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  1. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    This is a mirror of my official VCR Buying Guide posted at The Digital FAQ forum.

    By using a good VCR, you can get more quality out of those VHS tapes
    , before forever committing what you see to a DVD. These machines listed below all have some degree of noise reduction, or otherwise play a tape cleanly. These are PROSUMER or PROFESSIONAL video machines, not something found at Best Buy or Walmart. Timebase correctors (TBCs) almost always exist in these.

    The most popular, highly-regarded and well-respected machines are in bold.

    JVC S-VHS (NTSC) prosumer decks. JVC's high-end decks have CALIBRATION (finds best part of tape to play) and picture mode filters (AUTO, NORM, SHARP, EDIT). The 7000-series has 2MB TBC RAM, 9000-series has 4MB and uses the Dynamic Drum system.
    • JVC HR-S5000U (no TBC, older)
    • JVC HR-S5800U (no TBC, older)
    • JVC HR-S6800U (no TBC, older)
    • JVC HR-S7500U
    • JVC HR-S7600U
    • JVC HR-S7800U
    • JVC HR-S7900U
    • JVC HR-S9500U
    • JVC HR-S9600U
    • JVC HR-S9800U a.k.a GoVideo SDV-650 clone
    • JVC HR-S9900U
    • JVC HR-S9911U
    JVC S-VHS (PAL) decks, prosumer, same features as NTSC machines listed above.
    • JVC SR-S388E / SR-388EK
    • JVC HR-S7965EK
    • JVC HR-S8965EK
    JVC Professional S-VHS (NTSC) decks, continuation of the 7000 prosumer series
    • JVC SR-V10U / SR-V10
    • JVC SR-V101US / SR-V101U
    • JVC SR-W5U / SR-W5
    • JVC SR-W7U / SR-W7
    JVC Professional S-VHS (PAL) decks, same as above NTSC decks
    • JVC SR-V10E / SR-V10
    JVC D-VHS decks, which has a lot of the same features as the prosumer S-VHS line, but also has an added ability to cure VHS flagging, much like the Panasonic DMR-ES10 DVD recorder does on pass-through.
    • HM-DH30000U
    • HM-DH40000U
    • JVC HM-DH5U
    Mitsibishi D-VHS decks, which has all the TBC, DNR, Calibration, Picture Modes and 3D Y-C filters seen on the top recommended JVC S-VHS and D-VHS models
    • Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U D-VHS
    Panasonic S-VHS (NTSC) professional editing decks, with full-field (multi-line) TBCs instead of a standard line TBC. The Panasonic Picture Control slider on the 1970/1980 is a variable version of the JVC Picture Control selections (by default, it tends to already sharpen a little at the "normal" notch setting)
    • Panasonic AG-7650
    • Panasonic AG-1960P / AG-1960 (has no TBC)
    • Panasonic AG-1970P / AG-1970
    • Panasonic AG-1980P / AG-1980 a.k.a. Panasonic NV-FS 200 for PAL version
    Panasonic S-VHS (PAL) models with TBC and DNR (in order from oldest to the last model built):
    • Panasonic NV-FS 200 a.k.a. Panasonic AG-1980P for NTSC version
    • Panasonic NV-HS 950
    • Panasonic NV-HS 860
    • Panasonic NV-HS 930
    • Panasonic NV-HS 960
    • Panasonic NV-SV 121

    Feel free to add to this post by replying below, or at http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/showthread.php/vcr-buying-guide-1567.html
    Mention details !!! (For example: filters it has, filters missing, clone of another deck, TBC present, etc).

    Last updated February 2010. -LS
    Last edited by lordsmurf; 20th Feb 2010 at 14:09.
    Want my help? Ask here! (not via PM!)
    FAQs: Best Blank Discs • Best TBCs • Best VCRs for capture • Restore VHS
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  2. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    Only one missing is the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U DVHS, which has all the TBC, DNR, Calibration, Picture Modes and 3D Y-C filters seen on the top recommended JVC SVHS and DVHS models. Great unit for archiving VHS to DVD.

