I trying to connect a PAL VHS from the UK to my TV in the United States. I live with a man from the UK who has autism, and he is desperate to watch his favorite PAL VHS tapes from his youth using an actual VHS player. He has made it perfectly clear he does not want them converted to NTSC VHS or DVD, so Iím trying my best to figure this out but have been unsuccessful so far.
The PAL VCR that I ordered is a Hitachi DV-PF4E(UK). I tried plugging the unit directly into the TV using RCA cables, but all I got was a blank screen with no audio or video. I ordered a video converter (https://www.220-electronics.com/international-kdv-7000-pal-ntsc-secam-hd-video-converter.html) from 220 Electronics but that was unsuccessful. Iíve since discovered that those units are not highly regarded.
I really have no idea what to do next. Both the VCR and DVD player appear totally functional. When I put a VHS tape into the player, the counter clock makes progress and I can hear the unit working. The DVD tray opens and closes without problem, so Iím inclined to think operator error is the problem and not a faulty unit.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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According to photos online, the only analog out (RCA) connections on that machine are AUDIO.....and SCART of course. One photo shows S-Video out.
The did make "converting" VCRs that convert PAL to NTSC (and vise versa)....but they were VERY expensive.
Being an American who was a fan of bands and artists from "PAL Land".....I feel your pain.
I'm afraid defeat is in your future.
If I were to order a SCART to HDMI converter, would that do the trick? Or would that result in a terribly low quality image? I was looking at converters like this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Converter-Techole-Aluminum-Gold-plated-Projector-Black/dp/B08DLK16X4
Not wishing to write out of turn I trust that you are supplying that UK vcr/dvd combi which, typically, expects 220/240v from a US power supply that outputs IIRC 110v. True that some vcrs will switch to the lower power or have a manual switch to do so. But if they do not you could well require a power converter even tho, as you describe, certain functions to work.
That converter does appear to fit your needs. It appears to combine standards conversion with up-scaling. I hardly see a simple up-scaling device working.
Why they have bad reports could be down to a higher expectation than what they can deliver. For that unit I would, assuming you really do get it to work subject to jagabo's comments and my own reservation, not to output higher than 480i(if available)/p. You will NEVER get a great picture from VHS on a HDTV even if both are compatible standards. Crazy as it might appear, if your friend will in no circumstance contemplate a NTSC dvd conversion which really is the most simplistic approach, you would be better served in out-sourcing a PAL CRT tv and a power up-converter.
Thanks jagabo and DB83!
I was worried about the effect that upscaling will have on the image. I donít watch VHS tapes, but I do have a few retro gaming consoles, and there are several high quality upscalers that work wonders for image quality. Unfortunately, these require the input to be RGB. Wish they had something like this for VHS.
I know I could get him a VCR like the Aiwa HV-MX100 that plays both NTSC and PAL VHS, but heís quite hard on electronics, and I canít afford to buy him one of those every other year. Iím hoping to have some sort of converter that works that will allow me to just buy whatever PAL VCR is most affordable.
DB83, when you say I might need a power converter, do you mean something like this: https://www.amazon.com/International-Power-Voltage-Converter-Transformer/dp/B01MRDG8BZ
I guess there are cheaper power converters out there. Right now I am more interested in what you have done in this respect. I have not, at this stage, looked for any user manual for this combi.
I will probably not reply to this for some hours given that it is bed-time over here.
PS, That vcr you mention is not gonna fix the issue. A vcr that accepts PAL will still output PAL unless, as previously mentioned, it converts the output to NTSC. Again, since it is late, I have attempted to check on it's capabilities.
OK, good to know I am on the right track with the power converter at least.
Do you have any faith in upscalers like this: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/610273-REG/Gefen_GTV_COMPSVID_2_HDMIS_TV_Compos...e_to_HDMI.html
Iím thinking that if I get the power converter, and use an S video cable to connect to this I could be at a place where my friend has an acceptable picture quality and the setup is flexible enough where I can replace the VHS players when they fail.
Thank you so much for your help with this. I canít express how much it is going to mean to my friend once he is able to use his PAL VHS player.
