Anyone Else Rockin' Outdated Video Formats?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by svoegtlin, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. svoegtlin

    svoegtlin Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Milton, NH, USA
    For me, it's my beta machine.. It's in rough shape, nearing it's true end of life.. I love my "little" beta player.. How about you guys? Still using your Beta machines? How about LDs or CEDs? Tell me about your favorite, "dead" video technology. Please feel free to share pictures of your setup..
  2. jriems

    jriems Forum Resident

    I have a Pioneer CLD-D704 laserdisc player that I still use occasionally. As a matter of fact, I just watched Spielberg's Duel LD a couple weeks ago, as my wife had never seen the flick.

    I also use it for the un-futzed with Star Wars Trilogy box set when I want to just see the movies the way I bloody well remember them from childhood. :)

    The D704 has always been a really good player for me, and it's still working just as well as when I bought it new back in 1996.
  3. theoxrox

    theoxrox Well-Known Member

    Location:
    central Wisconsin
    Beta and SuperBeta STILL rock! I use my old machine sparingly, but I have tons of old Beta tapes that I'm slowly transferring to DVD.
  4. stereoguy

    stereoguy Well-Known Member

    Location:
    NY
    Maybe I'm spoiled, but I just can't stand the crappy video quality of VHS of beta these days. Especially on a 46 inch screen. My old VHS tapes sit in a box n my closet, only viewed when I need to see something that does not exist in another format.
  5. conception

    conception Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Florida
    Don't blame you. On a 46 inch screen, I can just imagine how bad those VHS tapes would look. I could only watch it if they were family videos, which we always watch on my family's CRT. From what I have found, old formats simply look worse on a hi-def TV.
  6. jjh1959

    jjh1959 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    St. Charles, MO
    Still use LD when needed for still unique things not available elsewhere...have pro-Super Beta machine for old odd-ball tapes. 3/4" U-matic for things dubbed from industry friends in the day and video trades among some high end collectors. S-VHS for lots of archived tapes. Occasionally pull out the CED player. And an old Videocorder for some ancient stuff.
  7. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery Picture Member

    I still have hooked up and functioning two VHS recorders. I haven't recorded anything in a couple of years, but there were occasions - before the digital switchover which killed the VCR's ability to record off-air - when I needed to record two or three things at once and pressed them into service.

    I also still have a functioning, connected, LaserDisc player, a Pioneer model that does both DVDs and LaserDiscs. I use it mostly for LD titles that we don't have in DVD format.

    Both the LD player and the VHS are connected through a DVD-hard-disc recorder, so I can dub things from the aging formats to the hard drive and then write out to a DVD if I care to. I've done that with things like THE COMPLEAT BEATLES and TV shows that will never get a DVD release like CHINA BEACH.

    We have a 55" HDTV, so looking at any of these old formats is a challenge, at best. Occasionally, a well-mastered LD can look pretty decent, but VHS is just the dregs. Makes you wonder how we stood it back then.

    Harry
  8. Peacekeepr73

    Peacekeepr73 Active Member

    I still regularly play my Laserdiscs, VHS Tapes and HD-DVDs
  9. full moon

    full moon Well-Known Member

    No, but I still pull out the horse and carriage sometimes to go to Walgreens.
  10. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    we canned the VCR for time shifting and replaced it with a DVDR...much better.
  11. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    that would be a fun ride indeed!
  12. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    that's all we had...unless you had a projector...I was happy just being able to time shift my favorite TV shows back then...:wave:
  13. gener8tr

    gener8tr Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Vancouver, WA USA
    Here's a couple... and I have more, including some really nice laserdisc players.

    [​IMG]
  14. Vidiot

    Vidiot I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie.

    Nobody was a bigger Betamax fan than me. Suffice it to say I was there from March of 1976 on as a loyal Beta guy. I also wrote about many, many video formats for about 25 years for many magazines, reviewed many video components, owned hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of video gear over the years, and even wound up testifying three times in the Sony/Universal/Disney federal lawsuit. Quite a twisted tale.

    The sad reality today is that all video formats are coming to an end. I think the only solution is to grab everything that's never going to be reissued and get it archived on hard drive as quickly as possible, preferably in a low-compression format like QuickTime that'll be around for another decade or two. I think in many cases, the tapes will survive, but keeping these old machines running is a nightmare. Sony doesn't have the parts, so it's kind of like keeping a 1956 Buick running. It can be done, but it takes a lot of time, trouble, and money, and at some point, I don't think it's worth it. I think it makes far more sense to watch the digital files, and restore the tapes as much as you can to preserve them.