    The JVC DVHS models are newer than most of their SVHS units, have the same TBC/DNR/Filters, and are often a better buy: but I recommend avoiding the ones with five digit model numbers, they have known overheating issues and noisy fans. The newest JVC DVHS units with three-digit model numbers have proven more reliable: the JVC DVHS model HM-DH30000U should be probably be avoided for sure and the HM-HD40000U may not be much better, look for the most recent model SR-VD400U instead. (In Europe/Asia, the very early HM-DR10000EK seems to have been better built than the 30000 and 40000 and may be a good choice for members in those regions.)
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  3. Member Marvingj's Avatar
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    JVC HMDH5U D-VHS Theater is probably the Top of the line, with so many extra goodies. More than 3xxxxx or 4xxxxx...
    http://www.absolutevisionvideo.com

    BLUE SKY, BLACK DEATH!!
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  4. Preservationist davideck's Avatar
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    Location: USA
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    Additional JVC VCRs with TBC/DNR (NTSC) are the HR-S7500U, HR-S7600U, and HR-S9500U.

    I give honorable mention to the JVC HR-S5000U, HR-S5800U, and HR-S6800U. These do not have TBC/DNR, but the ones that I have used produce excellent pictures from tapes recorded on other VCRs.

    It might also be nice to identify the JVC VCRs which have the Dynamic Drum System. IIRC, all of the NTSC models listed do except the HR-S7800U and HR-S7900U.

    The Panasonic Picture Control slider on the 1970/1980 is a variable version of the JVC Picture Control selections (SOFT, AUTO, EDIT, SHARP). The edit switch on the Panasonic provides a default setting independent of the slider position.
    Life is better when you focus on the signals instead of the noise.
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  5. Member
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    Location: United States
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    And let's not forget ...

    JVC HR-S9500U (slightly older Digi-Pure technology but gives excellent results)
    JVC SR-W5U/W7U (per gshelly61, ULTRA High End Prosumer deck with Digi-Pure)
    PAN AG-7650 (very expensive ($5k) broadcast machine in it's day but can be had for <$500 today. Playback only machine. Does not appear to be optimized for S-VHS.)
    JVC SR-V10U (Not sure if it meets your criteria)
    JVC HR-S9911U (Not as well built as the earlier machines, but has all the right electronics)
    Gary DeLoach
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  6. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    PAN AG-7650 - TBC?
    JVC HR-S9500U - TBC? Picture modes?

    SR-V10U and HR-S9911U already listed.

    I've got a friend that uses the HM-DH40000U, and it works amazingly well. Not sure what issues others have had on it. I'd buy one if they were not so ridiculous expensive, even on so-called "clearance" (furniture stores, smaller electronics stores and regional chains).

    List updated. Keep going, this is getting good.
    Want my help? Ask here! (not via PM!)
    FAQs: Best Blank Discs • Best TBCs • Best VCRs for capture • Restore VHS
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  7. Member
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    PAN AG-7650 - TBC?
    JVC HR-S9500U - TBC? Picture modes?
    PAN AG-7650: Full Frame TBC with full Proc Amp, Y/C Delay and System Phase controls, Separate DNR adjustments for Y & C signals.

    JVC HR-S9500U: Has Digital TBC / NR (front panel button) plus Digital R3 (Menu). This pretty much amounts to what JVC calls Digi-Pure although they didn't call it that on the 9500. The manual does not state the size of the memory buffer. Does anyone know what that is? It also has Dynamic Drum. Although it does not have a Jog Dial on the face, it does have one on the remote. I feel the 9500 should be on the "Most popular and well respected machines" list.
    Gary DeLoach
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  8. Evening everyone.

    Too bad this wasn't started for Laserdisc players

    I also thought I should make an honorable mention of my JVC S-VHS HR-S3910U.
    I purchased this model brand spanking new back in September 2001 (for the recording of the
    new hit tv series, Star Trek: Enterprise, though it lasted 4 seasons, it was a great series)

    --> It is Silver plated, Purchased at Circuit City, Cost $169 brand new.. 2001
    --> TIPS: use Fuji Pro tapes for obtaining maximum quality of your ET recordings, etc.

