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  #1  
01-16-2012, 01:30 PM
*Bix* *Bix* is offline
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Figured I'd post this here but it could get moved to myths & misinformation if someone has a good answer.

When GoVideo was around, their signature products were dual deck VCRs. In addition to the conveniences offered by such a device (ease of storage, one-touch copy, etc.), GoVideo claimed to have special circuitry that improved the quality of dubs.

Was there anything to this? Based on my experiences as a tape trader, it did seem like dubs done on GoVideo dual-decks were slightly better than what myself and others got using two separate 4-head Hi-Fi VCRs. Still, it always sounded sketchy to me.

(In addition, I did occasionally see noise introduced by GoVideo dual decks that were consistent across multiple tapes copied in the same unit. Was this a common problem at all?)

So...whaddya got?

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  #2  
01-17-2012, 01:32 AM
robjv1 robjv1 is offline
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I owned one of the Go Video decks (the stacked GV-6020 model) and used it as my primary VCR from about July of 1997 until 2000 or so. I can only speak for my specific model, which came out in 1996 I believe. On a side note -- this particular design was a troublesome one for repairs if you had a problem with the bottom deck.

While I do think they were solid decks, they mostly sold on good marketing and the fact that they could bypass Macrovision. The big claim they made regarding the "special circuitry" was that a master and a duplicated SP tape would be virtually indistinguishable from each other -- and I'd definitely say that was false. It had a tendency to add noise to the original signal, especially on subsequent generations. That crunchy, JVC SVHS VCR "SHARP" picture mode kinda noise. I made quite a few second-generation dubs from first generation dubs for compilations and certainly found that to be the case looking over those tapes now. Of course this is a problem with all VCRs and multiple generation dubs, though I will say these decks kept the signal 'in spec' over multiple generations, where with a pair of non-matching VCRs, you might lose the picture intermittently or lose all color information on multiple dubs. As far as multiple generation dubs, they were probably a bit ahead of the pack I suppose, as far as making an idiot-proof setup. I'm sure with some trial and error though, you could come up with just as good or better results, but most people didn't have the time/money to do that back when those decks were selling new.

Nevertheless, I remember being pretty excited about it at the time. It was the first deck in my price range I'd owned that allowed recording of a HiFi audio track, which was of course a blessing then and sometimes a curse now when trying to dub those tapes to DVD without a working GV-6020 deck. In some ways, this was a terrible thing for tape traders I think, because traders would often dub mono/linear audio tapes in the HiFi mode. Then later when DVD recorders came out, they'd play them back in the hi-fi mode while dubbing them to DVD unattended -- so you get hi-fi audio noise in the DVD dubs for a tape that had linear audio to begin with. Really foolish. There were a lot of neat little features too, such as an adjustable sharpness control for playback and multiple dubbing modes to optimize the picture quality depending on whether the tape had copy protection or not, or was an SP vs EP/LP tape.

Overall though, I think they were more sold on the defeating of copy protection than amazing picture quality.

Last edited by robjv1; 01-17-2012 at 01:44 AM.
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  #3  
01-17-2012, 02:50 AM
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Go.Video -- there was a period in the brand name -- was one of the worst things to ever happen to the video hobby.

I was ranting and warning others about these awful machines in the mid/late 1990s on newsgroups, in various alt.fan. groups. Even two cheap VCRs hooked up by composite wires tended to look better. For those of us who have always had an eye for quality, you'd use a high-end master decks (JVC S-VHS, for example), with TBC in the middle, followed by a quality recorder (Sharp VCRs were excellent).

Go.Video dual decks had a bad habit of:
  • Distorting the video timing (aka timebase), resulting in tearing. This was VERY common.
  • Creating excessive chroma/color shifting, often referred to as "color bleeding". It was probably 5x worse than any plain VCR. After a generation or two, the color data was so butchered that it would cut in and out.
  • Poor components that resulted in frequent breakdowns.
  • And forget about getting any support from the manufacturer -- cue the crickets chirping.

As Rob mentions, it was mostly popular for the ability to copy tapes with Macrovision and other anti-copy methods. But even then, it was not perfect. Generally speaking, protected tapes would copy with much higher luma or IRE values, giving you an extremely washed out picture. This was in addition to other problems with color and signal timing.

Go.Video decks were one of the leading causes for nth generation tapes in the mid/late 1990s, and even into the early 2000s -- though many people were seduced into VCDs by that time, which took video butchery to a whole new level.

I kept a number of Go.Video made tapes, specifically for the purpose of documenting lousy video.

If there was a "special circuit" inside the Go.Video dual decks VCRs, it backfired. Quality was usually worse, not better. The "magic circuit" was probably the same nothingness found in Sima correctors once sold at Best Buy. Those did absolutely nothing for the video signal or image quality. Nothing at all.

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  #4  
01-17-2012, 09:29 AM
*Bix* *Bix* is offline
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So the chroma issues were common? Interesting.

I wouldn't say Sima's products did nothing for the video signal, even if they didn't improve picture quality on non-protected tapes: The CopyMaster was a decent fix for macrovision in the VHS era (even if it didn't remove the protection, it let you make copies without the macrovision introducing visible artifacts or the recording VCR detecting the protection, which was good enough for most people but short sighted) and the GoDVD/CopyThis/etc. fully removed macrovision when converting VHS to DVD.
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  #5  
01-17-2012, 10:48 AM
robjv1 robjv1 is offline
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I never realized Sima had such an extensive line of products. The Sima color corrector was the first and only product of theirs that I ever purchased. I just remember the sharpness control on that thing did almost nothing and changing the hue/sat via the digital onscreen menus with the remote was such a pain.
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  #6  
01-17-2012, 11:42 AM
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The anti-copy protection devices were more prominent where I shopped than the color correctors (which I believe removed or lowered macrovision as well). It doesn't surprise me that they did't work close to as well as detailers and proc amps.
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  #7  
01-17-2012, 03:08 PM
robjv1 robjv1 is offline
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Yeah, looking back over the few tapes I have, the GoVideo dubs I have are definitely washed out as compared to the originals, and by a substantial margin. Funny enough, I don't really recall ever using it to dub copyguarded tapes -- probably one or two just to test it out.

The main purpose I used it for actually was to record programs that ran longer than 2 hrs in SP mode using two T-120 tapes. For that purpose, it was convenient (although not really much more than just having two individual decks would be) especially if you started the second one just a bit before the first one ran out. You could put a tape in both decks, program the timers independently, set it and walk away. No tape switching -- and of course it makes it easy to edit those videos together now on a NLE if need be, although I will admit to not having that kind of foresight at the time.

It had a decent looking picture as I recall for recording off of cable. It was definitely a quirky deck though. I had some damage on the video head at one point and tried to have it repaired -- but nobody was willing to touch it, because you had to completely dismantle the top deck and pull all of the guts out before you could access the bottom deck. Not exactly the most repair friendly design.

By the way, why do you ask anyways Bix? Just debunking myths you come across on the tape trading circuit? I'm surprised that people would even consider them now -- given how all the good stuff is so cheap these days. When GoVideo decks were new, they were pretty cheap weren't they?
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  #8  
01-17-2012, 03:35 PM
*Bix* *Bix* is offline
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Yeah, I was talking to a friend about GoVideo and we were both curious if there was anything legitimate to their claims, which I had guessed were exaggerated at best and snake oil at worst.

How they ended up slapping their name on a clone of the best JVC SVHS VCR, I have no idea.
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