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JVC HMDH40000U D-VHS HDTV Digital Video Recorder

3.0 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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  • Record up to four hours of HDTV broadcast to D-VHS cassette
  • Compatible with playback of S-VHS/VHS tapes; FireWire/iLink connectivity for set-top boxes and DV camcorders
  • Video/audio input/output: RF, component video, S-video, RCA jacks, optical
  • 5.1-channel Dolby Digital audio output
  • Measures 17.2 x 3.75 x 12.2 inches (W x H x D)
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Technical Details

  • Brand Name: JVC
  • Model Number: HMDH40000U
  • Item Package Quantity: 1
  • Video Tape Playback Speed: EP, SP
  • Video Tape Recording Speed: EP, SP
See more technical details

Product Description

Product Description

The HM-DH40000 from JVC redefines home theater performance. Its playback picture is ready to display on the newest HDTV and hi-res projector systems. It enables full enjoyment of D-Theater software, now and in the future. But it also keeps you in touch wi

Record high-definition television broadcasts with the JVC HMDH40000U D-VHS digital video recorder. Using special D-VHS tapes with a 50 GB of capacity, you can record up to 3.5 hours of high-quality video and Dolby Digital audio. Features include 5.1-channel Digital Dolby audio, FireWire/iLink connectivity, VCR Plus+ instant timer programming, and playback of D-Theater prerecorded movies.

Thanks to its high read/write speed (28.2 Mbps in HS mode), D-VHS produces up to six times better quality than DVDs. And you'll get powerful home theater sound with the 5.1-channel Dolby Digital audio output (and support for 2-channel linear PCM output). With the JVC HMDH40000U, you can record any type of broadcast, including HD, SD (standard definition), and analog. You can also play your old VHS and S-VHS tape library, as well as record analog video signal to those older formats.

The JVC HMDH40000U has two FireWire/iLink ports so that you can connect to a digital set-top box. If you have a digital camcorder, you can download video footage to a D-VHS tape (using the MPEG-2 video standard) via the second FireWire/iLink port. The Video Navigation System feature enables you to store title, date, and storage information on up to 2,000 tapes.

Other features include:

  • Time Base Corrector removes jitter from fluctuating video signals
  • Digital YNR/CNY improves signal-to-noise ratio by 3 dB
  • Record up to 24 events, up to 1 year in advance
  • MTS stereo reception
  • Remote control featuring multibrand compatibility and glow-in-the-dark buttons

Recording modes include:

  • HS (28.2 Mbps; 210 minutes max with DF-420 cassette)
  • STD (14.1 Mbps; 420 minutes max with DF-420 cassette)
  • LS3 (4.7 Mbps; 1,260 minutes max with DF-420 cassette)
  • LS5 (2.8 Mbps; 2,100 minutes max with DF-420 cassette)
  • SP (210 minutes max with S-VHS or VHS cassette)
  • EP (630 minutes max with S-VHS or VHS cassette)

Tech Talk
D-VHS: The D-VHS (or Digital VHS) format offers the highest consumer video resolution for recording and playback. It stores digitally encoded video signals and accompanying multichannel audio from high-definition TV (HDTV) to a tape format. You can record up to 3.5 hours of video at either the 1080i or 720p HDTV formats. For audio, D-VHS encodes Dolby Digital at 576 Kbps (compared to DVD's 384 Kbps and 448 Kbps data rates), which can mean higher sound fidelity due to less compression.

HDTV formats: There are two common video formats for HDTV. The 1080i format displays video at 1080 vertical by 1920 horizontal pixels and it is interlaced (which means that a video screen scans the odd-numbered video lines first, then the even-numbered lines). The 720p format displays video at 720 vertical by 1280 horizontal pixels and it is progressive (which means that all video lines are filled at the same time).

What's in the Box
JVC HMDH40000U D-VHS player/recorder, remote (LP21036-013), two AA batteries, S-Video cable, RCA audio cable, coaxial cable, head cleaning cassette, and instruction manual.

Product Information

Technical Details

Brand Name JVC
Item Weight 17 pounds
Product Dimensions 21.4 x 20.4 x 8.3 inches
Item model number HMDH40000U

Additional Information

Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #404,009 in Home Theater (See top 100)
#227 in Electronics > Televisions & Video > DVD Players & Recorders > DVD Recorders
#1,284,410 in Electronics > Accessories & Supplies
Shipping Weight 18 pounds
Domestic Shipping This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
International Shipping This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
Date First Available July 2, 2003

Warranty & Support

Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here


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Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

The JVC HMDH40000U D-VHS DVR is a great next-generation VCR and high definition media player. Under certain circumstances it's a good archival system for HD broadcasts. Unfortunately, between the recording industry's paranoia and JVC's mistakes those circumstances are rare. But it's now cheap enough so that you're basically paying for a great VCR with a HD option. On that basis, it's worth 4 stars.

