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Sony RDR-VX500

Combination DVD recorder + HiFi VCR

Item # 158RDRV500

Using their expertise in the world of video technology, Sony has created the remarkable RDR-VX500.

Read more from Crutchfield writer, Dave B.

This item is no longer available.

About the Sony RDR-VX500

Using their expertise in the world of video technology, Sony has created the remarkable RDR-VX500. Now get that famous Sony picture quality in a single unit that combines DVD recording and playback plus VHS videotaping!

Using their expertise in the world of video technology, Sony has created the remarkable RDR-VX500. Now get that famous Sony picture quality in a single unit that combines DVD recording and playback plus VHS videotaping!

Sony makes it so easy to record to your choice of non-erasable, write-once DVD-R/+R discs (great for making permanent copies of home movies) or rewritable DVD-RW/+RW discs, and VHS videotapes. With auto clock set and tuning, the 'VX500 is simple to set up and ready to use in a snap. VCR Plus+® makes it super-convenient to do timer recording and save your favorite shows to disc or tape.

Other conveniences include front-panel A/V jacks and an i.LINK® (IEEE 1394) input for trouble-free digital dubbing. Just plug in your camcorder and you'll be making vivid DVD copies of your home movies in no time. You get easy two-way internal recording, too. One push of a button lets you transfer from non-copy protected VHS tapes to DVD or from home-burned DVDs to VHS tape.

Sony takes good care of your videotape collection, too! Their precision tape drive delivers sharp, clear pictures, even in the extended play (EP) mode. And with Flash Rewind, your rental tapes will be ready to go back to the video store in about 60 seconds!

Consumer Alert: This DVD recorder/VCR has only an analog broadcast tuner and will require a converter box after February 17, 2009, to receive over-the-air broadcasts with an antenna because of the Nation's transition to digital broadcasting. Analog-only TVs should continue to work as before with cable and satellite TV services, gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players, and similar products. For more information, call the Federal Communications Commission at 1-888-225-5322 (TTY: 1-888-835-5322) or visit the Commission's digital television website at:


Product highlights:

    DVD recorder:
    • records to DVD-R & DVD-RW, DVD+R & DVD+RW
    • plays DVD-Video, DVD-R & DVD-RW, DVD+R & DVD+RW, and Video CD
    • plays CD, CD-R & CD-RW, and MP3-encoded CD-R & CD-RW
    • plays digital photo CDs (JPEG)
    • selectable progressive-scan mode for smoother video with HD-compatible TVs (via the component video output)
    • front-panel i.LINK (IEEE 1394) input (for use with a digital camcorder)
    • six DVD recording quality/time settings (for recording from 1 to 6 hours on a single disc)
    • optical and coaxial digital outputs for Dolby Digital®/DTS®/PCM
    • 2 sets of A/V inputs (including 1 front-panel input with S-video)
    • 1 set of A/V outputs (composite, S-video and 480i/480p component video)
    • HiFi stereo with MTS decoding
    • 4 video heads
    • two VHS recording settings: 2-hr. SP and 6-hr. EP (with a T-120 tape)
    • Auto Tape Speed function
    • 181-channel tuner
    • program timer with VCR Plus+
    • remote control (multibrand for TVs)
    • RF in/out
    • 16-15/16"W x 3-3/8"H x 14-3/16"D
    • warranty: 1 year
    • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
    • Note: Internal dubbing of copy-protected DVDs and VHS tapes is not possible
    • MFR # RDRVX500

    What's in the box:

    • Video Cassette Recorder/DVD Recorder
    • Wireless remote control (RMT-V505)
    • 2 "AA" batteries
    • 47" RF coaxial cable (with slip-on "F" connectors on each end)
    • 47" A/V patch cord (with composite video RCA and stereo audio RCA plugs on each end)
    • Operating Instructions
    • Quick Start Guide
    • Warranty sheet
    • On-line registration sheet

    Customer reviews

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    Sony RDR-VX500 Reviews

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    Inputs and Outputs Notes


    Product Overview: The Sony RDR-VX500 can record video and audio to blank DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, and DVD+RW, as well as VHS video cassettes. The unit has a front panel DV input jack (also referred to as iLINK or IEEE1394) for dubbing from Mini DV and Digital 8 camcorders. Two line inputs (one on the rear and one on the front) allow you to record from several sources. The built-in TV tuner and VCR Plus+ let you program your DVD or VHS recorder to catch your favorite TV shows. Although you can dub from DVD to VHS or from VHS to DVD, you cannot record from copyrighted materials.

