Benchmark:Mitsubishi HS-U790 S-VHS VCR
Super Versatile VCR

Mitsubishi HS-U790 S-VHS VCR


Mitsubishi Electronics

5665 Plaza Dr

Cypress, CA 90630-0007

(800) 332-2119

With a large portion of the video market going digital, new S-VHS VCRs are becoming an endangered species. One new model released in the last year is Mitsubishi’s HS-U790 S-VHS VCR. This VCR sports synchro edit capability, making it interesting to beginner and intermediate linear editors. It also has a host of home theater features, making this VCR a home theater heavyweight.

Occupying the lower-end of the S-VHS VCR price range, the HS-U790 is inexpensive enough for home theater enthusiasts who are interested in it’s better recording capabilities. Nonlinear editors might consider this model as an analog master deck to make distribution copies.


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A Full-featured VCR

Mitsubishi packed the HS-U790 full of features for both video editors and home theater enthusiasts alike. Needless to say, an editing deck doesn’t need VCR Plus+ Gold automatic record programming. However, a casual video editor could really get used to watching automatically programmed recordings of The Simpsons with the superior picture quality of S-VHS when not using the HS-U790 as an editing deck.

Another type of feature that you don’t see on many VCRs is Mitsubishi’s PerfecTape. This is a feature that records a quick test signal on a blank tape you are about to use. After recording the signal, PerfecTape rewinds the test and adjusts the VCR to match the tape you are using. It also gives you a quick rating of your tape, so you’ll know in advance when your tape isn’t the highest quality.

Chock Full of Editing Features

Besides being a high-quality VCR for the home theater crowd, the HS-U790 sports editing features that make this VCR a dual-purpose workhorse. Starting with the most basic and necessary editing feature, a flying erase head, this VCR has everything you need to get started in editing. It also has a jog/shuttle so you can slowly and accurately fast-forward and rewind the tape to the precise point you want to edit.

This VCR has pre-roll, a feature that is missing from other more-expensive S-VHS VCRs. Pre-roll will rewind the record tape the few seconds before an edit point to let the VCR get up to speed. Pre-roll ensures that the record deck starts at just the right moment, eliminating the chance of unwanted rainbow snow between edits.

The HS-U790 has video and audio insert editing. This allows you to dub video over your existing audio tracks, or dub audio over your existing video tracks. While most S-VHS VCRs have video insert, there are a few that neglect to include audio insert.

If you have two Mitsubishi VCRs, you can use the jack labeled "edit" in the back. This is the synchro edit jack that synchronizes the pausing and unpausing of both VCRs for accurate edits.

The HS-U790 does have audio and video inputs on the front of the unit. This makes hooking up other devices to the VCR a much simpler operation, and a nice feature for any editing deck.

On the audio side of life, the HS-U790 has an audio recording level adjustment, so you can control how loud the audio you’re dubbing-in will be. It also includes has LED audio meters. While not crucial, audio meters make it easier to edit your soundtrack. On the downside, it doesn’t have microphone inputs, so you can’t insert a narration directly onto your tape without converting your audio signal to RCA jacks, usually through a simple audio mixer.

A final editing feature of the HS-U790 is index search. This writes a marker on the tape every time you press the record button. You can also manually add markers for important scenes. When you want to go back and find those scenes, you can fast-forward to the index marks, making for easy searching when editing.

It’s Not for Pros Though

While this VCR is a good starting point for editing and a great VCR for the home theater, it lacks a few of the features found on the more-expensive professional models. Although the HS-U790 has synchro edit, a more ideal editing deck would have a two-way editing protocol like Control-L. The HS-U790 doesn’t have a Time Base Corrector or a processing amp, and it doesn’t read time code. For features like this you can expect to pay at least twice as much.

In the long run, the HS-U790 is a good choice for someone looking to get an S-VHS VCR. It has the features necessary for editing, the quality you want and the price that’ll keep your checking account out of the red. –LL

Tech Specs – Mitsubishi HS-U790 S-VHS Editing VCR

Format: S-VHS

Video Inputs: composite x2, S-video x2, coax

Video Outputs: composite, S-video, coax

Audio Inputs: RCA x2

Audio Outputs: RCA x2

Other Inputs/Outputs: converter box control, active A/V network i/o, synchro edit

Edit Control Protocol: synchro edit

Other Features: VCR Plus+® Gold with cable converter control, front panel jog dial, commercial skip, index search, index mark added manually during record, A/V dubbing, CCD drop out noise reduction, Twin PerfecTape® playback / record optimization system, sharpness control, audio record level meters

Dimensions: 3 3/4 (Height) x 16 3/4 (Width) x 13 3/8 (Depth) inches

Weight: 10 pounds (approx)


  • audio meters
  • insert editing
  • pre-roll


  • no mike inputs


A great VCR for analog masters, or use with another Mitsubishi VCR or an edit controller and a VCR for linear editing.

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