    But since it does not include TBC/NR/DNR type features, it prob won't make the list.

    Never the less..

    It has and still does serve me well to this day, though I mostly use it for its respectable feature
    for its ERA/day -- it's SuperVHS-ET recording ability. This is a great feature to use but should
    be used only on good grade tape to reap its fullest potential/benefits. The question becomes
    realized (and asked) how does one know which grade tape brand to purchase. The answers is,
    it all depends on ones years of trial n error. In my follow-up notes, (below) you will see what
    my experience has revealed, and you can use that as a guage in your next projects.

    -vhelp 4557

    VHELP's - Sample Clips [last: 12.29.06],
    my YouTube videos
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  9. For maximum transfer-to-dvd or other video format, the following are my recommendation on
    set up for Recording and Playback on the: JVC S-VHS HR-S3910U model.

    Recording Setup-- My recommendation (though based on my personal everyday experience) when
    setting up to record those tv/movie specials or marathons, follows this basic recepi:

    1 - use Fuji Standard (good) or Pro (best) 6hr tape
    2a - Menu\->Function Set\
    2b - video calibration: ON
    2c - picture control: AUTO
    2d - Video Stabilizer: OFF
    3 - set vcr to EP recording mode
    4 - set vcr to SVHS-ET mode: turn on


    Playback Setup-- My recommendation (again, based on my personal everyday experience) is
    to make the following setup for best analog capture results:

    1 - use Fuji Standard (good) or Pro (best) 6hr tape
    2a - Menu\->Function Set\
    2b - video calibration: ON
    2c - picture control: EDIT
    2d - Video Stabilizer: OFF
    3 - set vcr to ET recording mode


    Comments/Notes/..-- (recording/playback) I found the above to give maximum results in
    video quality details. What I want in these two setup above is every decirnable detail out of the tape
    from the vcr. Thus, the purpose of these two setups is for NR routines by the video's next stage, which
    is editing. I feel that on some equipment, allowing it to control the NR (noise reduction) takes away
    from the user the ability to apply a (possibly) better NR routine if the nr feature was turned on instead.
    So, I leave this off. In my models case (there is no NR on/off button) this feature is in the {2c}
    setup, where you have the following options: AUTO; EDIT; SOFT; SHARP;

    You use the option setup for AUTO; so that the vcr can make maximum use of the tape though based
    on its condition etc. -- the feature of auto; is to sense for certain properties/attributes and make
    auto-adjustments accordingly. However, there may be cases where you don't want to set this to
    AUTO; and instead, to EDIT; which in this case will not auto-sense the tape and will record as-is
    (the content) onto the tape also in maximum use without concirn for tape properties/attributes, etc.

    So, when recording to tape, you must make certain that you use good quality grade tape based on
    many years experience and your best judgement in terms of reproduced quality.

    Now, depending on your tape condition/age/content/macrovision etc., etc., {2b} might perform
    better if turned OFF.

    Perceived noise is a user determinable phenomina and varies from person to person. Example, what
    I see (given the above) as more tape detail, someone else might see as chroma noise or other noise.

    From the Video Workstation of,
    -vhelp 4558

    VHELP's - Sample Clips [last: 12.29.06],
    my YouTube videos
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  10. Preservationist davideck's Avatar
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    Location: USA
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    The Panasonic AG-1970 is at the top of my most popular and well respected list.
    Life is better when you focus on the signals instead of the noise.
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  11. Member
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    Location: USA
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    I just stumbled across some remanufactured Marantz MV-880 vcrs at Accessories4Less (for $99), which is an authorized internet dealer for Marantz. I have read at least one review (on Audioreview.com) that claims that this has digipure functionality and the same "guts" including menu structure as the prosumer JVC units. Can anyone around here comment on the MV-880 and whether they deserve some mention here?

