Official Panasonic DMR-EZ28K thread - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 876 Old 03-14-2008, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is the official Panasonic DMR-EZ28k thread.

Before you get into the thread, you might want to check out the basics in the helpful links below:

Panasonic DMR-EZ28
Panasonic DMR-EZ28 User Manual
Comparrison between DMR-EZ27 & DMR-EZ28


I recently upgraded from the Panasonic DMR-EZ27 to the DMR-EZ28. I brought it home and went to town on it. Here is what I found:



SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

I tested this DVD recorder using my Kenwood VRS-N8100 Network AV receiver for audio and my Panasonic PT-AX 200U projector for the display. The image was taken directly from the Panasonic DMR-EZ28’s HDMI port via an HDMI 1.3 cable into the projector (the image was not processed by any other components). The television signal is brought in via my OTA roof-top antennae (not via cable nor satellite). The image was displayed onto a 92 inch projector screen (Cinetension TE92HC2), so image flaws should be expected to be very noticeable. Now on with my findings.

The first thing I noticed was that the price was about $20 less than last year’s model (Panasonic DMR-EZ27). I bought mine at a local BestBuy, so you will likely be able to find yours even cheaper (MSRP = $229.95).



FROM THE FRONT:

Out of the box the Panasonic DMR-EZ28 looks essentially identical to the Panasonic DMR-EZ27. A couple of the buttons are moved around a little, but the most notable difference is the presence of a USB terminal inside the front flip-down panel. Panasonic indicates that this can be used for a camera connection or for USB connected files like JPEGs and music (see "Features" for more info". This panel also posses the SD card slot (which Panasonic says can take video directly to and from a DVD-RAM disc - see "Features" for more info). There is also an DV in port for video camera connection, the standard three composite ports and a S-video port. If you like a clean front face, these Panasonic models accomplish this well as none of the input/output ports are viewable from the front face (as long as the cover is up).



FRONT THE BACK:

Both the DMR-EZ28’s rear input/output ports and the remote are identical to the Panasonic DMR-EZ27’s. Both have the RF in/out, composite in/out, S-video in/out, component out (capable of pass through up to 1080i), optical audio out, and HDMI out (v 1.3 and capable of up-conversion to 1080p per Panny). No changes here.



SET-UP/INTERFACE:

Initial set-up took about 15 min get through the initial menus and for the auto channel finder to do its job. The system stalled when it tried to set the auto time. I had this same problem with the Panasonic DMR-EZ27. After about 20 minutes of waiting for the clock to set itself, it finally succeeded and did so correctly. Set-up took over 35 minutes total!!!

GUI: Panasonic references its graphical User Interface (GUI) as being “designed for ease of use by everyone”. This GUI is the same software program that ran the Panasonic DMR-EZ27 - no signficiant differences in speed, content or interface. I thought it was a pretty intuitive set-up with a quick learning curve, but my wife got frustrated several times (she has minimal experience with AV equipment). More than once, I heard her say “this just doesn’t make sense” and “why did they put that there”. I guess the take home message here is, if you have a rudimentary amount of experience with AV equipment and various GUIs, you will find this one farily easy to work with, but it certainly will not be a breeze for your grandmother who does not know what an MP3 is. My biggest complaint is that when you are copying something (say from an USB drive to a dvd) or when you are finalizing a dvd, there is no way to move out of the GUI to watch television while these time consuming endeavors are being completed. It can take up to 15 minutes for this recorder to finalize a DVD +R and all you can do is sit there and watch the status bar move across the screen while you wait.



IMAGE QUALITY:

Foreword: I need to start with my limitations here first. I am not a professional. I do not do this for a living. I have no extra equipment to help me with advanced evaluation of picture quality, so the majority of this portion will be very subjective.

With that said, I will mention that my Panasonic PT-AX 200U projector has a nice feature that helped me out here. This projector is set up so that inside the menu, users can read the resolution of the input signal being fed to the Panasonic PT-AX 200U projector. This feature at least allowed me to confirm that when the DVD recorder thought it was sending out 480p, 720p, 1080i/p images, it in fact was.

I have owned LG, Philips, Panasonic, and Toshiba DVD recorders/DVRs in the past, so it is with those experiences that I will be comparing – this will be from memory. I also have an Xbox 360 connected to by projector via HDMI. Believe it or not, I have noticed that in the past the Xbox 360’s DVD player and up-conversion software has shown at least a slight advantage in video quality to every other DVD recorder/DVR I have owned (especially the Philips; OMG that was a horrible picture [traumatic shiver]), so it is also with the Xbox 360 that I will be comparing – this will be a direct video comparison. All of my tests on picture quality were done using HDMI out.

