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How to Choose the Best DVD Recorder VCR Combo to Easily Convert Your VHS Tapes to DVD

Best DVD Recorder VCR Combo Featured

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:30 am

Are you in a hurry to convert your VHS tapes to DVD before they fall prey to mold attack and the ‘ravages of time’?

If so, you’ve some options to consider. The main option is connecting your VCR to a video capture device that is connected to a computer. Once the video footage is captured, you can edit it and then burn it to a DVD with a DVD writer.

This option would not suit many. If you don’t fancy converting VHS to DVD through a computer, then there’s an attractive option available.

Choose a DVD recorder VCR combo. This is the ideal solution if you don’t have access to a VCR and don’t want to edit the video in the VHS tape.

What is a DVD Recorder VCR Combo?

A DVD recorder VCR combo houses a VCR and a DVD recorder in the same unit. Such a combination saves you the trouble of buying a separate VCR and DVD recorder.

It has many functions. You can play a VHS tape or a DVD with it. The main function is however recording the contents of a VHS tape to DVD.

How Does a DVD Recorder VCR Combo Work?

First, you insert the VHS tape into the VCR compartment. Then you insert a blank DVD into the DVD recorder compartment.

Play the VHS tape and then press the record (or dub depending on the DVD recorder model) button on the DVD recorder. You don’t need to make any wired connection between the VCR and DVD recorder. That’s one of the main advantages you have with a DVD recorder VCR combo.

But then most feature the one-touch recording function.

Recording is done in real-time. If your tape is 2 hours in length, it would take 2 hours to record it to DVD.

So, if you’re looking forward to converting your collection of VHS tapes to DVD, you would need a supply of blank discs.

Most units can also record DVDs to VHS tapes. Of course, you can’t record commercial movies whether from VHS to DVD or DVD to VHS because of Macrovision protection.

Recording from a Camcorder to DVD

As AV in is available with a DVD recorder VCR combo, you can connect a camcorder through RCA or S-Video connections to DVD.

Just connect the AV out of the camcorder to the AV in of the DVD recorder unit.

You would have to refer to the operation manual for the detailed procedure.

If you have a mini-DV or Digital 8 you can use the DV in function in a limited number of DVD recorder VCR combo.

Choosing Blank DVD for Recording

Most of the DVD recorders would support DVD+/-R for recording. They’ll support DVD+/-RW as well.

It would be wise to choose a unit that supports both instead of one of them.

If you’re going to use an older DVD player, you’ve to be careful as to which disc type you choose. Some will accept only DVD+R or DVD-R only.


Different types of connections are available for you to play your VHS or DVD to a TV set. This will be useful when it comes to previewing your recording.

Connections available include RCA, S-Video, and component video, among others, as is on a standalone DVD player or DVD recorder.

As for recording from an external source (camcorder etc) RCA and S-Video are available.

What if you don’t have an analog TV set but an HDTV without analog connections? Well, you may want to choose a unit that comes with HDMI connectivity.

Most upgraded DVD recorder VCR combos come with HDMI connectivity. So, be sure when shopping for one, get the latest version available.

Recording Speed

The DVD recorder can offer you a variety of recording speeds ranging from SP, LP, and EP. A standard DVD can hold about 2 hours of video in Standard Play (SP) mode. You may still get a decent quality recording of up to 4 hours on a single disc under LP mode. Do this only if you don’t have spare discs.

Anyway, you would want the best quality recording for family memories. So, record in SP mode.

The recording speeds can be toggled with your remote control and selected on the menu on your TV screen.

Finalizing Recorded DVD

The recorded disc will play through the DVD recorder without any problem. However, if you would like to play it over another DVD player, then you would have to finalize the disc.

You can finalize the disc through the on-screen menu on your TV through the remote control.

Once you finalize the disc you can’t record on it any longer. Say, you recorded only twenty minutes of video on a DVD. If you don’t finalize the disc you can record more video on it. However, if you finalize it, no more recording is possible, although there’s still much recording space available.

