TV combos have been around for some time now, starting originally with the TV/VCR combo ($100+). Nowadays, the most cutting-edge in the combination department are TV/DVD combos ($150+). While VHS tapes are still floating around everyone's homes, most people want to switch over to digital video because of its convenience and improved image quality. That is why DVD systems are gradually replacing the old VCR since virtually anything that you could do with a VCR recorder you can now do with a DVD recorder. For those who don't want to give up the hundreds of tapes they've got, maybe consider a TV/DVD/VCR combo ($400+).
So what do you need to know about these new combination sets and is it worth it to buy one? The main thing before looking at combos is figuring out whether or not you really need the VCR or DVD player. If you mostly watch TV and movie channels but rarely rent videos, then don't bother spending the extra money unless you've got the cash. Or if you tend to like the highest quality video and audio devices, you probably won't be happy with a combo because the quality is a hair under what most would expect from a high-end VCR or DVD player. It would be worth the money for the audio/video-phile to invest in a top-notch LCD or plasma and a really nice DVD recorder.
Perfect For Tight Quarters
If you want recording and playback capability for any small space (office, dorm, RV, kitchen, bedroom, etc.) then a combo system would be a good choice. Remember though that TV combos come in all sizes and screen formats.
* Small spaces are classified as any room or location which only allows for a distance of 6 feet or less between the viewer and the TV.
* A small TV combo for such spaces should ideally be 24" or less.
* Consider a flat screen combo. They look sleek and take up less room so you can have a bigger TV in the same small space.
* Consider an LCD combo or plasma combo for higher quality resolution or if you want a large screen for a bigger space.
Features to Look For
* Multiple file format support. Choose according to your needs. The more there are, usually the more expensive the system will be: DVD/DVD-R, CD/CD-R/RW, VCD, VHS, WMA, JPEG, DVD-Video, DVD-RAM, and MP3 playback.
* 4-head Hi-Fi stereo VCR is usually standard on high quality combos.
* Progressive scan DVD player is the best but also the most expensive type.
* The ability to watch a DVD while recording at the same time.
* Digital comb filter on flat-tube TVs to improve the picture quality.
* HD ready sets for HDTV.
* AV inputs and digital audio output for DTS/Dolby Digital surround sound if you have a surround sound or home audio system.
* Headphone jack for private listening.
* A flash memory slot for Compact Flash, SD memory cards, or Memory Sticks.