Converting S-VHS tapes for use as High Speed D-VHS tapes - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 04-08-2001, 12:05 AM - Thread Starter
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The following is a “trick†I have used for years to convert high quality VHS tapes for use as S-VHS tapes. The same “trick†can be used to convert high quality S-VHS tapes for use as D-VHS tapes that allow HS (high speed) HDTV recording. The converted tapes which I am using show no dropouts and the recording is indistinguishable from the source. I have not tried this “trick†with standard VHS tapes.

Hold a tape upside down with the tape door towards you. You will see a long groove running parallel to the side away from you. A VHS tape will have no holes within this groove. A S-VHS tape will have one hole within the groove on the right side. A D-VHS tape will have holes within the groove on both the right and left sides of the tape housing. The recorder has pins that sense the presence or absence of these holes to determine the type of tape.

Drilling a hole with a number 22 drill within this groove the same distance from the left side (approximately 0.09â€) of the case as the hole is on the right side of the case will allow the tape to be used for HS HDTV recording. The precise positioning of the hole is not very critical as long as the pin in the recorder can fit in. If you make this modification, be careful not to get plastic shavings inside the case. I have performed this modification to many VHS tapes with no problem.
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post #2 of 13 Old 04-08-2001, 04:29 AM
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Orio,
Does that new JVC recorder require special D-VHS HS tapes?
I ask because your post has this complicated procedure to modify S-VHS tapes but I just use good quality S-VHS tapes on my Panasonic HD1000. I get perfect recordings and never had to do any mods to the tape. I just stick em in the machine.

Thanks,
Joe
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post #3 of 13 Old 04-08-2001, 07:12 AM
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I have to agree. I have been using S-VHS tapes for almost 2 years with the Panny combo without modifications, and I have never seen any difference between S-VHS and D-VHS tapes.

However I do understand that by drilling the one hole into standard VHS tapes you can use those to make D-VHS recordings.

The Victor works fine with S-VHS tapes, at least for playback. I have not attempted to record with it.

Bernhard


[This message has been edited by bb1987 (edited 04-08-2001).]
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post #4 of 13 Old 04-08-2001, 08:23 AM
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I have heard others using a small soldering iron to make the hole which eliminates the risk of shavings inside the cassette.

Having said that, S-VHS tapes work in my D-VHS machine (non-HD) without an additional hole.
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post #5 of 13 Old 04-10-2001, 08:32 AM
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I did extensive tests of different tape stock here about a year ago to compare VHS, SVHS, and DVHS tape. The purpose of the tests were to produce consistent results without loss of quality and reduce media costs for home HDTV recording.

The results for (my) PVHD1000 are that:
SVHS Fuji T-160 and T-120 stock produced the lowest cost for perfect recordings all the time.
There was no improvement by using true DVHS stock over the above lowest cost SVHS stock I tried.
There was no need to drill holes in the SVHS shell to replicate the holes in the DVHS stock fo use as DVHS media.
VHS stock, whether they were high cost commercial "broadcast" series or dirt cheap bulk load duplicator series produced over 90% dropouts and none were satisfactory for use as Digital media. In all cases I also had to drill holes to get the PVHD1000 to sense the standard VHS tape as digital media for the HS mode.
My PVHD1000 can be forced into standard speed (half that of HS speed) with DVHS media for the longer play/record times. This works for most NTSC a la low bit rate recordings but results in major dropouts for HDTV recordings (high bit rate) It did not work at all with SVHS tape even with proper holes drilled. Conclusion that the STD speed is not worth the trouble and cost. Most likely why this feature was disabled in future versions of the PVHD1000.

Based on my findings I simply use the PVHD1000 for HDTV recordings in HS mode using un-modified SVHS tape ST-120 and ST-160 for all my recordings except for those few movies that run longer. I have a left over stock of DFS-420 I have been tapping for these recordings. I will probably reorder ST210 when these run out.

The only other issue I should mention is that life of oxide SVHS tape should be no different than the Digital oxide tape as long as storage conditions are the same. Some better and more expensive SVHS tape, such as SVHS edit master series may be better life due to durability as these are designed with special backings that make them more durable in editng environment. If you want to record a tape that you plan to play often or use as a time shift temporary storage, I'd recommend using one of the edit master grade SVHS tapes. ST120 Master grade may cost about $16, however.

