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-   -   HELP! Error messsage: Incorrect tape specification, playback is restricted (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-xh-series-hdv-camcorders/112858-help-error-messsage-incorrect-tape-specification-playback-restricted.html)

James Binder January 21st, 2008 07:19 PM

HELP! Error messsage: Incorrect tape specification, playback is restricted
Starting new thread on this one. I thought I had a dirty heads problem, but I'm now getting this message during playback of any recorded HDV material on any previously or newly recorded tape.

'Incorrect tape specification -- playback is restricted'

If I play a tape (HDV material) from the start without stopping, no problem. If I stop and rewind and play again, the problems begin. The tape will play up until the point where I stopped and then give me a blue screen for a second or so, then continue playing. If I stop again and rewind, the problem gets worse when I play the tape once again. This time the blue screen happens at seemingly intermittent locations up to and including the spots where I previously stopped the tape. If I keep rewinding and playing, it gets worse and worse until I see the error message in red letters over the blue screen:

'Incorrect tape specification -- playback is restricted'

I've tried cleaning the heads --any thoughts on what might be going on here?

Thanks --

Lou Bruno January 21st, 2008 07:55 PM

Did you combine HDV footage with SD footage on the same tape?

James Binder January 21st, 2008 08:40 PM

no, only HDV material on the tape(s). Interestingly, it does not seem to happen on older tapes shot in DV (shot with xl1, played on A1).

Chris Soucy January 21st, 2008 11:01 PM

Hi James.......
Think the camera has a visit to Canon service coming up real soon.

Can't say whether it's a transport alignement or other problem, but it's definately not as Canon intended.

They probably won't be able to tell you either, but at least they'll fix it.


PS. This goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway - you'd better document this REAL GOOD and include a sample tape as well.

James Binder January 22nd, 2008 12:20 AM

Hi Chris –

Yeah, I am beginning to think the same – I can’t believe that only a little more than a year after purchase, it probably has to go in. It really has gotten only very moderate use.

Not sure I understand the last part about documenting…? Can you explain further? All they need to do is throw a recorded HDV tape in it and play and rewind several times to see what is happening.

Thanks for the feedback.

Chris Soucy January 22nd, 2008 12:42 AM

I have found that a carefully and clearly worded half page description of the problem, with all known details included, double spaced, put in the box with the camera in the packageing, goes a long way to making sure the tech doing the fix has a real grasp of what he/ she is up against.

It is quite possible this is not a unique failure, if so, the description will tip him/ her off immediately.


James Binder January 22nd, 2008 12:44 AM

Chris --

I see -- thanks for the tip, good idea and much appreciated --


Peter Jefferson January 22nd, 2008 01:45 AM

This is NOT a defect...

The camera MUST be set the appropriate format, within VCR mode for teh tape foramt in question.

If you do NOT configure this, then this is the message you will be recieving.
Its also the same message you get when you try to play HDV as DV, and mixed format tapes.

If you have your camera set to Signal Setup, do NOT use Auto, select either HDV or DV

When playing back, the ONLY setting required is to use either DV or HDV in the "Playback STD" option. Aside from that, there is no need to adjust any other setting unless you want to scale down, this is where you can adjust downconvert option.
Aside from that, this message will only pop up if your cameras playback, signal send through 1394 are not the same formats within the tape itself

Don Palomaki January 22nd, 2008 08:25 AM

You might try call Canon first, to check whether or not they have hard of this before.

SP or LP speed?

If you rewind and remove the tape from the camcorder, then reinsert it and start over, does the problem reset (no problem on the initial play for this insertion) or do you see the issue at the same spots as you did before you removed the tape?

How are you viewing the tape and controlling the camcorder? Is this as seen on an external monitor, on a computer screen with camcorder controlled by the PC, on the camcorder LCD panel with no camcorder connection to anything else, etc.

James Binder January 22nd, 2008 09:12 AM

Peter –

Thanks for the input. Yes, I initially made sure that I was in HDV and not auto. I switched between the two and it didn’t make a difference – same problem still. After reading your post, I checked again, switched between HDV only and auto and again, it didn’t make a difference in the problem. Humm…

Don –

Yes, it happens in the same spots even if I take the tape out, reinsert, rewind and view again. Again, it gets worse and worse at each new spot where I stop the tape. It almost looks as if small bits of the tape are being erased every time I stop the tape. I'm not sure how it remembers the trouble spot(s) after taking out the tape and re-inserting!

I am viewing on the camera LCD flip-out monitor – no connection to a computer whatsoever.

Side bar -- VERY STRANGE: I removed one tape I was viewing and inserted a different previously recorded tape (HDV) -- and for a split second saw a few frames of the previous tape! How on earth could that have happened!?

Will be calling canon shortly I suppose…

Thanks again --

Jim Miller January 22nd, 2008 10:41 AM

Before sending the cam back you might try a master reset. You can do this by removing the battery, then, using something small like a paper clip, push the master reset located on top of the camera next to the built-in speaker. The camera is controlled by a computer and we all know how they sometimes loose their mind. This would explain why a frame or two of your previous tape showed even after you inserted a different tape.

Don Palomaki January 22nd, 2008 11:31 AM


On the image from the previous tape, all reasonably modern digital camcorders (including the old analog camcorders such as Hi-8, that include digital signal processing) have memory used for image buffers. The image from the previous tape was probably resident in the image buffer, and it did not get updated until the camcorder read the start of a new GOP from the tape, which could take ~1/2 second during which the old image was probably displayed.

But definitely sounds like a trip to Canon is in order, if they cannot give a solution and a reboot is in order. It may be worth trying to play one of the problem tapes on a different machine to see if the camcorder put something on the tape at the problem point.

James Binder January 22nd, 2008 02:59 PM

Thanks Jim and Don --

Regarding the master reset -- after I remove the battery, should all power (including AC) be disconnected? Or do I push master reset with the camera 'pluged in' but without battery?

FYI – I did reset the camera earlier from the internal menu: System setup>Reset All – is that the same as the button on the outside?

Thanks --

Jim Miller January 22nd, 2008 03:03 PM

According to the manual "remove all power then push reset". I am assuming the internal clock battery supplies the power. This resets the computer in addition to all the settings. I have not had to do this on the A1 so I can't vouch for the accuracy.

James Binder January 22nd, 2008 04:41 PM

Well, tried pushing the reset button -- no luck. Called Canon as well, they recommend bringing it in. Looks like a trip to the shop... and of course I have a shoot Friday! ugh...

Thanks all --

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