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spanak 09-05-2017 02:29 AM

7 Attachment(s)
Hi all, I am about to start yet another familiy VHS capture project and am I currently looking for a decent timebase corrector.

I have found an old and very cheap in this marketplace: Datavideo TBC-2000 (link in Bulgarian language). I also live in Bulgaria so buying and shipping would be really easy.

Now, I have two questions about this TBC.

First, I could not find any information about TBC-2000. I also saw the guide where lordsmurf, recommends TBC-1000 for newbies like me because of their plethora of features that may seem redundant. On the other hand, it only has simple controls such as brightness and contrast that I do understand and know how to use. So would it do the job for me from technical point of view? Can I expect any flaws with the processing unit inside?

This brings me to my second question - is it worth the money? The seller asks for 120 BGN which is approximately equivalent to 75 USD. This is extremely cheap compared to everything else I found. I think either he has no idea what he is selling or there is something wrong with the device. Again - is it worth buying it just to try it out?

-- merged --

I decided to buy the unit after all, but I must say I am not pleased with the picture it produces. While it prevents all jumping, it somehow changes the colors - they look washed out a bit, also there is some noise in form of horizontal lines. And it causes halos around sharp edges (check out the lamp in the attached screenshot).

I suppose some of this might be caused by the power supply (it isn't the original one), but will a better power supply allow for better colors? Could it be a bad processing amp? I saw that some users here, in the forum, have modded their TBC, so that the processing unit inside is bypassed, to get a better picture. Shall I attempt to do something similar?

See the attached screenshot - on the left it's the TBC and on the right it is directly from the VCR. It is zipped otherwise the forum shrinks the image thus all detail is lost.

lordsmurf 09-23-2017 05:00 AM

I attached the TBC-2000 images from the auction to your post.

The model TBC-2000 is new to me, but I've always wondered about the jump from 1000 to 3000 (followed by 4,5,6). It must be an early 90s or late 80s unit.

If a TBC is mistreated, or not well maintained, or even just stored in sub-optimal conditions (ie, an attic, garage, basement), then it will develop faults. That's true of any video hardware, or even photo or computers. Those green issues shown in the image may be such a fault.

What I see especially is that chroma smearing is be held down by the TBC. I don't often see that, but it's a good thing. You've said it washed out colors, and maybe it does, but it may have some sort of chroma-cleaning circuit as well. Line TBCs usually filter out chroma noise, not framesync TBCs. Interesting unit.

The attached screenshot in the zip shows some pretty bad linear chroma noise was added. The proc amp may be bad, and need to be bypassed, assuming it's even possible. The TBC-1000 can be modded because it's just a TBC-100 married to a VP-299, and you simply unmarry via mods. But the 2000 boards is probably like the 3000 board, and it's not something you can mod so easily, if at all. It's a completely different board inside.

It does have some pretty several halos/ringing.

Sometimes the 3000 units are horrible at NTSC, but fine at PAL. Or horrible at PAL, and fine with NTSC. Inside the unit is an undocumented switch, either DIP or jumper. I wonder if this unit will work great for NTSC?

The chroma line noise is a killer. Otherwise I'd say to keep it as a backup. Am I reading that correct, only 120 Euros (aka $150 USD).

I'd never use such a unit as my primary, and would also look for something better. As mentioned in PM, I probably have what you want.

At the end of the day, all TBCs process video. It's never transparent. Some are better, some are worse, and some are unusable. For PAL, this on looks unusable.

Power supply can have an effect on video hardware, less frequently TBCs. But I rarely see any side effects on DataVideo equipment, and is usually minor noise at most. I'd be a bit surprised to see the linear chroma noise cleaned. The halo/ringing will not at all be cleaned. At best, the green line would go away. But I doubt all that.

That looks like some sort of weird Beetleborgs-type Saban show from the late 90s or early 2000s as shown on Fox Kids (later Jetix). Am I right?

spanak 09-23-2017 02:13 PM

6 Attachment(s)
The green line pops up from time to time and it is always part of the garbage at the bottom. The reason it is not visible on both screenshots above is because I paused the captured videos at different frames. It is always visible when I pause the VCR. Anyway, I don't care about that, it can be masked easily.

Lordsmurf, I have nothing that can output NTSC signal, so I can't test if the picture would be okay.

By washed out colors, it is what I literally mean, picture looks like an old t-shirt washed so many times that colors have become pale, not vibrant, like when it was new. It seems to me that the horizontal chroma lines are somehow taking away some of the natural colors of the picture, but it could also be my imagination.

As for the show - it was a random tape I got from a friend, so I have no idea what is it. I haven't seen it, besides that the recording starts in the middle of it, which makes it hard to tell. One thing I am certain of is that it was aired later, not in the early 2000s. By that time the TV was still called "Fox Kids" and I used to watch it a lot, but I don't remember seeing this guy. And by the way, this is not what I intend to capture. :)

But now let's get back to the important stuff. Since it seems that I am the only owner of Datavideo TBC-2000 in the entire Internet, I would like to share some more pictures of the unit just in case someone is interested. I have attached high resolution pictures in a zip file again. Check them out at the bottom.

There are no dates or anything that shows when the unit was manufactured. If the QC stamp on the board contains a date, then it is 1997-07-28, but it might be serial number as well. I am just speculating.

Lordsmurf, I am not sure which is the dip switch you are referring to. On the inside there is a single board with 8 adjustment screws. 7 of them were sealed, which means they have never been touched. The screws on the right control colors, brightness and contrast in different ways. The leftmost ones seem to do nothing. My guess is that they were supposed to shift picture position, but they broke somehow. One of these was unsealed.

