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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have some old VHS tapes that I'd like to convert to DVD before they completely disintegrate. Many are videos I purchased and may have copy protection (the one I copied last night did not). I suspect that many are in as terrible shape as the one I copied last night - color greatly deteriorated (everything greenish) and grainy resolution (even worse than you'd expect with VHS).


I've spent a lot of time reading threads here on converting copy-protected sources to DVD, but they all focus on devices to remove the copy protection and nothing more - nothing to enhance the video quality (or at least not that I found).


I'm limited in how much time and money I can spend on this. I found three devices that offer enhancement as well filtering, ranging from affordable to on-the-edge to way-up-there (for me). I've been able to find no reviews at all of the one that appeals to me most (from Star Development), which is a red flag. I'd very much appreciate some feedback from anyone who is familiar with these particular devices or this category in general.

Facet Video Clarifier
http://facetvideoclarifier.com/

$59.95 plus a whopping $16.95 in shipping

Star Development Video Magic/Ultra
http://www.stardevelopment.com/stabilizer.htm

$149.94 plus $12 shipping

Can remove copy protection from Blu-ray players and DVRs, as well as VNS, DVD, etc. Says, "Built-in TBC". In general seems like a great buy for the feature set, but I've seen almost no discussion of it anywhere - which is weird if it's really that good. Is this a legitimate company? Is anyone familiar with this product?

AVT-8710 Time Base Corrector
http://www.avtoolbox.com/avt8710.shtml

$269 plus some unknown shipping amount (already very high w/o shipping)

I read somewhere that this is very good, but the description is highly technical and I don't understand most of it.


Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by permutations /forum/post/18178728


I have some old VHS tapes that I'd like to convert to DVD before they completely disintegrate. Many are videos I purchased and may have copy protection (the one I copied last night did not). I suspect that many are in as terrible shape as the one I copied last night - color greatly deteriorated (everything greenish) and grainy resolution (even worse than you'd expect with VHS).


I've spent a lot of time reading threads here on converting copy-protected sources to DVD, but they all focus on devices to remove the copy protection and nothing more - nothing to enhance the video quality (or at least not that I found).


I'm limited in how much time and money I can spend on this. I found three devices that offer enhancement as well filtering, ranging from affordable to on-the-edge to way-up-there (for me). I've been able to find no reviews at all of the one that appeals to me most (from Star Development), which is a red flag. I'd very much appreciate some feedback from anyone who is familiar with these particular devices or this category in general.

Facet Video Clarifier
http://facetvideoclarifier.com/

$59.95 plus a whopping $16.95 in shipping

Star Development Video Magic/Ultra
http://www.stardevelopment.com/stabilizer.htm

$149.94 plus $12 shipping

Can remove copy protection from Blu-ray players and DVRs, as well as VNS, DVD, etc. Says, "Built-in TBC". In general seems like a great buy for the feature set, but I've seen almost no discussion of it anywhere - which is weird if it's really that good. Is this a legitimate company? Is anyone familiar with this product?

AVT-8710 Time Base Corrector
http://www.avtoolbox.com/avt8710.shtml

$269 plus some unknown shipping amount (already very high w/o shipping)

I read somewhere that this is very good, but the description is highly technical and I don't understand most of it.


Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

To be quite blunt:

Facet Video Clarifier - crap

Star Development Video Magic/Ultra - crap

AVT-8710 Time Base Corrector - excellent device, but it doesn't do what you want.


What do you mean by "enhance" exactly?


You'll find a LOT of help on the topic of filtering and restoring video at http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/foru...mprove-17.html

Many posts in there might be worth your reading time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf /forum/post/18215277


To be quite blunt:

Facet Video Clarifier - crap

Star Development Video Magic/Ultra - crap

AVT-8710 Time Base Corrector - excellent device, but it doesn't do what you want.

It's easy to say something is "crap", much harder to explain why. By all accounts (as I've since learned), low-cost video stabilizers work very well for simply removing copy protection from VHS tapes. I ended up buying the cheapest of them all (the RXII), from the cheapest place I could find it:

http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/80-4280


Many people on many different sites (including this one) report that it works great - not for color adjustment, but to remove copy protection.


