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post #1 of 18 Old 04-10-2017, 06:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Problem with digital video stabilizer

I recently purchased a magnavox DVD recorder in order to put a bunch (between 200/300) old VHS tapes (from late 80s to early 2000s) on DVDs before the tapes degenerate (many are dubbed blanks, many are purchased movies). It worked fine in the dubbing mode on many tapes, however some of the content I have on tape gets a recording error (E25). I went to find answers online, some suggested to try R- disks instead of R+, tried that, doesn't work. Other searches say one needs to buy a digital video stabilizer, so I ended up investing $60+ (The RXII actually didn't come with a 9v power supply, so I had to buy that separately), still didn't work. It works on tapes that are pure movie tapes (at least one anyway, the first one I tried), but I still get the E25 error on some of my previously dubbed VHS tapes. I figured out that the tapes I get the error on were some movies, comedy skits, or news elements that I had dubbed from cable (to tape) way back then (HBO, showtime .. I had a whole tape of CNN ground war news coverage vs Iraq in '91 plus some great original comedy skits like Robin Williams at the Met, Dennis Miller Black & White, Robert Wuhl, Sam Kinneson, etc..). Is it not working because the original cable content was Digital?? [I presume the DVS doesn't work on digital content .. I didn't think digital (vs analog) cable subscription content went that far back]. If so, will another brand/type of DVS type device work on this type content, like Grek, or no?? I would like to transfer all (100%) of my old VHS tape collection to DVDs & then get rid of the old tapes; I just need to figure out how to solve this problem (or am I just SOL on some of these things).
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post #2 of 18 Old 04-10-2017, 07:45 AM
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Error E25 indicates Macrovision copy protection... E26 indicates CGMS protection.

That RXII unit is a product of Qualitek Industries but it's an "old" design that used to be touted for analog VHS tapes and would also work on SOME DVDs.

They have some newer, "upgraded" models today (probably cheaper than what you paid for the RXII, compared to Amazon prices). Not sure if a different "filter" would be what you need... here's a help file on the "stabilizer" subject with some suggestions.

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post #3 of 18 Old 04-10-2017, 02:54 PM
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There are weird issues specific to 1990s-era VHS recordings taped from analog cable. The signal specs at that time were an absolute horror in many cable systems, way worse than off-air reception, making those tapes a real chore to digitize. Among these signal distortions is a stubbornly persistent "fake" Macrovision caused by instabilities in the cable transmission. This dovetails perfectly with your recent experience: true movie tapes with true MV get cleared by the stabilizer, but your cable recordings (esp the dubs) contain a yuck factor that gets past the stabilizer.

Two things you can try would be a better-grade "universal" analog+digital stabilizer (most popular of these being The Grex at approx $90), or a full-scale Time Base Corrector (TBC). Of the two, I would be inclined to try The Grex first. Most TBCs need to be purchased used off eBay, are at least $200, and cause more problems than they solve. The huge old pro TBCs don't work well with VHS, the newer VHS-optimized TBCs have atrocious quality control (bad video or don't work right).

Some dvd recorders are more sensitive to "fake" MV than others, so if you continue to get consistent errors with your Magnavox even with a more sophisticated stabilizer or TBC attached, you might need to try a different brand of dvd recorder (kind of difficult these days, since all remaining brands are variations of Magnavox). Or, perhaps transfer the "problem tapes" to a computer instead via something like EZcap or Elgato USB dongle.

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post #4 of 18 Old 04-11-2017, 06:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post
There are weird issues specific to 1990s-era VHS recordings taped from analog cable. The signal specs at that time were an absolute horror in many cable systems, way worse than off-air reception, making those tapes a real chore to digitize. Among these signal distortions is a stubbornly persistent "fake" Macrovision caused by instabilities in the cable transmission. This dovetails perfectly with your recent experience: true movie tapes with true MV get cleared by the stabilizer, but your cable recordings (esp the dubs) contain a yuck factor that gets past the stabilizer.

Two things you can try would be a better-grade "universal" analog+digital stabilizer (most popular of these being The Grex at approx $90), or a full-scale Time Base Corrector (TBC). Of the two, I would be inclined to try The Grex first. Most TBCs need to be purchased used off eBay, are at least $200, and cause more problems than they solve. The huge old pro TBCs don't work well with VHS, the newer VHS-optimized TBCs have atrocious quality control (bad video or don't work right).

