Picture quality for VCR?? - AVS Forum
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Old 02-02-2009, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Looking at a CECB strictly for a VCR recording. I know about the zinwell and the DTVPal and their timer functions. I timer record very rarely (maybe twice a month) so I am not that concerned with the timer. I can just leave the box on the correct channel at the time needed.

So ignoring the timer issue, my question is about picture quality. When feeding a signal into the VCR does the PQ of the CECB matter at all since VCR will be degrading the signal anyways? I am better getting a box with higher PQ (such as the Channel Master CM-7000) or whatever is cheapest -- ie free with shipping such as this --> https://secure.freetvsignal.com/viewAll.php

Any experience (or theories)

Thanks!
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Old 02-02-2009, 11:40 AM
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I have tried the Zenith, Digital Stream, & Channel Master & see no difference when using the composite cables. The only thing that makes a difference is the recording speed of the VCR. The Channel Master is better only if you can take advantage of the S-Video output.(As far as PQ goes)
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:43 PM
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I've never seen them myself, but aren't the Tivax, Lasonic and the Sansonic supposed to have above average PQ over composite?

I think other than rating the Zenith/Insignia lower than what most people think, Consumer Reports has a pretty accurate ratings guide based on picture quality.

The Channel Master might be a good choice if you think you might ever use it in the future with something that has an s-video input (like a TV, S-VHS or DVD recorder).
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses. I suspected that it would not matter much as far as PQ was concerned. I will see if I can find a reasonably inexpensive (as close to free as possible :-) box that hopefully will last longer then the VCR. My eventual plan is to build a MythTV computer but I am not sure when I will get a chance to make that happen. My problem with many of the cheap boxes is that there is no way to change the channel on the box itself. I would like to be able to do this rather then use the remote.
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Old 02-03-2009, 03:47 PM
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I have a habit of recording almost everything and watching when I want. All shows and movies. I still use an antenna so now trying several of those converter boxes. For recording on a VCR I've found the Magnavox looses sound and the picture is OK but could be better. Magnavox TB100MW9.
Then I tried the GE23334 and everything got worse. Next was the Zenith
DTT901 and what a difference. Normal audio, great picture. Next was a Dis Network DTVPal and similar to the Zenith, OK but could be better.
Finally today I tried the Insignia DXA1-APT and WOW, I think my picture is better than ever and the sound is fantastic. Looks like that's the one for me to stay with. A freind said he will give me an RCA so that is next.
All were hooked up to a analog Sulvania RWI-R VCR/DVD recorder/player and then to a Sony 15" analog, flat screen TV for testing only.
Maybe it's me but I've come up with different qualities with each machine.
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by northbear View Post


So ignoring the timer issue, my question is about picture quality. When feeding a signal into the VCR does the PQ of the CECB matter at all since VCR will be degrading the signal anyways?

Yes. The better signal you start with, the better recording you end up with.

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Old 02-04-2009, 06:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

Yes. The better signal you start with, the better recording you end up with.

And the Composite/S-Video will be noticeably better than RF/Ch3-4.
Less noise in the image.

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Old 02-04-2009, 10:05 AM
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The APEX DT502 has both a S-Video output and the ability to set reminders, that will automatically change channels.
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Old 02-06-2009, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the responses. After thinking it over a bit, I think I may just buy the Zinwell box after all. It has buttons on the box and so if I want to I can just ignore the timers and use it like any other box with a VCR. But I can also use the timers if I want. Really what I comes down to for me is the boxes that are free seem like they cut just a few too many corners (IMO all these CECB cut some corners but I digress...) and I think I would rather pay the $20 or so to have one that is a bit "better".

