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DVD Won't Play through VCR

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by Chris F., Feb 25, 2005.

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  1. Chris F.

    Chris F. Guest

    I recently bought a cheap DVD player, and was trying to use it through a
    VCR, to allow it to play on an older TV with no A/V jacks. It comes through
    but the picture cycles between light and dark, and loses both horizontal and
    vertical sync every few seconds. Works fine when connected directly to the
    A/V jacks of a newer TV. Is this some kind of copy protection, and is there
    any way around it?
  2. Shell

    Shell Guest

    It may cause by the MicroVision technicology for DVD/VCR media copyright
  3. Guest

    The symptoms you describe sounds like the DVD is protected by the
    Macrovision copy protection scheme. If you want details on how this
    works go to:

    Basicly they are adding extra horizontal sync pulses to the signal
    during the vertical retrace time. This screws up the automatic gain
    control circuits in the vcr and causes it to output the light and dark
    signal. When fed directly to a TV it doesn't bother the TV because the
    TV doesn't look at the extra sync pulses at that time.

    The easiest way around this is to get an external modulator to take the
    signals from the VCR and output a RF signal for the TV on either
    channel 3 or 4. Radio Shack used to sell these but I use one that came
    with an old VHS Camcorder. Also a lot of the old electroic games came
    with external modulators.

  4. NSM

    NSM Guest


    Search for Macrovision and/or Antti Paarlahti
  5. Guest

    Don't go to RadioShack. They charge like $99 for a modulator. I think
    their model is actually stereo, but you don't need that unless the TV
    is stereo and you want it to be stereo.

    We sell them retail for like $25. I don't think there's any profit,
    it's like one of those things you do to help the customer use what they
    bought. Like the remotes, sell a used TV and you gotta have it. I think
    we make about $2 on the remotes, $4 on the modulators, and maybe $8 on
    a DVD player. We make the money on the TVs and only have these
    accessories because they're needed.

    You should be able to find a deal online, if not, I'll ship you one for
    about $30 if you don't live in Timbuktu or something.

  6. Mike S.

    Mike S. Guest
  7. What you're seeing is very normal, unfortunately. It's a form of
    copy protection generated by your DVD player called 'Macrovision.'

    Some players can be modified to shut down their Macrovision
    output. However, this usually requires appropriate tools, commercial-
    grade soldering/desoldering equipment, and the skill to hunt down and
    effectively use modification instructions for your specific player
    (assuming it is modifiable -- many are not).

    There are other methods, but they are not simple, and usually
    require cash outlays in the $100+ level to implement. Google is your

    Happy hunting.

    Dr. Anton T. Squeegee, Director, Dutch Surrealist Plumbing Institute.
    (Known to some as Bruce Lane, ARS KC7GR,
    kyrrin (a/t) bluefeathertech[d=o=t]calm --
    "If Salvador Dali had owned a computer, would it have been equipped
    with surreal ports?"
  8. Chris F.

    Chris F. Guest

    I tried a number of VCR's, and managed to find two that worked absolutely
    perfect with my DVD player. An '89 Philips (not a rebranded Toshiba) and a
    '96 GE, in case you're wondering. Makes me wonder how many more compatible
    VCR's I have in my scrap pile......
  9. NSM

    NSM Guest

    You found a couple with unique electronics. You can hack any VCR to work

  10. pertnoy

    pertnoy Guest

  11. NSM

    NSM Guest

    Won't help. The Macrovision will still bounce the AGC circuits. You need a

  12. b

    b Guest

    this question comes up fairly regularly.
    I feel that by far the cheapest solution is to locate an old vcr, even
    one whose mechanics or even power supply don't work, but which has a
    working rf modulator. Remove this RF unit, power it with an external dc
    power supply between 5 to 12v (old mobile phone "wall warts" will do).

    You will also need to wire up two RCA phono leads for audio and video
    to connect to the dvd player. Then just wire the rf out to your tv coax
    aerial socket, tune it to the video channel.
    I posted the pinouts to a few rf modulators here last year, you may
    want to google for 'em if you decide to take this route.
    I think it is a good way of putting some of the piles of redundant
    electronics in this world to a new use!
  13. NSM

    NSM Guest

    I just picked up (2) of the 'Stabilizers' from London Drugs, Canada. S-Video
    in, RCA out, runs off a 9 volt battery and all for $9.99 (reduced from
    $49.99). Can't beat that!

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