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elbanditoroso's avatar

What to do with a shelfful of VHS tapes?

Asked by elbanditoroso (14558 points ) March 2nd, 2014

I was looking at my bookshelf today and realized I have 35 VHS videotapes that I haven’t looked at in six years. I think that my VCR still works – at least it turns on – but I haven’t played any of these tapes for ages.

The tapes are all store-bought movies that I watched in the past. Other than dumping them in the trash, is there anything I can do with these? Is there any market for them?

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25 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

You could offer them on Freecycle.org . Someone will take them and put them to use.

If you like science experiments, you can take one and burn the just the tape. That will leave a magnetic residue that will be attracted to a magnet. You can sprinkle it on paper and see magnetic lines of flux, or draw pictures, or observe how wires emit magnetic fields.
Keep it away from your computer!!! Got it?!?!

johnpowell's avatar

You could always get a USB capture device and save the videos on your computer if you have any interest in preserving them.

If not just drop them at GoodWill. I buy old VHS tapes from GoodWill and convert them to digital all the time and upload them to piratebay. Dorks like me are why you can find movies from 50 years ago.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@johnpowell – I should just put them in a carton and ship to you…

LuckyGuy's avatar

Hey @johnpowell I’d send you some too. My treat. No questions asked.

ragingloli's avatar

Send them to Redlettermedia.
With luck, they will review them on Best of the Worst.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I’d just toss them. I doubt you could get any money out of them.

I haven’t seen a VHS tape in years.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Call your public library and ask them if they want them.

If they decline, send them to @johnpowell

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I just gave my old 42” lcd that I’ve had for years to my sister. She asked if we could hook up a VCR and I admit I had to think for a second. She has shelves of VHS tapes because they are practically free. She’s not poor she does quite well, it just seems to be intellectual quality she appreciates and not visual quality or gagetry. That makes like two people I know who still use VHS. I’d just find someone like that and hand them over.

ibstubro's avatar

Market for them??

You have a player and the media for 70+ hours of proven entertainment! Does it get any better?

*WATCH THE SOB’S!”

Haleth's avatar

I’m glad we’ve had a couple useful answers already. ‘Cause my first thought was, take them apart and use the ribbon for ribbon dancing.

pleiades's avatar

Brew some tea. Create a sign that reads, “FREE or 5$ for all” go outside, sit down at a table and watch sip your tea gleefully.

Symbeline's avatar

Er I denno, but if you have a copy of a movie called Maximum Overdrive, please PM me? I really want it and will pay good money for it. It has scenes in it that were deleted from the DVD versions. I don’t know if it is worth a lot to fans and horror cultists, but if you do have that movie in your collection, look online if there are decent prices going for it. You could perhaps make a quick 50 or even 100 bucks off of it. But if it isn’t worth anything, PM me, I’ll buy it. Serious.

Just saying. It’s probably not in your collection anyways.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

@Symbeline, really? What’s missing? I recorded the movie from tv. I watched the movie LOTS of years ago on vhs, but I can’t think of what’s different. I recorded it mostly because AC/DC did the soundtrack. Now that my daughter is old enough to get through it and be okay, we keep it to watch for halloween. I have movies or shorts specials for every holiday except Purim and Kwanza, that I know of.
I have tons of vhs which haven’t yet been converted to dvd. I know a few people who got so sick of high costs of cable, satellite, and upgrading they just stick to network tv and tapes. As I finish recording some off I give some to them, put some in my yard sales. They can be used for security tapes. Store boughts can too, if you just tape over the little hole. I have no special equipment for recording store boughts, but I decided on a low grade solution when I had some I wanted to copy. I used a vhs video recorder set to exactly film my tv screen. I played the movie, and recorded the movie as it appeared onscreen. I had to turn the volume way up, so when I did it, I set everything to go, then left the house until it was over. Big pain, and not worth it. I just kind of got a kick that I didn’t have to pay for the same movie twice. I’m funny like that.

AshlynM's avatar

You could transfer them onto Dvd. Or there are creative ways to use your old VHS tapes. These require tinkering and tools. You could make a pencil case or photo frame. I’m sure you could also convert them into a charging station for your electronic devices but that may require know how.

Stinley's avatar

I looked into this last year as we were chucking out loads of VHS tape at my work (library) as we had replaced them with the DVD versions. I thought about:
recycling them – nope
charity shop – nope, they don’t want them
art project – nothing on the internet that looked worth doing
art students – not interested

We threw them in the skip that went to landfill. Broke my heart.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Hey…you can buy a VHS to DVD converter. It’s only about $150.00. I have a couple of boxes of family tapes that I’m going to convert, along with some of the better movies that I still have on VHS.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Dutchess_III – I’ve read about those. My thought process is sort of like this, however—if I haven’t had the urgency to watch any of these in the last 6 years… is it wort the effort to convert them at all.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I too have read about those converters. I have many family VHS and Super VHS and would love to do it but I wonder about the quality.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@elbanditoroso In my case, as I said, they are videos of my kids when they were little so yeah. It’s definitely worth it. Buying the system is cheaper than taking them to a video production place to have them converted.

Also, in my box of tapes I have Tombstone. I’d convert that one. I’ve also been picking up VHS movies at garage sales for pennies to convert.

Well, just go check out the reviews @LuckyGuy.

LuckyGuy's avatar

It is spo hard to tell. I’ve read reviews and always find a bunch of 5 stars that seem bogus, and a few 1 stars that seem like complainers. I wish there were real engineering specs like: 55 micro read head, or 720 lines or something else that gives a fair, objective comparison.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Um, call Moler’s photography in Wichita. (316) 685–1114. I have found them to be THE most helpful people. It’s a small business but they know their stuff. I don’t know if they could help with a VHS question because they ARE a photography shop, but something tells me they could. They’re geeks.

KNOWITALL's avatar

You could make some really cool bookshelves, there’s a ton of ideas on pinterest.com.

Hubs and I keep ours and still have two old vcr’s, retro man, dig it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Bookshelves out of VHS tapes?

Symbeline's avatar

@Jonesn4burgers I recorded the movie from tv.

Yes. The TV version was also left uncensored. Although at this point, finding a person who still has a copy of the movie they taped off cable TV 20 some years ago is very slim. you actually have it?

There isn’t much that’s missing from the DVD versions, mainly they took out some gore from the deaths. Although it is entirely possible that stripped versions made their way on cable and some of the VHS versions. Well let’s find out…in the scene where the poor kid gets run over by the steam roller, do you see his head pop? And do you see the steamroller wander off, leaving a trail of blood behind it? In the censored version, they cut everything off right after the kid gets hit by the steamroller and disappears underneath.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yes, like superglue and making into a tree with branches or something, it’s pretty cool.

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