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Old SONY broke and new SONY won't play old Hi8 tapes

by wagsthedog / February 28, 2007 12:22 PM PST

My SONY DCR-TRV230 Hi8 camcorder self-destructed (Sony says it'll cost $250+ for repair and they don't know what's wrong with it or how to fix it) so I bought a new SONY CCD-TRV138 in order to play my previously recorded tapes. As I've read in other threads, my old tapes won't play back correctly on my new camera. I've also tried to play my tapes on my neighbors SONY Hi8 with the same results of a static-y, scratchy picture. I've, now, learned my lesson and know to transfer the tapes to DVD right away just in case the camera goes on the blink but how do I salvage the 15 tapes that I've already recorded of my children's first five years? BTW, my new camera will record and play back what I've just recorded on that camera beautifully.

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Please clarify
by sheilakmcd / March 3, 2007 10:44 PM PST

Sony DCR-TRV230 is a digital8 camcorder. Were these 15 tapes recorded with this camera, or are they older Hi-8 tapes recorded on a different camera? If so, what camera was used to record the tapes?

Also, what exactly does it say on the tapes (brand name, model, etc.) and were they recorded in SP or LP mode?

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Re: Please clarify
by wagsthedog / March 4, 2007 7:27 AM PST
In reply to: Please clarify

I've learned a little since my posting. You're right, my old camera, DCR-TRV230 is digital while my new one, CCD-TRV138 is analog. I recorded the tapes on my digital camera so, of course, they won't play on the analog camera. Only the DCR-TRV460 and DCR-TRV480 can play my Hi8 digitally recorded tapes. THese cameras are only attainable from New York City and I haven't inquired as to the cost, yet.

To answer your question about the tapes..most of them are maxell Hi8 MP X R Metal 120. I don't know if they were recorded in SP or LP mode. Do you have any ideas about transferring my tapes to DVD without buying a whole new camera?

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Just an example. From NJ and CA.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 4, 2007 8:13 AM PST
In reply to: Re: Please clarify
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Great info!
by wagsthedog / March 5, 2007 11:04 AM PST

Thanks so much for all of those ideas! I was able to return my TRV-138 to the store today for full refund. Yeah! And, yesterday, I went on ebay and found a few TRV-460's at great prices. Thanks also for the link. I haven't checked it out yet, but, I know it'll be helpful. Figuring out all of this stuff has sucked up a lot of my time and it can get I really appreciate the help.

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by sheilakmcd / March 5, 2007 7:46 AM PST
In reply to: Re: Please clarify

wagsthedog said "Do you have any ideas about transferring my tapes to DVD without buying a whole new camera?"

I went through the same thing a year ago, and probably have no ideas you haven't already thought of.

1. Borrow a digital8 camera and do it yourself. (I didn't like this option because I just knew the borrowed camera would choose to die while in my possession.)

2. Pay a student from the local high school A/V club or department to do it, if they have access to a camera that will work.

3. Run a classified ad. There maybe someone right around the corner from you who does these on the side for a little extra income, that would be cheaper than a professional service.

4. Send to a professional service. Google turns up lots of them, startng at about $7.50 a tape.

(I didn't like 2, 3, and 4 because even though they were just tapes of my family, I felt funny about a stranger seeing them.)

5. Buy a used camera on Ebay and do it yourself. Sell the TRV-138 on Ebay to offset the cost. (I chose #5. I bought a TRV-320 for a little over $100.)

There are lots of Sony camcorders that will play digital8. Here is a link to a spreadsheet that lists features of lots of Sony models.

When choosing your camera, keep in mind what features you need for what you want to do. Ex: If you want to hook it up to a stand-alone DVD recorder, make sure you get one with outputs that match your DVD recorder's available inputs, eg- A/V, S-video, or firewire.

If you want to download the video to your computer to burn to DVD, make sure you get one with firewire. This is the best option, IMHO, to get the best quality DVD's from your tapes.

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