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 Post subject: Re: Playing copy-protected DVDs on old TVs - a solution
PostPosted: Jun Fri 21, 2019 2:50 am 
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Location: Albion, CA, USA, 95410
I tried to contact the OP about this project but he hasn't picked up his mail. No worries, life is a busy place. Since I have some DVDs that have this problem I looked around for an off-the-shelf solution. I found this:

https://www.amazon.com/XDIMAX-GREX-7.../dp/B0096I2DNE

Ordered it and it works great, Eliminates the retrace lines completely on my Predicta.


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 Post subject: Re: Playing copy-protected DVDs on old TVs - a solution
PostPosted: Jun Sat 22, 2019 2:40 pm 
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30+ years ago, I built a similar unit from plans obtained from a company called Elephant Electronics. The circuit used some timing stages, and triggered on the first incoming interference pulse; each line containing the pulses was replaced with black level. The circuit did work well, after it was set up with a scope; all of the timing adjustments had to be just right. I will have to dig through my files for a schematic.

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 Post subject: Re: Playing copy-protected DVDs on old TVs - a solution
PostPosted: Jun Sat 22, 2019 6:09 pm 
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Here's another approach using good old analog design (with tubes, nonetheless!) to solve this problem: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=86186&start=20

As with most old links to this site, the pictures are all gone. Fortunately, somebody out there captured this with photos: https://www.boxcarcabin.com/blanking.html .

Not sure exactly what this second link is. It's a direct copy of my post from many years ago.

My approach involves modification of the receiving set, so not everybody is on board with that. But if you're OK to modify the set, it works well.

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 Post subject: Re: Playing copy-protected DVDs on old TVs - a solution
PostPosted: Jun Mon 24, 2019 5:49 am 
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Location: Belrose, NSW, Australia
Sorry Madlabs, your contact request got lost in the stack of email I get! (it was put in the "unimportant" folder!)

I've replied, if it's not too late.

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 Post subject: Re: Playing copy-protected DVDs on old TVs - a solution
PostPosted: Jun Tue 25, 2019 2:29 am 
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Location: Belrose, NSW, Australia
I built a similar circuit using 300v Vceo transistors into my Kriesler 79-2. No room for a tube to be added.

It worked fine, but I pulled it out when I fixed the sound (jammed slug in ratio detector coil). I don't need the blanking circuit now, my modulator does the job.

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 Post subject: Re: Playing copy-protected DVDs on old TVs - a solution
PostPosted: Jun Tue 25, 2019 4:09 am 
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irob2345 wrote:
Sorry Madlabs, your contact request got lost in the stack of email I get! (it was put in the "unimportant" folder!)

I've replied, if it's not too late.


No problem! While I do have a solution I am still interested in your method. I'll answer your PM.


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 Post subject: Re: Playing copy-protected DVDs on old TVs - a solution
PostPosted: Jun Tue 25, 2019 7:14 pm 
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Eric H wrote:
I have a "Black Box" that I picked up at a thrift store.

I know nothing about it but it absolutely does eliminate the retrace lines on DVD's, it does nothing for the white level buzz in the sound on certain sets though.
Also it runs on a 9 volt battery and has no on/off switch, i don't know if it shuts off automatically or if it'll kill the batter if I let it sit for a month.


Dumb question perhaps, but here it goes:

I have one of those combo VHS/DVD players with the 75 ohm coaxial output to run my TVs. Is it possible to connect this black box directly into the 75 ohm coax output then shoot the AV signal into the TV? 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Playing copy-protected DVDs on old TVs - a solution
PostPosted: Jun Tue 25, 2019 8:43 pm 
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I own that exact same box that Eric has and the answer is no.... that box is line level composite video only. To use it with your VCR/DVD unit you would need an extra device with an RF modulator or a schematic of your VCR and the patience to modify it to have a break in the video chain before it's internal modulator.


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 Post subject: Re: Playing copy-protected DVDs on old TVs - a solution
PostPosted: Jun Wed 26, 2019 2:25 am 
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Location: Belrose, NSW, Australia
Most VCRs have composite video and audio input jacks. Just connect your box to those, select AV In instead of Tuner, and the signals will be routed to the RF output of the VCR.
The VCR itself doesn't even need to be in working order for this to work.

