Macrovision-free VCRs - Page 3 - AVS Forum
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post #61 of 77 Old 05-16-2012, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morc258 View Post

That makes sense. They are powering the modulator with the DVD player, as opposed to another receptacle being used up on the wall or power strip.
Now I'm curious, gonna dig one out and follow the circuits to see where they pulled the video and audio from.

Note I am not 100% sure power comes from that jack. The modulator may have had it's own wall wort too.

Being that they used an SVHS jack for the modulator seems a little risky if there is power on it. Plug an SVHS VCR or TV and you could have some damage.

I think you will find the video is pulled from the same source as the composite jack, probably through a 75 ohm resistor. The audio is probably a resistor sum off the LR audio out jacks.

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post #62 of 77 Old 05-16-2012, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post

Note I am not 100% sure power comes from that jack. The modulator may have had it's own wall wort too.

Being that they used an SVHS jack for the modulator seems a little risky if there is power on it. Plug an SVHS VCR or TV and you could have some damage.

I think you will find the video is pulled from the same source as the composite jack, probably through a 75 ohm resistor. The audio is probably a resistor sum off the LR audio out jacks.

Yeah, I pinned them out.
1. Is ground.
2. Is L Ch audio.
3. Is Composite (Y) with 1.2 ohm resistor.
4. I believe is R Ch audio, but I lost the circuit tracing it back. I went back until I got past a 100 ohm resistor that couldn't possibly pass enough wattage to power a modulator.
The components on this ~10 year old DVD player are pretty small and still somewhat workable from a repair point of view.
Newer devices that I have worked with have components so small you can barely even make out what they are. Trying to wield a soldering iron to replace an smd without damaging the ones next to it is a challenge.
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post #63 of 77 Old 05-16-2012, 08:21 PM
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Any suggestions as to which VCRs would be able to do that?

Wouldnt any VCR with composite or s-video in be able to do that as long as you dont press 'rec' on the VCR and just let the signal pass through to the TV? As soon as you press record on the VCR to try and record the DVD to the VHS thats when the 'no copy' flag will pop up. Well thats what i always thought but i could be wrong. It may depend of if the DVD has CP too?
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post #64 of 77 Old 05-16-2012, 09:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclone82 View Post

Wouldnt any VCR with composite or s-video in be able to do that as long as you dont press 'rec' on the VCR and just let the signal pass through to the TV? As soon as you press record on the VCR to try and record the DVD to the VHS thats when the 'no copy' flag will pop up. Well thats what i always thought but i could be wrong. It may depend of if the DVD has CP too?

You'd think, wouldn't you?

No, the signal gets messed up on most VCRs irrelevant of whether it is recording or not.

It certainly depends on whether the DVD has CP or not, but almost all of them do.
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post #65 of 77 Old 05-17-2012, 04:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apples555 View Post

I currently have a need to connect a DVD player to an RF-only television, but I'm having some trouble with the Macrovision copy-protection.

I've heard of some VCRs not being sensitive to the Macrovision (at least in pass-through mode) but am not sure of which ones.

As far as I understand, the only model confirmed to be unaffected is the Panasonic PV-4962 (1990), but I can't find one.

Again, I'm not as interested in their video mechanisms, as I am about their pass-through circuitry. I could always get a modulator, but I think a VCR would be easier and simpler.

Can anyone confirm a VCR that does not suffer from Macrovision deterioration in pass-through mode?

Thanks all.

O.K. Apples, I set up a Sony SLV-N51 VCR with a Sony DVP-NS575P DVD player hooked up to the VCR's L1 input (composite).
Out of the VCR through the RF output into a 36" Sony Trinitron.
Trinitron on channel 3, VCR in video mode and input L1 selected.
Inserted recent commercial DVD that I am sure has Macrovision protection, press play and Bamm! It works just fine.

I tried a few other DVD's from different studios, and they work as well. Now keep in mind, these are Sony products. If any manufacturer is strict on copyright protection, they have to be on the top of the heap.
I did not try to press record because I didn't have a tape. I would fall over dead if it allowed me to record.

Hope this helps.
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post #66 of 77 Old 05-17-2012, 05:14 PM
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Okay, here's a stumper.

I just finished re-arranging some of my gear for a special dubbing project. On a whim, I figured I may as well check if my old Panasonic AG1970 would do what Apples555 wants (I haven't used the AG1970 for more than a year). I patched the line outputs of my really old Panasonic RV31 DVD player to the front panel line inputs of the AG1970, then patched the RF out from the VCR to my Sony Bravia 32" LCD TV tuned to channel 3.

No matter what DVD I put in the DVD player, I don't see a trace of MV symptoms passed thru the VCR and into the TV tuner. Nothing: no darkening of the upper frame, no bright/dark pulses- everything looks normal. The AG1970 will even record the DVD signal with no issues.