DVDs: DVD video is generally acceptable. No better or worse than the majority of other recorders out there. That is to say that it was slightly below what my Xbox 360 does. Definitely better than the Philips DVDR3575, but what isn’t? DVD up-conversion produced a generally well defined and well saturated image which was watchable even on my 92 inch screen. I found the deinterlacing of the Panasonic DMR-EZ28 to be average to above average for what one would expect for this level of image processing. The Panasonic DMR-EZ28’s biggest weakness seemed to be with loss of detail and sharpness in high contrast scenes/areas. Specific examples are when there are a lot of faces on the screen, panning through a bunch of flowers, or fast moving sports scenes with a lot of data. I am not referring to a deinterlacing problem, as this is more of a loss of detail/sharpness in scenes where there is a lot of image data that needs to be processed quickly. This weakness appeared more prominent when watching television (see below), than when watching DVDs, but because I noticed it in both circumstances, I suspect it is at least in part secondary to the DMR-EZ28’s image processing. When I move a DVD from the DMR-EZ28 to my xbox 360, and watch identical scenes, I do not notice this processing flaw (so I think that means that I was able to isolate the problem to the DMR-EZ28’s image processor). Keep in mind that my screen is 92 inches, so these flaws may not even be noticible on more standard sized screens.

Television (digital and analog): We all know that your television picture is no better than your source, so let me tell you what I did here to try to isolate problems with the image between the original source and the recorder's image processor. I think the recorder’s image processor does not process the image until it hits the HDMI out. This means that an unprocessed image would be placed on a recorded dvd, then, when played, it would be processed and upconverted to 1080p, and then output through the HDMI to the display. With this in mind, I first watched both analog and digital television directly with output through the recorder (HDMI), then used the recorder to record some television and played the disc on my Xbox 360 & then on my PC. My assumption here is that if the image is being processed as part of the recorder’s output process, then I can take this recording on a DVD and play it in my Xbox 360 or PC to see how many of the image problems I am seeing from are from my standard/digital television signal versus the recorder’s image processor. Here is what I found:

To start with, it is worth stating that this recorder uses an analog tuner and ATSC/digital tuner to receive television signals. Image quality is about average to above average for this class. There is an obvious improvement when viewing digital versus analog channels, but no more than one would expect. The digital channels are sharper, but they are not OMG sharper. There are some deinterlacing problems with fast motion and some peripheral jaggies that I noticed when watching both analog and digital programming. On my 92 inch display, one of the most distracting problems is with a difficulty the processor seems to have with image contrast and sharpness in areas that use a lot of data (flowers, a crowd of faces, etc). These problems were more apparent when the image was output through the recorder's HDMI than when they were output via a DVD, and then watched on my Xbox 360 or PC. I would suspect that most people with a large display would notice this when watching television programming (perhaps 46 inches and above). It is noteworthy to mention that these flaws are not always noticable and generally will not catch my eye unless the scene is particularly busy or I am really looking for it. Personally, I am willing to suffer through those subtle intermittent image problems as long as I get the other television watching features listed below (chasing, commercial skip, timeslip) - but that is my personal preference. Changing channels takes about a second per channel change (it seems like forever when you are surfing through multiple channels). There is a play x1.3 feature for watching television and there is audio present when using this feature (only available with RAM discs), but no audio is present when you press the fast forward button.

Image Quality Summary: I have not seen any difference in television (analog or digital) image quality between the Panasonic DMR-EZ27 and the Panasonic DMR-EZ28 on my 92 inch screen. Based on what I have seen, I believe these two models use the same image processor. There are some subtle intermittent problems with image proccesssing when the recorder tries to process very busy scenes, but this may not be noticable on average sized displays. My recollection of other DVD recorders indicates that the image quality of this recorder is significantly better than the Phillips (DVR) models, about the same as the Toshiba and last year's panny models, and slightly worse than the LG and my Xbox 360.

Update: I searched through Panasonic's website and the user manual to figure out what image processor the DMR-EZ28 uses and could nit find anything. I emailed Panasonic and asked what processor the DMR-EZ28 uses and whether it is different than the processor the DMR-EZ27 uses. They just emailed me back stating simply "Our unit is designed with a Panasonic Farujha chip." They did not specify type nor did they specify if there is a difference between models (which leads me to beleive that they use the same chip).



