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I bought *a* VCR in an effort to get fit – strange but true. See I knew I’d only bother going to the gym after work if I could video anything I wanted to watch, so I got one and now I’m up to date with my shows, and relatively fit. I bought *this* VCR because it was the cheapest I could find at 99 Euros (~65 GBP) including delivery. I only wanted it for my year here, intending to sell it / give it away when I leave. I didn’t care about the features assuming it could cope with the odd spot of recording and playing, but I soon found out this model comes with lots. More than you’d ever need in fact. The first thing I noticed – and rejoiced about – was that it was light. I had to carry it home from the post office, and it was the size (only 36 x 27 x 9.5 cm but packed in a humungous box by the firm sending it) rather than the weight (a mere 4kg) that hindered me. --- Setting Up--- Naturally I wanted to get it tuned in and working as soon as possible, but it was also a Saturday and I had no plans to spend the one day of the week when I’m not at work and when most things are semi-open, inside. Tuning in is quick and simple, a huge relief to me as I get 30+ German channels here plus various French, Turkish and American ones. There are clear instructions in the multi-lingual user guide, and an automatic searching function for channels. The only downside I could see was the ability to add the names of channels. This is obviously needed in the countries were most of the 88 available channels are needed, unless you have an elephant’s memory, but it takes a while as you have to spell them out using a limited number of keys – like when sending text messages, only worse. By now I can tell you that Sat 1 is on 4, Viva on 12 and CNN on 26, but then I couldn’t so I went ahead and gave each number its proper name. --- Remote --- The remote is pale gray and ultr a light, and needs 2 x AAA batteries (the small ones you use in cameras a lot). It has all the features you’d expect – play, rewind, stop and so on – plus some more unusual ones including: · EJECT - not an unusual feature itself, but it’s odd to find it on a remote. I’m not entirely sure why it’s here as well as on the recorder itself but that’s because I’m careless and often end up pressing it accidentally, meaning I then have to get up and re-insert the tape. Which, I suppose, is just their evil way of keeping me fit. What’s next? Exercise videos? · CHILD LOCK – for those of you with inquisitive little ones, this could be helpful. It stops the buttons on the box working, meaning only the remote can stop and start tapes until you set it back to normal. · CM (Commercial message) SKIP – this fast forwards for 30 seconds then resumes normal play. You can also press it a few times to set it going for that many time x 30 seconds. Maybe useful if you need to leave the room for a second so it can FF while you’re out without over shooting, but otherwise I can’t see an advantage of this over normal FF and playing. · EZ (Easy) POWER OFF – this stops the tape immediately, rewinds and ejects it and then switches the power off. Useful if you’re in a hurry out of the door and don’t want to leave it on and waste electricity, perhaps? --- VCR --- The one thing I noticed straight away was that the VCR doesn’t display a clock. You can bring up the time on the TV screen by pressing the button on the remote, but otherwise there’s no indication of what hour it is. I found this a bit odd – all my other recorders have had it – and can’t see why they’ve done so. It’s not to keep the whole thing plain and minimalist because where the clock should be they have an array of bright lights – lights t o show the timer’s set, lights to show there’s a cassette in, light’s to show it’s on and, bizarrely, lights to show it’s off. There is no counter on the box though, again, you can bring one up on the screen when the TV’s on. As with most these days, the timer corresponds to real time, so it’s easy to see when to stop the tape after fast forwarding for, say, an hour’s recording. Memory stop is a feature I liked. It allows you to rewind to a set place on the tape automatically, for example when the counter hits 0000 again, so you can tape something after a show you want to keep, watch it and then simply rewind to the correct starting place again. Setting the timer is easy. You have a choice of 6 languages for your onscreen display when you set up the machine, but can change this at any time. As well as entering the channel name or number you can choose from a daily, weekly or permanent setting for a recording. You can also choose from short play or long play – the latter giving you twice the recording time on a tape. Instant recording is available, and an extra feature I liked is the ability to set an end to a show you’ve just put on to record – so if you realize something’s on, you can start recording immediately and then tell it to stop after an hour. If you set up the timer to record 2 shows which overlap, it will tape all of the one that starts first, then whatever’s left of the second. If the power fails for any reason, it will erase all timer settings not yet recorded, but will retain the tuned in channel details, a pain but not doubt inevitable. If you have problems – which fortunately I’ve never had – there’s a Dr option which will give you a diagnosis of what the machine thinks is wrong with itself, and ideas on how to fix it. This can be anything from a timer not being able to be initiated because no cassette is in, to something m ore complicated. --- Verdict --- I like this VCR. It is easy to use and comes with a detailed instruction manual (although the English in it leaves a little to be desired at times – and doesn’t match the German. It’s like when you go to Luxembourg and have the multi-lingual tours that say almost completely different things in French, German and English…). Although this VCR has a few downsides – as well as the ones mentioned, it’s a pretty noisy one when rewinding – I’ve been quite pleased with my purchase. It is far from the “basic” model I assumed I’d get for the price, and has worked consistently well over the last 5 months or so. Maybe not the most high tech model out there, but a bargain at the price. I just wish they’d sell ones for even less without the silly features, most of which I have no use for. It’s a brand I hadn’t heard of before, but certainly one I’d buy again. I bought mine from Karstadt in Germany, but you can get them in the UK from general electrical retailers, catalogue shops and so on. This is based on the LG Electronics 2285 model which, from what I can tell, is almost if not entirely identical to the LG LV 2000.
