Does S-video out (of SVHS JVC 3910 VCR) actually reduce cable picture quality??

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by sasha, Dec 16, 2001.

  1. sasha

    sasha Extra

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    I'm clearly observing this and I cannot come up with a good explanation. I am hooking up a JVC 3910 SVHS VCR to my (digital) HS20 Wega via cable, composite, and S-Video outputs, trying to compare between them. The signal into the VCR is just a decent enough quality analog cable. What I see is a noisier, grainier, in addition to being differently hued, picture with S-Video, compared to composite or cable! How come?
    Figuring I must be observing the effects of a crappy S-video cable I was using, I went to Radioshack and got their "Gold series" S-Video cable--as good as S-video and VCRs ever deserve, I'd think. It may've made it better, but I can still clearly see the difference! What does this VCR do that actually makes the picture seem worse in this case??
    In fact, when I record from cable onto a tape in real SVHS, playing back also looks better over composite video versus S-Video, due to similar problems (looks like a bit noiser/grainer picture.) Isn't that just...wrong??
    Thanks!
    P.S. I'm at the same time comparing this vcr with a non-SVHS Sony SLV-N71 (that I plan to return), and indeed like people reported, EP recordings on JVC are practically unwatchable (horrible quality), and slightly better on Sony; SP VHS recordings may also be slightly better on Sony (when played back on Sony, anyway, vs. JVC's recordings), but SVHS is clealry superior. To preclude questions, I don't want to get TiVo just yet since I've seen it destroy the lives of some of my friends, figuratively speaking... [​IMG]
     
  2. Howard_S

    Howard_S Supporting Actor

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    First check your connections. Now I think its a case of your TV not being calibrated. Try turning your sharpness level all the way down. It should help a lot. Going to S-Video made a big difference for me. If anything the S-Video gave you too sharp of a picture and exposed too many flaws in the picture. I'm sure that once you get your picture adjusted you will notice a significant difference in your picture quality.

    Got a question for you and others. Is EP recording on JVC that bad? I'm doing that now I was hoping it would be better than other VCRs.
     
  3. Vin

    Vin Supporting Actor

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    Sasha, I hate to say I told you so but....[​IMG]
    Just to reiterate, I found (as others have) that JVC's low end S-VHS VCRs just aren't that good. My experience with one of their 3000 series players was similar to yours so I returned it. I also found that playback of pre-recorded tapes on the JVC (S-3600 I believe) was much worse than on my standard Sony VCR.
    Sorry I can't offer any help other than to say I'm not surprised to hear of your disappointment with your VCR.
    Good luck,
    Vin
     
  4. Lisa Menin

    Lisa Menin Agent

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    Sasha:

    I have both a 9600 and a 7800 and my experience has been the opposite of yours. Both machines have helped to clean up my crappy cable signal and have reduced the graininess, etc... I tape everything on SP and never use ET so I can't comment on those features. I use S-Video out on both machines.

    Is it possible for you to return the 3910 and buy a higher JVC model?

    Lisa
     
  5. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    Rental tapes play back on your S-VHS VCR via S-video look significantly worse than when using regular video out (composite)? Tapes made on that VCR (specially set to regular VHS recording mode) play about the same on another VCR or on that VCR using composite but worse on that VCR using S-video to the TV?
    I am suspecting either a defect in the S-video output circuits of the VCR, or a one-in-a-million incompatiblity between that specific VCR (may be model-wide) and your specific TV (may be model-wide).
    There could be a misadjustment of pots or trimpots inside your specific VCR causing the S-video signal to be output incorrectly, such as to high a voltage level. The typical consumer does not worry about this with a brand new VCR, s/he simply exchanges or returns it.
    You could try adjusting tracking or sharpness to see if that helps.
    Other video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
     
