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My S-VHS now a doorstop?

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Old 08-24-2007, 12:22 PM   #16  
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Originally Posted by electrictroy View Post
There are two surprises here:
- You rate Betamax higher than VHS. Why? Every spec I've read shows they have the same resolution (250 lines luma/40 lines chroma). There shouldn't be any difference in quality.

- You rate SVHS higher than Hi8 which surprises me because most people say Hi8 has better picture quality. (I've not reviewed the specs; so I have no opinion here.)

So how come the difference?

thanks.
There are technical specifications that support what I see with my eyes, both of those comparisons are close but none of the 4 formats are good enough to use today. I stand by my ratings, you can research the technical reasons and come to an objective conclusion I am correct easily enough.

Chris
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Old 08-25-2007, 06:44 AM   #17  
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There are technical specifications that support what I see with my eyes,....
May I see them?
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Old 08-25-2007, 10:24 AM   #18  
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Originally Posted by mulciber View Post
I hope you'll forgive a very elementary question. I'm new to HD and this is my first post. I'm not even sure if I'm posting in the correct category.

Last week I bought a new HDTV (Sony KDL-32S3000) and traded in my old digital cable box for a new HD-DVR (provider is TW Cable in NYC). Everything is working splendidly. Needless to say, I'm as shocked as most newbies seem to be that SD looks so poor now that I have a display that shows the flaws, but much of the SD programming on TWNYC isn't bad at all.

Here's the issue: Despite now using an HD-DVR (Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8300HDC) I am accustomed to recording programs in S-VHS, particularly for my friends and family abroad. I've tried feeding the composite signal out of the cable box, the S-video signal, and even the RF (my S-VHS unit has no component inputs). Of these, the S-video is slightly better, but still, imo, unwatchable. The image quality is truly horrendous. What is more, archive tapes I made using my previous digital cable box (which I also output to the S-VHS using S-video, and which looked great on my old SD CRT) are similarly unwatchable on my new HDTV.

I realize that my S-VHS deck, despite being one of the best in its class, is incapable of producing a signal that's up to the resolution of the HDTV. But is it now and forever useless, or is there some sort of adaptation I can make, or a work-around, that can at least allow me to produce tapes that are of reasonable SD quality?

If this discussion is already in place elsewhere, sorry. Please feel free to direct me. If not, I'm grateful for any advice, and thanks again for reading an elementary question. DGI
Great post!

It hits right to the heart of the endless HD-DVD vs Blu Ray debate that goes on and on ad nauseum.

Why you ask? Because technology changes quicker than a man's waist line over 40.

Ah, VHS, Beta, Laserdisk or for that matter the transistor radio, black and white television and so.

Many of us spent small fortunes buying products only to see them fill our trash cans or sell for nickles and dimes at garage sales.

Well, there goes the store bought VHS collection.

It happens. What are you going to do, scream, commit suicide, go to Baskin Robbins?

No. You adapt.

Goodbye VHS and in your case, super VHS.

Time for the new and improved HD DVD or Blu Ray until one format wins and then is eventually replaced with who knows what.

You don't drive a 10-20 year old car, you trade it in and move on.

Same with the old player.

Anybody for an IPOD? Or is it the IPOD phone now?
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Old 08-27-2007, 10:43 AM   #19  
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Many of us spent small fortunes buying products only to see them fill our trash cans or sell for nickles and dimes at garage sales. Well, there goes the store bought VHS collection. Goodbye VHS and in your case, super VHS.
I'd rather keep using Super VHS. Its 560x480 resolution is perfectly fine for taping the latest episodes of 24 or Battlestar Galactica. i.e. The VCR is still useful for timeshifting.
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You don't drive a 10-20 year old car, you trade it in and move on.
I drive my car until I die. My last car had 340,000 miles when the engine finally blew (part of the piston broke-off). My current cars are 10 and 20 years old respectively. I see no reason to waste $20,000 buying a new one when the older models are still getting me to work every day.

