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VCR Buying Guide
In this guide you will learn of the many features available in today's VCRs. Many of these features are quite useful, but not all of them work in Barbados. Before you purchase your new VCR, check out which features are most important to you.
General Features
Picture Quality
The more video heads, the better the picture quality. Two-head VCRs offer a lower price tag, but their picture quality is surpassed by four-head VCRs. Four-Head VCRs also offer significantly cleaner freeze-frame, fast-forward, and slow motion functions. Some VCRs are even equipped with six heads.
19-Micron Heads
Recording at faster speeds (SP) will produce better picture quality than recording at slower speeds (SLP/EP). The 19-micron heads feature significantly improves picture quality when recording at slow speeds, resulting in a quality close to SP recordings.
Sound Quality
If you plan to use your VCR with your stereo or home theater system, you will need a hi-fi stereo VCR. Most VHS movies you purchase, and some rentals, are recorded in stereo or surround sound. This awesome enveloping sound is not possible without a hi-fi VCR and tapes recorded in stereo. If you couldn't care less about your room sounding like a movie theater, then you can opt for the lower price mono sound VCR.
Audio/Video Inputs and Outputs
Audio/video (AV) inputs and outputs allow you to connect additional devices to your VCR, such as camcorders, video game consoles, stereos or other VCRs. Most VCRs have the AV connector jacks at the back. Newer models offer convenient front-panel AV jacks, eliminating the hassle of accessing the back of the VCR.
Super VHS (S-VHS)
Super VHS offers higher screen resolutions than standard VHS players, which translates to superior picture quality. A Standard VHS VCR provides a resolution up to 240 lines per inch, while a VCR with S-VHS provides up to 400 lines. Whether you will be able to notice this improvement or not all depends on the quality of the videotape you are playing. Improvement is most likely to be seen on tapes recorded from high-resolution sources such as DVD players and satellite systems. Note, to take advantage of the superior S-VHS quality, you will need a TV with a S-VHS cable connection as well. On televisions, this feature is called S-Video.
Remote Control
Since most VCRs come with a remote control, the option here is whether it has a universal remote or not. In addition to operating your VCR, a universal remote can be programmed to operator TV and cable/satellite system. Some "universal" remotes will only let you operate other devices from the same manufacturer of the VCR, but most will work with multiple brands. You may also be interested in remotes that glow in the dark for easy night operation. Good remotes also have different size and shaped buttons so that you can recognize the buttons by touch.
Auto Head Cleaners
As the name suggest, built-in head cleaners automatically clean the VCR heads when a tape is played or recorded. If the heads are not cleaned, dust and debris will accumulate and degrade your picture quality.
High-Speed Rewind
If you are ever in a rush to return a tape before the video store closes, you may be interested in high-speed rewind. High-speed rewind will rewind a tape in less than two minutes.
Tamper Proof / Parental Lock
If you don't want anyone messing around your VCR while you are gone, you can make the VCR inoperable with the tamper proof feature. You can set a pass code that allows you to use the VCR again. This feature is useful if you do not want your children operating the VCR or watching certain videos while you are away.
Search, Instant Replay & Index Search
The search and replay functions allow you to advance or rewind a tape by entering specific time intervals. This feature comes in handy if you want to fast forward 30 seconds to skip a commercial, or maybe rewind 1 minute to replay your favourite scene in a movie. Index search comes in handy if you want to fast forward or rewind to the beginning of a recording. VCRs with the indexing feature will place an electronic index tag on the tape each time you record on the tape. Therefore, each time you press the index search button on your VCR, it will advance (or rewind) to the beginning of each successive recording.
Commercial Skip
Commercial skip will automatically fast forward though commercials when a tape is being played. This feature may only work with programs recorded from certain channels.
Features that don't work in Barbados
VCR Plus+
In the U.S., the TV Guides have a special VCR+ Code next to each program listed. If you want to record a particular show, all you have to do is enter the VCR+ code into your VCR and it will automatically record the show when it starts. Your local TV station must be able to broadcast the VCR+ signal for this feature to work.
Auto Clock Set
Yup, you've guessed it, this feature automatically sets the time on the VCR. Your local TV station must broadcast this signal in order for this feature to work.
Special thanks to "West Riley Electronics " for allowing us to take photos of their VCRs.

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