Wonky DVD player, basic TV recording needs, and a low budget.
June 19, 2010 9:53 PM   Subscribe

Please help us decide: our home video arrangement is very old-tech and simple, with cable feeding a VCR/DVD combo, then into an older CRT TV. My wife programs the VCR to tape TV shows for single viewing, ala TiVo. The DVD player has been very temperamental for a couple of years, basically worthless by now. We have less than $100 to spend.

Should we get another VCR/DVD unit to satisfy our TV recording and DVD player uses, or would that be entirely obsolete sooner than later, with better options helping us get more years out of the relatively meager investment?

Previous answers I found might be outdated.

Any ideas? Thanks!
posted by methinks to Technology (9 answers total)
You could completely cut out the VCR part and just use a DVD recorder. Several are available for under $100.
posted by sanka at 10:18 PM on June 19, 2010

How about a refurbished DVD recorder, like this one? An acquaintance of mine uses a similar product, and recordable DVDs are not all that expensive.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 10:22 PM on June 19, 2010

If the VCR portion still works fine the cheapest solution will be a DVD player. You can find them for under $30 (under $40 for a brand you've actually heard of like Magnovox).
posted by 6550 at 10:50 PM on June 19, 2010

Magnavox DVD player at WalMart for $30, simple machine, works fine so far, had it a few months. It may have been a sale price, don't recall, but I don't think it was.

You can get more VCRs and CRT televisions -- even large CRT televisions, perhaps moreso large CRT televisions -- by keeping an eye on Craigslist for a few weeks or a month. People give away VCR players all the time; if you were in Austin, I'd give you mine. My CRT is long gone, the sound went out on it, I gave it to a kid who wanted to use it for a game monitor.

So I'd think go to wally-world and buy a cheapie DVD player and keep an eye on CL for whatever else you're looking for, so long as you're willing to use that technology you're fine.
posted by dancestoblue at 11:03 PM on June 19, 2010

Do you subscribe to cable? Renting a standard definition DVR costs about $5/month if I recall correctly.
posted by halogen at 1:01 AM on June 20, 2010

You could find an used Series 2 Tivo and just use it to manually record (without requiring a subscription). Sounds like a better option to me than swapping out tapes or blank DVDs
posted by wongcorgi at 4:27 AM on June 20, 2010

I was just at a Goodwill yesterday and saw a stack of VCRs for $15 each. I imagine that's the case in other states, as well. That would seem to be the cheapest solution to your issue.
posted by greenland at 10:46 AM on June 20, 2010

Fully agree with dancestoblue and greenland. VCRs and DVD players are pretty much obsolete at this point. I have two DVD players and a VCR I don't use, and would give them to you if you were in Vancouver. I couldn't sell any of them for even $10 at a yard sale. FreeCycle, Craig's List, etc is the way to go.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 3:59 PM on June 20, 2010

Thanks for the ideas and helping define the tech horizon. We can easily work with all you've shared here.
posted by methinks at 8:55 PM on June 23, 2010

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