Originally Posted by CitiBear
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.