Only metal tape such as the DVCAM or similar will have longer life on the shelf due to its higher coercivity (ie less likely to lose content due to stray magentic fields) Time169 recording adapters are allowing this tape format to be used for HDTV. This is the good news but IMHO, miniDV and DVCAM is not as good a home video format for long movies as is the DVHS recorders. It is a good design for camcorder recording, not table top.


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post #6 of 13 Old 04-12-2001, 05:27 PM
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Don -

In your testing, did you try JVC SVHS tapes? The Fujis seem to be 20% higher $ in bulk quantities. Did you see that much difference?

Thanks

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[This message has been edited by peterd (edited 04-13-2001).]

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post #7 of 13 Old 04-12-2001, 10:10 PM - Thread Starter
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I pretty much settled on Fuji's, but did not do any real extensive testing. A while back I got a large number of used airline movie tapes, which were bulk erased for about $1 each. Even though they are well polished, they work great with no dropouts. Hence my reason for concentrating on them.
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post #8 of 13 Old 04-13-2001, 12:28 PM
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I stick to Fuji and TDK S-VHS tape. TDK seems a little better than Fuji (i.e. fewer dropouts), but more expensive. Maxell S-VHS tape has been a little disappointing in all but the 'BQ' (broadcast quality) variety.
Bottom line: D-VHS blanks are not worth your money.

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post #9 of 13 Old 04-14-2001, 08:00 PM
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~ 120 minutes.

Not a stupid question. I once had the same question myself since the tape makers decided to adopt a different convention for designating D-VHS tapes. The 300 in a DF-300 would appear to be the tape length in meters, not in minutes.

here is a discussion on tape lengths you may find interesting. (Note, though, that when this talks of recording times on D-VHS they are citing STD (standard), not HS (high speed) mode. HS is required for HDTV resolutions.)

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post #10 of 13 Old 04-14-2001, 09:03 PM
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Here's a stupid question:

An S-VHS ST-120 tape holds 120 minutes in SP mode. What is its D-VHS capacity recording HDTV?

Thanks and regards, Peter
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post #11 of 13 Old 04-15-2001, 12:44 AM
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The formula for determining the record time is very simple for DVHS tapes. Simply take the number and divide by 2. A DFS-420 is only 210 minutes of HDTV recording time. The DFS-300 is 150 minutes of record time. Who cares how many meters is on the tape as what matters is how many minutes of record time you get. Also, I found that most movies only require 95-105 minutes so putting one movie on a tape makes the price of ST126's not worth the money. I stock ST120's, ST160's and DFS420's as my three main lengths for all movies. I usually buy them 20, 5 and 1 ratio as I seem to use them up in this ratio by the length of movies that appear. If I could get a good price on ST100's I'd stock them too and then less ST120's but this length is not popular.
The STD speed for HDTV recording isn't worth the discussion. Sorry I mentioned it. It works but is loaded with dropouts. I once tried recording in this switched mode and the DFS tape ran for the full 300 minutes and change but the playback was on and off throughout. Even SD upconverted source on Showtime HD did not record consistently. IT simply appears that on most modified machines the slide switch for HS/STD is simply wired for permanent HS mode and you manual has a sticker in it modifying the instructions. Mine had none of the stickers that others have. A point of curiosoty at best but not anything worth fretting over.

I tried JVC tape stock and it also works well. I just standardized on buying bulk Fuji and have had excellent luck with their consistency. I also used Maxell and had no problems either. I believe when you get into this low price range tape you also need to be making sure your shells are adequate. I've seen some BASF shells are pretty flimsy.

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post #12 of 13 Old 04-15-2001, 04:36 AM
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The making of hole on S-VHS tape like D-VHS tape is useful to improve the recorgnizing. Sometimes JVC recorder can't recorgnizes digital data of S-VHS.(use old tapes, or the recorder is a little overheated...)

In this case, the making of another hole on S-VHS tape is very useful. The making is very easy. If no drill, you can use a screw driver that is heated in kitchen as a kettle.

I think the digital quality on S-VHS tape is entirely same as D-VHS tape. D-VHS is more useful to record programs longer than 3hr in SD mode.

qO-Op
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post #13 of 13 Old 04-15-2001, 04:45 AM
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Does anyone "pre-tension" tapes? That is, running a full FF then REW cycle (in a rewinder of course). I guess the theory is that by doing this before recording you would avoid any possibility of there being a spot where the tape might stick together or bunch up on the supply reel.

Similarly, forwarding to the end before rewinding after use would ensure that the tape was packed consistently on the supply reel. I have seen the case where a tape develops bulges in the supply reel when played from & rewound to different spots.

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