Question: Panasonic AG-1980? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 39 Old 12-14-2009, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
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I am looking at buying the Panasonic AG-1980.
My problem is that they are very hard to find and the one Panasonic ag-1980 s-vhs vcr machine doesn't come with a remote control. Will this matter? Can I still opperate the machine without the Remote control?
Thanks for any advice and Information.
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post #2 of 39 Old 12-14-2009, 03:46 PM
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Yes, the AG1980 is completely functional without its remote control. Every conceivable control can be operated from its drop-down front panel. The reason so many of these are found second-hand without remotes is thats the first thing most users lost: the majority of new 1980s were sold in pairs and connected to a fancy wired controller (AGA96) that could be programmed to perform up to 8 edit points automatically. Hardly anyone used the wireless remote, which was very simplistic and only had buttons for the basic tape transport functions. If you need a remote for it, any remote made for any Panasonic VCR in the last 20 years will operate the basic functions of an AG1980, as will most universal generic remotes.

I've recently posted some (admittedly) very l-o-n-g and overly-detailed comments on the pluses/minuses of the AG1980 compared to other high-end used VCR options, along with some tips on how to shop for a good functional one. I will not repeat all that here, run a thread search for "Panasonic AG1980" and look for my name to pop up. Some members I respect and admire conveyed their displeasure with my endless ruminations, so I'm trying to edit myself way down.
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post #3 of 39 Old 12-15-2009, 10:35 AM
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[Sarcasm=on]
Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

...I've recently posted some (admittedly) very l-o-n-g and overly-detailed comments...

NO! I can't believe you would do such a thing. Overly long, excessively detailed posts? Surely not *YOU*!
Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

...Some members I respect and admire conveyed their displeasure with my endless ruminations, so I'm trying to edit myself way down....

Inconceivable!

[Sarcasm=off]

You know, I think I have a AGA96 somewhere in a closet, still in the original box, unopened. I never did get the 1980s though.

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
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post #4 of 39 Old 12-15-2009, 11:50 AM
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The remote is available as a replacement part direct from Panasonic. Go here:

http://www.pasc.panasonic.com/epartr...listChoice.asp

and under "Search By Model" enter: AG1980. The remote comes up as the third item on the list that comes back, and a convenient check box to add it to the cart and pay. Cost is $37.99 plus shipping.

Part number is VEQ1711. You might find it cheaper elsewhere on the net.

You can also download the manual for free here if you need it:

http://service.us.panasonic.com/OPERMANPDF/AG1980P.PDF

Hope this helps. Great machines if you're looking for a workhorse to dub a lot of tapes to DVD. The AG1970 is a slightly earlier version of the same machine.
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post #5 of 39 Old 12-16-2009, 10:14 AM
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The "genuine" AG1980 remote is not worth the money people are asking for it: new or used, you won't find one for less than the $37.99 scoosdad noted. Other than the tape transport controls, which are identical to nearly every other Panasonic ever made, there are virtually no buttons on the remote dedicated to any "exclusive to the AG1980" features. The 1980 remote is also poorly laid out and hard to operate: save yourself the $ and trouble, any other random cheap Panasonic remote will work just as well and be nicer. For $37.99, a used AGA96 wired controller is a much better deal: it can run up to two AG1980s at the same time, and has its own huge tape counter display for both (a great backup feature, because the front panel tape counter on the AG1980 is hard to read and very dim on most used units).

The previous and identical-looking AG1970 is a completely different VCR internally: do not assume its just an older version of the AG1980. The 1980 is the only model with the killer TBC and color noise reduction. The AG1970 is a nice, very well made VCR with pedestrian performance compared to the 1980. Under certain circumstances with certain tapes the 1970 can beat the 1980, but that is extremely rare and 99% of the time a 1980 will blow a 1970 into the weeds. Of course, if you can snag a 1970 locally for $30-40, its a great machine and probably the best "ordinary" VCR you'll find out there- consider it a "stripped" 1980. (BTW there is a less-known tunerless version of the AG1980, model name AG5710: this was sold to high-end studios at double the price of the 1980 because it had a computer interface. Today the AG5710 sometimes sells for nothing at surplus sites- it doesn't have a tuner and cannot use a wireless remote, so typical consumer shoppers avoid it. I picked a up couple at $49.95 apiece last year!)
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post #6 of 39 Old 12-16-2009, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all very much for all of your advice and information on the Panasonic ag-1980!
I really appreciated the board's expert analysis. I really appreaciated the website for the manual and all of your expertise.
I went ahead and bought the Panasonic AG-1980 and I will receive it on friday, from Amazon.
Thanks again for everything, Happy holidays!
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post #7 of 39 Old 12-23-2009, 05:45 AM
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So, I know you, CitiBear, consider the Panasonic AG-1980 to be an excellent workhorse prosumer vcr. How would you compare it to the JVC DT100 DVHS machine in terms of video playback quality of VHS and S-VHS tapes? Second, what do you think of the build quality of this particular JVC model compared with the Panasonic AG-1980? If one were to get one or the other machine for dubbing video tapes to DVD and each of the machines were available for around $200, which machine would you recommend? You have posted extensive commentary on the virtues of the AG-1980 and the drawbacks of some of the JVC vcrs but I would appreciate your comments comparing these two specific models. My primary concerns are the video playback quality and the reliability of the machines. Also, any comments on the the Panasonic AG-W1's (or AG-W2, AG-W3, NV-W1) PAL/NTSC/SECAM conversion quality and the build quality/reliability of this machine if you are familiar with it. Thanks!
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post #8 of 39 Old 12-23-2009, 05:19 PM
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I asked about the DT100 SVHS-ET quality in this thread. Members are saying that the JVC DT100 does a very good job playing back VHS, SVHS and SVHS-ET tapes on the JVC DT100.

