Well, some good news and bad news for my situation:
Bad news: I was informed by the guy at the store from where I bought this JVC deck from that the 30-day guarantee is applicable to ONLY defective products that warrant a return/exchange. Seeing as I've already stopped by the store numerous times (checking for other decks) and have yapped off about my situation to the guy who sold it to me, I couldn't even come up with a a false excuse about the deck being defective as I unintentionally blew up my own spot. So, for better or worse I'm stuck with this JVC deck and the Zenith tape rewinder. Yet another harsh lesson learned; impulse buying and being fooled by slick-looking exterior= bad.
Good news: I managed to borrow an Optimus (which was/should be a Radio Shack spin-off brand a la "Realistic") VHS deck from a relative to see how well it could play my tapes compared to this JVC deck. The deck was inundated in a thick layer of dust all over (from being unused), and it took 30-45 minutes, a damp cloth, water and ammonia to get most of it off. Also (and not surprisingly) it didn't come with a remote. I searched on-line to find some info on this deck, and it didn't take me long to stumble upon a PDF copy of its manual which listed its following features:
- It's from circa-1998.26-Micron Record/Play Head - enhances the picture quality at the SLP
(Super Long Play) playback speed.
Four Double-Azimuth Video Heads - provide superior picture quality and
special effects compared with standard
single-azimuth four-head VCRs.
AI (Artificial Intelligence) Video Noise Reduction System - reduces noise on the screen when playing back a worn or partially damaged tape.
Commercial Advance - automatically detects and skips over
(Model 65 Only) most commercials when you play back a
Movie Advance (Model 65 Only) - lets you go directly to the start of a
movie or select which preview to view on
a purchased or rented tape.
Auto Tracking System - automatically adjusts tracking when you
Time Stamp - the VCR displays useful recording
information (such as date, start time,
and channel) for the first 7 seconds
Auto Repeat Playback - automatically rewinds the tape for
repeat playback when the tape reaches
the end of the recording during playback
Easy-to-Use Immediate Recording - lets you start a recording immediately
and have the VCR automatically stop
recording after a length of time you
1-Month, 8-Event Digital Timer - lets you program the VCR to make up to
eight unattended recordings (daily,
weekly, or one-time).
Automatic Playback/Rewind/Eject - automatically plays, rewinds, and ejects
Fast-Response System - positions the tape next to the playback/
record head for immediate playback or
Real-Time Counter with Zero - displays the actual length of time a
Back tape plays or records, and allows you to
mark and return to a location on the
179-Channel, Digital PLL, - lets you tune to up to 68 VHF and UHF
Compatible Tuner channels, and up to 125 cable channels.
Tuner Memory Programming - automatically stores all the active
channels in your area into memory.
Channel Caption - lets you assign call letters to a
channel so the call letters appear on
the TV screen with the channel number
when you select the channel.
One-Minute Skip (Model 64 Only) - lets you fast-forward the tape for
exactly 1 minute to let you easily skip
Index Search - lets you quickly locate the beginning of
a specific recording. Also, you can have
the VCR play the first 10 seconds of
each recording so you can locate the one
Program Index - lets you select and search for a
specific program after timer recording.
Fast-Forward/Rewind with Visual Search
Multichannel Television Sound - decodes stereo broadcasts for listening
(MTS) or recording. This VCR can also receive
and record special audio programs (SAP)
that accompany some MTS broadcasts.
Front & Rear Audio/Video Input - lets you quickly connect an audio/video
Jacks device, such as a camcorder, to the VCR
without disconnecting other devices.
Trilingual On-Screen - provides helpful instructions on the TV
Programming screen for setting the clock and timers.
You can select English, French, or
Universal Remote Control - lets you control your VCR, as well as
TVs, cable boxes, and direct-to-home
satellite systems produced by other
Memory Sentinel - protects clock settings, tuner
programming information, and timer
memory settings in case of a power loss.
The VCR holds the current time for 1
minute, and tuner programming
information and timer memory settings
are kept for up to 24 hours.
Automatic/Manual Clock Setting - lets you set the VCR to automatically
update its clock using EDS (Extended
Data Service) signals sent by some TV
stations. You can also manually set the
Note: EDS is provided by some broadcasters and includes various types of
information, including the current time. If no broadcasters in your
area transmit EDS signals, you must manually set the clock.
Automatic DST (Daylight Saving - lets you set the VCR to automatically
Time) Adjustment adjust the displayed time for Daylight
Alert Tone - the VCR alerts you whenever you enter
invalid information or do an incomplete
operation. You can turn the alert tone
on or off.
VCR Lock - lets you set the VCR to help prevent
young children from operating it.
So guys, how do those specs sound? Anything I should know?
I'm beginning to try out my tapes with this deck as I speak, and I'm glad to say that I'm having little, if any tracking problems so far, and haven't had to mess with the manual tracking as of yet. The picture quality is a bit worse than the JVC, and I'm now starting to see (mostly negligable) instances of ghosting and lines (akin to what you see from an RF/Coaxial cable connection) on the recordings but so far its tracking abilities beat the friggin' pants off of my JVC deck.
Problem with this deck is that I'm obviously lacking the original remote, and am using my cable box's universal remote to operate the deck's basic functions. I'm not sure if I'll need to mess around with the deck's menu, but I'd like to be able to if need be. Any suggestions guys? I'm not too familiar (hint: don't have a clue) with universal remotes, which are good/bad, which will let me access menus etc.
Also, can anyone direct me to a good tape head cleaner?? Never know if I may need it for this dusty deck.