Want a new VCR: VHS, S-VHS, or PVR???

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DaveF, Sep 21, 2002.

  1. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    My current VCR (4-head Stereo VHS) has lived a long a glorious life, but its picture quality has degraded a lot, with many pops and lines in recorded tapes. Since I do a lot of time-shifting of TV shows, I'd like to replace it in the next few months. I need some help in this.

    I can get an entry level S-VHS JVC model from BestBuy or Circuit City for about $130, which should be a nice step up from standard VHS. I'd really like a PVR to avoid tape degradation and not worry anymore about fitting shows in a 6 hour tape. But I'm not willing to page for monthly "service" and don't care about the realtime TV guids or auto-show finding functions. I just want to set a weekly record schedule for some shows and be able to watch them at my leisure.

    So, are the inexpensive SVHS VCRs decent? Or are there any PVRs that don't require a monthly fee for normal use?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Dave, get a better deck than the $130 deck. Check Crutchfield's scratch & dent section and see if they have any HR-S7800's left. In any case I wouldn't aim below the HR-S5900 model. That striped down deck is a loser. Best wishes!
     
  3. RichN

    RichN Stunt Coordinator

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    Dave,
    ReplayTV(Panasonic/Sonic Blue models)use to not require a monthly fee, but now I guess they have a "lifetime activation" fee of $250.00, BUT, for what you want to use it for, the price of the unit itself is TOO high. A low end Panasonic (IF you can find one) with 20 hours of recording time will run you twice what a good S-video VCR would cost. There are some good S-VHS recorders for around $200-250.00. I would use YahooShopping to find all the on-line sellers.
    RichN
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    My nice new JVC SVhs unit is basically gathering dust. We have Dish Network and 2 PVR units and they are family favorites.

    The ability to search TV listings, pause live TV, have a dolby-digital connection to the receiver for audio is just great.

    And while you dont seem to want TV listings or searching - with respect, you dont know what you are missing. It is MUCH easier to use than a VCR, much easier to program/time-shift. (I've given up my TV Guide subscriptions)

    And a Sat system allows me to record some shows about 3 hours before the local broadcast which makes it really nice to solve conflicts.

    I've had VCRs for years, but the PVR units are the only one my SO ever brags about. And spousal-acceptance is a BIG issue with HT equipment. Highly recommended.
     
  5. Bill Will

    Bill Will Screenwriter

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    Don't waste your money on any of the cheaper S-VHS vcr's. You would be better off getting a top of the line VHS model. If I was you I would get the S-VHS JVC 7800. www.refurbdepot.com has the 7800 for $195.00 & the 9800 for $319.95
     
  6. Ed L

    Ed L Agent

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    Dave...
    I have to agree with RichN on the PVR...once you have used one of these you wont go back to VCR ( unless you want to archive your PVR stuff!). I have been using them since they first came out and now use the DirecTivo with 115 Hr's (easy upgrade)of recording time and it is great. When I first heard about them I was skeptical if I would use the features but once I started using them the VCR was gone. Good luck

    Ed -
     
  7. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Another vote for a PVR. Its actually no contest, IMHO.

    Its impossible to cover all the things these do in a single post (perhaps that is why they are having a real hard time marketing them). Think of what the web would be like without a search engine, and thats what TV is without my Tivo.

    My advise is, find someone you know with a Tivo or Replay, and ask them what they think. If there like me, you won't be able to shut them up about how great PVRs are.

    As I said, I am a Tivo user (standalone with a DirecTV system). I can not imagine NOT having it. My wife, who usually thinks of my buying a new piece of A/V gear is like a kid getting a new Hot Wheels, would also NOT be willing to give it up.

    BTW, I do still have a VCR for archiving. I agree with a previous poster who mentioned a JVC 7800. With SVHS tape and the digital image correction stuff, it makes very, very good quality recordings. I have never seen a VCR produce as good a quality recording. If mine broke, I would immediately hunt down another.

    BL
     
  8. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Thanks for the replies, I appreciate them! But while a PVR might totally knock my socks off, I'm just not willing to spend $600 (player + lifetime plan) on it right now.
    What are the problems with the low-end SVHS VCR? What makes the more expensive ones so much better? Are there any decent reviews of these? I searched HTF and didn't come up with much.
    I've just got normal Cable TV; nothing digital, so reception is not perfect. I just want something that will record normal broadcast quality signals to watch once and be taped over next week. For that matter, I'd be using the tape in EP mode to get 6hrs on a tape so I don't have to remember to switch tapes during the week.
    My current TV is, well, functional, but I expect to buy a new TV later this year (prob. a Tosh 50" 4:3 HDTV), so maybe that should influence my choice of recorder hardware?
    Thanks again! [​IMG]
     
  9. Sujeet Patel

    Sujeet Patel Stunt Coordinator

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    Search around for PVRs then.. I have a 30hr ReplayTV Showstopper that has no monthly fees and only cost me $240. I got mine on uBid, and it was still new and sealed.. eBay might be another avenue to check, especially as current Replay owners upgrade to the new boxes that have broadband support.
     
