Quantcast Future of VHS capturing in the next 10-20 years? - digitalFAQ Forum
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  #1  
05-21-2019, 10:34 AM
WhatACuck WhatACuck is offline
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When it comes to having a good workflow, I feel the only good equipment is starting to vanish and become extinct. (Especially with external TBCs, which are even hard to find today outside of the DigitalFAQ marketplace.) I like that in the modern age of VHS capturing people are starting to get a better-ish understanding on how this process works, and I actually have hope that general quality will increase over time. (And I'm talking people who have knowledge outside of DigitalFAQ and are striving for that sexy "60fps" capture despite generally being deinterlaced with Virtualdub's Yadif. Not many people outside of DigitalFAQ can capture at lordsmurf levels yet.)

My question is, what are people going to do about the lack of equipment? With most of the Green AVTs practically becoming extinct and other external TBCs, what will end up happening to VHS Captures in the next decade or two? Will people find a creative way to go around the lack of proper equipment, or will we be screwed by more consumer-grade EasyCRAP devices and pieces of USB-pluggable junk that claim to be a "TBC"?
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  #2  
05-21-2019, 12:54 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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The tapes are aging and the capture devices are getting crappier, It only going to get worse. Good PC capture devices require legacy OS's and are hard to find, Grab an old professional capture device, there is always a way to hook them up with modern computers and newer operating systems including Mac.
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  #3  
05-21-2019, 02:13 PM
WhatACuck WhatACuck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
Good PC capture devices require legacy OS's and are hard to find.

Well, I'm just glad that more and more people aren't really wanting those old OS's, seeing as how they're considered obsolete. I just hope that it doesn't get too complicated once they start putting out USB16.4's or whatever installment of devices is getting put out. I'm also glad I'm living in the LoL VAPoRWaVE generation, so certain equipment could come back??? Maybe??? I dunno, I do know that certain old OS's are available in refurbished condition and that Win7 is the next best thing in terms of support for older hardware.
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  #4  
05-21-2019, 02:57 PM
sevarre sevarre is offline
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Would be cool if some electrical engineer type could come up with a design for TBC-100/1000 clone or something. I (probably naively) think it could be done and there are clearly people who would get a lot of use out of a "new" external TBC.
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  #5  
05-21-2019, 03:19 PM
traal traal is offline
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In the not so distant future, VHS will be captured through the raw RF signal, and timebase correction and so on will all be done in software.
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  #6  
05-21-2019, 03:29 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevarre View Post
Would be cool if some electrical engineer type could come up with a design for TBC-100/1000 clone or something. I (probably naively) think it could be done and there are clearly people who would get a lot of use out of a "new" external TBC.
80% of the problems are related to the quality of the VCR itself to begin with, Most tapes don't require external TBC and the ones that do most of the time because of a crappy capture device. So the real question is it would be cool if some engineer could come up with a new VCR, But that's not possible.
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  #7  
05-21-2019, 03:45 PM
sevarre sevarre is offline
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Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
80% of the problems are related to the quality of the VCR itself to begin with, Most tapes don't require external TBC and the ones that do most of the time because of a crappy capture device. So the real question is it would be cool if some engineer could come up with a new VCR, But that's not possible.
TRUE, now THAT would be interesting. Maybe it could be some EE's PhD/MSci. project haha. When you say not possible, is it actually impossible because of stuff like trade secrets (i.e. we might not know exactly how the process works, so we can't recreate it exactly) or is it just such a gargantuan task that it is for all practical purposes impossible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by traal
In the not so distant future, VHS will be captured through the raw RF signal, and timebase correction and so on will all be done in software.
Oh that looks interesting. Not exactly sure how that works, but I am going to look at thread.
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  #8  
05-21-2019, 06:32 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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Well it is not impossible, But factories that use to make VCR parts have been dismantled, Funai was the last manufacturer to stop production 3 years ago, Not only there is no financial gain of resurrecting such an old technology but you will have to make the machines that produce parts first, You can't just 3D print a VCR.
Even the RF method of extracting video still requires a VCR and possibly a good VCR with a precision tape transport and stable capstan and head motors, It doesn't have to be S-VHS though.
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  #9  
05-21-2019, 07:19 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatACuck View Post
When it comes to having a good workflow, I feel the only good equipment is starting to vanish and become extinct.
Nah. It still exists out there. Less supply, more demand, but it is out there.

