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Future-Proofing Your Memories: The Best Video Formats for VHS Conversions

You re set up with a great VHS to DVD converter. You ve got your stack of VHS tapes to be upgraded to a new digital file format. You ve got your old VCR dusted off and oiled up, ready to spin magnetic tape until the cows come home. But now, you re faced with a unique problem: Which file format should you use when you convert these old tapes?

You want to be sure that your memories are going to last forever, and storing them in a format that no media player is going to be able to read in a few years puts you in the same position you re in now. So now, you find yourself looking for a video format that will stick around for a while. Here at Top Ten Reviews, we understand your problem, so we dug into this question and came up with the top three most future-proof video formats for your VHS to DVD converter projects.

#3   MOV
The MOV format is one of the principle formats used by Apple, the force behind the massive expansion of the mobile market. Since a great deal of video is played on smartphones and tablets these days, you can feel safe in the knowledge that if you convert your old VHS movies to MOV files, your memories won t be left out in the cold in a few years.

#2 - AVI/WMV
The AVI/WMV format is one that s been around for a long time, and there s no sign of it being deprecated any time soon. It s the standard container for Microsoft Windows and, since Windows is still one of the dominant operating systems on the market, it probably won t be going anywhere for a while. If you want to protect your decades-old home videos, this format will do it well.

#1 - H.264/MPEG-4
The H.264 compression method, frequently used in tandem with the MPEG-4 file format, is by far the leading compression and format combination in the industry today. Occasionally, you will see these formats offered as independent formats (MPEG-4 or H.264), but whichever name they adopt, you can be sure that they re using the same format.

YouTube, Vimeo, Microsoft Silverlight, iTunes and several HDTV broadcast signals all adhere to the H.264 standards, so if the H.264 standard becomes outdated, don t worry   it ll only be outdated after Apple, Microsoft and Google have all passed on.

So what do you think? Are you going to encode all of your VHS tapes with H.264/MPEG-4 now? Are there other formats you think we missed? Talk to us on Twitter and Facebook.