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Make Your Family Memories Last A Lifetime

By Diann Burns

Camcorders have made it possible to capture great memories you'll treasure forever. But forever doesn't last long when it comes to videotape.

Now, there's a new way to hang on to your family memories for a lifetime.

If you're like most, you've got a ton of home videos filled with all those silly and sentimental moments caught on camera.

Meet Kathy Axelsson. She has reams of family videotape, all of which she cherishes.

"The memories, I just think they're priceless," Kathy said.

But watching those old memories was a real chore, especially when it came to doing the camcorder-to-TV hookup. She couldn't always figure out how to do that.

So Kathy decided to do what more people are doing these days.

"We took all of our family home videos and transferred them to DVD," she said.

For Kathy, the decision to transfer her precious family memories was a no-brainer.

"I was very pleased," she said. "My entire family was very pleased."

Bob Wilson is with YesVideo, one of a growing number of companies offering this service. When you drop your tape off at a retail store, chances are YesVideo is doing the work.

"Consumers are realizing that VHS is dead and they're looking for a way to preserve their video memories to DVD," Wilson said. "What we offer to the consumer is the chance to save your video memories to a Hollywood-like DVD with Hollywood-like special features."

Special features include photo menus, so you can find different parts to watch within the DVD.

You can also transfer old films, slides and photos to DVD.

And the best part is that DVD will last a lifetime -- anywhere from 40 to 300 years, experts predict. Don't count on more than 10 years with your videotapes because they tend to fade.

Which is why a number of popular retailers like Best Buy, Kmart, Walgreens, Wal-Mart and Target are now offering DVD transfer services. All you have to do is drop off your video at the photo booth, the way you would a roll of film.

Two weeks later, you pick up your videotape and a professionally-finished DVD

Prices for the service vary. We called a few companies in the Chicago area and they charged anywhere from $20 to $40 per tape.

You could also do it yourself with a DVD burner and computer.

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