  6. sasha

    sasha Extra

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    I have calibrated my Wega with Avia, both in service and user menus (though, on component inputs only(!))
    Is it possible that I'm complaining with no merit? I ran more experiments, and completely befuddling to me, I seem to prefer -although the difference seems almost insignificant!- composite video out of a DVD player to the S-Video out on this TV! If you think there's something wrong with my head, let me assure you that I see component being undisputably superior to both. S-Video looks just slightly grainier, with no other benefits I can notice. (Maybe I'm only noticing this added "grain" without knowing some other benefits to look for??)
    Disappointingly, I can say this JVC does not "clean up" cable at all using S-Video out, on my TV. I notice slightly bigger difference (to the worse) btw comp. and S-Vid. from JVC vs. DVD player (probably since DVD picture is just superior in the first place.) Cable signal at my place pleasantly surprised me with its quality; SVHS out makes it grainier and worse - not significantly, not enough, I would think, to call it a defect, but noticably.
    I recorded SVHS from DVD (I happen to have Apex for that purpose; I don't normally watch DVDs on it), and was very impressed by JVC's job. Still, that playback picture via composite looked better to me than S-Video.
    Yes, I can return this player and upgrade to 7800, but I keep wondering, will that at all solve my problem, or does this have to do with the TV, or my brain, or what [​IMG] (Re ET quality of this VCR, I suppose I can say I don't care, since it's bad enough on any VCR to be avoided completely.) Comparing (composite-out) playback of a pre-recorded tape on this ($140) VCR vs. ($140) non-VHS Sony, I can say it may be just slightly worse.
     
  7. Guy Kuo

    Guy Kuo Supporting Actor

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    The tuner and color separator on the upper end JVC S-VHS decks are considerably better than those on the low end machines. Definitely consider at least the 7000 series. If you want to "clean up" a cable signal, the ghost cancellation capability of the 9000 series is quite effective provided the station being viewed is transmitting the proper reference signals. On my cable syste, the ghost cancellation makes a noticable difference.

    This is one place where paying more for the upper end models DOES make a difference.
     
  8. Howard_S

    Howard_S Supporting Actor

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    Is the 3910 that bad? I recently bought it to replace my broken down Panasonic. It can't be that bad can it? I think it should be a little bit better than regular VCRs. But of course the higher end JVCs are better.

    Sasha. I have a feeling that you prefer the composite picture because it's a softer picture?
     
  9. sasha

    sasha Extra

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    Alright, I performed one more important "sanity check" - took my JVC to a friend's (and neighbour) place to see the difference a) between S and Composite on his 27" non-digital ~3 yr old Toshiba Cinema series set, and b) between JVC and his ~3 yr old very good Toshiba VHS VCR on original movie VHS tape playback.

    On a), I think it's my TV. I think I'm observing GIGO principle amplified. I think the sharpness added by S-Video turns into noise grain on the picture's backgrounds on my TV (even with sharpness control down.) On his Toshiba, I can see just sharpness, better colors, and overall superior to composite picture - considerably less detail of his interlaced smaller TV definitely helps! I'll see what people think about this issue on sony-wega group...

    On b), his Toshiba's playback is again slightly better than JVC's, which in making the picture sharper makes it noisier and worse, especially around the object edges and backgrounds. But again SVHS - and even SVHS-ET - recording makes for noticably better quality than his VCR can do.
     
  10. sasha

    sasha Extra

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    Howard, to sum up, it's not bad, no. EP is very bad but just don't use it; it's bad on any VCR. SVHS is clearly better than any VHS even on this, lower-end model. The original (rental) tape playback is slightly worse than a couple other VCRs I compared it with, which seem to smooth out and hide imperfections better. The only thing I can think of on softer picture -thus composite- preference is that sitting rel. close to my (32", digital) Sony Wega I can see it amplifying the background noise present in any VHS recording and making it seem like a lot sharper snow dots are buzzing around the background... Again as I said I have not calibrated specifically on S-Video input; maybe that accounts for something.
     
