Photo, video and audio backup

Backing up and storing your VHS videos, DVDs, audio cassettes and CDs is easier than you might think.

woman with VHS cassette ready to backup video woman with VHS cassette ready to backup video

Backup and storage – your options

You can either pay a company to digitise and transfer your content, or take the DIY approach – leaving you free to recycle that old VHS recorder, cassette deck or CD/DVD player. 

digitising VHS is one option for backing up videos

Pay to ditigise your video, photos and music

For photos and videos check out familiar brands such as Snappy Snaps or Jessops or online services such as EachMoment. Alternatively, visit your local independent photographic shop.

For audio, there are some specialists such as Tape-to-Digital.

And companies like Digital Converters will transfer most types of content to almost any format you can think of.

DIY backup and storage options

A video tape is being inserted into a VHS player with the text 'Our wedding' on the video label.

Backing up VHS tapes

What you need: A video capture card and cables to connect your PC or Mac to a VHS player – you can buy the capture card and cables as a kit. You’ll also need storage space on your computer and/or an external hard drive. Plus a bit of time and patience.

What you do: In a nutshell, you play the video in real time while it’s connected to your computer. Check out this guide.

Backing up cassettes

What you need: Either a USB cassette converter (about £20 when we checked); or a tape deck that will connect to a hard drive, and a USB audio capture device (allows you to transfer the audio to the hard drive).

What you do: In a nutshell, you run audio tape in real time while it’s connected to your digital storage device. Watch this to digitise your cassettes on a Windows PC or this for a Mac.

You can also improve the sound of your recordings by, for example, removing hiss.

audio cassette
woman loading CD/DVD into player

Backing up DVDs and CDs

DVDs and CDs can degrade (something known as bit rot). So you may want to back up films, music, photos and other data that you currently have on disks.

You can save them to
– your computer
– an external hard drive
– the cloud (online storage)
– new DVDs or CDs.

Whichever you choose, you’ll need a disk player and some software (free online or pre-installed on your computer). Watch this video guide. 

Ready to recycle your VHS recorder, cassette deck or CD/DVD player?

It’s as easy as ABC

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Could you refurbish your tape deck or VHS player, or pass it on to someone who’s holding on to their old tapes? If it’s beyond use, go to B.

illustration of bag to collect old electrcials for recycling


Find a spare bag or box to store your old electricals – and pop them in. This is a great habit that will make your trips to your local recycling point that much easier.

Graphic of a laptop with recycling locator icon


Find your nearest recycling point by entering your postcode into our recycling locator.

HypnoCat says

Press paws

Humans! Is your head spinning from worrying about where to recycle your old cassette player or VHS recorder?

Just drop your postcode into the recycling locator. Then relax and rewind.