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 Post subject: Re: Playing copy-protected DVDs on old TVs - a solution
PostPosted: Jun Wed 26, 2019 3:06 pm 
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irob2345 wrote:
Most VCRs have composite video and audio input jacks. Just connect your box to those, select AV In instead of Tuner, and the signals will be routed to the RF output of the VCR.
The VCR itself doesn't even need to be in working order for this to work.


You have not tried that scheme before have you? If you select input on the VCR it will feed the input video to both the video and RF output Jack's and you will have a video feedback loop ( video leaves video output on VCR goes to input no black box leaves output on black box and goes to input on VCR and is passed to video output on VCR where it started) if you just connect the box to the video input and output Jacks of a VCR....also if you play a tape the tape will go straight to the RF output and the video that leaves the black box won't do anything.

I suppose on some of the DVD/VHS combos where the DVD and VCR each have their own independent outputs you have a prayer of that scheme working for one of the recording formats, but the RF modulator is usually tied to the other as described in my previous paragraph....


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 Post subject: Re: Playing copy-protected DVDs on old TVs - a solution
PostPosted: Jul Mon 01, 2019 3:03 am 
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I bought a blanker/ proc amp from China off eBay for about $25. Works a treat.


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 Post subject: Re: Playing copy-protected DVDs on old TVs - a solution
PostPosted: Jul Mon 01, 2019 8:12 am 
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Location: Belrose, NSW, Australia
Quote:
You have not tried that scheme before have you? If you select input on the VCR it will feed the input video to both the video and RF output Jack's and you will have a video feedback loop ( video leaves video output on VCR goes to input no black box leaves output on black box and goes to input on VCR and is passed to video output on VCR where it started) if you just connect the box to the video input and output Jacks of a VCR....also if you play a tape the tape will go straight to the RF output and the video that leaves the black box won't do anything.


I have used this technique on many thousands of installations. You will only have a feedback loop if you go to some trouble to create one. Here is the video path, as you can see there is no loop.

DVD --> Black Box --> VCR Input --> VCR RF Output --> TV.

Now of course I am assuming that you are using a SEPARATE DVD player and VCR.

Penthode, I'd be interested to know if your proc amp solves the caption buzz issue when playing through a modulator or VCR under all conditions of light and dark backgrounds..

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 Post subject: Re: Playing copy-protected DVDs on old TVs - a solution
PostPosted: Jul Mon 01, 2019 4:17 pm 
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irob2345 wrote:
Quote:
You have not tried that scheme before have you? If you select input on the VCR it will feed the input video to both the video and RF output Jack's and you will have a video feedback loop ( video leaves video output on VCR goes to input no black box leaves output on black box and goes to input on VCR and is passed to video output on VCR where it started) if you just connect the box to the video input and output Jacks of a VCR....also if you play a tape the tape will go straight to the RF output and the video that leaves the black box won't do anything.


I have used this technique on many thousands of installations. You will only have a feedback loop if you go to some trouble to create one. Here is the video path, as you can see there is no loop.

DVD --> Black Box --> VCR Input --> VCR RF Output --> TV.

Now of course I am assuming that you are using a SEPARATE DVD player and VCR.

Penthode, I'd be interested to know if your proc amp solves the caption buzz issue when playing through a modulator or VCR under all conditions of light and dark backgrounds..

It will work for just DVD that way but M3STR8 who we were responding to has a DVD/VHS all in one combo...so that method probably won't even work for DVD for him....also if you ever want to play a VHS tape that has macrovision your scheme isn't going to work.


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 Post subject: Re: Playing copy-protected DVDs on old TVs - a solution
PostPosted: Feb Mon 10, 2020 4:24 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1658
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
I have had a long standing bad problem with Macrovision.

To prevent us from copying a movie or program from a pre-recorded DVD oor VHS tape Macrovision put pulses in the vertical sync that exceeed the NTSC video standard in levels that would disrupt the ability of a recorder to lock up to the input signal.

This did its job and many consumer TV sets couldn't lock and the higher quality Projection systems we installed for home theater would not lock at all.

In the DVD players there was a flag imbedded in the stream that turned on the MacroCrap. There is country coding that would stop playing the file on a player codded for another country.

There were many little devices made that would filter out the Macrovision.

When you would purchase a DVD or VHS tape you paid Macrovision about $2.50 for their annoyance.

The ability to record things has gone away quite a bit, Tape is essentially dead, Blockbuster Video rental is gone forever.

