Dec 21, 2019, 5:46 PM
Click for novice stories and questions (I assume)
Let's get down to basics. I am 22 years old and know very little about VCRs and VHS tapes, save for when I was young and used them to record shows off the TV. Despite the inefficiencies and quickly degrading quality, I recently regained interest in using VHS for several reasons (namely, they're dirt cheap and nostalgic), so this is something I am rather committed to. However, I have not been having an ideal experience, but am not sure if the VCR or VHS is to blame, or perhaps even me.
I started off by using my parents' (lightly used, from memory) JVC HR-XVC1U combo player, which I thought was ideal because I have a large collection of DVDs. The player was hooked into a Recoton 4 way channel splitter, which is then hooked into a new 2019 4K LG TV. Not sure if power consumption could be an issue, but audio out from the TV goes into a Sansui 7070 receiver and two Polk Monitor 10 speakers. For the first month, I had no complaints. The odd tape buzzed here or there, and the picture was the same washed-out, fuzzy, warm colors I remembered. Things got worse soon enough--problems I do not remember from the yesterdays.
I had tapes that constantly buzzed audibly enough to make the viewing experience less than pleasurable. I have another one that seems to echo only on the dialogue, and only for the first 1/3 of the movie (could be production/ the release, I am not sure). The worst problem by far, however, is when, for no discernible reason, the entire picture goes black for a second and returns, and the sound continues as it should throughout. While rewinding, the picture does not go black, and sometimes, replaying the scene makes it not go black at all, or just in a different spot. At first, these black pictures were sparse, but they increased in frequency to the point where two nights ago, it happened probably 60 times in 30 minutes and made the movie unwatchable. I tried to do research online but could not come across a similar problem, so I decided to find another cheap VCR to try things on and see if the problems persisted. Well...
After spending all day yesterday (in rural Illinois, where I live) going to thrift stores, antique stores, pawn shops, etc., I could not find a cheap, yet reliable alternative, to save the life of me. I ended up in a town I never had been to before. There was a music shop, and I mostly collect records, so I stopped in there to browse... and left with a Sony SLV-R1000 that the guy only wanted $125 for. Now, that's a huge investment for someone who refuses to pay more than a dollar or two for a VHS tape, but it was a great deal (according to online prices and reviews) and such a high-end machine that I thought I should invest and it will end my problems.
Well, I was wrong. I set it up (sans S-video because I have no adapters at the moment) and put in the movie from the other night that pushed me over the edge. It played perfectly for the first hour, and then the barrage of black screens returned with a vengeance. They were just as frequent, if not more frequent. I am at my wit's end after having blown all that money on this.
So, can anyone tell me where these audio and especially the picture problem come from? I am pretty sure the audio issues are inherent with the degradation of the tapes, which is fine, I suppose (I listen to records that sound worse than these tapes), but this black screen thing seems to be a playback error that I can fix somehow, and is much more annoying when so frequent. So is it the VHS after all? I was thinking it was the VCR, but for such a high-end machine to do the same thing as the combo player, I would sure hope not. Or maybe something needs to be cleaned or replaced? Maybe it's some kind of interference between the channel splitter, or from a VHS to a 4K TV, or just all the power consumption from one electrical outlet? Or are these just common playback glitches that I just might have blocked out of my memory? I don't know, which is why I joined this forum and have accidentally wrote a book. All answers will be greatly appreciated, except for those I have seen many times on other forums and posts that say to give up and move on to DVD (I DO primarily buy DVDs, anyway). Thank you all so much for reading this.