If you've got VHS tapes, first you'll need a VCR -- Remember what that is? Sites like eBay and Craigslist may have low-priced options. You also need to pick up
something called an analog video capture device -- look for one which comes with software. It has audio and video inputs on one end, that you connect to the VCR -- and a USB on the other end, which plugs into your computer. It allows you to capture what's on your old tapes and digitally transfer it to your computer.
The biggest investment is probably time. It's an analog process, and an hour of video is going to take an hour to transfer. If that's more work than you bargained for, you can also pay a service. Several chains transfer old photographs, videos in many formats and even film --including Costco, Walgreens and Walmart Photo. Plenty more have cropped up online.
Besides the expense, the only other potential drawback is that you'll be sending irreplaceable memories through a shipping service. So make sure your package is trackable.
Now imagine that somewhere down the line, even today's digital format may also become obsolete. So Consumer Reports suggests saving your files in well-labeled, easy to find places places on your computer. And backing them up to an external hard drive and to the cloud.