Some dvd recorders are more sensitive to "fake" MV than others, so if you continue to get consistent errors with your Magnavox even with a more sophisticated stabilizer or TBC attached, you might need to try a different brand of dvd recorder (kind of difficult these days, since all remaining brands are variations of Magnavox). Or, perhaps transfer the "problem tapes" to a computer instead via something like EZcap or Elgato USB dongle.
Thanks for that info. Yeah, I've determined that the main problem are the old tapes that were copied from 90s era cable programming. The RX II has worked on three true VHS movie tapes (so far) that were purchased way back when. I'll take your advice, I'll start with Grek, if that doesn't work I'll go the computer capture rout (I'll probably need a 30 foot cable, as that's the distance from my TV system to computer).

I'm probably the only person in the world that would say "quality is not an important factor." Over the decades my eyesight has degraded atrociously. If I'm not within 5 feet or so of the TV, I simply cannot read credits or subtitles (depending on how big they are, standard small size I certainly can't .. I can't read novels without a magnifying lens). At 15 to 30 feet (from my new 40" samsung TV, depending on where I sit in the room) the quality is always poor (there is no difference to me from the best bran-new DVD or the worst dubbed DVD I've recently made). So, as long as I have a picture (that's not white noise) & reasonably good audio (if I can distinguish English words), then that's good enough quality for me.

With what I currently have (whether I use RX2 or Grek), I can copy at least 95% of my VHS tapes right now. If the Grek doesn't work on the 90s stuff, then I can put off computer-copying the rest for at least a year, as it'll probably take that long to copy those tapes that I have (which are copyable from rx2 or grek), assuming I can keep copying 2 to 4 hours a day worth of old tapes

Again, thanks for the replies .. If I need to go computer-capture in a year, then I'll certainly be surfing the net for tutorials & advise.
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post #5 of 18 Old 04-11-2017, 08:36 AM
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I have a Grex and I can say for certain I've never had a source I couldn't copy with it. From CP'd VHS to DVD or even BD, the Grex works for all. It works by totally stripping the part of the signal where the CP resides and replacing it with a clean signal. It's not cheap(~$90) but it works well and really doesn't effect the picture all that much, and thats for my picky eyes
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post #6 of 18 Old 04-11-2017, 09:41 AM
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Sorry to hear of your declining vision! One hopes the mass-market availability of lightweight 40" screens helps compensate for that, at least somewhat.

Just to clarify, when I spoke of signal issues in 90s era analog cable recordings, I wasn't (entirely) referring to defects that are visible, or saying the recordings necessarily look bad (tho they often do, once we migrate to LCD screens from old CRT televisions). The more significant problems are "under the hood" - timing errors, VBI errors that simulate MacroVision, larger than usual top and bottom frame edge distortion, glaring sawtooth patterns on the side edges, etc. Much of this was concealed when viewing on the CRT televisions of the period, but modern flat screens tend to ruthlessly heighten every flaw. And those flaws, invisible or not, choke the video encoders of DVD recorders and PC video input accessories. Digital encoders "see" more noise, distortion and defects than actual video information in those '90s cable VHS, and they get overwhelmed.

The Grex should heal most of the hidden flaws in the signal that were generating spurious MacroVision triggers, but if the tapes are extremely iffy you may still have challenges. The PC video dongles can be more or less sensitive to "fake MV" than dvd recorders: theres a lot of variation, and transferring VHS to PC is no picnic compared to a standalone unit like your Magnavox. The only dealbreaker with the dvd recorder is its sensitivity to fake MV: once you clear that hurdle, there isn't much else to worry about. The PC video inputs can be much twitchier, much harder to troubleshoot: worth it if you're going to spend a lot of effort trying to improve the quality, but otherwise not the most fun way to waste time.

Odds are The Grex will solve your problem with the Magnavox. If not, return it for refund, and we can help you look at other options. Unfortunately, the other options involve a lot of trial and error, mounting expense, and aggravation, so crossing my fingers the simpler Grex cure works for you.

