This is another in the long series of threads of people who want to transfer their old tape collection to a digital format. After reviewing a number of them I was so discouraged by the responses from the experts on this site that I almost did not bother to post. However, there were a few points I thought might be in my favor so I am doing so, although I know it is against the odds. A short history to explain. Many years ago I recorded some of the movies, etc., I had on my laserdisc collection to S-VHS tapes before I took my disc collection and player to our winter townhouse in FL. These were videos that I did not anticipate would be released on DVD anytime soon, if ever. The laserdiscs/player were disposed of years later and the S-VHS player and tapes relegated to a closet at my home in GA. I took out the tapes and player a few months ago and and to my amazement the player still worked. Appx. 16 tapes remain that I would like to transfer, if possible.
The player is a JVC S-VHS HR-S5000U, purchased sometime around 1985-1986. My only interest is in transferring them to my PC. I have a recent PC: Intel i7 6700K processor with 32 GB of RAM and an EVGA GTX 1080 video card with 8 GB of VRAM. I would transfer to a Crucial 1 TB SSD. I do not want to spend more than $200 to accomplish this project. Do I hear laughter?? As you can see I would like to do this but I am not willing to spend very much to accomplish it. Also, I was incredibly ignorant of what it would take and bought a piece of equipment before I researched what I needed: a Udigital 3RCA/AV/CVBS Composite and S-Video R/L Audio to HDMI Converter Adapter Upscaler (supports 720P/1080P). I could return this to Amazon if totally useless. I also put in my basket at Amazon a View HD 2 port 1x2 Powered HDMI Line Splitter, Model VHD-1x2MN3D since my early research indicated I might need this type of device. I also put in the basket a Hauppauge Collossus 2 PCI Express Internal 1080P HD-PVR as a capture device since it had a HDMI input.
I am not expecting any increase of video quality above what is on the tapes. If I could achieve that it would be fine. The laserdisc to S-VHS transfer was quite good and the JVC still produced a very acceptable picture although I fully understand that the transfer process could change that totally. Also, the JVC might stop working on the first attempt at a lengthy use. Please advise if there is any way I could accomplish my goal considering my budget limitation and if any of the equipment listed would be usable in doing this. Alternative equipment suggestions are very welcome. I thank anyone who peruses this thread in advance for any information you can provide; I am surprised you keep answering the old folks who keep asking these questions.
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HDMI isn't buying you anything you can't do better (and reversibly) in software. Just connect the s-video output of your JVC to a USB converter like this. (That's a model I've used; you may get by fine with a cheaper $20 or less brand.) You should also pick up a used DVD recorder (search the forum) to use as a timebase corrector since your VCR lacks this capability.
Before taking chances with your one-of-a-kind cassettes, open up your JVC and clean the tape path with cotton swabs and 91%+ isopropyl alcohol. (But stay away from the video drum.) Check the pinch roller for defects and make sure it's not super hard or you could end up with mangled tape. If your deck chokes, it will probably be due to dried up old grease. That's a bigger job to take on and requires some tools and mechanical aptitude.
Since your budget is $200 you could buy a S-VHS VCR equipped with TBC.
I thank both of you for your responses. Can either of you provide the model number of an inexpensive S-VHS player that has a TBC? I did some brief research today that I will continue tomorrow but all the units I saw on Ebay and Amazon that had a TBC were in the $500-600 range. For JVRaines - I did not see a category on the forums for VHS/S-VHS, only DVD players. What am I missing? Also, what software would you recommend that would be fairly simple to use. I looked at a number of the ones that can be downloaded here but I have not a clue as to which one would be the best for my purpose.
I can take care of the recommended cleaning of the tape path. I am used to working carefully with electronics as I have built all my own computers for the past 25 plus years. The lubrication would be, as stated, a bigger job without the correct tools/lubrication/manual. I will just hope for the best.
Thanks again to both of you!!
Buying a used VCR (the only kind) on eBay is a crap shoot. You are probably better off with the devil you know. If you search the Capturing forum for "Panasonic DVD recorder," you should find some threads about which models work well and what they do for the video. As far as software goes, I am presently using AmaRecTV, which has some quirky English in the GUI but otherwise provides a smoother capture experience for me than the very popular VirtualDub.
The lube job is only a consideration if your JVC won't run. It's pretty common with old mechanisms that have sat still for a decade or two or three.
Thank you for the info and please excuse my tardy response. I have been under the weather the past few days. I have downloaded the software you suggested and I will search for the equipment in the near future. Hopefully I can accomplish my goal within the next couple of months. Thanks again!