ADDED EDIT
Quote:
Originally Posted by oromak View Post

Second, what do you think of the build quality of this particular JVC model compared with the Panasonic AG-1980? If one were to get one or the other machine for dubbing video tapes to DVD and each of the machines were available for around $200, which machine would you recommend?!

To me it’s a no brainier!
Do I buy a 25 year old, probably overused VCR or do I buy an almost new, top of the line refurbished by the manufacture VCR that comes with a warrantee from a reputable dealer?
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post #9 of 39 Old 12-24-2009, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Eye View Post

To me it’s a no brainier!
Do I buy a 25 year old, probably overused VCR or do I buy an almost new, top of the line refurbished by the manufacture VCR that comes with a warrantee from a reputable dealer?

It's not that cut-and-dried. Those who rush out to buy something just because its "new with a warrantee" or God help you "refurbished with a warrantee" are often the first ones to come back here crying that they made a huge mistake. When it comes to electronics, VCRs in particular, "new" often means "made like crap". Also, there are many cases of older one-off models with features and/or performance unavailable in anything new. The Panasonic AG-1980 and AG-W1 are such models: you can't get their performance from any other machine, period, new or old. The AG1980 has a specific type of killer TBC/DNR exclusive to it alone, and the AG-W1 is probably the best-quality PAL-NTSC internal-conversion VCR. These models were found in every post-production house I worked at, with good reason. Consider the prices these things sold for when new: in the vicinity of $1299-$1499. Thats the equivalent of about $2500 today, for that kind of money 20 years ago mfrs had to provide high performance, durability and repairability. That last is key: today nothing under $1000 is actually repairable, its disposable. An "ancient 25 year old" AG1980 bought for $99 is easily serviced and brought up to original specifications for under $100, meaning for $200 total you have an incredible VCR that will likely work perfectly under hard use for the rest of your life.

The JVC (and similar Mitsubishi) DVHS machines are in a different class altogether. Their chassis are flimsy and far less durable than an AG1980, and their goofball DVHS subsystems make them more complicated and sensitive to power line issues, etc. The Mitsubishis are a bit sturdier due to not having the spurious A/D/A converters found in the JVCs, which cause the JVCs to run extremely hot to no real advantage. Aside from all that, until very recently the DVHS units sold at a ridiculous price premium over a used AG1980, usually around $400. At that price they were a poor value for anyone but the two dozen DVHS fetishists who actually used their crippled HDTV-on-VHS capabilities: as players for regular VHS/SVHS they were overpriced and overkill. Today, however, the JVC DT100 is available from Vanns or B&H for about $229, and the Mitsubishi is around for about the same $. That levels the playing field and makes the DVHS machines competitive with the AG1980.

The catch, of course, is people with extensive VHS libraries dating back more than 10 years will need both types of VCR. The AG1980 is unequaled at some things, like tracking and jitter reduction on old or slow-speed tapes, while the JVC/Mitsubishi DVHS units can perform less "lossy" cleanup and filtering of better-quality original tapes. Each has capabilities the other can't quite match, often a tape that won't play at all on the AG1980 will play fine on a DVHS (and vice-versa). Since my tape library dates back to 1981, I keep a number of VCRs in rotation: an AG1980, an AG2560, a JVC SR-VD400 DVHS, a Mitsubishi HS-HD2000 DVHS, and several "lower-end" vcrs from different mfrs. If I had to choose just one, it would probably be the AG1980 as its proven the most compatible with the most tapes, but I'd rather have the DVHS alternatives handy as well. Most of the DVHS models are OK and perform similarly, the only caveats would be to avoid the Mitsubishi HS-HD1000 (because only the 2000 has the TBC/DNR), and avoid the older JVC units with five digit model numbers (like 30000) because of heat/reliability issues. The MGA HS-HD2000, or any of the three-digit JVCs like the DT100 or SR-VD400, are the optimal DVHS models for playing standard VHS and SVHS. If you're extraordinarily lucky, you might track down the rarest-of-the-rare vcr: a JVC WVHS model. These were made for the Japanese analog HDTV market, at a quality level never seen before or since (not surprising, since they sold for $5000). Now and then a JVC SW5C or SW7C shows up in North American pawn shops or on eBay, how on earth they got here I don't know but some members obtain them somehow. They are the finest VHS players ever made, they make the AG1980 or current DVHS models look pathetic by comparison and they outperform even the best studio vhs decks. Unfortunately they are scarcer than scarce.
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post #10 of 39 Old 12-24-2009, 03:03 PM
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I went the route of getting a couple used Mitsu D-VHS machines from the 'Bay for plain VHS playback on the theory that for the price they commanded when they were new, maybe the mfr put a little more quality in the tape transport mechanics. Spurious logic, at best, but at the time... Anyway, both machines play VHS nicely for dubbing to DVD or just watching, but I think they're overkill for my needs. Later on I acquired several plain VHS Mitsus of the 448/49 and 577 series, and the playback it just as good.

