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  1. Member
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    Having recently picked up one of the Panasonic AG-1980s that everyone seems to talk about , which thanks to you guys , was a great choice for converting some of my older videos. My question is , nowadays what is the best option for buying blank VHS tapes with a decent amount of quality behind them? The reason I ask , I'd still like to use a VHS tape on the quick if something catches my eye.

    Any suggestions? Thanks.
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    I am under the impression that almost all the manufacturers have abandoned the marketplace. A search at Best Buy's website showed them only selling Sony brand VHS tapes. I'm curious to see if anyone has any better advice, but it looks to me that you're essentially just going to have to take what you can get here.
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  3. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    jman's correct. there are NO producers of vhs tape anymore. when the current stockpiled inventory is sold out, that's it, but there are many years worth at current consumption rates. buy what you like/find now for your future needs.
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    I appreciate the replies , thank you both.
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  5. Isn't it kind of redudant to be concerned about quality when you plan on recording something onto vhs?
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    I would suggest using S-VHS tapes. I've always had very good luck with Fuji S-VHS tapes & I'm sure you can still find a good supplier on the internet. Try Tapestockonline.com.
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    I was under the impression that it was pre-recorded VHS movies that were no longer being manufactured. VCRs are still popularly used to record from TV, as you can't build a library from DVR.

    Generally, you'll do fine with the major tape brands--TDK, Sony, Maxell, 3M. Avoid Memorex like the plague.

    Best,

    Calidore
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  8. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Avoid Maxell, it hasn't been a good tape in about 10 years now.
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  9. Member vhelp's Avatar
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    Evening everyone.

    My experience is with Fuji. They have IMHO the best quality tapes. Get the ones in the gold package. They are $2.99 at my nearest food store but you will probably do better elsewheres cheaper. They are quite superior in SP mode, but I mainly use (should say, used) them in EP mode because they were superior in that mode too for my jvc vcr while the *other* brands left white streaks or speckles.

    I don't know that panasonic brand line, so I can't help you with the proper setup for recording to vhs tapes.

    If you are recording from a digital source then you are probably going to be fine evenf in vhs (SP) recording mode even without S-VHS type tapes though they would definately be better.

    If the panasonic has a SuperVHS ET or similar feature I would use it. But you would only see svhs quality aspects/results with a good tape brand such as the Fuji GOLD I mentioned. You will definately see a difference with this feature turned on in standard SP recording mode. But thats only if your unit features that S-ET function. Note, this feature is specific to standard tapes *not* s-vhs tapes.

    I have a ton of stuff recorded on many Fuji brand tapes in EP recording mode. One day, when I'm ready, I will begin transfer (through analog capture route) for the challenge and hobby of it all. By then I hope my noise reduction technique as well as programming them have improved. Until then, I keep searching many different home-brew algos and debug them in my videos in my spare time.

    -vhelp 5197
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  10. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Fuji had a LOT OF GRAIN through the years. I suggest against those, actually. The "Fuji Pro" tapes were actually worse made than the consumer ones, from my experiences (and those of colleagues in the late 90s and early 2000s). They were cheap in bulk, that's about it.

    For S-VHS-ET, the best tapes were TDK EHG (DSP, or HiFi), or JVC SX (or EX, Gold).
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    Originally Posted by Calidore
    I was under the impression that it was pre-recorded VHS movies that were no longer being manufactured.
    Yes, the movies are no more, but so are the tapes. The USA's largest electronics retailer, Best Buy, stocks Sony and that's it.

    Originally Posted by Calidore
    VCRs are still popularly used to record from TV, as you can't build a library from DVR.
    I'm thinking that either your circle of friends is all over 70 years old or you're just making this one up off the top of your head. Seriously, do you REALLY know more than 1 person (2+ people in the same house don't count) who still uses a VCR? I don't know ANYBODY who still uses them. Even my dad, who is over 70 years old, uses a DVD recorder I bought him a few years ago for Christmas. And everybody I know except my dad and one friend who also has a DVD recorder uses a PVR of some type, mostly TIVO, to record TV. Americans don't want to build libraries of recordings. Those who do are rare indeed.

    VCRs are NOT still popularly used. You are sadly mistaken here. No offense intended, but you really could not be more out of touch with that statement.
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    Back in the day, Scotch was the only brand that I would buy.

    I guess nowadays, you take whatever you can get.
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    As far as TDK EHG, those also are/were known as TDK Vivid. There was a point around '99 where they changed the names and packaging on the tapes (HS became Revue) but it seemed to vary by region, as I'd usually get the same older named/packaged TDKs when I'd get TDKs in trades.
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  14. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Yeah, Vivid, I knew I had forgotten one!
    TDK changed names a few times from the 80s to 90s to 2000s.

