Updated June 2020
You may have been playing back your 8mm cassettes, whether Video 8, Hi-8 or Digital8 via your camcorder.
Then the worst happened. Your camcorder no longer works. You don’t want to buy another camcorder to playback your 8mm cassettes. You don’t intend to shoot video with an 8mm camcorder.
You wonder if there’s an 8mm cassette adapter that you could pop your tape into and play it back through different equipment, preferably through a VHS player.
The bad news is there’s no Video8, Digital8 or Hi-8 tape converter in the form of an 8mm cassette adapter
Yes, there’s no 8mm VHS adapter that you could use your 8mm video cassette with for playback like a VHS-C cassette adapter.
Watch the short segment in the video that explains why.
As you can note from the video the 8mm cassette size and tape width makes it impossible for an 8mm tape to fit into the VHS-C tape adapter.
Why You Can’t Play an 8mm Tape in a VHS VCR : Sony’s Explanation
Sony in their FAQ section answers this question explaining that the 8mm and VHS formats are totally different.
Video information is stored in an 8mm tape in a different manner than that in a VHS tape.
That’s the reason why an 8mm to VHS adapter isn’t possible.
The only VHS-type adapter is the S-VHS to VHS adapter for S-VHS tapes to be played back on a VHS VCR.
Sony never manufactured S-VHS tapes.
8mm Player Solution
The only way you could playback your 8mm video cassette without an 8mm camcorder is through an 8mm player.
8mm camcorders and 8mm players are no longer in production. Also, manufacturers like Sony no longer produce parts for them. There are still functioning 8mm video cassette players out there for sale, though. You could find them through eBay or Amazon.
Check out Best 8mm Camcorders Still Available for Sale.
Buy an 8mm Video Player
If your budget allows, get an 8mm video player or an 8mm VCR deck which would provide you the ease of operation.
Apart from using it to convert 8mm tapes to digital or DVD or even MP4, you can just pop in your 8mm tapes into the 8mm player and relive almost-forgotten old times.
8mm to VHS Adapter Alternative : Goldstar GVR-DD1 8mm Player / VHS Recorder VCR Combo
Constant playing back, rewinding, and fast-forwarding of 8mm tapes will result in faster wear and tear. You may want to preserve your 8mm tapes by transferring them to a much more accessible format – VHS.
The Goldstar GVR-DD1 8mm Player / VHS Recorder VCR Combo allows you to pop in your 8mm tape on one side and copy it to a VHS tape on the other side. It supports the playback of Video8 and Hi-8 tapes.
This dual deck 8mm-VHS VCR consists of an 8mm player deck and a 5-head VHS VCR with a flying erase head, When it was first released in 1994, it had a recommended retail price of $900.
Though the 8mm player supports Hi-8, video quality is only that of Video8.
Since it’s an analog to analog copy, you would suffer generation loss. But that’s a small price to pay for transferring to a format you can easily play. The thing is VHS VCRs are much cheaper to replace compared to 8mm players.
This is the closest you can get to having an 8mm cassette adapter to playback your camcorder tapes.
Check out the video below to get an idea of how the 8mm to VHS device works. The 8mm video compartment seems not to work in the video. However, you can always find a functioning unit if you look hard enough.
Use an 8mm Tape to Digital Service
If you have only an 8mm tape or two to watch, then you may want to seek an 8mm digital conversion service in your neighborhood for that purpose.
Convert 8mm Camcorder Tapes to DVD or MP4
If you have dozens of 8mm video cassettes and feel using a 8mm to DVD service would not be economical and you don’t mind purchasing an 8mm tape deck, you could tranfer the content of your 8mm video cassette to a computer.
You can digitize your 8mm video cassette to DVD or MP4 instead of looking for a way to play your 8mm tapes directly to your TV.
If you have the time and the spirit to learn a new skill, you could convert 8mm camcorder tapes to DVD or digital (MP4) yourself with this quick guide.
For this you would still need an 8mm playback device. The best recommendation would be a Digital8 camcorder instead of an 8mm video player. It would be the best option as when it comes to an 8mm video cassette converter.
Read more on the process of converting 8mm analog video to DVD or a digital video file.