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  1. Member
    Join Date: May 2012
    Location: Saudi Arabia
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    Hello.

    I wanna buy a decent PAL VCR for capturing.

    Based on this recommended list: http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/video-restore/1567-vcr-buying-guide.html I searched on the web (ebay mainly) but I couldn't find any single one for sale!

    Any suggestions for alternative recommendations?

    I feel stupid for buying a +$300 JVC HR-7600U before I realized that it's NTSC which doesn't work in my country!
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  2. Member hech54's Avatar
    Join Date: Jul 2001
    Location: Yank in Europe
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    I don't know if this guy ships outside of Germany but she specializes in high-end consumer VCRs, has a great reputation, and Germany is PAL.
    http://stores.ebay.com/Toms-TV-Video-Hifi-Electroshop
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  3. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: Freedonia
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    mctoom - Most of the "recommended" VCRs are gone now. That post you reference was made almost 9 years ago. The "recommended" VCRs have been used and abused by people who figured out "Hmm... maybe I should start backing up my video tapes now" some YEARS ago. Notice I said YEARS. Most of the so-called "recommended" VCRs are now in abominable shape requiring very expensive repairs that could cost hundreds of dollars (US money) and may not last more than a few months. The reason is that these VCRs were generally not made with very good parts and at the time of manufacture, nobody expected them to last until 2014. Every month we get posts from people like you (honestly, it's happening so much that it's really getting old) who just now have woken up with some kind of epiphany and say to themselves "Oh crap! I better start recording my tapes now!" The golden age of VCR capture is long gone. Yes, it's certainly better to start now than say 4-5 years from now, but the truth is that the "recommended" VCRs are dying and the ones that are left are very expensive and usually not in the greatest of shape. Unless you have extraordinary patience and a lot of money, you're much better off to get any decent still functional VCR you can lay your hands on and just be glad you can still capture your tapes at all. We are now clearly at the point where most people have to just take what they can get for VHS capture. If you haven't done this before, I want to warn you that most homemade tapes are in poor quality. Tapes were expensive for most people back in those days so people usually recorded at slower speeds, lessening VHS's already mediocre quality. It's only when you start working from those old tapes that you really begin to realize that VHS tape was a very poor quality media under even ideal circumstances. People like lordsmurf (he runs the website you linked to) do no favors by insisting to the masses that getting "DVD quality" is a realistic goal when it's not a realistic goal at all. Maybe HE does get that kind of quality, but I know for a fact that he also does rather complicated post capture filtering and processing of his work and YOU probably won't get the same results. It's your call, but you've arrived to this party only to find that the door is locked and all the guests have long gone home and unless you really have a lot of money to throw around where you can just keep buying "recommended" VCRs every few months to replace the ones you previously bought that died on you, you'd be better served to just buy a functional VCR and get the job done as quickly and as reasonably well as you can.
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  4. Member
    Join Date: Mar 2011
    Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
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    jman's right. Nowadays the condition is far more important than how good it was new.
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  5. Member
    Join Date: May 2010
    Location: MS
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    Not only do I agree with jman in principle but also If it were me, just starting out, I would find a cheap vcr, do a basic capture with a dvd recorder, bypass/forget about all that computer filtering.
    Then adjust the filters in the TV settings if I ever wanted to watch it again.

    Having said the above, I have 4 high end vcrs, 4 proc amps, capture card and 4 jvc dvd recorders.
    IMO, it is not worth the time or expense to fool with all that stuff for digitizing vhs material...unless someone doesn't mind spending
    money and doesn't have anything better to do with his time.

    R.I.P. VHS.
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  6. Member
    Join Date: May 2012
    Location: Saudi Arabia
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    Oh god. Reading your comment made me just sad jman, but I guess that's reality, and I should accept it.

    Thanks all for what you suggested, I guess I will lower my standards and get things done.
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  7. Member orsetto's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2007
    Location: NYC
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    This Panasonic VCR, available from the German eBay store hech54 linked to, is considered about as good as you can get in a PAL unit. Very highly recommended by tape digitizers in UK & Germany. Also, eBay Germany (eBay.de) does have the best selection of PAL vcrs.

    As jman98 told you, these premium VCRs are all aging and falling apart, and repairs are difficult, so don't buy unless the seller has very high ratings for accurate description of functional condition. The much less expensive "ordinary" PAL vcrs (those that don't have the TBC or DNR recommended in DigitalFAQ) are usually found in much better condition and are more reliable. You might consider starting with one of those, and see how you like the results. By the time you've digitized the twentieth tape with a "premium" VCR, you start to realize the improvement with the TBC/DNR isn't as incredible as you expected. It just looks different, not necessarily always for the better, and isn't ideal for all tapes (some play better on regular cheap VCRs).
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  8. If you can't find a decent VCR, you could just buy an ordinary one and then use a DVD recorder with a line TBC in passthrough mode to get the benefit of the TBC. In addition, these guys carry high-end VCRs (and charge high-end prices):

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/PANASONIC-NV-HS950-SUPER-VHS-VCR-VIDEO-RECORDER-S-VHS-ET-TBC...item417edfe6d0

    You can have them deliver or send it to a transportation company which will then send it to you. And I second orsetto's suggestion about the Panasonic NV-HS860. I have one and love it.
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  9. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2006
    Location: Toronto Canada
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    I agree with the posts here and will say, from personal use, that that thread is rather outdated now. Don't get me wrong, it had its purpose and good intention, but that was before mechanical and electronic wear and tear on these units started taking its toll in the last decade or three.