    Great, great movie. But the 2004 DVD is a lot better:

    [​IMG]

    Doh, not that again! Note that the Laserdiscs are still remixed, and they're still not quite the theatrical releases. (I won't be satisfied until they reissue Star Wars without the "Episode 4.") This has been endlessly discussed and debated, ad infinitum.

    Composite analog video on laserdisc is too painful for me to watch these days. In extremely rare cases, I'll transfer over something extremely rare you can't get any other way. Let It Be is a good example.
  15. JA Fant

    JA Fant New Member

    I never owned a Beta machine, I do enjoy VHS and Laserdisc.
  16. inperson

    inperson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio
    Couldn't a person still record off air on a VCR if they have one of those little digital converter boxes that came out before and during the switch over to use for older tv's?
  17. Vidiot

    Vidiot I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie.

    After being a die hard Beta guy for about 12 years, I dumped it in 1987 when Super VHS came out. I was convinced (then and now) that S-VHS was a much better-looking format. Even the later ED Beta format wasn't as good, in my opinion.

    Note that laserdiscs always had analog composite video masters, plus it was a heterodyne format, so the chroma noise was always very, very bad on laserdisc (just as bad as VHS, in fact). I generally ran a little bit of NR on the LD-S2 when I watched laserdiscs, and I think this tamed it a little bit. But it was the nature of the format.

    Yes, you can convert digital over-the-air video to analog standard def and record it on a regular VCR. The problem with this is the aspect ratio, since analog standard-def VCRs are inherently 4x3. Recording letterbox is not gonna look pretty.

    To me, the way to go is use the analog hole and record the picture digitally, using one of the Hauppage boxes (or EyeTV on Mac). Trying to record any of this stuff in analog today is cRaZy. Slap it on a VCR, and you can get more than a hundred shows in HD on a $50 drive.

    If you're in China, and they're going to be in standard-def for the forseeable future, then that's a different case. I'd just record in standard def for the time being, and archive to hard drive with as little compression as possible until HD is widespread.
  18. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    yes of course...the picture will be of a much lesser quality though.
  19. stuwee

    stuwee Active Member

    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    I've never owned a Beta or LD machine but, I still have treasures on VHS that will never be released on a current format, vintage Dame Edna hijacking the NBC airwaves for her new talk show here in the US. Bruce Springsteen's concert at Madison Square Gardens right after 'The Rising' was released, stuff like that, as long as my machine will play them, I'll cherish them :agree:
  20. inperson

    inperson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio
    Yes, I am in China but I wouldn't even dream of recording anything on tv here. The shows here just suck!:laugh:
  21. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery Picture Member

    Yes, of course. And I have done that, but it's messy at best. One of the former "joys" of VCR recording was setting the clock, setting the time to record, and setting the channel. If you were out for an evening and there were shows you wanted to see on different channels, this was easy.

    With the limitation of feeding a digital-to-analog converter into your VCR, you're pretty much limited to the channel that you left it on. Add to that the unreliability of these boxes (they wink out, lose their brain, etc. if there's a power blip) and it becomes a bit of a crap shoot to try to record on the ancient VCR.

    My preferred way of recording the wide-screen images on a VCR are to use the squeeze function on the digitial tuner. By squeezing it on input, I can use the TV's wide function to unsqueeze it. It at least doesn't lose any vertical resolution that way.

    Harry
  22. svoegtlin

    svoegtlin Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Milton, NH, USA
    It's good to see and hear that I'm not the only one holding on..
  23. Mark Nelson

    Mark Nelson Well-Known Member

    Location:
    United States
    One of the main things I miss about the VCR era was the ability to easily share things you recorded off TV. Pop in a tape, record it, eject it and hand it off to a friend. This is apparently doable with DVR, but not without several additional steps.
  24. jriems

    jriems Forum Resident

    Well, isn't the LD box set the LEAST unfutzed with versions available? That's what I meant.

    Fortunately, we currently only have a small 26" LCD, so it's still small enough to forgive the LD video quality, and we only use it occasionally.
  25. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC USA
    I keep my last VCR because I have some nice animation collections that have never been released on DVD.