Pros: Quiet VHS loading / ejecting, remote controls almost all features.
Cons: Can't copy a DVD to video, slightly confusing instructions.
When two of the Go Video units I own started acting wonky I decided to look for some inexpensive DVD / VHS combo players. I know, VHS tapes are almost extinct but we still have a lot of movies on tape so its something that I really needed to have. I started looking around for some basic combo players and this one of the units that came up on the search function at Epinions; I opted to go looking for this in retail stores rather than on line because I wanted to see it in person before I bought it. The salespeople tried to side step me and talk me into higher priced units or ones that had a lot of stuff that I would never use so I searched until I found this exact unit. It was marked at $119.99 and I shook my head, there was no way I was going to pay that much - especially when I started reading more about it and learned that you can not copy a DVD to a video tape [well, there is a way but to do so voids the warranty because you have to crack the case]. For a hundred and twenty dollars I could go out and buy a DVD player and a VCR of high quality and still save myself a couple of dollars. A local electronics store had one of these for $89.99 so I decided to try it out, if I wasnt such a stubborn person I would have taken it as a sign of fate to start looking for another model when the first one was defective.
Philips Magnavox MWD2205 DVD Player / VCR Combo
The first one that I purchased was defective straight from the box. I put in a VHS tape and it locked up, wouldnt eject and the unit basically died. I know that everything was set up correctly because I got a clear picture [thanks to my egghead son]. After calling the store to ask them if there was anything I could do on my end to get the tape out I was told to just bring everything back and they would give me another unit. Things were different when I got to the store; they tried to hit me with a 15% restocking fee. Now I ask you, why the hell would they charge me a restocking fee on something that isnt or shouldnt go back to the sales floor? If this ever happens to you, ask for a manager and make sure you get everyones name in case you have to take it to a higher level. After about twenty minutes of him fiddling around with it and sticking pens and pencils into the VCR bay he gave up and went to get me another unit.
Good thing I was paying attention, he grabbed a DVD player not a combo unit. I mean, come on, he was just screwing around with the freakin VHS part of it so he should have been able to remember that it was a combo unit. When I asked about getting my VHS tape back he shot me a rather nasty look as he filled out some paperwork and asked me to sign it. He thought he was being slick until I refused to sign them; there was an authorization to charge me the 15% restocking fee. Long story even longer, I fought the charge with him and ended up calling my credit card company to make them aware of it in case it mysteriously showed up on my account. Dont fall for the extended warranty bull crap either, if it is defective out of the box then take it back for a replacement. You have a one year limited warranty with this so if a few months down the line something happens, you are covered as long as you follow their rules and guidelines.
To me the overall size of a DVD player or VCR is important but not something that makes or breaks my decision. This one is about eighteen inches wide, four inches high and a shade under ten inches deep. It should fit into most entertainment units without much trouble but you will want to make sure that you have enough room for air to circulate as well as room to hook up the cables. This comes with pretty much every thing that you need to get set up and going; it comes with an RF cable, remote control [and batteries for it], audio and video cables, the unit and the owners manual. It took me about ten minutes to set this up in the livingroom because I had to disconnect some other equipment to try and get this set up properly. When I hit my personal stress level and started tossing things around my son walked in, looked at the diagram, shot me a complacent look and moved a few of the cables around and viola ... it worked. Well, until it ate the VHS tape; the second unit worked a lot better and was also set up by my son.
Playable & Non-Playable Discs
When it comes to this stuff, I usually learn from trial and error meaning I buy it then see if it is going to work. This will play DVDs with the video logo on them, DVD-RW and DVD-R, DVD+RW and DVD+R, Audio CDs and CD-RW / CD-R. When you are reading through the booklet you will see a list of numbers under the sections, at first I thought this has something to do with the regions but it is actually a sort of footnote thing. You have to read the exclusions or exceptions on the list to see if there are going to be any problems. The only discs that I had trouble with were ones that had a split DVD - meaning a movie that was split up on two sides of the disc. Goodfellas is the one that comes to mind as giving me the most trouble. Per the manual it states that playing any of the following discs could result in a malfunction. DVD-RAM / CD-1 / Photo CD / Video CD / DVD with region codes other than 1 or ALL / DTS-CD / DVD-ROM for personal computers / CD-ROM for personal computers. Thats what it says in the book so I typed it word for word because I have no clue what it means.
