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Why would someone run a video game console through a VCR?...


ataridave
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... if your TV can't handle NTSC RF input.

 

This is the reason that I do it. I have to run all my RF consoles through a VCR , then VCR-to-HDTV w/RCA cables. Great rock-solid picture this way. Trying to go directly Atari-RF-to-HDTV does not work on my HDTV, picture rolls or looks TERRIBLE.

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Even if your TV has RF input that works, sometimes VCR cleans the signal better. VCR is usually $5 or less at Goodwill so it's a cheap way to see if you get better signal out of early systems.

 

Modern TV's RF (if it still supported obsolete NTSC) sometimes don't handle 30 year old system's RF signal and end up with less than perfect image. Maybe slightly blurry? Atari 2600 did use really weird RF output because it is completely dependent on game code getting it right. A few games may have more or less than 240 lines between vsync. Some TV will roll on odd signal and some will refuse to work outright.

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This purely anecdotal, but I've found that it's easier to hook up a Channel F, Astrocade, and other systems by simply attaching an adapter to the RF cord and running that through a VCR to the TV via the VCR's video-out. Beyond simplifying the hookup, VCR's seem to clear up and stabilize the quality of the picture coming out from the game system, paricularly on older VCR's that are built like tanks and must have used some very high quality components.

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Annoyingly, my combination DVD/VHS recorder only has coaxial out, not coaxial in. Still trying to figure that one out.

 

Not much of a problem for me since my coaxial input on my Trinitron isn't being used for anything else, but I bet it was a hassle for many others when this thing was new back around 2005 or so when we were still a SD world.

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So what would be the best model of VCR to buy? Back in the 80's I remember that 4-head VCRs were said to be the best.

 

I wonder if getting an SVHS vcr would yield any better final picture over a standard VHS since SVHS vcr's have svideo out? I have a pretty good JVC SVHS VCR but its in my A/V rack which is in a different room from my console setup. Plus I'm not using RF on any of mine since the Atari is AV modded.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Even a busted VCR that chews tapes can be used, but are bulky as hell. Also if anybody finds a vintage cable box, of the type with channels 1 to 99, that might work. They are a bit rare because contractually the customer had to return equipment back to the cable company for credit, so much of these likely got destroyed or landfilled when the cable companies upgraded their equipment.

 

Good demodulators are much more expensive and hard to find than common RF modulators used to hook up older TV.

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