I believe I have a similar problem with my Mini DV Sony Camcorder DCR-PC330E.
I purchased this camcorder back in 2004. I have never had any problems until some months ago: the tape unit got blocked and I was unable to do anything at all with the camera. I sent it to the official Sony Support Centre for repair in August 2010. The repair involved the replacement of the tape unit. So 3 weeks ago I got the unit back.
When I tried to playback some of my old tapes,I realised the quality was not good at all:
sound was breaking and video was also showing breaking images. I talked to the Centre on the subject and sent the unit back to them, with one of my old tapes included in the package, to help them understand the bad quality of the playback I was experiencing. After just 10 days I got the camera back with a note declaring that the camera is perfect, but the tape is 'contaminated'. They said that they cleaned up
the head and managed to record and playback a new tape perfectly. Of course, my problem is not with the 'new' tapes.
My problem is that I have recorded 60+ tapes since 2004 until 2010, and if I try now to playback ANY of them I get the same bad quality result. I cannot believe that suddenly ALL of them became contaminated, as Sony Centre declare.
That is why, when reading the replies to this post I noticed the fact described by kidika is similar to mine: from the moment my camera's tape unit was replaced, it is like having a camera attempting to read a tape recorded on a different one. And,
by the way, the results are very consistent, as ALL my recorded tapes show similar results.
I seem to understand from the replies to the original post,that there is a possibility my case can be resolved similarly as decribed by JKEpps:
"Apparently the issue is how the tape deck in the camera is tuned or adjusted. It's slightly out of sync with your tapes.
So, supposedly, the only way to fix it is to take it and one or more of the old tapes you have with content on it to a video
repair center. They can adjust the heads in your camera to match what your old tapes want. The problem then will be that any
new tapes you've made with the camera will no longer work."
Also a post by acgold seems to describe this same issue as an alignment problem: the only difference in my case is that I do not get a blue screen, I can view the
video but with bad quality (both sound and image, as I said above)
These would definitely explain my case. And I do not care at all about recording new tapes, as I have already migrated to a brand new HD, flash-memory-based Sony camcorder. My only objective is that of not loosing my old tapes quality and be able to recover them by converting into digital files.
I was hoping somebody could reply on this post, to check the forum's ideas on this problem, before I contact the Sony Support Centre again.
Thanks in advance