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VCR Buying Guide
Video Cassette Recorders or VCRs, we all know what these are, I'm su...
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VCR Buying Guide

Video Cassette Recorders or VCRs, we all know what these are, I'm sure everyone out there reading this has owned one at some point in their lives, or possibly not as they are pretty much becoming extinct in favor of DVDs and other high end video media.

VCRs once enjoyed an immense world wide popularity as the format of choice for video. They were and are still used today as a way a watching movies, recording TV shows and pretty much any other video that could be recorded. The advent of video rentals really pushed the success of the VCR over the top, and there it remained for many years, but as with any technology something else came along and trumped it. That was of course the DVD that we know today, but surprisingly there are many VCRs still in use today as the format was so popular that many people just didn't want to or couldn't replace all of their tapes with the new DVD versions. I myself still have a VCR, it's mostly kids movies now that are played on it, but it is still very much in use in our household, and I'm sure the same holds true for many out there.

Since they were so popular many people also bought video cameras that recorded to VHS tapes, it was easy to just pop the tape in and watch you home movies. That and the cost of replacing studio movies with DVDs are the main reasons that they are still around today. Sure you can transfer those movies to digital format, but that can be costly if you don't know how to do it, and of course it is a very time consuming process.

Even though the format has all but faded away, there still is some consumer demand for them and thus they are still available to be purchased. Of course you won't find as large of a selection of VCRs as DVD players, but they are still there if you need one to replace your aging product.

These days you can find VCRs selling very cheaply, and you can even find very expensive ones as well, which type you'll need will depend on what features you want and need in your VCR.

There comes a time when products die, it's a fact of life and we need to replace them, most times just a basic model will do, but some of use prefer ones with more features and the ability to do other things.

Since DVDs are so popular one of the most convenient products out there is the combo version VCR. The combo version allows you to play both your VHS tapes and DVDs in one unit, this is very nice for those that want to upgrade to DVDs but yet have amassed a large collection of VHS tapes that they don't want to part with just yet.

When going out to purchase a VCR you're going to quickly find that many of the major manufacturers don't even make them anymore, so oftentimes you'll find that you are very limited to a selection of lower end off brand models in stores. What you will find a lot of though are the combo models I already mentioned, and usually they are your best bet because of the added functionality of being able to play DVDs as well as VHS tapes.

Older VCRs usually included TV tuners built into them, chances are you won't find a stand alone VCR now with a TV tuner built in, they just play tapes and that's about it. If you happen to find one with a TV Tuner built in though you'll need to make sure it's digital compliant because in the beginning of 2009 there will no longer be analog signals broadcast over the air.

There are a few features that I would look for when purchasing a VCR or combo.

A remote comes with anything standard anymore, but not a universal remote, it's nice to have the ability to control all of your devices with one remote.

Front input jacks are very convenient as well, with your audio and video jacks on the front of the unit you won't have to reach around to plug things in like your camcorder.

Connectivity as well is something to think about, while most will have standard RCA style audio/video outputs, some will come with S-Video, HDMI and optical as well, so if you need those features make sure you check out the product specs before buying.

Of course if you're specifically looking at a combo, then make sure it up-converts to HD if you need it, or has progressive scan.

There are many features to look for when purchasing a product like this, what you'll need is determined by your own setup, just be sure to double check everything before your purchase.

Honestly the best choice is the combo DVD/VCR, there you'll have many choices and features to choose from including the ability to play HD content from the DVDs so you can fully enjoy your movie experience. These higher end combos are essentially a high end DVD player with the built-in functions of the VCR coming is as a secondary part of the product, these products allow the consumer the best of the both worlds.

While you won't really find reviews of stand alone VCRs out there today, you will find numerous reviews of the combo style of products so you'll be able to easily find out which ones are worth your money. These combo styles have remained very popular, even with VHS becoming obsolete, as people want the new yet still want to be able to play the old

Panasonic actually just introduced a combo Blu Ray/ VHS player in August of 2008, so you can see that the VHS format is still very popular, popular enough to warrant large companies to still pay attention to it!

Your best bet when deciding on which product to buy is to do a bit of research and talk to other people, see what they think of a particular product, you can gain a lot of information just by joining a chat about a particular product and many of your answers can be easily had just by asking a question.


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