Whole bunch of S-VHS questions...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Phil L, Aug 6, 2001.

  1. Phil L

    Phil L Supporting Actor

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    I have a rather large collection of VHS tapes that I recorded off AMC and HBO before I got into DVD about 3 years ago. I was thinking about getting rid of them until a few weeks ago when I got digital cable and got TCM, IFC, and Sundance for the first time. Lately I've been recording over my older tapes with letterboxed movies from the new channels and I realized that with digital cable I could make better recordings with VHS-ET than I could with my old VHS vcr. I'm looking at getting a S-VHS vcr to upgrade my collection of VHS tapes, so VHS-ET is a must.
    So, now the questions
    1. VHS has a max of 240 lines of resolution and S-VHS has a max of 400. What is the resolution of VHS-ET?
    2. How does commercial advance work? Is it just Fast Forward with a timer?
    Most of the SVCRs I've been looking at have been JVC so I have a couple of questions specific to that line:
    3. What is Digi Pure? Is there a discernible difference between the 4 MB and the 2 MB?
    4. Pro-cision 19 micron heads? I take it this is just a description of the VCRs 4 heads. Is a 4-head JVC with 19 micron heads better than a 6-head?
    5. What does the Time Base Corrector do?
    Thanks,
    Phil
     
  2. Jake T

    Jake T Stunt Coordinator

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    Phil,
    I'm sorry I can't answer most of your questions, but the one I can is:
    ""2. How does commercial advance work? Is it just Fast Forward with a timer?""
    A: Yes, it FF's in increments of 30 Seconds or 60 seconds or 90 seconds.
    Jake T
     
  3. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    TBC will stablize a picture, get rid of noise. I can see a clear difference with my older tapes, which were recorded off laserdisc and even newer recordings off DVD. I have the JVC 7800. VERY satisfied.
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  4. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Phil,
    I have a JVC 9600, and it's amazing. I can tape stuff off DirecTV and the recording is indistinguishable from the original broadcast. I've done A/B comparisons of tape playback of all day ticket ppv movies vs the same movie coming in off the dish later in the day and don't see any difference using S-VHS and SP, and even EP looks very good.
    SVHS-ET is not quite as good, but still very much better than regular vhs.
    The time base correction and such are a big help in achieving this, but the 4mb of the 9xxx models vs the 2 mb of the 7xxx models is mostly apparent for dubbing and such, and doesn't make any real difference in regular playback.
    I would definitely recommend one of the 7xxx or 9xxx models over the other JVCs. These are the only vcrs I've ever seen that can do ff and rew, as well as freeze frame with no picture breakup whatsoever.
    That being said, I just bought a JVC 5900, which lacks the picture memory features and digipure so I could playback tapes made with the 9600 in another room. It's picture quality is quite good on the direct-view Sony XBR it's connected to, it just won't do ff rw or freeze frame without picture breakup. I paid $199 for it at a local b&m, should be cheaper online.
    Both JVCs perform much better than a 98 model Mitsubishi S-VHS machine I had for about a year.
    ------------------
    Steve S.
    I prefer not to push the subwoofers until they're properly run in.
     
  5. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

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    Phil, Jake, commercial advance IS NOT fast forward with a timer. That is what is called commercial skip. Commercial Advance marks commercials after the recording to be automatically skipped when viewing later.
     
  6. Jake T

    Jake T Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the correction Reginald. That is a cool feature, but how does it know when a commercial starts? Do you have to sit there and watch then push a button at the start and end of commercials?
    Jake T
     
  7. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

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    It detects then automatically scans thru commercials then stops to play the program when the programming resumes.
     
  8. Phil L

    Phil L Supporting Actor

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    Thanks everybody,
    I'm definitely looking towards the JVC 7xxx or 9xxx after the raves from you guys.
    Phil
     
  9. Alf S

    Alf S Cinematographer
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    Phil,
    Just to throw in my 2 cents, I bought the Philips VR960 BPH SVHS-ET VCR at Circuit City (may be avail elsewhere), and absolutlely love it. Great picture, plenty of features, works great w/ my Directv (via Recordlink eye)and best of all it was under $130!
    I almost went w/ the JVC, but considering that I don't do a bunch of recording or VHS watching, the Philips fit the bill for me just right.
    Give it a look/try and I think you too will like it.
    Alfer
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    [Edited last by Alf S on August 06, 2001 at 10:22 PM]
    [Edited last by Alf S on August 06, 2001 at 10:23 PM]
    [Edited last by Alf S on August 06, 2001 at 10:25 PM]
    [Edited last by Alf S on August 06, 2001 at 10:26 PM]
     
