DVD player problem

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Vash01, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Sasha

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2001
    Messages:
    25,832
    I thought I may just post this here, hoping that someone else has had a similar experience.

    I have a DVD/VCR combo which I bought couple years ago. Last week suddenly it started giving me problems. It was unable to read one of the Netflix DVDs. It was able to play one of the DVDs I own, however, so I contacted Netflix about the bad DVD and got a replacement, plus two other DVDs.

    Tonight I got ready to watch one of the DVDs and all three DVDs have the same problem- they could not be read. Then I tried two of the DVDs I have at home, and neither worked. So my DVD player definitely has a problem. I tried playing the VHS tape and although it was playing, I could not see the picture.

    I am wondering if my DVD/VCR player is dead, or if there is some kind of a disconnect between it and the TV that has caused the lack of picture? I checked all connections, and they are OK.

    Any ideas about this? I am out of the warranty period, so I cannot just get a replacement. I will have to buy a new machine. I may just give up on the dual player at this point (I love watching my skating tapes though) and get a DVR at this point. I don't know if a dual DVD/VCR is even available in stores anymore. I will look up Amazon.com, but in the meantime if anyone can think of a quick fix, please share that info with me.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. BaileyCatts

    BaileyCatts Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2002
    Messages:
    5,927
    I don't have a combo unit like yours, just plain VCRs, but the VCR part you describe sounds kind of like what has been happening to mine. I chalk it up to the machine dying. :wuzrobbed But mine are about 10 years old, and until recently were used daily to tape when I wasn't home, taped shows at night if I had competing shows on ... they got a lloott of use. I'm also thinking I'm screwed finding a new VCR (tried Ebay, got one that broke in about a month) and will have to go DVR route, but I see a lot of people complain about those too, where they set DVR to tape a show and the DVR didn't record, so I hate losing my VCRs. My entire entertainment budget is my cable bill, so I hate it when I miss my shows. :( But I think you might be in a losing battle here.
     
  3. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Messages:
    12,887
    I have a VCR/DVD combo and have had a similar problems. The reason was the DVD was dirty - dog hair got in there - and cleaning it resolved the issue.

    Dust and what not do get in there over the years even if you are vigilantly careful that your fingers are completely clean when you put discs in.

    And we've had other odd issues over the years. Powering it down and up again has worked on those occasions.

    I'd give those a try before you give up on your machine. Ours is five years old now and I think may be reaching it's planned obsolescence.
     
  4. ChelleC

    ChelleC Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2002
    Messages:
    4,471

    I saw one the last time I was in Wal-Mart, and looking at their website there are a couple available.
     
  5. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Messages:
    12,887
    Which reminds me - do PVRs come in combination with DVDs?
     
  6. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2001
    Messages:
    16,172
    You can often get very good VCRs for free (or very low money) from people getting rid of them. We now have what was, in its day, one of the top of the line VCRs - thing cost thousands and thousands when it was new. Husband tells me it's got gold connections or (insert techie speak here, but he's very happy.)

    We got it for free at the dump. They have a truck they put on one side, for people to put stuff they're getting rid of but which might have some value to someone else, and my husband got it from there. Another, our older one, we got from a friend.

    But my husband is handy and can fix most issues. He also knows A/V equipment very well, so he knows the good brands and models. Even if you aren't good with fixing stuff, though - if you can get a really good VCR for free, you can contact the manufacturer and see if they'll fix it. The fix will cost money, but the resulting old, fixed VCR will likely be of better quality than a new one.

    Just something to think about as these items become scarce.
     
  7. acraven

    acraven Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Messages:
    984
    My best VHS VCR was purchased for $15 at an apartment sale. At that price I was happy to take a chance. I agree with Garr: I suspect that lightly-used VCRs will be available long after sources of decent tapes dry up. The last two times I bought tapes I got lemons; I think they were bottom-of-the-line and very, very old when I purchased them. I'm not sure when the last blank tapes were manufactured, but I have the feeling it was a long time ago.

