I have a Sony CCD-V800E, and 3 Hi-8 tapes. When the tape is played back through the camera, the picture is completely distorted (it's not even possible to tell what the recording is). It is like this through the viewfinder, and if the signal is ran through a TV. All the tapes are like this, so I'm not sure if the tapes have deteriorated over time and (unfortunately) the recordings are now lost, or if there is something wrong with the camera itself.

I thought the video heads might be clogged, but the video head cleaner it recommends in the manual (V8-25CLH) is really hard to find, and I don't think Sony make them anymore.

Also, the tapes didn't gradually get worse, the problem just suddenly started.

To be honest, it's been quite some time since the problem started, and with the advent of digital cameras I never really got round to trying to sort it out. I may have left it too late and the damage is now irreversible.

Any help would be much appreciated.