The remote is nice but I am probably going to opt to go with one of the universal remotes from All For One because I like something that lights up or has glow in the dark keys to make it easier to use at night. This lacks both of those perks so chances are when I find one that will work with this combo unit as well as the television and audio set up, it will get replaced. Its not hard to use and you can control almost all of the functions of the VCR and DVD player If you are sitting right in front of the unit you have about twenty to twenty five feet of range so you dont have to sit right in front of it to get it to hit the sensor. You do have to sit there and read the guide to learn all about how to use the remote correctly; with most of my other remotes when I switch from DVD to VHS all I would have to do is to click the appropriate button, with this you have to hit select then pick which one you want. You can control almost all of the functions of the unit from the remote but a lot of the special features like angles, subtitles and chapters depends on the DVD that you are viewing. I would have liked it if the buttons were larger or they would light up when they are pressed but as I said, as soon as I find a replacement remote that will work with all the stuff I have in the livingroom, this one is going to get replaced.
Parental Setting Options
If you have a Playstation 2 and watch DVDs on it, you know how much of a pain this can be. Sometimes you put in a DVD that is G or PG rated and you have to enter the password. You have to go through and set up the parental settings on this if you want to restrict people from watching something that you think is inappropriate. Go into the custom set up menu and select a password [a four digit code] then select parental level and then the desired level [NC 17, PG, R etc]. It isnt set up to specific NC-17 through G ratings but rather levels 8 through 1. You may want to hide the manual because it gives you a loophole of how to get around it [cancel the code], override it and create a new code. From time to time you might get a disc that needs to have the code entered even though it falls within the limits that you have set up; I cant give you an explanation of why this happens just that it does happen.
OK, this is where things get a little confusing. Its put out by Magnavox / Panasonic but the warranty is backed by Funai Corporation. You get a one year warranty for parts and ninety days for labor; of course there are some things that are not covered like misuse, trying to tamper with the unit, adding things to it [opening the case]. As a word of warning, if you buy a demo or floor model unit, the warranty is voided. Make sure that if you are buying one of these that has been on display that it works perfectly before you leave the store or get something in writing saying that they will allow you to return it within a certain period of time if there is anything wrong with it. Remember, get it in writing.
Funai Corporation Service Center
19900 Van Ness Avenue
Torrance, CA 90501
Things That I Really Love ...
• When you are recording to a VHS tape and you pause it, the little button blinks to let you know that it is paused. This is really nice because you know that its paused and it serves as a little reminder to either hit stop or unpause it.
• If you are recording on to a VHS tape or watching one and it reaches the end of the reel it will automatically rewind it, eject the tape and power off the unit. This is something that I really like because I dont have to worry about the kids leaving the unit on when they forget they are watching a tape.
• You can assign a marker point to a DVD when you are watching it; you can use this as a reference point that you can go back to at a later time. I really like this function but wish that there was a one touch button that you could use to activate it. As it stands you have to hit the play then search mode buttons until the prompt comes up on the screen.
• There is a subtitle button on the remote. I used to hate it when the brood would put the subtitles on for movies but now I really depend on them to know exactly what is being said. In most cases [about 90% of the time] you can work the subtitles from this button. The King Arthur disc is one of the few that I had to go into the DVD menu to activate it.
• On the back page of the manual there is a Quick Use Guide that gives you some of the basics of what is in the manual. The first thing I did was make a copy of this and laminate it, no longer will I have to dig through file folders or piles of manuals to find out how to do something with the remote or to troubleshoot. This isnt supposed to take the place of the manual but just to help you out in a pinch.
• You have the ability to record with the touch of a single button, the OTR [One Touch Recording] is a nice thing if you are in a hurry or what ever you are taping has already started. You will have to select the record speed and channel but after that, its locked in and all you have to do is hit record.
• The Custom Menu is something that can really help you get the most from this unit; it allows you to change, adjust or set the language menus, displays qualities, parental setting, auto power off, angle icons and sound set up [Dolby Digital].
• There are ports on the front of the unit for audio and video jacks so if you want to hook up a video game system to it, you dont have to fiddle around with jacks on the back of it.
The Bottom Line
Barring the defective first unit, this hasnt given me any major problems. It delivers an above average picture from both the VHS and DVD deck, for the price it was worth it for the livingroom and if it lasts a few years, thats good enough for me. It was easy enough for my son to set it up and get the cables hooked up the right way and its pretty much a plug and play type of thing that is ready to go out of the box. You may have to buy more cables if you are going to hook this up to a stereo system but we managed to make due with the ones that came with the set up. The warranty is pretty much the industry standard so unless you are someone that destroys things theres no real need to opt for the over priced extended warranties that places like Circuit City or Best Buy try to sell you. I like the fact that this is a side by side unit instead of having the decks stacked on top of each other; if it ever needs repaired it wont cost as much as the Go Video ones that are stacked.
As always, thanks for the read!
~^V^~ Freak ~^V^~
© 2006 Freak369
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