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  #1  
10-07-2021, 11:30 PM
Shakedown St. Shakedown St. is offline
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I was having a debate with someone today about the longevity of VHS.

The transfer house debating told me that, "VHS tapes are going to start to become demagnetized in about ten years, and that they should be transferred to digital ASAP."

I was then told people back then bought their blank VHS tapes from Wal Mart like stores and their cheap tapes DO become demagnetized over the years in optimal storage conditions. The mag coating even flakes off the plastic base. Quad broadcast tape gets "fuzzy" over time. Even the networks canít clear them up.

The shop told me that only SONY Broadcast T-120 BA tapes do not lose their "sharpness" overtime. Is there any truth to anything they have told me or are they being dishonest?
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  #2  
10-08-2021, 12:57 AM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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Mostly scary tactics to get your business, While some of it is true, the most worrisome factor is not the magnetic properties of the tape, it is the mechanical properties such as the bonding agent of the magnetic layer (tape shed syndrome is real), tape shrinkage or stretch, tape physical damage, chances of recovering the tape from these type of deteriorations is near zero. Mould damage can be cleaned up but it is hazardous.

Magnetic fade can have an effect on the frequency carrier signal strength but not in a form of sharpness loss or faded colors as some people may think, It will be in a form of noise in luma and chroma, phase shift of chroma, line and frame timing errors. For an ideal storage conditions magnetic prosperities can be preserved for decades.

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  #3  
10-08-2021, 01:27 AM
Shakedown St. Shakedown St. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
(tape shed syndrome is real), tape shrinkage or stretch, tape physical damage, chances of recovering the tape from these type of deteriorations is near zero. Mould damage can be cleaned up but it is hazardous.
Is that common to come across VHS with shed syndrome? I imagine that is similar to my reel to reel tapes with (sticky shed syndrome). Any certain brand of VHS tapes that were more prone to this than others I should avoid? I know Sony HI8 are very prone to this.
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  #4  
10-08-2021, 02:20 AM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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It is not as common as reel to reel audio tapes but I heard of it, never come across one myself so far, It is a result of bad storage condition, I'm not aware of such failure related to a certain brand, But someone who handled a large amount of tapes like Lordsmurf may have an opinion about it.

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  #5  
10-08-2021, 02:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakedown St. View Post
The transfer house debating told me that, "VHS tapes are going to start to become demagnetized in about ten years, and that they should be transferred to digital ASAP."
That nonsense BS has been stated since the earliest days of VHS-to-DVD (VHS to digital), late 90s to early 2000s. "OMG! YOUR TAPES ARE DYING! AHH AHH! THE SKY IS FALLING! BETTER TRANSFER THOSE NOW! (AND USE OUR SERVICES! <WINK WINK!>)"

The truth is that most all consumer (and many pro) videotapes have a life expectancy of 35-65 years. In the 2000s, it was complete BS. But it was going to eventually be true. In the 2020s, we're now seeing some degradations. Mostly oxide flaking, mostly from certain early/mid 80s tapes. For now.

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I was then told people back then bought their blank VHS tapes from Wal Mart
Walmart didn't exist. ... Kmart, on the other hand...

Quote:
their cheap tapes DO become demagnetized over the years
Horsepucky. That person knows squat about tapes. "Demagnetized" is technobabble. What tapes suffers is oxide loss. Not the same whatsoever. The entire "demagnetized" thing is a myth that gets parroted around every so often, but doesn't even make much sense.

Quote:
in optimal storage conditions. The mag coating even flakes off the plastic base.
Correct.

Quote:
The shop told me that only SONY Broadcast T-120 BA tapes do not lose their "sharpness" overtime. Is there any truth to anything they have told me
No.

Quote:
or are they being dishonest?
Not dishonest, just incompetent. (Then again... maybe BOTH dishonest and incompetent?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
Magnetic fade can have an effect on the frequency carrier signal strength but not in a form of sharpness loss or faded colors as some people may think,
Correct. Anybody that says "tape fade" in reference to color is somebody that should be ignored (or corrected, as they're spouting nonsense).

Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
It is not as common as reel to reel audio tapes but I heard of it, never come across one myself so far, It is a result of bad storage condition, I'm not aware of such failure related to a certain brand, But someone who handled a large amount of tapes like Lordsmurf may have an opinion about it.
I've come across far too many in the past 5 years, including some of our own family tapes. BASF from the early 80s is especially a problem, especially if it contacts overly cold or hot video heads. You have to warm up the deck, and even then oxide can still flake. These are "one and done" tapes. Certain mid 80s Maxell are the same.

