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I had the same problem with blocked recordings from my HD box to my DVR. Luckily I have a Lite-On DVR and I was able to flash it with hacked firmware to disable macrovision protection. I haven't done a lot of recording since then, but I've never had a problem. I use an s-video connection between the HD box and the DVR.

I know this won't work for everyone, but maybe it will help narrow down what the problem is. In my experience, it was the macrovision protection.
 

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My Bell ExpressVu Analogous Story

I have a Shaw HD PVR box, but seldom use except for HD. I also have a D-VHS recorder connected via Firewire, but haven't attempted to record any HD for some time.

However, I have BEV PVR receivers in the Living Room and Bedroom. The one in the LR is older (40-Gig model). In the Living Room I have a Panasonic EH-60 HDD DVD recorder and an LG-539 HDD DVD recorder connected to the older BEV receiver. I also have the Panasonic connected to the Shaw box (6208) via SVHS. I have video distributors to send the SVHS output from the receiver to multiple recorders.

In the Bedroom I have a Toshiba XS-52 HDD DVD recorder and an LG-790 HDD DVD recorder. These are connected via SVHS from a video distributor which gets its input from the newer BEV satellite receiver (80-Gig model).

I did have an episode with the Shaw box and the Panasonic and TCM. I phoned them, but obtained no useful information. I friend to whom I gave an older Panasonic HDD DVD recorder did manage to record the movie that I couldn't. He, however, does not use a box, just cable out of the wall.

WRT BEV, after some hit and miss recording attempts with the new LG-790, I decided to do a more formal test on the premier broadcast of KING KONG last night on Movie Central.

I set both the Toshiba and the LG-790 to record this movie from the same BEV receiver on SVHS inputs (through the video distributor). I set my TV to watch through the LG. The recorder came on and started to record about a minute prior to the program beginning. However, at the exact second that the movie started, the LG put up a message "record blockiing signals detected" and promptly shut off. Meanwhile the Toshiba XS-52 kept on recording the entire film with no problem.

After about an hour into the film, I again attempted to record with the LG-790 and obtained the same on-screen message. (I was using a DVD-RW(V) on the LG and a DVD-RAM on the Toshiba. I don't think the difference is relevant as I have tried all types of disks in the LG and had the same problems.)

I then went into the Living Room and turned on the LG-539 and put in a DVD-RW(V) and set the BEV channel to Movie Central. I hit record and it recorded without any irritating message. This was connected to an older BEV receiver via SVHS input cable. Both BEV receivers are up to date wrt software updates.

So if you were a cable company and heard this story, what would you do? There are so many inconsistencies, you wouldn't know where to begin.

If this is a Macrovision product, then I would hope that shortly there will be some device to strip out the offending signal, or replace it with an innocuous one. Note that the BEV boxes I have are standard definition (no Firewire (digital output) = no interest on my part) and hence there is no setting for 480i. I.e., you can still be blocked while watching standard definition.

If this continues and I am increasingly frustrated, then I shall simply cancel each offending service. (FWIW, I am also a paying subscriber to DirecTV and have never had a problem recording from that receiver, although it is an old one.)
 

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Addendum

Has anyone routed the box/receiver output through a SVHS VCR and observed any change in recording ability of the DVD recorder?

Has anyone recorded to SVHS tape and then converted to a DVD and had a problem?

Does anyone have a DV VCR? If so, how does this device work with the Shaw box/receiver? If it works, does it restrict dumping from the tape to a DVD?
 

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I have a Toshiba RD-XS52 HDD/DVD recorder, and a Motorola DCT2500 cable box. I live in Prince Albert and subscribe to Shaw digital cable. The wife and I love our Toshiba PVR, which was bought when they first came out quite a while back. Being able to move things to either DVD-R or DVD-RAM hasn't become an issue until today, primarily because the hard drive is only now getting close to full for the first time since buying it.

Both the wife and I use our PVR to primarily record the occasiona movie from the Movie Channel (usually the ones not worth the money to rent), as well as to regularly record our favorite television shows to make sure we don't miss any episodes. Most often we do this for the specific purpose of later viewing, when we both have the free time to do so. This is usually when our free time happens to coincide with each other, which isn't nearly as often as we would like.

