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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, my recently-retired-and-now-very-bored father needs a hobby, and he's been lamenting for years that all the VHS tapes he recorded in the 80s and 90s are degrading, so I'm thinking a VHS/DVD recorder would make a good Christmas gift. I've read a number of the threads here on the subject, and I know the solid consensus is that the combo units kind of suck, but I'm really shooting for simplicity here. My father is about as lacking in tech-savvy as you can imagine, so I think having separate units would just intimidate him. The ideal would really be a single machine with a big green button that says, "Push This To Copy Your Tape," but I'm guessing that doesn't exist. On the other hand, of course, there's not much point to the exercise if the resulting video quality is totally unwatchable. Are the combos really just completely useless, or are there some that might be at least semi-worthwhile?


Fyi, the VHS source tapes were recorded throughout the 80s and 90s, mostly in SLP mode, and almost entirely on Magnavox VCRs. The really old ones from the 80s were recorded on an old 2-head Magnavox VH8200BR01, and the more "recent" ones in the 90s were recorded on a Magnavox 4-head hi-fi model that I can't remember.


Any recommendations or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 

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In my opinion, you're asking for trouble giving a non-tech savvy person a modern combo unit. These things are so poorly designed they give fits to people who know what they're doing. DVD recording is flaky enough with good equipment.


Panasonic used to make a couple of decent combos (about the only good ones on the market) but they're all on the used market and go for a premium. The newest combo, the EZ-48, is a disaster.


The recommendation is that you get a DVD recorder with a hard drive and a decent VCR (if you don't already have one) and transfer the tapes to the drive. Then burn at your leisure. If the DVD burning screws up, it's still on the hard drive and you just pop in a new disc and try again. There is no magical one-button transfer machine. Although once you get the routine down it becomes pretty simple.


The added advantage is that the hard drive recorder can serve as a poor man's DVR if he still wants to record stuff today. The timers work very similar to a VCR, he can play back off the hard drive as much as he wants, and if the show's a keeper, he pops in a blank DVD and burns it.
 

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As you've probably already read all the current combos are either buggy or poor quality. While the idea sounds good, a simple quality combo never really materialized. Panasonics ES-30v and ES-45v were probably the best combos but they were '05 and '06 respectively and truthfully weren't what I'd call totally easy to use.

That said I think your best option would be the Magnavox model with a HDD(check Wajo's sticky thread). He'll need a good VCR for playback, if he doesn't have one then a cheap combo player would be the only way to get a new VCR or check thrift/pawn shops or even Craigslist.org for a decent used VCR.

Contrary to what you might think it's easier to run separates than a combo for the recorder. The problem with a combo recorder is you've only got one display and one remote you've got to share between the two. The advantage of the HDD Magnavox is you can assemble the various tape clips on the HDD and finally copy them to DVD. Direct DVD recording is very unforgiving, recording to the HDD first makes things much easier.
 

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I have no problem with my Toshiba DVR670. It is a VCR/DVDR combo. I have transferred VHS tapes to a DVD fairly easy. I set it for Dubbing and it works quite well.

I like that I can still tape from an antenna if I want to, as it has an ATSC tuner as well as the analog NTSC (which I still use as my cable is still analog).


Transferring VHS to DVD I have found that what you get on the DVD is exactly what is on the VHS tape. And taping at the slower speed as I always did...does not give the best quality but it will look as good as the VHS tape but not better.


A hard drive as suggested is a nice feature; however, because all my equipment is not in the same room, I am better off at this time with separate VCR/DVD machines and move the media back and forth.


Whatever sounds to you as the easiest for your Dad..is the one to get. Good Luck.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by microladyusa /forum/post/19558288


Whatever sounds to you as the easiest for your Dad..is the one to get. Good Luck.

+1. JMO but for someone who isn't tech-savvy, I'm not sure if the HDD is a help or a hinderance. FWIW, I continue to get good results using a 2007 vintage Samsung DVD-VR330 combo.
 

