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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got my big VHS tape to DVD transfer project and have some specific questions on some of the recorders. I've read thru a few posts here and you all are very experienced with some of the finicky bits. I tried a couple combos. Only to find that the new panasonics do that VERY annoying index - rewind - play - new chapter thing. My best pick so far is to use a combo with a DVD+RW disk, let it go and stop at end of video, transfer to PC, review the video and burn to a DVD+R.

I would be doing a lot of recording of tapes of undetermined recorded video length, about (600) without wanting to be there at the end of the video playback on the VHS tape, not the end of the tape. Some of the combos handle this differently. Most waste a 5 to 10 minutes of static at the end that just fills up the dvd.


What the question of the day is this: Is there a HDD/DVD recorder capable of detecting the end of video (then static) and stopping recording?

For example the mag 2160?


If not then which of the combos (or a PC/windows tuner & software) do the best job of mostly unattended transfer?


Oh and a little 'ding' when the tapes are done would be really sweet, like when a dvd is done burning and ejects the dvd (little bell goes ding)?

I know you all aren't Santa, but close to it...
 

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Personally I'd look for a DVDR w/HDD, like the Magnavox 2160. Use a VCR to feed the Maggy's line input and record to HDD in real time. After the VHS is done (many have a automatic rewind and eject option and the eject noise would have to be your 'ding') you'd just have to edit the HDD (remove last few minutes of junk, only takes a minute or so) then copy the HDD title to the DVD drive in high speed(lossless) mode. It's probably your easiest option. Involving a computer or RW discs is bound to take lots more time and aggravation.
 

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What you want already came and went from the market 3-4 years ago: you need one of the older Panasonic combo recorders (ES30V, ES35V or ES45V). These will do all of the automated dubbing tasks you asked for (but they won't "ding" like a toaster when done). You will have to search eBay or Craigs List for one of these older models, and be prepared to do some maintenance: people only put these up for sale when their burners start going bad. Usually this is user-fixable by following the "Panasonic spindle cleaning" instructions posted here in various threads by DigaDo, our resident expert on Panny combo decks. No other combo models made before or since these, Panasonic or otherwise, can be relied on to do what you want. Those 2006 Panasonics were a fluke: combos are not "supposed to be that good".


Wth 600 tapes you have two basic workflows to choose from. You can use one of these older Panasonic combos, do each tape automatically, and settle for whatever the combo gives you. Forget -RW and screwing with the PC: the only reason to bother with a combo is if you have no patience and want the task overwith as quickly as possible. You seem to fall into this camp. If I'm wrong, and you would really prefer to touch things up a bit (cutting commercials, compiling episodes of TV shows properly, putting chapter marks in some favorite scenes), then a combo is not for you. You need a DVD recorder with hard drive, and a separate VCR. For a big project you need to do efficiently, the Magnavox is no longer a good choice: the latest production run has issues with finalizing that can create a bottleneck if you also use the machine for day-to-day timer recording (its OK if you dedicate it only to VHS dubbing). You could also look into a Canadian Pioneer 460 or imported Panasonic EH-58: these run about $400 and are top-drawer machines for VHS dubbing. By recording to their hard drives first, you can easily and quickly move the videos around and edit them before burning to DVD-R, avoiding the PC altogether and using your time as productively as possible.


One of your biggest dislikes seems to be timing the tapes before setting the DVD deck to record. You can minimize this annoyance by looking for a second-hand late-model Mitsubishi VCR like an HS-U448, 449, 748 or 749. These are easily found in mint condition for $25-60. They are built like tanks, with a blazingly fast yet gentle transport: you can fast forward a typical T120 from beginning to end in less than thirty seconds, keep an eye on the tape counter and just jot down the total running time. Rewind the tape, hit "play", hit the "one touch record" button on the DVD/HDD recorder as many times as you need to set the the proper recording length (30 mins, an hour, 90 mins, two hours, etc). Come back when its finished, and it takes all of 10 seconds to trim any excess recording length from the end of the hard drive copy. Another few minutes to make trims and cuts, load a blank DVD-R, and burn at high speed (10 mins). Done.