Right now I am playing around with material that has CPRM (copy once) attached to it. Our recorder can only take DVD-R and DVD-RAM discs as far as recordable removable media goes, and CPRM material can only me moved to the latter of the two, with the original copy being automatically deleted from the hard drive of the PVR (as per specification of CPRM I believe).

I have an LG dual layer DVDRW/CDRW combo drive in my computer (running Windows XP SP2, all up to date), and while I think most drives can't, mine actually can take DVD-RAM discs, as long as they do not have a cartridge. I'm currently playing with the type 2 Toshiba DVD-RAM disc that came with the PVR when we bought it, and was successfully able to remove the DVD-RAM disc from it's cartridge and read the contents on my PC using Windows Explorer. I was able to copy al the files to my PC's hard drive as well. The material even plays for a few seconds when using Nero Showtime, which is part of my Nero Ultra Edition 7.5.11 installation. Sadly, after a few seconds of playback, Nero demands a CPRM license, with a pop up box demanding my e-mail address (I need to research this more before doing so).

So, at the moment I'm researching for a means to get around CPRM, so that I can permanently move the material to either the hard drive on my PC, or to a DVD-R that will playback on any DVD player. I'm looking for both a hardware fix, so that anything we record on our Toshiba in the future doesn't have CPRM, as well as a PC side fix for the stuff we already have, which I'll use that DVD-RAM disc that I mentioned to help move stuff over (hoping to avoid quality loss this way).

To be completely honest, we have no interest in keeping or sharing anything that we have ever recorded. Once we have gotten around to watching a recorded program, we always delete that program afterwards. When something is truly worthwhile, we buy the official DVD of it. Perfectly acceptable fair use here IMHO. This thread (and the other) have been very helpful, and hopefully I will be able to track down a working solution in one form or another.

It's really is a sad state of affairs that we live in these days though. I know that copyright holders have a right to protect their content, but I honestly feel that most DRM solutions are designed to more or less lock people in to one way of doing things, one which benefits the copyright holders so that they make more money, and worse, prevent competition from competitors. I have no doubt that Shaw knowingly chose to use CPRM for the explicit purpose of getting people to switch to their Motorola PVR boxes, which is probably why people get the run around when calling Shaw. It's this exact kind of misuse and threat to fair use that must be fought any way that we honest folks can. It really gets me steamed just thinking about it, since it's an issue of greed that is getting worse and worse these days. But I digress. I will report back if I find a good solution, and look forward to reading further posts from you folks having the same difficulties in this thread. Take care all!
 

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Meh, just noticed today while playing around some more that I was wrong about the "Copy Once" tag. All the programs on my Toshiba are actually tagged with "Copy Never". Haven't gotten anywhere with the DVD-RAM(VR) yet either, though in my travels I have come across a few posts saying it is possible to copy this to the PC. These were on the AVS Forum I think, but no one actually stated how. Looks like I need to research the VRO file format.

Quick question. Do the various devices I keep seeing mentioned here and there, like the ones from Sima for example, get rid of CPRM/CGMS? They are commonly recommended for Macrovision, and I get the impression that sometimes, when they are indeed recommended, that the difference between the two protections are often being confused. Isn't one digital, while the other analog? I'm a noob trying to learn what these various restrictions do, and figure out the best way to exercise my fair use rights. So far I haven't managed to sort out anything useful yet from my online research. Recommendations from other Shaw users who have solved this issue successfully are welcome to reply, and greatly appreciated! That includes a good place to order from in Canada as well, thanks. :)

In the meantime, I have found one way to get around the copy never problem. I have a Pinnacle Dazzle DVC90 for my PC, and from my preliminary tests (using Virtual Dub) it seems to ignore Macrovision/CPRM/CGMS/etc. I bought the DVC90 a while back to move some old home videos to DVD, but have hardly used it since. Only trouble is that Shaw content is already over compressed, or has been compressed too many times. Add in the compression that the PVR does, then again once captured to the PC, and the end result is video that is quite muddy. That and it's a slow way to copy video, what with being a 1:1 process. Therefore, I think should continue to try finding a solution that doesn't require me to make more lossy generations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #66 ·
Digisurfer, a clarification - this thread is really about recording to a DVD Recorder or VCR via analogue connections like S-video, composite video.

