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  1. Member
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    Hi.

    TL;DR:

    What are my best options these days of finding a decent VCR that plays PAL VHS tapes, can be plugged into a US power outlet, and has advanced tracking for tapes that were recorded with a badly adjusted VCR?

    Details:

    I have a Samsung dvd-v6700 that has been stored in the basement for years - today I pulled it out, and nothing works except for a soft knocking as soon as I plug it in. So it's dead. I used it to digitize my PAL VHS tapes from Germany, and I remember the quality being weird - it had big areas with the colors wrong. I don't know if this is due to the VCR, the VCR that recorded the tapes, the converter, or the digitizer I used. I do remember that 30 years ago, our old VCR had something funky going on that made tapes harder to play on other VCRs.

    Either way, I wanted to try again, so now I need a new VCR that plays PAL VHS tapes and works in the US.

    I did some reading on it and went through various lists of highly recommended VCRs, and I found any of them really hard to find unless I want to import them from another country without guarantees that it'll work here.

    I probably need something with better-than-consumer tracking ability so it can read the tapes I have.

    I have spent time on Google Shopping, Amazon, and eBay, and most items I found had some major flaw or were sold in another country.

    I don't need professional quality, but the less color artifacts and lines, the better.

    Thanks!
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  2. Capturing Memories dellsam34's Avatar
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    That's a tough requirement, A decent multi-standard VCR that you will mess up the alignment just to get the tapes to work, Eeew. Well you are going to have to make some sacrifices to save money, first forget the US power requirement to avoid getting a multistandard VCR, just get a step up transformer, Get a low end PAL VCR (not decent but cheap) preferably from a US seller to avoid paying $200 or so in shipping from Europe or buy one from Europe and have a relative or a friend to bring it to you when they travel to the US. Then you will have to know how to re-adjust the tape guides to get your miss aligned tapes to hopefully work again.

    Another alternative is pay someone to transfer them for you.
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  3. Member
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    Thanks for the advice!
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  4. My guess is that any PAL 625/50 compatible VCR available in the US is likely to be a multi standard PAL-SECAM-NTSC model - unless someone has imported one for a similar reason to yourself and no longer needs it. That's a niche requirement. (Some multi standard VCRs sold in the US also had early digital frame rate converters - which will also work a bit like a TBC I suspect - as PAL-compatible TVs are rare in the US, unlike NTSC-compatible TVs in Europe)

    Buying a PAL VCR in Europe or Aus/NZ or PAL-Asia is going to be easier - but you'll need to find a way of getting it to the US... As dellsam34 has said - if a friend or family member visits - putting it in their luggage is potentially cheaper than shipping. (The better VCRs - like the Panasonic models with built-in TBCs - are quite heavy though)
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  5. There are occasionally some PAL or Multi-system VCRs that pop up on US ebay, the former may require a transformer, multi-system ones are normally also multi-voltage, though it's always going to be a bit of a gamble.

    You would also likely want something to stabilize the video like a TBC or similar, though just as with VCRs, most gear sold in the US seems to often be NTSC only, while in PAL land stuff like panasonic and later sony/pioneer dvd-recorders supported both NTSC and PAL, so again may be hard to find something.

    If the Samsung makes a clicking type noise when plugged in/turned on and doesn't turn on properly it's a sign that it suffers from bad power supply capacitors.

    If it's VHS-C tapes specifically, importing a camcorder (there were some late model panasonic and JVC ones that featured a TBC) may be easier than a full deck, though they can be a bit hit and miss.

    Alternatively, as noted, it may be easier to send it to a reputable digitizing service if it's not a lot of tapes.
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  6. Member
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    Thanks for the replies.

    I found a site in Europe that refurbishes old VCRs and has free shipping to the US, so I'll go for a high quality system there.

    Meanwhile, I found that my S-VHS-C camera also bit the dust (probably literally), so if I buy a S-VHS recorder and a tape adapter, I can digitize all my tapes with one system.

    I have too many tapes to make a digitizing service worth it, and I don't know if they'll guarantee being able to read tapes with bad tracking, so I'd rather try myself.
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  7. Capturing Memories dellsam34's Avatar
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    Multi-standard VCR's never officially sold in the US market, They were always imported from overseas with multi power but a European plug that needs an adapter, Often those VCR's are of a low quality regular VHS with composite out only, not for capturing such as the Samsungs and Toshibas and are very expensive. JVC made few true multi-standard S-VHS VCR's with no conversion between standards and only one model that is built in TBC/DNR HR-S7600AM very hard to find.

    But the OP has a different problem, miss-recorded tapes, a multi-standard VCR cannot fix his problem.
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