JVC HM-DH30000U for $160 should I get it?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by David_Moechnig, Jul 17, 2004.

  1. David_Moechnig

    David_Moechnig Stunt Coordinator

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    The thread title pretty much sums it up. A local Sears store has their demo JVC HM-DH30000U DTHEATER DVHS deck for sale for $160 + tax. Would this be a good buy or is DVHS a dying breed? I saw this thing there a few months back that they were selling for $250 and I thought that was a good deal but I'm having a hard time passing up on this deal. The salesman that I talked to last night didn't even know what it was, he said that $160 is way to much for a VCR.
     
  2. Benson R

    Benson R Supporting Actor

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    I dont think dvhs is dying, but it looks like its not moving beyond being a niche format. And once hd dvd comes out it will probably die a quick death. But since thats not happening for another couple years, dvhs looks to be your ownly option for prerecorded hd content.

    160 sounds like a great price for that deck, however if you read the threads there have been a lot of problems with that particular model. I would make sure there is a decent return period on it before buying.
     
  3. Jay Blair

    Jay Blair Second Unit

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    The 30K is definitely worth buying for $160, but I would only buy it if you can get an extended warranty with it for a reasonable price (at least a 2 year extended warranty). I normally don't get extended warranties, but did get one when I bought my 30k due to all the problems that have been reported. Supposedly most of the issues have been resolved in later releases of the 30k, but with a demo unit, you don't know how much use it got and probably won't be able to tell if it was one fo the later "fixed" units.
     
  4. David_Moechnig

    David_Moechnig Stunt Coordinator

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    Sounds like I should go ahead and pick it up. However, I'm going to pass on the extended warranty since I don't have an HDTV yet. That will be my first big purchase when I get done with my B.S.M.E. in December. I just happened to see it there and thought it was a pretty good deal. I'lll probably wait another month or so and see if they drop the price again. Is there any other way to record OTA HD programming in 1080i? I would think that a PVR would have a hard time recording HDTV in full resolution. I'm not too well versed in all this stuff yet so forgive me for my negligence.
     
  5. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Don't think twice, buy the deck! It plays/records all of the VHS formats. 1080i recording are only possible through the Firewire input. The newest digital cable boxes are all featuring Firewires as do some OTA set-top boxes. 480i recordings are possible through the S-video inputs and even they'll beat the hell out of any S-VHS decks. D-VHS will automatically record the aspect ratio that it is presented with. That's easy and advantageous, IMO.

    The only thing hard about D-VHS is keeping the heads clean enough. D-VHS demands very clean heads. I use a regular head cleaning tape followed by an abrasive head polishing tape after about every 8 hours of use.

    People are always on about how wonderful that HD-disc recording is going to be. It may well be so, someday. Blu-Ray recorders cost about $4000 in Japan now. I imagine that blank software is purr-dy expensive too...? The days of relatively inexpensive HD-disc recording might be fairly far into the future? One-hundred and sixty dollars sounds like a bargain to me!

    Buy the deck, test it, then put it up till you get your first HD set. Maybe pick-up a D-Theater tape or two for the day your HD set arrives. Maybe pick up some blank D-VHS tapes too...?

    That's what I think anyway...[​IMG]
     
  6. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Yes, that's a good price.

    Despite receiving an almost crusade-like push from Widescreen Review a couple of years ago and despite its being the only means of screening prerecorded films in high def, D-Theater just cannot catch on in a marketplace that overwhelmingly prefers optical-disc formats. So, D-VHS is going to remain nothing more than a niche format in this environment, no matter that if offers the best picture quality thus far in a prerecorded format.

    But now we have high def-capable personal video recorders for recording movies, say on HDnet or Showtime, in the home. Blu-ray is on the market in Japan. So there's no telling what the immediate future holds.
     
  7. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    I agree with all the posts, for that price, it's a worth while purchase.
     
  8. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    "Despite receiving an almost crusade-like push from Widescreen Review a couple of years ago "

    I remember that Jack, they made it sound like the second coming. I think most people said "forget it" when they realized they had to fast forward and rewind everything and it seemed like a step back.

    BUT for that price I'd look at buying one too.