FEATURES:

USB: When I hooked my camera (Canon Digital Rebel XL) to the USB, it recognized it and displayed the pictures without any problem, but it took about 30 seconds for the recognition to take place. There was a significant delay of 8-10 seconds for scrolling through all the pics (each pic is 8 megapixles; around 3-4 mb each). This outputs the images at whatever resolution you have the recorder set to (up to 1080/60p). I later attached a USB drive with pics and mp3s on it. The recorder did a good job of displaying this as a slideshow with audio, but you have esentially no control over the slideshow. Everything you put on the USB will be in the slideshow (audio and pics). This DVD recorder allows you to transfer pics and audio from a disc to & from USB. You cannot record from television directly onto the USB, nor can you transfer a recorded program from a DVD onto the USB. You can copy from the SD card to the USB, but you apparently cannot copy from the USB to the SD card.

SD card slot: Good for picture viewing, but cannot play audio. It outputs JPEGs at whatever output resolution you set the DVD recorder up for (up to 1080/60p). The slideshow delay for my pics was about 8 seconds per pic (again my pics are 8 megapixles; about 3-4 mb each). You cannot record television shows directly onto the SD card, nor can you transfer a recorded program from a DVD onto the SD card. You can copy files from the SD card to the USB, but you apparently cannot copy files from the USB to the SD card.

DV in: I have completed a superficial test of this port. I have not had any problems, but I do not personally use this function very much, so I doubt I pushed its limits.

Scheduled Recording: To begin with, the recorder needs to be off in order for a scheduled event to record. The task of setting the recorder up to automatically schedule a pre-determined television event can be accomplished in numerous ways. The options for setting up a scheduled event are pretty standard - one time only, weekly, M-F, M-Sa, Sa & Su. There is no Program guide, so you need to do all the scheduling manually (this can become tedious quickly). I successfully made scheduled recordings using all the media types the Panasonic lists with the exception of dual layer and -RW (I do not have those media types on hand). There is a rarely encountered glitch with the scheduling software that will sometimes lead to the recorder missing the second scheduled event. I was able to elicit this glitch, but I honestly may not have been able to do so if I did not know exactly what to do to get the scheduling to fail. jjeff has several posts in this thread and another that can shed more light on this glitch.

Commercial Skip (one button to skip forward 60 seconds): This function works well on this unit. My only complaint is that there is no way for the user to modify how much time is skipped with each press of this button. I personally prefer a 30 second commercial skip and this recorder's default setting is set at 60 seconds and is not changeable. I would also like to see a replay button (essentially the same thing as a commercial skip button, but in reverse – allows you to skip 30 seconds backward), so I can quickly go back if I went too far forward, but this is not a common feature and I might be getting a bit greedy.

Chasing Playback (start watching a program while it is being recorded): This function works well. Personally, I love this feature and will not buy a DVD recorder without it. I will start recording a 60 minute television program at the top of the hour, then play around on the internet for 15 minutes or so, then come back to the program and start watching it at the beginning while the last 45 minutes are still being recorded. When I get to the recorded commercials, I use the commercial skip button. If I time things right, this system usually allows me to finish watching the recording of the episode at the end of the hour right when the episode is over. Tada – 15 minutes of free internet time, and now I can start it all over if there is another program I want to watch… what can be better than that? These commercial skip and chasing playback features work beautfilly together and are a must have for any DVD recorder/DVR I use.

Timeslip (start watching a previously recorded program while currently recording another on the same disc): This recorder posses this function and it works well. One does not need a button to use this function, all one needs to do is access the DVD menu and start playing the selected title while another one is being recorded, so I was a little confused to find a “TimeSlip” button. The TimeSlip button itself is a bit misleading as it is essentially an uber commercial skip button. The TimeSlip button on the remote allows you to decide how many minutes you want to skip forward or back while viewing a pre-recorded show on a DVD-RAM disc. In short, this DVD recorder does have the TimeSlip feature, but the TimeSlip button does something completely different.