  11. Michael St. Clair

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    I bought a Toshiba W808 for about $220 online. It is a low-end model, and many people online said it blew away the low-end JVC models. In fact, some say it has picture quality that rivals all high-end consumer models. It has digital noise reduction that can be turned on for the output and/or the tuner and/or the A/V inputs.
    When I record animation, I find the output quality in EP mode to be indistinguishable from my very good cable source. Yes, some cable systems out there still have an excellent picture; better than DirecTV or DISH.
    Edit: normally for S-VHS, I use SP mode. But I find for animation that EP suffices.
     
  12. Howard_S

    Howard_S Supporting Actor

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    I know EP is bad. But since my family does record in EP mode "EP PERFORMANCE" and playback is quite critical. [​IMG]
    Is the 3910 worse than nonSVHS VCRS in terms of EP playback as well? This is not good news.
     
  13. Guy Kuo

    Guy Kuo Supporting Actor

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    And don't forget the digital time base corrector on the upper end units. That makes a noticable difference on larger screens.
     
  14. Matt_Marlow

    Matt_Marlow Stunt Coordinator

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    On my last 2 projection TVs I've always preferred the picture using composite over S video for all sources except DVD. Especially laserdisc, but also standard definition satellite, composite just has a cleaner, smoother picture even after trying to compensate by changing settings. I figured the obvious answer here was that the comb filter in the TV was better than that in the equipment(VCR, sat receiver, LD player, etc.).
     
  15. Bill_Weinreich

    Bill_Weinreich Second Unit

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    Maybe a dumb question but some displays offer and store different video settings for individual inputs, does the wega ?????
     
  16. sasha

    sasha Extra

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    _WOW_
    People told me - I should've listened. But you gotta understand, with the remaining useful life of a VCR, diminishing with every passing hour, I just couldn't make myself spend much $$ on it!
    Anyway, I gave in and bought a 7900. That was it! All the problems - gone. Video playback, cable, S-Video quality - amazing. It is so much better than 3910 (playback), even my girlfriend could tell. Just too bad it's not silver... well, gotta sacrifice something [​IMG]
    Now I'm planning to return this one to the store and count on vanns.com being nice enough to accept their 3910 back in return for upgrading to 7800 they've got (cheaper than 7900) - I suppose 7800 is practically the same thing as 7900, just last year's model - correct?
    Thanks.
     
  17. Howard_S

    Howard_S Supporting Actor

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    Sasha. I'm sorry to hear about your 3910 problems. I'm not totally happy with mine either but conversely the 3910 IMPROVED cable quality. I posted a thread before about how much difference going from composite to S-Video was and the 3910 is what caused that reaction.

    I am going to order a 7900 too (yes 7800 should be the same thing). But I think I'll keep the 3910. I think it's fine for playback. It isn't as great as my past Panny player but VCRs these days suck and they are not of past quality. So if you compared the 3910 with your old VCR then it's not that fair of a comparison.
     
  18. Michael Cucka

    Michael Cucka Stunt Coordinator

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    BTW, the 7800 is rather cheap ($204) at eTronics - just bought one myself :b

    Merry XMas!
     
  19. sasha

    sasha Extra

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    Howard,
    In comparison with relatively new Toshiba and Sony, 3910 was just slightly worse (although significantly worse when using S-Video - note, the important combination here is the player _and my TV_ (which is Sony digital XBR), since the TV just did a significantly better job with the composite signal! 3910 S-Video on friend's 27" Toshiba looked superior to composite.) It is in comparison with 7900 on my TV that 3910 was clearly inferior, which is what you may experience on your TV as well when you get your 7900. Of course, if you're ever dubbing, 3910 will record just fine - you'll just want to play back on 7900, that's all [​IMG]
    -Sasha
     
  20. derek

    derek Second Unit

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    As someone mentioned the differing quality in the comb filter (low end JVC vs. WEGA) is probably the resulting differences. The 7900 probably has a much better comb filter.
     

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