    I've never owned a combo VCR/DVD-player, but my VCR issues have been primarily mechanical and my DVD-player issues have seemed electronic. When my DVD player begins to fail (failing to load a DVD), I can keep it going for awhile by turning the power off then on again. Soon, only unplugging the unit for quite a few minutes works. That's my signal to head to Best Buy to get a new one. I get a lot of use out of those Sony DVD players, considering their low cost ($40).
     
  8. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Sasha

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2001
    Messages:
    25,832
    I not really looking for a VCR; I have a spare one. I have saved one for the time when VCRs will really disappear from earth. :)What I do need is a workable DVD/VCR combo that has an upconverter and a tuner (so I can directly record from the TV) .

    I don't believe the DVD was dirty because I tried 5 DVDs and the same thing happened to each (unreadable). I may take it to Best Buy and see if they can fix it for a reasonable price. Amazon.com and best Buy websites do list DVD/VCR combos but neither lists the tuner and the upconverter.

    Worst case scenario I will settle for a DVR or just a DVD player, but I really need the combo to copy my skating tapes, and even some family tapes to DVDs.

    Thanks to all who responded.
     
  9. NinjaTurtles

    NinjaTurtles Teenage Mutant

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    Messages:
    2,189
    Does the DVD player display an error code or text? Just because the DVD isn't dirty doesn't mean that dirt and dust aren't the problem. It could mean the internal laser lens used to scan the disk is dirty. They sell special disk with bristles to clean the inside of DVD players (example).
     
  10. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Sasha

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2001
    Messages:
    25,832
    First it displayed something like "Unable to read disk", then it stopped displaying even that. You may be right about the internal laser lens being dirty; thanks for the info!

    I am not good at opening up equipment and fixing it. I will just take it to Best Buy for the repair, and hope it won't cost me a fortune. I will have the opportunity to say either fix it or don't fix it, after they give me the quote.

    The toughest part is removing the connections and reconnecting. I remember how difficult it was the first time.
     
  11. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    14,100
    Would you mind sharing the make/model of this?
     
  12. Meredith

    Meredith what a glorious day!

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2003
    Messages:
    1,644
    Take photographs of the connections!
     
    Vash01 and (deleted member) like this.
  13. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2001
    Messages:
    16,172
    The last US supplier of VHS tapes made their last tape in 2008. However, there are still some foreign makers. I don't know if the foreign makers make blank tapes for consumer use, though. I know they make them on special request for movie studios. The most recent film that had a limited VHS release was in 2010.

    I'll try to remember to look at it when I am next home.
     
  14. Capella

    Capella Guest

    I was looking for audio cassette tapes a while ago and found a good source. Just checked and they have blank video tapes, too.
     
  15. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Messages:
    12,887
    I was looking at PVRs yesterday and asked the clerk what people did when they wanted to save content in hard form. She said there was no way to transfer from PVR to disc that she knew of and that people were still using video - said a new video machine had just been put on the market recently.
     
  16. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    14,100
  17. sk8pics

    sk8pics Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2002
    Messages:
    3,473
    Remind me what PVR stands for? I have a DVR and have routinely transferred programs from it to a DVD, just by running the output from the DVR to the input on the DVD recorder, and playing the program on the DVR while I hit record on the DVD recorder.
     
  18. Skate Talker

    Skate Talker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2002
    Messages:
    4,861
    PVR is Personal Video Recorder. Typically that is what they call a cable box that can record programs. I have also PVR's for my computer. On my old computer I have Hauppauge's WinTV PVR, which records different formats but the "best" is mpg files. For my new computer last year I bought Hauppauge's HDPVR. I have hooked up an HD cable box to the HDPVR and can record as ts, mp4, or mts files. This cable box also has a PVR on it so if I am not around to run the HDPVR on my computer, I record on the cable box. Then when I am available I can play the recording on the cable box and record it onto the computer. (If I didn't have a spare cable box I would have to unhook it to the tv and move over to the computer when I was ready to record.)
     
