I remember growing up in an era when it took planning and expensive equipment to record life’s special moments. Whether it was my sister’s kindergarten graduation or my first play, my parents were in the crowd capturing the memory on the Panasonic VHS camcorder.
Nowadays, it’s getting harder to share these memories with the next generation in our family, as it is nearly impossible to find functional equipment to play VHS tapes with.
In this situation, the easiest solution is to take these old VHS tapes and ship them off to a digitizing service to have these memories transferred into an easy-to-share format.
Thankfully, companies like iMemories and Costco have made it easy for people to digitize their old media and preserve these memories for future generations. Both have spent years helping people digitize their old media into modern digital formats.
Memories stands out as the overall better option for media digitization when compared to Costco’s service. Although both companies offer a range of digitization services, iMemories provides a more tailored and customer-centric experience. They have a specialization in the digitization of various old media formats, offering broader support, more modern digital storage solutions, better shipping options with the SafeShip Kit, and quicker delivery time. Their cloud-based storage, paired with an app for easy accessibility, gives them an edge in long-term storage.
In addition, customer feedback and ratings favor iMemories, highlighting their quality and reliability. Costco, although a reputable company, has its digitization process handled by a third-party service and lacks the safety and higher-end options provided by iMemories. Consequently, for those looking to convert old memories into digital formats, iMemories appears to offer a more comprehensive, efficient, and secure solution.
Shipping kit (box)
Free repairs (splicing)
Average turnaround time
Expedited turnaround time
WHAT FORMATS THEY CONVERT
VHS-C, VHS, Betamax, 8mm, Hi8, Digital 8, MiniDV, MicroMini
VHS, S-VHS, Betamax, VHS-C, S-VHS-C, Video8, Hi8, Digital 8, DV, DVCAM, MiniDV, DVC
8mm, 16mm, Super 8
8mm, Super 8mm, 16mm
Photos up to 12x16 Negatives (any size), Slides (any size)
Prints from 2" x 2" to 8" x 12"
DVDs and MiniDVDs
Video Conversion Price
$14.99 per tape
Starting at $19.99
Film Conversion Price
$14.99 per 50ft.
Starting at $19.99
Photo Conversion Price
$0.49 per photo
Starting at $19.99
Audio Conversion Price
DVD Conversion Price
$14.99 per item
Converting Media With Costco
What we like
- Costco offers competitive pricing
- Orders of any size can be accommodated
- The ordering process is straightforward and easy
What we don’t like
- Costco store membership is required
- Processing may take some time
- Your media is entrusted to another company to digitize it
Costco’s Video Transfer Service has transitioned to Costco Next, and all orders are now fulfilled through a company service known as Capture. Please note that a Costco store membership is required.
Costco has built its reputation on offering an extensive range of products at competitive prices within its retail stores. However, the company’s offerings extend beyond physical goods. Costco’s Photo Center, and more recently, the Costco Nex, offer a valuable service that complements its retail prowess. Following a brief pause, the Costco Nex has come into play, catering to customers’ needs.
One of the standout aspects of this service is Costco’s strategic partnership with YesVideo, now known as Capture. Through this collaboration, Costco can provide its customers with access to this service. This partnership serves a dual purpose – it enhances the range of offerings available to Costco’s customers while allowing Capture to expand its footprint and attract a broader client base.
This partnership highlights a win-win scenario, with both parties benefiting from their respective strengths. Costco’s reputation for quality and affordability is seamlessly integrated into its service offerings, while Capture gains a larger platform to showcase its expertise.
As a result, customers not only have access to Costco’s renowned products but also a valuable service that aligns with the company’s commitment to meeting diverse customer needs. Through partnerships like these, Costco continues to evolve and enhance its service offerings, catering to an array of customer preferences and requirements.
Costco Digitization Process
The first step in getting your media digitized by Costco is to gather your old media and send it off to them using the included UPS prepaid shipping label. The digitization processing time can vary, but you can expect to wait around three to four weeks. After that, you can track your order at any time and verify the status of your order online. Once Costco receives your media, they will handle it with care until you get it back. When Costco digitizes your media, they keep a digital backup for 90 days.
Costco’s Photo Center offers a wide range of digitization services for various media types, such as film, photos, slides, and videos. They support a variety of video formats, including VHS, S-VHS, Betamax, VHS-C, S-VHS-C, Video8, Hi-8, Digital8, DV, DVCAM, MiniDV, and DVC. The digitization process captures the video at a resolution of 720p x 480p, which is higher than most analog formats, resulting in a product that looks similar to the original. In addition, customers can receive their digital copies on a USB stick, DVD, or through the MemoryCloud online backup service offered by the Photo Center.
Converting Media With iMemories
What we like
- Accepts a wide range of media types
- Offers various digital storages, including cloud storage with an app
- Fast turnaround time
- Reasonable service prices
- Customers receive regular email updates throughout the process
- Includes enhancements and repairs for certain types of media
- Highly rated by customers
What we don’t like
- The shipping and processing time might extend to a month.
iMemories is an online company that converts old analog media into a digital format. The company was established in 2004, during the rise of digital media. Over the years, they have gained extensive experience, a reputation for quality, and customers’ trust. They have helped over one million customers and offer a satisfaction guarantee. iMemories has been making waves in the industry, and this year, it has secured a spot among the world’s most innovative companies of 2023.
iMemories transfer a wide range of different formats of old media, such as videotapes, films, and photos, including newer formats, such as DVDs and MiniDVDs, that other services may not consider.
