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10-05-2019, 04:56 PM
LightWorker01 LightWorker01 is offline
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So i found a way of disabling Macrovision on the cheap. I had a nightmare trying to archive some of my more rare VHS movies that are not on DVD yet because of Macrovision. A better solution is a good TBC or other devices that ignore Macrovision, but what if you wanted to do it on the cheap? I found some experimenting was in order long after I had finished copying my own the proper way .

For the test, I played the tapes in my JVC HR-DVS1, and recorded them to a DVD recorder as I was not too interested in capturing this test lossless with virtualdub, I only did that with family tapes.

I found a method that seems to work wonders, though some source quality is lost as it mandates you use composite.

It revolves around these cheap NTSC -> PAL converters that go both ways PAL -> NTSC.

Something like this (i used an identical unit): https://www.ebay.co.uk/i/30325998020...BoCdb8QAvD_BwE

I am in PAL land, and I just set it to PAL, and then it still had a PAL output even though I had a PAL input. It seems to do some kind of digitization then outputs a newly generated analog signal to the TV standard you select with the switch. You can do the same with NTSC.

But... in this process the new signal it outputs also outputs a fresh vertical blanking interval and thus in all MV tapes I tested, it worked. I wont upload video samples of copyrighted material but this can help you make a backup of your own if you have exhausted other options or are on a tight budget. And being cheap devices they seemed to miss out the need to detect Macrovision. I did uploaded three screenshots of playback, note this is not as good as processed virtualdub capture as i did it directly on my DVD recorder in SP mode, but this was the kind of picture the 'cheap' converter would output, though maybe a raw file will have been easier to clean up, this has had no post processing as it was not lossless captured.

In no way a good idea to use it for serious work, but just another tool in the box and is probably the cheapest way I know of to remove Macrovision when making copies of your recordings you bought if you are on a budget. Maybe a better quality converter (though it isn't too bad and is more than enough if you want them to be more than watchable, and lossless capture and some post processing would be better than a DVD recorder)

You could probably do better doing this with virtualdub and some processing, avoiding the blocks on the DVD recorder, but this was just an experiment and it seems to have worked at the intended purpose, removing Macrovision.

I did however only use the Video socket on the converter, the audio cables I just fed directly from the VCR to the recorder, as opposed to passing them through the converter, seemed an unnecessary step for the audio. All worked well!

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10-05-2019, 07:13 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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If you're capturing to a PC and not a DVD-Recorder, it's probably easier to get a capture card that ignores macrovision, like the VC500, I would think the quality loss from composite will much be larger than what you would gain from an ATI AIW card (which afaik do not like macrovision).
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10-05-2019, 07:16 PM
jwillis84 jwillis84 is offline
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To generalize.. it is a clever idea.

Most capture devices, all ATI captured devices.. will capture NTSC or PAL.

By "transforming" the video "standard" from NTSC or from PAL to the opposing "standard" (of course) the VBI and sync signals have to be reconstructed.. there is no other way.. and the fresh new VBI and sync signals will not include Macrovision. I think Macrovision charged for "processing" or "generating" their degraded form as a service or copyrighted process.. so trans-standard or trans-formatting equipment would not want to go that extra mile to "impose" a new Macrovision signal..

Macrovision is a "family" of DRM however.. so this trick may only work for one kind of Macrovision. Other variants slip in somthing extra all the way up through HD 1.0 and HD 2.0 digital so its not a Universal cure all.

But "transforming" the standard or format will probably not re-generate the Macrovision for older signals.

The capture device.. whether its capturing NTSC or PAL.. will store the digitized format in a file.. that file will be playable on computer or playback device that will convert it into a modern standard that is probably digital anyway. The quality of the capture will depend upon the original trans-formatting process.. but going from NTSC to PAL should be better than going from PAL to NTSC. Then whatever MPEG compression or finally polishing will turn the files into something that never heard of NTSC or PAL and doesn't care.
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10-06-2019, 08:58 AM
LightWorker01 LightWorker01 is offline
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Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
By "transforming" the video "standard" from NTSC or from PAL to the opposing "standard" (of course) the VBI and sync signals have to be reconstructed.. there is no other way.. and the fresh new VBI and sync signals will not include Macrovision.
That was my reasoning for experimenting with the converter, though my discovery with this particular converter goes a bit further than that: I didn't even need to 'convert' per se. It took a PAL input, and outputted a PAL signal without Macrovision. I could have switched it to convert to NTSC if I wanted however, or put in an NTSC source -> NTSC output or NTSC source to PAL.

So far it seems to have worked on a few different Macrovision tapes, it would be interesting to test it on all (known)variants. It seems like this 'converter' simply takes an analog composite signal, digitizes it, and just generates a new analog signal based on the switch setting (PAL or NTSC), and it does not check it's input for Macrovision.

I think the thing about this method is that it is very cheap and is probably the cheapest way I know of to make copies of macrovision tapes.
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04-19-2020, 03:00 AM
nyman38 nyman38 is offline
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How did you manage to get it work.

Got mine mini pal ntsc converter and hooked it up between vhs and dvd recorder.
Mine just show a color test bar picture.
How do I get the actually movie picture on screen?
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04-19-2020, 03:26 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is online now
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The attached images show severely blown out highlights and crushed darks. Macrovision is still heaving an effect, even if the worst tearing/etc is being suppressed. This is not a quality method to remove anti-copy.

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