    Maxell Gold and HiFi was the tape of choice for many people in the late 80s and early 90s. Around 1999, they changed something, and the tapes were really lossy crap, lots of magnetic dropouts. They dropped the "metal" names in favor of "Standard/Premium", etc

    Memorex always sucked.

    Scotch was pretty good for a time in there, as was Kodak and BASF. Mostly late 80s and early 90s. I sometimes wonder if these were all the same tapes re-branded.

    JVC was really good, although the low-end JVC tapes found in grocery stores or discount stores seemed crappy compared to the SAME SUB-BRAND (JVC SX) found at electronics stores. I think it was a case of multiple outsourcing/re-branding. Never really looked into it, wish I had.

    Sony always made me laugh, the "Premium" tapes were standard grade.
    The true Premium tapes were harder to come by, forget the name off-hand, don't want to dig apart the closet to look.

    Fry's clearance out their whole S-VHS selection at one store a few years ago, and I bought several dozen blanks for 75 or 90 cents each!! Ka-ching! Just in case I need/want to use the old camera or VCR for recording. I used one back in January.

    Fuji S-VHS, now -- that was probably the best S-VHS tape. So Fuji could do something right.
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Memorex always sucked.

    Scotch was pretty good for a time in there, as was Kodak and BASF. Mostly late 80s and early 90s. I sometimes wonder if these were all the same tapes re-branded.

    JVC was really good, although the low-end JVC tapes found in grocery stores or discount stores seemed crappy compared to the SAME SUB-BRAND (JVC SX) found at electronics stores. I think it was a case of multiple outsourcing/re-branding. Never really looked into it, wish I had.

    Sony always made me laugh, the "Premium" tapes were standard grade.
    The true Premium tapes were harder to come by, forget the name off-hand, don't want to dig apart the closet to look.
    "Is it live, or is it Memorex?". Must be live because if you put it on Memorex it's gone! Their studio audio reels were good, but we live in a day of straight to digital...

    JVC invented the junk and they made some good tapes. Scotch was good but expensive. Any company that has a product called Scotch Tape must make good tapes. As for Scotch I'll have a glass of Chivas Brother's Royal Salute please.

    Sony Professional were great. EXPENSIVE and you had to buy them from select authorized dealers who usually catered to TV studios, etc. The only prepackaged tape I ever saw that came in a 10 minute SP format. If you can find some of the professional tapes at a good price they are quality.
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  16. Member classfour's Avatar
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    Calidore stated: "You can't build a library from DVR". Not entirely true.

    Using TIVO Desktop Server, you can download recordings to your computer (I stream the file via wireless router, but you can use a patch cable), edit out the commercials (Video ReDo will open a .tivo extension directly) and create DVD folders for burning.

    It will not let you download protected files.
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    People tend to dismiss VHS today as an archival format, but I have hundreds of self recorded TV tapes that are 20 years old and 99% of them still look just as good as the day I recorded them. I don't even want to think what my recordable DVD media will be like in 20 years.
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  18. Originally Posted by Video Head
    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Memorex always sucked.

    Scotch was pretty good for a time in there, as was Kodak and BASF. Mostly late 80s and early 90s. I sometimes wonder if these were all the same tapes re-branded.

    JVC was really good, although the low-end JVC tapes found in grocery stores or discount stores seemed crappy compared to the SAME SUB-BRAND (JVC SX) found at electronics stores. I think it was a case of multiple outsourcing/re-branding. Never really looked into it, wish I had.

    Sony always made me laugh, the "Premium" tapes were standard grade.
    The true Premium tapes were harder to come by, forget the name off-hand, don't want to dig apart the closet to look.

    JVC invented the junk and they made some good tapes. Scotch was good but expensive. Any company that has a product called Scotch Tape must make good tapes.
    JVC didn't invent videotape, they invented the VHS. Videotape was invented 20 years earlier by 3M (Scotch).
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    Originally Posted by samijubal
    Originally Posted by Video Head
    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Memorex always sucked.

    Scotch was pretty good for a time in there, as was Kodak and BASF. Mostly late 80s and early 90s. I sometimes wonder if these were all the same tapes re-branded.

    JVC was really good, although the low-end JVC tapes found in grocery stores or discount stores seemed crappy compared to the SAME SUB-BRAND (JVC SX) found at electronics stores. I think it was a case of multiple outsourcing/re-branding. Never really looked into it, wish I had.

    Sony always made me laugh, the "Premium" tapes were standard grade.
    The true Premium tapes were harder to come by, forget the name off-hand, don't want to dig apart the closet to look.

    JVC invented the junk and they made some good tapes. Scotch was good but expensive. Any company that has a product called Scotch Tape must make good tapes.
    JVC didn't invent videotape, they invented the VHS. Videotape was invented 20 years earlier by 3M (Scotch).
    As for Scotch I'll have a glass of Chivas Brother's Royal Salute please.

