Pros: Clear picture, High sound range, Can play DVD's, CD's and VHS tapes
Cons: Kind of bulky, Can't record from DVD to VCR (or vice versa)
Five years ago, we had to give away our little 13" TV/VCR combo that had sat in my bedroom since college. Since we now had a miniature video lover in our household who enjoyed both VHS and DVD's, we thought it would be a good idea to get a machine that could play both, giving us less machines and cords in our room. My husband also thought it would be a good idea to get something larger than 13 inches. Of all the machines we looked at that were in our price range (under $300), the best deal was on a Panasonic PV-DF2004 20 inch TV/VCR/DVD Combo.
Definitely bigger than a breadbox
Unlike most of the flat screens people can find today, the Panasonic PV-DF2004 takes up a lot of space, especially when you take into consideration that a 20 inch screen is not very big. The base of this television measures about 24" x 20" and the set is almost 21 inches high, so you will need to make sure you have a pretty wide shelf/entertainment center/dresser to set this on. Since the Panasonic PV-DF2004 TV/VCR/DVD Combo also weighs a little over 66 pounds, whatever you set it on will need to be pretty sturdy.
More Basic Info
This set has a flat screen, but don't confuse it with a flat panel/tube type of television. The speakers run along the right and left sides of the screen, and the DVD and VCR inserts are just below the screen, with manual buttons beneath for changing the channels, volume, and playing videos and discs (both DVD and CD). In addition to video and audio input plugs on the back of the set, there are plugs for these on the front bottom-left corner. I have found this to be very convenient when plugging in kids' video games or my ancient video camera.
Watching shows on the Panasonic PV-DF2004
The manual doesn't tell me what the resolution is, but I can say that If I am standing a foot away from this television, I can see the tiny little squares making up the pictures. From five feet away, however, I can not see them at all. Even better is the fact that the picture stays equally visible from all angles. A lot of flat screens have the issue that if you view them from a wider angle, the picture is distorted, but the Panasonic PV-DF2004 does not have this problem.
The speakers have a 2 x 3 Watt power, which means absolutely nothing to me. What I do know about them, however, is that they get incredibly loud. The volume level goes up to about 30, and we usually don't go over 11, so I assume that if you are looking to imitate a war zone decibel when playing games on the Panasonic PV-DF2004, it should be easy to do.
If you feel the need to change color, brightness, or contrast, that is all done via the remote control. Actually, there are many things that can only be done on this television set with the remote control (including adjusting the tracking on the VCR), so you should be careful never to lose it.
The VCR Function
Until we got our DVR, we used the VCR much more heavily than the DVD player. I was constantly recording shows from the television (LOST and General Hospital for me, Little Einsteins and Roly Poly Olie for the little one) and playing them back. The VCR on the Panasonic PV-DF2004 is a four head, Hi-Fi Stereo one with a timer that can program up to eight recordings at a time. Programming a show is a pretty quick process, and can be done only by using the remote control.
By pushing the CM/ZERO button on the remote control while watching a program you have taped, you can skip commercials. Each press of the button will skip you forward one minute, up to a total of three minutes at a time.
There is really nothing remarkable about the DVD player on this machine compared to any other DVD player. You put the DVD in, and it will play it. If you have a mini-DVD, it will play that as well. Sometimes it takes ten seconds, instead of two, for the disc slot to open, but my life is not so complicated that those extra seconds will greatly inconvenience me.
The remote control has buttons for selecting Language, Subtitles, Zooming, viewing from Multiple Angles, and Virtual Surround Sound, assuming the discs have these features, so you don't have to go to the disc's menu screen in order to select them. This is a nice perk when watching a movie and suddenly deciding you would like to change the language or add subtitles (the two options we most use).
How the Panasonic PV-DF2004 holds up five years later
I am really impressed with this TV/VCR/DVD combo. In five years, we have not had one problem with it. I was a little concerned when we bought it, because I had heard warnings that when you buy a combo, if one part goes kaput, so does the whole thing, but luckily we have not had a problem. Switching back and forth between watching a show on this television set and our older one, I am amazed at the higher picture quality. The only complaints I have after five years of daily use are that the combo set is heavy and that the range on the remote control is a little narrow by modern standards.
Due to its relatively small picture size and bulky stature, I would not recommend this as the "big/main" t.v. for your living room, or for the "small" t.v. for your kitchen. The size is ideal for a bedroom though, either for a teenager, guest or master bedroom (assuming you are not looking for a gigantic television in your master bedroom).
If you are looking to buy a smaller screened combo set with good picture and sound, the Panasonic PV-DF2004 is an excellent choice.