I would not even consider that upscaler. I already stated that the converter you have already also upscales - a simple upscaler, however expensive, will still output PAL to PAL.
There is an argument that with HDTV/HDMI there is no longer 'PAL'. But analogue frame-rates still need to be taken care of. Ok, I confess, this is not my strongest subject and I may well be wrong on this one.
Just for clarity, can you confirm that your vcr combi really does accept a 110v power supply ?
S-video is normally only available on the dvd side. Again you must refer to a user manual.
The user manual confirms that the vcr combi is s-video output on the dvd side only. Just as I anticipated.
I really do hate being right but the user manual also confirms that this vcr is 220/240 v only
I haven't gone down this path in a LOOONG time so I am pretty much just thinking outloud here and to set expectations what I am writing might not be too terribly helpful but I see the the options as follow:
A: Actually get a PAL TV and PAL VCR , make sure you have a decent power up converter that can handle the WATTS and AMPS of what you are doing. Now there ARE some 220 Volt connections in some houses in the US but usually the Hertz are 60 and not 50 which can cause problems. You will likely have to have the TV and the VCR plugged into different sockets and by that I mean ideally on different fuses as the power up conversion causes a lot of heat and strain.
B: PAL VCR with a more modern TV: If there are some analog to digital converters out there worth their ilk you can try that. There was a youtube review a while back on an analog to HDMI converter that seemed OK (The youtuber usually gets ripped to shreds here, I personally am on the fence). He was only converting from NTSC analog though so I don't know how feasible this is. Two things of note: You will still need the power converter for the VCR AND the picture will likely be a little different than a pure analog signal but I doubt your friend will notice.
C: Find the multisystem TV and/or VCR like previously mentioned... you might get lucky
D: This would be cruel but you could trick your friend by putting the video in the VCR but give him the DVD remote and play it from a DVD player. Ethically, morally abjectionable beyond belief but it IS an option.
All not very useful probably but that is how I did it many years ago...
It is possible that another analog to HDMI converter would work. Check the TV's manual for supported resolutions. Some ordinary US TVs from major brands made in the past 5-6 years support video input at PAL resolution and framerate (720x576i at 50Hz) delivered via HDMI.
[Edit] So far, I found only one composite to HDMI converter that can deliver output at 576i.
The rest of the composite to HDMI converters that I looked at were less expensive but can only upscale to 720p or 1080p.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 5th Feb 2021 at 21:32. Reason: CorrectionIgnore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord, Snoopy329
If the goal is to just display the picture on TV any analog to HDMI converter should work fine, They range from the cheapest non brand ones that has noise artifacts to the brand name ones that have good picture quality, You get what you pay for.
Wow, thank you to everyone for your help! For some reason I didnít get email notifications that there were more replies to my question.
DB83, thanks for figuring out the power converter piece of this puzzle. I just purchased one of those.
I ordered several different SCART video converters and adapters. Some of them had very mixed reviews, so I figured Iíd order a couple and see which one works best.
I will report back here with what works so if anyone has the same problem and searches this forum they will at least know what worked for me.
I am happy to report the PAL VCR is working! My friend is beyond excited!
Thank you all for helping me figure this out. DB83, thank you especially for helping me figure out the details about power and appropriate converters that I never would have discovered on my own.
I wanted to document what did end up working in case anyone else searches for this topic.
As DB83 pointed out, I believe the step up power converter was key. I ended up using the LiteFuze LC-300: https://smile.amazon.com/LiteFuze-LC-300US-300Watt-Voltage-Converter/dp/B00BQ0FQ4S/ref...tronics&sr=1-1
Finding a working converter proved to be the most difficult task. I ordered several different models from the US and all failed. Out of sheer desperation, I ordered the Techole SCART to 1080p/720p HDMI adapter from the UK, and it finally did the trick: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Converter-Techole-Aluminum-Gold-plated-Projector-Black/dp/B08...tronics&sr=1-1
Always happy to read that, eventually, things work out. Even if you had to get several converters/upscalers.