Designed to convert your VHS tapes into DVDs and view the recordings at an upscaled quality. Able to integrate with a cable satellite box and connect to your TV with an HDMI cable. Can record live television.
Doesn't come with a remote and is priced around the less common VHS to DVD conversion feature.
From trusted electronics brand Sony, this combo player is a convenient way to watch your tapes and DVDs. Comes with a remote for easy menu navigation and is backed by an Amazon quality guarantee and replacement opportunity.
Only available as a preowned Amazon refurbished model, meaning it may arrive with a slight amount of wear.
Presents audio and video crisply in both formats. Has a recording feature for burning broadcasts onto tapes. Live TV can even be recorded while watching a DVD through the player. Easy to install and use.
Buttons are on the small side and may be difficult to navigate for those with poor eyesight.
Made for the multimedia consumer, this combo player can quickly be hooked up to compatible gaming devices. Solid picture quality and supported with an Amazon return guarantee. Outputs audio in stereo.
This is a heavier unit, weighing in at 5 pounds. Cannot be used to record live television onto VHS tapes.
This combo player has a high-speed rewind function for tapes and a remote to easily work through menus. Outputs in the highest possible audio and video for DVDs and VHS tapes. Subtitle look will match any entertainment console.
This is a heavier unit and has fewer audio and video output options than other combo players currently on the market.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Not long ago, it seemed like DVD-VCR combos were hopelessly outdated. But this powerhouse of technology, which plays and records both DVDs and videotapes, is still going strong.
Sales of DVD-only players alone are expected to grow, not shrink, over the next few years by as much as $31 million. And while VCRs don’t really catch the attention of market analysts, it’s clear that people still need and want the ability to watch and record VHS and DVD media.
If you’re looking for a way to digitize those old home movies, a DVD-VCR combo is just the device to handle those transfers. There are a few features to look for as you shop, and a good buying guide and recommendations can help inform your decision.
Buying a DVD-VCR combo can be tricky because no new models have been manufactured since 2016, when Funai, the last company to build these devices, ceased production. It’s still possible to buy a new, unused one from a seller who has warehoused a few units, but most likely you’ll be buying an aftermarket model.
A refurbished DVD-VCR combo is cleaned, inspected, and tested before shipping to a new customer. This sounds like a big advantage over buying a used model, but as with any aftermarket technology, you want to play it safe. Check seller ratings and user reviews to determine whether they’re shipping units that really are in good shape and work as advertised. Sometimes a used unit from a reliable seller with good reviews is a better option.
Digitize older formats: A common use of a DVD-VCR combo is transferring old home videos from magnetic VHS tapes to a digital format. That alone makes these units very desirable to families who want to digitize their parents’ and grandparents’ memories and preserve video and audio media much more reliably.
Watch older formats: DVD-VCR combos also allow you to watch older videos on VHS or older DVD formats (before Blu-ray, for example). In rural areas of the US, these older formats are still quite common in many households.
Own older formats: Younger generations are also seeking older DVDs and VHS copies of movies, and not just because old formats are trendy. Online streaming services competing with each other for rights to stream movies and television series have fragmented the online video market and made it difficult to find content both old and new. So viewers are rebuilding older-format video collections to ensure they won’t lose access to their favorite movies.
Player: If recording or transferring home videos isn’t your primary reason to own a DVD-VCR combo, consider a player-only model. This doesn’t have a recording function, but it allows you to enjoy your favorite VHS tapes, older DVDs, and MP3 CDs.
Recorder: However, if you’re looking for a recording function for both DVD and VCR, you need to check the model specs very carefully to make sure that the recording feature is available.
It’s probably worth mentioning that transferring old Hollywood movies from VHS to DVD, even for private use, is still a copyright violation and a big no-no. You should only use this function to transfer home movies that you or your family recorded.
A/V: All DVD-VCR combos have A/V ports with two or three connectors, allowing for a direct connection to a television with the same ports.
HDMI: Not all DVD-VCR combos have an HDMI port, while all newer HD TVs have them. Some TVs have HDMI ports only
USB: Later models are the most likely to include additional connection options, including USB. Check the TV’s available input ports.
Converter: There are converters that enable you to attach a DVD-VCR combo to an HD TV. Expect some trial and error, especially if the model you’re connecting is more than a decade older than your television.
Because the last DVD-VCR combos rolled off the line in 2016, the playback resolution for these models is noticeably lower than the 4K resolution we’re quickly accepting as the norm. Common HD formats are 480p and 720p, with a few models boasting 1080p, and just one model by Panasonic offering a Blu-ray player. Note that this video resolution is only on the DVD side. VHS resolution is measured in vertical lines rather than pixels, an artifact of the analog VHS world.