The old Panasonic combo recorders try to automate the split up of different programs on the same tape, so that they appear separate on the DVD copy (say you had four episodes of a sitcom on one tape, and you want them to appear as individual shows on the DVD). Even the great old Panny combos are not magical, they don't always do this splitting perfectly, it depends on the tape. To split titles on the tape perfectly, you'd need to copy it to a hard drive recorder, then locate the split points on the hard drive and mark them yourself. Again, this takes about a minute to do with hard drive speed search, and then you just burn the DVD.


Folding a PC into this mix complicates things tremendously, when you have that many tapes to do. Its fine if you can spare the time, the PC allows elaborate authoring and whatnot that is not possible on standalone recorders. But you will likely triple or quadruple the time you spend on the project. Much as we'd all like Hollywood-style menus for dubs of our old TV tapes, its of secondary importance to just getting a decent DVD copy. All you really need to do is have a basic item selection menu, which a recorder can easily create. For most tape dubs of TV shows and movies, anything else is overkill. You can always reserve your "RW to PC" trick for the really important stuff, like family videos or really rare tapes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff /forum/post/16950238


Personally I'd look for a DVDR w/HDD, like the Magnavox 2160. Use a VCR to feed the Maggy's line input and record to HDD in real time. After the VHS is done (many have a automatic rewind and eject option and the eject noise would have to be your 'ding') you'd just have to edit the HDD (remove last few minutes of junk, only takes a minute or so) then copy the HDD title to the DVD drive in high speed(lossless) mode. It's probably your easiest option. Involving a computer or RW discs is bound to take lots more time and aggravation.

Recording 5:20 hours of static with 30 min of video on the tape is not what I need.


So the 2160 can or cannot detect end of video and stop recording?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hansiz /forum/post/16950399


Recording 5:20 hours of static with 30 min of video on the tape is not what I need.


So the 2160 can or cannot detect end of video and stop recording?

If you already know the video run time of a tape, you can set the recorder to record for that time, unattended in two ways:


1. Start tape play and press REC on DVDR, then press REC more times to approx. equal run time since each press adds 30 minutes of Rec time. DVDR stops recording at end of manually set time. Pressing REC again after say, 17 min., takes you to 47 min. of Rec time left, so you can press REC as many times as needed AFTER it starts recording.


2. Set a timer rec program for exact run time, requiring only "start play" action on the VCR when the timer rec program starts. After that, nothing else to do.


In any case, cutting even 5:20 off the end of a title in the 2160 shouldn't take more than 1 -2 minutes? Most of time spent pressing NEXT button to advance to end.
 

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It's been asked before but I don't think anyone knew of a DVDR that would automatically stop when the tape went to snow. Pioneer had a option to start/stop recording with the presents of a line input signal(for example from a STB that would automatically turn on/off) but I'm not sure snow would be considered a lack of signal. Besides once the tape ended and the VCR would rewind the OSD would cause the DVDR to start recording again which would result in another thumbnail and recording of your VCRs OSD.

It sounds like a pain but you'll really need to know roughly how long your tapes are. Citibears suggestion of FF and looking at the counter sounds like the easiest option and actually FF/REW is good for the tape anyway, it helps unpack the reels for a better dub.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks that clears it mostly up. WOW, vhs conversion is going nowhere. Thanks to you all at this forum, at least there is progress here. The combo pana are $250, or a ymmv rebuilt/used. The good pioneer/sony HDD/DVD are $400, and they're imports. The 'current' mag 2160 has issues. I understand the total frustration.


I'm so happy most everything was recorded with a pana, not a JVC.

I also read thru the 2160 manual, its said that it can't high speed dub videos longer than 5 hours, its go at regular speed. So with a full 6hr (or 8hr) tape your going to wait a little longer. I prefer to burn dvds on my PC at 8x anyway.