DRM is just that - digital, therefore should only affect digital connections like Firewire. (5C settings) See the Digital Home FAQ (under help) "Recording HD" which can apply to SD.

I've modified the title of the thread.
 

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Digisurfer, a clarification - this thread is really about recording to a DVD Recorder or VCR via analogue connections like S-video, composite video.

DRM is just that - digital, therefore should only affect digital connections like Firewire. (5C settings) See the Digital Home FAQ (under help) "Recording HD" which can apply to SD.

I've modified the title of the thread.
Thanks, I'll take a look at the FAQ. Not sure I understand what you are saying though. Maybe I wasn't clear enough? I record from a Motorola DCT2500 box to a Toshiba RD-XS52 via S-Video. I'm trying to write recorded content to DVD-R, but I can't because Shaw tags much of their content as 'Copy Never'. As far as I understand, this is caused by some kind of analog protection, right? I'm just trying to understand everything, but sadly am getting increasingly confused the more I read. If you want me to stop posting in this thread, could you point me to the right place to do so? Many many thanks in advance.

Edit: Just for the record, I found this post via a Google search, and I posted partially to support charlyne13 whose problem sounded identical to mine, not just to figure out how all this works and what to do to fix it (which has me very lost now). Sorry again for any confusion I myself may have caused. That happens when I'm confused too lol. Like for example, the answer being in post 11. Um, post 11 of which thread? I can't see anything useful in the several post 11's I've seen so far.
 

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Thanks, Digisurfer, for your support

I will be emailing the President of Shaw within the next 2 days as I have received no response from Shaw here in 2 weeks, that, after a threat to go to the press.

Any extra info will be a big help.
Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #69 ·
...Um, post 11 of which thread? I can't see anything useful in the several post 11's I've seen so far.
Post 11 of this thread which discusses using the appropriate type of blank DVD, which apparently "solved" the problem for some people.

Digisurfer, please feel free to continue posting in this thread regarding problems with the DVD Recorder. I was just clarifying that this is not likely a DRM issue, but some other "block" since the connection is analogue and also to keep any discussions about recording to PC via firewire in the 5C thread.

This issue is very strange as there are probably thousands of people using DVD recorders with STBs, yet this forum only has issues posted from several people. There is a similar recent thread in the Rogers forum too, again, if this were "widespread", we would have complaints coming out the ying-yang.

I'm not saying you're doing anything wrong, it's just weird, is all.
 

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More Experience/Knowledge re DVD Recording Attempts

I believe we are encountering a Macrovision product. Apparently these "record blocking signals" are also in most purchased videotapes and are intended to stop DVD recorders from making copies of such tapes.

I spent a fruitless hour with a Bell ExpressVu tech support person and was basically advised to piss off, with many allusions to "piracy". I.e., if I was attempting to record a movie onto a DVD, then this was a form of piracy. He also said tough luck if I exceeded my 80 hour limit on the PVR. Bell's obligation was to have 80 hours backup. If you want more, then it's not Bell's problem.

This latter argument is interesting as it leads to a solution. E.g., if Bell's obligation/interest ends at their box, then what I do with the signal after it leaves their box is my business.

(Bell's attitude is much like Microsoft's. They have the customer:service provider paradigm reversed: Bell's attitude is that I am on earth to provide them with money, whereas my attitude is that BEV exists to provide me services.)

I will contact the CRTC next week to determine exactly what orders they have issued which may impact this problem. (In my past life I used to deal directly with CRTC staff members.)

However, various people in different jurisdictions have claimed that so-called "video stabilizers" sometimes remove this Macrovision product. Also, some suggested that a Time Base Corrector would eliminate it. It was also suggested that this problem is embedded in the hardware of the DVD recorders and hence is not fixable with a firmware update.

