I have two of those JVC S-VHS decks and they work like a charm.

> On Feb 4, 2016, at 3:37 PM, Dave Tetzlaff <djte...@gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> Check thrift stores that let you return electronics (usually just for store 
> credit) if it doesn't work: Salvation Army and Goodwill usually do. Thrift 
> stores are where all VHS decks go to die – and the stores just want to move 
> them, so they price the good ones the same as the crappy ones. For 
> digitizing, I think you'd want one with:
> • s-video output
> • separate heads for SP and EP
> • some kind of built-in frame-store buffer on the video out
> 
> The later JVC S-VHS models fit the bill. They weren't super-reliable, but now 
> you're basically dealing with a disposable item that should cost less than a 
> pizza -- $5-$15. 
> 
> If one works well when you get it, it should serve for a god while if you 
> take care of it. 
> 
> VCRs either run at the correct speed or don't play-back a clean picture at 
> all. 
> 
> If the transport mechanisms are bad, the problems are generally obvious: they 
> either don't load/eject the tape, don't Play or FF or REW, or do obvious 
> damage (e.g. creases) to the tape. Run a junk tape through the various 
> functions: and if they all work, and there are no suspicious noises, you're 
> probably good mechanically.
> 
> The electronics generally either work or don't. They don't degrade. At some 
> point, a capacitor dies or something, and the machine just gives up the 
> ghost. If you have a working unit of any substantive age, there's no saying 
> how long the circuits will last, so keep the investment low and don't worry 
> about it.
> 
> The part of a VHS VCR that will cause the picture to degrade with use is wear 
> on the heads. But all you can do about that is check the image at home.
> 
> Aside from JVC, Mitsubishi made some good S-VHS decks, though they didn't 
> have frame-stores...
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