    B
     
  9. Aaron Gilbert

    Aaron Gilbert Second Unit

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    That sure looks like a great price to me, but brings up a question. I'm just now getting into HD off-the-air (well actually anything off-the-air). I'd like to be able to record in decent quality, so obviously standard VHS isn't going to cut the mustard. My HD receiver does not have firewire output, so I assume with this or any other D-VHS deck, I'm only going to be able to record in 480i through the S-video input. So, how much of a difference in picture quality will there be between D-VHS at 480i and SuperVHS at 400-425 lines? SuperVHS decks can be had for about half of that $160 these days (also a JVC). I don't really need anything fancy like flying erase heads or insert editing etc.., just a basic VCR.


    Aaron Gilbert
     
  10. Gregg Loewen

    Gregg Loewen Video Standards Instructor, THX Ltd.
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    Awesome!!

    But Id consider somebody as foolish to pass on getting the extended warranty with this deck. For the extra 20-50 it is very well worth it.

    regards

    Gregg
     
  11. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    The extended warranty really adds a sense of comfort. Knowing Sears, they not only would honor the warranty, if they can't get it fixed if something happens they replace with a current equal model.
     
  12. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Aaron, 480i recording off DirecTV looks purr-dy fair to me. More detail than S-VHS and WAY better colour. Remember, what I said in the previous post about automatically recording the correct aspect ratio, that's convient with a mixed bag of channels. I get Direc's hi-def package and my 480i tapes off it are quite good, about DVD quality on the pic. I can make 1080i tapes off the locals via a Samsung SIR-T165's Firewire output. That's way better! Think about the future, you may have a firewire in your's? D-VHS will give you proper 16 x 9 recording now and the 1080i possibility later. If you dare pickup a D-Theater tape, like I did, you may risk becoming a deranged D-VHS fiend like me...?[​IMG]
     
  13. Aaron Gilbert

    Aaron Gilbert Second Unit

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    Rachael,

    Thanks for the feedback. I'm still not convinced I really need D-VHS though. True enough, firewire may be in the future, but that is a long ways off, as I can't justify spending the kind of money such a HD tuner would cost, along with the D-VHS machine, double the cost for each compared to what I'm currently thinking. If I could get no-commercial movies in 5.1 surround, maybe, but for regular TV, I have to draw the line somewhere... [​IMG] Actually the only reason I even began considering OTA HD is because the antennas are a lot smaller and cheaper, and reception is rumored to be much more solid - assuming you can get it, which by my locale, should not be a problem. And, I just recently installed a front projector, so now I can fully support HD. If I didn't have the projector, I probably would just stick with analog TV and a mondo VHF antenna.

    The crux of my question was really 'Does video quality (starting from OTA HD) recording on S-VHS really suck as compared to 480i on D-VHS? Or, is S-VHS a huge step up from regular VHS in quality, and just a little bit below DVD quality?


    Aaron Gilbert
     
  14. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Aaron, S-VHS has more detail than VHS but no better colour. S-VHS isn't even up to Laserdisc quality much less DVD. Laserdisc quality is a bit above DirecTV. I used to rent LD's and tape them to S-VHS back in the 90's. It was obvious that I lost colour.

    The next round of D-VHS decks from JVC are supposed to include a model with a digital tuner. I was reading about it over at AVS sum thyme back and as I recall it was supposed to list well over a grand. However, that would be the ticket, IMO! We'll see what it actually ends up selling for?

    Right now it's cheaper to shop for a bargain D-VHS deck and add a Samsung SIR-T165 tuner to it via Firewire. Some of the network movies lately have been hi-def. I noticed that THE PATRIOT was shown in hi-def but with all those commercials... I can't say there's alot I would want to record off the networks in hi-def yet but I'll proably record a few football games this season...? I may record some PBS too???

    I don't see S-VHS as good way to record hi-def content. You'll end up with 4 x 3 downconvert. With D-VHS, without Firewire, you can atleast end up with a 16 x 9 picture and better colour than S-VHS. I anticipate melting the proper sensor hole for D-VHS into many of my S-VHS tapes and using them for D-VHS in the coming years.

    S-VHS is purr-dy good for NTSC but for hi-def signals it's very substandard at this point, IMO. Best wishes!
     
  15. Phil Nichols

    Phil Nichols Second Unit

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    Rachael,

    Back in the 90's what S-VHS deck were you using?