Troy

(still hoping to retire at age 40)

Last edited by electrictroy; 08-27-2007 at 10:46 AM..
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Old 08-27-2007, 11:27 PM   #20  
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Originally Posted by electrictroy View Post
I'd rather keep using Super VHS. Its 560x480 resolution is perfectly fine for...
I've honestly tried everything, and the quality of the S-VHS recordings out of the back of the HD-DVR is like looking through wax paper.

DGI
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Old 08-28-2007, 06:18 AM   #21  
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I asked this before, but didn't really get an answer:

How clear is the SOURCE signal? i.e. If you plug the S-video directly from the settop box to the TV, how does it look? (The reason I ask is, maybe the problem is your box not the vcr.)
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Old 08-28-2007, 01:03 PM   #22  
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Originally Posted by electrictroy View Post
I asked this before, but didn't really get an answer:

How clear is the SOURCE signal? i.e. If you plug the S-video directly from the settop box to the TV, how does it look? (The reason I ask is, maybe the problem is your box not the vcr.)

Sorry. When I plug the S-video into the display it naturally does not look as good as the HDMI out from the box. For example, looking at an HD channel the picture automatically letterboxes, rather than filling the screen (HD translates to SD). The image is not as clear, there are artifacts, and so on. Yet it is a better image than I get from the recorded tape. If I could get even that diminished-quality image on the tape I'd consider it watchable.

So you're on to something, in that the S-video out of the back of the HD-DVR is definitely of a far lower quality than the HDMI (is S-video even capable of transmitting an HD signal? I am new to this).

My goal is simply to reproduce the quality of the signal I see on the display when I watch live TV or a DVR recording, and I'm trying to do that in any way short of buying a brand new DVR with digital tuner and DVD burner built in. I just can't have that expense at the moment. For now, I cannot archive anything, and that's giving me headaches.

Thanks for the advice. DGI
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Old 09-07-2007, 05:51 AM   #23  
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Originally Posted by mulciber View Post
The S-video image is not as clear, there are artifacts, and so on. Yet it is a better image than I get from the recorded tape. If I could get even that diminished-quality image on the tape I'd consider it watchable.
Hmmm. An S-VHS tape running at full speed (SP) should be almost-identical to the S-video image. That's odd.
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So you're on to something, in that the S-video out of the back of the HD-DVR is definitely of a far lower quality than the HDMI
Which is normal. S-video maxes-out at ~640x480, while HDMI can go to higher resolutions.

As you've probably noticed:

- The manufacturers are making it really difficult for consumers to capture & store HD in their libraries. D-VHS is probably the only practical solution right now. (Or else download the HD rips off the internet.)
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Old 09-07-2007, 06:27 AM   #24  
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So why would anyone want to continue attempting to use ANY tape system for recording new material? There is no new product development going on for tape products, no processing enhancements, tapes are bulky, no program skip, gotta rewind, and compared to DVD, the quality sucks.

You can upgrade to a damn nice DVD/R for $120 - $100, archive from HD DVR as well as archive old tape material. Output is handled digitally from the getgo, so bye-bye to all that analogue circuitry in the tape machines. Everything that I have archived from my DVR to my DVD/R looks IDENTICAL whether I view from the DVR or from the DVD/R.
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Old 09-07-2007, 09:32 AM   #25  
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So why would anyone want to continue attempting to use ANY tape system for recording new material?
Tape may have a bad name in the consumer market, but all HDTV and Digital Movies are still stored on tape by the professionals. Tape has proven itself to be a very reliable format over the last 50 years.

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You can upgrade to a damn nice DVD/R for $120 - $100, archive from HD DVR as well as archive old tape material.
How? Aren't the DVR-HD programs encoded to prevent copying to external devices?
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Output is handled digitally from the getgo, so bye-bye to all that analogue circuitry in the tape machines.
A D-VHS or DV or Digital8 machine doesn't have any analog circuitry. It's all digital from the Firewire/USB inputs to the recording head to the tape.

