AIWA HV-FX7700 NICAM VCR, £150
It’s not as if the world needs another NICAM
VCR but there is a distinct shortage of familiar brands at the budget end of
the market, even more worrying is the poor AV quality on a lot of the cheapo
no-name machines we’ve looked at. The Aiwa HV-FX7700 therefore comes as
something of a relief. This generously specified little machine is currently
selling for around £150. It has an impeccable pedigree being the latest in a
long line of attractively priced VCRs from Aiwa that consistently out perform
the opposition. It’s a pleasure to use, the first time it’s plugged in it goes
into the auto installation routine and a couple of minutes later its ready to
go. The feature list isn’t substantially different from its predecessor, the
HV-FX5100, and includes little luxuries like ‘Ad-Skip’ that fast winds playback
in increments of 30 seconds, to whiz through commercials. It has Aiwa’s
PIN-enabled Anti-theft system, that locks the machine up if it’s disconnected
from the mains for more than a minute or so, it can play NTSC tapes (with
stereo hi-fi sound) and there’s a full set of timer facilities with Video Plus+
programming and PDC to correct for late schedule changes and overruns.
New features on the FX7700 are a re-styled
front panel, a much needed overhaul of the remote control handset (the one
supplied with the FX5100 was a swine to use), the head assembly has been
re-worked to improve still-frame and picture search, there’s a child lock and
power consumption in standby mode is down to 2-watts.
Picture quality on the FX5100 was already
noticeably better than most of its rivals so the improvements on the FX7700 are
quite hard to spot. Nevertheless, there does appear to be less noise, colours
are a shade crisper and trick play stability is now comparable with machines
costing twice as much. The stereo soundtracks have slightly lower than average
levels of background hiss and it easily qualifies as a competent and affordable
home cinema source component.
Another fine budget NICAM VCR from Aiwa, some
worthwhile improvements and even better value than ever!
HE Rating 5
(0990) 902902 www.aiwa.co.uk
Top AV performance from a brand you know,
with a good track record for performance and build quality; why pay more?
The newly designed front panel isn’t
particularly inspiring and the on-screen menu takes a few moment to figure out
Bush VCR-870, £130
Daewoo Q857P, £150
LG AF999, £135
Sanyo VHR-779, £160
‘The FX7700 has an impeccable pedigree being
the latest in a long line of attractively priced machines that consistently out
perform the opposition’.
SAMSUNG SV5000, ‘World Wide Video’, £500
These days pretty well all home cinema VCRs
sold in this country can replay tapes purchased in the US using the NTSC
television system. However, the trick that allows American tapes to be played
on European VCRs and TVs doesn’t work the other way around. If you want to send
a copy of your home video movies to relatives or friends in the US, Canada or
the Far East, you have to pay a specialist company to ‘transcode’ the
recordings. If you make a habit of it, or do a lot of travelling you might be
better off getting a Samsung SV5000.
This remarkable machine can replay any VHS or
S-VHS tape, recorded in any video format, on any TV, anywhere in the world (it
has a 100 to 250 VAC 50/60Hz power supply) but more significantly it can
digitally convert video recordings and signals from one format to another. That
means you can tape UK TV programmes in NTSC format, and copy or convert
recordings, using a second VCR or camcorder as the source machine. It can do
all of the usual home cinema tricks as well; there’s multi-speed replay, a
Video Plus+ timer with PDC, NICAM, hi-fi stereo sound, audio dub and even a
couple of cheesy special effects (strobe and ‘Art’ or solarisation).
It goes without saying that it’s a bit more
complicated to use, compared with a regular NICAM VCR, but it has a fuss-free
auto installation system that tunes it in and sets the time and date. The
system conversion controls are reasonably intuitive and it’s helped by a well
presented set of on-screen displays. Picture quality is well inside the home cinema
ballpark, and whilst there is a small reduction in detail and increase in
noise, when using the standards converter, it’s perfectly acceptable. Noise
levels on the stereo soundtracks are no higher than average and sound quality
It’s not the kind of VCR you’d buy just to
watch rental movies or tape Coronation Street – though it does both things very
well – but if your video interests are more exotic, or you move around a lot,
then this machine is definitely worth considering.
0800 521652, www.samsungvcr.com
Multi-standard operation means this machine
will work anywhere; the standards conversion facility could even earn you a few
Your old gran will hate it; it’s the sort of
VCR where you really do have to read the instruction book…
‘This remarkable machine can replay any VHS
or S-VHS tape, recorded in any video format, on any TV, anywhere in the world’.
Ó R. Maybury 2000, 3008