    BTW: I own one of the JVC 40000u units and I agree that it does a great job in spite of the confusion about what exactly it has or doesn't have with regard to processing capability. I have been careful to only use it for transferring things over to DVD in order to mitigate the reliability concerns.
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  12. Member victoriabears's Avatar
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    Location: Canada
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    HMD-H5U does not have tbc/dnr digipure according to the manual on line, I ordered one from B&H and then suddenly saw it did not mention these aspects.
    I have a sr10 and a 9911U am I like to see a lot of difference with a d-vhs with digipure playing back my vhs recordings for dvd transfer, even using a panny es10 for passthrough?

    Appreciate your comments
    PAL/NTSC problem solver.
    USED TO BE A UK Equipment owner., NOW FINISHED WITH VHS CONVERSIONS-THANKS
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  13. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2006
    Location: Central Illinois
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    Very good and usefull post and responses.

    Any suggestions on were these older models can be reliably serviced and repaired, or perhaps this could be covered by another sticky?
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  14. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    Location: NYC
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    Originally Posted by victoriabears
    ...I have a sr10 and a 9911U am I like to see a lot of difference with a d-vhs with digipure playing back my vhs recordings for dvd transfer, even using a panny es10 for passthrough?...
    The JVC and Mitsubishi DVHS machines use pretty much the same type of TBC, DNR and filters you have in your 9911. The DVHS units are five or six years newer and built to a somewhat higher spec, but on the whole will give results much like a 9911 or the older 9600. The only reason I and some others here push DVHS over a 9911 or older JVC SVHS is that they are easier to find in good condition at comparable price points. The people who bought DVHS machines really did not use them much, the format never took off and was bought mostly for bragging rights by well-heeled hobbyists. Whereas older SVHS machines were often well-used, since they were originally considered nothing more than "fancier" VHS decks by most of the folks who bought them. And in recent years, many of them have changed hands several times on the used market, being passed back and forth between techies like us who needed them for DVD transfers.
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  15. Member victoriabears's Avatar
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    Location: Canada
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    thank you, you may have saved me $600 as I need both pal and ntsc machines, I also have a pansonic s-vhs 930B pal machine with tbc/dnr on its way, and my vhs pal stuff seems to largely like panasonic playback.
    PAL/NTSC problem solver.
    USED TO BE A UK Equipment owner., NOW FINISHED WITH VHS CONVERSIONS-THANKS
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  16. Member
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    Location: UK
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    Been reading the manual for the HM-DH30000U and there's no mention of a TBC. It does however have a "video stabilizer" - is this the same/as good as a tbc?
    When this function is set to “ON”, you can automatically correct vertical
    vibrations in the picture when playing back unstable recordings made on
    another VCR.
    NOTES:
    c When you finish viewing a tape, be sure to set this function to “OFF”.
    c Regardless of the setting, this function has no effect during recording and during
    special effects playback.
    c The on-screen display may jitter vertically when this function is set to “ON”.
    c To watch recordings with close-caption, set this function to “OFF”.
    Also if you want to add the JVC PAL D-VHS decks.
    All have TBC + DNR + picture mode filters.
    HM-DR10000EK - UK model. PAL + NTSC playback (on PAL TV)
    HM-DR10000EU - European model. PAL, MESECAM + NTSC playback (on PAL TV). TBC/DNR does not work on MESECAM playback.
    HM-DR10000MS - French model. PAL, SECAM, MESECAM, NTSC playback (on pal tv). TBC/DNR does not work on MESECAM/SECAM playback.
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  17. Member victoriabears's Avatar
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    thanks and have you found any improvement on the jvc s-vhs decks with tbc/dnr?
    PAL/NTSC problem solver.
    USED TO BE A UK Equipment owner., NOW FINISHED WITH VHS CONVERSIONS-THANKS
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  18. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gsh
    Been reading the manual for the HM-DH30000U and there's no mention of a TBC. It does however have a "video stabilizer" - is this the same/as good as a tbc?
    No, the "stabilizer" is a separate function. There is a lot of confusion whether the JVC DVHS units actually do include the "TBC" circuit at all, or whether they use a less-complete subset of features limited to the stabilizer, tape calibration, R3 noise filters, and picture control. There are members who swear they get results equivalent to the older JVC SVHS units which DO specifically include a TBC linked to their R3 noise filtering. One of the bigger problems nicely solved by JVCs is obscure chroma and luminance noise contamination from tape wear or poor reception. Since the JVC DVHS units without TBC perform about as well as the older SVHS with TBC, could it be that the TBC is not the key feature in the JVC feature mix: perhaps their R3 DNR is more significant? (The JVC DVHS units do still have those amazing R3 noise filters.)