I've seriously thought of selling off the D-VHS machines to people who want to use them for their intended purpose, just to recover some of my unnecessary investment. The only thing holding me back is that I do like the jog/shuttle dial on the front panel that dropped off the standard equipment list for VHS Mitsu VCRs some time after I acquired my original HS-U580 in 1998.

Now, as I look at my 200 or so VHS tape "keepers," I wonder if it doesn't just make more sense to embark on a big dubbing project like DigaDo, get all the stuff captured in digital form on DVDs (for eventual transfer to some permanent hard-drive based storage system), and abandon VHS completely forever.

Bottom line: Is it worth obtaining equipment excess to your needs, when you can save some money to invest in something else (a Blu-Ray player, all 7 seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD, or your Individual Retirement Account?
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post #11 of 39 Old 12-24-2009, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

It's not that cut-and-dried. .

I know my short post sounded cut and dry but in all honesty I did quite a bit of research on the DT100 since jjeff posted this link to the current DT100 discussion.

I admit I have no first-hand experience with the DT100 but I have read numerous statements by other owners and for the most part virtually every owner of the DT100 is happy with it's analog tape playback performance. I haven't heard one comment (besides yours) stating that this VCR won't properly track old analog tapes.

The DT100 includes some options exclusive for playback of old analog tapes. Frame Synchronizer, to copy from analog to digital. DigiPure Technology with Time Base Corrector and 4MB Frame Memory for playing back analog tapes.
Furthermore the DT100 will up-convert analog interlaced tapes to progressive.

Citibear, my VHS collection Dates back to 1984 and although my current deck, new $179 in 2002 - a JVC SVHS HR-S3911 without DigiPure, without TBC and without the 4MB Frame Memory, tracks my tapes just fine - I'm still thinking of purchasing the DT100 simply for the "interlace to progressive up-convert feature". And to boot I would have a nice HD-1080i / 720P VCR.

Then in again, maybe the reason my old tapes track fine on most VCRs is because they are recorded in SP and properly stored and taken care of.

I have heard on this forum and others - complaints about the AG1980 mechanism being problematic and problems with the rubber parts worn out and dry.

I know all about good quality built, made in Japan VCRs from the past. I own a 1984 Sony Beta Hi FI and a 1985 Sony Super Beta Hi Fi, both in good working order - both weigh about three times as much as current VCRs. I also have a 1985 Sony Super Beta Hi Fi for parts. Although two machines still work - the reality is they have HIGH MILEAGE, and all the parts are getting very worn out. Unless you have some experience in VTR maintenance and lube - you will run into problems with such old machines.

If Sony made a top-line Hi Def version VTR, backward compatible with SuperBeta - with added features to enhance old analog tapes and a reputable dealer was selling the VCRs refurbished by Sony with a warrantee - I wouldn't think twice between buying one for $225 or looking for a 25 year old well built sought after SLHF750 off eBay for the same price.

So citibear, this is my extended post implying
To me it's a no brainier!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Happy Hanaka too.

PS if I have a little cash left after the New Year and if they still have the DT100 - I will probably scoop one up.
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post #12 of 39 Old 12-25-2009, 10:42 AM
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Happy Holidays to you as well, SuperEye, and everyone else here! Of course we're all nuts to be on this forum instead of interacting with our relatives. Then again, you need an occasional respite from all the enforced socializing!

Regarding the DT100, you may perhaps have misread my post- I didn't mean to imply the DT100 is a "bad tracker", what I'm saying is a properly-adjusted AG1980 is known to be better than the DVHS units at tracking and locking down some types of problem tapes. If it didn't excel at some things, nobody would bother with such an old VCR. For that matter, nobody would bother with similar old JVC svhses, either: they're an even bigger crapshoot as far as finding a functioning vcr or getting one repaired. In terms of our use, dubbing ordinary VHS to digital, the DT100 and other JVC DVHS models are nothing more than old JVC vcrs with a DVHS board thrown in.

The analog circuits we need- the DigPpure filter and the TBC- are carried over intact from the 20 year old 8000 and 9000 svhs JVCs (the DVHS subsystem has no interaction or effect on VHS/SVHS operation at all). Transport mechanics are more or less the same as the last series of JVC svhs: OK if its working well, a horror if it falls out of alignment. At least with the DVHS, you can still get a new one, and used ones tend to have had very little use: with JVC, you want as close to new as you can lay hands on. A beat up AG1980 is easily tuned up, a beat up JVC is more difficult to service. Of course, its all relative: as you've noted, there's a clique of users who bought bum AG1980s, and a clique of users whose JVCs are doorstops: depends how you shop and how good the service depots are in your area. If you can afford one of each, its the ideal setup, because you will eventually hit a few tapes that need one or the other design for optimal playback.

More often than not, I totally agree with doswonk1's experience: for most people these uber-SVHS or DVHS units are expensive (and balky) overkill. Their greatest asset, the TBC/DNR, is also their biggest liability: unless you babysit the tracking and check which type of VCR plays each tape best, you can end up with worse results than by using a decent, everyday, common VCR like a Mitsubishi 448 or Panasonic/Quasar/Sharp from the 1990s. The high-end TBC/DNR systems can add really unpleasant artifacts if left unattended or unadjusted. Even when set perfectly, they can put you between a rock and a hard place: the TBC/DNR tends to impart unnatural motion artifacts and too-smoothed cartoon-like detail. The jitter reduction feature can bite you unexpectedly: it works great on tapes that need it, but can add jitter to good stable tapes! Depending on the specific vcr model, some or all of these "enhancement" features might be locked together: its all-or-nothing. That can leave you stuck with a side effect you don't want caused by a circuit you would not have turned on if you had the choice. Compromises everywhere.

