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I have been using my philipps 985 with good results. When I try to record some vcr tapes, there is a problem. The picture seems to freeze for a second or two. It is present on old tapes and new tapes, but not consistently. Many tapes play without any problem. I am using a JVC vcr player that has an s-video output for higher quality. I have heard that the problem is not the vcr player, but that I need a time base corrector. I have done a little research and it is suppose to do something so that the picture is stabilized. Has anyone actually used one and is it really what I need. The limited research that I have done indicates that I will have to spend about $300-400. Before I do this and convince my wife that I need another toy. Is this correct. Any input would help. Thanks.
 

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Well, we use them all of the time in analog editing on VTR's. What you are describing could very well be based on time-base error, which is caused by the slop in the mechanical servos of VCR's, all of which use helical scan. A TBC spools incoming video which is essentially speeding up and slowing down too much for a VCR or MPEG encoder to handle properly into a storage buffer, to put it simply. It then clocks the video back out at a normal "corrected" rate. This might solve your problem, or it might not, so be sure you can try before you buy.


There were once a lot of posts on AVS about this. Search back into the archives a year or so. I think you need one that will store an entire full frame. Some of those out there are of the "2-line" variety (store only 2 lines of video out of the 525 in a full frame) which isn't enough of a buffer to correct the amount of error a VCR can generate. A 2-line buffer will smooth out jitter and straighten out vertical lines in VHS, but if your video is flagging or tearing at the top or bottom, 2 lines won't cut it. Some consumer VCR's have TBC's built in.


A stand-alone unit for editing or dubbing can be expensive, but I believe that some PCI card-based versions are fully functional and don't cost much more than $100 or maybe even less by now. The only problem there is that they are designed for a computer platform and you may have to record to your hard drive first. This will likely mean two or more A/D or D/A conversions which could lower the quality, but that could be an OK tradeoff for video that is stable.
 

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I have a Philips DVDR1000 and had the same problem as you have. I got me an ACE converter, which does Time-Base-Correction plus standards conversion (to and from PAL-NTSC) It cost EUR 300.00 incl shipping. Without the TBC, no VHS could be copied to DVDR. It definitely was worth the cash spent.
 
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