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).
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.
• 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.