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Combo DVD VCR Buying Guide

With dozens of DVD VCR combo players on the market and even more models to choose from, finding a cheap combo DVD VCR in your budget can be a daunting task. Just figuring out which model is appropriate for your needs, and then comparing DVD VCR combo prices can be trying, especially when you're approached with hard sales pitches, manufacturer claims, and customer reviews. Where do you even start?

This guide is designed to help you eliminate that frustration by explaining the features you should understand when shopping for a cheap combo DVD VCR. The guide will also help you compare DVD VCR combo prices to ensure you find the lowest price once you are ready to make your purchase.

Learn which features make up the best DVD VCR combos

The first step is to understand the array of different feature options that are available. Once you understand the features that are important to you, shopping for a cheap combo DVD VCR in your budget will be much easier.

Important DVD player feature considerations

When searching for a cheap combo DVD VCR in your budget, you should understand which of these DVD player centric features are important to you:

Scan type

The scan type is an extremely important consideration because it determines how the picture is generated onto your TV. There are two types of scan types you should be aware of: Interlaced and Progressive scan. Interlaced scan generates a picture onto your TV by making two separate passes, while Progressive scan draws a picture in one single pass. Without being technical, Progressive scan produces the better picture.

Video outputs

DVD players can come in Composite, S-Video, and Component outputs. While most DVD players include Composite output, S-Video provides a higher resolution picture. The best DVD VCR combos include Component output, which can deliver HFTV resolution and the best possible color reproduction.

Supported formats

DVD players can play more than just DVDs. If you are interested in playing music too, most DVD players support CD, and CD-R formats. As you move up the ladder, some DVD players support MP3-encoded music on CD-R disks. The best DVD VCR combos are capable of playing back any of the following audio and video format discs, including CD-RW, CD, DVD+RW, DVD+R, VCD, SVCD, Picture CD, and DVD Video.

Remote control

The remote control is the most important connection between you and your DVD player. Especially since you will be operating the remote in dark conditions, you may want to opt for a remote that includes a backlight. Of equal importance, there are three types of available remotes, and you should be familiar with each one:

Basic
Basic remotes perform simple functions, such as power on/off, channel navigation, and volume control. Expect a basic remote to control ONLY the elements of a DVD player that you can set up.

Advanced
Advanced remotes perform the same functions as a basic remote, but they also include the ability to control many devices of the same brand. For example, if you own a JVC DVD player, your remote control will also be able to control your JVC TV.

Universal
Some of the best DVD players come with a universal remote, which can perform the same functions as an advanced remote, but also include the ability to control devices of different brands through a "learning capability".

DVD recorder

Some of the best DVD VCR combos have the ability to record to a DVD-R/RW, or DVD-R disc. If you want to record your favorite shows or movies, home videos, or transfer a VHS tape to DVD format, make sure your DVD VCR combo has this feature.

Disc capacity

Although a small consideration, the best DVD players are capable of holding up to 300 DVDs at once. Most models have a disc capacity of between 1 and 5, while the higher end models have a greater capacity.

Important VCR feature considerations

When searching for a cheap combo DVD VCR in your budget, you should understand which of these VCR centric features are important to you:

Number of video heads

In general, the greater the number of heads, the better your VCR will be able to deliver pictures onto your television, as well as record video onto a VHS tape. Most of today's VCRs have 4 heads, which will provide you with great picture quality.

Automatic head cleaner

Some of the best price VCRs can clean the video head automatically at routine intervals. This prevents dust and debris from accumulating and degrading the picture quality.

Search functions

Search functions allow you to better navigate between commercials, specific scenes, or entire segments of movies. Some of the VCR search functions to keep an eye out for include:

Commercial advance - allows you to advance through commercials quickly.

Frame advance - allows you to play back parts of a movie frame-by-frame.

Instant review - allows you to instantly rewind and replay a scene or segment of a movie.

Index search - allows you to assign numbers to particular scenes or segments of a movie, and then use your remote control to navigate forward or backward to those segments later on.

Audio/video inputs and outputs

Audio/video inputs and outputs allow you to connect other devices to your VCR, such as video game consoles, home audio systems, stereos, other VCRs, or camcorders. Look for models with front-panel AV jacks, as they make setup much more convenient.

Auto clock set

Although not the most important feature, some VCRs can automatically set your clock based on signals from specific television channels.

Audio format

If sound quality is important to you, keep the audio format in mind, which comes in either Mono or Stereo. Mono is a single channel of sound that is played through one speaker, while Stereo is two channels of sound that is played through two speakers. The best price VCRs offer Stereo sound, which will allow you to get the best performance out of your existing home audio system.

Recording speeds

VCRs can record in up to three different formats, including single play (SP), long play (LP), or extended play (EP). You'll achieve the highest quality recordings with SP, so make sure your VCR is capable of this or at least LP.