So there are no VCR/HDD (DVD) combos? Geez.


So my current thoughts on workflow are to get a few, like 3-6, of the best, non-pana, combos and just burn RW and combine them as the next tapes get recorded onto RW. And make an archival copy overnight.


Or like Citibear said to get VCRs like a Mitsubishi HS-U448, 449, 748 or 749 and a mag 2160. Packing the tapes is good for a dub. Get the video times from the counters at the end of ff to the end of tape, rew, rec, repeat.


Looks like the PC will get into the flow, too. Its not that bad, I can put a bit of ECC on the archive DVD so when they start to go they can be recovered. ECC will be good for the archival, but its slow. So overnight I can grind out an archived version on the pc.


Most of this is for my own collection, which I'd like to archive. Using 100yr media and ecc for the archive dvd and another working dvd.

At work they need a similar solution to transfer more recently recorded tapes to dvds. They need it for faster access and to look more 'up to date'. They need a simple system an intern can tend to and not mess up. There are boxes of tapes there too...


Hmm, combo or HDD/DVD. Buying more VCRs may cause a problem at work cause someone will say 'Why are we buying more old VCRs? Duh. And a dvd/hdd recorder will be useful later, while a vcr/dvd combo will not, they'll just screw up a lot of dvds and blame me. But to push thru a $400 recorder for at work, I dunno. Maybe a $200 something 2160, even tho its messed up finalizing. Lots to consider...

Thanks, I'll let ya all know how things are going. I have to open up the ol' s-vhs pana to clean and lube it up over the weekend. I'll figure out how to get that bell to chime in too.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hansiz /forum/post/16951366


. . . I also read thru the 2160 manual, its said that it can't high speed dub videos longer than 5 hours, its go at regular speed. So with a full 6hr (or 8hr) tape your going to wait a little longer. I prefer to burn dvds on my PC at 8x anyway.


So there are no VCR/HDD (DVD) combos? Geez. What's going on with GoVideo?


. . . like Citibear said to get VCRs like a Mitsubishi HS-U448, 449, 748 or 749 and a mag 2160 . . .


Hmm, combo or HDD/DVD . . .

Just a few quick comments:


Once the raw videotaped recordings have been transferred to hard drive they may be edited and divided into individual titles in any way you wish. Then they may be high-speed dubbed to DVD. The title listings will show you the timings and from that you may optimize the assembly and high speed dubbing of DVDs.


The last domestic VHS/HDD/DVD was the DMR-EH75, a 2006 model Panasonic. That model, if it may be found at all, is very expensive.


GoVideo went out of business a few years ago.


Current model combo recorders will give you grief:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...2#post16862342
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Where is the best shop online to get belts and other parts for repairing vcrs (esp mits and pana)?


So we are going with the vcr to dvd/hdd route. I pulled the trigger and got a mag 2160 from wallymart. Mostly in part because of the other threads here and there of the 500 gb upgrades to the internal hdd.

Then I stopped by a local goodwill and found a mit hs-u760 s-vhs vcr. It had the manual, but no remote. It's got some issues with ff and rev.


I haven't shopped for belts in a while, and you guys would know. I got 3 vcrs for the project now, all need some tlc and tune ups. The other one is a pana s-vhs (mid '90s) and an old pana hifi, no hq (JCpenny) that cost $1000 new. I gots an old top loader from a buddy that just broke down. That should cover the scanning problems, thin tapes, and some of the s-vhs tapes I made.

That's going to be the weekend project.


Thanks for all your responses. The essay long lengths are incredible.
 

