PROS / There are no surprises with this DVD/VCR combo unit; it works as simply as its earlier counterparts did.
CONS / It’s a simple unit without many frills; adding the ability to record tapes to DVDs would improve this machine.
VERDICT / If you're looking for a DVD/VCR combo that just plays VHS tapes and DVDs, consider this product.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it is no longer available. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
In a world where technological marvels such as high-definition televisions, tablets and smartphones are all capable of delivering astounding sound and picture quality, it may seem that there is no place for older media like lowly VHS tapes or standard-definition DVDs. This sentiment is flat out wrong.
While time may have forgotten these formats in favor of their shiny new counterparts, companies such as Samsung recognize that a great deal of media would be rendered useless without technology like the DVD/VCR combo player. The Samsung DVD/VCR combo DVD-V9800 plays your stack of old VHS tapes and DVDs with the same precision as their older counterparts that have long since broken down or been sold at yard sales.
The best feature of the Samsung DVD/VCR combo is its 1080p upconversion. This technology takes standard-definition images on DVDs and VHS tapes and scales them up to a resolution suitable for viewing on a high-definition television. The unit does a capable job of maintaining the correct aspect ratio of all the pictures. The picture looks as good as can be expected for a DVD/VCR combo at this price point.
The VCR portion of the Samsung DVD/VCR combo is a fully functional four-head hi-fi unit. The video and audio fidelity it produces is remarkably good considering the age of the technology. Other than that, there are no surprises in this portion of this DVD/VCR combo. It works exactly how you remember; just push in your VHS tape and press Play. If the tape is still in good working condition, the unit will play it.
The big question on everyone's mind when buying a DVD/VCR combo player is "Can I transfer the footage on my tapes onto a DVD?" It’s a fair question because magnetic tapes won't last forever, and having a digital backup is always a great idea. Unfortunately, the Samsung DVD/VCR combo is a player only. The DVD portion of the unit contains no recording abilities. This is a letdown; if Samsung had included DVD-burning functionality on this machine, it would have bumped it up a few spots on our side-by-side comparison chart.
Other oversights on this machine include the omission of support for Dolby Digital sound (DDS), which is the sound format that most Hollywood movies use. While you still hear crisp, clear sound with this Samsung player, you don't get the richness that DDS offers. Another hole in the Samsung DVD/VCR combo's spec sheet is found in its digital tuner box. This means that you don't have the ability to capture over-the-air digital signals; you'll have to buy that box separately.
At the end of the day, the Samsung DVD/VCR combo DVD-V9800 is inexpensive, durable and lightweight. It plays your VHS tapes and DVDs as well as any unit you used in VCRs' heyday. It lacks some features that we looked for such as a digital tuner and support for Dolby Digital sound. If it had included either of these features, it would have ranked higher on our side-by-side comparison chart.