correction), and encode them to DVD (US or UK format)
I'm assuming each episode is about 1 hour long and its possible to fit about 2 hours (2 episodes) to each DVD. Chapters and menus can be included to give a more professional feel.
With regards to DVD conversions, older DVD players pre-2000 sometimes have problems with compatibilty but it is rare.
My website is http://format-transfers.com(no trace)