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Goodwill can be a decent source of secondary VCRs or recorders, but its not the best place to look for your primary gear. Sometimes you find "diamonds in the rough", but mostly its just "rough". Mitsubishi, like all the other electronics mfrs, had its good years and bad years. Towards the end, in the mid to late 1990s, their VCRs had poorly-made loading mechanisms and transport pieces made entirely of plastic, a plastic that literally decomposes. Once they break down, you throw them away, they're unfixable: belt or no belt, sooner or later they go dead. If the one you picked up is already flaking and not working right, don't sink any more time or money into it: if you value your tapes at all, shop for better.


As I've suggested here many times, ask friends and neighbors if they have VCRs they no longer use, and check eBay/Craigs List. Look for a nice Panasonic or Sharp, the older ones with the large remotes were made better than the new ones with small chunky remotes. Mitsubishi went in the reverse direction: they were made well in the 80s, they totally stunk from 1996 to 1999, then were built like tanks again for the last two model series. With Mitsubishi, you only want the 448, 449, 748, 749, which can be had for around $25-70, or if you have the money and the need, the HS-HD2000U DVHS which was their final top-of-the-line HiDef vcr. It costs around $200 used or $400 new old stock, and is the equal of a JVC 9911 or Panasonic AG1980.
 

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I've transfered a few hundred SVHS tapes to DVD, using my Pio 640 with a 160GB HDD. It's very easy. Here's my work flow:


Put in the tape, and FF to the end, watching the counter. If the counter moves for a while, stops moving, then starts moving again, the tape may have damage, and not track well in the non-moving parts. Stop, and check to see how these parts play. Anyway, as noted in other posts, you will know how long the recorded part of the tape is. Rewind the tape. Also, this process loosens up the tape, equalizing pressure, so it is more likely to track consistently throughout the playing time.


Start playing the tape. Adjust tracking, if necessary. If the stereo track has lots of noise, crackle, etc., you might want to switch to the linear mono track. Once you have acceptable play-back, rewind to the start.


Hit the "Rec" button on your DVDR, to start recording to the HDD. Start playing the tape. Hit the "OTR," or "Rec" button on the DVDR, to make a recording long enough (usually in 30 min. increments) to record the whole recorded part of the tape.


When the recording is complete, trim off the unwanted part of the head, tail, and any content in the original you don't want. Add any chapter marks you want. Divide into separate titles if you want.


If you are recording short tapes, just keep them on the HDD, and dump them on DVD when you have all you want on one DVD. Also, Pios, and I suspect many DVDRs, will let you combine what were separate tapes, or parts of separate tapes, into one title. Once you've got your titles combined, and or divided, select thumbnails for them, and burn your disc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well I got my shopping list of vcrs to look out for. Time to hit the goodwill shops some more. I'll give the list to a couple of my friends that love to go to these shops, to only get those models.


VCRs : Mitsubishi 448, 449, 748, 749, and the HS-HD2000U or JVC 9911 or Panasonic AG1980.


Combos: Panasonic ES30V, ES35V or ES45V


Any other ones to look for?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hansiz /forum/post/16970543


Well I got my shopping list of vcrs to look out for. Time to hit the goodwill shops some more. I'll give the list to a couple of my friends that love to go to these shops, to only get those models.


VCRs : Mitsubishi 448, 449, 748, 749, and the HS-HD2000U or JVC 9911 or Panasonic AG1980.


Combos: Panasonic ES30V, ES35V or ES45V


Any other ones to look for?

As standalone VHS/DVD combo recorders the DMR-ES30V, DMR-ES35V, DMR-ES45V and DMR-ES46V are the best non-hard drive combo recorders Panasonic has produced. The ES30 is a 2005 model, the others are 2006 models. Do not confuse the DMR-ES30V with the DMR-E30, a 2002 model not capable of delivering the picture quality of 2005 and newer Panasonics.


If found in thrift stores these Panasonics may have had very heavy use. (Five of my ES30 and ES35 machines have accumulated between 3,000 and 4,400 recording hours per machine and were fully functional at last use.) My machines have had very systematic servicing in order to prolong their useful lives.


