Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Well, Okay, Then...

So, I was going to get started on a project I've been procrastinating on for awhile now, and it looks like I may actually have to cancel it instead.

Back in October, I said I was finally going to get started on watching the rather extensive collection of movies I've got on VHS. So I did what one normally does when trying to watch such a movie: I set my television to the proper channel, turned my VCR on and popped the cassette with Saturn 3 on it into the machine and hit play. Usually, what happens next is that the VCR will read the tape and translate it into audio and video for us fleshy human things to enjoy.

Now, for the younger members of my audience out there, I'm going to try to explain how video tapes are supposed to work. You see, video tapes are an analog storage means for movies and television programs for later broadcast and/or viewing. Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when old guys like me were still somewhat young, a version of these things was developed for consumer use in the home. It was a video home system, or VHS, for short, as opposed to the Betamax system more commonly used in production work.

The physical specs for these cartridges, or carts for short, were somewhat different, but they also shared some features. In the case of VHS cassettes, the measurements were about seven and a half inches wide, four long and and inch tall, with half-inch wide tape inside, wound between two spools.

And that's where the flaw comes in. In order for these things to work properly, both of the spools need to turn at the same rate, to keep the tension on the tape consistent which is one of the jobs that the VCR is supposed to handle, alongside actually reading the tape for display purposes, or recording to a blank tape, if programmed to do so, as “VCR” is actually short for “video cassette recorder”.

The problem here is that I haven't used my VCR for its intended purpose in so long that it's quit working the way it's supposed to. One of the little motors that keeps the tape moving correctly seems to have died or frozen or some such thing, so the unit now actually eats tapes. Or, for those not familiar with the technology, it breaks the tapes by pulling the actual tape off the spools..

At first, I thought it was the specific cassette I was trying to use, because, well, most of them have been pretty much just sitting on the shelf for the six or so years since I bought them. With that in mind, I got a different cassette, one that I didn't care quite so much about, and gave that one a shot, only to get the same result.

So, as of right now, JMShearer's Movie Shelf is officially suspended as a project. Until I can come up with the cash to invest in a replacement unit, which may take awhile, I'm going to have to call it on hold. The good news is that I can, at least as of this writing, still use the unit I've got to connect my PS2 to the TV, which means I can sill carry on with the Text Plays of the games I've got for that system.

In fact, I think that may be what I do with the rest of my afternoon now.

Thanks for your time and patience, everybody!

No comments:

Post a Comment