A VHS version of a Hollywood movie will still look good on your 55-inch HD TV as long as the tape is in good condition. Home videos tend to vary in resolution quality. Most were filmed at a slower speed (EP) to maximize the record time of pricey videotape. Unfortunately, these slower speeds contribute to wavering images and washed-out colors that a home VCR can’t correct.
Dual-deck combos, at first all VHS and later DVD-VCR combos, hit the US market in 1990 and remained high-priced sellers for 25 years.
The two “decks,” or input slots, are a DVD slot and a VHS slot. Each is sized for the media that will be inserted, so it’s tough to mistake one for the other.
VCR: On the VCR side, a VHS cassette, once inserted, slides into an aluminum cassette housing that holds the cassette in place as it’s lowered into position. A stationary magnetic head reads the tape as it spools past.
DVD: On the DVD side, a similar process occurs, but the reader is an optical sensor that uses a laser to read binary encoded patterns on the surface of the disc.
On older models, the controls including Stop, Play, Reverse, and Fast Forward are prominently displayed on the front of the device. A few models have separate playback controls under each deck, while others have a single interface and a toggle to switch between players. Newer high-end models have a sleek, simple design, and most of the controls are located on the remote control.
Record: This feature is the one that requires close attention when comparing models. Each DVD-VCR combo model has a different configuration for recording. Some are player-only on both decks. Others, especially earlier models, have a Record button only on the VCR side, allowing users to record onto VHS tape. Later models are more likely to have a DVD-R capability, allowing recording onto blank DVDs, as well as two-way recording between VHS and DVD.
Dolby sound: DVD-VCR combos made closer to the 2016 end-of-manufacture date feature higher-end sound quality on playback, including Dolby surround sound.
HD upscaling: This high-end feature bumps up the quality of video of older DVDs from 720p to 1080p.
Progressive scan: This technology helps produce a stable, flicker-free video image. It’s essential in HD upscaling.
An infrared remote control is a standard component that comes packaged with DVD-VCR combos. An all-in-one programmable remote might also work with your combo device.
The purpose of a multifunction infrared remote control is to reduce the number of remotes required to run your various devices. It can also take the place of a lost remote control.
While VHS tapes haven’t been manufactured since 2008, blank VHS tapes are still available through resellers.
Recordable DVDs are a core archival resource with an average lifespan of more than 30 years. It’s worth keeping a package of DVD-R discs near your DVD-VCR combo.
If your DVD-VCR combo doesn’t have an HDMI port but your HD TV does, there’s an adapter for that. It provides a compatible connection on each end so the two devices can work together.
Progressive scanning, an important component of DVD video playback, was developed in the 1930s, long before DVDs.
DVD-VCR combos are a diminishing resource, so expect to pay between $347 and $409 for a used but working model with lower resolution and fewer features.
You’ll find more features in devices in the $420 to $599 range, including HD upscaling and progressive scan, plenty of A/V ports, and more.
Refurbished units and VCR-to-DVD recording capabilities command top prices of $610 to $979.
A. Online streaming and cloud storage are hastening the demise of DVD players, and VCRs have been obsolete for many years. However, these reliable recording media aren’t completely dead because they can handle so many video formats that were plentiful and easy to find for decades.
A. If the DVD-VCR player still works but you want an updated model, consider donating the combo player to a charity that accepts household items. You’ll get a nice tax deduction at the end of the year. If the device doesn’t work, contact the nearest drop-off recycling center to safely dispose of the components, many of which are bad for the environment. Plenty of hobbyists are interested in dissecting nonworking DVD-VCR combos, so ask around before sending an old model to the scrap heap.
A. The biggest benefit, especially of a two-way recorder (one that records from DVD to VHS, and vice versa) is that video can be stored in either format. This is helpful for people who might only have a VCR but want to watch digital home videos. For those who want to preserve family videos on a longer-lasting format like DVDs, being able to record from one to the other is very desirable.
A. A VCR player is an older analog technology. Video is recorded on magnetic tape and played back using a magnetic reader, with no digitization used at all. DVD players use lasers to read the surface of the digital video disc and encoders to digitize the data that is read by the laser and prepare it for playback. That encoded data is decoded by components and software loaded into the DVD player and then transmitted to your television. A DVD-VCR player combo has completely different reader and playback technology on each side of the unit.
A. Take a photo of the connector ports on the back, side, or bottom of your HD TV. Compare the ports to the connection ports on your DVD-VCR player. If none of the ports match, which might happen because some HD TV models only have HDMI ports, you’ll need to purchase an adapter cable. One side of the adapter must have the same connector as your television’s input port; the other side must have the same connector as your DVD-VCR player’s output port.
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