    Blank Disc Types: This unit can record on four types of blank DVDs. Here are the major differences in the disc types:

    • DVD-R: You can record only once on DVD-R discs (8x speed or slower, Ver.2.0)--they are not erasable or rewritable. You can readily play finalized DVD-R discs on other DVD equipment.
    • DVD+R: You can record only once on a DVD+R disc (8x speed or slower)--they are not erasable or rewritable. You can playback only on DVD+R compatible players.
    • DVD+RW: You can erase and record over previously recorded material, however, it is more difficult to edit recorded contents without another recorder. DVD+RW discs can be played back on many other DVD players. (Compatible with 4x speed or slower DVD+RW discs)
    • DVD-RW: You can erase and record over previously recorded material. (Compatible with 2x speed or slower DVD-RW Ver.1.1, Ver.1.1 with CPRM, and 4x speed or slower Ver.1.2, Ver.1.2 with CPRM) This disc can be formatted in two different recording modes:
      • DVD Video Format (Video Mode): Disc recorded in this mode can be played in many other DVD players, but editing is more difficult.
      • DVD Video Recording Format (VR mode): Discs recorded in this mode won't playback in other DVD players as readily (VR compatible players only). Recorded material can be edited right on the disc without disturbing the original recordings. You can also manually create chapters whenever you like instead of at fixed time intervals as on other discs or DVD-RW in Video mode.

        Note: Discs that cannot be recorded on include: DVD-RWs Ver.1.0, DVD+RWs that are not 2.4x speed compatible, double layer discs, or 8 cm discs.

    DVD Recording Speeds: You can select from six variable bit-rate speeds when recording a DVD. The picture quality generally improves as the recording time decreases. The recording speeds and approximate recording times on a 4.7GB blank disc are:

    Recording Mode Recording Time
    HQ 60 minutes
    HSP 90 minutes
    SP (Standard mode) 120 minutes
    LP 180 minutes
    EP 240 minutes
    SLP 360 minutes

    Tape Recording/Playback: The 4-head hi-fi VCR deck features high quality 19 micron heads. It can playback S-VHS tapes, but without the enhanced resolution. The unit will not record in the S-VHS format. The VCR can record in two speeds and playback in three speeds:

    Tape Length SP
    (playback only)
    T-120 2 hours 4 hours 6 hours
    T-160 2 hours 40 min 5 hours 20 min 8 hours
    T-180 3 hours 6 hours 9 hours

    Audio CD/MP3/JPEG Playback: The RDR-VX500 can playback audio CDs, CD-R, CD-RW, and MP3 and JPEG files recorded onto Data CDs (CD-R, CD-RW). The MP3s must be recorded in ISO9660 Level 1, Level 2, or Joliet format for the recorder to recognize the tracks. The recorder can recognize up to 499 MP3 audio tracks within a single folder. ID3 Tags cannot be displayed. JPEG still images are played back one at a time or in a one-direction slide show in one of three speeds. During one-at-a-time playback, you can rotate the image clockwise 90° or zoom in at 2x or 4x normal magnification. Images cannot be rotated or zoomed during the slide show playback.

    Copy Protection/Copy Control: Pictures with copy protection, including most most commercially-recorded DVDs and VHS tapes, cannot be recorded on this DVD/VCR recorder. When the recorder receives a copy guard signal while recording, the unit stops and a message appears on your TV screen. Some broadcasts that contain Copy Control signals may have one of three signal types: Copy-Free, Copy-Once, or Copy-Never. The recorder limits the recording according to the copy protection signal. Copy-Free encoded signals can be recorded at any time with any compatible blank disc type. Copy-Never encoded signals can not be recorded on this unit. Copy-Once programs can be recorded on a DVD-RW disc formatted in the VR mode, and can be played only on CPRM-compatible equipment.

    DV Dubbing: You can transfer the contents from a MiniDV or Digital 8 digital video camera to the DVD recorder. When the two units are connected via an i-LINK cable, the recorder's remote controls the camcorder, allowing you to fast forward, rewind, play in slow motion, and stop the tape to select the scenes you want to record. A single i-LINK cable is required for connecting the camcorder and DVD recorder (item #158VMC4415).

