I am thinking about trying to start up capturing all my VHS tapes to digital and I was wondering if anyone could give me some suggestions.
I have a Panasonic DMR-EH75V already and was going to output 480p to my HD-PVR. Does this machine have TBC? I have searched Google and haven't found any definite answer.
I was also looking at the JVC HR-DVS3U which allows firewire capture. They had these units at my college in one of the labs and they seemed pretty good. It seemed easier to do the capture because I could just pop the tape in, hit go, do something else and the thing would capture the whole tape without any need for me to do anything. I looked this one up and it looks like it has a 2MB TBC
Of those two which would you recommend? Also, if there are ones that are better and aren't super expensive, please let me know.
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I am a little puzzled by your post.
I did look up the JVC and it does state that it has a TBC. Whether this just applies for the miniDV part of the unit I know not.
But I think you are confused about its firewire - i-link as they call it - capabilities. This is input only and only for miniDV. So you could not use that connection to transfer under DV to a PC. What exactly were they doing at college - A dv to dv copy ? That would make sense.
But it is your 'plan' with the Panasonic that really puzzles me. If I have the correct unit, this is a VHS/HDD/DVD-recorder combi. I doubt if you could send 480P as VHS to any other recorder. These units usually only do this for connection over hdmi so that would only work for output from the HDD or the dvd part and not the VHS. I suppose you could dub from VHS to the HDD and then to your dvr. I doubt if there is a TBC in this and a connection over hdmi would not use it anyway.
I was able to output the VCR through the FireWire to a PC with that JVC machine in college, so I know it works.
On the Panasonic I was going to use component out to my HD-PVR. I'm pretty sure last time I hooked it up it said the signal was 480p.
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You're better off capturing at 480i.
As far as the DMR-EH75V having line TBC functionality, you tell us, since you have one!
The Panasonic DMR-EH75v does have some sort of TBC buffer between its VCR and its DVD recorder, but it would not be the same type that you see in separate dedicated DVHS and SVHS vcrs. The TBC in the EH75v is more of a "minimally prep this VHS signal so the DVD encoder can handle it" sort of a thing, while the "TBC" in separate VCRs usually incorporates DNR (noise reduction) as well, which cleans up noisy colors. Panasonic DVD-only and DVD/HDD recorders have some degree of pass-thru TBC functionality, but it was much stronger and more usable on models older than your EH75v, also I'm not sure if the TBC processes signals from its internal VCR thru its line outputs: it may only be internal, since the VCR is built in.
The TBC/DNR in the JVC HR-DVS3U is more sophisticated: it will clear up color and luminance noise (grain). To some degree this cleanup smooths away some detail, which you can compensate for by adjusting the Picture and R3 sharpness and edge enhancement controls. I haven"t used a JVC MiniDVD/SVHS combo in several years, so I don't remember offhand if the TBC/DNR corrections are passed thru the FireWire/DV connection: before purchasing your own DVS3U, I'd strongly recommend you test these features using one of the units at your college (perhaps they'll let you revisit the lab as an alumni). The instruction manual gives no info whatsoever re VHS output via FireWire, and only minimal info re the MiniDV. You might try sending a PM query to VideoHelp member LordSmurf, who is our local authority on all things JVC (or contact him at his DigitalFaq site).
Do be aware the the JVC HR-DVS3U is not one of JVCs most reliable products: it is a known flakey unit and not the surest bet second-hand. Do not buy any HR-DVS3U unless you can thoroughly test it with a money-back guarantee.
Oh, I wasn't paying attention to the thread topic and didn't realize the question was about actually playing back a tape using the Panasonic combo. I thought the VHS section of combos were universally decried by our experts.
Regarding the poor reputation of DVD/VCR combo recorders among VideoHelp members: that is largely true, at least if the person asking is the least bit persnickety or plans to do any editing (cut commercials or badly shot footage). However, the Panasonic EH-75v is the lone exception: it has a better than average VCR section compared to most combos, and it was the only DVD/VCR combo marketed in USA that included a hard drive, technically making it a DVD/VHS/HDD recorder. Or put another way, the EH-75v was essentially the very popular EH-55 DVD/HDD recorder with a VCR grafted onto it. One of the more common VHS>DVD workflows is to connect a good VCR to a DVD/HDD recorder, dub to its HDD, perform editing and layout on the HDD, then burn the DVD. Using the Panasonic EH-75v simply permits that same workflow with an all-in-one unit.
Of course there are drawbacks, chief among them being the limitations of the built-in VCR. It is adequate: no more, no less performance than you would get from any random second-hand Panasonic 4-head hifi vcr you could pick up for $20. If your tapes are all high quality SP with no issues like generation loss or copy protection, the built-in EH-75v VCR is convenient. But if your tapes have any issues like noise or copy protection, the built-in VCR will be inadequate, requiring an external VCR with its own TBC/DNR and perhaps a black box device to filter the protection. The EH-75v was a one-of-a-kind Panasonic model pitched to a specific type of consumer: someone who expected to record TV on the hard drive, burn those recordings to DVD, and occasionally use the VCR to play a handful of VHS they might still have laying around the house. Like all combos, the EH75v built-in VCR was primarily intended to pacify wives/girlfriends/mothers who would not tolerate both the old VCR and a new DVD recorder cluttering their living rooms. The "tape dubbing" feature was a face-saving techie sop to the men who bought the things in an effort to keep household peace.
