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Fryster 12-10-2009 01:22 AM

Hey LS,
I would like to ask you what you think of these current AVT-8710 clones for sale on eBay?

I presume that they're clones anyway. The case is a different color but the button layout and video connections look the same as the green AVT-8710. However, the eBay listing does not mention the manufacturer nor a model number. The price seems to be very close to the green AVT-8710 on other electronics & photo retailer web sites.

Think that they're the same? Or does it look like something that one should avoid if seeking a new AVT-8710??

Safer to go with a known online electronics merchant?
Thanks for any advice...

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lordsmurf 12-11-2009 10:36 PM

Alternative AVT-8710 TBC models? (Compare timebase correctors.)
The AVT-8710 timebase correct is actually a re-branded version of a generic TBC from Cypress Technology in Taiwan, known by the model number CTB-100. I'm not readily aware of any other company selling the CTB-100 in the USA, aside from AVToolbox. AVT may have an exclusive license in North America?

- The AVToolbox site shows the TBC at
- See the CTB at the Cypress site:

Outside North America, you often see the CTB-100 sold under the original model number, or with another generic name/number.

The MSRP for these is about $250-275, but street price is closer to $200-225 shipped.

In some cases, it's sold as a "video processor" or some other generic name, instead of being sold as a TBC, to its own selling detriment. (Stupid retailers.)

As far as I know, the only difference is the power supply (AC adapter for North America), and the color of the plastic case.

Now, when it comes to buying one, I would usually avoid eBay. There are probably some good buys on there, but there are definitely some scammers/semi-scammers on there for sure, when it comes to TBCs. eBay is strange creature -- for some things it's great, for others it's awful. TBCs are somewhere in the gray ugly middle.

For buying the AVT-8710, I highly suggest buying from B&H, and using this exact link:

NOTE: DO NOT CALL B&H about a TBC (at least not right now). Just a few days ago, I made a post at about a problem concerning TBCs, Canopus ADVC boxes, and B&H salesmen on the phone. B&H is looking into it, and it may have been a mistake on their part. At any rate, don't be talked out of a TBC with claims of other devices being "just as good" or otherwise removing the need for a TBC. It's simply not true. A TBC is a TBC, and something else is something else (and not a TBC).

At B&H, the TBC is only $215. That's easily the best price, from a known reliable retailer. You may save $10-20 elsewhere, but you'd be dealing with a completely unknown company -- moreso on eBay.


I found the site where they (Ambery TBC-1) come from....
Same ad though.
I would dispute the images shown in that ad. The AVT-8710 / CTB-100 does have some minor proc amp functionality, but those images they give for examples are misleading and fake -- clearly digital "examples" created in Photoshop, and not actual input/output test images.

Those are so misleading that I'd call them blatant lies. There is no way the CTB-100 did that -- none. It's a good TBC, but it won't unblur your image or magically restore its color and white balance. Baloney.

You'll notice that AVT-8710 and B&H don't put up false ads of that nature. Reliable merchants/manufacturers never do.

If you have more questions/comments, please join the forum, and reply here. :)

Fryster 12-12-2009 08:55 AM

Thanks LS!

Very informative.

I have another question: Are all TBC's the same? In other words; is a TBC a TBC is a TBC??

EXAMPLE: Would the TBC in my Panasonic AG-1980 S-VHS VCR be the same as the AVT-8710 TBC?? I know that their function/purpose is the same but do they equal in ability? "Muscle-vs-muscle", chipset-vs-chipset I am referring to....

Would the AVT-8710 be "better" (superior) at its job than some "onboard" TBC chipset based in an old S-VHS VCR?

***Now that I think about it; can two TBC be used in unison while dubbing? Or is that overkill and likely to create more problems during capture?


lordsmurf 12-15-2009 01:05 AM

UPDATE: This post has been updated to this post: What is a TBC? Time Base Correction for Videotapes

Consider reading that newer version of this post, if you found this page through a link or search engine.

Direct link to new TBC article:


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I don't really want to get too in-depth on this question right now, as I'm collaborating on an article about this very topic. I'm actually going to steal a little of it to write this quick reply:

A TBC is a timebase corrector. By the most basic definition, video is input into a buffer, and then it is corrected before being output again. However, the term "TBC" is often used so loosely, that it seems any type of "correction" can apply. There is no universal or standardized definition, so product makers can get away with calling anything a TBC. Sometimes I wonder if my toaster has a TBC. The best way to define a TBC is by empircal analysis of devices that exist, and claim to have a TBC inside, and analyzing what they do.

Standalone Full-Frame TBC:

A good recent-era standalone TBC will
  • reduce visual on-screen image jitter (up.down image bounce)
  • overwrite "dirty" signal areas with new clean ones --- these areas often used by anti-copy, which of course is an artificial video error -- this is not going to visually improve the signal, it would only prevent image quality issues caused by false detection of anti-copy, such as Macrovision
  • and provide a steady signal that prevents dropped frames on capture cards, or pre-mature recording stop on DVD recorders
A standalone TBC will generally not clean up visual image quality, such as removing chroma noise or suppressing visual distortions (excluding jitter)

Good standalone TBCs includeYou would do best to avoid old user TBCs found on eBay and other places -- many ancient 80s/90s TBCs work different than the ones specifically suggested here.