What the DVD Recorder VCR Combo Can’t Do

The DVD recorder VCR combo can’t:

  • duplicate recorded discs
  • output recordings to external hard drives, pen drives or memory cards
  • record TV programs directly – it doesn’t have a built-in tuner – you’ll need to connect an external TV tuner to record TV shows

DVD Recorder VCR Combo Buying Ideas

Some of the units have been upgraded with HDMI connectivity. This would be convenient if you have an HDTV instead of an older analog TV.

Even if you have an analog TV, go for an HDMI model to future-proof your equipment.

Let’s now take a look at the best DVD recorder VCR combo.

Magnavox ZV427MG9 DVD Recorder VCR Combo with HDMI

This made-in-China DVD recorder VCR combo comes with HDMI output. It means you can connect it to your HDTV and your computer monitor which supports HDMI.

This NTSC DVD recorder VCR combo supports CD, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD, DVD+R, and DVD+RW playback.

It records on DVD+/-R and DVD+/-RW but not on CD-R or CD-RW.

Recording can be undertaken in the SP, HQ, LP, SLP, and EP modes.

You may also connect an external device like a camcorder and record to DVD.

Take a look at the video below to get an idea of how the unit works.

Check out the Magnavox ZV427MG9 DVD Recorder VCR Combo with HDMI.

To give you a general idea of how a VHS tape is recorded to DVD with this DVD recorder VCR combo, check out the video below.

Funai DVD Recorder VCR Combo

With the HDMI output in this DVD recorder and VCR combo, you get 1080p upconversion if you’re connecting it to your HDTV.

In other words, this version is the Funai Full HD Upconvert DVD recorder VCR combo,

Even so, output video quality depends on the video source. Don’t expect to get Full HD quality if you’re playing back a VHS tape to your HDTV through the HDMI port.

Recording works both ways – VCR to DVD and DVD to VCR.

The maximum recording time is 8 hours on a single disc. But be prepared for low-quality video if you choose this option.

There is a line-in recording facility if choose to record from cable or satellite TV.

The VCR is of the 4 Head Hi-Fi Stereo. While Magnavox accepts DVD+R and DVD-R for recording, the Funai DVD recorder VCR combo accepts only DVD-R. Take note of this shortcoming if you intend to purchase this unit. But then it wouldn’t matter as DVD-Rs are easily available.

Take a look at this video to learn more about the unit.

Check out the Amazon’s Choice Funai DVD Recorder VCR Combo.

Toshiba DVR620 DVD Recorder VCR Combo with DV input.

This DVD recorder VCR combo has the features of the above two units. However, it stands out in two aspects.

It comes with a DV input. In other words, it has an IEEE 1394 Firewire connection. How is this useful?

Well, you can connect your mini-DV or Digital8 camcorder to it and start recording. Of course, you would get higher quality video on your DVD. But then it works only for DVD recording and not VHS dubbing.

The unit supports DVD-R and DVD+R and their RW versions for disc recording.

It was mentioned earlier that you need to finalize your DVD after recording to play it on other devices. You’ll have to do it manually. Toshiba DVR620 comes with the auto-finalize feature, saving you the trouble. But then you may also choose to manually finalize your disc if you so prefer.

On top of that, you can play DivX and MP3 and WMA CDs.

Watch the video below to get an idea of how the unit works.

Check out the Toshiba DVR620 DVD Recorder VCR Combo.

Sanyo DVD Recorder VCR Combo

The Sanyo DVD recorder VCR combo does pretty much what its counterparts above can do.

For one, it comes with HDMI connectivity together with RCA and S-Video In/out.

5-Speed recording is available up to 6 hours.

Dolby Digital out is supported together with progressive scan video.

There’s also the parental lock feature if you’ve children around .

Here’s a quick demo of the Sanyo DVD recorder VCR combo.

Check out the Amazon’s Choice Sanyo DVD Recorder VCR Combo.

You’ve got an idea of among the best DVD recorder VCR combo units and how they work. You’re now ready to swing into action to convert your VHS tapes to DVD with any of them.

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