Your statement is false.
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Old 09-07-2007, 10:14 AM   #26  
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Originally Posted by electrictroy View Post
Tape may have a bad name in the consumer market, but all HDTV and Digital Movies are still stored on tape by the professionals. Tape has proven itself to be a very reliable format over the last 50 years.
To be fair, pro digital video is recorded to tape because of tape's huge capacity to hold content, not because it is more reliable. In fact, optical disk is more reliable.
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Old 09-07-2007, 10:46 AM   #27  
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Aren't the DVR-HD programs encoded to prevent copying to external devices?
Nope. At least not on my Motorola DCT3412 from Comcast.


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Old 09-07-2007, 11:05 AM   #28  
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Originally Posted by electrictroy View Post
Tape may have a bad name in the consumer market, but all HDTV and Digital Movies are still stored on tape by the professionals. Tape has proven itself to be a very reliable format over the last 50 years.
I don't think that we are talking about professional tape systems in this thread. Buy, yes, it has been, in general, a very reliable format over the last 50 years - it's just that its days for popular consumer use are now over.

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How? Aren't the DVR-HD programs encoded to prevent copying to external devices?
mmm, guess you heard wrong. I do it all the time. Use S-video from HD-DVR to DVD/R and press record. No problems.

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A D-VHS or DV or Digital8 machine doesn't have any analog circuitry. It's all digital from the Firewire/USB inputs to the recording head to the tape.
I said nothing about D-VHS, DV, or Digital8 - this thread is all about S-VHS if you hadn't noticed.

Quote:
Your statement is false.
Well, let's see, I said (in the context of this thread which has been totally about S-VHS, with a few allusioins to beta) that "Output is handled digitally from the getgo, so bye-bye to all that analogue circuitry in the tape machines." What is false about that, other than you have now introduced D-VHS, DV and Digital8, none of which were being discussed.

Besides, While your statement is correct, D-VHS was a "last hurrah" for VHS and while the D-VHS system is seen by its few and dwindling fans as a highly versatile recorder, it should be noted that the other tape-based formats, DV and Digital8, never gained any consumer interest except as camcorder mediums. So, given the wholesale move to DVD and then hard disk drive (HDD) recording, the digital tape format failed to make any headway into the consumer video market. These aren't even significant formats in today's world.

Last edited by billinprinceto; 09-07-2007 at 11:10 AM..
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Old 09-08-2007, 06:47 AM   #29  
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Originally Posted by billinprinceto View Post
So why would anyone want to continue attempting to use ANY tape system for recording new material? There is no new product development going on for tape products, no processing enhancements, tapes are bulky, no program skip, gotta rewind, and compared to DVD, the quality sucks.

You can upgrade to a damn nice DVD/R for $120 - $100, archive from HD DVR as well as archive old tape material. Output is handled digitally from the getgo, so bye-bye to all that analogue circuitry in the tape machines. Everything that I have archived from my DVR to my DVD/R looks IDENTICAL whether I view from the DVR or from the DVD/R.
Agreed, except that there is program skip, commercial skip and even 30 second skip with tape. I use the 30 second skip to skip over commercials or trailers. There is no reason to suggest anybody should get involved with videotape now, just wait for a practical solution for the PC or disc. I am going to make videotape work for the long haul, but don't recommend it to anybody now.

I can stay completely digital with the HM-DH5U. Source by firewire to the VCR and playback by HDMI to the display.

Chris
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Old 09-08-2007, 08:10 AM   #30  
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Everything that I have archived from my DVR to my DVD/R looks IDENTICAL whether I view from the DVR or from the DVD/R.
The statement is not totally correct. It is correct, of course, for SD content.

However, since HD content must be recorded using the S-video out from the HD-DVR, two things happen. The first, obviously, is that it is no longer HD, and so when viewed cannot possibly look IDENTICAL to the original HD content; indeed, the PQ is not nearly as good. The second, is the recorded program will display in "windowbox" format with black bars on all four sides - one solution to this distraction that I have used is to use the DVD/R zoom capability to fill the screen vertically giving a decent 4:3 representation of the original program.
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