How to Troubleshoot a Sylvania VCR/DVD

By Darrin Meyer

Sylvania VCR/DVD player and player-recorder combination units provide multi-format viewing in a single device that connects to your TV set. Some also come with video transfer capabilities allowing you to record DVD to VHS, VHS to DVD or both. Although combinations units are typically easy to use, at times your Sylvania VCR/DVD might not always work correctly. Troubleshoot the device at home before sending it off for service or repair.

Things You'll Need

  • VHS head-cleaning cassette
  • CD/DVD scratch removal kit

VCR Troubleshooting

Step 1

Check the power cords and cable connections to the TV and from the incoming cable outlet if the unit won't turn on or if there's no picture or sound. Ensure the cables connect securely and to the correct TV input. Also make sure the TV is set to the correct channel, usually 3 or 4 for a VCR. Check the remote control batteries if it fails to respond and replace them if necessary.

Step 2

If the VCR won't record, ensure the VHS tape you want to record on has a safety tab; if not, cover the gap where the tab should be with tape. Check that you set the clock and timers correctly and that the unit is powered off if a timer recording does not start.

Step 3

Press and hold the channel up or down key during playback to adjust the tracking if the picture shows some degree of noise or static, or insert a head-cleaning cassette if the unit's auto head cleaning feature is not adequately clearing the picture. Also try changing the VCR's output channel and do the same for the TV if there is no playback picture or it appears scrambled.

DVD Fixes

Step 1

Ensure the player is set to DVD mode and that the DVD or CD is compatible with your particular model. Some Sylvania models, including the DVC860D and DVC841G, handle only standard DVDs, CDs and WMA discs and may not play all recorded DVD-R/RW and CD-R/RW discs.

Step 2

Check for scratches or other physical damage on the DVD if playback skips or freezes. Wipe the disc with a soft cloth or use a scratch-removal device if necessary. Remember that not every DVD offers certain playback options, including languages, subtitles and alternate angles. If the player doesn't respond to these commands, the device might be faulty.

Step 3

Allow a little time after inserting a DVD to record, or when stopping a DVD recording, if your Sylvania model is a DVD player/recorder, such as the SRDV495, as the recorder must format the disc before recording, and input disc data after you stop the recording.

Step 4

Ensure that the DVD has not already been written previously if it will not record and you see the "Recording Error" message onscreen. Also ensure that the DVD or VHS tape you are attempting to dub does not contain copyright protection when attempting to dub from one format to the other.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consult the owner's manual for further operating instructions and information on the features and options available with your particular Sylvania model.