  10. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    To expand on Reginald's reply, Commercial Advance works by looking for the silent black periods at the beginning and end of commercial breaks. So it is occasionally fooled by dimly-lit programs (like The X-Files), maybe 3%-5% of the time. But for all other shows, it almost always works correctly.
    I would also highly recommend the JVC 9xxx for its picture quality. But its implementation of Commercial Advance is actually brain-dead -- it does the marking only after all the timer programs are done, so if you have weekly programs that means never; or until you turn on the VCR, and then you have to wait. Other VCRs, like RCA and Panasonic, mark right after the program, so when you turn on the VCR, you just rewind and play. Also, on the JVC, it shows a blue screen when skipping over the commercials; the other brands will (or have the option to) show the video, which is handy in case the marking is in error. (And the JVC's one-year programming feature is also slightly dangerous, but that's another story.)
    As for the resolution of SVHS-ET, a search of the web shows 290-300 TVL (TV lines). Note that ET implementations for different brands are not necessarily compatible. Many people poo-poo ET and suggest using real SVHS (when buying tapes in bulk to bring down the price).
    //Ken
     
  11. Chris Clarno

    Chris Clarno Agent

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    VHS has a max of 240 lines of resolution and S-VHS has a max of 400. What is the resolution of VHS-ET?
    Technically, S-VHS-ET (not VHS-ET) can record full S-VHS resolution, however in my experience, ET recordings don't look quite as sharp as true S-VHS ones. Still far better than standard VHS!
    What is Digi Pure? Is there a discernible difference between the 4 MB and the 2 MB?
    The 2 and 4 MB frame buffers are really only useful when editing videos. They don't serve any real purpose in time shifting or archiving TV broadcasts.
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    Christian Clarno
    Slightly-Off Productions
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  12. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    Some brands of VCR's do their commercial advance marking later by playing back the tape to themselves when there is a long enough break between preprogrammed recording sessions and when you are not using the VCR. I think the RCA models are like that, although I haven't used any VCR's with this feature.
    The significance of this is that the finite life span of the VCR is consumed doing this chore, and the VCR owner may prefer never to use the comercial advance and instead do it manually with the remote.
    About the Pro-Cision heads, the smaller the gap (all heads have a "gap"), the higher frequencies which are used during S-VHS recording can be played back better resulting in a clearer picture. But this means more frequent cleanings too as the recording and playback process is then more sensitive to dirt and oxide buildup on the head which causes the tape not to make as close a contact with the head.
    Better heads will not allow S-VHS to be recorded using non-S-VHS grade tape.
    Other video hints: http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
    [Edited last by Allan Jayne on August 07, 2001 at 06:07 AM]
     
  13. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    I think everyone has answered your questions, just want to add as you stated definetly look towards the 7600 or now the 7800 as well as the 9600 that's now 9800. The best VCR I ever had (7600). I don't use it as much since I watch the baby three nights a week but, when I do record even on S-VHS ET, it's just he best.
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  14. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

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    I also have a JVC 7600 I don't use it as much it's daily recoding chores have been replaced by my ReplayTV unit with the 60 gig HD. And the picture is absolutely indistinguishable from live when recording at the best recording (High) mode.
     
  15. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    I recently picked up the JVC 7900 and am very pleased with it. If I understand correctly this is the newest model in the 7xxx line. You can identify it by the "rosewood" side panels, which add some heft and style to an otherwise pretty cheaply made chassis. Performance wise I would agree with the above - recording off satellite is almost as good as the real thing. If my satellite receiver allowed for a second S-Video connection I would have no doubt that the playback would be essentially identical. Another feature that I like (not mentioned above) is the skip feature that allows you to jump straight to new recordings - very convenient when you've time-shifted a number of programs. It also has convenience inputs in the front (including S-Video) - a definite advantage over the 3900 series and below if you plan on using it for camcorder recording (as I will).
    My only reservations about this unit are the aforementioned cheap design, and the slow rewind/forward speed (coming from a Toshiba M-781 which was very fast in this regard). But for the business of quality recording it's excellent. I bought mine on-line through J&R Music for US$259. Best price I saw anywhere on the net, and service was fantastic. Unit arrived in less than a week.
    Good luck.
    ------------------
    --Jay
    "No one can hear when you're screaming in digital."
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  16. Thomas_Berg

    Thomas_Berg Screenwriter

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    i know this really isn't a reply to your questions, but my dad owns an A/V business that specializes in video transfers. he is now advertising for people to come in with their old VHS tapes and have them burned to DVD. he can do menus, chapters, etc. you might look into something like this.
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    Click here to visit my webpage.
     
  17. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Actually, since I got my Tivo a few months ago, I only use my JVC9600 to archive stuff off the Tivo.
    Tivo's cool search and wishlist features make it easy to find old classic movies off TCM and AMC, that I otherwise never would have known were on. I then download from the Tivo to the 9600 so as to free up space on the Tivo.
    For just timeshifting, I only use the Tivo. It can fast forward thru commercials at 3 different speeds, leaving them visible so if something interesting flashes by, you can go back and check it out. When you stop fast forwarding, it automatically backs up a bit so you don't miss any of your program.
    I never use the commercial advance feature on the 9600, don't want the extra wear and tear, and most of the stuff I archive off Tivo is commercial free anyway.
    ------------------
    Steve S.
    I prefer not to push the subwoofers until they're properly run in.
     

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