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My Panasonic TV-VRC Combo
Sep 03, 2002 10:23 AM 4866 Views
(Updated Jul 23, 2002 06:18 PM)

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After my apartment was burgled several years ago I needed a new TV . . . bad. I was grateful that I had been smart enough to get renters’ insurance. With that in mind, I called a friend who guides me in all things electronic; he has a car and is eager to help. Off we went to the discount stores.


I loved my old TV-VCR combo, but we couldn't find a replacement that I liked, so we went across the street to Best Buy to do some comparison-shopping. The moment we walked in to the TV section, I saw what was to become my new TV--a Panasonic TV-VCR -Model No. PV-M2069W. It was a twenty-one inch screen demo model and it was on sale. The price was right, but what I liked best was the color--it was bone white--I liked the idea of it disappearing right into the background of my once stark white walls.


I had seen white TVs before, and I guess something in my brain clicked and registered at my attraction for something other than black. I really liked the idea that you wouldn’t notice the huge amorphous case when the TV was on. The picture just sort of floats in the air before you. There was no looking at anything else. My friend liked it, too, so we got a handcart, loaded it up and headed for the checkout counter. So far so good!


Getting it in the car was another matter. My friend has a small hatchback and we decided it was easier to take the TV out of its box and travel with it that way. After we got back to my place, my friend insisted that I do the programming so I wouldn’t be calling him if anything went wrong. He’s been doing that with my computer, too, and I feel more comfortable attempting to do things myself rather than throwing up my hands in disgust and calling him to come all the way across town to help me. It all turned out to be very easy.


I did have to call the cable office and tell them that I had a new combination TV-VCR and that it was cable-ready, so I didn’t need their cable box or remote. They told me what to do and I returned the unnecessary equipment the next day. We checked over everything and I put the TV on its rolling stand, screwed in the cable, plugged it in and sat down to read the instructions.


The Operating Instruction booklet was clear and concise and had step-by-step instructions for everything. The first thing I did was put two new AA batteries in the remote and turn on the TV (they’re still working over two years later). I went to the menu and did the VCR + Channel setup. I chose the Auto-installation wizard and sat back as the chip in the TV did its thing. We got a nice, clear picture and I went back to familiarize myself with the remote. Easy, again.


There are features I know I will never use like Sleep, the On-timer and the TV Parental Lock, but I got to know where everything else was and made sure the date and clock was set correctly. Then it was on to check out picture adjustment. The brightness, sharpness and color seemed okay as they were, so I left well enough alone and checked out some of the other buttons.


The only new thing I discovered that I liked was the night button. It takes the glare off the screen in the evening. I rarely use it, mostly because it’s inconveniently located up near some other buttons I never use. I forget about it. I never watch TV in the dark anyway; there’s always a lamp on somewhere in the room.


After using the remote as long as I have I could sure tell the designers a few things about the grip of the it. Also, why do they call it a tower? I never stand it up as it keeps falling over. If they're copying terminology from PCs it’s a dumb idea. The placement of some the function keys/buttons is irritating. Why did they have to put the VCR tape eject button at the top of the remote, while all the other VCR functions are at the bottom? The Off/On button would have been better at the bottom where you grasp the remote, not at the top left-hand corner.


The VCR works fine, but I have been warned not to get a tape stuck in it. If I do, I’m up the creek, as they say. I can expect big repair bills. A friend ended up having to get a new machine. He chose one without the combo. He said he’d rather have the VCR separate from the TV where he knows what’s happening and he can get at it if he has to. Some of the buttons on the remote are so tiny and so packed into a small space that I have to hold the remote with one hand and make sure I hit the correct button with a fingertip from my other hand.


Playing a pre-recorded tape is easy. You just slide the cassette into the opening on the front of the TV-VRC combo; it’s like a big mouth. When it settles in, there is a click and it begins to play. Removal is another thing. As I said before, the eject button is inconveniently placed. Taping a program is as easy as can be. You put in a blank tape cassette, select a recording speed and press rec and you will see a red light on the front of the TV. Ditto for the program timer if you are using it.


If you’re good at taping, and pay attention, you can turn the tape off when you hit a commercial and start it again when it’s over. As I type this I am looking at the instructions and find that I can edit out unwanted portions by pressing the pause key and pressing it again to resume recording. Who knew? I usually start out fine and then screw up royally half way through what I’m taping.


When playing what you have recorded there are the usual fast forward and rewind buttons. There is also an index and a tape position button, but again they are nowhere near the tape functions and are located up near the channel switching and volume. I don’t use the On-timer to record tapes, so I won’t comment on it. I’m sure it works just fine, but that’s way too technical for me.


The FM Radio that comes with this combo is a very nice feature. Sometimes when I am reading and watching TV at the same time (I think that’s called multi-tasking), I end up either hitting the Mute button and just occasionally glance at the picture, or I push the FM/TV button and listen to music. The instructions say there is a built in antenna for the radio, but it doesn’t get some of the stations that my reliable $25 box radio gets. In other words, I can’t get our classic station. I am told that I can also set the On-timer to wake up to music. No thanks, I have a clock radio in the bedroom.


I am very pleased with my Panasonic TV-VCR - Model No. PV-M2069W. It was a great price for a person who is on a limited budget and does not need or want digital TV. I especially liked the fact that it was cable ready. Reception is really bad on my side of town and since I don’t go out to movies (maybe once or twice a year) having seventy-some channels on an attractive and reliable TV set is all I want or need.


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