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A new DVHS review thread. (1 Viewer)

Lucas Dang

Stunt Coordinator
Apr 5, 2000
Before I get started I want it to be very clear that this thread is not for people who dont have an HDTV, or who hate any non disc format to show up and start complaining about how much stuff costs. As a long time member of this forum I must say I have seen many great years here, but this last year I have noticed that many newer members just love to complain about how much their new dvd hobby costs. I'm not trying to offend anyone or alienate members, but hometheater is not ment to be a cheap hobby. If you look at what the costs are you can see this hobby will drain your wallet. The more you participate in it, the greater tastes you acquire and soon you will want better equipment, special editions, and superbit redues. New laserdiscs had cost 40-65$ and We (meaning laserdisc enthusiasts) salivated over every new release, we preordered, and we bought protective vinyl jackets. Our dvd hobby costs today is peanuts. Try collecting star trek, babylon5, xfiles, or anime series at 39$ a pop four 2-3 episodes.

Anyway I would like this specific thread to be free of any comments along the lines of HDTVs are too expensive, DHVS is too expensive, ect. Many members have flooded threads with this exact opinion, so I feel it is quite well known that you feel this way, and isnt really productive to keep saying it off topic. "hows does xmen look?" "I dont care its too expensive and its tape, I hate tape, I hate HDTV, and I hate my father! sob sob" Also if you havent viewed it with your own eyes...you know what I'm saying.

HDTV is not more expensive than any other new tv. Its practically standard on the rear projection sets. Would you come to a Home owners Forum thread about new garage door openers and say: "oh houses with garages are too expensive, most people cant afford a house, I live in an apartment, I dont have a garage door, I wouldnt buy a garage door opener. I think garage door openers are lame." Bottom line, dont complain just because you dont have an HDTV, if you dont have one, your negative comments really have no merit. And I am sincerely not trying to be a snob about it, you dont have to be rich to appreciate hometheater or dvds, or to post here, but you should pay some attention to what you are saying and when and where it might be appropriate.

I recommend all HDTV owners to go to your local GoodGuys and check out the JVC D-VHS with your own eyes. I went this weekend to see for myself and it really does make a difference compared to just reading about it on the forum.

My impressions...

I watched the demo tape with xmen, u571, terminator 2, peacekeeper, dirty dancing and others i cant recall now. Then I watched the T2 movie. I was happy to see that the monitor was the same as mine, 65" WS Mitsubishi.

Video- if you've seen 1080i you'll recognize the clear edges with no jaggies, and color depth. the best way to see this is the logo before the tapes begin, there is the cleanest looking text image i've seen, then the 20th century fox logo, that looks so 3D. but as I watched I started to notice the regular grain in the background of the film. Its there probably as it was shot, they dont go clean up the grain, so its not worthy of complaint, I was merely shocked to see it. I watched my dvd of xmen and T2 before I went to have some memory point of referrence. Side by side you'll know the difference, just looking at the DVHS you will be able to recognize it. What I can say is that progressive scanned (upscaled?) 480p dvd images on my set look so good that I think the step up to 1080i isnt that significant.

What? How can this be. My tv is correctly IFS calibrated. I have one of the cleanest and correctly displayed monitors I have seen compared to other enthusiasts (not shops). 480P Dvd looks great. DVHS looks better of course, but how much better. I'd say its comparable from stepping up from 480i on 3:4 tv to animorphic 16:9 480p. Its a big little improvement. I thought the movies looked the best I've seen them, but I was much more impressed by the looping video of the snake and wildlife HDTV demo they have been playing for years, that video shows much more of HDTV's life like resolution. DHVS movies just look like really clear clean edged movies, its not quite life like, because its a movie not a nature program. However I then went and saw two movies at the theater and can say that DVHS looks better than film. (dont flame me for that one until you see it yourself)

So what else? Tapes wear, I saw it first hand. Both tapes, though Im sure they have been played a few more times than anyone would normally, had bad wear, one had frequent pixellation messing the image near the beginning of the tape. T2 just froze a pixellated image at the begining, I had to stop, fastforward about 5 mins to get it to play, but it was only stuck on the previews. It wouldnt scan forward it with the picture displayed.

