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Watch VHS Tapes on a Computer Screen : Can You Do It?

watch vhs on computer

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:31 am

Generally, you can’t watch VHS tapes on a computer screen.

watch VHS tapes on a computer screen

Yes, you can’t connect your VHS player directly to your computer.

A VHS player outputs AV signals through mainly through RCA ports. Some models come with S-Video ports. 

Computers can’t accept audio or video signals directly from AV equipment.

No Digital Video Ports

Computer monitors or CPU boxes don’t come with RCA/composite video or S-Video ports to support the reception of an AV signal from a VHS player.

They come with digital ports like USB and HDMI only for video input.

If a computer comes with DV or Firewire port, you can directly connect a Digital8 camcorder or a MiniDV camcorder.

You may also use a Digital8 tape player or a MiniDV tape player to capture lossless DV video.

VHS players don’t have USB or HDMI or Firewire (DV) ports.

That doesn’t mean you can’t play VHS on a computer screen. There are ways to do it as you’ll see below.

Capture VHS into a Computer

But then you can still watch the contents of a VHS tape on a computer.

You would have to digitize the VHS tape first. In other words, you would have to convert a VHS tape from analog video to digital video.

Why? Because Computers can only read and play digital video.

To do this you would need to connect your VHS player to a video capture device. Then you would have to connect the video capture device to your computer.

The video capture device would convert your video signal into a digital file and store it in the computer hard disk through video capture software.

Once converted, you can watch your VHS tapes on a computer.

You can do this through a software media player like VLC installed on your computer.

The video below will give you an overview of the process involved.

Convert VHS to DVD

You can also convert the VHS tape to DVD first to watch VHS tapes on a computer screen.

You can use a VHS tape to digital service to convert your VHS tapes to DVD.

Once you have your DVD, you can play it on your computer. For this, you would need a DVD-ROM drive or a DVD writer on your computer.

Modern-day computers and laptops don’t come with DVD drives. So, you would have to get an external DVD drive and connect it to your computer through a USB port.

DVD Recorder

 If you have a DVD recorder, you can connect your VHS player to your DVD recorder and copy the contents of your tape to a blank DVD.

watch VHS tapes on a computer screen. through a DVD recorder

You can then play the DVD on your computer provided it has a DVD drive. This is one way you get to watch VHS tapes on a computer screen.

VCR DVD Recorder Combo

You may also use a VCR DVD recorder combo to record your VHS tapes to DVD. If the unit comes with a HDMI out port, you can connect it to an HDMI computer monitor.


To refresh what you’ve learned about playing VHS tapes on a computer, view the video below.

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