This is completely mystifying, because I could swear when I used this same hookup to my old CRT television it did not work at all: I got nasty MV pulses galore during passthru. I know my test DVDs are protected: they're prime titles from MGM and Universal. The only variable I've changed is the TV, but I don't think the LCD TV could conceal MV that much better than the old CRT. And when I try to patch a VHS with MV from a Mitsubishi VCR thru the line inputs of the AG1970, that looks like hell on the new TV with all the usual MV interference.

Weird!
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post #67 of 77 Old 05-17-2012, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

Okay, here's a stumper....
I know my test DVDs are protected: they're prime titles from MGM and Universal....

That is odd, the only thing I can think of is your DVDs are encrypted but don't contain analog MV. I've seen the opposite on occasion(MV but no encryption) but keep looking for what you may have for testing purposes.
What happens if you try and record your DVD players output to one of your DVDRs? or an even better test to see if your 1970 is stripping the CP would be to keep things as you have now but try and record the line output of the 1970(with the source of the 1970 being your DVD player).
The best test for MV is anything Disney, that will for sure have both MV and encryption(and if Disney an encryption not defeatable by old programs like Shrink)
Does the 1970 have built in TBC or manual AGC? If so it would probably not be effected by any copy protection schemes.
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post #68 of 77 Old 05-17-2012, 06:04 PM
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Maybe what’s happing is what I wrote in post #27

"""I recorded some DVDs to my SVHS with no problem but those same SVHS recordings will not record back to DVD.

My theory is that certain DVDs aren’t encoded with macrovision but are encoded with CGMS-A and CGMS-D. Those DVDs will dub to analog VCRs because analog VCRs record but ignore CGMS. Apparently CGMS-A is encoded in line-21 of the VBI. In other words analog VCRs do not react to CGMS but will pass CGMS to DVD recorders.
"""

Most likely many DVD distributors no longer care about recording to analog VCRs and no longer pay to encode MV but use CGMS only.

I can't speak for CitiBear's situation but I believe that's what is happening in my situation.
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post #69 of 77 Old 05-17-2012, 08:15 PM
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Well this is what i always thought would be the case with what Citibear and Morc258 discovered. DVD to VHS - OK but VHS to DVD not ok. I dont think they care if you want to make a poorer copy of a DVD onto VHS. So i dont think Apples555 will need a 'special' VCR at all.
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post #70 of 77 Old 05-17-2012, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Interesting, so it appears the newer decks don't have problems, but the old ones do.

Confusing.

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post #71 of 77 Old 05-17-2012, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

The best test for MV is anything Disney, that will for sure have both MV and encryption

That seemed a good suggestion, jjeff, so I hunted around the basement and found my Disney DVDs of "Finding Nemo" and "Fantasia." While looking for something Disney I ran across my "Empire Strikes Back" DVD, and thought I'd give that a whirl, too (if anything is gonna have MV, it would be "Empire").

The result was the same as my earlier tests with the MGM and Universal DVDs. All of them play normally from DVD player passed thru Panasonic AG1970 vcr to Sony Bravia 32" LCD TV tuner via RF channel 3. For good measure, I switched things up and redid the test thru a Mitsubishi 2000 DVHS, a Panasonic AG2560, and an old Quasar: same result. Finally, I took your suggestion to try doubling back to my Pioneer DVD/HDD recorder (connecting DVD player>VCR line inputs>VCR line outputs>DVD/HDD recorder>TV). Again nothing: video quality was normal. The only CP symptom was the Pioneer refusing to engage record mode, it popped up a "This Material Is Copy Protected" alert if I tried.

This is a real headscratcher for me, because I would swear on my life this did NOT work when I had my Proton 19" and 27" CRT TVs, or my Trinitron. In fact, I went out and bought the same damn RF modulator we're all recommending to Apples555 specifically because I got tired of the AG1970 passing the dark MV frame top to my CRT TVs.

The only thing I can think of is perhaps the CRT sets do pick up just enough of the MV during passthru to display some symptoms, but the modern flat panel TVs ignore it unless its going full-force. Or Super Eye is correct in his guess that maybe they just haven't bothered implementing DVD>VHS protection for the last eight years or so.

Apples355, I don't know what to tell you. I'm not seeing a MV problem with any of my VCRs used as passthru modulators, in fact the VCRs don't even react in record mode. Either you have some older, heavily-CP'd DVDs or your current VCR is bad at passthru. Or an alien particle beam struck my house this week, and sucked all the MV out of my DVDs. Beats me. Try one of the cheap JVC or Sony vcrs that have been suggested and see if they help.

(BTW while I was testing the "Empire" disc, I went on Wikpediai to check a plot point and discovered this very day is the 32nd anniversary of "Empire Strikes Back" first theatrical release. Made me feel really old.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apples555 View Post

Interesting, so it appears the *newer* decks don't have problems, but the old ones do.

