The production of Hi-8 camcorders have long since ceased.
You may want to watch your old Hi-8 tapes to enjoy a nostalgic feeling, or you may simply want to convert your old Hi-8 tapes to DVD or a digital format to play their content in modern digital devices like HDTV, computer, smartphone, tablets or TV boxes.
So, what option do you have if you want to play Hi-8 tapes without a camcorder.
It looks like you have only one option.
The Hi-8 Video Cassette Recorder (VCR) Option
It’s to get a Hi-8 player or what is called a Hi-8 video cassetter recorder.
As you may be well aware, 8mm camcorders are no longer in production. The 8mm video revolution is over especially in these days of smartphone video.
But then you could still find used Hi-8 playback devices.
Here are two that would enable you to play Hi-8 tapes without a camcorder.
This is a Hi8 Video8 8mm Video 8 Player Recorder VCR Deck
Not only can you play back your Hi-8 tape put you can also record video on blank Hi-8 tape (least likely use).
The Hi-8 player comes with a S-Video out and comsposite stereo outputs and it has three line outs.
This means if you send out line out to a video capture device, you can use the any of the other two to a TV and watch the Hi-8 footage while the capture process is being done.
Also, worth mentioning is this Hi-8 VCR also plays back Video8 tapes if you have a collection of those.
Expect to fork out around USD400 if you are keen on this model which is available over eBay and Amazon.
This Hi-8 Video Cassette Recorder is available over eBay and would set you back by at least close to USD 400 including shipping.
Like the EV-S2000 it has S-Video outputs and also composite outputs with stereo audio.
This NTSC Hi-8 Video Cassette Player Recorder is a cheaper option compared to the above two models.
Available over eBay it would cost you slightly above USD300 including shipping.
This compact model measuring only 5.8 inches wide and weighing around 600 grams, is handy if you’ do your work on the go.
Among the features included with this model include video noise reduction, wireless connection via LaserLink.
Playback speed is SP and LP.
This Hi-8/Video8 8mm Video 8 Cassette Recorder will cost you around USD200.
It is available over eBay.
It comes with with S-Video and composite video outs like the other models.
This is another Hi-8 player model you can check out. It comes with S-Video out and also composite output ports.
What’s the Best Option to Play Hi-8 Tapes Without a Camcorder
As you can see from the above, the only way to play Hi-8 tapes without a camcorder is through a Hi-8 video cassette recorder.
These are convenient devices where you just pop your Hi-8 tapes in and use the video output ports to connect to your TV or video capture device and import footage into your computer for editing and conversion to a digital video format.
The downside is, however, the price. Prices are steep . If you can afford it you can go with the Hi-8 VCRs.
If you’re on a leaner budget, you can always get a used Hi-8 camcorder over eBay or Amazon.
If you’re ready to buy a Hi-8 VCR, then why not a Hi-8 camcorder?
Hi-8 to Digital Video Conversion Service
If you have only a Hi-8 tape or two, you can head to your neighbourhood analog to digital video conversion service.
That would be the best option to play Hi-8 tapes without a camcorder. Once you get your Hi-8 tape content in a digital format, you’ll have no use for a Hi-8 camcorder.
That would be much cheaper than buying an expensive used Hi-8 VCR.