The whole VHS to digital task is a never-ending can of worms if you get too perfectionist about it: I've gone from mega-ultra-super-duper hardware to totally ordinary consumer grade stuff and back again several times. I've discovered from hard experience and some wasted $$$ that the plain-jane $20 used vcrs from Craigs List give me better (or at least acceptable) results more often than I'd care to admit. The fancy VCRs can surprise you by being more trouble than they're worth after you've used them awhile: easy, mediocre but predictable results become preferable to never knowing what you might get and having to nanny the process every damn time. For proof, look no further than our guru DigaDo, who used the excellent but "ordinary" 2005-2006-era Panasonic combo VHS/DVD recorders to transfer thousands of his tapes: he wanted decent results with the least fussing and the most efficiency. Too bad those models are long discontinued.
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post #13 of 39 Old 12-25-2009, 04:39 PM
 
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Well, if the JVC SVHS units are so crummy,
then WHY did someone on Ebay just pay
$405. for a JVC SVHS vcr model S10000U?
It ended on the 23 of Dec.
I WAS going to bid on it, BUT, I figured that I
SHOULD just get the Panasonic AG1980.
Hence my name.
Attachment 161796

Attachment 161797

Attachment 161798
LL
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LL
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post #14 of 39 Old 12-25-2009, 04:42 PM
 
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The third picture is my OLD picture, that is my old TV, before I got
my Panasonic 36 inch HDTV.
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post #15 of 39 Old 12-25-2009, 08:25 PM
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CitiBear, Super Eye, et al,


Happy Holidays! All of your insightful and honest feedback about the virtues of these machines is most appreciated. I have owned a couple of lower end JVC machines (3600 and 3800) and have borrowed a JVC 9800 machine. The cheaper machines served me reliably for some time. The JVC 9800 machine was borrowed from a friend and - though it was hardly used after having been purchased new - broke down in no time which surprised me given how much more it cost. After reading all the feedback, I am inclined to get a Panasonic AG-W2 for about $100 (the I am looking to buy it plays back but there is some problem with recording but recording functionality is not essential for my purposes) as it would do PAL/SECAM to NTSC conversions and, I hope, perform acceptably for playing back regular NTSC VHS tapes even when it is not doing any conversions. As far as I can tell, the main difference between the AG-W1 (which I have used) and the AG-W2 is that the latter features BNC video connections on the back. The alternative would cost considerably more but would probably yield better results, i.e., acquire a Panasonic AG-1980 and a multi-system Panasonic DMR-EH58. Dub the PAL/SECAM tapes without conversion to the multi-system DVD recorder harddrive, burn PAL DVD's, and then playback the PAL DVD's on a converting DVD player (and possibly dubbing to one of the NTSC DVD recorders. With the Panasonic AG-W2 vcr, since I already have several DVD recorders with harddrives, my total equipment cost would only be around $100. Getting the AG-1980 plus a multi-system DVD recorder would total around $400. So, for $100 I am willing to take a chance and see whether that will give results that are good enough. I do have some S-VHS and S-VHS ET tapes but those I am not so concerned about at present and none of those are PAL or SECAM. When I get around to dubbing the S-VHS tapes to DVD since the AG-W2 only does "SQPB" (Super-VHS Quasi Play Back, i.e. plays back S-VHS tapes but only at regular VHS quality), I suspect I may yet have a Panasonic AG-1980 in my future.

BTW, one final question for CitiBear: you have posted that the AG-5710 is exactly the same machine as the AG-1980 minus the tuner. However, in reading descriptions of the AG-5710, I cannot find specifications that it has a built-in TBC such as is present in the AG-1980. Does the AG-5710 have a built-in TBC?
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post #16 of 39 Old 12-25-2009, 11:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oromak View Post

BTW, one final question for CitiBear: you have posted that the AG-5710 is exactly the same machine as the AG-1980 minus the tuner. However, in reading descriptions of the AG-5710, I cannot find specifications that it has a built-in TBC such as is present in the AG-1980. Does the AG-5710 have a built-in TBC?

Yes, the AG5710 is the same as the AG1980 as far as transport mechanics, TBC/DNR, and other features that would concern dubbing VHS or SVHS to digital. The 5710 drops the tuner, the front panel "convenience" line inputs, and the connection for the "lower-end" AGA96 editing controller. It adds a serial port connection and interface for post-production and TV station pro-level editing bays. This feature was very rare and expensive back in the day, I think only the Panasonic AG5710 and JVC SR-S365U had it and both were priced at nearly double the AG1980. (The SR-S365U is unrelated to the more common high-end JVCs, it has neither Digipure nor TBC.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by panasonicman06 View Post

Well, if the JVC SVHS units are so crummy, then WHY did someone on Ebay just pay
$405. for a JVC SVHS vcr model S10000U?

