Pros: Price, auto tracking, time search, auto clock setting, channel return, longevity
Cons: rod antenna, picture
I have a knack for not paying enough attention to detail when I make a major purchase. That of, say, a VCR. The last one that I bought didn’t have the extra menu option buttons on the VCR itself, so once the remote control went up, I could no longer use the programming option. When I decided to replace that one, I thought I was being so smart by making absolutely certain the VCR had the proper capabilities as far as those menu features......what I failed to realize is that it had no tracking.
What that meant for my viewing (non)pleasure was most movies that had a lot of wear weren’t going to be good for me because they would jump so much I couldn’t see what was going on. Also, any television program I taped was useless because it too would jump. My parents got tired of taping things they really thought I would like to see and sending them over just to hear me say that it wouldn’t work, so they called me over one night to pick up a surprise......a TV/VCR combo. (No, I am not spoiled.)
The Emerson 13” TV-VCR Combo EWC1301 comes with remote control (2 AA batteries included) and a rod antenna (as opposed to rabbit ears). It measures 15½ inches tall (not including the antenna which has a height of 17-31 inches) by approximately 14½ inches wide and is 14½ inches deep.
You will find the majority of the “buttons” and “holes” (sorry, can’t get more technical than that) on the front of the television with the exception of the terminal used for connecting to an antenna or cable which is located on the back. Those on the front are (from left to right):
~Earphone jack (1/8” or 3.5mm - not included)
~Audio Input Jack (for connecting to a video camera or another VCR)
~Video Input Jack (also for connecting to a video camera or another VCR)
~Stop/Eject (besides the usual, also used for setting up the channels and preferred language and for choosing options from the menu)
~Rewind (also used for selecting options from menu)
~Play (besides the obvious, again used for menu options)
~Fast Forward (the usual and menu options)
~Record (manual One-Touch Recording)
~Channel Down and Channel Up (also displays the main menu once passed all available channels and activates a manual tracking during video)
~Volume Down and Volume Up
The remote control shares the above-mentioned features (starting with the 4th, of course) along with several others such as:
~+100 (used to access channels above 99)
~Display (shows counter, channel and time)
~Speed (for choosing recording speed of either SP or SLP)
~Timer Program Clear/Counter Reset
~Game (sets game and external input modes)
~Time Search (activates time search mode--very cool...if you have, say, 3 movies taped on a cassette and you know how long they are, you can set the timer to go to whichever you want)
~Channel Return (like a toggle switch between two channels--I LOVE this feature!)
~Wake-Up/Sleep (starts the mode to either turn on or turn off the television in a specified amount of time--between 30 to 120 minutes)
The one disadvantage regarding the manual (on tv) versus remote control functions is that the wake-up/sleep timer cannot be set through the television. That only half matters, however, since if you fall asleep watching a movie, it will automatically rewind, eject and the television will shut off.
Other features not yet mentioned are:
~The on-screen menu can be set to either Spanish or English
~181 channel capability
~Auto clock setting (This is awesome!! As many times as I have moved the television, I have not once ever had to set the clock. It does it on its own!!)
~Automatic head cleaner (cleans video heads when a tape is inserted or removed)
~Digital automatic tracking (Houston, we *have* tracking)
~Rental play mode (you can manually improve the picture of old or worn tapes)
~Auto repeat (same as on a CD player--automatically plays a tape indefinitely--you’d have to *really* like a movie to use *this* function!)
~I’ve mentioned the Timer Recording before, but what I didn’t mention at that time was that it is capable of setting 8 programs up to 1 year ahead on either a daily or weekly basis)
~Auto return (when using the timer recording mode, the tape will automatically rewind to the beginning if you so choose)
~V-Chip (makes it possible to prevent children from watching certain things)
The Emerson 13” TV-VCR Combo EWC1301, of course, comes with the handy dandy Owner’s Manual (without which I could not have done this review properly--always wanted to say something a la “Oscar acceptance speech mode“). The manual answers any questions a new owner may have along with giving detailed instructions for using any and all of the options. It also contains safety and maintenance tips, a troubleshooting guide for problems, and the Limited Warranty (one year for most parts, 2 years for picture tube--90 days for labor).
What negative things are there about this TV/VCR? Hmm....well, besides the ones I already mentioned above regarding the wake-up/sleep timer, there is the antenna. A rod antenna is definitely not as useful as good old-fashioned rabbit ears. There just aren’t as many positions to put it in when trying to bring a channel in better. I have yet to watch one station clearly. There is always some type of fuzz or lines present that I just can’t seem to get rid of. The volume is another sort of problematic thing.....somehow it always seems either not quite loud enough or just a bit too loud. (Yes, I do know how to use the volume control)
Positive aspects more than outweigh the negatives, though. I pointed out some of my favorite features above (i.e channel return, auto clock setting and auto tracking). I have also found the time search and closed captioning to be very useful. And it’s always a plus to have the V-chip.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to have the same functions on the television itself as are on the remote control, not to mention the tracking that can be either automatic or manually done. And the best part was that it was on sale for $128. Okay, the best part for me was that it was a gift, but still.......
Edited to Add : Upon finding a link to move this greyed out review to, and doing so, I wanted to give a quick update. More than 10 years later, the television portion of this combo is still going strong. The picture and soundsare just as before, but the VCR portion has since died. When it began catching hold of and destroying every tape inserted, we felt it best to stop using it to watch videos with. Not wanting to toss the whole thing, we hooked a separate VCR up to it, so that the television can still be used.