If my VCR had s-video output, I'd have gotten either the Facet Video Clarifier or another cheap model I found that has s-video. Someone I know did side-by-side comparisons and said the s-video significantly improves the copy. But my VCR doesn't have this, and I don't want to start buying VCRs at this point. Here's a link to the other video stabilizer with s-video, for others reading this thread who may be interested. He's currently out of stock:

http://www.checkhere22.com/stabilizer/

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf /forum/post/18215277


What do you mean by "enhance" exactly?

Some of my VHS tapes have deteriorated with age - green cast, grainy. I was told on another thread that I need a completely different kind of tool to fix this problem:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff /forum/post/18179711


To actually change color and tint on your source(VHS) you'd need something like a Proc amp not a video filter. Radio Shack used to sell a cheap proc amp but I don't think they do anymore since VHS is pretty much dead and DVDs generally have correct color/tint or they can be changed with many better players. Even though filters mention correction of color/tint etc. it's somewhat deceiving since I think they're more talking about macrovision color/tint problems, which they may be able to correct but they can't adjust other problems your tapes may have not related to MV.

It looks like the most expensive filter in your other VHS thread has adjustments for color and tint but it's quite a bit more expensive too.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...aper+component Here's a couple threads talking about various filters/converters.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...aper+component


Here's a example of a Proc amp http://orangecounty.craigslist.org/ele/1596499976.html I've used one like this and it's quite nice but Proc amps won't remove CP, ones like this just change color, tint, brightness, contrast etc.

Unfortunately, I'm out of money, with all the electronics I've been buying recently. So I'll just salvage what I can and live with it.
 

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Thanks for posting back those cheaper filters, if all you want to do is remove VHS CP no need to spend big bucks on TBCs or DVD filters.

A note to anyone else, even the filter linked with S video connector only works with VHS, not DVD.

Personally I wouldn't care for the first cheaper linked filter because it looks like it only runs on a 9v battery but for casual use you could buy a lot of batteries for what AC models seem to run.

Proc amps are fun to play with but you need to make sure the TV you're using is calibrated correctly, otherwise you'll have a bunch of DVDs that are adjusted for your TV but not a properly adjusted TV
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I just received the cheaper one, and to my surprise, it has a jack for an AC adapter - it wasn't in the picture. It looks more like this one, but cheaper (the shipping at Qualitek Industries is nearly $20):

http://www.qualitekindustries.com/vcrdigvidsta.html


Even if you get one without the jack, you can get a 9v battery eliminator for $10. I got one for even less on eBay (before I realized it had an adapter jack). The instructions say it will run for 2000 hours on a single 9v battery, so I probably didn't even need the battery eliminator.


Qualitek Industries also sells cheap versions (except for their insane shipping price) that work with DVDs, but I don't need to copy DVDs. I'm just worried about my VHS tapes disintegrating, and also they take up too much space.


I'm scared to learn too much about proc amps because I'll want one and if I spend any more money I'll turn into a pumpkin. Luckily I have no idea how to calibrate my TV screen.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by permutations /forum/post/18215973


It's easy to say something is "crap", much harder to explain why. .

This is why:


Copy protection is nothing more than an artificial video error. The devices do a poor job of stripping out (replacing) just a few lines of video signal where anti-copy tends to reside. However, not all anti-copy exists in those locations. And then real video errors, which the capture device confuses for copy protection, are present in multiple locations in the signal, and thus the device does nothing for you. A full TBC will correct and/or replace the entire frame of video, it doesn't just attack a line or two. This also explains why a VCR TBC doesn't remove protection, being a multi-line system at best.


Again.... CRAP!


None of these things "filter" the video for quality. Terms like "clarifier" and "enhancer" are misleading crap terms because they don't want to promote themselves as "copy protection removers" anymore -- Sima was sued by Macrovision some years ago for that very reason. It's like calling the garbage man the "sanitary civil servant" or some other George Carlin style non-sense.


I know what I'm talking about here.
 

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I have to agree with lordsmurf here. The thread title is about video enhancers. Simple Content Protection filters are totally different than genuine enhancers. All they really are trying to do is remove the record inhibit from the video stream. In the process, the cheaper ones also alter the video stream in observable ways as an unintentional side effect. They can offer some additional controls over the video stream in an attempt to have you compensate for the damage that they do, but this is a smokescreen. They should be able to get rid of the record inhibit without altering the actual content, but since this is tricky, difficult, and expensive, they DO alter the content, provide some rudimentary controls for the user to fiddle with, and call it an enhancer.