    As you know I have the R1000 and I do not 'notice' any color loss with commercial S-VHS movies (Indy Jones in OAR widescreen is a spectacular PQ reference commercial S-VHS flick.) or in my recording off DISH channels starting with reference SD material like, say, Picnic at Hanging Rock (mind-blowing for non-DVD). One must use high-quality S-Video cables with their S-VHS deck, however ...... Rat Shack won't do. (Mine set me back about $50 per foot.)

    However, I think you're correct re the chroma bandwidth for S-VHS. Do you know what the spec is for chroma bandwidth on both S-VHS and SD Satellite - as compared to DVD?

    You can compensate if needed for S-VHS color weakness if and when you see it by custom setting the S-VHS player's input to the display a litte hotter on the "color" calibration control. In my situation, I have a dedicated adjustable display input per source so this poses no problem, but some may be sharing display inputs with multiple sources so messing with the color calibration by source type could be a problem.

    IMH experience one should be able to "almost" - if you sit back a certain distance per display size - get VHS, S-VHS, SD satellite, and DVD to all look 'acceptably similar' other than for horizontal resolution difference - which manifests itself in background detail differences. I have reference VHS movies where in close-up facial shots I still see sweat droplets and hairs on people's faces. Some friends of mine have a HT where the viewer sits back about 10-12 feet from a 36 inch screen and I can HARDLY tell the difference between well-transferred VHS tapes and DVD's on their system. They watch VHS or DVD movies indiscriminately, not caring which type they watch (....not counting their opinions comparing the sound and OAR/PS issues).

    I feel that VHS and S-VHS (and LD somewhat too) got a bum rap as compared to DVD in home viewing because it was so easy to have VHS/S-VHS/LD come out looking like relative crap using poor equipment, and cables in combination with zero PQ calibration. Of course with DVD one can throw about anything together in a HT and beat the majority of average VHS home viewing setups.
     
  16. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Phil, is this in regard to my comment about recording rented LD's? That is a situation where S-VHS cannot duplicate the LD's colour, if present, if any good...? VHS & S-VHS can't compete with D-VHS on capturing colour. With D-VHS you're only limited by the quality of the signal you introduce. Down-converts of 1080i material look better than S-VHS can in all regards to me. D-VHS even at it's lower end beats antique VHS formats[​IMG] . At it's upper end it is, of course, the best consumer video format, existing or proposed, for now. The tapes I've made off firewire are, for lack of a better discription, fire. The only obstacle to D-VHS quality is simply the quality of signal you can feed it.

    As far as the decks I had mostly JVC with a Panasonic thrown in there somewhere. I had the 6900, 7100, 5200, 5400, 7400, 7500, 9500, 9800, 'an I might be forgettin' 1 or 2...? I stille have the last 3 on the list, and my Panny AG-machine. I've seen your VCR and nearly bought one a time or two. If it would of have had editing controls I liked better, I proably would of bought one. I liked the jog/shuttle on Panny & JVC machines and the lower prices didn't hurt either.

    I've worked with a pair of 1000's helping a friend with her community TV show. The performance was really good, no doubt! Say Hay, it's a new day now though. D-VHS is now the fastest gun in the west and the east. [​IMG]
     
  17. Mattias_ka

    Mattias_ka Supporting Actor

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    Phil Nichols, I agree with you on the fact that you can get a rather good picture from VHS and S-VHS with the right stuff.

    On the subject, you should get the player. What is 160$ today? Nothing. [​IMG]
     
  18. Phil Nichols

    Phil Nichols Second Unit

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    Mattias_ka,

    "On the subject, you should get the player. What is 160$ today? Nothing."

    You are correct.....shopping today for a "good" new player you will find nothing. I even had a new JVC 9600 for one week before I returned it as basically junk.

    How about a used professional deck off eBay to get by with for a couple of years? Look for the Pany AG-1980 or Sony SLV-R1000. Both players had MSRP's well over $1000 when new but can now be had used for the very low $100's. They will change your mind on what S-VHS recording can really look like using true S-VHS recording and tape stock.

    The Sony even has built-in Faroudja digital processing circuits for the image. I'd get get one of these two before I'd get a cheap D-VHS, IMHO. However if you want to seriously record SD NTSC now days, of course I'd prefer a prosumer D-VHS (i.e. ~$1K on up) over an AG-1980 or SLV-R1000. But I'm not sure I'd buy a JVC D-VHS over these two. Tough call. Recordable HD-DVD with all three - SDI, DVI, and component (YPrPb) output is ultimately what's needed, but we'll probably never see it.
     

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