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.
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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.
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.