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: Playing copy-protected DVDs on old TVs - a solution
PostPosted: Feb Mon 10, 2020 4:42 pm 
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jimmc wrote:
.

The ability to record things has gone away quite a bit, Tape is essentially dead, Blockbuster Video rental is gone forever.

Jim


Time shifting is still quite feasible. OTA timeshifting you can record and play back the MPEG2 transfer stream bit for bit (if the converter has an analog output it will play back recordings through it)...Same with cable if they aren't encrypting the QAM. If cable is encrypting the QAM there are HDMI splitters that strip the copy protection, and HDMI capture boxes that can record HDMI that has been stripped of copy protection. Sure it is all digital, but you can get a cheap old computer (or even just a graphics card) that has S-video analog output and feed the playback to an analog TV that way....the advantage of digital media is you can get a 5TB hard drive smaller than a betamax tape and hold years of HD video on it....also you can get video editing software for your PC and strip out modern commercials to save storage space....you can also do cool things like grab vintage commercials station and network ID, civil defense announcements you name it and make a playlist with your saved programs and have 24hour simulation of programming from some time period.

Blockbuster maybe gone but you can still rent discs from Redbox, and Netflix may still offer disc.


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 Post subject: Re: Playing copy-protected DVDs on old TVs - a solution
PostPosted: Feb Mon 10, 2020 10:06 pm 
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Joined: Jul Wed 08, 2009 12:17 am
Posts: 925
Location: Wyoming, Michigan
klofback1 wrote:
Read the December '87 issue of Radio Electronics at americanradiohistory.com. This is called Macrovision,
and has been around a long time. Even back to the video cassette era, and on into the dvd era. A very in depth
article on how it works, and a superior kit project to eliminate its effects. I think it works better than the newer units.
Kurt arcade-antiques


I've mentioned this unit on occasion, with similarly no replies... Nobody here seems to take it very seriously. I'm not sure why.

The gist of the whole article is summed up succinctly in this highlight:

Image

It was a freekin brilliant design.

A buddy of mine bought that very issue of Radio Electronics in December of 1987, off the newsstand shelf. He was a co-worker in an electrical-engineering lab at the time.

Image

We were intrigued and we sent away for the kit. It arrived in January of 88 and on a blizzardy subzero Saturday we built it start to finish, in a couple of hours. Was nothing to it. I brought my Sony SL-HF-400 Super Betamax over to his basement and hooked its output into the box, and drove the box's output into his brand new Radio Shack (Realistic) VHS recorder. He had a pretty large collection of Betamax movies and his Beta machine went kaput. So first thing we did was make a perfectly Macrovision-free VHS copy of his retail Betamax movie of Back To The Future. I was impressed (with the transfer, and with the movie!). For the rest of the winter I let him borrow my Betamax on the weekends and I imagine he converted 100-ish movies. After he got bored with it he gave it to me, and sometime later I gave it to a friend's dad and he straight-up bootlegged a copy of every movie he ever rented from Blockbuster, for I don't know how many years. 20-ish years later, I asked the friend if his dad still had it. To my surprise, yes he did, and he gave it back to me.

Image

Still works perfectly.

jimmc wrote:
...

The ability to record things has gone away quite a bit, Tape is essentially dead, Blockbuster Video rental is gone forever.

Jim


Agreed, but some of us still use DVD or tape players as a quick way to show off an antique, and MOST of us still use DTV converter boxes to receive OTA transmissions. All of the above puts a buttload of crap into the VBI. My old sets get the heebie jeebies from it. Pulled the Macro Scrubber out of mothball retirement and put it inline. Perfect repair, the 1946 RCA sets are rock solid, as are the 7JP4 budget sets. A lot of buzz removed from audio, all artifacts of Close-Captioning, timecodes, etc. -- gone. With DVD player, all copy-protection hash and buzz, gone. What I like, is that if one of my TVs starts rolling vertically, the VBI black stripe is EXACTLY what it used to be, back in the 1960's. There's a reminiscence there as well, an old familiarity.

For our antique TV sets, I can't imagine any better solution.

The article has all the info needed to build another one. What was expensive state-of-the-art parts in 1987 are surplus junk now, should be able to throw one together for dirt cheap.

Surprised nobody here has tackled it. I might build a second one, for kicks.

