VCRs

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JJR512, Oct 16, 2002.

  1. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

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    Within a particular price range, are all VCRs pretty much the same these days? I mean, are all ~$90 VCRs comparable to each other, are all ~$200 VCRs comparable to each other, etc. Also, is a ~$200 really substantially better than a ~$90 VCR?

    I have already purchased a Sony SLV-N88, a $130 VCR. It's not too late for me to return or exchange it, though. It looks like all the JVC VCRs (at least all the ones at Crutchfield) are S-VHS, which the Sony is not. The JVC HR-S5901U, $200, has a flying erase head, too. Then there's the HR-S9911U, which has some interesting unique features, but it's $500. I doubt I'd spend that much money now on a VCR.

    So I guess I'm just looking for some general advice on selecting a VCR and getting the most for the money...however much it may be.
     
  2. ChrisAG

    ChrisAG Supporting Actor

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    For the extra $70, why not go S-VHS? You can use regular tapes and still get the higher-than-VHS quality (though not quite as good as when using dedicated S-VHS tapes).
     
  3. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Justin, what do you use your VCR for? If you're like me, and just use it to tape shows off cable then, in my opinion, any decent name brand VCR will do the job. There are minor differences in quality. I picked up a Toshiba model for $70 and I'd say that my 4 year old Sharp has better recording quality given the same tapes and the same cable signal. Is it that much better to make me get rid of the Toshiba one? No, since I realize the vcrs are not going to do any better than what is coming into the house to begin with.

    cheers,


    --tom
     
  4. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    Justin,

    It really depends on what you want out of your VCR. If you like to watch tapes that you can't get on DVD (Disney, Star Wars, home movies) then S-VHS is better because it will upgrade all those signals. If you just record TV and play it back then a normal $90 VCR should be fine.

    Once you get up in the $200+ range, if you are just looking to record TV then a PVR starts to look a whole lot more atractive than an S-VHS. You get to record on the fly, catalog recordings, pause live broadcasts, and instant replay for sports. Pretty sweet...
     
  5. Ken Seeber

    Ken Seeber Supporting Actor

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  6. Iver

    Iver Second Unit

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    Actually, if you use the S-Video connection from an S-VHS deck, you will have slightly better playback quality with VHS tapes, whether homemade or commercial, and slightly better image quality when recording to a VHS tape (assuming a source with S-Video output such as a Hi8 camcorder or another S-VHS deck).

    Also, there is an advantage using an S-VHS deck for recording TV shows. You will get a higher quality recording than with VHS recording.

    At any given price level, the decks are of similar quality. That quality, along with the prices of the machines, has plummetted over the past few years and especially since cheap DVD players hit the market.

    My Hitachi stereo VHS deck needs a repair and, although I could buy a new stereo VHS deck for less than the cost of the repair, it would be nowhere near as solidly constructed. Because of the current competition to put out low-price decks, it is actually hard to find any VHS machine that's not very lightweight and constructed with as much plastic as possible.

    That also goes for many S-VHS decks, by the way. The whole JVC line up to the new 9xxx (9911?) consists of lightweight, flimsy machines with street prices under $200. The top-of-the-line deck, the 9xxx, is a little more substantial and sells for about $400.
     
  7. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

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    The top-of-the-line JVC deck is the HR-S9911U and it goes for $500 at Crutchfield. So you're saying that this one really has substantially better quality than their next-lowest model, the HR-S5911U/5901U?

    What I will be mainly using it for is recording TV (cable), playing back recorded TV, and playing back pre-recorded movies. Most movies that aren't available on DVD yet, if I really care about them, I've started to build up an LD collection. But there are some movies I still have only on VHS, although not many, and from time to time my fiance will buy a movie on VHS if it's really cheap and we're not interested in it enough to pay more for the DVD.
     
  8. Iver

    Iver Second Unit

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    Check out these guys. They beat the Crutchfield prices pretty handily.
    The 9911U has a TBC which will substantially improve the quality of footage you tape on the machine. It costs more, but, in terms of quality, you really get more than with the other JVC's.
    The 5911 is decent but, as I said, it's an all-plastic case and built very light in general. For the money it's an okay deal.
    If you do not plan to do any video editing (making tapes from your camcorder footage), you might as well get the cheapest of the JVC S-VHS decks (the 2901?). What you get as you move up is editing features.
    But the 9911U has features which will benefit both video producers and just regular home-theater enthusiasts.
    If you really want a sweet, high-quality deck, check out the Panasonic AG-1980 at the above link. It's really a low-end editing deck (and very high end consumer). But it does have a 181-channel integral tuner, so technically it's a consumer deck. That will give you just about the best quality you are going to get with S-VHS recording, unless you moved up to a broadcast-quality deck.
    It's funny, when you see people's gear lists here, they spend so much on speaker wire, but almost never make any kind of substantial investment in a quality S-VHS deck. I suppose it'll soon be a moot point as DVD-R decks, already plunging through the $700 mark, become commonplace and affordable.
     
  9. Joe Schwartz

    Joe Schwartz Second Unit

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  10. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    TBC = Time Base Correction

    All the best VCR's have it including the AG-1980.
     
  11. Joe Schwartz

    Joe Schwartz Second Unit

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    Thanks, Rachael. Has anyone looked at the JVC SR-V10U? This appears to be a professional model, similar to the 5911.
     
  12. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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  13. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    Justin,

    Based on what you are using it for, I would get a PVR for all your cable recording needs (satellite?) and just keep that $130 Sony VCR for all the other playback. This saves a little $ and gives you a fun new device to play with for the same price as a mid S-VHS deck.

    That's all just IMHO, the idea of acceptable $ for quality varies from person to person.

    -Joe
     
  14. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

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    I don't see how a PVR is going to save me any money. They're more expensive to start out with and there's monthly fees on top of that. That's not for me.

    For the record, I'm getting a JVC 5911U from a guy on eBay. It's $129, and factory reconditioned and still sealed in the box. (Crutchfield price on brand new is $200.)
     
  15. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    I think you may want to spend the extra $71.00 to get it from Crutchfield. You get a warranty, and someone to talk to if something is wrong. I know most of ebay's deals are reliable but I've heard to many nasty stories about people getting screwed. Just my opinion.
     
  16. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Rather than the 59xx I'd get the 7800 or whatever the equivalent is now. I did and I like it.
     

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