Further on, you can see how satisfied iMemories customers are in the following reviews.
iMemories Digitization Process
One of the main objectives at iMemories is to make the digitization process as easy and convenient as possible. To achieve this, iMemories offers their SafeShip Kit, which includes everything needed for shipping your media, such as a crush-proof box, waterproof bags, shock-resistant bubble cushions, and a prepaid shipping label.
Once you have sent your media to iMemories, you will receive a free, no-obligation quote for your media. After approval, the digitization process begins. The process also takes less time through iMemories, allowing you to expect your media back within 2-3 weeks.
Depending on the media type, the expert staff will enhance your memories to look even better. In case of broken film, they will repair or “splice” your videotapes and film without losing any footage. All these features are included free of charge.
Digital Options That iMemories Offers
Your digitized memories can be received as a digital download, a customized DVD, on an 8GB USB (or bigger), or through the iMemories Cloud. Additionally, you can download your digitized memories for free. You can access the iMemories Cloud through any device using the iMemories app. The app allows you to download your files anytime.
Besides the four main digital copy options, you can also pick blu-ray and a portable hard drive of 1TB of storage for larger amounts of media. With iMemories, you have all the available options that you possibly want.
Cost of iMemories Service
Currently, iMemories service prices are lower than some of their competitors.
They charge by the item, except for old films, which are charged per 50ft. Transferring a videotape, with the applied discount, will cost $14.99 per tape. The same price applies for 50ft. of movie film. For photos, negatives, and slides, they charge $0.49 per item.
For digital options, besides the free digital download, if you go with the hard copy, you will pay $19.99 for a customized DVD and $39.99 for an 8GB USB. Cloud storage comes with a subscription of $7.99 per month or $49.99 per year.
Side by Side Comparison of Costco Video Transfer and iMemories
Both Costco and iMemories offer digitization services, but how do they compare to each other? Costco’s digitization service is offered through its Photo Center and is processed by a partner, whereas for iMemories, they do it all themselves as the business is built around it. This specialization is not always an indicator of a superior product, but it does help to differentiate the approaches of both companies.
Supported Digitizing Formats
Both companies offer an impressive list of formats they can digitize, but one company pulls ahead due to its more modern approach. iMemories can take on all of the older analog formats, such as videotape, film, and photos, like Costco, but they can also digitize newer formats like DVDs and MiniDVDs. Yes, I know DVDs are already digital, but they are not easily copied as the files are not user-friendly. In the case of videos, iMemories converts the files to mp4 so you can easily share them with friends and family.
File Storage Solutions
Both companies offer similar solutions when storing your newly digitized media, but iMemories offers additional options. You can get your media instantly by downloading the files for free. You can also wait for either company to ship a DVD or USB thumb drive with the original files.
With Costco, your files are stored on their cloud for free for 90 days. Besides the cloud, you can get USB, DVD, or both.
iMemories cloud charges a monthly or annual subscription fee for cloud-based storage. Additionally, the iMemories cloud service has an app that allows you to access and share your files from anywhere. Costco may be cheaper for short-term cloud storage, but iMemories offers a more advanced and organized cloud solution for long-term storage.
Shipping and Handling
Both companies allow you to send your media to their facility, but iMemories offers an alternative shipping option with their SafeShip Kit, which, based on customers’ feedback, we found to be the best way to send your media safely.
The SafeShip Kit does not contain anything you could not create on your own, but it is a cost-effective and convenient option. When you ship your media to iMemories, you can rest assured that they are safe since they have processed millions of memories and have never lost or damaged a single “memory.” On the other hand, when you ship your media via Costco, you are actually shipping your memories to another service called YesVideo.
When it is finally time to receive your media back, you can expect to receive your package from iMemories up to a week earlier than from Costco.
Both services are priced similarly when you compare the details. iMemories offers a custom quote for every order, while Costco operates with flat prices. Costco’s pricing breakdown was harder to understand than iMemories and appeared slightly more expensive. When comparing both services directly, iMemories focuses on providing a customized digitization experience for its customers, while Costco focuses more on a professional corporate approach.
Customers Feedback and Ratings
The importance of customer reviews cannot be overstated as they provide valuable insight into the potential issues and experiences of using a service. However, it’s worth noting that high ratings are not a guarantee of future satisfaction. In our research on reputable sites such as Trustpilot and Sitejabber, we found that iMemories had an average rating of 4.5 and 4.7 out of 5 respectively. In contrast, CostcoDVD has no customer reviews available and Costco Photo Center is rated at a low 1.5 out of 5. The reason for Costco Photo Center no longer offering memory transfer services is unclear, it could be due to customer dissatisfaction or other internal decisions.
Overall, iMemories offers a more fine-tuned service. They have been in the game nearly since the inception of digital media, and they have a proven track record. They are incredibly reliable and have implemented strategies to make the entire process intuitive.
On the other hand, Costco might be more convenient if you visit a representative in person, but they don’t even digitize themselves. Instead, they outsource the digitizing to YesVideo, which keeps costs low and means the staff may not have all the answers. Both services offer competitive prices with similar turnaround times. The main focus of iMemories is the digitization of older media, while this is more like a side project for Costco.