JVC HR-XVC25U D-VHS Deck Reviewed

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Let's be straight here. Anyone who reads this publication knows that we don't cover analog media devices--even digitally encrypted D-VHS devices. How can we support anything that competes with the DVD format?

So why are we covering DVD/VHS combos? Well, for you. That's right, YOU. The one holding this magazine reading this review. As the editor of this publication I must continually monitor trends in the industry, both buying and manufacturing. This helps determine what we will cover from month-to-month.

Additional Resources
• Read more source component reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Find a receiver to pair with this source.
• See more about the audiophile world at AudiophileReview.com.
• Discuss all kinds of gear at hometheaterequipment.com.

Those late adopters of DVD technology reluctant to replace their VCR have been intrigued by the notion that they could have the best of both worlds in one single component. Well, in theory at least. Some combo units sacrifice features and performance between one or the other so in some cases you wind up with a mediocre DVD player and half-wit VCR.

Regardless, many consumers are flocking to retailers in droves to purchase combination units. This idea is supported by the Consumer Electronics Association, as sales of these units are in the millions.

Ultimately this means that combo players are being sold, so we decided we would do what we could to help you with your buying decision.

The JVC HR-XVC25U is an impressive unit on paper with a host of features on both DVD and VHS fronts. So we called one in to see if it could live up to its marketing.

Unique Features
The JVC HR-XVC25U is a well-rounded combo unit abounding with features. First, the DVD section of this unit is a progressive scan player, able to play DVD Video, Video CDs, CDs, MP3, WMA and JPEG picture CDs. The ability to play picture CDs has become a very popular feature with many consumers. It is an excellent way to share and view digital photo albums.

The HR-XVC25U also has a built-in Dolby Digital decoder and offers both digital coaxial and digital optical (TosLink) outputs. It is important to note that many manufacturers and models do not include both types of digital audio outputs
as a means of saving money. This may be a deciding factor in your buying decision.

Also on the DVD side are component, composite and S-Video outputs. This will insure connectivity with any television today and allow for future compatibility tomorrow.

The feature set of the DVD section offers features that bring new meaning to the words "home entertainment." The player can play various media formats in repeat, random or program modes and offer zooming on both DVD movies and JPEG CDs, also allowing for changing angles on JPEG CDs. In addition, the unit will also play karaoke discs. (Yeah, baby.) The unit also has a built in child lock function.

Moving to the analog portion of this player (the VCR), we find a well-rounded feature set including frontal composite video inputs, auto tracking, marker, jump and search functions, commercial skip in 30 second increments (to fast forward commercials during tape playback), and a VHS Unlimited function that repeats tape playback over and over. The unit also has a built-in 181-channel tuner.

Read more about the HR-XVC25U on Page 2.

HTR Product Rating for JVC HR-XVC25U D-VHS Deck

Criteria Rating

Performance

3

Value

3

Overall

3

Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.


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The remote control supplied with the HR-XVC25U is absolutely outstanding. It is not a learning remote, but it does have codes to control many basic functions of most televisions today. The remote features large glowing buttons for popular functions and is laid out into sections that make for quick and intuitive operation. JVC could have very well taken a shortcut here, but chose instead to take the road
less traveled. (Big points with me.)

Installation/Setup/Ease of Use
The JVC HR-XVC25U is as easy to install as can be expected. The connections are easily accessible, not recessed in the chassis like
some VCRs tend to be. I connected the RF (coaxial) in and out through my satellite cable box (making the unit a slave to my cable box) for easy recording and tape playback.

The video connections for the DVD player were made using the component video output into my Integra Research pre/pro. I used an AudioQuest digital optical connection for the audio.

The setup menu in the HR-XVC25U is simple to understand and easy to navigate. Auto programming of cable channels was a snap and setting the clock and time/date was also easy. The unit does not have VCR Plus+ built-in, so recording to VHS may be tricky--I happen to have a TiVo system, so this is not an issue for me. Here again, the remote played a key role in the overall ease of setup. I did not find myself constantly scanning for buttons as I did with the Philips (also reviewed in this issue).

Final Take
Before we put together this roundup of DVD/VHS combo units, I couldn't imagine myself ever being in the market for a combo unit. However, my experience with the HR-XVC25U from JVC has somewhat altered my thought process and opened ideas up of where I could use such a unit--or perhaps who in my family could use such a unit.

Video playback in VHS mode was actually decent as far as analog tapes go. (Understand my bias towards digital media.) The auto tracking was excellent and the search options worked quite well. The rewind and fast forward functions were also relatively quiet.

The DVD portion of this player was excellent full of features and has an excellent deinterlacing capability. The progressive scan 2/3 pull down was also quite good, though I did notice a frame dropout twice--an acceptable margin.

My reference Integra Research 8.2 doesn't offer the features and functions of the JVC and it is nearly four times the price. I found the features such as zoom and JPEG image playback to be fun and useful. (Actually, I'm now looking for a DVD player just for playing JPEG images.)

I did not have the opportunity to test the karaoke functions. Oddly, my collection of Garth Brooks karaoke discs disappeared while I was searching for my microphone.

In ten years of reviewing audio/video components, this is my first experience reviewing a JVC product. Even though it is a base-category product, the experience has been a positive one and will undoubtedly leave me with a lasting impression.

Additional Resources
• Read more source component reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Find a receiver to pair with this source.
• See more about the audiophile world at AudiophileReview.com.
• Discuss all kinds of gear at hometheaterequipment.com.

JVC HR-XVC25U
Digital Direct Progressive Scan Output
Plays DVD Video, CD, CD-R/RW,
WMA,JPEG(CD-R),VCD,
MP3(CD-R/RW) and VHS
24-bit/192kHz Audio D/A Converter
Component Video, Composite Video,
S-Video terminals and RF Outputs
Optical and Coaxial Digital Audio Outputs
Spatializer N-2-2 Virtual Surround
Marker, Jump, and Search Functions
Hi-Fi VHS Stereo with MTS Decoder
1-Month/ 8 Event Programmable Timer
Auto Clock Setting and Auto Timer Setting
Commercial Skip Search
DVD Component Video output
Variable Slow Playback (1/2x-1/7x)
Child Lock
16-15/16"W x 3-7/8"H x 9-13/16"D
Warranty: 1 year part parts/90 days labor
MSRP: $249

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