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  #1  
Old 10-11-2007, 04:17 PM
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Ampico-kid Ampico-kid is offline
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Macrovision and Vertical Retrace Lines

Hi;
Thought I'd pass on some information regarding Macrovision and Vertical Retrace lines.

Several months ago I decided to do some research and find the best way of dealing with these EXTREMELY annoying problems that plague most older TV's both color and black and white. Initially I was enticed into buying a "video stabilizer" for about $30.00 that claimed to "fix it all". To my disappointment I found that it really didn't do a very good job of removing the lines and dots, and it also caused the color to shift and the luminance levels to vary. Since it created as many problems as it supposedly "fixed", it was NOT my idea of a cure all.

I read several posts here on AK and discovered in one of them a link to a web site of a German fellow by the name of Darius K. Mottaghian. On that web site Darius posted information about a Universal Video Board (UVB) that he designed and built that can remove both Vertical Retrace Lines and the Macrovision Dots and Dashes. After several e-mails (and many questions) I decided to purchase one of the UVB kits from Darius . It arrived here in NJ in about a week. It took several months before I had the time to actually sit down and assemble the kit. It does requires a 5 volt dc regulated power supply, and in my case, since I wanted to process signal from both my VCR and my DVD player, I needed an RF Modulator as well. All together, I probably spent about $60 to $70.

The results speak for themselves. I now have an absolutely flawless color picture with NO retrace or Macrovision lines and no color shifting. The results for the black and white TV set is just as impressive. I've attached some before and after pictures for you to see. There's also a photograph of the UVB kit module that I constructed. The UVB board is small, as are many of the components that go on the board, so a good eye and a very small tip on your soldering pencil are essential. Darius was very patient, courteous, and forthcoming with information before, during and after my purchase from him.

The TV's I used for the attached pictures are an RCA CTC 9 color set, and a 1958 Philco Predicta Barber Pole set.

I have no affiliation with Darius or his UVB kit other than being a very satisfied customer, but I think when you find a good product and a good person behind it...it deserves some friendly good publicity.


Here's a link to the web site:
[url]http://bs.cyty.com/menschen/e-etzold/archiv/TV/uvb/uvb_e.htm


I would highly recommend the unit for anyone wanting to get rid of those horrible vertical retrace lines and macrovision dots and dashes.

Bob

Last edited by Ampico-kid; 04-18-2009 at 08:35 AM.
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Old 10-11-2007, 07:05 PM
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Dave A Dave A is offline
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I have a little black box (about the size of a deck of cards) with video in-video out that does the same thing. It will run on it's 9v battery for about a year. The label fell off long ago and I have no idea where I bought it. I do remember it becoming illegal to import to the US.

Macrovision inserts 140 unit white chips in the vertical interval at random times. Most AGC circuits see this and collapse the video down to the 100 unit standard. At the same time, the sync below 0 units collapses accordingly and the pic cannot hold together for copying. The white chips leak in to the video as retrace lines on old sets that still try to show the image. Even modern sets struggle with it. You can see the video pulsing around while it is doing it's work.

My box senses the chips and inserts it's own grey chip over the Macrovision for the duration and all is well. Saved me many times when the DVD recorder said "not a chance".

And Darius has been around for years with his wizardry. A tip of the rabbit ears to him.

Dave A
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Old 10-11-2007, 07:48 PM
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kbmuri kbmuri is offline
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I bought a "Macro Scrubber" kit from the back of a (Hot Rod?) magazine in 1986 and one of my co-workers and I built it and used it for perhaps questionable purposes. I guess they were illegal for a reason. I lost interest and gave it away in 1988. A couple of months ago I decided to try to track it down. Believe it or not I found it. The PC board looks very comparable. I'll post a pic shortly. It still works and does exactly what Ampico's results show. I was thinking about trying to reverse-engineer it, as I've not seen anything like it on eBay or around the junk shops -- except I'm probably guilty-as-charged for promoting an eBay "Video Stabilizer" I saw that claimed to do the same thing. Shame they don't work.

