There are several different types of VCR and VCR/DVD Combo machines that have been made over the years. This blog will discuss the various features of each type of machine.
VHS Videotape Machines (and what about Beta?)
We sell VHS VCR machines. This means they use VHS Tapes. VHS stands for Video Home System. VHS became the prevalent format worldwide, winning the Beta (Betamax developed by Sony) vs. VHS format war, known historically as the "videotape format war".
Fun facts: Sony ended production of Betamax recorders in 2002. Film studios stopped producing movies on VHS tape in 2006. The last VCR/DVD Combo machine was made in 2016 after selling only 750,000 in the previous year.
A VCR is a Video Cassette Recorder. It is capable of recording and playing video cassette tapes.
A Head picks up, records, or erases the magnetic signal on the videotape. VCRs have heads for the video signal that rotate on a cylindrical drum. Most machines have 2 or 4 Heads on this rotating drum. 4-Head VCRs are capable of a reasonable picture in scan, slow-motion and freeze-frame modes at any recorded speed. Most VCRs we sell were made after this feature became the standard, so all but the most budget-priced machines have it. A 2-Head VCR will generally have the same picture quality in "Play" mode as a 4-Head machine.
VCRs are also available with Hi-Fi Stereo (high-fidelity, left and right audio) or Mono (Monaural or one channel) sound capability. The product listings on this website will always indicate if the model has Hi-Fi Stereo or Mono-only capability.
A VCP is a Video Cassette Player. It can only play tapes that have been recorded on other machines or commercially produced pre-recorded tapes. A VCP cannot record. Because they ware designed to be budget-priced machines, they usually have Mono sound as well. See all VCPs HERE.
VCR/DVD Player Combo
This type of machine has a VCR as described above. It also has a DVD Player which cannot record. You CANNOT copy a video tape to a DVD with this type of machine. Some of these can copy a DVD to a Video Tape but that is really a useless feature today. Some of the budget-priced machines have Mono sound on the VCR side, and some of them have a VCP (video cassette player only) side. The product listings on this website will always list if the DVD side is a player and if it has a VCR or VCP with Stereo or Mono sound.
VCR/DVD Recorder Combo
This type of machine has a VCR as described above. It also has a DVD Recorder which CAN record. You CAN copy a home-recorded video tape to a DVD which makes it useful for VHS Tape Transfer to DVD. You can also attach a Camcorder, or Digital TV Converter Box to record on to a DVD. Some of these machines can only record to a DVD-R or DVD-RW, while others can only record to a DVD+R or DVD+RW, and some can record to all of these. The listings on this website will always list which recordable media can be used. See all VCR/DVD Recorder Combos HERE.
These do not have a VCR. They can be attached to an external VCR, Camcorder, or Digital TV Converter Box to record on to a DVD. Some of them can only record to a DVD-R or DVD-RW, while others can only record to a DVD+R or DVD+RW, and some can record to all of these. The listings on this website will always list which recordable media can be used. See all DVD Recorders HERE.
DVD Playback Capability in Vintage Machines
All of the above machines can play a variety of recorded DVDs. Please check our listings to see what range of media and files types can be played. Not every machine can play all of the following: CD, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW, JPEG, WMA, MP3, Picture CD, SVCD, or VCD. Some will not play recordable media, some will not play MP3 and/or WMA, some will not read JPEG (JPG) or VCD/SVCD files. None of them will play Blue-ray disks. The listings on this website will always specify which media and file type can be played.
Recording Live TV on a VCR or DVD Recorder
As of June 12, 2009, equipment with legacy analog tuners are unable to receive over-the-air broadcasts via antenna due to the transition to digital broadcasting. If you want to record off the air from any VCR and most DVD recorders you need to supply the signal from an "ATSC tuner" (Digital TV Converter) or the audio/video signal from another device. See Wikipedia article (link to Wikipedia article opens in a new page).
If you have any questions about any of the above information, please CONTACT US.