VCR needed that upconverts - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-02-2013, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello All - I hope this is the right area for this question.

I need a VCR player that can up-convert to play (progressive or HDMI) and dub VHS tapes to my current DVD recorder.
I don't need a combo unit, but understand I may have to buy one these days.

Is there a good make / model out there with good tracking and picture output that won't break the bank?

Thanks.
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-02-2013, 09:58 PM
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"Upconversion" is incompatible with the composite or s-video inputs of any standalone DVD recorder: they operate strictly on a 480i video signal (max). Even if you obtain a VCR with "upconversion," no current DVD recorder could directly accept the "upconverted" signal. So from the standpoint of your intended use, no, there is no such thing as an upconverting VHS vcr.

Practically speaking, that is. OTOH, if you enjoy tinkering, and have a flexible budget, there are workarounds that can approximate some aspects of upconversion and capture it with a DVD recorder. But you'd need a scarce, expensive D-VHS vcr with the component-output feature, and a DVD recorder with component inputs. The vcr would provide a cleaner signal thru its component outputs, and the DVD recorder would internally convert the component signal back into something recordable in DVD format. Whether the improvement would be noticeable or worth the expense depends on your tapes and personal visual preferences.

The two hurdles you'd face are the cost of a D-VHS vcr, and the fact that DVD recorders with component inputs haven't been made since 2005 (most of those were not very good recorders, either). You'd have better luck using a PC video input board instead of an ancient DVD recorder with component inputs. The only consumer VCRs that had upconversion and component outputs were some of the JVC D-VHS models, these are highly coveted by DVHS enthusiasts so not cheap second-hand. There were one or two DVD/VHS combo units that could upconvert their VHS output via HDMI, like the Panasonic DMR-EZ48v, but these are also now going for insane prices second hand ($200 minimum) and have issues of their own.

DVD recorders cannot accept HDMI input: you would need to add an HDMI>component or HDMI>composite converter. Inexpensive converters muddy the signal, good converters cost $200 and up. Some PC video boards will accept direct HDMI input: if you find one of the last JVC DVHS vcrs with HDMI output, like the HM-DH5U (or a Panasonic DMR-EZ48v that still works), you could connect it via HDMI to such a PC input.

In the end, after all the trouble and expense, you would probably end up with similar results connecting a vcr to your dvd recorder in the normal way and then playing the dvds in a dvd or bd player connected to your TV via HDMI. The TV's own internal upconverter usually works quite well with HDMI inputs of VHS dubs at 480: the improvement is noticeable vs the TV composite or s-video connections to a VCR playing the original tape.

The biggest advantage of a DVHS vcr is not the upconversion or component/HDMI connections, but the DNR/TBC circuit that cleans up the grain and color noise inherent to VHS. This TBC/DNR benefit applies to all DVHS outputs including composite and s-video, and can give dramatic improvements to many (but not all) tapes during DVD capture. TBC/DNR can also be found in several JVC and Panasonic SVHS vcrs, but they are older and more worn out than the JVC DVHS units (the old SVHS are not much cheaper either). If you are intent on getting the best quality VHS captures to your DVD recorder or PC, save your pennies for mint-condition DVHS vcr. They cost $250 - $500 on eBay depending on the model and condition, sometimes you can snag one for much less on Craig's List if you keep looking.
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-03-2013, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for such a great detailed response. Let's say I just want to DUB some old VHS reccordings to my DVD burner. What VCR available out there does a good job?
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-03-2013, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ace5000 View Post

What VCR available out there does a good job?

Are you opposed to used?

Combo units are the only VCRs available new (and have been for about six years now.)

Don't believe everything on the Interwebz! A duck's quack DOES echo!
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-03-2013, 06:07 PM
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Later SVHS models from JVC such as SR-V10U or SR-V101U.

JVC DVHS models like HM-DH5U, SR-VD400U, HM-DT100U, HM-DH30000 or 40000.

Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U DVHS.

All the above use similar TBC and/or DNR circuits to improve playback of regular VHS and SVHS tapes. They're relatively recent vcrs with decent build quality that are usually still in good working condition. Prices range from $175 - $500 on eBay depending on model and condition.

There are many additional older JVC SVHS models with the same TBC/DNR feature. You might run across one at a good price on Craigs List: don't pay more than $150 unless you like to gamble and have a friend in electronics repair on speed dial. These vcrs are aging and unreliable and competent repair techs are getting harder and harder to find.

The Panasonic AG1980 and AG5710 were comparable or even somewhat better than the JVCs when new, but today are a money pit of repair problems. It is very rare to find one that doesn't need a $200-$300 overhaul, and the best repair techs for them recently retired.

If you only want to spend about $40, look for a JVC SVHS HR-S5900 or 5912, or Panasonic AG2560. You can often get nice consumer-grade 4-head hifi VCRs from Panasonic, Sharp or Mitsubishi for free by asking friends or relatives if they have a VCR they don't use anymore. These sell on Craigs List for $25. All are solid, middle of the road VCRs but they don't offer the TBC/DNR circuit that distinguishes the much more expensive DVHS and SVHS specialty models listed above.
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-05-2013, 03:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Many thanks guys - I will check out your suggestions.
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