Never be a dummy, and FF/REW tapes to "re-pack it" (nonsense 99%+ of the time). If you have a one-and-done tape, you screwed up, and your best play was wasted on a needless FF/REW.

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  #6  
10-11-2021, 12:10 PM
Shakedown St. Shakedown St. is offline
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Now that clears it up. I never heard of tape fading before so immediately tuned out anything else they had to say. I informed them I would be making my own transfers, and was told that I would "run out of time" because tapes fade when they lose magnetic strength. I've heard of tape becoming warn from many plays but never this. I pretty much knew this was false but the guy went into so much detail I thought it would be amusing to debate. Maybe I was wrong but nope.
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  #7  
10-11-2021, 01:34 PM
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Don't protect these people. Name and shame. Warn others.

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  #8  
10-12-2021, 05:02 AM
RobustReviews RobustReviews is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
I've come across far too many in the past 5 years, including some of our own family tapes. BASF from the early 80s is especially a problem, especially if it contacts overly cold or hot video heads. You have to warm up the deck, and even then oxide can still flake. These are "one and done" tapes. Certain mid 80s Maxell are the same.
That's a touch interesting about BASF tape-stock, in Europe BASF was the supplier of Video2000 video tape stock (I think they may have been the only source, purely conjecture). Video2000 tape is slightly different from Betamax or VHS tape and requires heavily doped tape with higher magnetic coercivity: Chromdioxid.

Video2000 only used 1/2 of the tape width so to squeeze "VHS quality" out of half of the effective area of a VHS tape required higher quality tape-stock. I do wonder if some of this heavily chromed tape found its way into "High Grade" VHS tape (it's fantastic tape) and across the pond where different climates affected the tape as you describe. It's not an issue here (we've transferred hundreds of V2000 tapes without issue in the UK) but what works in one market may not be suited for another.

What works in rainy and cold Western Europe might have a distinctly different outcome in Texas - just a consideration as to why this may be the case? The Chromdioxid audio cassettes I think fared badly in humid or warm climates whereas they're still in service in UK & Europe without any of the same issues.

I might be a case of lack of proper regionialisation? Who knows.
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  #9  
10-12-2021, 05:33 AM
timtape timtape is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobustReviews View Post
... Video2000 tape is slightly different from Betamax or VHS tape and requires heavily doped tape with higher magnetic coercivity: Chromdioxid.
I believe both Beta and VHS used Chrome or tapes with Chrome like performance. I have a TDK booklet here which lists its range of VHS and Beta tapes. They are all Super Avilyn, a High Bias tape.

Such tapes are by no means immune to accidental erasure but more resistant to it.
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  #10  
10-12-2021, 06:55 AM
RobustReviews RobustReviews is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timtape View Post
I believe both Beta and VHS used Chrome or tapes with Chrome like performance. I have a TDK booklet here which lists its range of VHS and Beta tapes. They are all Super Avilyn, a High Bias tape.

Such tapes are by no means immune to accidental erasure but more resistant to it.
Ah you're right - SA was a common formula, but actual 'pure chrome' I think was only used by BASF, it's tricky stuff to manufacture and possibly BASF may have held a patent on it during the early 80s, if they didn't Du Pont certainly did who were very closely aligned with Philips during this period, subsequently Philips absorbing the media division of Du Pont.

It's only a hypothesis, but the problems LS suggests add to up to Chromdioxid formula tape
Smell test might be useful (I'll try it later) as heavily chromed tape (not SA or the ilk) has a very distinct smell.
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  #11  
10-12-2021, 12:31 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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High quality tape are certainly used here in the US for S-VHS and D-VHS formats, I'm pretty sure those are as good as V2000 or better, Though they were very expensive.

