The Samsung SV-5000W Worldwide VHS Format VCR does a beautiful job of playing PAL, SECAM and NTSC VHS tapes on any TV. You can output to any DVD recorder.
It’s on Amazon for $1300, but I found a used one on eBay for $150. I’ve just transferred 4 PAL VHS tapes to DVD using one of my own DVD recorders. So this machine will pay for itself soon. My machine came without a manual, but so far I have not needed it.
At one point, a tape showed some interference. I opened the case and cleaned the heads with Isopropyl Alcohol and a bit of chamois. Some people use alcohol on paper. The interference was gone.
While the tape based head cleaners sometimes work, they don’t always and they will wear out the heads. So it’s better open the case and clean the heads manually. Never use Q-tips to clean the video heads! The cotton will ruin the heads. You can, however, use Q-tips and alcohol to clean the rollers and audio heads. Here are instructions for cleaning video heads.There are also a bunch of YouTube videos on the subject.
To convert PAL DVDs to NTSC I use software
First I slide the PAL DVD in the computer disk drive, then using VideoCoder ( http://vidcoder.net/) I make that into an MPEG4 file. From there I use a program called Wondershare DVD Creator which burns the DVD as an NTSC DVD. Wondershare DVD Creator seems a little buggy, but it is simple and works.
The only thing I was unable to convert was a Region 2 Disk. Videocoder would not convert a PAL Region 2 disk to an MPG4 file. So I advised the client to buy a PAL player. He said he had one, but it was a Region 1 Player. He shows international films in a classroom. So he will need a multi-region PAL player which is not expensive and available on Amazon.
To lookup video standards in other countries, see our complete Guide to World-Wide T.V. Standards.
For more information about the transfer business see Start Your Own Video Duplication and Transfer Business.