Myths & Facts - The Elusive 8mm To VHS Tape Converter  

by Matt Hawkins, 27/08/2010
Categories : General

There are plenty of people out there trying to playback their old 8mm camcorder tapes and recover past memories.

There is only one way to do this. Play the tape in an 8mm player.

Some people believe (see here for some good examples) or have been advised that there is a converter in which you can stick an 8mm tape to play it back in a VHS player.

This mythical device doesn't exist and never will exist. No one in the history of human existence has ever played an 8mm tape in a VHS player. Never.

- Anyone who claims to have seen one is mistaken.
- Anyone who claims to own one is mistaken.
- Anyone who claims to know where to buy one is mistaken.
- Anyone who claims to "remember having one" or "using one" is mistaken.

Anyone who is buying one is at best going to be disappointed and at worst going to waste their money.

there once was such an adapter for 8mm tapes designed to be used with a vcr. - yohan vue

No there wasn't. Not in this reality anyway.

It DID exist. People on this message board have real life experience upon the fact that it did exist. - Junk Man Stan

Yeah, the same people who get anal probed every weekend by aliens.

you need a VHS-c adapter that can be purchased on Ebay and I also see many on Amazon - SusieQ

Wrong! There are no 8mm to VHS converters on eBay or Amazon.

My daughter had one of these a few years back and we watched on our VHS Player many times - SusieQ

No. You watched a VHS-C tape.

surely the company wouldn't make these without a way to watch them! - rae

There is a way to watch them. On an 8mm camcorder.

IT DID EXISTS. i remember having one for 8 mm and it required batteries. PLEASE SOMEBODY, look into your 8mm camera manual (in the back) there is such adapter listed as part of the accesories. NO, NOT A VHS-C but a 8 mm. I WILL FIND THE MANUFACTURER AND PART NUMBER AND WILL POST IT HERE. - Fefoland

Never did post that part-number did you Fefoland?

The reason the convertor doesn't exist is simple. 8mm tapes are completely different to VHS.

VHS-C tapes were a miniature version of standard VHS cassettes and used exactly the same magnetic tape (12.7mm wide). It was just in a smaller package.

A converter does exist for converting VHS-C to VHS. I've got one. It simply opens the VHS-C cassette and routes the tape through a larger cassette.

8mm tapes on the other hand not only use a different size tape (8mm wide ... the clue's in the name!) but the way the video data is written onto the tape is completely different. Even if you somehow managed to insert an 8mm tape into a VHS player, the player simply wouldn't be able to read the magnetic signals.

It is like trying to play an audio cassette in a VHS player. Not only is it physically incompatible but the data is completely different.

Consumer 8mm tapes came in two types. Video 8 (standard 8mm) or Hi8. Video 8 tapes will play in all 8mm players. Hi8 tapes will only play in Hi8 players.

If you've got old tapes you need to playback or copy you need to get a suitable 8mm (or Hi8) player or pay someone to do it for you.

Trust me you are wasting your time looking for a converter.

For those disciples of the 8mm-2-VHS cult that simply will not listen to facts, the 8mm to VHS converter can be found strapped to the back of a unicorn at the end of a rainbow.

Author : Matt Hawkins  Last Edit By : Matt Hawkins
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