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Well, the hard drive might have a little steeper learning curve, but the frustration that can arise from trying to dub a DVD without one is pretty bad, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the responses, folks. In case anyone's wondering, I decided to pass on the DVD/VCR combo approach after all and just get a Magnavox MDR515. I figured my dad is going to have deal with a learning curve either way, so I might as well get the best recorder I can and just learn how to use it myself so I can play tech support (like I do anyway with the computer, the tv, the cable, etc., etc. *chuckle*).


Thanks again. I'm sure I'll be popping in on the MDR 515 threads now!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinister_Penguin /forum/post/19597209


Thanks for the responses, folks. In case anyone's wondering, I decided to pass on the DVD/VCR combo approach after all and just get a Magnavox MDR515. I figured my dad is going to have deal with a learning curve either way, so I might as well get the best recorder I can and just learn how to use it myself so I can play tech support (like I do anyway with the computer, the tv, the cable, etc., etc. *chuckle*).


Thanks again. I'm sure I'll be popping in on the MDR 515 threads now!

Good for you looking out for "the old man"...just don't start calling yourself Peggy.
J/K Sorry, couldn't resist.
 

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[VERY off-topic]

I can't believe I am going to say this, BUT, samsurd2, "I before E except after C." is only half the rhyme as I learned it. The way I was taught is: "I before E except after C, or when pronounced long A as in reindeer and sleigh."


It was vaguely Christmas-like, um, sorta.


Sorry...

[/VERY off-topic]
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by samsurd2 /forum/post/19599084


Good for you looking out for "the old man"...just don't start calling yourself Peggy.
J/K Sorry, couldn't resist.

"Peggy, the sinister penguin," sounds like a good title for a series on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy /forum/post/19603183


[VERY off-topic]

I can't believe I am going to say this, BUT, samsurd2, "I before E except after C." is only half the rhyme as I learned it. The way I was taught is: "I before E except after C, or when pronounced long A as in reindeer and sleigh."


It was vaguely Christmas-like, um, sorta.


Sorry...

[/VERY off-topic]

LOL
That's the way I learned it too but I didn't feel that the rest of it was needed to make my point. However, in the spirit of Christmas, and because you're also a California guy, I've edited my signature. An early Merry Christmas to all.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by samsurd2 /forum/post/19606319


LOL
That's the way I learned it too but I didn't feel that the rest of it was needed to make my point. However, in the spirit of Christmas, and because you're also a California guy, I've edited my signature. An early Merry Christmas to all.

I just COULDN'T help myself. I had to do it. ...sorry....
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinister_Penguin /forum/post/19557526


So, my recently-retired-and-now-very-bored father needs a hobby, and he's been lamenting for years that all the VHS tapes he recorded in the 80s and 90s are degrading, so I'm thinking a VHS/DVD recorder would make a good Christmas gift. I've read a number of the threads here on the subject, and I know the solid consensus is that the combo units kind of suck, but I'm really shooting for simplicity here. My father is about as lacking in tech-savvy as you can imagine, so I think having separate units would just intimidate him. The ideal would really be a single machine with a big green button that says, "Push This To Copy Your Tape," but I'm guessing that doesn't exist. On the other hand, of course, there's not much point to the exercise if the resulting video quality is totally unwatchable. Are the combos really just completely useless, or are there some that might be at least semi-worthwhile?


Fyi, the VHS source tapes were recorded throughout the 80s and 90s, mostly in SLP mode, and almost entirely on Magnavox VCRs. The really old ones from the 80s were recorded on an old 2-head Magnavox VH8200BR01, and the more "recent" ones in the 90s were recorded on a Magnavox 4-head hi-fi model that I can't remember.


Any recommendations or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

PLEASE excuse my lack of posting protocol but,

I'm in a similar predicament to Sinister_Penguin's father.



The Magnavox MDR515H/F7 500GB HDD and DVD-R with Digital Tuner fits in here somewhere I think.