While wonderful to watch, HDTV is clearly still in its early adoption stages. One problem with early adoption is that until standards settle down it's very hard to find critical support technology - like storage. Currently, the main option is to buy or rent a cable/satellite-brand specific integrated DVR/HDTV tuner. This also presents severe limitations: the box is useless if you switch providers, there's typically little storage space (typically 8 hours - HD takes about 4x the space of regular broadcasts), you can't burn programs to DVD, and they're wildly expensive. Until Tivo and others finally figure out the technology and come out with standalone HD units sometime in late 2005-2006, your only real alternative is a DVHS recorder.

For neophytes, DVHS is a remarkable update to 30 year old technology - it uses the the same tapes that VHS always did but records digitally. This is wonderful for backwards compatibility as VHS and SVHS tapes play and record perfectly in a DVHS VCR (and if you've got money to burn you can record an outrageously priced DVHS tape with a VHS signal.)

The good news is when it works it's a perfect digital copy of HD content. The bad is that after losing billions on pirated DVDs the recording industry put so many restrictions on digital recording it basically cripples this VCR and the DVHS format.
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I recently purchased a Sony HDR-FX1 1080i high-definition camcorder through Amazon (with which I am extremely pleased, incidentally), and have been looking for a way to archive my edited high-definition home movies and show them on my HDTV set. The JVC HMDH40000U, at the current low price, is the ideal solution.

The only other option at this point would be to use my camcorder as a VCR, but I hate putting all that extra wear and tear on my precious high-def camcorder.

With this JVC D-VHS VCR, you can shoot beautiful high-def footage with your HD camcorder, then upload it to your computer via FireWire, then edit it to produce a finished high-definition movie, then record it in digital high-def format on D-VHS tape via FireWire, then display it on your HDTV set.

Eventually, you'll be able to do all this using the Blue Ray or HD-DVD disk format (whichever one wins out, or maybe both). However, until the HD optical disk technology crystalizes and becomes affordable, a cheap D-VHS recorder such as this one is a great solution for home video enthusiasts.
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On the one hand, the JVC D-VHS units are actually state of the art. I own two different units and they do a great job. On the other hand, they are pretty much obsolete and you will likely be much happier with an HD DVR.

If your plan is to record OTA HD programming then do realize that your HD tuner must have firewire output. The only way to feed HD signal into this VCR is via firewire. If you want to build up a library of pre-recorded D-Theater titles, forget about it.

Buying one of these now is sort of like buying the latest in 8-track players. JVC, along with the studios, appear to have abandoned the D-Theater format. The quality of the D-Theater tapes is spectacular, better than CD and even higher bitrate that broadcast HD. Unfortunately, the last titles released were "Master & Commander" and "Passion of the Christ". Those will probably be the last ones ever. Even blank D-VHS tapes are becoming harder to find.

Most of the better D-Theater movies are no longer available. This will leave you shopping at that big auction site. You will find mostly stuff not worth owning. You will also find that some rare titles such a Bourne Identity and Alien are selling for prices that defy any sort of logic. Look at what you can purchase these on DVD for and multiply by 10 or 20 and you will get the idea. You would really have to be insanely obsessed with seeing these pics in HD to purchase them at that price. Of course, with BlueRay or other HD DVD right around the corner, those tapes will soon be worth less than a buck on the same auction site.
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Verified Purchase
I purchased two separate units, neither would work out of the box. Received the same error message: 201 calibrating, please wait. I waited hours, reset, ect. Could never get them to work, called JVC, they were of no help. I have used the earlier model 30000 for years with no problems. Purchased the HMDH5U after giving up on the 400000. The HDMI out does not work on the HMDH5U and now play back without problems is sporadic. Every 10 minutes it shuts off comes back on after 20 seconds.
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I have to disagree with some other reviews I've read. I've owned this VCR for about a year now and very rarely, if ever, use it. First, there's the almost impossible task of getting HD content into the thing. Second, as a regular old everyday-use VCR, it sucks. It's very slow to start playing a tape, it's tracking is terrible, and it doesn't even show a picture when you fast forward. My $99 Mitsubishi VCR is far superior for everyday VCR use. Although with TiVo and Netflix, I really don't use VCRs much anymore! I miss the awsome VCRs they made in the early '90s...with frame advance, jog shuttles, etc. I thought this would be the best VCR they make these days, and if it is, I think it's safe to say the days of the VCR are drawing to a close.
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