Well, because theres always someone willing to pay a ridiculous price for nearly anything on eBay that has the slightest "cult" behind it, and DVHS is a "cult" like any other. It laid a gigantic egg in the consumer marketplace, but a few hundred die-hards still want DVHS decks and will pay serious money for certain models. The initial run of five-digit JVC models were the units that launched the format, they are the most well-known so fetch the highest prices. Even the staunchest DVHS fans don't realize how long JVC flogged this dead horse: there were quite a few DVHS model revisions, and for reasons known only to JVC they completely scrambled the naming convention with each successive generation. No one looking for the popular JVC HM-DH30000 would have any idea that the DT100 was also a DVHS or that it was more evolved and reliable (I didn't know of its existence myself until it was mentioned in this thread). The JVC dvhs are prized above the Mitsubishis because they have exclusive circuits allowing playback of the small library of "D-Theater" Hollywood DVHS releases, they have component analog outputs for playing HDTV into older displays that lack HDMI connections, and they will convert analog inputs to DVHS (why the hell anyone would want to use an expensive DVHS HDTV blank to make a low rez copy of an SD source is beyond me).

Many of you get annoyed with me for ragging on JVC, so let me rephrase: no old "high-end" vcr is going to be a paragon of reliability, but your odds are somewhat worse with JVC because they were renegade and peculiar VCRs to begin with. If you get a bum Panasonic AG, its relatively easy for a repairman to service and bring back to spec, but a badly misaligned or mistracking JVC can be a tedious pain to restore. When a 1980 goes bad, generally its the power supply or the tracking, whereas a bad JVC is almost invariably a tape eater/mangler (high-end Sony svhs tend to be tape eaters as well, you just don't hear as much about them because they have no TBC/DNR so are not discussed for transfer work). JVC made the most models with TBC/DNR and generated the most buzz, so they remain the most sought after and passionately defended decks for DVD work.

My point is not to disparage JVC, but to suggest additional alternatives that are lesser known. JVC fixed most of their problems by the time they got to the later DVHS units, so a recent JVC DT100 or SR-VD400 is far preferable to a creaky old svhs like the 9911 (especially at comparable used prices). The Mitsubishi HS-HD2000 is similar but lacks the complete DVHS feature set (assuming you care about DVHS functionality). The Panasonic AG1980/AG5710 twins have a uniquely-tweaked TBC/DNR and mechanics that make them a better choice than the JVC/MGA dvhs for some tapes: if all your own tapes were made on old JVCs you might only need a JVC, if all your old tapes were made on Panasonics you might get away with just the AG1980. Most people have a mix from a hodgepodge of VCRs they've owned, these folks would benefit from having both an AG1980/5710 and a JVC/MGA dvhs. No single high-end VCR is a universal cure-all thats perfect for every tape: don't believe the hype for the 1980, the old JVC SVHS DigiPure, or the newer DVHS units. None of these stands unchallenged as "the best", rather they are complementary designs that cover each others flaws: I've pissed away a lot of time and money learning that the hard way.
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post #17 of 39 Old 12-26-2009, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

...(why the hell anyone would want to use an expensive DVHS HDTV blank to make a low rez copy of an SD source is beyond me).

Well, that was me. I purchased a DH30K in April 2003. At the time, I did not have an HDTV, nor easy access to an HDTV signal (ATSC receiver or a modded DISH/D* receiver w/ AVX1 processor). I bought it solely to archive analog TV in the best possible quality. Other than direct recording to a PC via tuner or capture (which was not an option for me), it really was the best way to go at the time; the cost/quality for DVD recorders wasn't there yet. I used some DVHS, but mostly Fuji SVHS blanks to get around 15 hrs of near DVD (and way above SVHS) quality per tape. At various times from 2003-2007 I owned a DH30K, SR-VD400 and DH40K. I must say that I made the mistake of wanting the then new DH40K because of supposed upgrades JVC had made to the hardware. It turned out to be a poor decision for my needs. BTW, the SR-VD400 is (or was, I have not checked the specs to see if any running changes were made) just a "pro-sumer" rebadge of the DH40K, no functional/mechanical differences whatsoever. So, don't go seeking this one out because of false beliefs it's a solid unit. I only got it because I believe it actually shipped before the DH40K, and I got it about $120 cheaper than the cheapest DH40K price at the time.

The 30K worked well and made excellent recordings in both STD and LS3 digital modes, and via analog, even at EP. It also played back tapes quite nicely. Well, when I "upgraded" to the VD400 the performance was less than stellar. SP mode looked fine (hard to screw up SP recording/playback), but in EP mode, the picture looked worse than on the 30K. In pause mode, the picture was never stable - unlike the 30K. I actually phoned JVC support to question this and the tech asked me why I was using this deck to record/playback analog material saying something to the effect that was not what it was designed for. I didn't feel that was any sort of answer to my inquiry. I sent it in to JVC service, were it sat for a while then came back with a statement indicating nothing was wrong, I doubt they even tested anything. Ended up ebaying it for $50 less than I paid. I continued my silly ways by trying out a 40K, same deal. I kept that one for about 3 years until getting rid of it. I can only hope the DT100 is far better than the 40K for the analog use being discussed here, but who really knows. Maybe when someone puts it through the paces, they can share their findings.

I remember reading somewhere that the TBC and digital enhancements of the JVC DVHS/SVHS machines weren't as good as the standalone SIMA and TBC-1000 units, but no one ever provided any evidence. Anyone ever done a side-by-side analog comparison of a DVHS unit/HR-S9911/AG-1980 to one of these units?

