Pros: Spectacular picture quality, several picture-enhancing settings, top-of-the-line features
Cons: Magnets that hold the swing-up/down front panel
After deciding to replace our entire home theater system, I looked around for what would probably be the last VCR I'll buy, with VHS on the way out. I wanted an S-VHS VCR, since I had the first-ever S-VHS machine in the 80s (JVC's HR-S7000) and several tapes made with it and other later S-VHS machines. And I wanted excellent picture quality so I could capture video with a computer and copy it to DVD.
The HR-S9911 does everything I need, and it exceeds every expectation I had for it. The picture quality, even from old VHS tapes, is nothing short of outstanding. Features include everything you'd expect from a top-of-the-line VCR, such as Hi-Fi stereo and MTS decoder, flying erase head, insert editing, automatic tracking, automatic clock setting (which DOES work on my cable system), S-VHS ET, cable-box "eye", and jog/shuttle controls.
But the really impressive feature of this VCR is its spectacular picture quality. It's really good enough to keep mentioning, and I've had flawless results using this VCR as a source of video capture (and DVD creation) with my computer (Asus A8N SLI Deluxe, MSI 6600 ViVo, Athlon 3700 San Diego). Although the time-base corrector isn't the same as the full-frame types used in professional studios, it still has a 4MB frame memory, and it removes all "jitter" from any tape, making it ideal for video capture. You can also enhance the picture quality with several noise-reduction and picture-enhancement settings. And this kind of picture quality doesn't hurt for plain taping and viewing, either. :)
My only minor complaint is that I'm not crazy about the swing-up/down front panel, or the fact that it's held in a vertical position by tiny magnets on each side of the tape door. Couldn't JVC design spring-loaded detents? On the plus side, we keep the front panel down all the time (which then makes it look like the rest of the JVC equipment we have), and the magnets, luckily, aren't close enough, or large enough, to cause any tape signal loss.
Finally, every time I look at this VCR, I think about how happy I am with it, despite how much it costs---around $350 when I bought it. It's really THAT good. And it's probably the last of the truly great high-end VCRs.
PLEASE remember this: you will NOT get this kind of picture quality out of an average VCR, even if it can play S-VHS tapes, and even if you spend $150. Trust me on this one---the time-base corrector and video noise reduction settings make the difference. Don't buy a cheap VCR thinking that you'll be able to use it for video archiving, because you'll be disappointed.
If you want uncompromising picture quality and the best in features, look no further.
PS...Epinion's image (at the top of the page) does not show the HR-S9911, which looks VERY different. See JVC's site for the correct image, or search the 'net for HR-S9911.