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Hitachi VT-F460 NICAM VCR

Anyone with a large collection of tapes will appreciate the headline feature on Hitachiís latest mid-range NICAM VCR. The VT-F460 has something called Title Index;  it should make mystery tapes -- the oneís you canít remember whatís recorded on them, or whether youíve watched them or not  --  a thing of the past.


Title Index is fully automatic, it stores the time, date and channel of every recording made on this machine. Tapes have to be numbered, and the system has the facility to memorise extra data, such as the title of the programme, (up to 15 characters long) but that has to be entered manually, which can be quite time-consuming. However, assuming the system has been diligently programmed it can easily locate recordings, simply by entering the initial letter of a title; the display then shows a title-list of all recordings beginning with that letter, along with the number of the tape itís recorded on. Just highlight the selection on the list using an on-screen cursor, load the correct tape, and the machine automatically winds to the beginning of the programme and starts replay.


Another useful feature is the Video Plus+ timer with PDC and satellite control. This greatly simplifies time-shifting satellite programmes.  All you have to do is enter the Plus Code into the VCRís handset (theyíre printed alongside TV schedules in newspapers and listings magazines) for the programme you want to record. At the appropriate time the VCR transmits infra-red commands, that switches on a nearby satellite receiver, and sets it to the correct channel; the VCR then starts recording for the duration of the programme. It works with most popular brands of satellite receiver.


The remote control handset also has multi-brand capability, this time itís used to operate the main functions (on/standby, channel-change, volume up/down) on 15 different makes of TV. Several features are intended for video movie-makers, such as the syncro edit, audio and video dubbing, and the front-mounted AV input sockets. Rounding off the list thereís index search, multi-speed replay, continuous replay and a simple child lock that disables all of the controls.


Performance is very similar to its stablemate the F450, which has a similar specification, but costs £30 less as it doesnít have the Title Index facility. Our sample managed to resolve 250-lines, picture noise levels are very low, colours are well defined and trick-play (still, slomo etc.) is reasonably stable. Audio quality fine, thereís a touch of background hiss but it has a very even response, all the necessary qualifications in fact for an able home cinema source component.



Hitachi VT-F460, £430


Pros --  a real crowd pleaser, from forgetful tape collectors, home cinema enthusiasts and satellite TV fans, to video movie makers

Cons -- none really    

Dimensions       380 x 95 x 328mm

Hitachi Home Electronics Ltd., telephone 0181-849 2000


Performance                  8

Features                       9

Value for money 8

Overall Total                  85%



* Title Index

* Video Plus+ satellite control timer


* Multi-brand TV remote control

* Jog/shuttle dial



R. Maybury 1996 0501





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