I have a high-end SVHS VCR with a built-in switchable TBC. Later I shall wire my program signals (from Shaw and BEV) through this VCR, turn on the TBC and see what happens.

London Drugs used to sell "video stabilizer"s for about $30. I'll check and see if these are still available. A Google search brought up a large number of vendor ads for such stabilizers.
 

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Addendum 2

Recall that Macrovision used to affect video quality if you wired your signal through a VCR, then to a TV. E.g., if you played a purchased video on one VCR, then output the signal through another VCR, then to your TV.

So why haven't more people had this problem?

Maybe this problem goes away with direct connections. That is, the "record blocking signals" are turned on after the signal leaves the first non-Shaw device in the signal path.

In my case, I output from a Box to a video distributor, then to a recording device (DVD recorder), then to an A/V receiver, then to my TV.

Has anyone encountered such signals with direct connections?
 

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Your message of 7/10/2006 4:21:34 PM (Case ID 305942)

Please see details below. Client has been advised that CRTC has disallowed the recording of movies due to copyright issues.
The CRTC is not involved in copyright disputes. Can you please have someone contact this client to assist her with her concerns?

Thank you.

This is the response from CRTC to Shaw. I had phoned the CRTC to see if this issue was theirs....this was told to me by Shaw. When the woman from CRTC called me back, she said she would email Shaw. I asked her to cc me.
Obviously, since I emailed Peter Bissonnette yesterday, not a thing has changed. I do tend to agree that this started when the upgrade to VOD was done. I had no problem prior to 6-8 months ago.
 

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Recording Issue Solved

I don't think there is any need to contact the CRTC wrt this problem.

I am a paying subscriber to DirecTV and have never encountered such recording problems with their programs. I know that the so-called Broadcast Flag was stopped last year, but I think I read that it may have been piggybacked onto some last minute package from the Congress prior to dissolution. For example, a film on Turner Classic Movies was blocked by Shaw, but not by DTV.

So here's my solution. From browsing various sources I concluded that we were likely encountering a Macrovision product. I purchased a "video stabilizing" device which has S-Video connectivity. It's an analogue device.

I turned on my recalcitrant LG-790 and put it into HDD mode, tuned to Movie Central and hit the record button. As I anticipated, I immediately saw the "record blocking signals detected" message on screen and the LG would not record.

I then input the S-Video cable into the stabilizer and outputted from the stabilizer to the LG-790. I then hit the record button again and no message was observed and the second timer engaged showing that recording was taking place. Problem solved.

My normal signal path is from the program provider receiver/box to a video distributor. So if I place this video stabilizer between the receiver/box and the distributor, then every device connected will be blessed with a Macrovision blocker.

Presumably with these signals removed, I can store programs in the HDD and dump them to DVDs later without unpleasant surprises.

This is a "guilty until proven innocent" approach by the media companies. I use 99% rewritable disks as I intend to erase them and use them over again after watching the program. The 1% is the occasional use of +DL disks for long programs that I want to see in better quality.

I tested this with Bell ExpressVu, not Shaw. However, I expect it will work with all carriers.

Edit - 2008.02. Note that some of the older stablizers do not work with some of the newer STBs/DVD Recorders. You may need the latest stabilizers if you have the latest equipment. See:

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?p=687157#post687157
 

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Discussion Starter · #74 ·
I'm allowing the above post as the video stabilizer/Macrovision filter has been discussed before (in the thread linked to in post 1). The item was even advocated by Shaw, which causes me some consternation. However, as a workaround to this "problem", I'll let it stand.

Please let's not get into a piracy discussion in this thread. If you wish to discuss that subject, please look for an old thread on the topic or start a new one if it hasn't been discussed recently.
 

