Pros: Easy switching between VCR and DVD player, programmable, nice remote control.
Cons: Some programming aspects require a degree to understand and execute.
Im one step closer to catching up with the rest of the modern world. While it will be a long time before I ditch my trusted Go Video Dual Deck VCR set up, I couldnt pass up getting the JVC HR-XVC combo DVD and VCR deck for the livingroom. I came across it when I was doing a search for combo deck prices and this one had pretty good reviews and a lot of the options that I wanted. When I made my purchase I checked several of the reward programs that I do on a regular basis to see if I could get free shipping or points for my purchase and found a double score. Not only was I able to get free shipping [for purchases over $75.00] but My Points awarded me with 30 points for every dollar spent. The total price was $89.00 so I ended up getting 2,670 points, more than enough for a ten dollar gift certificate [but I am saving them up for something bigger!].
I dont go for complicated things that require you to have some degree to understand them. I am a plug and play person so most of the things that come with combo decks like this are nice and impressive but things that I rarely use. Most of the time it isnt until someone sits me down with the manual and goes through things that I actually understand them. I am not stupid but I openly admit that I am not the person that sits sown and reads things from start to finish when I am hooking something up. With that said, I had this hooked up and working in about five minutes. After having so many other DVD players and VCRs I knew the standard set up with the cables so I was able to bypass most of the stuff in the manual. The hardest thing you will have to contend with is programming shows and events and even that is pretty easy if you are taping the same thing over and over, if you are doing tons of shows on different stations at different times you might end up feeling like you want to throw the remote control through the window but for basic programming, this is fairly simple to work with.
JVC HR-XVC26 DVD Player / VCR Combo
One of the main reasons I purchased this was to make copies of DVDs to VHS. Before anyone starts ranting and raving about copyright infringement or anything of that nature, these tapes are for my own viewing and to save wear on the DVDs. This is also a great thing to have if you have kids that are less than gentle with DVDs, you can make copies of them on to a VHS tape and let them have their way with it. It is a lot cheaper than having to go and spend another ten to twenty dollars on a DVD and you can squeeze several movies on to one tape if you arent all that concerned with the overall tape quality. I did this with several of Annabelles DVDs after she got the bright idea [sarcasm] to clean her DVDs with Windex and a rather dirty towel. I combined a lot of her DVDs to several VHS tapes and most of the time these run all day long regardless of what she is doing around the house.
If you are looking for a combo deck that supports a wide variety of language options in regards to programming and on screen features, this is a great pick. I assumed that this only had English, French and Spanish but I was completely wrong. It will support over 80 languages from Icelandic to Finnish, Yourba to Sanskrit and even Tagalog. You can get this code list from page 27 of the instruction manual along with the two digit letters that you need. In order to have the one touch subtitle feature enabled you may have to play around with the remote control settings to automatically recognize and turn on the subtitle options. If you do not desire to have the subtitles shown you can turn it off, you can also adjust it so that the subtitles come on when the unit is placed in mute mode. This is a nice thing to have programmed in because you can still keep up with what is going on when you need to have the television silenced.
To power this remote you will need two AA sized batteries, these slide into the back of the remote and there is no safety latch so make sure you keep this out of the reach of younger children. You can control almost every aspect of the unit from the remote control including powering it off and on, switching between the VCR and DVD player, programming events, mute, channel selection, subtitles and playback modes [play, pause, fast forwards etc]. Some of these features require that you enter codes to program the television into the remote, this is easy to do and only takes a few minutes and can eliminate having a remote control to have to track down to change the volume or channel. It is a pretty big remote control but it can control almost everything that the unit can do. If you need to purchase a replacement remote control you may want to try to track down one that has all the features that this one has to get the most from it. You can also call JVC to see if they can send you an exact replacement remote control, their website is www.jvc.com and their toll free customer service number is  252-5722.
