Originally Posted by mickinct
I'm still at it............
My Panasonic DMR-EH50 was a trustworthy unit for many years, as the primary interface to access cable input, schedule channels, recordings, etc. I also used it to archive miscellaneous VHS recordings, mostly odd scraps of programs and tapes given to me documenting family occasions, etc. I had no more than a couple dozen movies recorded from online broadcast, and those never were an issue, regarding licensing copyright warnings, as the commercial tapes gave.
Having advanced to a real HDTV, I upgraded cable service and found the cablebox DVR acceptable for interim storage, far superior in quality (actual HD), and only occasionally did I have some odd bit I wanted to actually archive; I could transfer stuff to the EH50, albeit reduced resolution, but that was generally fine for my purpose.
Only in the past year when I began a last culling of ancient VHS, etc, did I discover some issues. I first blamed the lousy, aging tapes, and many have deteriorated, but I then noticed even the input signal from my cablebox gave a very bad image when transferred to the EH50, very noisy and with horizontal lines scratching across.
I began to troubleshoot, and have found several interesting aspects:
First, if I use the same cables and connect direct from the cable box or VHS (only standard RCA red, white, yellow option) to any appropriate TV input, the image is as good as expected, with no noise or grain. The video output from the DVR is close, but has a bit of video noise and horizontal grain that component, composite, nor S-video cables of various quality levels cannot entirely remedy.
Also, the older recordings on the HDD play much cleaner, and can be transferred to DVD media with no issues and which play just as clean, particularly when viewed on the computer.
My conclusion is that the EH50 inputs are the culprit. Simple cleaning of contacts, swapping cables, all have no effect, and the cheapest RCA cables direct to the TV yield far cleaner picture than anything passing through the EH50.
As the rest of the machine's features seem unaffected, including editing, compiling, dubbing, and recording to DVDs, I'm wondering about the internals, the caps, power supply, etc. as causes of the input degradation, but my electronics IQ ends with which end of a soldering iron to grasp, and how to turn off and unplug devices. I don't have much committed to the unit, and may just transfer all to DVDs and be done, rather than invest $$$. Thoughts?