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VCR problems on my new Hannspree HDTV

I have recently purchased a 720p HDTV which has very good picture quality when viewing through any of the HDMI, Scart or normal TV channels. When I Fast Forward my video tapes on SP, everything is fine, but when my tape has been recorded in LP mode and I Fast Forward, I lose the images completely, ending up with a blue screen, as though the HDTV is unable to display the fast moving tape. As I regularly tape in LP mode so I can watch at my convenience, can I do anything to stop this happening please, as it is difficult to skip adverts with no visible picture.

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It is unlikely that you will be able to solve this issue. This is due to the way a digital TV works.

The output from your VCR is an analogue signal - a constantly varying electrical signal carrying information about the picture. This is interspersed with a synchronisation signal that tells the TV where the start of each frame begins within the stream. With me so far?

When you fast-forward a tape, two things happen: the sync signals appear faster than expected and bars of static noise appear across the picture (I won't go into the technical details as to why!)

On an old analogue TV this isn't an issue - The way they work means that they will display some sort of picture. In other words, whatever signal is coming in (no matter how corrupted) it will show it on the screen.

Digital TVs are different. They have to read all the information for each frame and process it before it is displayed. When you fast-forward the tape (and the sync signals are at the wrong speed and interspersed with noise) a digital TV gets 'confused' - It cannot make sense of the signal, so ignores it, acting as if there is no signal at all (hence the blue screen).

Most VCRs are designed to retain enough of the signal that some sort of picture can be displayed while fast-forwarding. However, because you are recording in LP mode (which effectively halves the normal speed of the tape and also reduces the quality of the recording) there just isn't enough information in what is left for a digital TV to recognise as a 'proper' signal.

Your only option is to revert back to SP mode, or treat yourself to a new digital recorder :-)

Hope this helps,

Matt.

Posted on Mar 05, 2008

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