It does appear that Optical would not be using the EH75v to directly make DVDs from VHS, but is asking if the built-in VCR was up to the task of playing VHS into an external encoding device. The answer to that is not clear: as vaporeon800 remarked, one would need to test that for themselves. The EH75v was never a big seller, so comparatively few owners have commented on its VCR abilities when used for external vs internal dubbing. The impression I've gleaned from the few owners who posted is that the VCR line output is decoupled from the internal TBC inputs of the DVD/HDD section, so there is no particular advantage to using it in place of a normal VCR when dubbing to external capture devices. The exception might be if you want to capture via component or HDMI: I believe the EH75v is one of very few devices that can output VHS signals on those connections. Whether this would result in better captures than using a standard SVHS or DVHS vcr with its own TBC/DNR, output via composite or s-video, requires individual tests with specific tapes and encoders to determine.
Last edited by orsetto; 27th Jan 2014 at 15:14.
You are REALLY late to this party. Yes, it's better to start doing this now than next year or 5 years from now or later than that, but the golden age of doing this is long gone. You're now going to have to buy risky VCRs from 2nd hand sellers. For the most part most VCRs have now been "rode hard and put up wet" and you may find that what you buy doesn't last very long without breaking down. I strongly suggest that you limit yourself to what you really and truly have to transfer, such as old personal videos where the VHS tape is your only copy. Trying to copy stuff that's now easily available on DVD or BluRay but you're too cheap to re-buy is probably not a good idea.
One last thing - the less picky you are about your captures and any filtering you do (if you re-encode the captures), the better off you may be. We've had a rather infamous thread where the original poster had some anime videos he wanted to capture and after a full year of working at it, he accomplished NOTHING because he kept giving up at the most minor of flaws and starting over. If you just get it done and get on with your life, you'll be better off than if you capture that Star Trek videotape 25 times, trying to get minor improvements every time you capture it.
Yeah, I only care about personal home movies. I just decided I probably should get started doing something before the tapes start failing.
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The output jacks labeled "DVD Priority" are a perfect example of gibberish: the label only half-explains how those jacks work and doesn't give any context to how they compare to the other connections.
The explanation is this: the better-grade Panasonic combo DVD/VHS recorders (including the EH-75v) have an unusual, almost unique ability to separate the line output signal of the built-in VCR from the line input of the built-in DVD (or HDD) recorder. Unfortunately the nomenclature is inscrutable so there is no way of knowing about this unless you use such a unit and stumble upon the added functionality. The output jacks labeled "DVD Only" do just that: they are dedicated to the DVD/HDD section of the EH-75v and the only signal they will play is from that section of the unit (if the VCR is engaged you get no signal or a black screen). The line outputs above these, that are labeled "DVD-VHS Common Out," have an undocumented dual function. In normal operation, they output whatever mode the EH-75v is switched to: DVD, VHS, or HDD.
However, advanced users who discover the need for a "black box" (TBC, protection filter, proc amp) can insert this device between the built-in VCR output and built-in DVD/HDD input. You do this by switching the unit to VHS mode, connecting the "DVD-VHS Common Out" to the black box input, connecting the black box output to any of the EH75v line inputs, and connecting the "DVD Priority Out" to your TV. With this hookup, the VHS signals are re-routed from the internal connections thru your external devices and back into the DVD/HDD section of the unit. The "DVD Priority Out" connection lets you monitor the DVD/HDD activity as if the built-in VCR was external. This ability is very uncommon: the majority of DVD/VHS combo decks cannot operate their VHS and DVD sections as independent inputs/outputs, so if external hardware needs to be looped in you would require an additional external VCR to do it.
Regarding VHS playback thru HDMI and component connection, this is another nifty Panasonic near-exclusive that is not terribly well documented. Most combo decks deactivate HDMI when VHS is selected: it must be played thru the standard analog connections. Many combo decks also deactivate component output when VHS is selected. AFAIK, only Panasonic offers playback of all internal sources (DVD, VHS, HDD) thru all available outputs. This simplifies connection to the TV, and allows flexibility with various capture devices (depending on the tape and encoder, you may see cleaner VHS thru HDMI or component than you would via composite or s-video). All things being relative, of course: the EH75v is a consumer-grade device, so one can't expect it to work miracles just because its low-end VCR can play VHS over HDMI. More demanding archivists, or those with huge collections, will probably prefer a separate VCR with additional signal processing features. Also, the majority of 2006-era EH75v recorders have blown their power modules by now: model scarcity + repair costs make the EH75v impractical second-hand. This discussion might be of academic interest to existing owners, but the EH75v hasn't been a viable option for anyone else since its discontinuation seven years ago.