    You manufacturers rep's are always so excitable!
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  20. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Vidd
    People tend to dismiss VHS today as an archival format, but I have hundreds of self recorded TV tapes that are 20 years old and 99% of them still look just as good as the day I recorded them. I don't even want to think what my recordable DVD media will be like in 20 years.
    The DVD? It will look the same.

    Your tapes may be okay for 20 years, depending on your climate location, but don't expect 20 more from them. I'm not going to spout that BS myth used by shady converter services that your tapes on dying on the shelf, but degradation does happen, even in archival conditioned rooms. Most people don't notice yellowing on paper, but trust that it is there. Same for tape quality loss. It is still correctable as long as the oxide doesn't shed.
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Originally Posted by Vidd
    People tend to dismiss VHS today as an archival format, but I have hundreds of self recorded TV tapes that are 20 years old and 99% of them still look just as good as the day I recorded them. I don't even want to think what my recordable DVD media will be like in 20 years.
    The DVD? It will look the same.

    Your tapes may be okay for 20 years, depending on your climate location, but don't expect 20 more from them. I'm not going to spout that BS myth used by shady converter services that your tapes on dying on the shelf, but degradation does happen, even in archival conditioned rooms. Most people don't notice yellowing on paper, but trust that it is there. Same for tape quality loss. It is still correctable as long as the oxide doesn't shed.
    An interesting subject! What lasts longer: magnetic tape or optical disc? I have 20 year old VHS tapes that still play great. I have 5 year old commercial DVD's that have issues. What caused it? Handling? Storage? Quality of original media or manufacture?

    I always believed that DVD is superior due to the lack of mechanical failure within the device...all those guides and wheels in the tape transports and tapes. Tape stretch, motor wear and degradation of rollers, heads, etc. causing speed, tracking and image quality issues. I know that magnetic tape gives up a bit of its soul every time it is played due to material being scrubbed off of the base plastic and adhesive by the play heads, but is one media superior to another?
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    The DVD? It will look the same.
    My point was dye degradation.

    I have 8 year old Verbatim media that still gets quality scans. But other discs than once had good scans and stored in the same conditions, including Sony branded TY, are no longer readable and throw CRC errors.

    No argument VHS will degrade over time. But if I recorded something today, placed it on a shelf and came back 20 years later, I would have more confidence that the VHS tape would play (albeit degraded quality) than the recordable dvd media.
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  23. I have many VHS tapes from 1980 that still play perfectly, so I'm firmly in the camp that feels tape is more "solid" than recordable disc. Granted, the tapes are slowly degrading as they sit there in storage, and I wouldn't expect them to last more than another ten years tops, but getting 30 years durability (so far) in casual basement storage was damned impressive. I'm steadily transferring these VHS tapes to DVD, to stay reasonably contemporary with technology and bridge the recordings to the next format invention. But I have definite doubts my DVD copies are gonna last as long as the tapes did: I just want them to make it to the next recordable format, preferably one that doesn't rely on dyes. After that, I'll be too old to care or ever watch all this stuff again .

    As far as using the AG1980 as a VCR to record things, don't bother. As others have said, tape is dead: making new ones is counterproductive. Decent fresh blanks have been off the market for ages: if you're hell-bent on recording to tape, check eBay and Craigs List for listings of second-hand or new-old-stock SVHS tapes. Any brand, doesn't matter: SVHS tape had dramatically tighter quality control than ordinary VHS tape, which is why SVHS blanks were so hideously expensive. Nowadays if you shop carefully from private sellers, they are affordable. The Panasonic AG-1980 is not capable of SVHS-ET recording, so thats a moot point: just look for some "true" SVHS blanks.
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  24. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Who said anything about relying purely on dyes? I keep important recordings archived to ISO files on secondary backup hard drives, too.

    "Don't put all your eggs in one basket."

    The AG-1980P can do S-VHS-ET .... just melt a hole in the tape, at the correct place.
    Don't drill it, just use a hot glue gun sans the glue. Drilling makes dust that gets in the VCR.
    There's nothing special about the JVC "ET" mode.
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    years ago when i taped stuff like "On Scene: Emergency Response" "China Beach" id use SP better picture quality
    Last edited by danderson400; 28th Apr 2015 at 15:45.
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    T-160 and T-180 as horrible thin tape from the mid/late 90s, and mostly Memorex junk (Memorsux).
    Lots of dropout issues with those tapes.
    You also saw higher than usual chroma offset.
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    Burn on M-Disk if you worry about durability.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-DISC
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    what was the best tapes to use in early 90s?
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    I used to like Fuji AV pro. There used to be an electronics shop at Pico and Bundy in West Los Angeles; like VHS itself, long gone now.
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    my SP tapes of "On Scene" and "China Beach" were in a box in my bedroom for years in a closet
    Last edited by danderson400; 28th Apr 2015 at 16:46.
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