DVD Recording: There are 5 recording qualities to choose from: XP (1 hr), SP (2 hr), LP (4 hr) & EP (6-8hr per disc – based on user setting in main menu). No surprises here. A nice additional feature is the FR setting (FR = Flexible Recording). To use this feature, you simply tell the recorder how many hours of television you anticipate recording and the recorder will look at the available disc space and record using the best possible video quality. There is a convenient FR button on the reomte that allows for this task to be simple and effecient. A quick review of the spec sheet will reveal that it covers all the common DVD types including dual layer and DVD-RAM. When watching a recording, I could not tell a difference between the XP and SP recording settings on my 92 inch screen. There is a noticeable decline in image quality when you go down to LP/EP. You cannot transfer a recorded program from a DVD onto any other device (SD card or USB). It is noteworthy to mention that many of the really cool features of this DVD recorder (and similar ones) are only available when using a DVD-RAM disc. That is not because of a failing in the recorder, but rather it is because a DVD-RAM is essentially a disc version of a hard drive that allows for more hard drive like freedom in recording. This is standard for all DVD recorders.

VIERALink:
My Panasonic PT-AX 200U projector’s display is not VIERALink compatible, so I was not able to test this feature.



CONCLUSION:

This is essentially an updated version of the Panasonic DMR-EZ27 with primarly superficial changes. The most noticable of which is a USB port. Honestly, I am not really sure why they added the USB port to this model because it’s features are redundant with the SD card and the DVD recording capacilities. There is a small percentage of people out there who have a portable USB device, but have neither a DVD burner nor a SD card for their PC/MAC. It is a nice extra feature to have, but I would have much preferred improved image processing/quality or an integrated programming guide over a redundant data port. I believe that image quality is the single feature that will allow one of these competitive DVD recorders to stand out above the rest, and I am surprised that this year’s Panny model has not sought more market share via that route. Based on my experience with the DMR-EZ27 and now the DMR-EZ28, I believe they use the same image processor. There are some subtle intermittent problems with image proccesssing when the recorder tries to process very busy scenes, but this may not be noticable on average sized displays. It would also have boosted their market share if they had added a Program Guide, but it is not a standard feature in DVD recorders, so I am probably just nitpicking. There is of course no recording in high definition, but that is hardly worth mentioning as noone has this feature (yet). In any event, this recorder has a MSRP of $20 less than last year’s model and it does have more features (however superficial they may be). The price alone is reason enough to choose the Panasonic DMR-EZ28 over the Panasonic DMR-EZ27, but we will have to wait for Sony, Toshiba, Samsung, LG and the others to come out with their '08 models before a final comparative recommendation can be made.



If you have a feature or flaw you would like me to include here, message me or add it to the thread to let me know.



UPDATE:
My DMR-EZ28K recently died!! I have owned it for about 11 weeks and was not using it very frequently for anything besides the tuner and occasionally watching movies or recirding a show. During the 11 week period, I used the tuner for several hours daily, used the DVD player about once every other day and used the DVD recorder about once a week.

On week 11, while I was changing channels, the recirder froze. I was unable to get it to turn off or on and after trying myltuple means of resetting the device, I ended up unplugging it in order to get it to turn off. I spent at least an hour trying to get it to turn back on, but it simply would not. Resetting (with the reset button and with the on//off button) for extended durations of time, unplugging, waiting and even yelling did not work. I managed to get the "HELLO" message to appear on the LCD display after resetting it with the on/off button at just the right time, but was unable to get further than that. It never displayed any image and I was unablet o eject the DVD tray to extract my disc.

The Panasonic support rep was no help as he simply had me repeat the steps I had done on my own to no avail, then said "you're right, it won't turn on". He offered to send me a box with instructions to ship it back to them so they can service it, but I refused as I had purchased the Besy Buy service plan when I originally purchased the device and this plan allowed me to take it directly to them, get my DVD out and have them service it without having to wait for the mailing system to transport my DVD recorder back and forth to Panasonic.

As of this update, I have retrieved my DVD and Best Buy is working on the recorder - I'll keep you updated.
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post #2 of 876 Old 03-14-2008, 12:38 PM
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1. Does the unit need to be turned OFF to start a scheduled event?
2. Is channel surfing faster than the pitifully slow EZ-x7 series?
3. Does the unit have sound on 2x forward speed search?
4. This one I'll probably have to verify, but does it consistently miss weekly and daily scheduled events? I wrote a whole thread titled "Panasonic DVD recorder fails to record a scheduled event". I found at least one test that consistently failed with the EZ-x7 series.
5. This one will take time, but does the unit consistently die(as in never work again) during scheduled events after ~1 month with U99 error when using -RW (discs for sure).