Nice to see somebody's way ahead of me, as I'd have never found the time. I'd say "go for it" as it looks like Darius has done his homework.
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Old 10-12-2007, 03:14 AM
oldeurope oldeurope is offline
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Exclamation Macrovision is not eleminated, UVB is legal

Hi,
I want to point out that the UVB does not eleminate Macrovision.
Macrovision is still present at the output of the UVB and the macrovision
code will be detected by recording equipment. Macrovision is a copyright
and it is forbidden to replace it like it is done in these illegal copy boxes.
The UVB is designed to make it possible to watch TV on vintage sets.

Attached a screenshot from the oscilloscope.
You can see that Macrovision is present at the output of the UVB.

Kind regards,
Darius
Attached Images
File Type: jpg UVB Macrovision Oscilloscope.jpg (72.6 KB, 74 views)

Last edited by oldeurope; 10-12-2007 at 03:16 AM. Reason: grammar
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Old 10-12-2007, 03:39 AM
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yagosaga yagosaga is offline
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Hi,

I am hosting Darius' web page about the UVB. Please take care with respect to illegal reproaches. It is enough that we know how it works. I would recommend that those who use the M-word edit their posting and cut it. I will do it in the same manner later.

We all want to enjoy vintage television without any retrace lines, and I want to keep this informations for future times.

Kind regards,
Eckhard

Last edited by yagosaga; 10-12-2007 at 03:34 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 10-12-2007, 03:45 AM
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That scope picture clearly shows that macrovision is being removed. The macrovision is that series of 9 positive pulses on the right side of the top trace. It's totally missing from the bottom trace.

You have to remove everything in the VBI (including macrovision) to make the signal compatible with TVs that don't fully blank the VBI. There's no way around it because anything in the VBI will cause retrace lines.

Macrovision is one of the worst technologies ever invented. It deliberately delivers an out of spec signal which causes problems with a lot of legal equipment. It was forced on us by the MPAA against the electronics manufacturer's wishes. In one of their VCR owner's manuals, Zenith even suggested that customers should demand replacements for copy protected tapes that don't play properly. It's funny that it's still in use today even though DVDs are trivially easy to copy using a computer.
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Old 10-12-2007, 04:04 AM
oldeurope oldeurope is offline
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Hi Andy
look at the sync tips! It is present after the sync sep. and will be detected.

Darius
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Old 10-12-2007, 09:55 AM
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Ampico-kid Ampico-kid is offline
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Apologies

I'm sorry to have generated such a firestorm of controversy! My only intention was to give a thumbs up to a product that works well. There's an old saying that comes to mind......"No good deed ever goes unpunished."

I stand corrected, Darius' UVB does not remove or elliminate (the "M" word), but if I understand it correctly, it supresses the effects of the dots and dashes on the screen so the picture is watchable on vintage equipment.

I don't really care if (the "M" word) is present, what I care about is being able to watch my antique and vintage TV's uninterupted by some insideous lines and dots all over the screen from DVD's that I have legally bought and paid for.

My apologies to Darius if through my improper description of his UVB unit I've caused him any "grief", but I'm not an engineer and I guess didn't thoroughly understand the operation of his unit. My understanding now is that (the "M" word) is not removed, but the effects are masked for viewing. The anti copy function of (the "M" word) is still present and fully functional.

Once again, my apologies to Darius for stirring up such a controversy, my intentions were honorable.

Bob.
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Old 10-12-2007, 11:47 AM
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compucat compucat is offline
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That copy protection is annoying as anything. I have been looking for a way to get the lines off my sets for a while. The original Star Trek DVDs have it and the lines are bad when I watch it on my Zenith roundie. I may just have to order that kit.

Although I fundamentally object to any kind of forced copy protection, I would only want the kit to clear up the picture on my vintage tv sets. When I want to copy a DVD, I use my computer.

