Unfortunately the RC698D does not record to VHS tape, it is a VHS player only. This might seem bizarre, but the intended purpose of the machine is for VHS to DVD back up, and recording of TV or another source to DVD. Also it also only has an SD tuner, hence the need for an HD set top box. If your friend is not happy with the unit he should return it to the retailer. VHS is a legacy whose time has past, and although it might seem harsh people have to accept its passing.