Note my Panasonic AG1970 dates from 1989 or so: not exactly new.
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post #72 of 77 Old 05-17-2012, 09:56 PM
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OK just to add / clear up some confusion with my experience.
Tested with one HR-S3911U SVHS one HR-S5912U SVHS one XVN44SL DVD player one RDR-HX780 DVD recorder. All tests final output to a 32 inch analog 480i CRT:

TEST ONE:
SVHS deck to SVHS deck to TV:

1) Any tape INCLUDING MACROVISION tapes will pass the signal clean from VCR to VCR to TV.

2) However macrovision-encoded tapes will only pass the signal when not in record mode. In record mode flashing etc will show.

TEST TWO:
DVD player (commercial discs) to VCR to TV:

1) Any DVD disc will pass the signal clean from DVD to VCR to TV.

2) However some DVDs will only pass the signal when not in record mode. In record mode some DVDs will exhibit flashing etc.

3) Other DVDs will record clean.

TEST THREE:
Tapes that recorded clean from above TEST TWO and try to record them back to DVDr

1) Most of those same DVDs that recorded clean from DVD to VCR - will not record to DVDr - they will display message "This Material Is Copy Protected" if I push the record button. The same tapes will pass through the SVHS deck to DVDr to TV as long as record button is not pushed. That's why I suspect some DVDs only use CGMS and record to VCR but not back to DVDr

All tests final output to analog 480i 32 inch CRT.

BTW CitiBear, thanks for taking all the time to do all your tests and share.
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post #73 of 77 Old 05-18-2012, 12:57 AM
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The best test for MV is anything Disney, that will for sure have both MV and encryption

Apparantly Liar Liar and the Young Indiana Jones series tapes have very strong CP. I got a copy of Liar Liar off Amazon to test out which i will be able to do as soon as the correct power supply for my TBC-1000 rocks up next week.
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post #74 of 77 Old 05-18-2012, 10:05 AM
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I was surprised that many major label ones would record DVD to VCR.

Recorded DVD to VCR
Led Zeppelin - The Song Remains The Same: Warner
Woodstock: The Director's Cut: Warner
Joe Cocker - Mad Dogs and Englishmen: Universal
The Band - Last Waltz: 20th Century Fox
Message to Love: The Isle of Wight Festival: Sony
Muddy Waters - Classic Concerts: Universal
Roger Waters - In the Flesh Live: Sony

I did find discs that passed through DVD to VCR to TV but as soon as I hit record the typical macrovision symptoms would show.

Did not Record DVD to VCR but passed through
U2 - Rattle and Hum: Paramount
U2 - Elevation: Live from Boston: Universal
Jimi Hendrix - Live At Woodstock: Universal

Before I got mt DVDr I remember trying to record some DVD discs to VCR. The two discs below passed through but would not record.
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Freebird: The Movie & Tribute Tour: Artisan
Rolling Stones: Four Flicks: Phantom

From my experience about 80 percent will record 20 percent won't record but all will pass through.
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post #75 of 77 Old 11-16-2012, 07:27 PM
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Most VCR's manufactured after 1997 allow pass through of a Macrovision encoded source as they would any non-protected source, and only engage the AGC circuitry when the record button is pressed. Also, the manufacturer specifications may provide some guidance. If the "video input level" or similar specification says: 1V p-p unbalanced sync negative, the VCR will at least allow pass through of the Macrovision signal, or may not react at all to the protection thus making copying of the protected tape possible (although it will not remove the protection). Most VCRs before 1998 did not contain a separate circuit to engage the AGC only during the recording cycle, so if the signal passed through successfully, it would usually record. Thereafter, machines with the separate circuit would not allow the recording regardless of the video input level specified. A machine with a video input level of .5V ~ 2V p-p will always react to a Macrovision signal even if the tape is not being copied because the VCR will adjust the level within the available variable range of the input signal at all times. Macrovision was effective against 60-70% of vcrs prior to 1988, 85-90% of vcrs from 1988 to 1996, and probably close to 100% of vcrs manufactured after 1996. Proper functioning of the AGC is required for Macrovision to prevent copying of the material. Macrovision holds the patents on the encoding and decoding processes. JVC licenses the VHS technology so it is likely that JVC VCRs will react to the Macrovision signal. Some other brands may be out of spec thereby ignoring the protection.
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post #76 of 77 Old 11-17-2012, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you, that information is very helpful.
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post #77 of 77 Old 06-09-2013, 07:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I picked up a Panasonic VCR today because it doesn't have MV. Passes, records, everything.

It's a PV-4060, built in late '90. Interestingly, it was listed in many sales sheets next to the famed 4962. Perhaps this whole line was immune? It works great.

I wonder why it is immune? My understanding is the older VCRs simply didn't have automatic gain circuitry, so they weren't affected by MV. This one certainly does, so why isn't it affected? It's quite complicated under the hood, board upon board.
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