(Sorry, not sure if there was a better forum to post this question)
I've owned a few different VCRs. I had a Sharp vcr (forget the model) that looked great. Then I used a Toshiba W-528 vcr that looked really good (not as good as the Sharp but very close), but both of those stopped working properly. (even cleaning the heads inside would not fix the weird pixelated image they were giving, not sure how that even could have happened) Recently I bought a refurbished JVC HR-VP790U that I thought was going to be better than the Sharp and Toshiba from all the great things I hear about JVC VCRs and the fact that this seemed like a higher end vcr model than the Sharp & Toshiba. But to my disappointment the picture quality seems way worst than the Sharp and Toshiba VCRs I had, like there is way too much grain in the picture all the time. (I know there should be grain in the picture, but it really looks like overkill(way too much)). Is the JVC HR-VP790U a bad model? Or maybe because it was "refurbished", would that maybe be the cause of the excessive grain? I always read about TBC (time base correction). Do I need a really good TBC vcr for just watching my vhs tapes on my crt tv (to get the best picture/image), or is a really good TBC just needed for capturing tapes at the highest quality? Please and thanks for any information.
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Also I forgot to mention, I know about turning off "Auto Picture" on the JVC vcr in the settings and just use "norm" and it looks way better, but it still has way too much grain in the picture.
A TBC can help improve playback quality on LCD screens but probably isn't worth it just for watching, they make a big difference when capturing though. As far as your JVC model, you can go in the menu and change the "PICTURE CONTROL — AUTO(NORM)/EDIT/SOFT/SHARP". Pick whatever looks best to you. In my own side by side tests, I prefer EDIT but others here like AUTO(NORM).
Edit: Could also be that the RF Modulator (Coax Output) has gone bad which is leaking noise throughout the entire unit. I've personally had to remove the Coax unit on my Sony Machine as it was putting out massive amounts of noise, even on the Yellow RCA Composite output.
Last edited by KarMa; 8th Nov 2019 at 17:41.
Also I went through all the different settings on the jvc, and the only one that looks ok is the auto picture = off, with Norm selected. (the edit setting adds even more grain to the picture). And like I said, I feel the Norm setting is still way too grainy.
I never heard of the RF modulator going bad leaking noise. I use composite video connection. How can I remove the RF modulator? Is it very hard to do? Is there anyway I can test to be sure the RF modulator is leaking noise? Is it possible that because it was "refurbished", certain important capacitors/parts were maybe replaced with inferior ones causing the subpar picture quality on the JVC vcr?
Please and thanks for any info.
I ended up removing the RF Output (coax) because there was some very serious interference coming out of my machine at all times, even during Blue Screen. Causing every tape I played to be noticeably worse than with any other machine. If this does not sound like your problem then don't remove it.
Some machines have them as a slotted card, as my Sony and as my higher end JVCs. Making removal easy by just removing the card. Every machine is different and only you can check for yourself. Other machines have the Coax built into the main board of the machine, making it impossible for a novice to remove.
It could also be something as simple as a dirty head. In which case I would suggest playing a known clean Hollywood tape through in its entirety to try and dislodge any oxide buildup. As all our tapes get older they are shedding more and more and causing the heads to get covered in shed material, especially tapes that are being played for the first time in decades.
Without comparison shots and capture footage I'm just shooting in the dark with my suggestions.
A good VCR will make the video look more noisy because it maintains the signal coming off the tape rather than obliterating it with simple-minded noise reduction. You are welcome, of course, to use settings other than the "Edit" setting, which is the one which passes the signal through to the TV without filtering it through the simple-minded low-pass filter which does indeed filter noise, but also eliminates a tremendous amount of detail.
A TBC will make some tapes look better on any TV set. It really doesn't matter if the set is CRT or LCD or plasma, or anything else. However, if the tape is in good shape and was recorded with good equipment, the TBC may not make any noticeable difference.
The usual advice for getting a good picture from a VCR is to use the S-video output rather than composite or RF. If your VCR has component output (somewhat rare), that would be the ultimate connection.
The HR-VP790U simply isn't a very good VCR: like every mfr, JVC had some lemons mixed in with their legends (of course it may also just need repair). Its been my experience that many VCRs mfd after 1996 have a tendency toward excruciatingly noisy playback, to the point they almost seem defective. This is distinctly different from the "honest noisy detail" johnmeyer refers to: it does indeed almost look "pixelated" as you describe. Panasonics from 1997 onward are particularly noxious at playback, and your circa-2000 VP790U was among a handful of models JVC re-branded as Panasonic models as well.