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post #7 of 18 Old 04-13-2017, 09:08 AM
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Hi CitiBear,

Do you still have the Video Filter? Maybe Richard can give one a try. Is it still working for you?
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post #8 of 18 Old 04-13-2017, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Got my new Grek in the mail yesterday, just wanted to give a preliminary follow up. I used the Grek on three of the 90s era cable movies that I had recorded back when (which didn't work for the RX2) & it worked !! Of course, that's only the first three, can't say (at this point) that the Grek will work on everything, but the first tests are certainly positive.

By the way, to follow up on the RX2 .. the RX2 worked great at first (as far as recording true movie tapes); it worked fine on the first three tapes I recorded, but the next three I got that E25 error. On a total of 11 true-movie tapes that I tried with the RX2, I was able to record 7, the other 4 had the E25 error. And, the RX2 worked on none of the 90s era cable tapes that I attempted (all E25 errors). So, the RX2 seems to work about 75% of the time on true movie tapes & not at all on early (90s era) cable-copied tapes. But then, to be fair, further research shows the RX2 is a 30 year old technology at this point (whereas the Grek is newer).

I'll follow up again next week after I get more recording data points in for the Grek, but for now the Grek is looking great (apparently I wasted that $60 on the RX2, should've purchased the Grek firstly !)
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post #9 of 18 Old 04-14-2017, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Video Filter View Post
Hi CitiBear,

Do you still have the Video Filter? Maybe Richard can give one a try. Is it still working for you?
Sorry, I am not one of the members who own or owned "the" Video Filter: perhaps you are thinking of ChurchAVGuy? I believe he owns one (and is pleased with it).

"The" Video Filter has received rave reviews by the members who bought them, but is perhaps a wee bit more expensive than newbies are typically prepared to pay. Since OP in this case had already lost $60 on his unsatisfactory RXII, I didn't think he'd be amenable to replacing it beyond The Grex price point.

I would certainly recommend "The" Video Filter to anyone who can afford it, esp if they were leaning more towards a standalone TBC type of purchase anyway (and had a use case for it). Based on my negative experience with most TBCs, I would think The Video Filter covers most of that functionality with better performance.

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post #10 of 18 Old 04-14-2017, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard Kindel View Post
Got my new Grek in the mail yesterday, just wanted to give a preliminary follow up. I used the Grek on three of the 90s era cable movies that I had recorded back when (which didn't work for the RX2) & it worked !!
Glad to hear you were able to use your Magnavox as a VHS conversion unit again! Yes, the RXII is a bit outdated so is not quite reliable with later Hollywood tapes or dodgy cable recordings.

I personally use several different filters depending on the tape involved. Since I've had VCRs since 1981, I accumulated a large collection of filter boxes over the years. Some are still effective, some aren't, some work with some tapes but not others. Considering I must have spent $1000 on these boxes over thirty years, I'm glad I can still use them, even if its more trouble than tossing them all in favor of a single newer, updated unit like The Grex or The Video Filter.

Anyone just now getting around to digitizing their VHS, who doesn't already own any kind of filter, should opt for one of those fully updated, fully digital filters. Skip anything below $80, because its likely to be old tech (unless you're a geek and know exactly what each generic or knockoff device is capable of). DVD recorders and PC video input converters do not react to signal issues the same way as VCR>VCR dubbing: the tech that works 100% for VHS>VHS can fail with VHS>digital. So its best to get a fully digital-capable filter, even if you don't have any digital sources to copy: the higher specs help with VHS as well.
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post #11 of 18 Old 04-16-2017, 11:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post
Sorry, I am not one of the members who own or owned "the" Video Filter: perhaps you are thinking of ChurchAVGuy? I believe he owns one (and is pleased with it).

"The" Video Filter has received rave reviews by the members who bought them, but is perhaps a wee bit more expensive than newbies are typically prepared to pay. Since OP in this case had already lost $60 on his unsatisfactory RXII, I didn't think he'd be amenable to replacing it beyond The Grex price point.

I would certainly recommend "The" Video Filter to anyone who can afford it, esp if they were leaning more towards a standalone TBC type of purchase anyway (and had a use case for it). Based on my negative experience with most TBCs, I would think The Video Filter covers most of that functionality with better performance.

Yes, I have a Video Filter and am very happy with it. It has worked on everything I have thrown at it so far, and without doing "damage" to the video along the way. The problem is, I haven't heard from Logic Design in a very long time, and I am pretty sure he isn't making them anymore. I seem to recall that he did one last production run of them and after that he said he was finished.

