Convert DVD to MP4? I Just Converted to DVD!!!

I KNOW! It seems like just a few weeks ago, you transferred all of your old VHS to Digital, Hi8 to mp4, and digitized all of my miniDV tapes. Now you want me to do it again! How long before I have to convert again?

First – Why is it Important to Convert DVD to Digital at all?

DVDs degrade over time. The off-the-shelf DVDs from the office store can show degradation even in a year or less, while 50-year DVDs are, obviously designed for 50 year longevity.

DVDs can be damaged. They can be scratched, warped by overheating, stepped on, broken, or just lost altogether.

Just like VHS, DVD players will eventually cease to be manufactured, then even the used ones will wear out. There won’t be ANY device that can play them. (Note – a DVD player is required to convert a DVD, so when the DVD players are gone, so is the opportunity to convert them).

Functionally, an mp4 (or other digital files) have several benefits that DVDs don’t offer:

  1. Files can be shared electronically over the internet.
  2. Digital files can be easily backed up to prevent loss in case of disaster.
  3. Digital files can be played on a multitude of devices
  4. Mp4s take up dramatically less space than DVDs
  5. Mp4s can easily be converted into other formats as needed (if needed)
  6. Digital files can be edited easily

Also Read – Digitize DVD to MP4 – Are You Kidding Me?

Why This Conversion Will Last a Long Time

Technology changes over time, sometimes very quickly. The Smithsonian Museum already displays video cameras that I used in real life! If you’re like me, you converted VHS to DVD, then VHS-C to DVD, then Hi8 to DVD, then (if you were very smart) you converted miniDV to Digital, and so on.

But what about all of those DVDs. You can still play them on DVD players hooked to your TV or your computer, so why bother to convert them now?

This article is being written on a laptop that does not have a DVD player – and most of you have some device that no longer comes with one, either. I have nearly 30 computers and I only use external hard drives.

 Here’s my thinking:

  1. If you could predict what was next, we’d already have it.
  2. There is a huge difference between the switch from analog media to digital media and the switch from digital media to another format.
    1. Analog media needs its own type of device in order to play, with moving parts designed just for that type of media.
    1. Digital media can play on many, many devices
    1. Even if physical devices change, what makes the media work is software.
    1. THEREFORE, regardless of the change in devices in the foreseeable future, software can be created to access and play digital files where the media is stored. The issue is more likely to be the reliability of the storage device where the media is stored (see Backup Strategy below).
    1. By definition, digital files are made to be created, edited, converted, managed and distributed whereas analog media was made for one device. (see article for more interesting reading)

Convert DVD to mp4 – Are There Other Options?

You can convert to one or several different options. Currently, mp4 is the most popular format on the market. It plays on almost every consumer device: computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and more. And you can choose among several levels of quality.

When Reborn Audio Video first started, most requests were for .mov files. However, when support for older .mov files was discontinued, the requests quickly changed to mp4. AVI is another popular format that has fallen off dramatically in the past few years.

Strategically, mp4 has the advantage that no single company ‘owns’ it, so it has a broad spectrum of support behind it, compared to a format controlled by a single company that can discontinue support for it at any time.

DVDs Are Already Digital, so Why Convert?

Files stored on DVD are made so they can be played on a DVD player. The files can be copied to a computer, but will not play unless you obtain the right software for each device. One for your phone, another for your laptop, tablet, computer, etc. And so will everybody who wants a copy!

Backup Strategy is CRITICAL When You Convert DVD to Digital

Converting a DVD to mp4 makes a lot of sense in every way, but the key to preserving memories is handling your files appropriately. Just like financial, tax, genealogy, and other files, media files MUST be cared for and protected.

Simple backup can be sufficient for most people – simply making multiple copies of the digital video. Copes on multiple USBs, hard drives on multiple computers or copies distributed to multiple family members… these are all very helpful.

The next level is a cloud-based service. Most services have multiple copies of your files in multiple locations around the world so that no one failure loses your data. Being cloud-based also enables easy online sharing through the internet.

The HUGE advantage to cloud-based backup is that you are no longer dependent upon your storage device. Even though your data might be perfectly safe, the devices they are stored on (USB, external hard drive, flash cards, etc), may not be supported in the future. You all know the manufacturer who notoriously changes the type of plugs and ports that it offers, making the older devices obsolete. If you are cloud-based, you can always access your files through the internet.

Convert DVD to mp4 – here’s what’s next?

  1. Call or text Jamey (About Jamey) at 720 204-5464
  2. Set an appointment (every project receives my individual attention)
  3. Drop off your tapes (and records, cassettes, slides, or negatives, too)

In a week or less, pick up your new digitized VHS (and other).

James Nordby