Dvds have direct control? This JVC DVHS puppy has sweet direct control, for tape that is. The fastforward is extrememly fast and is digital so it counts the numbers and time down fast too. You can fastforward exactly 50 minutes in to the program in a few seconds. It has a nice whurring sound that doesnt sound as mechanically challenged as vhs, and it also slows down at start and end of fast forwarding, even if you push stop, it gently stops instead of shuddering to a halt. This should help with tape wear.

The sound was great, no problems noted. because it is digital, the picture doesnt always pop up on screen until it gets going, but neither does DVD if you think about it.

So is it worth it? Sure, If the titles come out, and you have an HDTV it is very nice, if you have HDTV reception to record, its a no brainer. My tv cost 6K, my dvd players 1k each, my amp 2k, speakers 2k, xbox 1/3k, hdtv receiver 1k, so 1100$ for hdvt tape deck is appropriate in relative terms. For all that it can do its not a rip off, sure we'd like it to be a penny, but you pay for what you get, if its a great machine with high quality parts and craftmanship why would you complain. I paid 1k for my sony VHS 10 years ago, add inflation, and it would be 1500 for a high quality VHS. The DVHS at least is VHS with enhancment, SVHS, and can do hidef video and 5.1 sound recording. Backward technology it is not. Backward would be the 12" LD platter which was proposed when dvd was created, that and it would'nt record anything either.

So back to what I didnt like. I went in prepared to be blown away with images my eyes have never seen, after all that snake and swan demo was so amazing, so xmen and t2 must pop out of the screen like captain EO right? Well I admit, I was slightly disappointed that the movie just looked like a movie, though very clear, I didnt find that it enhanced the viewing pleasure. (as in actually watching the movie) Sound buffs may appreciate the lower bit rate encoding. The tapes look like regular VHS in dinky VHS clamshells. I wasnt impressed by its physical appearance, it doesnt leap out and say Digital Medium, it says VHS cases already exhist and therefore are cheaper.

So I came home and weighed the pros and cons, I can drop 1500$ on it and get a few tapes to watch, or I can spend that money picking up those box sets of xfiles, startrek and tv shows that are truly our DVD enthusiast blessing. What I might do is blow 60$ on the two tapes (xmen and t2) and bring the player home for a week, then return it to the store if I can let it go. That way I can really sit down and see if I like it, A/B compare it, kick it, lick it, and fondle all the controls. If I return it then Im only out 60$ until I sell or trade the tapes.

So run out and see it for yourself, and then post your opinions about how it actually looks and sounds, whurrs and freezes, just dont post how you would never add a Turbocharger to that sports car you dont own.


Senior HTF Member
Jul 19, 2002
good, honest review.
i don't have an axe to grind with DVHS, on the contrary, i'd like to see it take off a bit for reasons already ennumerated.
i'd just like to say on the subject of longevity,
i've had laserdiscs rot behind my back,
i've had a couple dvd's degenerate to point of unplayability.
regular VHS tapes i taped on different players 10 years ago to preserve some ephemeral content, won't track on any of the players i currently own.

none of this stuff lasts forever. if i can make it to the next format, with a sizable library available, i'll consider myself fortunate.

the other point;
i was watching a few movies over the weekend on my little sub $1,800 pj. the first thing i watched was Bullitt.
sourced thru a $200 prog scan player with a $50 breakout cable and audio feed to a $425 HTIB.
the presentation was quite adequete. sufficent that i could enjoy the movie. w/ all the talk lately about DVHS, i was wondering how long it would take to get catalog titles like this in a HD format, and how much better and more enjoyable the experience would be.

Then i put in a copy of Peacemaker i just got. never seen it on the pj before.
i was startled! the movie looked great and sounded teriffic.
i could mentally teleport myself back about 10-11 years and THIS is what i was fantasizing HD content would look like.
i realize its not, but thats not important.
it still blows my mind just how good lowley ole NTSC can look when the source is good, and your in the mood to relax.

