Leave the future to the future. You can re-capture anything that truly needs to be better at a later date (because the technology for it does not exist yet). I did this with scanning photos years ago, and will later re-scan/process a few that merit the attention (and that tech is just now starting to give results, but still not quite there yet).
Unfortunately, not everybody knows this. A lot of people have gotten "too big for their britches", making wildly inaccurate claims as to how viable and quality it is. But it is not. It may be "the future", but it's definitely not "the current".we now that and are aware of the limitations.
Some of us are doing this in private, amongst ourselves, slowly, to our own timelines, away from the stupid elements of the project. For example, I have an AG-1970 set aside that I intend to use. What I expect is a sharper image, but with more image defects that were hidden/removed by the VCRs and TBCs.because some of the most knowleadgable videohelp could have been involved, but if you guys do not want so, then is fine to decide to leave this attempt.
And understand that I will be trying my best, as I have some extremely rare recordings that are worth the tiny boost in sharpness. I'll even go so far as to mix RF/standard workflow captures to create the best final version of the recording.
I'm actually NOT all that confident in the idea that you can "get the tape RF now, worry about making it better later". Vaporware is common, time obsolesces everything. But for these few recordings, which have already been captured 3-4 times over the past 20+ years, for 1970s tapes that are aging within that 35-65 year window, I'm not against storing a supposed "RF copy" on a HDD or SSD (or both). But I'd not bet money on it -- at least not any more than the drives cost.
Sometimes people (WRONGLY!) state that I'm a "perfectionist". But if you want to gets nuts, let's get nuts!
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On the hardware side, for the project to have a wide compatibility and better support they will have to design the heads pre-amp and make it part of the hardware, Then you can take the output from the heads' rotary transformer of any VCR or camcorder, any format, pro or consumer, and amplify it without needing the VCR, If you approach pro formats you may get some robust support, relying on the VCR pre-amp and consumer formats only is going to hinder the project progress.
Ideally design a BLDC control board for both the capstan and the video drum motors to have a better control of the tape transport and throw away the entire electronics of the VCR, That way with any VCR you can do 525 and 625 formats' official speeds, and any low speed such as LP, EP, SLP ...etc. Not only that but having control of the tape transport you can recover stretched or shrunk tapes, tapes with damaged edge of the control track, you can have manual tracking, you name it.
The thing is, you are still riding dead horses, as the main problem are the actual heads, that wear out and are not produced anymore. So you will never have a consistent source for them, as one always have to rely on the used ones that are around.
So to make it good in the long term, you might need a substitute for the heads. I know that magnetic storage systems are still used in many companies, but for backup of data. So I don't know if you can modify a head e.g. of a LTO or DDS drive
That's not the vhsdecode's problem, Conventional capture is affected as well. My point was that if only the tape transport is needed, than there is a good supply of VCRs that were made as late as 2016 that are in good condition enough to get the available stock of un-captured tapes transferred to digital, You need new heads if recording or repeated playback is intended, As far as I know only a negligeable number of people doing this for hobby or nostalgic purposes. So heads are not going to be a problem for at least the next 40 years, given the fact that heavily used machines from early 80's are still functioning, so 2010's VCRs with light use should be fine for more few decades for a single play per tape, But you can't use such low end machines for regular capturing via composite for a decent quality capture.