As lordsmurf says, CRAP!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, here's what I can tell you after having used the very inexpensive device. It removes copy protection, and I do not see any difference in the picture before and after. I am happy that this cost me only $20, and I don't see what I would have gained by spending $200 since the fidelity seems perfect as is. Why would I spent 10 times more for a difference (if there is one) that's undetectable to the eye?


Also note that VHS tapes don't have high quality video to begin with. I think the cheaper device is definitely the way to go if all you want to do is remove copy protection from VHS tapes so you can copyt them to DVD.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by permutations /forum/post/18238155


and I don't see what I would have gained by spending $200 since the fidelity seems perfect as is. Why would I spent 10 times more for a difference (if there is one) that's undetectable to the eye?

Also note that VHS tapes don't have high quality video to begin with. I think the cheaper device is definitely the way to go if all you want to do is remove copy protection from VHS tapes so you can copyt them to DVD.
You need to read. Obviously, you're just skimming. The reason was explained in detail already.

Try again: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...09&postcount=6
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf /forum/post/18239079

You need to read. Obviously, you're just skimming. The reason was explained in detail already.

Try again: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...09&postcount=6

Your tone is a rather arrogant and condescending, don't you think? I said I can't see a difference. That is the bottom line - nothing else is important. This is about what I can SEE. If you like paying 10x more for a theory with no practical implications, go ahead! To each his own.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by permutations /forum/post/18239269


Your tone is a rather arrogant and condescending, don't you think? I said I can't see a difference. That is the bottom line - nothing else is important. This is about what I can SEE. If you like paying 10x more for a theory with no practical implications, go ahead! To each his own.

I have always used the "what looks good to you" as the acid test for any component or configuration. If you are happy with a $20 unit, that's great.
 

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While I'd also agree with the, what looks good to you is good, I think LS may be trying to future proof your recordings. My guess is he gets many a DVD or VHS in for restoration where the original user skimped on the recorder, recording media or speed. Then they want him to fix or correct it


The thing is what looks good to you now may not look so good down the line when you upgrade to a larger or better TV. Once you make the dub and if pray tell you discard the original, your picture will only look as good as your original dub.

A person can get carried away with things but IMO you can never do too good of a job, especially when dubbing, and for future proofing NEVER NEVER discard the original. That way if you later don't like your dubs you can try again from the source.

Of course with VHS your source may be deteriorating by the day so in that case you really want that first copy to be the best possible at the time.


Of course some people aren't as fussy as others and that's OK too, IMO the most important material to preserve is one of a kind family movies etc. Commercial movies for the most part will always be available to copy again and most assuredly in a better quality than your copy. If just copying from a commercial VHS tape I wouldn't really about the getting the best or most expensive filter, whatever does the job and you're happy with should suffice.


Very few of my VHS tapes have I copied to DVD, renting or purchasing them on DVD looks so much better than my VHS copies. Of course for things out of print that might be your only option.
 

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This post started out asking about ways to enhance video...

... and then devolved into the analysis of a TBC vs a crappy "copy remover".


Neither device will necessarily change the image's visual quality. The goal of both devices is to purify a signal so that it will convert. TBC does it flawlessly, the other non-TBC device does it half-assed at best.


The TBC can sometimes help with a few visual things, like de-jitter.

Sometimes the non-TBC remover will make an image look a bit worse, like ChurchAV pointed out.


If you want to make the picture look better, then what does a copy-remover have to do with the conversation?
 

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The OP used the work "enhancer" to describe deviced that both remove copy protection "I've spent a lot of time reading threads here on converting copy-protected sources to DVD, but they all focus on devices to remove the copy protection" as well as "process" the video to improve it. "...they all focus on devices to remove the copy protection and nothing more - nothing to enhance the video quality (or at least not that I found)."


I find it pretty hard to process an image stream, ending up with one that is superior to the source (in this case, VHS tape). The best one can normally expect is no futher loss, not an improvement. Usually a processed image that looks better, has had some noise added that fools the eyes, but really is degrading the picture.


Image enhancement and CP filtering are not completely independent, but they should be. The overlap is in the unintended image changes caused by the CP filtering.
 
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