    That thread would be much more useful if the said VCR makes were still being manufactured and sold new today, but we all know that is not the case.

    Today, these units produce all kinds of problems - herringbone patterns, chroma instability, dropouts, yaddy-yah, and the list goes on - the excitement never ends. You will need an advanced course in AviSynth and lots (and lots and lots and lots and lots) of time to experiment with the world of post processing to rescue anything to a watchable state. I am fond of the post-processing end of things myself to IMPROVE things, but certainly not just to RESTORE things, which you will need to do with those units.

    Sellers make claims on the fact that they "work". Yes, they may "work", but how well do they "work"?

    However, let me reassure you regardless, since Jman98 delivered the sad (but valid) news, there is still SOME hope. From my experience, those high end VCRs, even if working 100%, would be over-rated today anyway. Much of the NR, and all, that they have is an outdated technology. With today's large HDDs to capture lossless, and the RAM and CPU power to process, you can do a much better job if you do want to plunge into the world of post-processing, and you won't need much to re-create the effects those VCRs claim they can produce.

    Having said that, you have less need for a "super" VCR now more than ever. Trust me, today, a "regular" VCR or two in the mix can deliver equivalent, if not better, quality today. If they work well, that's all you'll need now.

    That's my point - just get a couple of "regular" VCRs and you're good to go today.
    Last edited by PuzZLeR; 5th Apr 2014 at 03:45.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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  10. Member hech54's Avatar
    Join Date: Jul 2001
    Location: Yank in Europe
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    This Panasonic VCR, available from the German eBay store hech54 linked to, is considered about as good as you can get in a PAL unit.
    I have the lower 620, non TBC version of that machine and it's also a VERY nice player. Got it for free from friends of my wife who rarely used it. They gave me the VCR and a Medion (LG clone) DVD recorder (w/ built-in HDD). The burner is dead on the Medion but I can extract the data from the HDD via my computer.
    Can't beat that with a stick.
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  11. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2006
    Location: Toronto Canada
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    Originally Posted by hech54
    The burner is dead on the Medion but I can extract the data from the HDD via my computer.
    Can't beat that with a stick.
    True.

    I can extract video from my Pioneer DVR-520H -> PC from either the firewire port to DV, or even with the S-Video out to capture device with lossless. Both produce much better quality than the compressed MPEG-2 the burner provides.

    My unit's burner has long been put to sleep, and I could care less if it still works at all. (Most such burners fail anyway after some time, and cost more to fix than buying another unit entirely.)

    My point is, who cares if the burner works or not on these units? You can still transfer the video.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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  12. Member hech54's Avatar
    Join Date: Jul 2001
    Location: Yank in Europe
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    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    Originally Posted by hech54
    The burner is dead on the Medion but I can extract the data from the HDD via my computer.
    Can't beat that with a stick.
    True.

    I can extract video from my Pioneer DVR-520H -> PC from either the firewire port to DV, or even with the S-Video out to capture device with lossless. Both produce much better quality than the compressed MPEG-2 the burner provides.

    My unit's burner has long been put to sleep, and I could care less if it still works at all. (Most such burners fail anyway after some time, and cost more to fix than buying another unit entirely.)

    My point is, who cares if the burner works or not on these units? You can still transfer the video.
    I have to remove the HDD from the recorder and hook it to the computer as a normal HDD. I'm working on mounting the HDD outside of the recorder.
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  13. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2006
    Location: Toronto Canada
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    Originally Posted by hech54
    I have to remove the HDD from the recorder and hook it to the computer as a normal HDD. I'm working on mounting the HDD outside of the recorder.
    This would be the best method, however with most units this would be a nightmare to achieve and is usually not recommended. Glad to see you're successful with it.

    And yeah, you may as well add some tray externally for the DVR's drive if it's going to make many back-and-forth trips to your PC.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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  14. Member hech54's Avatar
    Join Date: Jul 2001
    Location: Yank in Europe
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    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    Originally Posted by hech54
    I have to remove the HDD from the recorder and hook it to the computer as a normal HDD. I'm working on mounting the HDD outside of the recorder.
    This would be the best method, however with most units this would be a nightmare to achieve and is usually not recommended. Glad to see you're successful with it.

    And yeah, you may as well add some tray externally for the DVR's drive if it's going to make many back-and-forth trips to your PC.
    I had help:
    http://ifndef.altervista.org/index_eng.html
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