Japan firms seek to digitise, store old analog memories

Japan firms seek to digitise, store old analog memories
PHOTO: The Yomiuri Shimbun

Services to digitize old videotapes and store them in a cloud online are becoming more popular. Such services allow memorable home videos to be viewed on smartphones or tablets.

Many people have old videos of weddings and children's school activities taken with a VHS or 8mm video camera. Unfortunately, videotapes can degrade over time and become unplayable.

Furthermore, major manufacturers have discontinued making videotape decks. Nowadays, videotape decks are rarely seen even in large electrical appliance shops, meaning that if a home videotape deck stops working, videotapes can no longer be viewed.

This is why services to digitize old videotapes and storing and managing the files in the cloud have spread.

Digitizing preserves the video's picture quality, and at the same time makes more room at home by eliminating bulky videotapes. Furthermore, digitized videos can be shared with family and friends by telling them the ID and password to access them in the cloud.

An added benefit of commercial digitizing is that it saves videotape owners the trouble of trying to digitize at home. Most of the services have separate rates for digitization and for using the cloud.

Personal videotapes only

One such service is "Omoide Tamatebako" by Plaza Create Co. The service sends a box to ship the videos in after receiving an order online. After about one month, the digitized videos are stored in the cloud and can then be seen on smartphones or tablets.

NTT West Corp. offers a similar service called, "Omoide Album on FLET'S" to their ISP customers.

Both of these companies also digitize prints and negatives.

Personal computer retailer PC Depot Corp.'s "Omoide Smart Video" service will digitize up to three videotapes for free for their paying members. They also have a discount plan for paying members.

Information systems developer Climb Co.'s "Omoide Theater" is integrated with electronics retailer Yamada Denki Co.'s point card system.

Yamada Denki points can be used for Omoide Theater.

Be aware that these videotape digitization services are limited to personal videotapes shot with consumer video cameras or camcorders.

They do not digitize recorded TV shows and other commercial works like movies

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