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How do I Choose the Best Combined DVD Player and VHS Recorder?

J.M. Densing
J.M. Densing

Choosing the best combined DVD player and VHS recorder is a multi-step process. The first step is deciding what type of features, such as recording and playback options and sound capabilities, are desired. The next step is comparing models to find one that meets the needed specifications; some models are feature packed while others are relatively simple. It's also a good idea to research available units to find out which ones deliver the best performance for the appropriate price. Sometimes it's possible to get more for your money by finding a bargain in a close-out or sale.

As the technology ages, standalone VHS recorders have become more difficult to find. For those who have collections of VHS movies and other cassettes like home videos, a combination unit can be a good solution. A combined DVD player and VHS recorder allows video tapes to be viewed and has the ability to record television programs. Many units also have the ability to transfer VHS home video to DVDs; due to copyright laws, prerecorded movies can't be switched, however.

Standalone players for VHS tapes are fairly hard to find today.
Standalone players for VHS tapes are fairly hard to find today.

The first step in selecting a combined DVD player and VHS recorder is to decide on the necessary features. The VHS recorder part of the unit is usually fairly standard, so most optional features affect the DVD player. Most units have a typical VHS recorder that can record and playback video on VHS tapes with stereo sound as well as a clock, channel selection, and an automatic timed recording option.

There are more options to consider that affect the DVD player portion of the combo unit. An important feature is whether the device is restricted to playback only or if it can record to disc. It's a good idea to get a DVD player and VHS recorder combo unit that is capable of playing all formats such as DVD-R and DVD-RW, or rewritable, as well as the different CD types. Models that have recording capability can be used to transfer home videos on VHS tape to DVD, and many can record television programs directly to disc. It's also important to consider sound capabilities which can vary from stereo to digital surround sound. Video capability is also important, for example, such as if the unit can play high definition visuals or just standard.

Once desired features have been chosen, the next step in the process is to find a DVD player and VHS recorder combo that meets the required specifications. Once the choices have been narrowed down, it's usually smart to research them a bit to find out which ones have the best ratings, reviews, and reliable performance. This will help to get the most out of the investment by locating a model that will provide years of enjoyment. It may also possible to find a higher quality combo unit for a lower price by looking for deals like a factory close-out or other sales.

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Discussion Comments


@Soulfox -- I'm not sure if VHS tapes can be upscaled and I'm not sure it would matter even if they could be. Yes, DVDs look good scaled up to HD, but VHS tapes will still be problematic because the resolution is so low.

At any rate, if you do want to hook up a DVD/VHS combo to an HDTV set, an HDMI cable is nice but I don't know if it is necessary. A lot of people have those units hooked up to their HDTV sets with those old "yellow, red and white" cables and they look just fine.


Another important consideration is whether the DVD/VCR combo has an HDMI port and can upscale video to HDTV. Such a unit will provide the best picture your VHS tapes and DVDs can manage.

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    • Standalone players for VHS tapes are fairly hard to find today.
      By: windu
      Standalone players for VHS tapes are fairly hard to find today.