Bryant Trew

Second Unit
Jun 3, 2001
In deciding to blow $1,500 on D-VHS I simply asked myself, "Is the difference between the picture on my Pioneer 610 far enough away from film to warrant a purchase?" The answer I always get is no, not at that price, because I expect to have some level of compromise in quality. But it really comes down to appreciating a film more, and frankly resolutions above DVD don't really change my opinion on a movie.

Roberto Carlo

Second Unit
Apr 14, 2002
I'd say its comparable from stepping up from 480i on 3:4 tv to animorphic 16:9 480p. Its a big little improvement. I thought the movies looked the best I've seen them, but I was much more impressed by the looping video of the snake and wildlife HDTV demo they have been playing for years, that video shows much more of HDTV's life like resolution. DHVS movies just look like really clear clean edged movies, its not quite life like, because its a movie not a nature program.
Interesting. Would you say that it stands to reason that if this is true of D-VHS viewed on a large -- 65 inch -- screen, that the perceived difference would be even smaller on smaller, e.g., 43 or 50 inch, HDTVs?

Kyle McKnight

Senior HTF Member
Mar 8, 2001
I agree with a couple others. I have a feeling this thread'll be closed by the time I get home from work. Starting out by categorizing a large portion of HTF enthusiasts who do not agree with the step-back to a degradeable medium as 'J6Ps', that's not the way to go. I've got an HDTV, I only purchase OAR discs (a couple hundred so far), and yet because I enjoy direct instant access to chapters, a format that doesn't deteriorate the more you watch it, a smaller size, more reasonably priced media, I am what you call a J6P? Heck, even if someone doesn't buy a lot of dvd's or spend a lot on equipment, they shouldn't be considered a J6P if they support seeing films the way the director intended them to be seen. Nice.

Jon Robertson

May 19, 2001
I object to the term "Joe Six Pack" full-stop, but since so many people here love to feel superior to others to the point of childish name calling, my requests always fall on deaf ears.

Ronald Epstein

Senior HTF Member
Jul 3, 1997
Real Name
Ronald Epstein


This is going to stop right here, right now!
Did you guys read Lucas's post before some of
you started polluting this thread?
Nothing was meant to be malicious. Nothing.
That was made clear from the start.
Let's stop behaving in this manner and stop
taking things personally.

Brian Kidd

Senior HTF Member
Nov 14, 2000
Uh, did you read it Ron? It's quite malicious. Joe Six Pack is a derogatory term on this board and for a member to call other members this because of a lack of HDTV ownership is downright rude. I'll stop there.


Stunt Coordinator
Apr 18, 2000
Although I would say, the entire first third of your post could/should have been left out (after all, you don't go to DisneyLand and complain that you don't like the burgers at MacDonalds :D )...
I'm just thinking out loud here, but you mentioned how your set is ISF calibrated, and one of the best looking you've seen, but then you compare the picture of a set at GoodGuys to yours, and say that the quality wasn't as good as you expected. -- As I'm writing this, I'm realizing that I'm sounding a little nasty, which isn't my intent. -- I'm just wondering if you think that you'll see a lot more improvement on your own set.
Let us know if you decide to take it home.
I don't "despise" DVHS... I'll just wait a while and see if HD-DVD comes out. It'll be a couple years before I upgrade to an HDTV set anyway. If, by then, HD-DVD hasn't materialized, and DVHS is the de-facto, HD recording medium, then so be it.


Second Unit
Jun 23, 2001
Did you guys read Lucas's post before ...
Ron, i don't believe it was the post that offended people, it was the title of the thread. "sans joe six pack". surely even you can see where the offense might be taken.
would suggest you change it to prevent any more toys being thrown out of pram :)

Jack Briggs

Senior HTF Member
Jun 3, 1999
Okay, the thread title has been edited.

If this thread doesn't head in a decent direction soon it will be locked. Also, haven't we had enough of the pro/con threads about D-Theater? They are becoming something of a drain now.

John Berggren

Senior HTF Member
Jun 17, 1999
What I really want to know is when new titles will be announced, and where I need to go to be sure to hear about them! I'm getting excited about giving this technology a try.

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