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euro video format conversion

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Guest MegsMom

My daughter attended a summer intensive in Italy last year. We just received the video of the performance; it will not play on our VHS players. We've been told it must be in a european format and we need to have it converted....any thoughts, suggestions on where/how we have this done? The tape box says "VHS Hi Fi Stereo".

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I find that a lot of video rental businesses (smaller ones, not the Blockbuster types), will usually have a sign up saying they do conversions, it might cost 20-30 dollars. If you thought you would have a lot of these it would be worth investing in a multisystem converter vcr but if not, taking it to one of these is usually what I did before I had one.

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You may even be able to find a video hobbyist (they do exist) or, if you're friends with the local school district's media department, have them convert the tape onto a tape formatted for your player. It worked for me when we had to convert European history videos and tactical demonstration tapes into American.

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for the record what you likely got was a PAL vhs format tape and what you want is an NTSC format for your vhs player. so you're looking to convert a PAL format to NTSC format.

as others say here there are a number of places that might do this at fees like those Mme. Hermine notes.

if it makes you feel any better this confusion happened to most of us, as the cassettes look the same, so one assumes vhs is vhs. then we learn, as you did, that we can't judge a cassette by its cover. (there are other formats in europe besides PAL, but i trust this one is PAL, tho' it could also be SECAM or some such, whatever it is, coversion is possible to NTSC from all of them.)

good luck.

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Hi MegsMom:

RG is right, the most likely scenario is that you have a physical VHS tape, but recorded using PAL synchronisation rather than NTSC. As an American living in the UK (with a 50/50 mix of US/EU tapes), I found that I could buy VHS players/recorders that would play both. Made by Sony, JVC, Panasonic -- wide variety of manufacturers ... cost here ca. GBP 130-200 (so USD 190-300). If you're going to have a lot of mixed US/EU tapes, it may pay to buy one of the less expensive machines with this feature (can find them on Amazon, eBay, etc.) ... if not, and if you don't find a friend/school (may want to try the local college AV department or a local TV station) that has one, your best bet may be (unfortunately) to pay to have it converted.

Good luck!!


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