    I have only had a chance to take a quick look at an older model JVC HM-DH30000U and the newer SR-VD400U, both DVHS units seemed to do approx the same cleanup job on my "torture test" tape that my JVC SVHS 9911 did. I have checked the manuals for all the JVC DVHS models, and none mentions a TBC, they have only the stabilizer and the noise filters. The manuals for JVC SVHS units distinctly specify a TBC linked to the noise filters, and indeed a front panel button activating the function is labeled "TBC/DNR" on the SVHS models. EDIT: My information is limited to the JVC USA dvhs model range which began with the HM-DH300000U- Europe and Japan received one or two earlier JVC DVHS models such as HM-DR10000EK which DID include the TBC. The HM-DR10000EK seems built like a tank: for members in Europe or Asia who can find an affordable one, it could be an excellent choice. Member "gsh" has one, and has been providing more details as he experiments with it: look for his posts here.

    I would usually tend towards a JVC DVHS over a comparably-priced JVC SVHS, the DVHS is newer with a better-constructed transport and mechanics. If you absolutely must have the TBC *and* the DNR filters, apparently the only USA-market DVHS with both features was the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U, my personal favorite and a great unit. The only remaining options are the older JVC SVHS decks, which I have had a great many problems with, but I suppose if you get a good one at a reasonable price...
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  19. Member
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    Originally Posted by victoriabears
    thanks and have you found any improvement on the jvc s-vhs decks with tbc/dnr?
    My tests show about the same results from an 8700, a 7600 and the DR10000EK, however I haven't been using the DVHS deck long.
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  20. Member
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    Originally Posted by orsetto
    No, the "stabilizer" is a separate function.
    SNIP
    If you absolutely must have the TBC *and* the DNR filters, apparently the only DVHS with both features is the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U, my personal favorite and a great unit. The only remaining options are the older JVC SVHS decks, which I have had a great many problems with, but I suppose if you get a good one at a reasonable price...
    Thanks for the info. I had planned to pick up a DH30000U as I didn't think my HM-DR10000EK had NTSC playback. My original tests when I got it showed me only PAL playback, and the manual has no mention of NTSC at all. However, after seeing manuals for the EU and MS versions I have just tried an NTSC tape again and it does PAL60 playback, fine for my needs. I suspect my previous incorrect assertion was down to forgetting to switch my BR-DV3000 to NTSC input - silly mistake!
    Now I'm running some proper tests on the HM-DR10000EK - I've read that the DVHS decks tend to get very hot, so I'm going to run it continuously all afternoon and see if it is affected - if not, this will likely take over duties as my main deck with the 7600 and my Pana NV-SV121 as secondary decks. Now I just need to pick up a SECAM JVC svhs deck (or Thompson clone) and I should be set for a while.
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  21. Originally Posted by gsh
    Been reading the manual for the HM-DH30000U and there's no mention of a TBC. It does however have a "video stabilizer" - is this the same/as good as a tbc?
    I think JVC D-VHS VCRs might have a TBC feature. Here's a press release from 2004: http://www.jvc.com/press/index.jsp?item=419&pageID=1. According to that press release, the HM-DH5 has TBC listed under its feature list, however, the instructions manual (http://books.jvcservice.com) does not specifically state whether it has the TBC feature.

    This probably wasn't much help, but I guess there is still a possibility that the HM-DH30000U does have a TBC feature even though there's no mention of it in the instructions manual.
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  22. Hi, all - been awhile since I've posted. Been out of the loop with work, moving, etc.

    Anyway, some have mentioned the SR-W5U/SR-W7U

    I still stand by these rather rare W-VHS units as having the finest NTSC VHS playback picture I've seen. The full frame TBC and noise reduction filtering in these units is exceptionally high quality. Plus, the TBC defeats copy protection - a nice bonus.