I like a bit of action in the bedroom, especially if it involves Bruce Willis. So when we changed to Digital television and Telewest said they were going to charge us £15 a month for the extra cable box in the bedroom, I was not amused. So there I was, no cable box, no aerial, just a sad television sitting useless in the corner and no boudoir action at all. It was during a particularly bad bout of insomnia that I decided to take action and get my bedroom entertainment back on track. In the middle of the night I took a trip to my local Big W (they were open 24 hours a day in December), and bought a new VCR. I walked in, found a pallet full of the cheapest video recorders they had, picked one up, paid for it, and was at home setting it up in under half an hour! The model was an LG Electronics LV200, and it cost me just £59.99. It’s a surprisingly snazzy machine for the price, I have to say, and I have been very pleasantly surprised. It is a silver model, very attractive and not at all clunky-looking. The front is relatively free of clutter, apart from the control buttons, which are arranged in a circle off to one side of the machine, and the on/off power button. Aesthetically speaking, it is rather pleasing and minimalist looking. It comes with a remote control and plays and records in both standard and long play modes. For an extra twenty quid I could have had a model with video plus, for ease of recording, but as I intended it purely as a second “playback” machine, and it won’t be connected to an aerial anyway, I didn’t think the extra expense was warranted. As a budget model, however, it is remarkably feature-packed, but this is something I have come to expect from LG – they really do provide good quality electronics at excellent prices. The box contained everything I needed to get started, including a scart lead and a battery for the remote control – tha t’s always a plus point in my view. It’s up and running with no messing and no hunting through drawers for old batteries with just enough juice left to power up the remote. It was a doddle to set up. It’s pretty much “plug and play” and has an automatic channel search mode, so it tunes into television stations automatically. It has on screen display, which means you don’t have to lie on the floor on your belly squinting at the little LCD screen to see what the heck is going on. The menu system is surprisingly easy to navigate, both for setting up and controlling the picture modes, sound, colour balance etc, and setting the timer. This model also has automatic tracking, so it will adjust the picture accordingly, and I have found this feature works very well, even when there is tape wear. A feature called Optimum Picture Response (OPR), improves playback picture quality on older tapes by allowing you to manually soften or sharpen the image, and this is particularly useful to me because I love my collection of vintage 80s films. There is a still picture function, the usual fast forward and rewind and scan functions and a “commercial message skip” button, which fast forwards from 30 to 180 seconds, depending on the number of times you press it. This is obviously for fast forwarding through those annoying advert breaks. There are also the usual child locks and on screen time and date display, digital tape counter, time of tape elapsed, and, more importantly, amount of tape left (so you shouldn’t get those annoying recordings where your tape runs out five minutes before the end of the programme). The LV200 has an instant “one touch” record feature and a seven event one month timer, which is easy to use and also uses on-screen display. It also has “EZ Repeat”, a button which rewinds the video and replays a particular po rtion of the tape if you select it……very useful for those all-important Mel Gibson quick butt flash moments ;O). The video is a two head, PAL VHS model, has a scart socket, and is wide screen 16:9 compatible. It has an automatic memory power shut-off, which means it allows you to choose to switch the VCR power off automatically after it has rewound a tape or completed recording. All the features available on the video are accessible via the remote control, including tape eject and power off, which is useful for a model you intend to use in the bedroom. The remote is very good quality and works well from all angles. Cheaper remotes tend to be directionally very limited, but this one does not suffer that problem. It has the “video doctor” system, a self-diagnostic program that tells you when the heads need cleaning or the tape has protection tabs in place What makes this a brilliant video for the bedroom, though, is the power off timer, and the EZ Power Off button on the remote. You can either programme the video to switch itself off after a certain time, or when a tape has finished playing and rewinding. Or by pressing just one button, you can stop your tape, rewind it, eject it and power the machine down. This is great for when you are watching a film and decide you want to drop off to sleep. The unit only measures 360mm x 94mm x 270mm and weighs just 3.4kg. It makes an ideal second player, or would be very good for a child’s room. The picture and sound quality are surprisingly good for such a budget model of VCR. Although it only provides mono sound, the quality is good and clear, and can be turned up quite loud without distorting. The picture is pin sharp on both home recorded and pre-recorded tapes and it handles my older videotapes very well. The VCR comes with a year’s manufacturer’s warranty and an easy to follow manual. Technical Stuff : Power Consumption: 14 watts, or 3 watts in energy saving mode. Max recording time 4 hours in standard play, 8 hours in long play mode. Rewind time approximately 180 seconds for an E-180 tape. Power 200 – 240 volts – 50 Hz Audio/visual in/out scart sockets and standard aerial socket. Automatic switching between full screen 4:3 and wide screen 16:9 playback (provided scart cable is used). I have used LG branded goods before; most notably a microwave oven and a CD-Rom drive in for my computer. I have been very impressed with the build quality, reliability and longevity of the products I have used, and this video appears to be no exception. They seem to be able to deliver good quality, nicely featured products at cheap prices. So, now I have all the action I can handle in the bedroom – I can turn on Bruce Willis at the flick of a switch. And if I’m in the mood for a little romance, Heath Ledger is my current bedtime companion of choice! Well, at least until Mr Chuckle moves in ;O) Thanks for the read! Alliechuckle xx ajools/alliechuckle 2002