This souunds like a set-up issue. Check your TV and be sure the s-video input is selected.
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Do you have any composite (yellow rca) cables connected to the the rca's by your S-video? If you do this could be the problem, some tv's require you to pick one of the two (s cabel or yellow rca type). If you do find this then disconnect your rca and connect just your s-video and see it will work this way. If you have already thought of this then I am sorry to have wasted your time.
Seeing as how your S cable has been ruled out as the problem. May I suggest you first unplug everything, wait a few moments and replug. Next make sure you have selected the correct input, don't forget to check menu setup on both the TV and VCR. Next remove all connections other than the specific SVHS connection on this particualr input, some sets only permit one connection per input option. Good luck.