Review: Panasonic OmniVision PV-V402 VCR

I know it’s late, and most of you won’t read this until the morning. Hopefully you won’t have to work until later in the day so you get some time to completely soak this review in, and have it really help you towards your next VCR purchase.

You can probably consider me a VCR connoissseur, I love what I put my VHS tapes into. When I push a VHS tape into a slot, I like to know where that slot has been and how it will handle my tapes. It’s probably been around 15 years since I purchased my last VCR, so that shows you how confident I am in my VCR knowledge. I can stop buying when I find the right one. But when Panasonic contacted me last week in hopes to review one of their most solid entry level units, I couldn’t pass up the chance.

I requested a refurbished GoodWill sale model to ensure I got a sample of some good quality VHS playback. Now, I own many VHS tapes and I wanted to make absolutely sure that before I had to send it back, I had a unit that had gotten around. Between the 12:00AM flash, to the clunk of a tape being sucked in, I wanted to be certain that I was in the heart of everything “old school”.


When I first experienced the unboxing of the V402, my heart skipped a beat…I couldn’t believe what I was getting myself into. Ironically, the PV-V402 arrived on my doorstep on the new iPad announce day, so my heart was already in shambles. To unbox this glorious piece of machinery was going to drive me wild.

The unit differs slightly from models of the past. The Energy Star tag is in a different location then what you are probably used to. I know this might upset some of our readers, but trust me, it doesn’t interfere with the playback – at all. Panasonic did a doozy on this guy, creating a sleek and bulky unit that would look good on the top of any geeks tube television. When pairing this up next to your NES, you’ll notice a slight gain of inches in sleekness. No big deal, as when a tape is inserted, you wouldn’t even notice there was anything inside of it.

You’d be surprised at how light this guy actually is. When looking at it, you’d be completely dumbfounded when finally getting your sweaty mits on it. This is where Panasonic shines… You’ll be amazed at the weight, especially when lugging it to your friends house because he doesn’t have a VCR. This is also where Panasonic pwns the rest of it’s competition, well, there is no competition when it comes to VCRs. Your friend will not have one, and so you’ll be forced to lug this around. With a coating of slick matte early 90s black, you can be sure this will probably not match anything else you own – which will make it stand out!


I was quite surprised when I first popped a tape in; the time in which it took to load up that first thread of film was incredible. I barely had time to go and get a cup of tea before I was past the 13 previews and into the action. FF and Rewind work as you’d expect. Two speeds per direction will make sure you can get to the section you need as quick as you’d want to.

Whether the remote in hand or finger blasting the buttons on the front of the VCR, it responded without delay. I could Play, Pause, Stop and Rewind/FF without wondering the outcome of my button press. The 4Head OminiVision technology really races against time to bring you some outstanding performance. I couldn’t recommend this unit more based on the playback speeds.


When I first got this thing up and ready for use, I was a bit confused. As you can see, my current set up, which included HDMI cables, wasn’t equipped to handle this level of technology. I had to scrounge and scrounge for those pesky yellow, white and red cables we all know and love. Luckily my LG flat screen TV came equipped with such colors, so I was able to get it plugged in without a hitch – once I found those cables.

This is where I could find some readers getting turned off. With HDMI on the rise, finding a time and place for AV cables something that could become a nuisance to most. Luckily we are still blessed with the COAX connections on the rear to add for that easy to turn connection.


When it comes to Video Home System playback, Panasonic has you covered. With a bulky design that would dwarf any of your Digital Video Disc or BluRay units you kids are using, and speed that would annoy any tortoise, the PV-V402 should be your last stop. Any easy to use configuration would ensure the youth as well as the elderly can equip themselves with pure Panasonic quality.

If you are able to troll your local GoodWill, I’d recommend taking a gander at their electronics section to see if you are lucky enough to come across one of these gems. Take the time to remember what it was like to get lost in the flashing of midnight. Remember what it was like to not instantly be where you would like to be in video playback. Screw those circular plastic pieces of garbage, and resinate in the 7″ plastic film housing you grew up loving.

VHS is here to stay, and we here at Gadgetsteria are embracing it like it was 1976…


  • Nathan Wertz

    Good sir, I have a question.  I am wanting to back up my Blu-ray collection to VHS for archival purposes.  Normally, I would go out and purchase the VHS tapes myself, but I can’t seem to find any copies of blockbuster, top-tier, AAA titles like Iron Man 2, Transformers, or Ferngully.  Literally, every single brick and mortar store appears to be sold out!  Will this model do the job or should I wait for a model with five heads?  Please advise.

    Also, not to be a trollin’ know-it-all, but shouldn’t you be utilizing a Monster Cable brand composite or coax cable for maximum artifact-ing and film grain depiction?  Just a thought. 

    • Jordan Carpenter

      This is where a problem is created in the not-so-streamlined conversion process. What you’ll have to do, is go and pick up a dvd/vhs combo. take the digital copy you’ll receive with all Blu-ray purchases, burn that to a DVD using your computer, you’ll then pop that DVD into the combo, and a blank VHS tape. Copy this over to the VHS tape, then dispose of the ugly combo unit and sit back with a bag of popcorn and watch the incredible fury of 1:1 playback. 

      Another option is to contact me privately, I currently am in the process of selling every current blockbuster release on VHS. I have recorded via camcorder all the current flicks from the past 12 years. I will be able to transfer copies to you, and then proceed to mail them. 

      I have found the Monster Cables are over qualified for the level of ‘natural’ grain presented in releases since 2002. This is purposely embedded to give the viewer emotion during a sitting. The cables you are referring to unnaturally delete this.

      Hope this helps.

  • Greg R. Jacobs

    I feel as if I am being trolled on this review…

    • Jordan Carpenter

       Why do you feel that way my friend?

      • Greg R. Jacobs

        Probably because this seems to be some obsolete gadgetry here :)

        • Jordan Carpenter

          Panasonic did it this time. I highly recommend all VHS playback to be done on this unit. I will never buy another such gadget as long as I live

        • the_liv80

          I think you’re right. Isn’t this made by Microsoft?

  • the_liv80

    Thanks to your review I bought one of these; and it ate the video of my first born’s ultrasound. What kind of hack tech site is this!?

    • Jordan Carpenter

      Who puts their first borns ultrasound on VHS?