VCR Problem

November 2nd, 2007 by Potato

I’ve been having a problem with my VCR lately that I just can’t figure out how to fix. (Aside for those who don’t know: a VCR is like an ancient PVR that can hold up to 6 hours of analog video on a removable magnetic cassette medium.) It’s getting a little old now, having served my time shifting needs very well for what must be over a decade now. The problem is basically that the sound on some channels is wrong. There are a few with video but no audio, and a few with video but the wrong audio. Most notably, CBC has the audio of 680 news (which is, actually, an interesting way to pick up 680 News out here in London). I only have basic cable, which translates into something like 8 watchable channels (sure, I get the weather network, two news channels, a TV guide channel, and a few others that I just never watch, but only about 8 that might ever have shows I’d want to tape). Of those, 3 have no sound. Fortunately, I’ve found work-arounds for every show I care to tape, thanks to the networks often airing the same show on another channel, but if anyone has any idea of what might be wrong or if I’ll be able to fix it (or vice-versa, if this is a sign of more failures to come), I’d like to hear it.

In a related note, I’m also open to any suggestions for the next step. With x-mas coming up, a DVD recorder/VCR/PVR might be a good gift idea for the ‘rents, so if anyone has an implementation they like, feel free to mention it. At the moment I’m still leaning towards getting another VCR: it’s cheap, it’s familiar, we have a huge VHS library, and I don’t really plan on switching to digital cable in the near future.

2 Responses to “VCR Problem”

  1. netbug Says:

    Sounds like your VCR is set on SAP. Pretty standard problem, but you’ll have to check the controls for how to move it off SAP.

    As for a replacement, I haven’t turned on my VCR in 4 years (literally). My entire collection was replaced with DVDs (they’re SOOOOO much more convienient). I cannot recommend highly enough the HD PVR from Rogers, but, you need digital cable. It stores 60 hours or so of standard TV. The only problem is that you’re tied to the one unit for playback. I’m sure that a central home PVR will come down the pipe sooner or later, but for now, I love my PVR.

  2. Potato Says:

    You know, I solved this exact same problem for my parents about 5 years ago, and not once in the last month did it occur to me to check if the bloody thing was on SAP. With the way our remote is set up, it’s ridiculously easy to get into that mode by mashing buttons in the dark. If any of our local stations actually had a SAP in French or Spanish or descriptive video, or if more stations had dead air on SAP, I think I might have picked up on that… or at least I hope the obvious solution would have come to me at some point!

    Thanks Bug!!

    With Wayfare being a bad horror movie connoisseur, we have a lot of crap on VHS… crap that’s probably never going to make a re-release to DVD :) That said, I might be looking to a new DVD player or DVD-R at some point in the future since our current one is very fussy. If the DVD is in good shape, then it plays great, and all the interfaces are intuitive, etc. But it really throws up on scratched/burned discs…