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Worldwide VCR/DVD advice

I'm in the process of researching multisystem VCRs and DVDs for our reading
room that fit into my post-Sept. 11 budget.  I'd like to be able to connect
both to our current TV, which is NTSC.  The models of DVDs that we're
considering are either the Malata 900r Region Free and the Sampo DVE611
Code-free; both are macrovision disabled. Does anyone have an opinion on
either model? Or other suggestions in the under $500 range??

The VCR selection seems a bit more complicated.  I've been looking at models
with built-in converters, such as the Samsung SV-5000W worldwide
multi-system VCR (DA4 Video Head & 2 audio head), and the Aiwa HV-MX100
(listed as 4 head hi-fi and DA4 video head).  I don't plan to tape programs
from television- this would be strictly for the playback of pre-recorded
videos.  My main question is this- if we purchase a machine with an internal
converter, will the playback quality of a pre-recorded PAL tape be
noticeably different that if we had an external converter?  Also, what kind
of quality will we get when dubbing a PAL tape to VHS (assuming the quality
of the PAL copy was good to begin with)?

Any helpful advice would be greatly appreciated.


Brenda Nelson-Strauss
Director, Rosenthal Archives
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
220 So. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL  60604
Tel.: 312-294-3057
Fax:  312-294-3056 

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