Anyway, if the response is crickets, I won't push it again. Just sayin' it works for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Playing copy-protected DVDs on old TVs - a solution
PostPosted: Feb Mon 10, 2020 11:49 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 318
If you have a DVD player with a HDMI output (or any Bly-Ray player), you could use a HDMI to composite video adapter. This should provide a clean video signal since there is no Macrovision on HDMI.


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 Post subject: Re: Playing copy-protected DVDs on old TVs - a solution
PostPosted: Feb Tue 11, 2020 12:29 am 
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Location: Albion, CA, USA, 95410
I'll have to look for that article and see if it is available online. Did it have a schematic?


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 Post subject: Re: Playing copy-protected DVDs on old TVs - a solution
PostPosted: Feb Tue 11, 2020 2:18 am 
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ac wrote:
If you have a DVD player with a HDMI output (or any Bly-Ray player), you could use a HDMI to composite video adapter. This should provide a clean video signal since there is no Macrovision on HDMI.


I bought one of those from Amazon for something like $11, plugged a Firestick into it and connected it to the Agile Modulator, it worked great, should work fine with a Bluray player too.


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 Post subject: Re: Playing copy-protected DVDs on old TVs - a solution
PostPosted: Feb Tue 11, 2020 4:23 pm 
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Could be a fun project.

Easier solution if you still are running VCRs or other devices with composite output is to invest in some dirt cheap used analog broadcast gear. Some TBCs and similar devices will eliminate tape flag waving, strip macrovision and can be configured to selectively keep or eliminate closed captioning and other things in the VBI that might disturb a tube era TV.

WeekendHacker wrote:
klofback1 wrote:
Read the December '87 issue of Radio Electronics at americanradiohistory.com. This is called Macrovision,
and has been around a long time. Even back to the video cassette era, and on into the dvd era. A very in depth
article on how it works, and a superior kit project to eliminate its effects. I think it works better than the newer units.
Kurt arcade-antiques


I've mentioned this unit on occasion, with similarly no replies... Nobody here seems to take it very seriously. I'm not sure why.

The gist of the whole article is summed up succinctly in this highlight:

Image

It was a freekin brilliant design.

A buddy of mine bought that very issue of Radio Electronics in December of 1987, off the newsstand shelf. He was a co-worker in an electrical-engineering lab at the time.

Image

We were intrigued and we sent away for the kit. It arrived in January of 88 and on a blizzardy subzero Saturday we built it start to finish, in a couple of hours. Was nothing to it. I brought my Sony SL-HF-400 Super Betamax over to his basement and hooked its output into the box, and drove the box's output into his brand new Radio Shack (Realistic) VHS recorder. He had a pretty large collection of Betamax movies and his Beta machine went kaput. So first thing we did was make a perfectly Macrovision-free VHS copy of his retail Betamax movie of Back To The Future. I was impressed (with the transfer, and with the movie!). For the rest of the winter I let him borrow my Betamax on the weekends and I imagine he converted 100-ish movies. After he got bored with it he gave it to me, and sometime later I gave it to a friend's dad and he straight-up bootlegged a copy of every movie he ever rented from Blockbuster, for I don't know how many years. 20-ish years later, I asked the friend if his dad still had it. To my surprise, yes he did, and he gave it back to me.

Image

Still works perfectly.

jimmc wrote:
...

The ability to record things has gone away quite a bit, Tape is essentially dead, Blockbuster Video rental is gone forever.

Jim


Agreed, but some of us still use DVD or tape players as a quick way to show off an antique, and MOST of us still use DTV converter boxes to receive OTA transmissions. All of the above puts a buttload of crap into the VBI. My old sets get the heebie jeebies from it. Pulled the Macro Scrubber out of mothball retirement and put it inline. Perfect repair, the 1946 RCA sets are rock solid, as are the 7JP4 budget sets. A lot of buzz removed from audio, all artifacts of Close-Captioning, timecodes, etc. -- gone. With DVD player, all copy-protection hash and buzz, gone. What I like, is that if one of my TVs starts rolling vertically, the VBI black stripe is EXACTLY what it used to be, back in the 1960's. There's a reminiscence there as well, an old familiarity.

For our antique TV sets, I can't imagine any better solution.

The article has all the info needed to build another one. What was expensive state-of-the-art parts in 1987 are surplus junk now, should be able to throw one together for dirt cheap.

Surprised nobody here has tackled it. I might build a second one, for kicks.

Anyway, if the response is crickets, I won't push it again. Just sayin' it works for me.


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