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  1. Hi,

    So I own the DVD recorder DMR-BCT74 and the VCR NV-HV61, both from Panasonic.
    When attempting to copy one of my VHS tapes to the DVD recorder's hard drive, I'm met with a error message saying the material cannot be recorded due to copy protection. In this case it was a tape containing Macrovision protection, but I occasionally run into this problem on old home video tapes as well, during parts where the tape is damaged, causing the DVD recorder to incorrectly read the signal as a copy protection.
    Anyways, someone once told me that this problem also happens when trying to record TV programs on modern DVD recorders, but there was a way around it: by using an older DVD recorder. Supposedly, the older DVD recorders wouldn't register the copy protection on the TV programs and therefore allow you to record them anyway.

    Now, my first question is: If the above claim is even true -- would that strategy also work when copying a Macrovision VHS tape, if using an older DVD recorder? Would the DVD recorder ignore the Macrovision signals transmitted by the VCR / VHS tape? I'm asking because I believe a relative has an early 2000s Philips DVD recorder that I may be able to borrow, but I don't want to bother getting that out of her storage if it's not going to work anyway.

    My second question: I read online that if you are willing to sacrifice some of the quality, you can circumvent Macrovision protections by using a RF connection instead of SCART / RCA cables. I checked the DVD recorder, and it does have an RF IN on the back, so I plugged the RF cable into that plug, and the other end of the cable I plugged into the VCR's RF OUT. However, I am not getting any signal when playing back the tape (or any other tape, for the matter). The DVD recorder's input is set to "AV". I am only able to select "AV" or "TV" (no "RF"). When choosing TV it complains there not being any TV stations available. I looked through the whole manual and the only information I can find about the RF connection is that it's possible to set it to "on" even when the player is in standby mode (I checked that setting just to make sure, and it was already set to "ON" by default).
    Any idea how to record something with the DVD recorder using the RF cable? What buttons do I need to press? The manual sucks, or maybe I'm just stupid. Here is an online copy of the manual if anyone smarter than me can make some sense of it: https://www.manualslib.com/manual/1179140/Panasonic-Dmr-Bct74.html
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  2. Member DB83's Avatar
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    The answer to the first question is a big, big No. All recording devices are wired to detect a macrovision signal true or fake. The only way to remove the macrovision is to acquire a Time Base Corrector (TBC) which sits between the vcr and the recorder.

    Not sure if the second idea is true but since RF is analog then it might. I believe you do use TV mode and select a channel that corresponds with the RF channel that is output by the vcr.
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  3. Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    The answer to the first question is a big, big No. All recording devices are wired to detect a macrovision signal true or fake. The only way to remove the macrovision is to acquire a Time Base Corrector (TBC) which sits between the vcr and the recorder.

    Not sure if the second idea is true but since RF is analog then it might. I believe you do use TV mode and select a channel that corresponds with the RF channel that is output by the vcr.
    Thank you for replying.
    As I select "TV" in the input mode, it immediately halts and says no TV station detected, push to search for stations. I don't know what to do to select a channel. I wrote Panasonic's support and they told me this DVD recorder can only receive TV stations through the RF input and nothing else, but that does not make sense to me. How would the unit be able to tell the difference between a TV station and something else, through an analog signal? On the other hand, I can't understand anything about the RF input in that crappy manual. If someone would figure this out for me, I would pay them for the trouble.

    About the Time Base Corrector, do you have any suggestion on which one to get? Which one is the best one that for sure will work with a DVD recorder, recording Macrovision tapes without any problems?
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  4. Member DB83's Avatar
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    I took a closer look at the manual.

    A few things strike me. It has a scart connector so that implies a European model. It also has a hdmi socket so it is not exactly an old recorder.

    Now all available channels come through the same coax cable and there would have to be some internal tuner to differentiate. Much like our freeview in the UK. So it may well be that it is not possible to connect a vcr in the hoped for manner. In fact this RF connector could well also be a digital connector since practically all analog signals have now been switched off.

    There are countless topics about TBC's in the forum. I can not recc a particular one for your purpose since I do not, myself, use one. But to remove mv you do need a full-frame device not a line device. The good news is that practically all TBCs that are openly sold are full-frame.
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  5. Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    I took a closer look at the manual.

    A few things strike me. It has a scart connector so that implies a European model. It also has a hdmi socket so it is not exactly an old recorder.

    Now all available channels come through the same coax cable and there would have to be some internal tuner to differentiate. Much like our freeview in the UK. So it may well be that it is not possible to connect a vcr in the hoped for manner. In fact this RF connector could well also be a digital connector since practically all analog signals have now been switched off.