One thing that really offends me is the concept of software licensing. If I pay retail price for a software program, I own it, period. I don't like the manufacturer telling me I merely have permission to use it and dictating how many machines on which I can run it. Bill Gates started this in the early days of computers.

Sorry to stray off topic but the whole copy protection issue stirred up one of my favorite rants.
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Old 10-12-2007, 12:27 PM
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Ampico, that CTC-9 is putting out an amazing picture!
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Old 10-12-2007, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldeurope View Post
Hi Andy
look at the sync tips! It is present after the sync sep. and will be detected.

Darius
That's not the 'm word'. It's those large positive square pulses that start just after the center line on the scope screen. If you watch it on a scope, you will see them move up and down gradually as the m-word squares in the VBI fade out. These bright white squares are what confuses the AGC in some VCRs and what cause the retrace lines on old TVs to fade on and off.

That cirucit may not remove the CGMS-A flag which is what prevents copying in all modern VCRs and other recorders. This is just a series of dots on one of the last lines of the VBI and probably doesn't need to be removed to prevent retrace lines on old TVs. If you try to record something and the picture constantly changes brightness and loses sync, that's the m-word. If you your recorder just tells you it can't record, that's CGMS-A.

It's academic anyway since this circuit isn't designed for copying anything. If someone decides to mis-use it, then that's their problem. I'm just glad someone finally designed a VBI junk remover that works well without degrading the signal.
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Old 10-12-2007, 05:04 PM
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Ampico-kid Ampico-kid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgadow View Post
Ampico, that CTC-9 is putting out an amazing picture!
Hi Bryan;
Yes my CTC-9 is truely an AMAZING performer. The picture may not be quite as bright as some of the later roundies, but from the standpoint of color reproduction I'd stack it up against anything out there.

It looks especially good now that all of those nasty dots and dashes have been removed from the picture.

Bob
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Old 10-12-2007, 07:45 PM
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I'm having a similar problem...

I'm using a 1988 JVC VCR as a modulator to watch DVDs on my 1976 Philips color set...

I don't see any retrace lines, but the brightness level is "breathing", could it be due to the "M word" ?

Is there a way to fix this problem other than purchasing illegal boxes? (like using a stand alone modulator instead of a VCR, or another kind of VCR, or some other hack)
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Old 10-12-2007, 08:02 PM
Bill R Bill R is offline
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I must have missed something here. I didn't know it was illegal to remove the Macrovision from a source video for viewing. When I owned a small production company, I contacted Macrovision about using the technology on our dvd's, and tapes. It was not illegal to remove Macrovision for viewing, at least that is what I gathered from our contacts with them, could have been totally wrong though since I am not a lawyer. It is however illegal to encode a tape or dvd with the Macrovision technology if you do not pay the yearly license fee (fee was based on the projected number of copies you would make) to them. Most importantly, and this has nothing to do with Macrovision, it is illegal to make a copy of any copyrighted work period. It has nothing to do with selling the copy or making money, etc, it is just illegal to make the copy. We actually caught a school making illegal copies once. Talk about an embaraced school principal. We didn't make a big deal out of it, but they did have to pay for the copies.

Bill R
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Old 10-12-2007, 09:29 PM
Keefla Keefla is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwick View Post
I'm having a similar problem...

I'm using a 1988 JVC VCR as a modulator to watch DVDs on my 1976 Philips color set...

I don't see any retrace lines, but the brightness level is "breathing", could it be due to the "M word" ?

Is there a way to fix this problem other than purchasing illegal boxes? (like using a stand alone modulator instead of a VCR, or another kind of VCR, or some other hack)
I had the same problem, and yes as far as i understand it is the m-word, however if you get a cheap rf modulator it wont do that like the VCR will. I picked mine up at WalMart for like 20 bucks and it automatically turns on and off with the dvd player, and is selectable channel 3/4. works good and is about the size of 2 decks of cards side by side, easily hidden.
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