And although it's not what is being discussed here, DVHS really didn't fail (well, sorta). It was the first home consumer HD media, both recording and playback. It worked (relatively) well, even though it had all the problems of a linear tape based media, and most users were happy with the results (when the decks didn't need cleaning and the heads worked). Although JVC may have wanted it to last a lot longer, I don't think any DVHS owner ever expected it to become the be all end all of HD material, nor to prevent the adoption of a disc based HD format. It did everything it was designed to do (much like LD), it just didn't last nearly as long. It was a stop gap, but in the end all home video formats are until inevitable network streaming.
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post #18 of 39 Old 12-26-2009, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by oromak View Post

I do have some S-VHS and S-VHS ET tapes... When I get around to dubbing the S-VHS tapes to DVD since the AG-W2 only does "SQPB" (Super-VHS Quasi Play Back, i.e. plays back S-VHS tapes but only at regular VHS quality)

On a dubbing project I would never consider using a SQPB deck for SVHS, SVHS-ET tape playback. I could not justify losing half the resolution (from 425 to 240) just to save a few bucks on a VCR. Furthermore, SQPB equipped decks mix the chroma and luma signals to composite. True SVHS and SVHS ET decks keep the colour and brightness signals separated as long as you use the S-Video interface.

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I suspect I may yet have a Panasonic AG-1980 in my future.

I'm not sure about the AG-1980, maybe citibear can chime in but I know many older S-VHS decks will not recognize SVHS-ET recordings unless you physically punch out the SVHS hole on the VHS cassette. In punching out the SVHS hole you risk plastic debris getting on the tape - and transferring the debris unto the tape path and tape heads, which could easily damage the VCR.

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Consider the prices these things [AG1980] sold for when new: in the vicinity of $1299-$1499. Thats the equivalent of about $2500 today, for that kind of money 20 years ago mfrs had to provide high performance, durability and repairability. .

I do agree that VCRs of the past were more robust. However you must consider that the $1299-$1499 price you used above, much of the money went for new technology and has nothing to do with today's real value. For instance think how much 4MB of memory cost in the mid 80s to early 90s compared to how much 4MB of memory cost in 2004 when the DT100 came out. Think of how much the TBC cost when the AG 1980 was built compared to the cost of the DT100 TBC in 2004.

BTW, I believe the DT100 had a street price of $1,400 in 2004. But again most of that money went into new technology for the HD circuitry built into the DT100.

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Originally Posted by i86time View Post

I remember reading somewhere that the TBC and digital enhancements of the JVC DVHS/SVHS machines weren't as good as the standalone SIMA and TBC-1000 units, but no one ever provided any evidence. Anyone ever done a side-by-side analog comparison of a DVHS unit/HR-S9911/AG-1980 to one of these units?

There are a few posts in this thread comparing the DT100 analog playback quality to older JVC SVHS decks and older JVC DVHS decks. Reading through the posts - members seem to be saying that the DT100 does a better job with analog tapes.

Quote:


But my experience with these DVHS machines is that they have only improved upon analog picture quality over the genuine S-VHS machine predecessors. VHS-ET is supported, so I would expect it to be at least as good as the same feature implemented in earlier analog S-VHS machines (e.g. my S9800U).

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...3&postcount=71

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I can only tell you from experience that SVHS playback on the HM-DH 4000/40000U is much inferior to that of the HM-DH5U and HM-DT100, so perhaps you'll see a difference with VHS playback compared with your 3000/30000U? I had one only briefly with no firmware update and returned it.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...2&postcount=76

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The VCR does a great job on playback of the S-VHS tapes...the built in Time Base Corrector was what sold me on it. The camcorder I used to record the tapes has a bad Time Base problem, so seeing those 20+ year old tapes rock steady was well worth the $$.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...5&postcount=79

Quote:


My experience is similar, in that S-VHS tapes play back beautifully. And if you use the DT100 to make new S-VHS recordings they are really stunning. Seems to be improved from my S9800U S-VHS machine, which also produced wonderful S-VHS recordings.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...3&postcount=80

Quote:


Thanks again for the head's up regarding this incredible value
I mostly used the DH5u as a primary S-VHS recorder/player and it's done a much better job of that versus the JVC HR-S5902 it replaced. I suspect the DT100u will do just fine as well

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...6&postcount=82

Quote:


I still think this vcr is doing a really great job playing back my old S-VHS tapes and I think it was $200 well spent . Some of the tapes are over 20 years old and I'd forgotten what all was on them

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...0&postcount=87
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post #19 of 39 Old 12-27-2009, 01:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i86time View Post

I remember reading somewhere that the TBC and digital enhancements of the JVC DVHS/SVHS machines weren't as good as the standalone SIMA and TBC-1000 units, but no one ever provided any evidence. Anyone ever done a side-by-side analog comparison of a DVHS unit/HR-S9911/AG-1980 to one of these units?

That question confuses a lot of people, because of the catch-all "TBC" acronym. The "TBC" embedded in a Panasonic AG1980, JVC DigiPure SVHS, or JVC or MGA DVHS vcr tackles different problems than an outboard TBC like DataVideo TBC-1000 or Sima/AVT/CB lookalikes. The TBC built into the vcr taps the signal directly off the video heads and stabilizes/restores the internal video degradation inherent to any consumer VHS deck. In most cases, the vcr TBC is coupled with a digital chroma/luma noise filter, they work together to "clean" the initial tape output (smoothing noisy color, reducing graininess, straightening bent vertical lines). For lack of a better description, the vcr-embedded TBCs mostly perform cosmetic repair to the signal, its effects are fairly obvious to the eye. Separate outboard TBCs primarily take care of less-noticeable technicalities, like preventing dropped frames and loss of lip sync (this is helpful mostly with PC-based encoders, standalone DVD recorders are now pretty good at maintaining sync). Outboard TBCs also clear interference caused by MacroVision, or phantom MacroVision-like symptoms caused by worn tapes not tracking properly.

