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  1. Dear Videohelp members, I want to ask for some advice on VCR's specifically with support to playback commercial LP mode recorded tapes.
    The idea is to import a NTSC vcr to Europe and digital transfer the tapes using my computer in conjunction with Virtualdub.
    I've come across a "VCR buying guide" made by lordsmurf 10 years ago.
    However it's not clear to me; do all ntsc vcr machines support LP playback ore do i need to find a specific old brand to correctly get these tapes to play?

    I read a topic where a user named lingyi wrote "LP wasn't part of JVC's VHS specs. Matsushita / Panasonic added it without JVC's consent. When JVC finally gave in and added the SLP / EP mode, they allowed playback, but not recording of LP."

    This implies to me that the newer JVC machines back than did support playback for LP but most of them didn't and in order to buy a more reliable machine i would need to shift my attention to Matsushita ore Panasonic brands.
    I know i must sound ridiculous to be asking this in 2018 but could anyone recommend me a NTSC VCR machine with LP playback and maybe TBC support ore something so i can get the best quality still left out of these tapes ?
    Most importantly would be the audio i would really like to get the audio captured in the best quality possible.

    The reason behind all of this is i'm working on a restoration project to preserve some old cartoons in their original artistic way.
    Licensing issues and costs have pretty much doomed these old cartoons to be altered indefinitely in future releases.
    Most of the original soundtracks are released on VHS tapes but only in US and the are pretty obscure so i feel obligated to get these preserved before it's to late.
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    AFAIK, all VHS VCRs except for pre-1977 JVCs and professional machines support LP playback (though not recording on JVCs) so you're likely fine with any of lordsmurf's recommendations. I'll leave it up to others to recommend specific models that offer the best output since I've had little experience with VHS.

    Be aware that like EP/SLP, playback quality of your tapes may vary because of the head/track width (some high end VCRs had separate heads designed for optimum LP/EP recording and playback). Again others here will be able to help with recommendations and possible playback issues.

    A bit of trivia to help in your search. Matsushita was the parent company of Panasonic (globally except Japan) and National (in Japan and possibly parts of Asia) and to my knowledge never marketed a Matsushita branded VCR.

    I don't know if lordsmurf at digitalfaq.com still has some of his VCRs for sale, but he would be the best bet and contact for a quality machine. digitalfaq.com also has a marketplace where some established members sell their machines, so that's another generally safe choice. Stay away from ebay as the number of truly exceptional quality machines are rarely offered there for a reasonable price. Also, stay away from professional machines as mentioned above, they generally (probably always) offer only SP playback.
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  3. Member hech54's Avatar
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    I thought that SLP stuff was a problem.....not LP.
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  4. Member DB83's Avatar
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    LP on commercial tapes from the US. That brings back a costly memory.

    Did not realise that happened - it's a total no-no in the UK - and I acquired a tape probably from fleabay 'safe' in the knowledge that my PAL vcr would handle NTSC. Was mortified to realise that the vcr could not handle LP on NTSC. Maybe it was ELP. Think I still have that tape as a souvenir.
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    Originally Posted by hech54 View Post
    I thought that SLP stuff was a problem.....not LP.
    I believe the primary issue with LP was special effects (slow, frame by frame) since neither the SP (too wide) or EP (too narrow) heads were able to properly track LP recordings. IIRC, both my JVC and Panasonic VCRs blanked out the screen if you tried to use slow-mo or frame by frame.
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  6. Member hech54's Avatar
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    I don't understand how VCR heads would be a different physical "size".
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    Originally Posted by hech54 View Post
    I don't understand how VCR heads would be a different physical "size".
    I suspect you're playing with me because of my incorrect description which should be head gap and track width, not the physical size of the video head (though I believe they got physically smaller over time, probably wrong on this too!). Thanks for going easy on me!

    Here's an excerpt from a book that explains everything in much more detail than my layman's understanding: https://books.google.com/books?id=NXEIVQrhKP4C&lpg=PA139&ots=KKFxPAYWWs&dq=&pg=PA140&h...page&q&f=false
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    Off-topic, but I seem to recall an a photo (not an illustration) of a strip of videotape from a helical scan recorder that was treated with something to make the video tracks visible. It may be just my imagination since I know the video tracks are super narrow and super long.
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