Since I have almost no clue about the different types of discs that are on the market, most of this information will be from the instruction manual directly. This unit will support and play back DVD video discs in the 8 cm and 12 cm size, audio CDs in 8 and 12 cm size, and all video CD and super video CDs bearing the compact disc digital video, compact disc super video, video CD and super video CD logos. It will also support some DVD RWs, CD and CD RW, MP3s recorded in the ISO 9660 format and SVCD. Almost every single disc I tried to play worked perfectly even those that had the d_Skin Protective Disc Skins on. The only time I had trouble was with dirty discs and after a quick cleaning they played perfectly.
The one thing that completely confused me about this was that it says that the DVD player will play discs marked with ALL, 1, 1 - 2, 1 - 2 -3 - 4, and 1 - 2 -3 - 4 - 5 - 6 in one section but in the one marked unplayable discs it says that it wont play discs that have a region number other than 1. To further complicate things there is another statement reading Only discs whose region number includes ֫ can be played back such as shown below [you then see five boxes with the above listed number / region combinations in it]. Talk about a contradiction. If you are going to play discs from other countries you may want to call JVC to ask them directly whether or not this unit will play discs from other areas before you make the purchase. Moreover, get the persons name in case there is a conflict and you need to make a return - this way you have some information to provide the store so you dont get hit with a restocking fee and if they do, contact JVC and tell them you were given the wrong information by a representative.
The VCR is pretty straight forward and easy to use for viewing and taping and you can make copies of most DVDs with no trouble. There are some that will have a copyguard on them but so far I have only had about three that wouldnt copy to a VHS tape. They playback of tapes is almost crystal clear and if you are making a copy from a DVD you wont notice much difference unless you have some high end video set up and if that is the case you wont be someone that will be screwing around with VHS tapes, youll be using a DVR or something that will give you a higher level of quality. You can switch back and forth between the VCR and DVD player easily and the on screen programming to record events walks you through the process from start to finish. Things do get complicated when you are programming in events that go from channel to channel or switch times and dates frequently.
I gave up trying to program this when the system locked up on me; I must have hit in the wrong sequence of numbers to record and the unit didnt like it one bit. When I called JVC about it the customer service representative [800-252-5722] said the easiest thing to do was to unplug the unit from the power source as well as disconnecting the line in antenna from it. There is an automatic clock format that reads the signal from a PBS station and this might be part of the reason why the unit was so screwed up and not letting me override the programming. You can have up to eight different programmed events at a time with up to thirty days of separation between them. Once one event has passed you can add another to the list, there is also an auto function to tape the same event over and over each day, a nice perk for soap opera or sports junkies.
This comes with a one year warranty for parts and a 90 day warranty for labor. It would be in your best interest to read the entire back page of the manual that comes with it so you know exactly what is covered and what isnt. One thing to know about this warranty is that it is only for the original owner of the unit so if you purchase it from someone on Ebay or an auction, chances are that JVC wont honor the warranty unless it is sold through an authorized seller. Like I state in most electronics reviews, if there is something that is going to go wrong with something like this, it is going to happen shortly after it is purchased. If that is the case then you can return it to where it was purchased for an exchange or refund. If it is defective then there shouldnt be a restocking fee involved - what store is going to restock something that is defective? On second thought, I dont want to know the answer to that.
The Bottom Line
For under a hundred dollars I picked up a great VCR DVD combo deck that lets me record things from the television, make copies of DVDs and is, for the most part, simple to operate. It does have a lot of cool features to it but most of them are things that I am never going to make use of. Its not all that big so most people will be able to have this on top of a floor model television without it taking up a lot of room. Same goes for those who have an entertainment or wall unit, it will fit inside it without taking up a lot of room. The manual walks you through setting up the VCR and DVD player but dont get scared by the size of it - 91 pages sounds like a lot but it does cover everything and every options and feature so some of it might not be something that you will use right away [if ever].
As always, thanks for the read!
~^V^~ Freak ~^V^~
© 2005 Freak369
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