Our editorial staff evaluates products and services independently. But Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links. Learn More

 
2016
Best

DVD/VCR Combo Player Reviews

reviews & comparisons

DVD/VCR Combo Player

Why Buy a DVD/VCR Combo?

These days, streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix, along with high-definition Blu-ray discs, are swiftly becoming the preferred media for distributing in-home entertainment. These methods are on the cutting edge of our continuing technological revolution. Unfortunately, technological innovations have a way of leaving previous technologies awash in their wake. A prime example of this is VHS tapes and DVDs. There hasn't been a major VHS release since 2006, and DVD is also on its way out as a viable home media standard.

However, if you have a large library of old VHS tapes and DVDs, you don't want to give up all that media yet. You need a player that allows you to enjoy these media formats even amidst all the new entertainment technology. Some electronics manufacturers still produce DVD/VCR combo players. These units not only play, record and archive your old media, but they also alleviate the problem of having two separate players for DVDs and VHS cassettes. Combining the DVD player and VCR simplifies your entertainment center.

Whatever your reasons for buying a DVD/VCR player, it's a great way to combine the future and the past into one package that's easy to use. In this comparison, you'll find articles about DVD/VCR combos and comprehensive reviews to help you choose the right device for you.

How Do DVD/VHS Combo Players Work?

The best DVD/VCR combos play DVDs and VHS tapes in great picture quality. These machines contain components that bridge the technological divide between standard and high definition video entertainment. Features such as 1080p upconversion and progressive scan technology, combined with an HDMI port, transform DVD and VHS images into crisp, clear signals worthy of an HDTV. 

Most of these DVD VCR combo units provide the basic features on each of the machines: play, stop, pause, forward, rewind. Several of the devices also provide convenience features such as a remote and connectivity inputs located on the front of the machine instead of the rear.

Can I Record Using These Combo Players?

Many DVD/VCR combos have the ability to burn VHS content to rewriteable DVDs. This is an invaluable tool for digitally archiving your old home movies, favorite films or anything else trapped on VHS tape. This ensures that your memories and films will survive well into the 21st century.

One popular feature found on DVD/VCR combos is two-way dubbing. With this feature, you can convert VHS content to DVDs and vice versa. Some combo units are full DVD recorders that let you watch DVDs and record TV shows using the device. Many products are four-head hi-fi VCR players, but if you plan to do a lot of recording with your VHS tapes, look for a six-head VCR as this uses four heads for the best playback quality and two heads for recording.

DVD/VCR Combos: What to Look For

When it comes to buying a DVD/VCR combo, you want to make sure you're getting the most versatility and quality for your money, especially because you are buying two devices in one. As these media formats age, fewer companies are manufacturing the players. The devices that are available are becoming light on advanced features, particularly when compared to the latest entertainment. However, it is important to remember that when these products were first released, this type of technology was limited and there was not a plethora of features to offer. Here are a few of the features you will find on these products.'

Upconverting
The best DVD/VCR combos can convert standard-definition images to HD signals. Many of the best products provide features such as 1080p upconversion to achieve this goal. Upconversion takes your standard definition and outputs it a higher resolution such as 720p or 1080p. However, upconverting can't add details that are not originally on the disc or tape, so while you may have 1080p resolution, it won't be the same quality as true HD images.

Display Options
Many of these machines provide a handful of options to help you easily control and understand your TV's display when using the DVD/VCR combo unit. For example, many of the best DVD VCR combo players let you choose to view the display in one of several languages. The most popular options include French, Spanish and English. Additionally, some of the best models feature parental controls so you can control exactly the type of content your children are viewing.

If your unit comes with a remote, managing the display is often a very simple and straightforward process. Devices without remotes can often be more frustrating and time consuming as you have only a few buttons to choose from, and you must get up and physically touch the machine to navigate throughout the display.

Connectivity
The familiar connectivity options on DVD/VCR combo units include tried-and-true methods such as coaxial and component connections. The best units also include HDMI plugins so they can connect to an HD television or monitor. However, only a small handful of these machines have HDMI ports.

Other popular connectivity options include audio output and a digital tuner. With a digital tuner, you can receive digital television signals over the air from local television stations. This means you can watch many of your local stations without paying for cable or purchasing an antenna. Only a small number of these products offer this feature.

Help & Support

Many of the companies that still provide DVD/VCR combo players are well-established brands with long histories. They provide all the basic customer support options. However, each of these companies has its own way of handling customer support, and you may run into some complications since these products are not very popular and representatives may not be familiar with them.

However, the best companies have as many avenues for obtaining support as possible. Look for the best companies that provide email, telephone and even live chat support options. Many companies also provide fast and easy downloads to user manuals directly on the company website so you always have information readily accessible. Most of these products also come with a physical copy of the user guide to help address any questions or concerns you may have. Although, don't be surprised if not many questions arise since these products are extremely basic and straightforward to use.

With a combination of the right features, you will find that DVD/VCR combos are a viable, inexpensive solution for watching, recording and archiving your VHS cassettes and DVDs. They may be older technology, but they are still available to help you enjoy those classic movies you never want to lose.