  19. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2001
    Messages:
    16,172
    My husband has just spend several joyful minutes talking about tape heads and vibration and aluminium things that were later replaced with plastic. He's now talking about arms, pinch rollers and take up reels. He's mentioned the word Steampunk. ;) I'm not quite sure if we're going to get to the actual model name and number tonight, but I'll let you know. :lol:
     
  20. Debbie S

    Debbie S Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Messages:
    6,216
    Sounds like the Canadian version of DVRs. My DVR is part of my cable box, so I don't need an extra box.

    I'm having DVD recording issues, too - maybe some techies here can give me some advice. My DVD/VCR combo (Sony) died about a year ago. It was only 2 1/2 years old, so I was annoyed (they don't make 'em like they used to....I have a 21-year-old Panasonic VCR that is still going strong). I finally got DVR service though my cable company in time to record Nats while I was away (at Nats). Now I need to figure out what kind of recorder to buy to transfer the DVR recordings to DVD. I still have a couple of VHS tapes I wanted to transfer to DVD but I did some research and it appears I can pay someone to do it. I transferred almost all of my tapes of old skating comps to DVD with my combo recorder and got rid of the tapes. I was thinking I would just get a DVD recorder.

    Here's the problem: of the (few) DVD recorders available, none I've come across can read double-layer (DL) DVDs. And almost all of my skating recordings are on those DVDs. I guess I can live with recording to regular, single-layer DVDs from now on, but I want to be able to watch the DVDs I already recorded on. Blu-ray players support them, and so does my computer (but I'd much rather watch skating comps on a 40-inch screen than a 15-inch one). I suspect manufacturers have stripped down the capabilities of DVD recorders so they can charge less, and since they are on their way out anyway, to be (apparently) replaced by Blu-ray. But Blu-ray players don't record, at least not right now, so it would be silly to buy a DVD recorder to record from my DVR and a Blu-ray player to play my current DVDs. For one, I don't have the space.

    The only DVD recorder I have found to handle DL DVDs is a combo player (Panasonic) but that is expensive compared to DVD recorders. And the product reviews I've read are lukewarm. Since VHS is basically out of existence, it probably doesn't make sense to spend a lot of money for a combo player.

    I did come across some DVD burners that are smaller than regular DVD recorders and look like they're designed to work with computers and camcorders. I haven't done a lot of reading but I wonder if this would work with my DVR. If I got something like that, then I'd just buy a Blu-ray player.

    I know DVDs in general are being phased out but now I'm worried that the technology for reading double-layer DVDs is falling by the wayside. Or is it not? If yes, then I need to find a way to get 15 years worth of skating comps on to different DVDs, w/o the original tape.

    Any advice? I don't really follow the electronics world, so any insight is much appreciated.
     
  21. loulou

    loulou Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Messages:
    1,777
    Vash, I had a very similar experience, and I'm afraid I think your machine is dying. It will just keep reading less and less disks, til it'll load none.

    Make sure you get all your recordings finalized if you haven't yet, otherwise new machines most probably won't be able to read them.
    I know from experience: I got stuck with 60+ DVDs I was too lazy to finalize as soon as recorded, mostly figure skating.

    While the machine still somehow works, when it won't load a disk it's true it might help to dust it off, or clean it with lense products. But as the machine gets worse, the trick will be less and less helpful.
     
    Vash01 and (deleted member) like this.
  22. DarrellH

    DarrellH New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Messages:
    4,763
    Machines like this become obsolete way too soon.
     
  23. Capella

    Capella Guest

    Not sure if this will be any help, but just in case...

    I did a Google search on "External DVD burners double layer" and got a ton of hits. Best Buy has quite the price range for their options. I got my external DVD burner at Staples. I don't know if it supports double layer, but it is so much faster than using my laptop's internal burner.
     
  24. Debbie S

    Debbie S Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Messages:
    6,216
    Thanks for the info. Do external burners like that work with TVs/DVRs?
     
  25. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Sasha

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2001
    Messages:
    25,832
    Right now it's not even turning on/off. There is a DVD stuck in it. I may have to take it in for repairs, at least to get the DVD out. It is part of my Roswell set. I would hate to lose it. When my DVD player is not connected, my TV does not work, so I am going to wait until after the Oscars before disconnecting it for repairs. I may even go to BestBuy and see if they have a DVD/VCR with tuner, and just buy it. Repairs do cost a lot, unless you buy the long term insurance. I did not.
     