Hi Guys - Gals, (I currently get basic cable now)


It's been said before and rightly so, "you guys seem to know what you're talking about";not that I stay abreast of AV material. I'm here to ask the question that I believe has been quoted here as being the most often asked question on the THE AVS Forum. That being, what do I need as of 12/ 20 / 10 to transfer about 200 / 250 - VHS tapes to DVD, about a 1/3 of which were recorded in S-VHS ET mode.


My first VCR was a JVC S-VHS 5500U, then a JVC (S-VHS) 75 or 9500 DynamicDrum/ET (its been awhile) and a 770U w/ET was handed over to me by my brother. I'm currently using 2 VHS VCR's, (a TOSHIBA 4 head Hi Fi W528 & an ORION 2 head).


I think I've correctly gleaned ? that the first thing I need to get a hold of is JVC's S-VHS w/ ET. ...don't know exactly what other types of ET machines are out there and if those would play JVC S-VHS ET Tapes as well as another JVC will; of course there's the AG 1980's on sale at places...but they don't play in the extended format I don't think...They have a few on e-bay, though I wasn't allowed to post the URL


*


What kind of DVD Recorder & VCR should I match-up to the Magnavox MDR515H/F7 500GB HDD with Tuner, and I guess I should buy one of those S-VHS ET machines off of eBay.


I need a - - what to buy and how - to guide, if you're doing this from scratch.


When I buy a DVD Recorder, I want it to be very good / best for doing what I'm about to do, if that's possible.


I Should say...which thread might do me the most good.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bpitch /forum/post/19679561


PLEASE excuse my lack of posting protocol but,

I'm in a similar predicament to Sinister_Penguin's father.



The Magnavox MDR515H/F7 500GB HDD and DVD-R with Digital Tuner fits in here somewhere I think.

Hook your current VHS up to your current TV via the RCA Jacks. If you can stand the quality, then all you have to do is hook it up to your new Magnovox 515 and tape away.


If you do not like the quality, the 515 will record from s-video in.


Those are your two choices. At least from my "peggy" 50 cent viewpoint.
 

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I suppose there are still some machines that offer svideo out, but it's becoming harder and harder to find. I think for VHS conversion, the RCA cables to one of the magnavox's Line inputs probably will be sufficient. I'd think the recording speed would make a bigger quality difference than the line input, no? Record at a decent speed (2 hr per disc SP, for example) and the transfer should be fine. It wont look BETTER than the original vhs, but at least it wont look worse.


The process is pretty simple once everything is hooked up. When using an external vcr -- attach that via standard RCA cables or SVideo + audio cables to one of the line inputs of the magnavox, set your magnavox's "source" button to the line where the vhs signal in coming in (for example, line 1 means vhs is plugged into the back, line 2 means it's plugged into the front of the magnavox, at least on mine). Hit play on the VHS so the tape starts playing -- hit the red record button on the magnavox to record that signal to the hard drive. That's it. (Be sure the TV is set to display the recorder's input if you want to see what you're recording while you are recording it. Or simply set the recorder to the necessary show length and do something else. You can easily edit the recorded video on the magnavox HDD after the fact, so no need to baby sit it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by artwire
I suppose there are still some machines that offer svideo out, but it's becoming harder and harder to find.....
AFAIK the only VCRs to have a S-video OUT would be S-VHS machines or D-VHS machines. Older Panasonic Combo DVDRs would allow the VHS signal to be outputted from it's S-video output but that was a rather rare feature.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bpitch
what do I need as of 12/ 20 / 10 to transfer about 200 / 250 - VHS tapes to DVD, about a 1/3 of which were recorded in S-VHS ET mode. ...My first VCR was a JVC S-VHS 5500U, then a JVC (S-VHS) 75 or 9500 DynamicDrum/ET (its been awhile) and a 770U w/ET was handed over to me by my brother. I'm currently using 2 VHS VCR's, (a TOSHIBA 4 head Hi Fi W528 & an ORION 2 head).


