A Buying Guide for VCR Recorders

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A Buying Guide for VCR Recorders

There are many different types of VCR recorders. Most of the modern VCRs have recording capability as long as there is a blank tape available. It was once said that DVDs would replace the VCR, but with the advancements in VCRs, many people still use them or purchase a VCR and DVD combination. One reason why people are not willing to give up their VCRs is that they are less expensive. Buying a film on tape is much cheaper than buying one on DVD. Also, some films are still only available on VCR cassettes. Not all films have been converted to DVD yet, and some may never be. A VCR recorder can be found at electronics shops and online at eBay.

The films that are not recorded on DVD are films that were not particularly popular, but are considered cult classics within some groups. When purchasing a VCR, there are some properties that one needs to consider. There are many pros and cons to using a VCR or VCR and DVD combination, the age of the VCR also is important as are the features of the VCR.

Pros and Cons of a VCR

The VCR, or video cassette recorder, has both positive and negative aspects about it. Some of the advantages are that it is less expensive and most films are still available in cassette format. Some of the disadvantages are that tapes wear out and DVD players tend to have a clearer picture.

Type of Recorder



Video Cassette Recorder

Almost all films are available

Less expensive

Easier to diagnose problems

Easier to clean the heads

Videos are less expensive

Fast or instant play

Tapes can be easily recorded over

Avoids the "record once" rule

Tapes wear out

Needs to be cleaned more often

Dull picture

No high-definition

DVD Recorder

Clear picture

Ability to skip scenes

HD capable

DVDs have a longer life

Expensive to purchase recorder

Expensive discs

Discs can be scratched easily

Not all films recorded on DVD

The VCR, although its technology is older, does have its benefits. One of the major benefits are its cost and ease of use. Many older film watchers have difficulty getting used to the complexity of DVD recorders and players, making the VCR their preferred method of watching films. Also, a VCR tape is much easier to record over or be reused. If one wants to record over a DVD, the DVD has to be a special type of DVD, and the user needs a special type of recorder. Both of these are more expensive than the standard tape and video cassette recorder combination. This is one of the reasons why a DVD and VCR combination are commonly purchased. Another reason to purchase a VCR is that it can easily be connected to an older television without having to purchase converter cables.

Another major issue that is found with DVD recorders, and not VCRs, is the "record once" or "record never" features that many pay-per-view and premium cable channels now use. This technology keeps a DVD player from recording, but due to its low-tech approach, not the VCR. This is not to say that it is a good idea to bypass copyright clauses, but it is possible to do so with a VCR.

Age of the VCR

The age of the VCR purchased is an important factor. Older VCRs are not compatible with newer televisions, particularly the latest in LED or LCD flat-screen televisions. Special cables need to be purchased in order to make them work together. These converter cables can be difficult to find and expensive to buy. If a VCR is purchased, a way to avoid this is to make sure that it either comes with a VCR to USB cable, or an RCA switch. RCA switches can also be purchased separately if a VCR is an older version or more than one low-tech device needs to be connected to a high-tech television set.

Many VCRs are still manufactured and sold. The newer the equipment, the easier it is to connect to today's high-tech devices. Older VCR models, although very sturdy, do not have the ability to be connected directly to a computer or modern television. With older model VCRs, it is not just a matter of purchasing cables, rather the connections have changed so drastically that there are none that connect. It is rare to find a video cassette recorder this old and still works, but it is possible.

One positive aspect about an older video cassette recorder is that if there is an older television in the household, then it connects just fine. An older telly does not have the connections that many of the newer ones do, making an older VCR and an older telly a perfect match. Many people still have at least one older television. These older televisions are often found in children's rooms. Since a VCR tape is difficult for a child to break, and DVDs are sometimes difficult for a child to handle and scratch easily, an older television VCR combination is perfect, particularly for children who may damage an expensive DVD.

Features of a VCR

Many video cassette recorders have features that are easy to use and helpful. Features like slow, step forward, and slow play are all useful. A VCR can have many special effects that make a tape viewing experience more practical and pleasurable.

VCR Heads and Their Differences

There are video cassette recorders with one, two, and four heads. The one- and two-head recorders have low-quality recording and playback. Many of the two-head VCRs are older and do not have the same features as a VCR with four heads. If a two-head VCR does contain the same special features, they do not work nearly as well as those with four heads. The special features are significantly better with the four-head VCR.

Slow Motion Playback

Slow motion playback is a feature that was introduced later in the history of the VCR. This feature allows a person to play a tape very slowly. This is great for finding a specific moment in a film. Combining this feature with the technology of a computer can allow one to capture a single image or single frame on a video and save, manipulate, or print a specific frame of a video. Many people use this feature to print family, or still, photos that otherwise may have remained on a tape.

Slow Motion Rewind

Slow motion rewind on a VCR is very similar to the slow motion playback feature that allows a person to find a single frame or image. The slow motion rewind feature also allows for backing up a tape to a specific point or scene. This can help if a tape has been stopped or ejected for whatever reason. A person can fast forward to about the point where he or she stopped the tape, and then use the slow motion rewind or slow motion forward feature to get to the exact point where they stopped.

Freeze Frame

Freeze frame is another feature that many VCRs have. This allows a person to freeze a video at a specific point. Like slow motion playback and rewind, this can help catch a specific image of a video tape. It allows the user to see something that, at regular play, may be missed, such as a background image or the position of a particular person. Many people use this as a way to study dance steps and positions in sports, like football or figure skating.

Commercial Skip

One of the most advanced features of the VCR is its ability to skip through commercials. The video cassette recorder with this feature automatically skips to where a taped programme comes back from a commercial break. This is a feature that DVD recorders still have not mastered quite as well.

Other Features

Other advanced features that are found on video cassette recorders are skip forward and skip back to watch a specific scene again, or to skip a scene entirely. There are also VCRs that are specifically meant for editing content. A sound or video engineer can use a dial on the front of a commercial VCR to move the tape or sound track to a certain point and transfer that recording to a different medium, such as a computer or a sound board.

Buying VCR Recorders on eBay

It is very easy to purchase a video cassette recorder on eBay. All you need to do is type search terms into the search box and a list is populated that contains different VCR recorders that are available on eBay. A good search term to use is "video cassette recorder" or "VCR recorder". If, after browsing through the list, you find that there is not a specific VCR recorder that suits your needs, you can try different search terms like "VCR" or "Video recorder".

After finding the listing that suits you, click on it and read the description carefully. The features of the recorder and the type of recorder should be listed along with other specifications. If they are not, or you want to know more, there is a link to ask the seller a question. Most sellers welcome questions, as long as you ask them before you place a bid or purchase an item.

Another important aspect of the product listing is the feedback. Read a seller’s feedback to determine the veracity of a seller. Most feedback is left by previous buyers, and generally contains both positive and, if any, negative experiences with a seller.


There are quite a few decisions to be made when purchasing a VCR recorder or a DVD and VCR combination. The first thing that an individual should do is choose the features that are needed. The features vary depending on the use of the VCR recorder. VCR recorders can be used for both personal and professional recording. They can also make watching, taking a clip from, and manipulating a video cassette more pleasurable. VCR recorders can be connected to older televisions and adapted to newer television models. Most of these recorders are inexpensive and easy to obtain.

Video cassette recorders can be purchased at a variety of retailers, such as car boot sales, electronics shops, and online at eBay. On eBay, one can browse through the listings to seek out exactly what they want. Online auction houses, like eBay, are more likely to have a wider selection of VCR recorders than a brick and mortar shop.

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