You may not have heard of Funai yet, but having made a big impression in America, the Osaka-based company has even bigger plans for us here in the UK. Those plans include the launch of the DRV-B2737 VCR/DVD recorder combi. Pocket-lint sat down with the latest player to see if we could be impressed.
At around £200, this model promises to take the hassle out of transferring VHS tapes to DVD, but it must also function well as a DVD recorder in its own right to really impress us. In this respect, the deck gets off to a bad start. The input Scart socket will not accept an RGB signal.
Even if you are happy to settle for S-video, the S-video input is mounted at the front of the deck, so hooking it up to external equipment will be a bit untidy.
Funai has opted for the DVD-R/-RW camp for its DVD recorder, and you can opt to format -RW discs in VR mode, opening up the power of playlist editing. Playlist editing lets you rearrange the playing order of material on the disc without changing the original content.
You can record in one of six settings, giving one, two, four, six, eight and even 10 hours on a single DVD.
The VCR-to-DVD dubbing mode is simple but quite limited - you cannot pause during the process, so it is not possible to manually edit out material as you go along.
Picture quality in the top two modes is good when the deck is fed an S-video feed, but fairly ropey if you have to make do with a composite signal. The two-hour mode is also ideal for VHS transfers.
The image deteriorates as you step down the levels, but the degradation is not precipitous and the picture is still surprisingly watchable on simple programming (such as soaps and sitcoms, where there isn’t much movement) even in the 10-hour setting.
Regular DVD playback is very good thanks to the RGB Scart output, which makes it even more of a shame that Funai did not equip the input in the same way.
This deck is an option for those who want a simple way to transfer VHS tapes to DVD, but let's face it, how many VHS tapes have you got where you can play through all 3-4 or 4-8 hours without pausing, keeping everything on each one. Then you have to ask if that would warrant a £200 outlay. Worse still, the player doesn't really offer enough capability as a pure DVD recorder to really excite on its own. As this is the entry model to the market, we hope to see some of these issues addressed in future models.