Panasonic PV-V4021 4-Head VCR (1999 Model)
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- 4-head programmable VCR with universal remote
- Auto clock set with 24-hour backup
- Index search for easy access to various programs
- Commercial skip fast-forwards in increments of 1, 2, or 3 minutes
- Program end search finds end of recorded program for easy cueing
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Why bother with lesser-known brands when you can get a fine VHS VCR by Panasonic? The Panasonic PV-V4021 is an excellent performer loaded with features that make it fun and easy to use. This 4-head VHS Video Cassette Recorder offers brilliant color and excellent picture quality. The video system produces a clear and stable picture during still/pause, slow motion, and forward/reverse search. Front A/V Input Jacks allow you to conveniently connect outboard video sources to the TV, without the hassles of rear-mounted inputs. It's great for connecting camcorders for viewing tapes, or connecting video game consoles. Commercial Advance can automatically skip over three minutes of commercials on most programs recorded from broadcast networks. Auto Clock Set with 24-hour Back-up automatically sets the current time and date and updates the clock in the event of a power failure. Tape Position Display identifies your current position on a tape with an indication of remaining tape length. Multi-Function Clock Display prominently displays the time and various VCR functions. Trilingual On-Screen Display is provided for on-screen programming instructions in English, Spanish or French. Index Search allows for simplified access to various programs on a tape. Program End Search lets you find the end of a recorded program. Multi-Brand Universal Light Tower Illuminated Remote is included for convenient operation.
With its great picture quality, quick setup, front audio-video inputs, and fantastic price, the Panasonic PV-V4021 VCR is a nice little unit that most people will find not only suits their video viewing and recording needs, but does so with very little fuss. As this piece is definitely not intended for videophiles, we tested the PV-V4021 using an inexpensive TV with mono sound and a coaxial video hookup.
We had the unit set up and ready to go in about four minutes. A thin but functional coaxial cable and batteries for the adequate remote control are included, and we were up and running without having to consult the well-written instruction manual.
With four heads working on its behalf, the PV-V4021 delivers a crisp, clear picture from the moment you hit Play. The remote's key buttons--Play, Rewind, Fast Forward, and Stop--are intuitively placed in a diamond pattern and are larger than the other buttons for easy access. However, the Eject key is hidden in the grid of other control buttons, and without a backlight it was easier to get out of the chair and eject tapes by hand than grope around for the button. Additionally, we were unable to set the remote so it would control our TV's volume, despite claims of compatibility and clear instructions in the manual.
We tested the unit's record function by plugging a camcorder's output into the convenient AV inputs on the unit's front panel. Before recording, you must select the appropriate input (front or back) using the remote control. The resulting second-generation tape turned out quite well, easily comparable to the quality of tapes from units costing twice the price of the PV-V4021.
A final thing to consider is the unit's build quality. While we had no disasters, the rewind function elicited a terrible straining sound and slowed to a crawl almost immediately, and the rear panel that houses the AV jacks was flimsy enough to cause some concern when we were connecting and disconnecting our cables.
At the end of the day, however, the Panasonic PV-V4021 really is a nice VCR for casual movie viewing and program recording. Despite our reservations, its good qualities and price tag address the concerns of its potential audience quite well. --Erik Hammen
- Four-head design ensures good playback and record quality
- Convenient front AV inputs
- Easy setup straight from the box
- Limited remote functions
- Flimsy-seeming build
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So, I am happy. I only hope it lasts the long term, because some of these films are not available on DVD, or are too expensive for over-50 year old B rate films, but they are worth a dollar or three in the used video sections of stores.