I am thinking of picture position, because of two things. Firstly, I have noticed that my TBC shifts the picture to the left a lot. Notice the comparison screenshots in my first post. The cable going in the TV set is much closer to the edge of the picture when going through the TBC-2000. Also the clock is cut much more. Secondly, I remember reading on this forum that a user had a VCR shifting the picture to the side and again - causing this "ringing" effect or "halos" or whatever it is called. I can't find the thread anymore but I am almost positive that it is the same issue.

So, my guess is that the original owner(s), suddenly realized that the picture is shifted and tried to adjust it (that unsealed screw), but it did not work. Thus, they decided to get rid of it.

From that point the story is quite peculiar, to say the least, so I will share it, too. The previous owner was actually a 70-year old guy who has an audio equipment store. You know, one of those old timers who have started their business a century ago and are still working in a small old house. :) He mainly imports used audio hardware from Switzerland, fixes it if needed, and sells it. As I suspected, he had no idea what a timebase corrector is and did not remember well how he got it, but he was certain that it was from Switzerland and that has been owning it for at least 5 years.

I called the old man on the phone several times trying to understand in what condition the appliance is, and trying to instruct him how to test it. In the end he could not understand how to plug in the cables properly, so we agreed on a price of 90 BGN = 45 EUR = 55 USD untested. Originally, he asked for 120 BGN = 60 EUR = 75 USD (the price in the auction was not in euros).

After that, he sent it to me and 2 days later I started writing posts here. :D

A thing worth mentioning is that I tried powering the TBC using a computer power supply, hoping that it will provide "cleaner" electricity, since computers are more delicate piece of hardware, but unfortunately, I got exactly the same picture, so it was not the power adapter to blame.

A few good words about TBC-2000: it generates rock stable signal, brightness and color controls work well, although the "unitiy" color position is not unity in my opinion. Of course, this is my unit, I suppose it originally had natural colors.

Currently, I am giving up on fixing the TBC and will probably try to get rid of it, when I find a new one.

Pictures follow!
Video artifacts/ringing/halos. More visible example:

lordsmurf 09-23-2017 07:26 PM

There were at least 3 generations of TBC-3000.
1- Cannot change PAL/NTSC, perhaps upgrade of 2000? Maybe even same board from 2000.
2- Jumpers to change PAL/NTSC and IRE.
3- DIP to change PAL/NTSC and IRE.

These days, on the open market, especially sites like eBay of Craigslist, you find a lot of abused flawed equipment. So you really have to know about the TBCs before trying to buy one.

The 3000 units are prone to vertical bar noise. Sometimes faint, sometimes awful, rarely not present. It appears to be side effect of the proc amp (PA). In practice, the faint bars tend to be invisible with VHS tapes during actual use, and can only be seen on test patterns. I think it's also an issue with most VCR blue screens, as those are not actually 100% perfect NTSC/PAL signals generated from VCR menus.

Some units have bad interference noise to deal with. And it may have something to do with the unusual 9V power requirement. Most TBCs are 12V or 15V.

Some image shifting occurs. It's often minor, but sometimes so severe that the overscan will now bleeds into the image area, meaning it can only be used for lossless work (if even that). All TBCs have some degree of shifting, but the green AVT-8710 and TBC-1000 will be less so, sometimes just a few pixels. Shifting also depends on the capture card, the VCR, and how the devices react to one another.

Out of at least a dozen 3000 units, if not more, you may find 1 that has no shifting. A unit with no faint bars is more like 1 in 100, if not more. What that tells us is that DataVideo QC really sucked.

Some units behave better as PAL, some as NTSC. I've had at least 1 unit where the noise and bars were unusably awful in NTSC, but in PAL it was perfectly clean. For that reason, I always test TBCs in both PAL and NTSC modes, when available.

It also depends on your exact location, and the power line noise that exists there. At one point, for several years, I had to abandon DataVideo gear, because my location gave dirty power that their TBCs hated (excluding the TBC-100). The AVT/Cypress units seem to be a little less finicky with power, though you can still run into location issues (and I have in the past).

The TBC-3000s that I've sold (and still have a couple for sale) only have faint bars at worst, no other noises, minimal shifting. My TBC-1000s and AVT-8710s are all clean. Note that my gear is unusually excellent, and somebody even once compared it to finding an Action Comics #1 in mint condition! (It's not quite that rare, but the analogy still amuses me.)

If you're a picky user, wanting zero alteration of the image, you may want to opt for the AVT-8710 or TBC-1000 instead of a TBC+PA unit. The PA, after all, is intended for altering the image. And if you're running into odd DataVideo issues, believed to be from power, you may want to opt for the green AVToolbox/Cypress units.

Acden 05-02-2018 10:30 AM

Why only green AVT-8710, not black?

By the way, earlier I saw, but at now I can't find any green on eBay.

lordsmurf 05-02-2018 10:54 AM


Originally Posted by Acden (Post 54003)
Why only green AVT-8710, not black?
By the way, earlier I saw, but at now I can't find any green on eBay.

This is why green only:

The black units have flawed chips, which ghosts/repeats/locks frames. In other words, it adds errors to the video, not just fix the video, which is not the intent of a TBC.

The last green AVT-8710 to appear on eBay was DOA, the new owner contacted me. As usual, the eBay listing made the claims of "tested" and "works", but with weasel language if you read between the lines. That's just not a good place to get known-good properly functioning video hardware, and is a pure gamble that you often lose. Most hardware (VCRs, TBCs, etc) is broken, defective, or needs severe costly maintenance/repair -- even when it's claimed to be "working" or "tested".

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