Unfortunately a TBC gives with one hand and takes with the other: they solve annoying problems but they also blur the picture and add other artifacts. Whenever possible I try to not to use both the vcr TBC and an external TBC: this compounds the undesirable side effects. Sometimes it can't be helped, though, and we have to tolerate a somewhat over-processed signal. This is one of the advantages to keeping both a Panasonic AG1980 and a JVC/MGA DVHS handy: they use significantly different methods to filter and correct their signals. Depending on the particular tape and whether you need to add an external TBC, either the Panasonic or the JVC/MGA will give better results. Its unpredictable, and experience with VCRs is never consistent: ask ten people here and you'll get ten answers. As a broad recommendation for transfers to DVD, I would still advise going with one of the more recent JVC or MGA DVHS models instead of the older, more trouble-prone SVHS "classic" JVCs. On the Panasonic side, the choice is much simpler: there was really only the AG1980 (or its scarcer twin, the AG5710).

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I do agree that VCRs of the past were more robust. However you must consider that the $1299-$1499 price you used above, much of the money went for “new technology” and has nothing to do with today’s real value. For instance think how much 4MB of memory cost in the mid 80s to early 90s compared to how much 4MB of memory cost in 2004 when the DT100 came out. Think of how much the TBC cost when the AG 1980 was built compared to the cost of the DT100 TBC in 2004.

While this is generally true, the Panasonic AG1980 & 5710 were exceptions. At the time they were marketed Panasonic had moved to dumbed-down, throwaway construction in its consumer VCR line (as had all other mfrs). What your $1500 bought you in the AG1980 was an exclusive industrial strength chassis, tape heads that last forever, repeatable programmable insert/assemble editing, complete functionality without needing a remote, and of course the very advanced (even today) TBC/DNR. Most of the high cost was due to the modular, adjustable, easily-serviced "pro-grade" construction , as opposed to a modern DVHS where indeed you are basically buying a consumer-grade chassis larded with pricey niche HDTV electronics.

You see this with other products as well: new is better in some ways, worse in some ways, it depends on your application. Nikon makes electronically-enhanced prime lenses for its DSLRs using many of the same optical designs as their best film lenses from the 1970s, yet they often fall short in performance compared to the identical old lenses. Modern application requires very quick operation, autofocus, and electronic aperture control: providing this utility comes at some sacrifice in other types of precision. Canon has similar if not weirder issues: their current DSLRs are becoming very popular for shooting video, but video use conflicts with Canon's current line of electronic lenses, leading Canon videographers to search eBay for vintage mechanical Nikon lenses to use on their Canon bodies. This must chafe both companies no end: Canon loses some lens sales, yet Nikon doesn't benefit because the hot market is in their old second-hand lenses. Just when you think you have something all figured out, it turns on its head.
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post #20 of 39 Old 12-27-2009, 01:20 PM
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"TBC" is such a messy issue. I've been writing about this at length lately. You can find some of those posts at:
- http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/show...8710-1853.html
- http://forum.videohelp.com/topic376651.html

Citibear nailed a lot of it.

I would, however, suggest TBC be left on as much as possible. There's no point in owning one of these machine if you don't use the TBC. Same for the EDIT mode on both JVC and Panasonic machines. Why own a machine with DNR if you just turn it off? Some tapes, sometimes, sure -- but all the time?

Aside from resetting the counter, there's nothing special about the Panasonic remote for the AG-1980P. It has a crappy infrared angle, too -- you basically have to be close and directly in front of the deck. I leave the remote in a drawer most of the time. The front panels has more controls, anyway, which I tweak to the needs of the specific tape.

I don't come to AVS daily anymore, but I'm around if you need me.

Blank DVD Media Review: http://digitalfaq.com/reviews/dvd-media.htm
DVD Recorder Reviews: http://digitalfaq.com/reviews/dvd-recorders.htm
If you want my advice, PM me with a link to your post.
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post #21 of 39 Old 12-27-2009, 01:33 PM
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For VHS--> DVDR dubbing projects, I have some advantage in that all of my VHS tapes were recorded on one of 3 VCRs (not counting my very early non-hi-fi audio General Electric unit), the oldest and newest of which are both dead. I test each tape in several different machines from my pool (mostly Mitsus but two virtually brand-new JVCs, a few Sharps and Toshibas) to find the best match. Especially with recordings made on my 1993 JVC, I often have to do some manual tracking adjustment and babysit the program while it plays to make re-adjustments along the way if needed.

Another thing I try to do is play the tape straight through from beginning to end, then just slice, dice, and edit on the DVDR's HDD. I find that FF and REW to record the programs on the tape out of order can lead to tape pack problems and outright jams. Keep in mind that most of my stuff was recorded at SLP/EP speed--I've always cared more about sound than PQ--some of it on indifferent brands of tape like Kodak, 3M, and even some Polaroid (i.e., whatever Walgreens had on sale that week). Despite those handicaps, I'm surprised at the watchable quality of what I get and the total lack of unsalvagable tapes. However, I have had to open up a few tape shells, surgically remove sections of mangled tape, and splice the bits together with Scotch Magic tape so I could complete a dub to the DVDR.