Quote:
My question is, what are people going to do about the lack of equipment?
If demand outstrips supply, new devices will surface. I've been contacted about this from private parties, and we've had interesting chats, but it's largely deemed unsound right now. For now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
The tapes are aging and the capture devices are getting crappier, It only going to get worse. Good PC capture devices require legacy OS's and are hard to find, Grab an old professional capture device, there is always a way to hook them up with modern computers and newer operating systems including Mac.
Again, not really.

Legacy computer hardware is not difficult to locate, legacy OS are equally easy to locate (especially via unofficial means). And we have a lot of good capture cards options in the sub-$100 rage. I remember when a good capture card was $1k, then $300, then $200, and finally $100 may years later.

Newer computers are not for legacy tasks like video capturing. I worked some IT in the 90s, and we had 80s legacy that had to be maintained. In fact, many cable companies still rely on IT from the 00s, 90s, even the 80s. The consumer idea of "outdated" really is not in line with reality. Capturing needs to be viewed as a professional or more serious task, not games, email, Facebook, Word docs and spreadsheets (with is like 99% of computer use by home users).

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Originally Posted by WhatACuck View Post
Well, I'm just glad that more and more people aren't really wanting those old OS's, seeing as how they're considered obsolete.
The OS are only considered obsolete in some contexts. For example, it's insane to connect a Windows XP system to the internet. But in contrast, good luck trying capture video with a Win10 box, it will fight you nonstop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sevarre View Post
Would be cool if some electrical engineer type could come up with a design for TBC-100/1000 clone or something. I (probably naively) think it could be done and there are clearly people who would get a lot of use out of a "new" external TBC.
It can be done, I know people that want to do it, but financial feasibility is the main issue. I've done a lot of TBC research over the years, and have offered to work with these folks if/when the time comes.

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Originally Posted by traal View Post
In the not so distant future, VHS will be captured through the raw RF signal, and timebase correction and so on will all be done in software.
Perhaps. Perhaps not. Still early.

Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
80% of the problems are related to the quality of the VCR itself to begin with, Most tapes don't require external TBC and the ones that do most of the time because of a crappy capture device. So the real question is it would be cool if some engineer could come up with a new VCR, But that's not possible.
Even the idea of a "VCR" is quaint, since the decks have at least 50% useless features/components. What's needed purely for quality video could be built, but the costs would exceed the existing S-VHS VCR options, and with only nominal improvements. I think the only way it would happen is if for the aforementioned RF signal acquisition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sevarre View Post
TRUE, now THAT would be interesting. Maybe it could be some EE's PhD/MSci. project haha. When you say not possible, is it actually impossible because of stuff like trade secrets (i.e. we might not know exactly how the process works, so we can't recreate it exactly) or is it just such a gargantuan task that it is for all practical purposes impossible?
As time marches on, and schematics get buried in archives of companies that no longer care about the "old" ("outdated", legacy) devices, it's not impossible (uncommon, even?) to acquire NDA documents without signing or agreeing to the NDA. And to be honest, the NDA is silly once you see the schematics and docs, as there's really nothing "secret" that isn't already known, or cannot be seen via reverse engineering the hardware. Even by me, and I'm far from from being an EE (although that is actually what I wanted to pursue as a kid).

Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
Well it is not impossible, But factories that use to make VCR parts have been dismantled, Funai was the last manufacturer to stop production 3 years ago, Not only there is no financial gain of resurrecting such an old technology but you will have to make the machines that produce parts first, You can't just 3D print a VCR.
Even the RF method of extracting video still requires a VCR and possibly a good VCR with a precision tape transport and stable capstan and head motors, It doesn't have to be S-VHS though.
That's exactly it: tooling, molds, parts.