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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 #12 of 18 Old 04-19-2017, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post
Yes, I have a Video Filter and am very happy with it. It has worked on everything I have thrown at it so far, and without doing "damage" to the video along the way. The problem is, I haven't heard from Logic Design in a very long time, and I am pretty sure he isn't making them anymore. I seem to recall that he did one last production run of them and after that he said he was finished.
Hi Church Av Guy. This is actually Logic Design responding. The Video Filter is still available. Have a couple of units. Please send me a PM, if anyone is interested. Glad it has worked for you all this time.
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post #13 of 18 Old 04-22-2017, 08:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Just wanted to follow up. I recorded over 80 DVDs now & the Grex has worked like a charm, but now I have a new problem.

I decided to shell out $56, and I purchased a platter of 50 DL verbatim 8.5 GB DVDs for some of the extra long movies & such (those that are 3 hours or more & to put several DOC episodes on a single DVD). Supposedly Verbatim is the best brand, so I shelled out for the best. I figured 2 hr SP on a regular 4.7 GB would provide the same quality with 4 hr SP on a DL 8.5 GB disks. Of course, it didn't occur to me that there would be problems with the longer DL DVDs. Apparently, my Magnavox zv427mg9 recorder cannot process 8.5 GB DL disks; I keep getting this error: "recording error playback feature may not be available on this disc." I skimmed through the manual and it says nothing about being (unable) to process 8.5 GB DL disks. It seems that once again I wasted $60 ($56 is close to $60 anyway) ... Does anyone have any idea why the magnovox won't process 8.5 GB DL disks? (the manual says nothing about being (un)able to process standard ... I assume they are standard anyway ... 8.5 GB DL R+ disks)
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post #14 of 18 Old 04-23-2017, 11:19 AM
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Just because the manual does not say you can't, doesn't mean you can. None of the Magnavox DVD recorders can burn DL disks -- they simply weren't made to do so.

Also, the capacity of DL disks is less than 2X the capacity of a single layer DVD-R. You wouldn't get 4hr of SP mode on one of them.

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post #15 of 18 Old 04-23-2017, 04:15 PM
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Yes very few standalone DVDRs wrote DL blanks, it just wasn't that common of a feature. Even with the few DVDRs that wrote to DLs, some like Panasonic required you first write to the HDD and only then could you HS copy to a blank DL DVD.
I'd say either burn the DL on your PC or advertise them on Craigslist for 50 cents on the dollar(or less).
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post #16 of 18 Old 05-04-2017, 07:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello:

If anyone is interested I posted the DL disks that I had purchased on my eBay account, starting at half my purchase price $28 (half of $56: I bought new on amazon) + buyer pays shipping.
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post #17 of 18 Old 05-04-2017, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Apparently, I have to have 4 replies before I can post a link here's that link to the DL dvd auction http://www.ebay.com/itm/322501070832...84.m1555.l2649
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post #18 of 18 Old 01-17-2020, 10:30 AM
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Just saw this 2 year old post but since I had the same problem and have a permanent solution, I thought I would post it.
DMCA caused many companies to over-sensitize VCRs,DVDs, and digital T.V.s to the possible attempt of eliminating/bypassing copy protection (now extended to encompass 4K dubbing) Since it is hard-wired into the devices, it is almost impossible to get around.
So I purchased used equipment manufactured before 2008. GoVideo dual deck VCR was manufactured to ignore the Macrovision flag, and could make a very good copy sans copyguard. It also outputs a stripped signal that you could connect to a video capture card. I purchased an old Vidbox/Honestech version 3.0 capture card. Although it was not compatible with win 7, I replaced the WM03 device driver with a third-party WM06/03 driver (available in 32 and 64-bit) and it works as it used to on XP. I turn VHS signals into mpg files and burn on DVDs. If the file is bigger than 4.7 GB I either use a DVD-9 or compress file to DVD-5 size using ShrinkDVD and burn with Nero Vision.

As an added measure I installed a Grex 7.4-1 in the video output(yellow) line - only because I already owned it, and any non-copyguarded or stripped signals would pass through unencumbered.
Bottom Line? Use an entire dubbing system manufactured before Win 7 was released.
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