Vaguely recall VCR+, never owned one that had that. But it was NEVER popular or mainstream. Of if their model had it, was never used.
Also, even those fancy models, you could just use it normally, and ignore the VCR+ bit.
VCR+, if i recall, was not functional if you had a cable box, or tuner adapter device, and needed the VCR to record on it Line In or Coax Ch3. the + programming feature set base don the code, told the vcr to tune to that channel, so you would be limited to coax input only. Back when cable over coax was all analog, VCR tuner would work, but even as early as the mid 90's cable companies had some sort of way to make the signal only work if you used their box. Some channels, those over 99, also only existed on their box.
2001 is when our provider converted to digital signal only, and made the built in tuner of the VCR or tv useless.
back then, all i did was know what time and channel i wanted it to record on.
Moved on to DVD recorders(skipped SVHS VCR) and that did not have anything like VCR+.
(Even so, we always had a cable box, so vcr/dvd rec on its line RCA input channel always.)
I guess this means tech has devolved, now too complex to did this dumb simple function, record X channel from XX:XX to XX:XX , or for X minutes.
Emby, Was able to just click record, and click it again to set duration. I think, WMC also had that ability.
The idea that a DVR record function needs "Guide Data", well, what is guide data at its minimum core in order to produce end result, source(channel) and duration (start/stop or single value duration). The rest of the data truly is optional and is only for naming and identification purposes. The minimum data can be passed to the record function by the user. the rest of the metadata can just be auto populated with the existing generic guide data (name of program block, or have placeholder data if none exists).
There currently exists the option to add padding to recordings as well as other custom modification tags ...so there is already has the ability to modify those values stored for the recording process..