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autephex 10-06-2017 07:46 PM

Anyone know if Philips VRB615 VCR is a rebranded JVC?
I know Philips is not a good brand for VCRs, but I've been buying a lot of random VCRs at thrift stores over the last year and picked this one up for a few bucks. Didn't expect much from it as its a virtually unknown model with basically no info out there about it - all I could find was the manual, which is fortunate as it yielded a good bit of info.

Doesn't look like much, no S-video and nothing on the case about support for SVHS, or any of the features aside from all the standard stuff.

But when I tested the unit, I was surprised at how good the video looked - way better than basically all of the VCRs I've been trying out over the last year. It also holds tracking on all sorts of problematic tapes I've thrown at it that make my other VCRs totally freak out.

When I read the manual, I saw this is probably because the VCR has Video Stabilizer, something known to be in the JVC units. It also has Digital Studio Picture Control (DSPC), "SmartPicture" and supports S-VHS quasi playback (SQPB).

While trying to find some info on this VCR, I saw that a few Philips VR models are rebranded JVC units, and was wondering if maybe this one is also.

Geez, that was a lot of words typed for a consumer level VCR.... but I'm just really surprised at how good this thing plays tapes and that the picture looks really good IMO.

Here's some blurbs from the manual about the mentioned features.

Video Stabilizer
You can correct vertical vibration when playing back tapes. When
VIDEO STABILIZER is set to ON, vertical vibration will be corrected

The Digital Studio Picture Control (DSPC) checks the condition of
the tape during recording and playback, then makes adjustments
to provide the highest possible picture quality.

You can make the tape playback picture softer, sharper, more natural,
or more distinct by adjusting the SmartPicture setting.
SmartPicture is set to NATURAL when you receive the VCR

ugnaught 02-22-2021 12:50 PM

I know this is a super old thread but just wanted to add to this.

I have a Philips VR 1070 VCR which has similar internals as the later 4000/5000 series JVC decks. This caught my eye a few years ago when I stacked a JVC 9600 on top of it and noticed that the screw holes and vents on the casing lined up EXACTLY with the 9600. I could have taken the cover plate off of one and swapped it with the other.

Cracking it open I noticed the same exact same upper drum assemblies as a JVC, same location for all parts, screw holes, etc. I looked up some of the part numbers and found them also belonging to a 4800 or 5900 or something like that.

At any rate, YES, I do believe they are JVC clones. The menus also feel the same as well.

hodgey 02-23-2021 08:56 AM

Yeah, there are a bunch of Philips models that are essentially JVC internally. They use DSPC instead of B.E.S.T/Video calibration, and smart picture for the picture mode settings on the JVCs. (One minor difference is that they let you change picture mode with one remote button instead of going in the menu.)

They did however use the DSPC name for auto-calibration features on other decks too, so having DSPC alone doesn't automatically mean it's a JVC. (There are a handful of non-jvc ones that have smart picture as well) They also put "Turbo drive" on decks no matter the mechanism.

For PAL models, their newer models (mid 90s+ at least), I've seen them be JVC, Funai, what I think are their own design (they use Apollo for the mech in the service manual), and for some DVD/VCR combos LG internally. Even older models can also be different things, their first VHS decks were basically re-engineered video2000 vcrs. Their late SVHS ones like the mentioned model seem to be JVC, while the older one has the "Apollo" mechanisms and such. It should be doable to spot if looking in at the mechanisms.

I don't know if the "Apollo"/Turbo drive/whatever models ever made outside Europe. The newer US Philips Magnavox decks seem to be mostly funai, but seems there are some JVC models too.

There are also some older 80s Philips vcrs that are rebadged panasonics and other stuff, so it's rather confusing.

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