Dvd/Vhs Combination Player

A DVD/VHS combination player allows consumers to keep their video collections while seamlessly adding new DVD technology.

It seems like the electronics world works on two different marketing strategies. Companies first introduce a new electronic gadget which does one thing extremely well. Back in the late 1960s, the first videotape players for home use were released and soon became very popular. Consumers seeking entertainment were no longer restricted to broadcast television schedules or movie theater releases. VCRs allowed individuals to select which movies they wanted to view and when they wanted to view them. In addition, video cameras allowed consumers to record their own home movies and replay them on normal television equipment.

Fast forward to the late 1990s when a new format called a Digital Video Disk (DVD) was released after year of trial and error with digital video player formats. DVDs offered features not available on standard VHS cassettes, such as scene selection, undistorted still shots and higher picture quality. As with other electronic technology, however, the problem was that many consumers had already amassed a huge number of VHS tapes and weren't willing to part with their VCRs entirely. Sales of new DVD players and disks have been strong, but many consumers still want to view their older video titles which may or may not be duplicated in the new DVD format.

This is where the second marketing strategy in electronics begins to shine. Much like the TV/VCR combinations or CD/cassette players, companies have released DVD/VHS combination players. Consumers can continue to watch their older titles in the VHS side, while musical CDs and DVDs can be played in the DVD side. A cable connection also allows cable signals to be routed through the player, which essentially works as a second cable box or tuner. Outputs often include multi-channel speakers for Dolby 5.1 surround sound.

Some critics of VHS/DVD combinations will suggest that they are not as good as the two elements sold separately. The consumer may end up with only the basic features of both a VCR and DVD and not the extras built into stand-alone models. This may be true on some of the lower-end combination models, but it is not the case with most midrange or high-end models. Essentially the VHS side of a combination unit has most of the functions of an older VCR. Tapes can be played at various recording speeds, programs can be recorded, timers can be set for automatic recording and a remote control can be used. What is sometimes missing in a combination unit is tracking control. Better VCR players usually feature a way to fix a jittery image through a tracking control button, but combination units may not have this option, or it may be combined with other functions.

The DVD technology in a combination unit is generally good. There are settings for various audio formats such as stereo 2.0 or Dolby 5.1, plus screensavers which can protect the screen during downtime. DVD remote controls offer a 2X or 4X zoom capability, which means the consumer can freeze a particular scene and then zoom into the headline of a newspaper or an actress' face or a significant background detail. Movies can be fast-forwarded at various speeds while still clearly in view. Individual scenes can be selected as a starting point without the hit-or-miss forwarding of videotape. DVDs often include alternative scenes, commentaries, bloopers and other special features not available on VHS versions.

A quality VHS/DVD combo can replace a bulky VCR and small DVD player with a unified piece of equipment. Consumers can keep a VHS movie in one slot, a DVD or CD in the other and continue to watch cable or broadcast television. A straightforward remote control can make the switch between all three viewing possibilities quickly. As technology progresses and DVDs continue to grow in popularity, the traditional VCR will eventually be phased out, rendering thousands of videotapes unwatchable. With a DVD/VHS combination, a consumer's personal home videos and treasured movies will always have a place next to today's technology.

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