I just bought a used Samsung DVD/VCR recorder for the sole purpose of copying my old VHS tapes to DVD. I knew it didn't come with a remote but figured that wouldn't be a problem because all I wanted to do was a straight VHS to DVD copy. I downloaded the online manual and it seemed to indicate that the copying function could be done either with a remote or using the front panel buttons. However, when I tried to use the manual buttons to start the copy function, a "MENU" prompt would pop up. Is there any way around this? I don't want to hook this unit up to my t.v. or cable box, just want to copy my old tapes. Apparently it also won't let me finalize a DVD without the remote (using an onscreen menu). Is there any workaround on this? Do I absolutely need the remote and do I absolutely have to hook it up to a t.v. to do this copying? I realize there's other devices and programs out there for doing this type of copying, but I'm trying to use this unit that I paid $80 for. I have a TON of VHS tapes to copy and I felt a combo DVR/VCR combo unit would be the fastest, most efficient option. I'm really frustrated that I may have to hook this up to my cable box and use the remote to utilize the on-screen menu operations of this unit to do the copying. Thanks for any advice or tips.
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The 'Menu' could pop up for all sorts of reasons one of which is that having powered-up the unit it expects certain settings to be made.
Bottom line. You do need a remote to get this to work. I hardly see connecting this to a cable box will solve that.
BTW Using a combi may be quick. It is definitely NOT the most efficienct way to dub from VHS to dvd. And if you have copy-protected tapes you can not dub them with this unit or any other combi.
A buddy of mine bought one of those a few years ago to do just what you're planning to do. He was only planning to convert 200 VHS tapes. lets just say that it's not progressing much, but I digress. He did get some of his most valuable tapes done, but he had to buy a new machine after feeding his 357 some crappy Nexxtech (Radio Shack) rewriteables. As far as I could tell there's no max current protection on the burn laser, using discs with low reflectivity can cause the laser to overheat and burnout. It only took a half dozen recording sessions for the machine to start having problems. Prior to that he had been using Sony and Verbatim discs, those are the ones Samsung recommends.
When you insert a brand new blank in the machine it will pop-up a menu to format the disc, once it's formatted the menu doesn't come back and if the disc is full it will automatically be finalized. In theory you could do VHS copies from the front panel without connecting it to a TV, but you need the remote to be able to set the recording speed (SP, LP, SLP...). You can program segments from a tape to record to DVD, this way you could remove commercials "in the machine", but you need the TV connection to do that. The easier faster way is to record to a rewriteable formatted in DVD-VR mode (doesn't need finalized), rip it to your PC and edit/author with TDA (you can even add menus).
There's no way around it, you need to see the menus to format (and maybe erase discs), you could always pre-format a spindle of blank DVD's and then just blindly keep swapping discs and tapes. But all you really need is a small tube TV, lots of those floating around.
The 'capture' method - not by an easycap pls - is more time consuming but you do have greater control over the final product. I do not know how good this particular unit is by most combis give disappointing results (images full of noise etc.)
That being said, I do own a combi but only use the dub for quick'ndirty copies. It is not my first choice option.
Careful with an Universal Remote since some of these need the existing remote to learn the functions but if it is just simple up-down-right-left-ok then I suppose any should work.