A discarded Panasonic may have suffered inattention or even abuse. If such machines were discarded when the DVD Drives made grinding noises and reported "no read" during disc operations the machine may need only a DVD Drive lens and rubber hub cleaning. The cleaning procedure is described and pictured in other threads.


If the DVD Drive makes "clunking" or "chugging" or "errp" noises the DVD Drive laser assembly has probably failed. The most cost-effective remedial measure for such a machine is the $130 flat-rate repair through the Panasonic Service Centers in Elgin or Elk Grove Village Illinois. (Local repair shops may quote repair costs of $500 or more.)


Keep in mind that Panasonic DVD recorders and combo recorders are next to useless without the original Panasonic remote. The 2005 models use remotes of the EUR7720 series. The 2006 models use remotes of the EUR7659 series. These remotes may be interchanged among older and newer Panasonics. Garden variety "universal" remotes are useless with Panasonic DVD recorders and combo recorders.


A "refurbished" Magnavox 2160 HDD/DVD recorder may still be purchased at J&R for $159.99, the best value for the money:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=940657
 

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Digado, I don't think the 2160s are currently available at JRs. I tried ordering one today and they only have the 2080 listed which is $130. Maybe they'll come back in stock at a future time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Both of my SVHS decks are in bad shape now. The pana pvs7670 just keeps ejecting the tape after loading. The mit hsu760 just squeals a lot and won't play or rew or ff. I have one pana left that recorded the original tapes, and its non hq, but hifi. Getting the service manuals, parts, and repair these two is going to set back the schedule.


Some tapes were made on an old minolta VHS camcorder. I read that using a two head vcr for playback might help?


I should just find some good mitsubishis soon.

When I get the vcrs I hope the remotes are still with them, but most goodwills and thrift stores just toss them in a basket and recycle them. The remotes prolly make their way to the used remote replacement online stores to sell for $$$. The remote for the mit 760 was missing. I checked online and saw it was going for like $60. Too bad those advanced remotes can't handle a vcr. I'm getting a bit perturbed by all of this. I'll just keep going on the tijuana quest...


One of my the teachers at the studio I work at said he had a 'few' SVHS machines to donate! They are VTR most prolly. Things are looking up now... I still need some old units to playback the screwy tapes...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff /forum/post/16971293


Digado, I don't think the 2160s are currently available at JRs. I tried ordering one today and they only have the 2080 listed which is $130.

You and I both should've ordered one earlier, before they started selling the "A" models.


People said they still had the finalization bug, and they were picking up less QAM channels with the newer ones than they were with their "non-A" H2160's (if the older ones really were reliably picking up all the clear-QAM channels, I was thinking of getting one for my BIL, The H2080 I once had that I brought over to his house picked up cr*p. Otherwise I would've gave that one to him then).


Anyway, they had just recently gotten the "A" batch in, and they've stopped selling them already. People here were complaining, and saying they were going to send theirs back. Someone even said, "I wonder if they're even aware that they're selling a faulty model, and if they would stop if they knew?" Maybe they became "aware".


If so, at least somebody has some integrity when it comes to selling these things. It'd be nice if they sent them back to Funai and demanded they fix them first, and then re-listed them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Got the mag 2180 A model monday. Looked at the case sealing sticker and exhaled, its still intact, for now. I'll prolly not hook this up to cable. Tho I am going to try the ant reception. It's a sd tuner anyway in the 2160.

The 2160 doesn't do DVD DL recording, recorders have been doing that for a while now. But I rarely use DL so that is what the PC will be used for.

It also has no firewire OUT, oh well that would have made it a great bit bucket like a DVHS machine. It's basically a MPEG2 video machine with a lousy tuner.


I'm on track on getting a mit vcr. Thanks for all the help. I've given up the goodwill shops, the units there are all broken anyways.


There is a pana ag 1980 for sale, you mentioned it may be good to get.

I hesitate pulling the trigger on a SVHS editor at the over $100 buck asking price.

Would this unit be good for playback to a dvd transfer rig?
 
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