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  #12  
10-12-2021, 04:41 PM
timtape timtape is offline
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I'm pretty sure S-VHS tapes are Metal formulation as are Video 8, Hi 8, Digital 8 and others. The higher performance is good and theyre even harder to demagnetise but the tapes don't survive flooding nearly as well as older oxide types.
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  #13  
10-13-2021, 12:09 AM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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No, S-VHS is not metal and so does D-VHS because it's based on S-VHS formulation, I recorded D-VHS HD MPEG-2 @ 25MB/s on a S-VHS tape by just adding the extra hole required for D-VHS recognition, not a single glitch. Hi8 and D8 are metal because they record an equivalent S-VHS signal or better on half the size tape, high density formulation was needed.
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  #14  
10-13-2021, 04:10 AM
timtape timtape is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
No, S-VHS is not metal and so does D-VHS because it's based on S-VHS formulation, I recorded D-VHS HD MPEG-2 @ 25MB/s on a S-VHS tape by just adding the extra hole required for D-VHS recognition, not a single glitch. Hi8 and D8 are metal because they record an equivalent S-VHS signal or better on half the size tape, high density formulation was needed.
Thanks for the correction re S-VHS tape.

Wiki is unclear on this. It says: "In order to take advantage of the enhanced capabilities of the S-VHS system, i.e., for the best recordings and playback, an S-VHS VCR requires S-VHS video tape cassettes." It cites a reference but the link is dead. Hence my slight uncertainty.

In my TDK booklet, two tape formulations are listed as S-VHS tapes, XP and XP Pro. XP Pro was also marketed as for S-VHS C. TDK claimed they were the highest grade of Super Avilyn tape they had produced but they werent Metal.

Last edited by timtape; 10-13-2021 at 04:35 AM.
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  #15  
10-13-2021, 04:46 AM
RobustReviews RobustReviews is offline
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"Metal" tape is a different sort of tape-stock altogether and needs a different recording strategy to Ferric/Chrome tape. Metal tape is probably the most misunderstood, metal tape is inherently very noisy stuff and needs comparatively extreme recording levels to get the tape to record a signal. The (crude explanation) benefit of metal formulation tape is that because it can absorb such high recording levels it's easy to rise above the noise floor and the fidelity achievable is high.

There was a good/better/best paradigm with audio cassettes with ferric/chrome/metal but it's a lot more complicated than that, metal tapes really were designed for a different purpose than many people assume and pure-chrome cassettes usually provided the best in play-back fidelity but were the trickiest to record and pure-chrome formulations are very, very easy to over-saturate, hence they were relatively uncommon and cobalt-doped compromise tapes (which the machine understood as 'Class II') were more common as they provided most of the benefits of pure chrome but could take far higher input levels.

Leave your heavy rock on metal, record your classical stuff on pure chrome as it's almost hiss free. There's great ferric tapes too but I'm getting out of the subject here.

Applying this to video tape, for VHS which wasn't planned to use metal tapes I can't see they would be used, it would require electronics making the playback incompatible with normal decks I'd wager.

Anyway, back to topic, I have a BASF VHS tape in my hand (UK market) and it has all the hallmarks of a heavily chromed cassette, it's a very deep black and highly reflective stock with the characteristic waxy smell of chrome-laden tape. I wonder if this is all remaindered V2000 tape that was moved on as VHS tape, as by all accounts it's very high-grade tape.

This may be why some climates are having them break down with age, BASF audio cassettes using a similar heavy-chrome formulation are known for breaking down in warm and humid environments.
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  #16  
10-13-2021, 06:55 AM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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VHS doesn't use chrome tape that I know of. I have a few Dupont PD Magnetics tapes (both VHS and Betamax) and they are NOT chrome.

Dupont was the patent holder for the CrO2 formulation used for Compact Cassette with Sony being the exclusive license holder in Japan. This is why pure chrome cassettes are rare from Japanese tape brands and the industry quickly developed cobalt doped ferric Type II cassettes (TDK, Maxell, etc). I think the cobalt doped ferric tape did find its way to video tape in the form of TDK's "Super Avilyn".

In Europe, almost all the pure chrome tape came from BASF and AGFA. While low noise, it's not well regarded for long term stability. I know the cassettes have degraded a bit over time.
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  #17  
10-13-2021, 11:30 AM
RobustReviews RobustReviews is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJRoadfan View Post
VHS doesn't use chrome tape that I know of. I have a few Dupont PD Magnetics tapes (both VHS and Betamax) and they are NOT chrome.

Dupont was the patent holder for the CrO2 formulation used for Compact Cassette with Sony being the exclusive license holder in Japan. This is why pure chrome cassettes are rare from Japanese tape brands and the industry quickly developed cobalt doped ferric Type II cassettes (TDK, Maxell, etc). I think the cobalt doped ferric tape did find its way to video tape in the form of TDK's "Super Avilyn".