    If you can find one of these units in good working shape, go for it.

    As always, YMMV
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  23. Member 2Bdecided's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto
    (In Europe/Asia, the very early HM-DR10000EK seems to have been better built than the 30000 and 40000 and may be a good choice for members in those regions.)
    Does that model have a TBC? I can't find any mention of it online.

    Cheers,
    David.
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  24. Member
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    Location: Northern California
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    IMHO, the SONY SLV-R1000 deserves an honorable mention.
    A most superb picture, and built like a tank.

    Often, it'll play tapes that have trouble in my JVC 9900U.
    Losing one's sense of humor....
    is nothing to laugh at.
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  25. Member
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    Originally Posted by 2Bdecided
    Originally Posted by orsetto
    (In Europe/Asia, the very early HM-DR10000EK seems to have been better built than the 30000 and 40000 and may be a good choice for members in those regions.)
    Does that model have a TBC? I can't find any mention of it online.

    Cheers,
    David.
    Yes.
    http://books.jvcservice.com/booklist.asp?Model=HM-DR10000
    Good luck finding one at a good price - in the last few weeks 4 have gone on ebay for prices between £275 - £365
    The prices have gone up since Feb/March when you could get one for under £100.
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  26. Member
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    Location: Mount Airy, MD
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    Hi,
    I'm new to this but want to get it right. I want to transfer my VHS to DVD, but want better than a basic all-in-one DVD/VCR unit.

    In today's market, is it possible to get a S-VHS similar to the old JVC 9800/9600s? What do you recommend for $500 range. Also, what TBC? And what capture card (VISTA with 4MB Ram and Quad Core processor)?

    Thanks.
    Steve
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  27. Member themaster1's Avatar
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    Location: France
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    One JVC model hasn't been talked about much, it's the mini dv/s-vhs combo

    I found one on ebay

    The big advantage is it seems to be able to output in dv directly(something the d-vhs models can't do i think).Add to that its Tbc and u get a beast.Only bad side is there is not the digipure tech. included.


    Did someone ever try this kind of combo?
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  28. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    Location: NYC
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    Originally Posted by stevecog
    ...In today's market, is it possible to get a S-VHS similar to the old JVC 9800/9600s? What do you recommend for $500 range...
    If by "in today's market" you mean "new in stores", no: they're all gone now. The final units were the DVHS models HS-HD2000U from Mitsubishi and SR-VD400US from JVC. Both were still seen occasionally in stores last year for $350-400 but the last of them have now sold out. They turn up on eBay from private sellers used for around $200 or new in box for $350-500. There are one or two "pro"/"industrial" DVD/SVHS combo models from JVC still available new via pro suppliers and specialty electronics dealers, but they retail at approx $1500 which is triple their actual worth and utterly ridiculous considering the rotten quality control they are reported to have lately. You'd be better served by a DVHS or older used SVHS model (just be sure to get a return option on anything used). In a pinch, a used Panasonic AG1970 can often be had for under $100 and can improve playback of many tapes. The color noise cleanup and TBC is better on the MGA and JVC, but for bargain hunters the Panasonic can be a pretty decent "Plan B".
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  29. Member victoriabears's Avatar
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    Location: Canada
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    I have tried many many vcr's and the brand/model that was used to record the vhs in the ifrst place is a good place to start, for ntsc I am seeing the older toshibas are very good, my local thrift store has some new looking ones for $17 !
    PAL/NTSC problem solver.
    USED TO BE A UK Equipment owner., NOW FINISHED WITH VHS CONVERSIONS-THANKS
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  30. Member
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    Add the Pana NV-FS200, the PAL version of the AG1980, I have tested it against an old mitsubish with HiFi (only VHS though) and the difference is night and day. I can also confirm more or less the same behaviour I've seen reported here from NTSC version. Picture chroma might be a little subsaturated for some, but the detail is just amazing. It's also probably a bit more noisy, but you can allways turn the picture control down a bit.
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