Not counting the two JVCs I bought new in 2003 and 2006 and the two Mitsu HS-HD1100Us I nabbed off the 'Bay in 2008, my total investment in VCRs is probably a few hundred $$ max.

I'd love to go for one of those JVC DT100s from B&H just to play with it and see what it's like but just can't justify the expense for a format that I'll be phasing out over the next couple years. I was looking at my VHS collection over the holidays and realized that, compared to that of DigaDo and some others, it's really pretty small. I used VHS big time as a time-shifting medium but retained relatively little "keeper" material. In the time since I really finally, truly stopped using it for any shifting--about the last 8 months--I've discovered that I virtually never sit down to just watch an old VHS tape!
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post #22 of 39 Old 09-25-2010, 08:41 PM
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I have an embarrassing question. Are the BNC video output connectors on the back of the AG1980 male or female? My eyes aren't what they used to be, and I'm not sure. I need to buy a cable to connect the video output from the VCR to a new HDTV that has an RCA-jack composite video input but lacks an S-Video input.
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post #23 of 39 Old 09-26-2010, 07:44 AM
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I'd use a couple of these to convert the BNC to standard RCA connectors. MP also sells cables that do the same thing. Can't beat the price, I think I paid >$5 a piece for the adapters from RS several years ago
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post #24 of 39 Old 09-26-2010, 08:58 AM
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Many thanks for responding. I thought to use a Q-tip to tell me what my eyes couldn't. They are BNC female connections. There's a Fry's Electronics on my way to work, so I plan to drop in tomorrow morning and pick up a connector (for half again as much as Monoprice -- still, I can deal with $1.50). I checked Radio Shack and their price is still much too high ($6). I appreciate your helping me out!
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post #25 of 39 Old 08-21-2011, 04:39 AM
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I have a video Panasonic AG-1980. Defect: When I am assisting a cassette and the key this TBC in off the image is normal and the color also. I slide the control soft-sharp and the silent image according to the position of the control soft-sharp. The color is normal. But when the key TBC is in ON and I slide the control soft-sharp for sharp the color unstable compensation. When I slide for software package the color is normal.
It is possible to help someone in some solution or direction as to the problem, I thank very much.
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post #26 of 39 Old 08-21-2011, 05:03 PM
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Pietrantonio, that is normal behavior of the AG1980 when playing some kinds of tapes. The TBC and soft/sharp control affect each other, its best to leave it in the middle position when using TBC, or turn TBC off when you need to sharpen the picture. If the picture is always bad with TBC on, some electronic parts are getting old and need replacement. This can be expensive. If picture is normal with TBC on and soft/sharp control in middle, the AG1980 is OK.
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post #27 of 39 Old 08-22-2011, 10:29 AM
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My problem certainly is electronic. Since with the same thing it covers in other Ag-1980 this functioning it is normal. It is in this video that the defect happens. I thank for the help.I have an enterprise of maintenance of electronic equipments here in Brazil, but it had never repaired a defect of this. Therefore my doubt. But I am going to try to do repairs in the TBC. Probably some capacitor eletrolitico is without capacity.
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post #28 of 39 Old 02-15-2012, 05:12 PM
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This is definitely a hijacking, but from the thread history it looks like I'm not the first to do it. I have an AG-1980 (with remote) and an AG-1950 that I'd like to sell, but I'd like to confirm more of the functionality before doing so. Thus far, all I've been able to do is power them up and confirm that the displays are bright and clear.

I picked these up second-hand, and I've never used VCRs that had even close to this many features. Are there any standard tests you guys could recommend that would confirm that these are in good working order? And would any of you be interested in taking one or both off my hands?

Thanks in advance.
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post #29 of 39 Old 03-09-2012, 06:56 PM
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Not a one, eh? I saved this unit from UW's toss-out dock simply because I hadn't taken apart a VCR in 2 decades or so. I later realized what it was and assumed there might be some people interested in saving it. I hate to resort to ebay, but that looks like the current trajectory.
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post #30 of 39 Old 03-09-2012, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by neubadger View Post

Not a one, eh? I saved this unit from UW's toss-out dock simply because I hadn't taken apart a VCR in 2 decades or so. I later realized what it was and assumed there might be some people interested in saving it. I hate to resort to ebay, but that looks like the current trajectory.

I have one AG-1980 and two AG-1960's. They all work fine as far as I know. I have only one 1960 hooked up right now to transfer old VHS and S-VHS tapes to DVD. I have found that it is best to play back a video tape that has HiFi stereo sound on the VCR that recorded it. This is mainly true for voices and not music. It is certainly evident on my recorders. So I have no need for any more S-VHS VCR's. The main advantage for me with the 1980 over the 1960's is that it gives you access to all 3 audio tracks at the same time. The 1960 you have to choose between the 2 stereo HiFi tracks OR the mono linear track. That mono linear track was great for recording time code for syncing DA-88 digital recorders. I had two DA-88's and two DA-38's so that gave me 32 audio tracks for editing concerts. One track for each microphone in use. The 1980 was the key to my later concerts. If the DA-88 or DA-38 tracks fail you still have the stereo audio tracks on the 1980.

The way I would test them is to hook them up to a TV and any source such as a DVD player and record a portion of a DVD and then play it back on the TV. If it plays fine with good stereo sound (best monitored with a good quality set of headphones), I would say it probably works OK. The tuner is useless now since the digital TV transition but the composite and S-Video inputs should still work.

Dave
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