At least that I what I am thinking now....
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Old 02-06-2009, 11:29 AM
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northbear -- we've got them all set up to a 35" tube TV in our Free DTV Shop on 109th Ave in Blaine. Stop on by and check them out. The S-Vid on Channel Master is by far the best. We're open noon to 8PM everyday through the 21st.
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by just carl View Post

I have a habit of recording almost everything and watching when I want. All shows and movies. I still use an antenna so now trying several of those converter boxes. For recording on a VCR I've found the Magnavox looses sound and the picture is OK but could be better. Magnavox TB100MW9.
Then I tried the GE23334 and everything got worse. Next was the Zenith
DTT901 and what a difference. Normal audio, great picture.
Next was a Dis Network DTVPal and similar to the Zenith, OK but could be better.
Finally today I tried the Insignia DXA1-APT and WOW, I think my picture is better than ever and the sound is fantastic. Looks like that's the one for me to stay with. A freind said he will give me an RCA so that is next.
All were hooked up to a analog Sulvania RWI-R VCR/DVD recorder/player and then to a Sony 15" analog, flat screen TV for testing only.
Maybe it's me but I've come up with different qualities with each machine.

FYI: Zenith DTT901 and the BestBuy labeled Insignia DXA1-APT are the EXACTLY the SAME unit.
(Both are mfg'd by LG Electronics)



Quote:
Originally Posted by systems2000 View Post

The APEX DT502 has both a S-Video output and the ability to set reminders that will automatically change channels.


APEX DT502 "reminder feature"...

Whoever setup the reminder function needs to be taken out back and given a good beating.... as they left out being able to do repeat events.

As is set-up you set a reminder and it changes the channel that (1) time which is a nice feature, but... There is NO option for doing repeat events. (Unless I missed it.)


IMO... For the OP, the ZinWell ZAT-950A would be the BEST option.


WHY?
Zinwell ZAT series has real timers, Unit will turn itself on, change to a channel, set for Daily, Weekly, Monthly... record a program, then it will go to sleep... in a reliable manner.
(EG it's not "buggy" like the DTVPal /TR-40CRA series)


ZinWell ZAT-950A

PROS:
(8) timer slots (Daily, Weekly, Monthly)
Reliable -Unit will turn itself on at the appointed time, change to the channel you've programed it to tune to and if you prefer can to be set to go to sleep after a event.
Power on/off switch, and channel up and down on face of unit.
Standard 5vdc power input plug
Ventilation slots, Runs cool

CONS:
Plastic case
Color of case- I'd prefer black...


DTVPal, TR-40CRA DTVPAL Plus Series

PRO'S:
Has the best EPG (GUIDE)
(5) timer slots

CONS:
BUGGY...
Requires remote to operate.
Plastic case, weird shape
NO Ventilation slots!!!
Proprietary power plug (Yuk!)
Soft pic output.



.
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Old 02-13-2009, 03:39 AM
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Silly Zinwell. A weekday timer setting would be more useful than a monthly one.
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Old 02-13-2009, 04:34 AM
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Yeah, kinda dumb.

It's not perfect - no CECB is - but what it does have is still a lot better than the Apex's extremely limited, "one-shot deal", which was really his point.

You could at least set it for recording all 7 days worth, and just erase the weekend recordings.
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Old 02-13-2009, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

You could at least set it for recording all 7 days worth, and just erase the weekend recordings.

Just set the recorder itself to capture the broadcast only on weekdays.
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:06 PM
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Duh - why didn't I think of that?
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Old 02-13-2009, 06:11 PM
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With the APEX DT502, you can cycle through the EPG, over the next 7-days, and check the M-F programs without having to worry about the weekends. Granted, the channel needs to be putting out 7-days worth of EPG data and it takes a little more effort.

The plus side is that it's not limited to only 5 or 8 timers.
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Old 02-21-2009, 04:09 AM
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Of course picture quality matters.
I suspect audio quality varies even more.
I got the CM-7000 for picture and the Zinwell for when I have to have a timer channel change.
I don't think I've ever had a vcr without s-video jacks.
It makes a difference even when I'm using a 12" black and white.
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Old 02-21-2009, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by THX-1138 View Post

Of course picture quality matters.
I suspect audio quality varies even more.
I got the CM-7000 for picture and the Zinwell for when I have to have a timer channel change.
I don't think I've ever had a vcr without s-video jacks.
It makes a difference even when I'm using a 12" black and white.

Yep. Well thought out.
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Old 02-22-2009, 01:09 AM
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Thanks.
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