I am an anime fan. There, I said it. So when my old DVD/VCR player, which was a hand-me-down from my sister, finally gave out, needless to say I had to get it replaced fast and cheap! The MWD2206 satisfied both of those qualifications, and then some.
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The first thing that took me by surprise was the fact that it was one of the only remaining VCR's that had a TV tuner on it still within my budget! After taxes, it came up to $59.89. All of the newer DVD players (including the cousin of this player, the DV200MW8) didn't come with tuners, and the ones that did were WAY over my puny budget of $70, so finding this rare gem in Wal-Mart was great.
(Please note, if you're going to invest in this DVD from Wal-Mart, make sure you're getting the DVD/VCR model MWD2206, the cousin model, DV200MW8, has an IDENTICAL box.)
Setting it up was pretty easy--standard Audio/Video and RF cable connectors around the back plus an audio/video connector in the front. Red to red, yellow to yellow, white to white, screw in the RF cable, plug into the power strip, and you're done. One small note; there's no channel selector switch on the back. Factory default is channel 3. It can be changed to 4, but you have to follow a few steps in the manual to do it.
Here are a few dimensions. The case, a light charcoal grey, is about seventeen inches wide and 4 inches thick. The front panel has no display, only a few LCD lights on the front showing what mode the device is currently on.The remote is pretty decently sized, roughly seven inches long by two and a half inches long. For those new to DVD/VCR Combo systems, all the buttons may seem a little overwhelming, but after a little practice, you'll get the hang of it. Oddly enough, the thing that really rocked my socks was the fact that it had an EJECT button that worked the VCR and the DVD player! Laziness rocks! I am a bit disappointed that it's not a universal remote, though.
As I'm writing this review, I'm watching one of my favorite anime movies, "Neon Genesis Evangelon: The End of Evangelion" on DVD. The sound is INCREDIBLE! My TV is an old twenty-six inch Magnavox CRT, and the audio that's coming from the speakers is nothing short of amazing! Using the "Virtual Surround" mode, you really can simulate having a multi-speaker sound system from just two TV speakers. I'm hearing things on the movie that I've NEVER heard before with my old DVD player!
The DVD picture quality is really sharp and clean when I'm using the audio/video connection, but degrades SLIGHTLY if you change to tuner mode. Because I watch DVD's most of the time, I just leave my TV on Aux and flip through the channels in VCR mode. There is a special mode that lightens and darkens the picture slightly, but overall it's pretty useless.
In my spare time, I also make my own DVD movies from home videos, and I use DVD R's to burn all my projects. I am happy to say that the MWD2206 plays them like any other DVD--even better than my old DVD player which didn't recognize the individual tracks I laid down. It also shows still pictures (slide shows) really beautifully.
Switching to VCR mode is simple; one button press and you're back in the analog age. The VCR is really robust--even playing my old cassettes just as clear as the original VCR it was recorded on, though you may have to play around with the tracking. Recording in SP mode yields a great picture, while recording in SLP mode is nice as well. Animated (not recorded from TV) films like "A Boy Named Charlie Brown" plays really well in both picture and sound. I haven't had a chance to try out the OTR Recording feature or the timer recording mode, but I will and update this review with my results.
Now for a few negatives. Truth be told, there aren't that many with this player, but I would be in dereliction of duty if I didn't list them! First thing: there's no display on the front panel. Just a few lights and that's it. It'll take a bit of getting used to. There is a slight delay when you press "Enter" on the remote and the execution of the selected menu option. It hangs for a second or two, and then executes the selected option. It's a little odd. This is another thing that I notice affect many owners of Combo units--programming a universal remote to work both the DVD and the VCR. It took a little playing around, but I managed to do it, only to realize that some of the features were not useable like the audio or subtitle changer. (Two settings that, as an anime fan are VITAL). Another thing that I experienced was that, every so often, when I press eject, the entire player would freeze, requiring me to flip the switch on my power strip to turn it off. It should be noted that this only happened while I was in the title menu of "Chobits" and that it hasn't happened with any other DVD in my collection--anime and non-anime.
Like I said before, I am an anime fan. So to find a DVD/VCR player this cheap that plays the source of my fandom so clearly, with sound that knocks me off my feet and can play old-school VHS tapes for under $60 is a winner for me! Magnavox (or Philips Magnavox) is a name that I've known and trusted for years, and the Magnavox MWD2206 reaffirms that trust for me.
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Amount Paid (US$): $59.89