The TBC/DNR feature does help with playback on any TV, whether CRT or modern LCD: there can be huge improvements in color noise and shimmer. Unfortunately these are the most expensive VCRs, the hardest to find in good used condition, and the ones most prone to lousy tracking.
If you liked your Sharp, I'd recommend you stalk eBay for another similar model. Otherwise, consider a narrow-body Matsushita (Panasonic, Quasar) made between 1994 and 1996- they usually have the date printed on the back label near the jacks. A couple of later full-width models, like Mitsubishi HS-U440 and Panasonic AG-2550, AG-2560, AG-2570 are very reliable mechanically, with less grainy playback than most of their peers. Skip the AG-2580: its a re-badge of your JVC HR-VP790U. Avoid Sony VHS and Funai (Magnavox, Sylvania).
Last edited by orsetto; 9th Nov 2019 at 03:00.
Cleaning heads rarely fixes issues. That's overused and terrible advice online. Head cleaning is not a fix-all for whatever ails a deck. In fact, over-cleaning or improperly cleaning does more harm than good.
Line TBC as found in certain S0-VHS VCRs almost always helps, whether just for watching, or for capturing (which is technically also watching).
TBC has nothing to do with LCD. If anything, some modern HDTV sets have their own filters that act as chroma NR and degrain. But the wiggles can only be addressed in line TBC. I was using S-VHS VCRs with TBCs years before doing any capturing. It was for best viewing quality, both then and now. Only difference is that now I capture what I see, don't merely view it.
The conversation about RF is somewhat moot because that specific model is not a good VCR anyway.
VHS inherent has chroma noise and timing issues. All tapes have it to some degree, and tape "shape" or being "recorded with good equipment" does not change that fact. Noticeable is arguable, especially once pointed out.
Yes, s-video, always, when available.
Funai was the EOL of VCRs, cheap crap from then-3rd-world Asia, using bought/hollow brand names like Toshiba.
Unless I'm mistaken (lordsmurf is more knowledgeable about Sharp variations), the better Admirals were often re-badged Sharp vcrs, so would be most familiar to you. The Panasonics I mentioned are all near-identical, to the point I've never understood why Panasonic bothered changing the model numbers other than to indicate a new model year. Some have a useless "detail" button on the front panel which is simply a hardware version of the "sharp" picture menu setting in other VCRs: turn it off unless you need it. The 2550, 2560 and 2570 are nearly indistinguishable: after my 2550 wore out I replaced it with four 2560s that became available cheap from a lab that was disposing of them, and even after several years I still need to squint at the front panel to identify the model before responding to forum threads like this one. The 2580 was an entirely new design, a re-badged version of your JVC HR-VP790U (so avoid that one). The really terrible Panasonics are in the 86xx and 96xx series: "pixelation" galore (brand new out of the box, they played perfect flawless VHS tapes as if you were viewing bad snowy broadcast reception from a TV station in a distant province).
As lordsmurf advised, the higher model numbers aren't a reliable indicator of "better" models, and newer is definitely not always better in any case (after 1999, most of the remaining vcrs still being sold new were total trash). You should be OK with any Toshiba VCR whose model number begins with "W", but be wary of the transition point when Funai took over production of all Toshiba VCRs and DVD players/recorders. I believe once Funai stepped in somewhere around 2004, they stopped selling Toshiba-branded dedicated VCRs, replacing them with endless variations of DVD/VHS combo. But there might have been a stray Funai/Toshiba VCR or two that were made solely for WalMart.
The Mitsubishi HS-U440 and 441 were an exception to rule that the newest budget VCRs were the worst: these were sold from roughly 1998-2001 and are surprisingly well made. The playback is average to very good depending on the tape, build quality is excellent (very rugged, reliable mechanism), and they have a much wider range of tracking with finer control increments than most comparable VCRs (this helps a lot with flaky HiFi stereo soundtracks, and EP/SLP tapes).
Last edited by orsetto; 12th Nov 2019 at 11:10.
Wow, very grateful for all the information everyone. It's funny, after using the JVC for a few more days, watching a bunch of tapes, I actually am starting to really like the picture quality of the edit setting (a lot more that the norm setting). And what I thought was too much grain, actually is pretty good looking. I am realizing, I was just so used to the toshiba vcr picture quality, that it takes a few days to get used to a different vcr, and I am really enjoying the JVC at lot more. I will be buying more high quality VCRs in the future and will remember the advice given here. Thanks again everyone. Cheers.