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Dale

Multi-system VCR

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Just to answer Alexandra's question, I have what is called a "multi-system" vcr. It reads/shows at least six different variations of PAL, Amiercan, and Japanese output.

Like some, I was under the false impression that you could just get a PAL vcr and be able to watch my tapes from Britain and Russia. But that was not true, you need a converter so your tv can take the PAL output in. Plus, you need a TV that is compatable or new enough to go with the converter. It was a mess (involving lots of wires etc...) However, I bit the bullet and bought the "multi-system" VCR about 2 years ago at one of two places in Manhattan that carry the thing. It's made by Aiwa and at the risk of sounding tacky (but I want people interested to know how much to expect to spend), I'll reveal that it cost with tax around $800.00. So it's not cheap. A month after buying it at J&R, I saw it at another store for $600. Considering VCRs can be sold for as low as $79, it was a pretty big investment for this poor writer. But it does make buying VHS tapes from other countries easier.

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Thanks for that information, Dale, but could you go a little farther? What model Aiwa? And do you still need that highly compatible TV or does the Aiwa VCR connect to a normal NTSC TV?

Thanks again.

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According to a Washington, DC-based electronics store that caters to the globetrotting diplomatic community, I have the following information:

* AIWA multi-system Hi-Fi VCRs ($720 at this particular store) were introduced to the U.S. market about one year ago. They differ from other multi-system VCRs in that, with the proper connection cables, they can be used with any television set (including NTSC-only sets, as we have in America). THE OTHER HUGE PLUS OF THE AIWA is that it allows dubbing of foreign tapes, if you have it connected to another VCR (not nec'ly multi-system VCR) and to your TV set. In other words, it's possible to dub PAL/SECAM, etc. tapes to NTSC and, vice-versa, if you wish to tranlate an NTSC tape to PAL/SECAM for a friend who lives overseas.

* ALL OTHER multi-system VCRs sold in the US (varying in price from $199 for a JVC to $600 for a SONY) require a multi-system television set. Apparently, dubbing (copying) from one system to another is not possible with such machines.

* Multi-system TV sets range in price from $350 for a 21" Hitachi...to $650 for a 29" Hitachi...to $2,500 for a SONY Trinitron 34" set.

I'm not endorsing this store. It's the one that my company generally goes to when procuring equipment going to our overseas projects (after obtaining three bids, etc. etc.). Exports Electronics, 1719 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. Tel. 202/232-2244.

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Jeannie pretty much covered it. I think if you just ask for the Aiwa multi-system, the store will know which one you're talking about.

Another convenience was that the Aiwa hooked up to my 15-year-old TV. A couple of the others, like the euro VCR/converter package, wouldn't work with a TV that required coaxial cables, such as mine. Now, dubbing has brought on an entirely different problems. I finally found the solution by making the cable box the go-between my old VCR and the new one (but as I did, the old VCR died).

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Not long ago I took an old vcr in for repair and purchased an Aiwa multi-system from the shop (used) for $350. It works fine but does not have its original booklet.

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This may not be the economical way to deal with PAL and other formats but it worked for me.

1. Multiformat VCR (a very cheap one), with output going into ...

2. My computer's video card, which converts from PAl to NTSC. output this into ...

3. My normal el-cheapo NTSC television.

I wouldn't recommend this setup unless you already have TV/Video capture capabilities on your computer. But if you already have that it is very inexpensive.

PS. Its also a horrid mess of wires. Thank god for the scrim cloth hanging a foot or so from the wall hiding the tangle.

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Donald, if that's Aiwa's HVMX100, you can get the booklet from their website at http://www.aiwa.com/pdf/87JUT901010.pdf All 132 pages of it! (The first 32, the English part, should do.)

[This message has been edited by Jack Reed (edited November 09, 2000).]

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I found a place here in Charlottesville that will convert 2 hours of PAL format to VHS for only $10. This is a pricey town, so if it's that cheap here it probably isn't too bad elsewhere.

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