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Not a Solution

I don't think there is any need to contact the CRTC wrt this problem.
Respectfully, I disagree. As I understand it, the issue is that Shaw Cable claimed that "the CRTC made me do it", i.e., the CRTC imposed copyright restrictions upon Shaw. After contacting the CRTC, it's clear that the reply from the CRTC says otherwise. Shaw's claimed justification for blocking recording is invalid.
So here's my solution. From browsing various sources I concluded that we were likely encountering a Macrovision product. I purchased a "video stabilizing" device which has S-Video connectivity. It's an analogue device.
Respectfully, I disagree. Subscribers should not have to purchase additional equipment to work around a Shaw error (or worse, intentional unjustifiable blocking action.)

Thanks for pursuing the diagnosis of the cause. I believe Macrovision (or something similar) is at the root of the problem.
 

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Addenda

I wasn't aware that discussion regarding "stabilizers" is not permitted.

Note that the post of my solution was expurgated. Some of the missing material answers the subsequent complaints/arguments of BCRCornet.

I purchased a DVD recorder to free myself from broadcast schedules. Rigourous application of record blocking signals is ultimately designed to force you to watch programs as they are broadcast, not at some date or time at your convenience.

Indeed, I recall some messages wherein people complained that their PVRs would not allow them to fast forward through commercials.

So now I have purchased a device which restores my previous freedom from network scheduling. I have no resentment about such a purchase. If you search around, you can probably find a player, perhaps a DVD recorder, with Macrovision removed at time of purchase. Chinese media stores usually carry such machines. I.e., instead of purchasing an extra device, you can get it in a single machine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #77 ·
Clarification:

There are all kinds of devices/products available that "get around" the various roadblocks that service providers and studios may put in people's path to do "what people want". We do allow discussion of devices/products that allow people to operate within laws - for example, the "fair rights law", which is being violated here by Shaw or Studios, or both.

On this forum we do not discuss devices/products and "how to" tips that are illegal.

Therefore the macrovision discussion has been allowed here.

A discussion on how to subscribe to Dish/DirecTV in Canada, which is illegal, would not be allowed. Or how to obtain Satellite or Cable signals "for free" by hacking.
 

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So now I have purchased a device which restores my previous freedom from network scheduling.
Your reasons are basically the same as for the wife and I. We have no interest in keeping recorded content as well. The video quality is generally quite bad here, so I can't understand why anyone would even want to. Once we've watched a recorded program on the HDD of our Toshiba RD-XS52, it gets erased. In the past, when a data DVD-R/DVD+R was no longer needed, we would generally microwave it for 5 seconds and then toss it into the trash bin. We'll likely do the same thing with content that we have moved from the PVR to DVD once we've gotten around to finally viewing it. Really, our only reason for using a DVD-R or DVD-RAM, the only two formats our Toshiba will take, is simply because the HDD is getting full as we don't have enough free time for viewing together.

If it is alright in this specific case regarding Shaw, with them advocating one as a solution, I would really like to hear what make and model of copy protection removal device was used, and where to buy one. I too really hate the fact that we have to spend a fair chunk of cash to solve a problem that should clearly be fixed by Shaw, but that's life. Unfair as usual.

and also to keep any discussions about recording to PC via firewire in the 5C thread.
While the Pinnacle Dazzle DVC90 I mentioned for my PC does connect to it using USB, the device is actually analog. It has one composite in, one s-video in, and a left & right phono jack for audio. Like I said, it seems to ignore all copy protections (using v9.1.0.429 drivers), and is one way I've found to get the programs off of the Toshiba and on to the PC so that a DVD-R can be made, but sadly this adds yet another round of MPEG-2 compression to a signal that has already been through Shaw's heavy handed compression (likely multiple times), as well as the Toshiba's own compression when it was originally recorded to the internal HDD (usually at the SP setting). In other words, not a very good solution at all really since it's essentially making an already bad video signal even worse. Being analog, it's also slow since a two hour recording requires two hours to capture, plus the time involved with set up and editing. I would much prefer to use the high speed dub option on the Toshiba to burn a copy directly to DVD-R, but thanks to the copy never tag from Shaw, this cannot be done. Hence why I am trying to figure out what device I need to put between the Motorola DCT2500 cable box and our Toshiba RD-XS52, so that for future recordings this will never been an issue again.
 

