Getting the most from a VCR
With a videocassette recorder (VCR), you can record and play back television signals received from the air, a cable system, or a video camera, or you can play prerecorded cassettes. A typical tabletop unit also contains a tuner that selects channels and a timer that turns the unit on and off al the times you set. A portable VCR connects to a separate tuner-timer unit.
Hooking up a VCR
If you have a TV antenna, simply connect the antenna leads to the VCR; then hook the VCR to your set, as directed. With a cable-ready VCR, connect the incoming cable to the VCR; then hook the VCR to your television’s cable box or directly to the set if it’s cable ready. Either hookup lets you use your TV set with or without the VCR.
If you subscribe to a pay channel or don’t have a cable-ready VCR, you may need a special cable connection to use all of a VCR’s features. It usually involves splitting the incoming signal and sending it through both the cable box and a device known as a block converterand then on to the VCR and television. Another method involves sending the split signal through a cable box and a channel trap or a notch _filter. Cable systems vary. Call your cable office or a knowledgeable dealer.
Repairing a VCR
These complex, delicate machines should be serviced only by a qualified technician. If a problem arises, make sure that the signal or videotape is not faulty or the wiring loose. With a prerecorded cassette, try adjusting the tracking control; it corrects for tapes made on different machines.
The video recording and playback heads are the most frequent trouble source. Have them cleaned if your screen image develops streaks, blips, or snow. Don’t use a cassette head-cleaning tape; each use wears the heads slightly. To prolong the heads’ life, protect your VCR from heat and humidity. Put a dust cover over it when it’s not in use. After years of use. most heads need replacement.