new VHS tape - poor playback first time, then OK?

My daughter was given a video (commercially pre-recorded) of cartoons for her birthday, the first time we played it, the sound was very faint and the picture quality imperfect; I removed the tape and examined it for damage but found none; anyway, I put it back in again and watched it to the end (it did not get better and we had to turn the volume up to about double the normal setting).

We rewound the tape and watched it the next day and now it’s fine; picture and sound are both normal. I don’t think it was a problem with the player, as we used it for viewing other tapes both before and after on that day with no problems.

What could have caused this phenomenon?

Oh and I did also try fiddling about with the tracking, so I don’t think it was that either.

It might have been that the tape was wound badly (too loose, too tight etc) and this led to the bad viewing, but once you had watched it and then rewound it, the tape was at the correct tension and so played back better.

I have seen it before and for some reason that does seem to help.

I am only guessing at the reason though.

You may have also had some debris on the heads and playing the tape the first time pulled it off.

I agree with Catmarie, it was probably loose. If it was a cheap video, I wouldn’t play it again, its
just not worth the risk.

I have seen that problem before. In my experience, it is because there was some debris left on the tape from when it was first made. I always fast-forward and rewind all tapes (even new, blank ones) before playing or recording to let all the loose particles “drop off.” I have been so disappointed in the past when something I recorded on a new tape ended up as snow for that reason.

I would go with the wound-too-loosely theory, especially if it arrived via mail. Mail seems to jostle tapes out of position sometimes. Fast-forwarding and then rewinding seems to do the trick.

Sounds like dirty heads to me. But what do I know, I just write news at a TV station :wink:

Have you ever cleaned the heads on your VCR?

That happened to me once, BTW, with the video of the 1989 “Batman” movie. (I got the video in 1990) Screwy once, then after that it’s behaved normally to the present day.