I think part of the mechanism that helps thread the tape from the cassette to the playhead has gone out of alignment - it's sort of causing the tape to drag and get stuck. I've tried cleaning the area and seeing if I could force it back into alignment, but it's still just ever so slightly off but enough to cause problems. I'm honestly not inclined to go through the process of finding parts and trying to repair. That sort of thing used to be fun for me, but at this point, I was watching these old tapes on the VCR to relax and zone out and I don't want this end of the day, pre-bedtime low effort hobby to turn into any sort of project that takes effort at this point. There are just so many other things around my apartment that need my time, attention and effort (major spring cleaning and reorganization effort already underway!) that I can't really justify spending time on this when there's more urgent stuff that needs my attention. Watching VHS tapes in the background was what I was doing while I was doing more important things It looks like I can be back up and running with a used machine for $50 or less, which is probably closer to where I'm at on this. I agree an estimate doesn't seem worthwhile. Part of me is considering the thrift store route, but my time is worth money too... I'm tempted to go the eBay route, probably overspend a little, but have the convenience of having it delivered to my house. With eBay's purchase protection, if I buy a VCR from a seller who says it's in working order and then it doesn't work when it arrives, I know eBay would make that right so it seems low risk to go that way.