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We live in a world dominated by the media. We watch television and movies every day for hours on end. I'm not saying it's a reflection or anything on society today, after all I love films, but just saying that's what it's like today. We all have dozens and dozens of DVDs, I know I do, and soon that will probably all change to Blu Ray.
But what to do with all those VHSs? After all, less than ten years ago we all had loads of those and, if you're the sort of person who isn't all that keen on replacing every VHS with a DVD equivalent, you'll still have loads left over, taking up loads of space where you can put your boxsets.
I bought this VCR and DVD recorder combo as a way to solve that, to record the content of the VCRs onto DVD and be done with them all. And it does that fine, to an extent (I never knew some videos were copy protected, but there's probably a way around that. After all, I'm not trying to steal, just preserve what I bought).
Connecting the machine to the TV is easy enough, and basic playing DVDs and VHS tapes is pretty basic, and functions like you would expect any DVD player or VCR to. DVD quality and sound is pretty good, nothing outstanding or disappointing, but what I was expecting.
The DVD Record function is pretty simple, too, once you get used to how it works. The buttons and menus are all pretty easily accessible from your remote control. It does take its time, but it works pretty well. It burns a bit slower than the one on my computer does, but unless you have a particular rush to get things done, it won't be much of a hassle to you.
In much the same way, if you want to copy the VHS to DVD it works pretty easily, just need to fiddle around a bit with the menus, but it's all in the manual anyway and again once you've done it a couple of times it'll be easy as pie. Again it takes the same amount of time to burn one of these DVDs but it's worth it. The quality of picture and sound is good, and there isn't any deterioration of quality from what the VHS would otherwise play like.
All in all, it's a great machine, does exactly what it says it will. It's sleek and black, like pretty much all of Samsung's products and of good quality. Haven't had any problems with playback or burning yet so great value for money.
One of the reasons I bought this unit was primarily to archive on to DVD my old VHS tapes - an ideal way to magically free up some storage space and make those bulky old VHS cassettes disappear. Apart from this I also needed a decent DVD player/recorder. You won't be able to transfer any copy-protected films; at least I haven't yet found a way to do it, so it's unlikely you'll eliminate your VHS library entirely. Like most Samsung products the VR330 is sleekly designed in a black finish and looks the part.
DVD and VHS playback and Recording
Setting up the DVD was fairly straight forward connecting it to your TV via a Scart lead. DVD performance was has been satisfactory in terms of both picture performance and sound quality. I have not experienced any problems with images freezing. The VHS playback has also been satisfactory. When you insert a tape it plays straght away although you can set it to not start playing tapes automatically via the setup menu. The VCR works with the S-video and coaxial digital connections so you do not have to buy another set of cables. You can still record from the TV onto VHS tapes if you wish at the standard speeds (SP, SLP, EP).
I have recorded onto re-recordable DVD+RW discs and the process has been straight forward if not a little slow. When disc compartment drawer closes a menu will appear asking you to format the disc. This process isn't necessary for write-once DVD-R and DVD+R discs that require no formatting. The Samsung DVD recorder gives you four different recording speeds ranging from one hour to six hours. The shorter recording times offer better picture quality. The picture quality of recordings at SP (standard performance) is of exceptional quality. Recordings at this speed last for 2 hours. You will also find on the front panel a IEEE 1394 port for capturing home movies from your digital camcorder. A single cable connection carries both picture and sound in digital format.
Copying VHS to DVD
Copying your old VHS tapes to DVD can be done either by pressing the "TO DVD" button on the remote control or on the unit's front panel. Otherwise you can use the on-screen menu. This allows you to record specific portions of a VHS tape. With this method the tape plays in a window in the upper left corner of the screen. This is really handy for finding the precise starting and stopping points of a recording. You can also create a "recording list" for copying your favourite parts of a single tape in a single session. The picture quality of the copied VHS is similar to that of the original source tape. There's no loss in quality like there is when you record to VHS.
Some discs take ages to finalize. With a dual-layer disc it can take nearly half hour.
When copying a certain portion of a VHS tape to a DVD, the machine stops the tape when you press stop to end the recording, but it sometimes starts recording to the DVD again - which is a pain.
You can't record from DVD to video.
Some of the DVDs I recorded did not play on my PC DVD player.
I would recommend the Samsung DVD-VR330 based on my experience. It's good for those who wish to transfer movies to DVD from a camcorder or their old VHS tapes, or for those who want the convenience of a DVD player/recorder and VCR in one. The main attraction of purchasing this unit is no doubt its capacity to archive old collections on VHS tapes, but it's also a great choice for use as a primary DVD player. I have only had minor problems with my machine but I have read other reviews in which people have experienced more serious issues such as the picture constantly freezing and dodgy video playback.
Samsung DVD-VR330 DVD Recorder
Remote Control (with Batteries)
Price: £170 approximately at Amazon (10th Jan 2007)
I've had this for about 6 month now, and over all am not very impressed. It was cheap and I suppose you get what you pay for.
Often the whole thing will freeze, and need several on and offs to unfreeze, pretty annoying when you are watching something!
The recording is very hit and miss. Mostly recording to DVD is fine, quality great. Then occasionally for no apparent reason, it simply won't record. A few weeks ago it recorded perfect picture but no sound at all! Then it is back to great again!
Video recording is fine, but play back sometimes weird as the tracking button over does it, and it jumps all the time until you manually set the tracking!
Converting Video to DVD is easy, one press button, so that has been useful. Sadly you can't record from DVD to video, even stuff you have taken yourself.
Takes up less space than DVD and Video.
Easy to connect and set up via Scart lead.