I recently bought a new DVD/VCR machine. The VCR is the problem, tapes are jumpy, many lines across the screen and close captions are distorted. EVen just watching TV without tape or DVD, close captions...
Not to worry, son-in-laws are good!
Assuming the machine is working correctly, there is only one reason why the picture will be distorted and that is interference.
Here are a couple of things your son-in-law may be able to check for you.
Firstly, make sure that the DVD/VCR is connected to the television using a scart lead. The DVD/VCR was probably supplied with one. It is a short cable with a large rectangular connector at each end.
If a scart lead is already being used, there may be other units connected to the tv that are causing interference. Try removing all the other units like cable tv, satellite receivers etc and see if the DVD/VCR is any better when it is the only unit connected to the tv. If it is, you will need to use a scart selector box so you can switch each unit connected to the tv separately. (Sorry I know it's getting confusing now!)
If it still isn't any better, ask you son-in-law to check through the menu on the DVD/VCR and look for a setting for Video Format. This should be set to PAL Format unless you are in North America in which case it should be set to NTSC Format.
Hope this helps, please feel free to ask me for more info if you still have problems.