Programming your VCR -- Why the VCR Plus gadget may be for you

You tried recording The Civil War and ended up getting Dallas? Maybe the new VCR Plus gadget is worth a shot. The remote control unit reduces VCR programming to three simple steps:

1) Type in a designated three- to eight-digit code number for the show you want to tape; 2) Touch a button to note whether you want to tape the show once, weekly, or daily; 3) Slip a tape in your VCR. At the appointed time, VCR Plus turns on your machine and begins recording a minute early (just in case). When the show ends, your VCR turns off and is ready for the next of up to 14 programs.

There are still a few kinks in the system. Certain Sony and Mitsubishi VCRs won’t work with Gemstar’s VCR Plus, some shows don’t have ”PlusCode” numbers, and in most areas the codes are published in only one newspaper. And although it’s scheduled for nationwide service by summer, VCR Plus is currently found in only a dozen TV markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Denver, San Francisco, Detroit, and parts of Florida.