VHS players are being retired in UB classrooms

A row of Apple iMacs in Lockwood Cybrary

Published August 23, 2017

VHS players in UB classrooms will be retired at the end of the Spring 2018 semester. There are several options available to UB faculty who have VHS content that is used for instruction.  

How to keep using your VHS content

Personally created VHS content: Transfer to DVD or UBbox

VHS content that someone created personally can be freely transfered to DVD or another digital file format. UBbox can store and play most common digital video file formats, and DVDs are still supported in UB’s classrooms; they can be played using the teaching station internal PC.

For help digitizing personally created VHS content, contact Rebecca Rotundo, Instructional Support Technician for the Center for Educational Innovation, at rotundo@buffalo.edu.

Commercially purchased VHS content, or VHS content borrowed from UB Libraries: Locate a legal copy

If a VHS tape was purchased commercially, then the content is protected by copyright law, and you must first try to locate an existing, legally available digital copy before attempting to create your own.

  • UB Libraries maintains a physical media library of content on DVD. DVDs are still supported in UB’s classrooms and can be played using the teaching station internal PC.
  • UB Libraries also manages licenses for academic digital streaming services Swank and Kanopy. If the content you’re looking for isn’t already available through these services, UB Libraries may be able to purchase a license for it through these services.
  • You can also source digital copies of your content through streaming services like Netflix, or online retailers like Amazon.

To get assistance with finding digital replacements for VHS titles, including regularly borrowed titles, contact Michael Kankiewicz, Instructional Support Technician for UB Libraries, at michaelk@buffalo.edu.


Commercially purchased VHS content not currently available in digital format: Use VHS playback station or transfer with consent

If you try unsuccessfully to procure an existing, legally available digital copy of your VHS content, there are additional options to continue using it for teaching:

  • UB Libraries currently maintains VHS playback stations in the Silverman Library on Capen Hall's third floor, available for students to view VHS tapes.
  • In some cases, it is possible to legally convert a commercially-produced VHS tape to a digital format if written consent from the copyright holder is produced prior to copying. The Section 108 Due Diligence Project has information on researching copyright ownership, and maintains a database of copyright information. Please note that some VHS tapes include proprietary copy protection that can make copying difficult or impossible.

To get assistance researching options for commercial content unavailable in a digital format, contact Michael Kankiewicz, Instructional Support Technician for UB Libraries, at michaelk@buffalo.edu

Get help

For additional technical help with video playback in classrooms, or other teaching technology, contact the UBIT Help Center.