  10. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Sujeet - are there only certain Replay devices that don't require subscriptions, or is that the case with all of them?
     
  11. Jeffrey Chin

    Jeffrey Chin Second Unit

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    for no subscription, buy a replaytv 4000 series or lower
    i upgraded my 3000 series w/ 120gb hdd and it is awesome
     
  12. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    FWIW, I read that Tivo was doing away with the lifetime subscriptions, but was lowering the monthly to 4.95/month.
    They also are introducing a DirectTivo combo for less than $200.
    I know that there are discussion regarding Tivo's w/o subscritions at http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/
    IMHO, the subscription adds quite a lot of capability and value to Tivo (don't know anything about Replay). Without it, its just a VCR w/o Tape.
    BL
     
  13. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Right now the Dish PVR501 is $349 for new subscriber. But every few weeks there is an offer for something like $200 for new users with a 1 year commitment to some programming package or other.

    Also, the PVR 721 is quietly shipping to some people. This is a dual-tuner receiver/recorder that allows you to record 2 channels at the same time, or record one and watch a different channel. I dont know what the price will be, but likely the 501 unit will drop in price.

    So spend $349 now (well worth it IMHO), or watch the Dish site/check local sat stores for deals.
     
  14. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Thanks again for the helpful info!
    Despite the great comments about the PVRs, I'm probably going to stick with a VCR. I've still not shaken off my grad-student frugality [​IMG] and I just can't justify spending ~$400 on a VCR replacement at the moment.
    I need to do some research on VCRs and see what's-what with the SVHS devices.
    But you people sure know how to tempt a guy... [​IMG]
     
  15. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Dave,

    I bought the JVC7800U S-VHS when Crutchfield had em for $199 (and VCR guru Rachael here liked it tho she prefers 9XXX series better).

    I learned that VCR has 240 lines of resolution, DVD has 540 lines of resolution and S-VHS has 400. That's pretty sharp.

    While looking for an economical source for S-VHS blanks, I used some very good VHS blanks I had around to tape off the tv and was quite pleased at the result. And I cud lend it to a friend with a standard VCR (it played I mean). To me, playback equaled the NTSC tv signal presentation. Cant wait to try S-VHS tape.

    bill
     
  16. David Ison

    David Ison Stunt Coordinator

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    If you are just time-shifting weekly shows , save yourself some money , get the vcr . besides what are going to do if your PVR crashes (no -backup)?
     
  17. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    If you copy tapes, such as family vacation or holiday tapes, doing the copying with S-VHS machines, even if copying in regular VHS format, will give a better copy. You would need two S-VHS machines.
    There is one JVC model in Circuit City and Best BUy, I think it is the 2900U, that does not have S-Video in. It sells for about USD 120. in New England. Whether or not that will cause you a hardship I don't know, but you would not be able to record/copy external sources sources such as from a camcorder using S-video.
    Also don't know how good the comb filter is on the 2900U although the 3911U (USD 150.) has a comb filter that is reasonably good for composite to S-video conversion purposes.
    If all you are going to do is record TV shows to watch later, and you don't insist on connecting it up with S-video, just buy a regular VHS VCR.
    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/
    On a recent shopping trip, neither CC nor BB would hook up a VCR for me to audition in the store. CC still allows home trials with no restocking fee for returning it, they encouraged me to take it home to try out.
     
  18. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I'm just time-shifting TV shows and will use the RF cable input. I hadn't thought about the issue of the comb filter on the VCR; I'll keep that in mind.

    As for just getting a normal VCR, I expect that an SVHS VCR would provide a noticeably better picture than VHS would, even if just taping TV shows. Is this correct?
     
  19. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Dave, the 400 lines of S-VHS, you will like. Just don't buy the worst S-VHS deck ever made! I think I'd jump on the 7800 from Refurbdepot or see if Crutchfield's scratch and dent has some. I got a 9800 from Cruchfield's scratch and dent last year and it doesn't have any scratches or dents. The 7800 is the bang for the buck deal. They're discontinued though and supply is fading fast. The 7xxx & 9xxx decks have T-ime B-base C-orrection. They're a step ahead of the competition. Best wishes!
     
  20. MarcS

    MarcS Stunt Coordinator

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    Could someone confirm/clarify...

    If you have a PVR--let's say one that's part of a satellite receiver, then you can only record what's on the satellite--correct? So if you don't get network tv on the satellite, you can't record network shows?

    Replay, Tivo, and the like are standalone? So you could in theory input from cable tv as well as satellite?

    My primary purpose for a PVR would be to time shift network programs, and if I go with Dish, I can't get a network package, and I'm not interested in recording other channels--so for me a PVR (at least the Dish flavor) doesn't make sense.

    But, is there a standalone solution then? (I've got cable with the basic network channels)
     

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