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  #10  
05-22-2019, 11:35 AM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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The AVT-8710 could be re-implemented as a hobbyist project. Its nothing more than a ADC that is really tolerant of rotten sync, a micro controller for running the control panel and setting chip registers, some RAM for a frame buffer and a DAC to output it all. Such devices already exist, like the RetroTINK 2x, albeit with HDMI output and no proc-amp controls for the ADC.

I'd actually prefer a modern TBC with a digital output as it would avoid the needless analog-to-digital-to-analog conversion you have to deal with now AND opens up the door to many cheap and well supported HDMI capture cards. Sadly the RetroTINK 2x doesn't fit the bill as its ADC can't tolerate cruddy VHS sync.

About that RF VHS decoding, someone has basic PAL decoding working: https://github.com/happycube/ld-decode/issues/16
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  #11  
05-22-2019, 02:29 PM
captainvic captainvic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traal View Post
In the not so distant future, VHS will be captured through the raw RF signal, and timebase correction and so on will all be done in software.
I'm intrigued by this possibility... Let's hope it comes to pass!
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  #12  
05-22-2019, 03:36 PM
hodgey hodgey is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJRoadfan View Post
The AVT-8710 could be re-implemented as a hobbyist project.
About that RF VHS decoding, someone has basic PAL decoding working: https://github.com/happycube/ld-decode/issues/16
Some person actually already made something similar to the AVT-8710, using the same A/D chip (SAA7114H). Maybe it could even be improved further as there is a SAA7115 that is supposed to have improved signal locking capabilites but idk.

Some other person (I think they even made a thread on these forums) worked on this thing but it seems they abandoned it.

And yeah, the person tinkering with RF software decoding is me. Basically piggybacking of a project doing the same with laserdiscs. They designed some custom board to capture RF data with even (It may actually be doable with a specific older pci capture card but I haven't gotten far enough to see how if it's sufficient for chroma yet). Sadly my health and other life stuff is making the process a bit slow but I'm still working on it, and it is of course open to contributions from anyone interested.
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  #13  
05-23-2019, 11:01 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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Originally Posted by hodgey View Post
And yeah, the person tinkering with RF software decoding is me. Basically piggybacking of a project doing the same with laserdiscs. They designed some custom board to capture RF data with even (It may actually be doable with a specific older pci capture card but I haven't gotten far enough to see how if it's sufficient for chroma yet). Sadly my health and other life stuff is making the process a bit slow but I'm still working on it, and it is of course open to contributions from anyone interested.
Since laser is composite by nature and stored as such on the disc with greater precision than VHS wouldn't a composite capture card is indeed a RF pickup device like the one you are trying to build? If not what differs your capture approach from that of a composite capture card/device?
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  #14  
06-02-2019, 10:43 AM
Sirworm Sirworm is offline
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I personally think that due to VHS capturing lacking innovation, it's going to decline rapidly. My personal thought is that most people will fully switch over to transferring TV recordings (even though it's already a thing). Blank recorded-over VHS tapes (which are vital for preserving TV recordings), are on a rise in money, some mediocre recordings even going over a thousand when they used to go for 10-20$!
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  #15  
06-02-2019, 01:40 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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There are plenty of ways to time shift/record TV these days that don't involve VHS and result in bit perfect copies. Blank tapes aren't particularly valuable, heck you can still buy them new in places. Collectors are mostly after SVHS and DVHS tapes these days since they are long out of production and can be hard to find.
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  #16  
06-02-2019, 03:50 PM
traal traal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
Since laser is composite by nature and stored as such on the disc with greater precision than VHS wouldn't a composite capture card is indeed a RF pickup device like the one you are trying to build? If not what differs your capture approach from that of a composite capture card/device?
You won't have to set your proc amp controls, just capture once and choose your proc amp settings later. Software TBC, comb filter, NR and so on will be at least as good as the best hardware money can buy, and with no signal loss between components.
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