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NEWBIE ALERT!! Transferring VHS to Sony PC & the devil (a.k.a. Macrovision)

Discussion in 'Video capturing from analog sources' started by bruef, Sep 10, 2004.

  1. bruef

    bruef Member

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    I'm brand new to this stuff and I know the general subject of getting around Macrovision when copying VHS to DVD has been addressed ad nauseum, but I'm hoping I can get a little expert advice specific to my equipment & situation.
    I recently bought a Sony RA710G desktop. I'm using the included software (Click To DVD) for transferring tapes to DVD. When I tried to capture my tape of Ed Wood, I got an error message along the lines of "This tape is copy protected - cannot capture". Everything I've read online about people having trouble with Macrovision describes the cruddy things it does to the picture. I haven't seen any mention of cases where the capture device just folded it's arms and said "screw you", like mine essentially is doing. I've seen that the most commonly suggested solution is a Stabilizer. But this suggestion is usually accompanied by descriptions of how the stabilizer will smooth out the picture noise or eliminate the color/brightness drop-outs that Macrovision causes. So my question is, since my system is obviously detecting the Macrovision and stopping the operation as a result, will a stabilizer still correct the problem?
    Also, one side question: will a stabilizer really do anything to improve the picture on a non-encoded tape? I want to know whether the thing will be of any use with home-recorded tapes, even I plunk down the ching and find out it's not doing squat for the copy-protection b.s.
     
  2. Jerry746

    Jerry746 Senior member

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    Hi bruef, Your set top Sony must be like a dvd drive in a PC. If you try to do a straight copy of a store bought DVD, the PC stops the process with a similar message as you are getting. As to the second part.

    There are boxes that are stabilizers, ones that remove macrovision, and some that do both. The last one being the more expensive ones. I can copy dvds to VHS with a macrovision remover I built years ago for VHS to VHS copies. Without the box in line I get audio only and a blue screen. So if you want to do this, make sure you get one of the better boxes that states it removes macrovision. A straight stabilizer may not do the trick completely.

    Jerry
     
  3. bruef

    bruef Member

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    Thanks for your reply Jerry. I must not have been clear in my original post - I don't have a set-top unit. It is in fact a PC. And it does exactly as you described - the PC stops the process and gives the error message.
    As for the second part of the question - do the stabilizers (whether stand-alone or bundled w/ macrovision removal) really do much to improve the picture quality? My thinking is this - I only have a couple of store-bought tapes I plan on transferring. Everything else is stuff I recorded myself. So I'm a little leery of shelling out money for one of these units if it's only going to benefit me with the two store-bought tapes I want to transfer. On the other hand, for example, I have a lot of live-concert rock videos that are 2nd, 3rd, or worse generation dubs. If a stabilizer can improve the picture on those any noticeable amount, it would be worthwhile for me - even if it doesn't work on decoding the macrovision infected tapes.
     
  4. turkey

    turkey Regular member

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    well i can tell you from experience that the SIMA CT2 Copy Master does exactly what you are looking to do. it removes copy protection and cleans the image a bit. i did find that the unit was a bit flakey, it can produce alot of heat and at times the image would drift too bright or too dark. it was kind of wierd, but when it was working properly it produced very nice captures. but just remember not to expect miricles when working with old VHS tapes, the fact it that recording and encoding an analog source will never produce a result that is better then the original...

    just as a side note thou, i have a hunch that the reason you recieve a "cannot capture" error message is because of the capture software you are using. you might want to try a free program called Virtual-VCR, it might produce different results. also, the capture device might have something to do with the problem, what device are you using??
     
  5. bruef

    bruef Member

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    I'm using the card that came with the computer - an NVIDIA® GeForce FX 5200 - for capturing. This desktop cost me a pretty penny so I'm hoping to minimize the need for buying more hardware and software to make it do all the things I'd hoped it would do in the first place. In any case, I'll check into the Virtual VCR program (lord knows the price is right!<G>). Thanks for the tip!
     
  6. Jerry746

    Jerry746 Senior member

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    Hi again bruef, I was half asleep when I read your first post. My fault on the mis-understanding. So your sending VHS into a capture card on your new computer. For just a couple of tapes like you said, I don't know if the money is worth it for the box. As for the home movies, they sell video enhancer boxes that let you adjust the focus, brightness and contrast for a better picture. Here again, is it worth the money?? Anyway sorry about not reading completely the first time. Good luck with your projects.

    Jerry
     

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