MiniDV tapes are a great format to record onto, but what about when you want to watch MiniDV tapes on your TV or computer? This can sometimes be a challenge. Mini DV tapes require a player or a camcorder that is compatible to record or play MiniDV cassette tapes. This means that you will not be able to play these types of tapes on your home VCR, or television without either digitizing them, or transferring the video off of the tape, or playing the tape from the camcorder itself. We’re often asked if there is any sort of minidv conversion device that you can use with MiniDV tapes that will allow you to view them on your VCR or other home media player, without the hassle of trying to track down a working camcorder and unfortunately, there is no such thing available.
The only way to view your MiniDV tapes on your television is to hook up a camcorder to your TV using the audio/video cables that were bundled with your camcorder. You could also hook up the camcorder in a similar fashion to your computer and use a video capture program to record the video stream onto your computer’s hard drive.
The method of connecting your camcorder to the television is actually pretty simple. The first step is to obtain your camcorder’s RCA cables (these are the yellow/red/white cables you’d often find connected to other components in your home theater). Now, you need to be extra careful here and make sure you get the right type of cable. Some camcorders have odd connectors or even proprietary connections that require an RCA cable from the manufacturer. The good news is that most of the time, camcorders will supply you with the cable, so that you can easily connect to your home TV for future viewing. So, once you determine which RCA cables you need, it’s time to get connected.
Plug the cables into an open input port on your TV. Keep note of which input you connected them to so that you can switch over to that input using your remote control, or television settings. (If you plugged the camcorder into Input 3, you’ll need to switch your TV to input 3 in order to get the signal.) With proper connection, you should now see on your TV exactly what you’d see by looking through your viewfinder. Now, all that’s needed is to just press PLAY on your camcorder to watch the tape.
If you are unable to find a camcorder to view your tapes, you always have the option to transfer the mini DV tapes to DVD for even more convenient viewing!