Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I hate my VCR

It seems like every time I get a new VCR, it isn't as good as the old one. The first one that my dad bought in the early eighties (or maybe the very late seventies) was a Beta. For some reason, we were the only people who liked Beta. I never understood why. They were better quality and the tapes took up a little less space on the shelf. People who had to do stuff at work preferred to use Beta machines, but for some reason most people in this country bought VHS for home use.

I loved that first Beta video recorder. It was a top loader and it looked sort of funny compared to the machines we have now. I don't think that it had a remote control, but if you were recording something (not on a timer) and you didn't want to record the commercials, there was this little pause button on a wire that you could plug in and it worked very well. I had the ABC extended version of Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan with no commercials on a Beta tape. Seems like I had a lot of stuff like that.

Eventually, we couldn't rent any movies on Beta, and a bit after that we couldn't even buy any tapes. We finally gave up at bought a VHS. It wasn't as good. It didn't have the little pause button on a wire. And it seemed like when you recorded something that the video part and the audio part didn't start recording at the same time. So maybe you recorded some episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation on the same tape as some episodes of The Outer Limits. There would be a few seconds where you'd be looking at Captain Picard but you'd hear something from the other show. Or maybe there would be this loud screech in between recorded shows. It just didn't make smooth transitions like my old Beta machine.

Anyway, I got used to the VHS, and then maybe the next VHS machine was better. Or maybe I just finally got used to it not being as good as a Beta. I eventually bought a lot of tapes on VHS.

Well, having any VCR is good. I'd hate to go back to the time when I didn't want to leave the house on a certain night because I didn't want to miss Logan's Run or The Bionic Woman.

For a while my husband and I had a job traveling the country trying to sell portraits. We were never home. We bought an extra VCR to take with us on our trips. We would hook up the VCR to a different TV at least once a week. So after that job we came home, and for a couple of years we had two VCRs. We could just watch TV all the time. We could record stuff on two networks while we were watching something else on a third.

Then one of those stopped working, and the other one wasn't working so good either. So we bought a new one. And since all the new movies came out on DVDs, we bought a VHS VCR/DVD player. So we could record TV stuff on the VHS side and still borrow movies to watch on the DVD side. It was a bit annoying sometimes, because sometimes after we'd watch a DVD we would forget to switch it back over to VCR and we'd hit play and it would play whatever disk was left in the machine, or maybe we'd hit record and nothing would happen.

The other VCR quit working, and we didn't bother to replace it. The regular VCRs cost as much as a VCR/DVD player combo, and it seemed silly to spend the money to get another one of those. Someone had given us another DVD player that we never even took out of the box. And about that time our good TV quit working. We think it had something to do with putting the DVD player on top of the TV. That's where the old VCR had always been, and we just didn't think of the DVD player causing a problem. So we bought a new TV and were careful not to put the DVD player on top of it, just in case.

Christmas came around, and we got a VCR/DVD recorder combo from my mom. My husband was going out of town a lot, and I thought it would be nice if he could take the VCR/DVD player out of town with him. Well, that was the plan, only about that time the VCR part of the VCR/DVD player quit working. I think that we'd only had the thing for about a year. Piece of crap.

Anyway, now the VCR/DVD recorder is plugged into the TV. We haven't tried to record anything on the DVD side yet. It just seems like a waste of money to buy all those disks for stuff that I'm probably only going to watch once or twice.

Anyway, while having any VCR at all is a good thing, so far I don't like this machine. You have to keep reminding it that you want to use the VCR side. Sometimes in the middle of watching a tape, it just seems to switch over to the DVD side for no reason. So we're trying to watch Journeyman, and in the middle of it the Paramount logo pops up and starts playing a Star Trek DVD. Weird.

1 comment:

dmarks said...

The best VCR we ever got was at a garage sale. It was stuck in a corner with no price sticker. I asked how much it was, and the guy said it didn't work, so we could have it for free.

Took it home, and it worked beautifully. However, we did not run it into the ground like our previous VCRs. This was retired before its time when we got a DVD recorder.

Once we got that, we pretty much stopped with tapes. Blank DVD's are so cheap now that even with the permanent DVD+R's, it might cost you around 30 cents for a disc.