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When it comes to electrical goods, I have a lot of bias towards Sony and my SLV710 video recorder (one of three I own because I edit my video shots), is no exception.
I have had this machine for about 3 years now and it has not given me a moments problem and with its auto set-up it is easy to install. On taking it out of the box, I plugged in the aerial lead to the aerial-in socket on the VCR. In the aerial-out socket of the VCR, I plugged in the lead supplied and from there into the area in at the back of the television. I then connected the scart lead (this machine has two scart sockets, one for in, from my other VCR and the other one to the scart at the back of the television). I then plugged in the mains lead, installed the batteries (AA) supplied into the handset and was ready to go.
Tuning into the channels:
I turned on the TV set and and on the front of the VCR machine, pressed the small button marked Auto Set Up. Via the scart lead, the recorder automatically switched the TV to the Video channel and started searching for the signals coming in from the aerial lead.
Starting with channel 1, it tuned to BBC 1 and automatically moved to channel 2 (BBC2), 3(ITV), 4(Channel 4) 5 (Channel 5) It continued hunting and tuning other channels in our area (S4C Welsh Channel 4) and ITV (West Country) all of which we can access from the Cardiff area. All channels were exactly where I wanted them to be, although there is a facility to swap channels to different numbers if required.
As well as the channel auto-set, the clock was also set to the correct time, using the signal from BBC channel (default), but if so desired, the time signal can be set to pick up from any of the other ITV channels also. But seeing the BBC generally has the correct time, I left it at this. Another thing I like about this auto-clock facility, is that when the clocks change to summer or wintertime, the VCR also changes automatically.
Setting the timer:
This sometimes is a nightmare for some people, but setting the Sony to timer-record was simplicity itself. There is a Video plus system, which is the easiest method, but it doesnt work on my TV because we are with NTL (cable TV) and the video plus signals are not sent in the same way as an ordinary roof aerial. To set the timer
Ensure youre on the Video channel on the TV.
Press menu on the handset. Menu appears on TV screen.
Press the up/down arrows in the centre (circular dials) of the handset until Timer is highlighted
Press OK (centre of handset) and another screen appears on TV
Date (TODAY) will appear in 1st (left hand) Column highlighted. By pressing the up arrow you can change this to tomorrow, next day (which appears as the date), or day after etc. etc. every time you press the up arrow.
If you press the down arrow however, you can set it to come on every day from Monday Saturday, Monday Friday and if you keep pressing it, it will come up every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday in single days.
By pressing the Right arrow again, it will take you to Start time in hours, press again, Start time in minutes. Press again, end time in hours, press again, end time in minutes.
Press Right Arrow again to set the Channel you want to record from, then again to select LP/SP (long play or standard play). And thats it.
When all this is done press OK and instruction will come up to switch VCR to stand-by to activate timer. If you want to watch a video before timer kicks in, you can do without disturbing the entries youve just made. Just make sure when its time for it to record, it is switched to Stand-by mode. The whole procedure takes less time than it does to read it, once you know the procedure off by heart.
I found the quality of the recording quite exceptional. There is a very slight loss of quality with a recording made in LP mode, but in SP, it was hard to tell the difference from a recording to that of an actual TV broadcast. The pause facility in standard play freezes the picture without any wobble at all.
Sound quality is nicam stereo and really good especially when playing music videos. Mind you, that would depend on the quality of your equipment. I run this VCR through a nicam Sony TV and the sound is very good, but even better is I connect it to my hi-fi equipment via the phono-leads at the back of the VCR.
Another good feature with this VCR is the search ability. A cover at the top of the handset slides up to reveal other buttons. There is slow motion (if required) and the index search, which when pressed, (when a video is in playback mode) will fast-forward to the next program that had been recorded. It does this because when the machine starts to record, a code is laid down on the tape marking its position.
Fast-forward can also be used as a search where the video winds visually forward at a high speed until the required scene is found. Upon releasing the fast-forward button, the tape resumes normal playback speed.
Another useful function is that if you have a tape in and theres not quite enough space on the tape to finish a timer-recording event in standard play, the machine will adjust it to long-play to give more recording time.
As I mentioned earlier, I have had my SLV710 for about 3 years now and had no problems with it at all.
Finally, the users manual you get with this machine is easy-to-read and understand and very comprehensive.
Thanks for reading