In Europe, almost all the pure chrome tape came from BASF and AGFA. While low noise, it's not well regarded for long term stability. I know the cassettes have degraded a bit over time.
Entirely correct - this is a subject close to my heart.

I do have a heavily chromed VHS cassette sitting on my desk though made by BASF, as I remarked earlier this was required by V2000 as part of the specification, I would guess in the early 80s there was a few thousand kilometres of chrome videotape kicking around and the Netherlands wasn't an especially big market by this point...

Looks like BASF Chrome VHS cassettes did exist and were marketed in the US as shown here. That's NTSC market is as it's a 'T' rather than an 'E' PAL cassette length and 2-hour cassettes were quickly binned in Europe as they looked pretty rubbish against the 8-hour V2000 tapes sold alongside them I guess? Either way E/T 120 is quite rare here.

To bring this all back together, yes it's likely that BASF tapes are chrome from the 1980s, and yes they're known to degrade heavily in some climates. They're generally reasonably stable over here though.

Let's not get in to FeCr!
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  #18  
10-13-2021, 12:00 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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I'm in the US and I've picked up those BASF tapes shown in your link (curb side find), They are home recordings from local broadcast stations. No issues with them, though the storage conditions prior to my possession of them was unknown.

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  #19  
10-13-2021, 12:15 PM
RobustReviews RobustReviews is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
I'm in the US and I've picked up those BASF tapes shown in your link (curb side find), They are home recordings from local broadcast stations. No issues with them, though the storage conditions prior to my possession of them was unknown.
The US is bloody huge so I wouldn't speculate as to climate variability in your area, and of course not every single tape will degrade, it's just trends, not laws. The UK is only about the same size as Oregon so across the tapes I generally they probably - in general - see less climatic variance than the US as a monolith. It's just always slightly above freezing and lightly raining here for 300 days a year, then slightly warmer, cooler or drier for the remainder of the year. Light snow occasionally, sometimes it reaches 20 Celsius (68 F) and we all moan about how it's too hot, sometimes we have 2 inches of snow and the UK grinds to a hault.

A bit tongue in cheek, but the climate is just cool and damp here mostly. Something these tapes don't seem to have a large issue with
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  #20  
10-13-2021, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobustReviews View Post
That's a touch interesting about BASF tape-stock, in Europe BASF was the supplier
What works in rainy and cold Western Europe might have a distinctly different outcome in Texas

Anyway, back to topic, I have a BASF VHS tape in my hand

as heavily chromed tape (not SA or the ilk) has a very distinct smell.

The US is bloody huge
The UK is only about the same size as Oregon
BASF is a German company, and most of their products have always been for European markets. I just looked at an 80s tape, circa 1983, and it was made in Korea.

I don't think UK has anything to with BASF tapes acting better/worse than anywhere else. Europe as a whole is just as variable as the U.S., in terms of climate and weather. Arizona to Maine to Florida to Minnesota. Or Spain to UK to Greece to Finland.

I don't know about chrome, but you are correct about BASF odors. Those are unique. But so are some other brands.

Where was your BASF made?

While true, US not UK, US big and UK small, in the past 40+ years, both locations have seen all sorts of weather, hot and cold, wet and dry. So over a longer term, I'm not sure exact locale really matters. I think the overall climate was fairly even. It's not like the Sahara and Antarctica.

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Originally Posted by timtape View Post
Super Avilyn, a High Bias tape.

"In order to take advantage of the enhanced capabilities of the S-VHS system, i.e., for the best recordings and playback, an S-VHS VCR requires S-VHS video tape cassettes." It cites a reference
While I liked TDK in the 90s, those 80s "Super Avilyn" were never impressive. For me, it was about recording-time quality, more than longevity. At this late date, longevity is a footnote, or a last column on a spreadsheet, in terms of "best VHS tapes" (overall quality).

About that quote: blah, blah, blah. The difference between VHS and S-VHS (and D-VHS) was a hole on the tape. Not necessarily the tape formula. Lots of better VHS tapes were perfectly adequate for S-VHS. TDK HiFi/DSP (blue package) was one of them. JVC EHG (gold package) was another. To a lesser extent, Maxell HiFi (purple package) was passable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
No, S-VHS is not metal
I don't know about that. How "metal" is metal? Maxell S-VHS, for example, use black magnetite. (The tape, however, was crap. Mostly due to construction, the clamshells were flawed, often led to feathered tapes. The tape itself was merely so-so. It was no TDK Pro, or Fujifilm, or even Sony.)

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