Video Switching - Mixing Cables

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott Reiss, Sep 5, 2002.

  1. Scott Reiss

    Scott Reiss Agent

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    Am I right that you can't have a mix of different cables and still video-switch? What I mean is, I can't have the digital cable box and the DVD connect to my receiver with an S-video cable, and the VCR connect with a composite cable, and then have the monitor out on the receiver to the TV as S-video, and then be able to see the VCR source on the screen, right? Because it's effectively composite in to S-video out.

    I really want to run S-video from all sources to the receiver and then S-video to the TV, but the VCR only outputs composite, and I really don't want to upgrade it unless it's necessary. So I'm wondering what my options are... I also don't really want to connect the VCR direct to the TV and then have to switch the TV set everytime I go to video. I'm really hoping to get to the point where all sources go to the receiver and then let it do the work, and have the TV be a true slave.

    Would the idea be to have something like a composite-to-S-Video adapter, so that the video signal into the receiver 'looks' like an S-video input? Is there such a thing?


    Thanks.... Scott in CT
     
  2. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    Yes they make composite to S-video adapters. You can have cheap or good but not both.
    Actually for watching regular VHS tapes, a cheap adapter, I think Radio Shack sells them for under USD 25.00, won't be too bad but may still be at least slightly worse than feeding the composite direct to the TV. Monster Cable also offers one that is similar.
    I don't know who still makes good adapters. These used to list for over USD 400.00. One is the Faroudja VP-100 which I believe is discontinued. I have a JVC 3600U S-VHS VCR that actually works as a (contains a) decent composite to S-video adapter, not quite as good as the Faroudja one but much better than the Radio Shack one.
    Even if you feed everything into the TV using S-video, you still have to pick up the TV remote or the VCR remote to watch TV channels. TV channels coming from the VCR will be noticeable degraded going through the cheap adapter (compared with going as composite to a TV with 3D Y/C comb filter).
    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
     
  3. Vin

    Vin Supporting Actor

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    Here's the link to the converter from Radio Shack that Allan mentioned. I use one to convert the composite video of my VCR to S-video for switching convenience.....works great! You'll also need an extra S-video cable because the S-video end of it is female.
    This one from Parts Express, besides costing much less than the one from Radio Shack, doesn't require an extra S-video cable because the S-video end of it is male and plugs directly into your receiver.
    Vin
     
  4. Scott Reiss

    Scott Reiss Agent

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    Great feedback, thanks. I was really puzzling through this because my first thought was that I would need to get a new VCR, but that's not really where I would want to be spending my money, even if it would only be $100 give or take. Good to hear there's another solution. Vin, thanks for the links.

    Scott
     
  5. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Keep in mind, of course, that this adapter is not exactly a neutral adaptation. You're not talking about only a difference in connection type, rather you're talking about a completely different signal type. In order for these converters to work, they are basically a passive comb filter- which will affect the quality of the video signal.

    An analogy would be an "adapter" for optical digital audio to analog audio on RCA cables: you're not just adapting the connection type, rather you are required to make a completely different signal type, and execute a conversion step to achieve that type. The filters included in these "adapters" are passive and probably the absolute cheapest possible filter available.

    I will say that if your eyes are even the VERY least bit critical, you will notice degrading of the picture with these cheap passive filters. I personally opted to put my VCR in a closet before I used passive filters. I eventually bought a JVC which passes Svideo (although even that is a little sketchy).

    -vince
     
  6. Scott Reiss

    Scott Reiss Agent

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    Vince, I understand; that makes sense. I may opt for the adapter and then evaluate the convenience versus degradation in quality. Frankly, most of what happens on video at my house is Barney videotapes, or taping the football game to watch later. Hence my reticence to invest anything further in the VCR.

    It seems like there aren't that many VCRs which output S-Video, so I guess I'm presuming that most people then need to remember to swap the input on their TV when they watch either a DVD or a VCR, to pick up either the composite or S-Video/Component video input of the two devices. Frankly, that's the way I'm configured now, but for simplicity for the rest of the family I want to work to get it to one remote and essentially 'one-button'. That way it's clear: for TV, press the TV button, for DVD, press the DVD button, etc. I'm not always around to navigate the complexities for those who are not attuned to the subtleties of what's hooked to what.

    Everytime I work on connecting things up, my wife asks 'Do you think they'll ever figure out a way to make this so average people can do this?' I guess I can imagine such a state of affairs, but heck, that's half the fun, right?
     

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