Frequently Asked Questions about VHS, VCR and VCR/DVD Combo Machines
What is the refurbishment process for VCRs and VCR-DVD Combos sold on this website?
After selling hundreds of machines, we have developed a multi-step process for every VCR and Combo that we sell. These are the steps we perform as a minimum to every machine (if you were to buy a machine on eBay or a thrift store, it's likely that none of this has been done):
- All exterior surfaces are meticulously cleaned. All accumulated dust is removed with a high-pressure air-blower (keep in mind that some of these machines are over 20 years old). Display windows are polished when necessary.
- Each machine is inspected internally for loose parts and debris (it's amazing how many machines have small toys that have found their way inside). Accumulated dust is removed with a high-pressure air-blower.
- Every part that touches the tape is cleaned with approved solvents. This includes the rotating tape head, the audio and erase heads, tape guides, capstan, and pinch roller.
- Critical moving parts are re-lubricated if needed.
- Playback quality is tested using several tapes that have varying degrees of quality and degradation. It's likely that you have home-recorded tapes and old movies that may have deteriorated over time. We make sure that every machine is capable of playing all of these with acceptable quality. Some machines are too worn out to play a marginal home-recorded tape and we don't offer them for sale.
- Transport functions are fully tested. This includes the ability to Play, Pause, Forward Search, Reverse Search, Fast Forward to the end, and Rewind to the beginning. This validates that all moving parts including gears and belts are fully functional.
- All front-panel buttons are remote control buttons are tested.
- On combos with a DVD drive, the laser lens is cleaned, DVD tray is verified for opening and closing, and moving parts in the DVD drive are re-lubricated when necessary.
- All machines are packed for shipment in new boxes with plenty of new bubble-wrap. Remote Controls (when provided) include new batteries. AV Cables are included with every machine.
Do your products come with a warranty?
We take the risk out of buying vintage technology. Every VCR, VCR/DVD Combo, and DVD Recorder we sell has a 90-day money-back warranty for functional defects.
What is the difference between a VHS Player and a VCR?
All "VHS Players" are VCR machines (Video Cassette Recorders) or Video Cassette Players (VCP).
VHS is a tape format. VHS stands for Video Home System. VHS was based on an open standard developed by JVC in 1976. VHS became the prevalent home videocassette format worldwide, winning the Beta (Betamax developed by Sony and launched in 1975) vs. VHS format war, known historically as the "Video Tape Format War".
Can I transfer a VHS tape to DVD with any VCR/DVD Combo Machine?
Not every VCR/DVD Combo machine is capable of recording to a DVD. I made this mistaken assumption with the very first combo I bought for myself years ago at a Goodwill store (plus the VCR side didn't work properly).
We differentiate the capability for the DVD side to record by including the word Recorder or Player in the product description.
VCR/DVD Recorder Combos CAN be used to transfer home-recorded VHS tapes to a DVD. Some machines only record to DVD-R or RW disks while others also record to a DVD+R or +RW disk. Keep in mind that commercially recorded VHS movies have copy-protection and cannot be transferred to DVD with any Combo machine. VCR/DVD Recorder Combos often sell out quickly because they are in such high demand. See all of our available and previously sold VCR/DVD Recorder Combos HERE.
In contrast, VCR/DVD Player Combos CANNOT record to a DVD. See all of our available and previously sold VCR/DVD Player Combos HERE.
Does anyone still make VCR or VCR/DVD Combo Machines?
The simple answer is no. VCR sales peaked in 1985 before a slow decline by 2000 due to the introduction of DVDs. JVC stopped selling stand-alone VCRs in 2008 but sold combos for several years after that. Panasonic stopped selling VCRs in 2012 but the most recent one we ever came across was made in 2005. And the last blank VHS tapes ever made was in 2008.
By the late 1990s, brands like Magnavox, Emerson, Sanyo, Sylvania, Symphonic, and others outsourced their manufacturing to Funai. Funai sold a peak of 15 million VCRs per year but by 2015 it diminished to 750,000. The last VCR product - VCR-DVD Combo model FWDV225F - was manufactured by Funai under the Sanyo name in 2016. However, it's rare to come across any Funai-made combos newer than 2010 as they became increasingly rare.
Do retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, Target and Amazon still sell VCR or or VCR-DVD Combo machines?
These retailers no longer sell VCRs or Combos because they are not made anymore. Most of the VCR links you see in search engines to major retailer sites are "click bait" and do not actually go to a VCR-product page. If you see any listed on their websites, the are being sold by other merchants who market products on their sites. These products are either used or old stock.
Are there any VCR/DVD Combos that play Blue-ray disks?
None of the combos were every designed to play Blue-ray format disks. You need to have a separate DVD/Blue-ray player for this purpose.
Can I play a PAL videotape or DVD on machines sold on this site?
We generally only have machines which play NTSC format. That is the format used in North America. They will not play PAL formatted tapes or DVDs. We occasionally get DVD Recorders that can be hacked into playing DVDs from all regions and we list them as such when we get them. But we've never seen a multi-format VCR or VCR-DVD Combo.
My Smart TV only has HDMI inputs. What do I need to connect a VCR or VCR/DVD combo unit to my Smart TV?
Fortunately, we sell a solution to connect a vintage VCR or VCR/DVD Combo to your modern TV if it does not have A/V Inputs. See our HDMI Converter Bundle HERE.
What is the difference between a Stereo VCR and a Mono VCR?
A Stereo VCR can play tapes in stereo (if they were recorded that way), with separate Left and Right channel outputs. They also have higher fidelity (more lows and highs) than Mono machines and are thus called "Hi-Fi Stereo".
All stereo tapes are recorded with an additional Mono (monaural) track which has the left and right channel sound mixed into one so they can play on Mono machines. Tapes recorded in Mono can also play on Stereo machines because they can read the Mono track. Older TVs only had one speaker so Mono that was perfectly fine. In the old days the only way to connect a VCR to a TV was by connecting it to the antenna input and tuning the TV to channel 3 or 4. It was only possible to get Mono sound using this method.
If you have home-recorded tapes that were made with a camcorder they are likely Mono. Mono machines are generally less expensive than Stereo machines because they require less parts. Mono machines can have the same picture quality as Stereo machines.
Some VCR/DVD Combos have Mono sound on the VCR side (in particular many Magnavox, Sylvania, Sanyo, Funai Combos), while most others have Stereo sound. We always list whether a machine is Stereo or Mono in our product descriptions.