When it comes to videocassette recorders, two heads are still better than one.
Go Video, a Scottsdale, Ariz., company, markets America's first working dual-deck VCR. With it, you can:
* Tape two different TV shows simultaneously while you watch a third TV channel.
* Tape a broadcast show on one side while you're watching a prerecorded tape on the other.
* Make your own copy from any video source, even those protected by the Macrovision copy-guard coding, although you must pledge the copies are only for personal use.
And the unit has memory programming with no need of a battery backup, even in a power failure.
The new Go Video deck, introduced in January, is simple to use. For most uses, think of it as two VCRs in one box. Just load in a tape on either side and press "record" or "play." The remote control allows you to control the decks independently.
To make copies, first load your original prerecorded tape in Deck One on the left, then put a blank tape in Deck Two on the right. Press the "copy tape" button and the dual-deck makes a high-quality copy for home use.
If you're copying a commercial prerecorded tape, the blank tape in Deck Two will get all the electronic information (including any Macrovision copy-guard protection) from the original tape.
"In our literature, we strongly emphasize and stress all copyright warnings. Because we really support manufacturers' video and audio copyrights. We think that for personal home use, making a copy is OK," says Go Video President Robert Palco. "Just as long as they don't use it for commercial purposes."
The Go Video unit also is great for editing home movies made with camcorders. You'll wind up with a finished tape with unnoticeable gaps, giving your home video a professional quality.
The secret behind Go Video's VCR is enhanced AmeriChrome circuitry, which uses an Intel microcontroller to eliminate the frequent blinking, pulsating or grainy image problems often encountered when copying tapes.
Go Video marketed an earlier version of its deck in 1990, without the enhanced AmeriChrome circuitry, but both reviews and sales were poor: Without the special circuitry, copy quality often was terrible.
The two-deck VCR concept isn't new. In fact, Go Video was formed in 1986 to market a two-deck unit, and by 1987 was making headlines.
It filed an international antitrust lawsuit after, it claimed, Japanese manufacturers conspired to block its manufacture and sale. (A jury rejected Go Video's claim, but the company received about $6.8 million in out-of-court settlements. Still, Go Video's VCR is manufactured exclusively for them by Samsung -- in South Korea.)
Go Video markets three similar models of the dual-deck VCR: Visions, Mirage and Images. Though all three share the same functions, they vary slightly in appearance. Prices vary by retailer, from $849 to $949.