    On Screen Display: The recorder uses an on-screen display to guide you through most operations. There are three types of menus used: System Menu (with Title List, Timer, Edit, Disc Setting, and Setup Menus), Tools, and Sub-Menu. It also has a Disc Information display for checking the status of the inserted disc, plus an on-screen keyboard for labeling a title or disc.

    TV Tuner: The recorder has a built-in 181-channel TV tuner that is shared by both the VCR and DVD, so you cannot simultaneously record different programs on the DVD and VCR. Television shows can be recorded to blank DVDs or VHS tapes for time-shifting or archiving. Once the recorder has been connected to the antenna or cable, the Easy Setup guides you through the steps of setting the time, date, and searching for receivable channels.

    Recording TV Programs: The RDR-VX500 allows you to record programs in several ways:

    • Manual Recording (DVD/VHS): Record the currently tuned channel until you stop the recorder or the disc or tape is full.
    • Quick Timer (DVD/VHS): Record the currently tuned channel in 30-minute increments up to 6 hours.
    • Timer Recording (DVD/VHS): Set the timer for a total of 12 programs (DVD and/or VHS) up to one month in advance. You select the recorder you wish to use. There are two types of timer recordings:
      • Standard Timer:, You set the date, time and channel of the program manually.
      • VCR Plus+: You can enter the PlusCode number (found in newspaper or TV Guide listings) for each TV program you want to record. The date, time, channel and program duration are automatically set.
    • Synchro Record (DVD/VHS): Set the recorder to automatically record programs from connected equipment that has a timer function, such as a satellite receiver. The source component must be connected to the Line 1 input, and when the signal is sensed, the recorder automatically starts.

    Surround: When you connect the unit to a TV or a stereo receiver, the Surround feature lets you enjoy surround sound effects by using sound imaging to create virtual rear speakers from two speakers. This can be done using digital (Digital PCM) or analog signals. You can create one, two, or three sets of virtual surround speakers, or turn the surround feature off.

    Child Lock: You can lock all of the buttons on the recorder so the settings are not canceled by mistake.

    Parental Control: You can restrict playback of some DVD videos according to a predetermined level, such as the age of the users. Scenes may be blocked or replaced by different scenes. The parental control feature is protected by a 4-digit password. Parental control is not available for VHS video playback.

    Remote Control: The supplied remote control (RMT-V505) can control the DVD recorder, as well multiple brands of TVs (basic functions) and A/V receivers (volume only). If you own a Sony DVD player or another recorder, you can change the Command Mode of the recorder to one that doesn't interfere with the other player or recorder.

    Inputs and Outputs Notes

    A/V Inputs: This recorder features 2 audio/video inputs--one on the rear panel, and one on the front. These inputs include stereo audio RCA jacks, as well as composite video jacks. The front panel input also includes an S-Video jack.

    A/V Outputs: There is an audio/video output (labeled "Line Out") on the rear panel, which includes stereo audio RCA jacks, composite video and S-Video jacks. If you wish to connect the unit to a receiver/amplifier, you can use the separate "Audio Out" jacks.

    Component Video Output: The recorder can output video from the DVD and VCR through the unit's component video outputs. You can select interlaced or progressive scan playback from the component output.

    Digital Outputs: This unit offers a coaxial digital and a Toslink optical digital output. These outputs are compatible with Dolby Digital and DTS, so you can connect the recorder to a surround sound receiver built-in with Dolby Digital and DTS decoders. You can also use the digital outputs to connect the DVD recorder to a MiniDisc or DAT deck. Note: You must select the proper settings in the setup menu for the type of digital output you desire.

    DV Input: The front panel DV input allows you to connect the recorder to a MiniDV or Digital 8 camcorder with a DV jack via a single 4-pin i-LINK cable. It is compatible with the i-LINK standard, and allows you dub from the DV-compatible device to the recorder. The DV IN jack is for input only. Note: Micro-MV format digital video cameras are not compatible with this recorder, even though they may have an i-LINK jack.

    VHF/UHF In/Out: The VHF/UHF In jack allows you to input antenna and cable TV signals into the unit for recording your favorite programs. The VHF/UHF out jack outputs the antenna/cable TV signal and the VHS playback signal to your TV. The video from the DVD is not output through the VHF/UHF jack.

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