DVD recorder/VCR combination units can't be beat for low cost and convenience. Instead of having two separate components, this all-in-one makes set-up fast and easy (no extra cords to fool with). It's an ideal choice for users who have a large collection of VHS tapes that they want to transfer over to DVD.
While commands and features vary somewhat from one model of DVD recorder/VCR combo to the next, the basics are pretty much the same across the board. See the References and Resources sections for links to user manuals online where you can look up instructions for your specific model number.
Consult your user manual for detailed instructions and diagrams on how to connect your DVD recorder/VCR combo unit.
There are numerous custom hookups you can do, depending upon your personal preferences. You could run your cable or satellite box through it; hook it directly to your TV or other input source such as a camcorder, and/or run audio outs to your stereo for listening through your loudspeakers.
Plug in the unit and turn on the power. Press "Setup" on your remote control to access the set-up menu. This is where you will select your language preference, set the clock and preset channels (these can be imported from your cable or satellite box if you are using the DVD/VCR combo unit as your tuner).
To watch a DVD, set the "Input" selector on your remote to "DVD." You should now see the signal from the DVD player on screen. Open the disc tray and insert the DVD you wish to play. The auto-start function should start the disc playing automatically.
To watch a VHS tape, use the "Input" selector on your remote to choose "DVD/Video," then press "Select Video" to control the VCR. Insert a videotape into the player and press "Play" to begin playback.
To record from TV or cable to either DVD or VHS, set the "Input" selector on your remote to the unit you wish you record from. Flip to the channel you wish to record and press the "Record" button (or "Rec/Pause" on some models).
You can also set the recording timer in advance to record programs when you're away from home. Consult your user's manual for instructions specific to the model of recorder you own, as each has different capabilities.
To dub from DVD to VCR, or VCR to DVD, first insert a blank recordable disc or videocassette into the appropriate deck. If recording to DVD, allow a few minutes for the blank disc to format. If recording to VHS, make sure the tape is blank and not copy-protected (the plastic tab is not missing; if it is, cover it with a piece of tape).
Press "Setup" on your remote, then "Settings," then "Recording." Choose your recording mode, either "VCR >DVD" or "DVD >VCR." Press "Setup" to exit menu.
Select the recording mode and speed for the unit you will be recording onto. For example, if you're recording from VCR to DVD, the HQ mode is recommended. This ensures the best possible quality (helpful for worn VHS tapes); however, your recording time will be limited to about 1 to 2 hours per disc.
Put the unit you wish to record onto in "Rec/Pause" mode while you cue the unit you will be dubbing from. Find the start point and hit "Pause" on the dubbing unit.
Press "Dubbing" on your remote control to begin recording. (You can also perform this step manually if you prefer to edit the recording as you go. Simply use the "Pause" button" to edit out commercials, etc.)
Press "Stop" when you are finished recording. Add more chapters to the disc as desired by repeating steps 7-10.
Select "DVD Menu" then press "Finalize" when you're done recording on a DVD, or when the disc is full. This process may take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on how much information is on the disc.
Do not skip this step or the recorded DVD will not play back on standard DVD players.
Keep the unit in a cool, dry place away from dust, direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. If the machine is moved from a cold to warm environment, or is subjected to excessive humidity, moisture may condense on the lenses inside the unit. The player may not operate properly until all discs/tapes are removed and the moisture completely evaporates. To ensure optimum performance, clean the VCR heads and DVD recorder (with a special cleaning solution or cleaning tape/disc) after every 6 to 8 hours of use.
Allow plenty of room for the unit to breathe on the top and sides. DVD recorders get very hot when in use. Blocking the vents will cause the unit to overheat and could permanently damage your machine. Don't forget to finalise DVD discs when recording is complete. Recorded DVDs (except CD+R) will not play in a standard DVD player unless they have been finalised. Using this unit to duplicate copyrighted DVDs or VHS tapes for unauthorised use is prohibited by law.