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Conclusions, Recommendations

I commend the Moderator for attempting to employ persuasion and customer feedback to convince Shaw et al to amend their policies with respect to consumer DVD recorders.

However, I think this approach is going to be fruitless.

Here's why.

I perused the submissions in this thread and also related ones. It appears that the first response upon contact by a customer is to DENY. "We don't put any restrictions on recording". "We just pass along the signal we receiver". They are "carriers" after all.

However, this is a LIE. They just wish to mollify you, make you go away unsatisfied, but without the carrier being cast as a villain.

How do I know this? Well if you have access to the originating feed of a program that bypasses the Canadian carrier, then you will quickly discover that these "record blocking" signals are not embedded in the original broadcast. You might think of Superchannels, AMC and TCM as examples of channels for which you might be able to obtain a direct feed. As well, you might be able to obtain an over-the-air signal of some U.S. channels, depending on where you live. You will discover that these "record blocking" signals are absent from the original feed, leading to the conclusion that the Canadian carrier is adding them.

Then it gets interesting.

When I spoke at length to a Bell "Tech Support" person and was getting nowhere I suggested that the presence of such signals was a "deal breaker". He asked what I meant. I replied that it meant that I would prefer to cancel my service, rather than accept such record blocking signals. He then said that "everyone has the same thing" - Rogers, Cogeco, Shaw, etc. I said that I didn't care. I would be willing to disconnect "everyone".

I then recounted to him (from reading some messages on this Forum) that Cogeco didn't have any complaints and that Shaw had "reset" some users boxes upon complaint. He became very upset at this saying, "They can't do that". "They're not supposed to do that." And repeating this phrase in different words many times. He was upset. Obviously, he had abandoned the DENIAL argument.

Clearly, if one carrier did not place these signals onto their transmissions and another carrier did, then said carrier would have a competitive advantage.

What I conclude from my research and discussions is that all carriers in Canada have colluded wrt these record blocking signals. That's why the Bell tech support person was upset: He was interpreting that Shaw was breaking the agreement.

This is not a job for the CRTC, but THE DIRECTOR (of Combines), an amazingly toothless group in the Federal Government. We could lodge complaints, but get nowhere unless someone had access to an insider who had copies documents indicating such collusion (anti-competitive behaviour).

I doubt that such documents exist. More likely a Gentlemen's Agreement made at a Club. No e-mail. Executives have learned about incriminating e-mail.

So I solved my problem and am satisfied. If others wish to persuade the carriers to amend their policies, then going to the Director is the way to go. Persuasion will not work. (I know that Lobbyists in the U.S. ensured that DVD recorders must have certain record blocking capabilities prior to importation. I don't know if this restriction was replicated in Canada. If it was, I would like to know what particular legislation was involved. Or maybe it was just some Minister's order.)

For those interested in knowing the exact make and model of the device I purchased, I must demur. I suggest that if you wish to take this easier road, then just employ Google and search for "video stabilizer". On the Search Results page you will see many Ads on the right hand side of the page of companies selling such devices. Use your own judgment from that point on.

Good Luck!
 

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For those interested in knowing the exact make and model of the device I purchased, I must demur. I suggest that if you wish to take this easier road, then just employ Google and search for "video stabilizer". On the Search Results page you will see many Ads on the right hand side of the page of companies selling such devices. Use your own judgment from that point on.
I know that you are under no obligation to answer any question asked of you, but the reason I originally inquired is precisely because Google is of very little help. For example, doing a search for the term "video stabilizer" gives me 2,740,000 results, and 98,700 when quotations are used. I can spend days, perhaps even weeks, going through them all in order to try and find what I feel should be a simple answer, often going in circles that only generate more confusion most likely. Please take into account that I am likely not the only one here wanting to know such things. Like, for example, which make/model to buy, which to avoid, the best place to get one in Canada, etc. If the unit you purchased succcesfully solved the same issues that others are experiencing, then I humbly beg of you to post anything you can that may be of use to the rest of us here at Digital Home. A great many thanks to you in advance, to anyone in fact that can post some useful information on this. Nothing is too small or trivial, especially if it does help. Take care all.
 
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