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Genius no longer needed to program VCR

(ran HN, HP, HH editions)

Question: I am in the market for a VCR to replace the one I have owned for eight years.

My problem is that it took me at least two years to figure out how to program my old unit, and I don't want to have to go through that again.

Can you recommend a VCR that is so simple to program that even a non-technical person can do it?

Answer: You're in luck! Not only are the latest VCRs easier to program than ever before, they deliver a better picture and superior sound quality and carry much lower price tags than eight years ago.

Most VCRs today use a scheme known as "on-screen programming" for unattended recording. Here's how it works:

By using the VCR's remote control, you can program the VCR from the comfort of your easy chair.

You first press a programing button, which puts a fill-in-the-blank form on the screen.

It usually begins by flashing the start time (you use the remote to enter the time to begin recording), stop time, desired channel and date.

Most units automatically go into the timer mode when you turn off the VCR.

Although these VCRs are smart, you still have to remember to insert a tape for recording.

On-screen programing is found on most VCRs starting in price around $250, and best of all, this is a feature you can try in the store.

Another alternative is Fox's new 4 Record, No-Brainer Entertainer combination VCR programming device and remote control for up to four video components.

To use this unit, just enter the date and starting time of recording, the desired channel to record and the stop time.

Then, just place a tape in your VCR and turn the power off.

The 4 Record turns on the VCR, sets the channel and starts recording, but no codes are required, and the unit also acts as a multi-function remote control.

Fox's 4 Record is currently available and sells for $50.

For more information, call (800) 229-7892.

Have a question? Write to the Gadget Guru c/o the Times, 95 White Bridge Road, Suite 503, Nashville, TN 37205. The FAX number is (615) 356-9596.

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