Copy Cats Page 4
JVC DR-MV1The feature king of the three DVD/VHS combos I tested is the JVC DR-MV1. At $800, it's also considerably more expensive than the LG and Toshiba decks. Like the Toshiba, it works with both the DVD-RAM and DVD-R/RW formats, supports VCR Plus+ timer recording and playlist editing (on DVD-RAM and DVD-RW), and has a low-quality 6-hour DVD recording mode. Unlike the other decks, the DR-MV1 has two TV tuners - one for the DVD recorder, the other for the VHS recorder - so you can record two different programs at the same time. While you might expect a PIP function to go along with the dual tuners, none is provided.
DIMENSIONS (WxHxD) 17 1/ 4 x 3 7/ 8 x 13 3/4 inches PRICE $800 MANUFACTURER JVC America, www.jvc.com, 800-526-5308
PLUS• Records on DVD-RAM, DVD-R/RW • Several innovative convenience features • Good performance
MINUS • More complicated to master • Slightly cumbersome dubbing procedure
Like the Toshiba deck, the JVC lets you play (and copy) S-VHS tapes recorded at the SP speed, but you'll only get standard VHS resolution. The dubbing function takes a few more button pushes than on the other two decks, plus it takes longer to start (you have to hold down the Dubbing button for a full 10 seconds).
JVC has really loaded the DR-MV1 with features, and it will take some time to master the full use of all of them. Some are inconsequential, like the ability to isolate the left or right channel or to select stereo playback when playing a DVD or a VHS Hi-Fi tape you've recorded. More useful is the multicolored onscreen bar graph that shows where you are on a DVD-RAM disc when playing back a recording you're still making (JVC calls the play-while-recording function Live Memory). Since you can play or pause anywhere on a disc you're recording, it's easy to get confused as to where you are in relation to the program being recorded - the bar graph helps keep everything straight.
The feature that really caught my attention is JVC's new On-Disc Timer Programming function, which is used with DVD-RAM or DVD-RW discs that you reserve for a specific TV series. In this case the disc itself contains the programming information for repeat recording, on a daily or weekly basis, of a specific channel at a given time for a specified duration. Slip in a disc programmed to automatically record The OC, say, and the machine will dutifully record each episode until it fills up. At that point the oldest episode is automatically deleted to make room for the next episode.
A disc can contain the recording information for up to eight programs, though recording multiple episodes of that many programs will probably fill it up pretty quickly even in the 6-hour mode. The JVC DR-MV1 can also automatically record programs from a satellite receiver (or other timer-controlled device) provided the receiver's own timer turns it on and off at the proper times.
If you make lots of DVD recordings, the JVC is the only combo in this group that records "library" information on the discs you dub. Such information may include things like the program title and category, both of which are entered by the user. Up to 99 programs with title and other information can be stored on one disc. You then "register" that disc with the recorder, which stores library details for up to 1,300 programs so you can sort through registered programs by disc number, category, or title. While you can't search for specific information - you have to slog through the sorted categories manually to find the one you want - this feature could be very useful if you have a large library of DVD dubs. PDF: Features Checklist PDF: In the Lab PDF: Recording/Editing Options