Price (RRP): $499
If you have a large collection of VHS tapes and want to move up to DVD recording, a combo unit makes perfect sense, says David Hague.
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me how to get their old VHS recordings on to DVD, I?d be rich. Well, I can now spread the answer to the masses, and one way comes in the form of the new Sanyo HVR-DX610 combo unit.
And while I personally would (from previous experience) opt for a hard disk based unit, this budget priced recorder certainly has a potential fit in many households due to its ease of use and keen price.
To accommodate the extra mechanisms needed for the VCR (or DVD depending upon which way you look at it), the DX610 is a big unit; it comes in at nearly 3 cm wider, deeper and higher than my own DVD recorder / player, so those with a custom built furniture housing their home theatre may want to check that aspect before purchasing.
As is common to most if not all player / recorders these days, there are dual inputs ? a single set of RGB input ports on the front behind a drop down flap, complete with a Firewire port and on the rear, a second set of RGB in and out ports plus component and S-Video. While there is digital audio output, it is not optical however.
A single-touch button switches between VCR and DVD operation making it a very easy deck to operate. The DX610 will only record to DVD+R/W although it will play back ?R/W and Super VCD, VCD, Audio CD, MP3 CD, CD-R, CD-RW and JPEG. Maximum recording time is 8 hours, although at that resolution, you wouldn?t want to record anything of importance as the pixellation is quite noticeable.
The DX610 is a ?one touch record? system – accepting you still have to select such things as video record mode, audio record mode and then the record button; thankfully, recording from VHS to DVD (or vice versa) has been simplified which is a welcome change from some units I have seen coming off production lines!
In fact all of the available copying / timer recording / editing modes are quite intuitive and really shouldn?t challenge too many people ? a common complaint. Even the titling system for finalised discs, an area notorious for being difficult, is better than average. The only thing I could pick was the fact it appears you can only timer record up to one month in the future so 6 week holidays are out. G code is supported, but I confess I have never met anyone that uses it
Remotes and documentation
I take a lot of stock of how good manuals are; for me a really crappy manual can make or break a review of any sort of device. (Pioneer here deserves extra kudos for their inbuilt help system, a feature I wish all manufacturers would follow). The manual for the Sanyo is ?adequate? – it does the job but I have down rated it from ?good? due to the small print size used.
The remote on the other hand is ?good?, but why do some manufacturers insist on using ?AAA? batteries that are not only more expensive than the more standard ?AA? but sometimes harder to find. It can?t be a ?size? thing as the remote for my Kenwood receiver is smaller than the Sanyo?s and that uses ?AA?.
If you have a need for copying VHS to DVD ? or for some reason vice versa, the DX610 is very good value for money as some of the competitors are up to $100 more in the shops. Just check that physical size issue.