How big... when watching..... ulp... VHS?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ric Easton, Sep 24, 2002.

  1. Ric Easton

    Ric Easton Cinematographer

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    One of these days the wife is gonna break down and let me get a widescreen rear-projection TV. Probably when our area finally starts broadcasting HDTV. I can't wait to see what my DVDs will look like on one of these babies...

    But here's the rub...
    We watch an awful lot of material on VHS, mostly time shifting and archiving our favorite shows. How awful are these old VHS tapes going to look on a new Widescreen TV? We sit about 10 feet away and are now looking at a 36 inch 4x3 display. How big can we go, without the picture looking unwatchable? (I realize that this is a rather subjective question) I was hoping to get something in the 54 inch range. Do these sets come with built in line doublers? Are they any good?

    As I get closer I'll also wanna talk about those annoying grey bars Vs stretch modes, etc. I really want a big widescreen set, but I also want to be able to watch my old episodes of the 80's Twilight Zone and Max Headroom!

    Any comments or insights would be greatly appreciated.

    -Ric
     
  2. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Ric,

    Regular VHS is gonna look pretty bad.

    A good SVHS recording from one of the higher end JVC models looks pretty good if the original broadcast was good.

    I have a JVC 9600 and stuff I tape off of Directv looks pretty decent on my widescreen HD-ready set.
     
  3. Ric Easton

    Ric Easton Cinematographer

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    Steve,

    How big is your set? And yeah, I should probably get a Super VHS, but there's still all that old stuff! And I would still want to archive, meaning I would tape stuff at the slower speed... and that kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

    -Ric
     
  4. BruceSpielbauer

    BruceSpielbauer Second Unit

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    I sit 12 feet from a 65 Mits, carefully self-calibrated (I love to tweak).

    I have a Mits S-VHS. I watch a lot of "regular" VHS tapes in it, though, most of which are "over the counter standard market" stuff. A few are old (non S-VHS) tapes I made, while time shifting. They can look pretty bad.

    The over the counter purchased tapes look watchable. Not great. Not usually even what I would call "good." Just "watchable" enough so that I can view it without turning the thing off.

    I am visually picky. My wife would tell you the image on these is "fine." Both of my kids would as well. They seem not to even notice the difference. I can tell.

    My wife has me tape 2 shows every day, and for these I use S-VHS tapes. They look better. About as good as my analog Cable TV feed looks. In fact, it is very hard to tell the difference between that analog feed and the S-VHS tape which is made from it (and I have a good eye for detail). Still this image is not "great." It is merely "good." It is "okay." One notch above the other stuff (above).

    I am not advising you to purchase an S-VHS machine. I am just reporting my own experiences, and you should keep in mind that my machine does have this capability. The S-VHS is supposed to only make any difference on my (recent) daily taping, since none of the over the counter stuff is recorded on the correct type of cassettes, and most other tapes I own were made on a non-SVHS machine.

    Your results would probably be similar for the over the counter stuff, on a set of 65" and if you sit at that distance.

    Remember, with a 55" or a 57" you would be able to sit closer, with similar results... etc.

    Hope this helps,

    -Bruce in Chi-Town
     
  5. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    Much as I'm a fan of HD-RPTV, I have to admit that bigger is not always better.

    I'm kind of surprised that you find EP-mode VHS watchable on your 36" set. If that's the case, though, you might want to get a fairly small RPTV (like 42") so that watching your VHS tapes will be close to what you're used to but the set will shine on DVD and HDTV.

    Jan
     
  6. Ric Easton

    Ric Easton Cinematographer

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    Thanks guys... very imformative and helpful. I probably will have to invest in a Super VHS sooner or later. (of course when HDTV come out, it won't be able to record the transmissions, right? And no, I am not always happy with how my tapes look on the 36 inch set, hence my worries for going even bigger. I just wanted to know how bad this was gonna be... Especially when I plug in the set and my wife says... "Hey, my Buffy and Angel tapes look like crap!"

    The upside is they will all be replaced with DVD when they become available.

    Now about those grey bars...
    Are they all grey? How come I never see any black bars? They would be a helluva lot less distracting. Why do they have black bars on 4x3 sets and not widescreen sets? Does the burn in happen more vertically than horizontally? Or is it that the ratio of folks watching letterbox on a 4x3 is alot less than the number of people watching 4x3 material on a widescreen?

    How distracting are those stretch modes? I have heard by reading the forum that some, like Toshiba are better than others. What makes their stretch modes more preferable than a Mitsubishi?

    Probably should have started a new thread with these questions, but for anyone that is still reading, your expertise is appreciated!

    Ric
     

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