I think I've correctly gleaned ? that the first thing I need to get a hold of is JVC's S-VHS w/ ET. ...don't know exactly what other types of ET machines are out there and if those would play JVC S-VHS ET Tapes as well as another JVC will; of course there's the AG 1980's on sale at places...but they don't play in the extended format I don't think...
There were a few manufactures that produced VHS-ET machines. I know for a fact that Panasonic manufactured VHS-ET recorders, I believe some of the Panasonics were JVC clones as they looked exactly like JVC ET recorders. Toshiba also had at least one ET model, the W808 model.

The Panasonic AG 1980 was manufactured before JVC added ET as part of the SVHS spec. Although there are ways to force SVHS decks without ET technology to play back tapes recorded in ET.


One way is to drill a SVHS marker hole into the VHS tape itself, to fool an older SVHS deck into thinking it's playing back a true SVHS tape. I don't recommend doing this because little plastic shavings from the drilling may make it unto the tape, sticking to the tape than making it into the player's tape path and ruining the tape heads.


Another way of forcing ET play back mode on an older SVHS non ET machine is to open up the deck, look for the pin that drops into the SVHS marker hole take the pin off and force the pin mechanism into a position as if it was locked inside the marker hole. I don't recommend doing this because you may ruin your deck or at the very least your deck will no longer play regular VHS non ET tapes.


Final note on playing ET recordings on a SVHS deck without ET.

Although most specs are the same - the white clip level is slightly lower for ET.

See Below:
Quote:
Video Signal Recording System:


Video input/output signal: NTSC-type color signal and separated Y/C signals conforming to NTSC


Luminance signal recording: Frequency modulated (FM) recording (conforming to Super VHS)


FM frequency:


White peak: 7.0 0.1 MHz (conforming to Super VHS)



Sync tip: 5.4 0.1 MHz (conforming to Super VHS)



Deviation: 1.6 MHz (conforming to Super VHS)



- Clip level:


White clip: 190 10% (210% for Super VHS)



Dark clip: -70 10% (conforming to Super VHS)



New signal emphasis


Chrominance signal recording: Color-under phase-shift recording of guadrature modulated chrominance signal (conforming to Super VHS)


Audio Signal Recording System:


Linear track recording: conforming to VHS audio recording method


FM recording: conforming to VHS audio recording method
The question I have for you is - What speed did you use to record your tapes when using the ET mode? If you used any other speed then SP then your ET mode tapes most likely won't benefit from the extra resolution. S-VHS ET recordings can be viewed in most newer VHS SQPB players but of course a quasi playback deck will only output VHS resolution regardless if playing back SVHS or SVHS ET recordings. But for ET recordings made in EP or SLP this may be good enough.


For those who don't know ET means Extended Technology. ET mode biases the recorder for normal VHS type tapes while letting you record a higher resolution SVHS signal unto the tape. This technology consisting of "High-Resolution Recording System," "High-Performance Video Heads" and "Pre-Amp" makes it possible to record 1.6 times wider signal frequency range on VHS tapes.

High-grade tapes in SP speed mode are recommended.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff /forum/post/19681057


AFAIK the only VCRs to have a S-video OUT would be S-VHS machines or D-VHS machines. Older Panasonic Combo DVDRs would allow the VHS signal to be outputted from it's S-video output but that was a rather rare feature.

I was thinking of my EA38 combo when I wrote that, but now that you mention it, it may only have S-video IN. I dont remember for sure, and I dont want to take it all apart to get to the back panel to check, since they probably can't find one of those oldies anyway. I vaguely remember connecting that to my eyeTV using svideo,but it might have been a workaround connection to something the vhs was feeding into. Haven't used it for that in a long time. Regardless -you're right... it's rare on a vcr! RCA cables should be fine


PS look what I dug up.... ea38 manual... it did have an s-video out after all
 
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