Summer project: VHS transfer

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Summer project: VHS transfer

Postposted on Sun May 04, 2014 6:49 am

This summer I'd like to finally transfer my old VHS tapes to digital. Has anyone here done this and can recommend a VHS player that has decent quality? I prefer picking up something new, maybe for a couple hundred dollars. Such a device won't have all the old pro features, but there's got to be something that can play old tapes with relative ease, right?
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Re: Summer project: VHS transfer

Postposted on Sun May 04, 2014 7:53 am

I have a still-working JVC HR-S7500U VCR, so I'd probably go from that to a tuner/digitizer card in my living room PC if I were going to undertake that task. However, there are cheap-and-cheerful stand-alone devices available for this purpose.
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Re: Summer project: VHS transfer

Postposted on Sun May 04, 2014 8:33 am

I don't have anything to add, but I'd be interested to know what you find. I have a handful of tapes that I'd like to digitize as well, and haven't really looked into the hardware aspect of it.
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Re: Summer project: VHS transfer

Postposted on Sun May 04, 2014 8:53 am

From what I understand there's high end VCRs like what JAE has, and then there's everything else. The high end stuff has all of the features necessary to safely, and with good quality, play back all your VHS tapes. There are a few drawbacks, though:

1. You have to find them used, and in decent shape. Typically, higher end VCRs were used by pros and might be overused and worn out, so they're not all that great.

2. They're much more expensive than lower end stuff, and the price may not be worth it for the limited run of tapes you'll throw at it because, let's face it, once you watch and transfer your current VHS tapes, you'll likely never use the unit again.

3. There's a learning curve, apparently, with all of the features, dials, etc. that the higher end tape decks have, and you have to learn how to get the most out of the unit or else it'll eat your tapes.


...thus my stated preference for a decent new unit, if one exists. I suppose I have my work cut out for me, given that VHS is a dead format and there's basically nothing beyond anecdotal evidence, even on AVS forums.
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Re: Summer project: VHS transfer

Postposted on Sun May 04, 2014 10:29 am

I helped my dad do this a couple of years ago with a basic Hauppauge card and an S-VHS cable.
We used an old Sony VRC that probably only cost £250 in the first place and was a decade old.

IMO, the image quality varied on the condition of the tape far more than the condition of the VCR, and poor tapes could be cleaned up a bit in software once you had a rip in digital format.
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Re: Summer project: VHS transfer

Postposted on Sun May 04, 2014 11:18 am

I have a Hauppauge 2250 sitting in the closet, and provided I can find the A/V dongle, that should hopefully do a decent job with the capture. As for the VHS player, I'm hesitant to make any sort of investment, as I've only got about 6-8 tapes, and they're probably somewhat lousy quality/degraded to begin with. I'm thinking a 4-head model with S-Video out should probably do the trick. I'm going to start asking around to see what family members might still have.
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Re: Summer project: VHS transfer

Postposted on Sun May 04, 2014 1:07 pm

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Re: Summer project: VHS transfer

Postposted on Sun May 04, 2014 2:01 pm

There's probably a TV / appliance repair shop somewhere near you run by an owner-operator who himself dates back to the days of CRTs and VHS (and Beta). Odds are he has more equipment that can meet your needs than he knows what to do with, and would be happy to sell it to you for a relative pittance.
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Re: Summer project: VHS transfer

Postposted on Sun May 04, 2014 2:20 pm

I'm wondering if the cheaper, "fuzzier" VCRs might be a better option for ancient, rotting VHS tape.

If you get a vinyl record, the super-precise and mega-expensive decks pick up every single pop, scratch and mark on the disc. A cheap store-brand "HiFi" with an integrated deck on top used to sound much better than my dad's fancy player. Maybe the blunt stylus and heavy plastic head wasn't so easily jogged by dirt and scratches.

Perhaps super-sensitive, 6-head VCR's will do the same thing and pick up all the problems with old tape. All I can tell you is that the cheap JVC I had sitting under my Sega Genesis was better for rental movies than the fancy Sony downstairs, or the original (high-end) Toshiba that was our first ever VCR.
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Re: Summer project: VHS transfer

Postposted on Tue May 06, 2014 5:33 pm

this is just completely unrelated and I apologize if people find this needlessly frivolous, but every time that VHS mentioned I always hear that guy going "...on VEE HAICH ESS".

nearly always makes me think of that
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