Here's what experts say to look for in a VCR:

  • A universal remote that can operate other components, such as a TV, DVD player or even another VCR. Reviewers love remotes that light up, a benefit that can easily be underestimated in a brightly lit store.
  • Front input jacks will make your life easier if you download frequently from a camcorder; you won't have to fumble around the back of the unit to get hooked up.
  • Be aware of tuner issues. Most DVD player/VCRs do not have tuners. That means that if you get your TV over an antenna or with basic cable (no cable box), you will not be able to program recordings at all. If you have a cable box or satellite dish, however, you won't be affected.

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