  26. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Messages:
    12,887
    Are you saying that if you get a current-model DVD player/recorder, you won't be able to watch your older skating DVDs?

    My impression was that hard drive would be main format for saving digital content in future and that I would have to transfer all my skating DVDs to a drive. Which will unfortunately mean a loss in quality, I would think.
     
  27. Capella

    Capella Guest

    That I don't know. I'm sorry.
     
  28. Debbie S

    Debbie S Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Messages:
    6,216
    Yes, unless I spend $$$ on a combo player, which I probably won't need much longer and will be obsolete soon anyway. Almost all my skating DVDs are on double-layer. I thought it made good sense - the Nats and Worlds broadcasts were usually each 4 hours long so they could each fit on their own DVD instead of two separate ones.

    I did some more research and it appears they are only for computers and camcorders. There are some programs out there that will compress content on a double-layer disc onto a single-layer disc via a computer, but I'd be worried about video quality suffering. Not that the quality was great to begin with (nowhere near HD) but I don't want it to get worse.

    I suppose I could get a Blu-ray player and a DVD recorder for about what I'd have to spend for the combo player, and then I could play my skating DVDs and watch other stuff on Blu-ray, but I don't really have space for both, and I suspect managing the connections would have me :eek:.

    Interesting thought that everything will be stored on hard drives in the future. I guess we're seeing that already with DVRs. But DVRs have limits on what they can hold, and they're really owned by the cable company. I like having copies of recordings that I can play anywhere.
     
  29. loulou

    loulou Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Messages:
    1,777
    I'm sorry, I know first hand it's bothering.

    -- I think repairs are tricky: when insurance is in place, they never really do a good job; when it's not, they cost (almost) more then new replaces.
    I usually just try out the thing, see if looks fine, and return it in less than a month for money back if I have doubts.

    If you decide to buy a new one, just crack it open to recover your Roswell (mine would have been Felicity - to chose one from about the same time frame).
     
  30. acraven

    acraven Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Messages:
    984
    There are at least two ways to avoid the cable-company-owned DVRs: record TV to a computer, or buy a DVR with a hard drive. There are Magnavox-branded machines with 320 GB and 500 GB hard drives, plus DVD-burning capability. Those in the know say that the manufacturer (Funai) will stop making the products at the end of March, if it hasn't already. So anyone who might be interested should investigate this option and be prepared to act immediately.

    Walmart.com still has the 320 GB machine (Magnavox MDR 513H/F7): http://www.walmart.com/ip/Magnavox-MDR-513H-F7-320GB-DVR-and-DVD-Recorder/14291489

    For the 500 GB (Magnavox MDR515H), it looks like only refurbs are available unless you want to chase probably-overpriced machines on eBay. Refurb availability comes and goes. J&R is one potential source of refurbs: http://www.jr.com/magnavox/pe/MAG_MDR515H_hy_RB/

    I'm happily using multiple Magnavox DVRs (though I prefer recording to my computer since editing is so much more efficient), but I offer these cautions:

    - They don't record in high definition.
    - There is no TiVo-style program grid that allows you to click on shows you want to record. You must input date, starting time, etc., as on a VCR.
    - Editing (such as removing commercials) is awkward if you're accustomed to using computer software for that purpose. Edit points are not absolutely precise.
    - Although there is an analog/digital tuner, some users have reported that the tuner isn't as reliable as it should be (especially on digital channels??), so the DVR works better when being fed by a cable box (so you're always recording Channel 3). This means you need a way (computer?) to program changes to your cable box, or you must change the cable box channel manually.
    - One of my (new) DVRs arrived with a faulty hard drive. It worked part of the time, so I feel fortunate that I noticed the problem while the machine was still under warranty. If you buy one of these, do a lot of recording the first week to be sure programs record properly and don't disappear until you delete them.