Unlike the standalone TBC, this one will
  • NOT give a continual clean signal out from the VCR
  • NOT remove anti-copy signals, by replacing those often-dirty areas with new clean data
  • NOT help much with jitter -- in fact it can sometimes increase the amount of jitter
What it will do, however, is clean the visual quality, by:
  • removing or reducing chroma noise (the red/blue colored mist found in all VHS tape formats)
  • removing geometric distortions from the image, such as the wiggling appearance of older video, as if viewed through a rippling pond or bathtub
Very often VCR TBCs are merged with embedded noise reduction circuits, which use the power of the TBC to further suppress or remove grain and prevent color bleeding. The quality of the TBC really depends on the model and line/series of the deck. In many cases, the oldest "professional" VCRs (used in studios and hospitals) are worthless crap, as compared to late 90s and early 2000s professional and prosumer models that work much better.

DVD Recorder "TBC":

This is where we start to enter the land of "it's a TBC because we wrote it on the box". In many cases, the "TBC" is nothing more than a basic frame sychronizer, or circuitry that provides a similar function. These tend to only be good at one thing: removing "flagging" or "tearing" that can sometimes be seen on the top of a VHS signal, a visual distortion on screen. You'll have to disable the VCR TBC and often remove the standalone TBC, to get benefit of this feature, as needed.

NOTE: These DVD recorders often have bad capture/recording quality, unfortunately, so you'll want to use it in "passthrough" mode. This means you feed a signal into the DVD recorder, and then output it to a better capture device further on. It is not used for recording. You can often re-add the standalone TBC after the DVD recorder, because it's still not necessarily the best analog signal yet.

The Panasonic "ES" series from 2005-2006 is known for this (ES10, ES15, etc).

DVD recorder "TBCs" will do next to nothing (or outright nothing) in terms of visual OR signal cleaning. Some of the DVD recorders do have digital NR, but it can be overly strong. The ES10, for example, over-processed the video with NR engaged, causing temporal blurring and posterizing/banding the video (compressed color palette).

DV Converter Box "TBC":

Even worse than the DVD recorders, these TBCs generally don't do squat.
  • In some cases, these will act like the DVD recorder frame synchonizers, very mildly correcting the input signal stability, just good enough to be captured without dropped frames.
  • In other cases, it does nothing.

The best advice is to stack a good S-VHS VCR with a TBC with a standalone TBC, to take care of both image/visual AND signal quality. If you use a DVD recorder or DV box further down the line, so what -- forget it has a TBC. Or rather, forget "TBC" was written on the box.

If this information has been helpful, please upgrade to a Premium Member status. Premium Members will get longer in-depth one-on-one help for their projects, and in the future will be able to access exclusive content. And the price is about the same as buying a book or couple of magazines -- but far more useful!

Thanks. :)

Fryster 12-18-2009 06:13 AM

Awesome response LS!

This helped me greatly with the design of my workflow.

***I received my AVT-8710 yesterday from B&H. (they are VERY FAST shippers)

I haven't got a chance to play with it yet but perhaps this weekend I will... :)

Thank you once again!

admin 12-18-2009 06:33 AM

This is a very complex issue, and the research for the article has finally come to a conclusion. It will be one of the first new piece on the re-designed site here in the next 6-8 weeks (assuming all plans go as planned).

There are also multi-line TBCs, professional standalones from eras long gone (80s-90s).

VCRs can also include full-field TBCs (also a type of multi-line TBC), such as the Panasonic AG-1980P. These can work better than single-line or few-line TBCs -- though the overall image quality is dependent on several factors. (This is why the JVC often outperforms the Panasonic -- more than just better TBC at play.)

The AVT-8710 / CTB-100 is a good buy for VHS to DVD conversion workflows, no doubt.

The TBC I have available right now is one of the few full-frame "infinite window" TBCs that includes frame sync, dropout compensation and proc amps. Of course, MSRP on it was $3-4K or more, and I have it for only $260 shipped. (Just don't need it anymore. Your gain, my loss. I just want it sold and gone.) You have the AVT-8710 now, of course, so this is written for anybody else that might be happening to read this post in December 2009.

The proc amp on the AVT-8710 is kind of weenie, remember this. Add a real proc amp if you need one.

Be sure not to run it 24/7 -- after about 5 hours the AVT-8710 is known to overheat. This has been discussed in other threads here in recent months. For full-time use, open it up and consider adding a small RAM heat syncs, and making a custom power switch. (I just unplug mine, remove cord from base of TBC -- leave AC in wall/UPS at all times.)

There can be resolution loss on TBCs, DataVideo can be more guilty than others (and it varies unit to unit, source to source), but the AVT-8710 rarely gets this complaint.

I think you'll be quite happy with the TBC. :)


NJRoadfan 10-08-2010 08:01 AM

Ambery Products is another source for the CTB-100 and other Cypress video products in the US:

This is likely the source of all the ebay CTB-100 units.

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