    There are countless topics about TBC's in the forum. I can not recc a particular one for your purpose since I do not, myself, use one. But to remove mv you do need a full-frame device not a line device. The good news is that practically all TBCs that are openly sold are full-frame.
    You are right, the unit is only a couple years old and it's a European version. I guess I'll try to get my hands on an older recorder and see if I can record the tapes through the RF input on that. And if that doesn't work, I'll look more into the various TCBs available.
    Thanks for your input.
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  6. Dinosaur Supervisor KarMa's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    All recording devices are wired to detect a macrovision signal true or fake. The only way to remove the macrovision is to acquire a Time Base Corrector (TBC) which sits between the vcr and the recorder.
    While most devices are designed to detect macrovision or are affected by macrovision (especially VCRs and DVD-Recorders), not everything is. Such as my Hauppauge 1250 internal card. There are a few version of the 1250 while I have the one with S-Video In, RF In, and 3.5mm Jack (no yellow Composite In). It does not care about Macrovision.
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  7. Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    Not sure if the second idea is true but since RF is analog then it might (remove Macrovision).
    Almost certainly not. The whole point of Macrovision was to prevent tape-to-tape copies. Virtually every VCR had RF in and out. Macrovision would have been pointless if it was bypassed by using RF.

    The idea that RF could be recorded by VCRs probably comes from the fact that over-the-air and cable broadcasts were Macrovision free (except pay channels like HBO) and could be recorded freely.
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  8. Dinosaur Supervisor KarMa's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    (except pay channels like HBO)
    Had no idea they broadcasted macrovision but then again there is nothing really stopping it. Guess they were the only ones who would pay for the macrovision usage fees.
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  9. Member DB83's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by KarMa View Post
    Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    All recording devices are wired to detect a macrovision signal true or fake. The only way to remove the macrovision is to acquire a Time Base Corrector (TBC) which sits between the vcr and the recorder.
    While most devices are designed to detect macrovision or are affected by macrovision (especially VCRs and DVD-Recorders), not everything is. Such as my Hauppauge 1250 internal card. There are a few version of the 1250 while I have the one with S-Video In, RF In, and 3.5mm Jack (no yellow Composite In). It does not care about Macrovision.
    Quite so.

    I have an oldish Hauppauge WinTV card that happily ignores mv. Only issue with that it does not work beyond XP
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  10. But if there are TV cards that ignore Macrovision, technically couldn't there be some DVD recorders that do as well?
    I don't know what sort of encryption TV stations use, but I know for a fact a friend owns an older Panasonic DVD recorder that records satellite programs, while my newer DVD recorder won't record the same programs due to "copyrighted material". Maybe Macrovision works differently than the encryption TV/satellite stations use.
    Are the DVD recorders programmed to refuse recording Macrovision signals, due to legal reasons, or are they simply not capable of recording the signals, thus displaying the message "can not record due to copyrighted material"?
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  11. Member DB83's Avatar
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    I should add (do not know the precise details so someone can enhance this) that there existed 2 or maybe 3 variants of mv. I do not own many mv tapes so it could well be that the card would have refused another 'affected' tape.

    I do think it's a legal issue. No point in an organisation spending vast $$$ on a copy-protection system only to have it broken by domestic recorders.
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  12. Originally Posted by guy24s View Post
    But if there are TV cards that ignore Macrovision, technically couldn't there be some DVD recorders that do as well?
    Yes. But small companies make video capture devices. It's easy for them to fly under the radar. Most DVD recorders were made by large multinational corporations. They can't get away ignoring the law.
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  13. Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Originally Posted by guy24s View Post
    But if there are TV cards that ignore Macrovision, technically couldn't there be some DVD recorders that do as well?
    Yes. But small companies make video capture devices. It's easy for them to fly under the radar. Most DVD recorders were made by large multinational corporations. They can't get away ignoring the law.
    I see. So a generic DVD recorder from China manufactured by a company nobody ever heard of would likely record Macrovision without problems, in other words?
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    Are there any small companies in China?
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  15. Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    Are there any small companies in China?
    When VHS was king there were. But unlike video capture devices which can be put together by anyone in their garage, electromechanical devices like VCR require a large infrastructure to manufacture.
    Last edited by jagabo; 28th Oct 2018 at 18:09.
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  16. Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    Are there any small companies in China?
    Not necessarily small, but unknown generic companies that I assumed might not care about restricting recording capabilities of copyright protected material. On the other hand, there might never have been any DVD recorders (with harddrives or record to disc capabilities) in China, I was just asking hypothetically, because I was trying to figure out if the reason that Macrovision can't be recorded on devices from Panasonic etc was because they are forced to restrict recording of copyrighted material, or rather that it's technically not possible unless they include special hardware to circumvent the copy protections. It seems, if I understand correctly, that all these DVD recorders very well could record Macrovision, but they are specifically programmed not to, for legal reasons. Which leads me to believe it might somehow be possible to hack a DVD recorder to record Macrovision. I'm not going to go that far, I'm just curious how all this work.
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  17. Originally Posted by guy24s View Post
    if I understand correctly, that all these DVD recorders very well could record Macrovision, but they are specifically programmed not to, for legal reasons.
    That is correct.
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