I'm sure I'll think of more questions, but I think I'll swing BB on my way home from work. Nice title for the thread! I didn't get the title post, but #2 ain't bad

Edit: Nice opening post! and from a newbie
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post #3 of 876 Old 03-14-2008, 01:57 PM
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Stopped by CC and they had none. Sales guy "thought" they'd be in, in about a month
Stopped by BB and same as dhjellen, they had a EZ-27 on display, and boxes of EZ-28's on the top shelf.
Call me a sadist, but I got one. It has a build date of Feb '08 and was $229. Looks quite similar to the EZ-27. This one has a Fan, can't remember if the EZ-27 did.
Front inputs include: S-video, composite, SD card(only for Jpegs) USB port(for Jpegs, MP3 and DivX only).
The remote looks identical to the EZ-x7 series DVDR's
Otherwise "on the outside" it looks very similar to the EZ-27, let's hope the insides are different
I'm going to hook up tonight and will report back on findings. WISH ME LUCK

Side note for anyone interested in a player. BB was also clearancing out boxes and boxes of Panasonic S53 upconverting players for $31.99!!! I really didn't need another player, but for that price picked one up Like all Panny's it plays RAM discs, so it's a nice companion player to this recorder.
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post #4 of 876 Old 03-14-2008, 04:01 PM
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Here's a link to the EZ28 manual....
http://service.us.panasonic.com/OPER...MREZ28-MUL.pdf
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post #5 of 876 Old 03-14-2008, 04:03 PM
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1. The unit has to be OFF! to start a scheduled event. Argh!
2. No faster channel surfing. Still irritatingly slow. Don't know why DVDR tuners are so slow! My 2 year old Panasonic TV, and actually any digital tuner TV I own(2 others) surf just fine. No 5 second lag when changing channels like on the EZ tuner.
3. No sound on +1 search. Note I guess the EZ's don't really have 2x speed like the ES series of the past. Their first search speed is faster, more like 5?x. I really liked the 2x w/sound. You could see every frame, unlike 5x? which skips lots of frames.
4. I will advise tomorrow if this unit has the "timer bug". I setup the scheduled events that always failed on the EZ-x7 machines.
5. Time will tell on this one.

Other observations: This unit has Zoom feature. I don't believe the EZ-27 or EZ-17 had this. It is only one zoom level though, and you cannot pan and scan the zoomed image.
Like all the EZ series DVDR's this unit does not have a "phrase storage" area. On the ES Panny's of the past you could store 20? phrases in it's memory. You could recall those phrases when naming a thumbnail or disc title. I used this feature ALL the time. I had common shows I record frequently stored, then instead of having to type them in manually each time, I could just recall the phrase. I really miss this on the EZ's.
No weekly or daily event skip feature. I guess only the ES-15/25 series DVDR's had this nice feature that you could suspend a weekly or daily event. I also really used this feature since I rely heavily on weekly events, and like to suspend a event if I know a repeat is scheduled. Otherwise I have to delete the event, then add it back for next week.

Oh one other thing, this unit like all EZ's takes forever to turn on(45? seconds). First it has to warm up? for 15 seconds, then it spins the disc for 30 seconds and finally settles down. Vaccume tubes were faster
Oh yes, enabling quick start shaves the first 15 seconds off the warm up. It's basically like leaving the machine ON all the time(but still needs to read the disc each time). If there's no disc in the machine it only takes 15 seconds or 1 second with Q.S. on. (or 1 second with Q.S. on, and a RAM disc in the tray).
That's it for now. I'll post more as I become aware.

Edit:sorry I didn't quote my first post with questions and numbers. Didn't realize it would get so far from this post
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post #6 of 876 Old 03-14-2008, 04:21 PM
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How's the PQ?
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post #7 of 876 Old 03-14-2008, 04:43 PM
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Initial observations are good. I haven't noticed the "snapping" or occasional fuzzy frame like I noticed on the EZ-x7 series machines. I'll pay closer attention during a very clear HD program, that's when it showed up most on the x7's.
I also "seemed" to be better PQ when just watching HD channels live than the x7's. Still nothing like a "real" HD tuner, like the Samsung 260, but not bad. Unless you are watching a true HD channel it would probably work for someone with a HDTV. Although since my TV has a true HD tuner I'll basically never watch live TV through the DVDR.
I wouldn't say the recording is better or worse than any recent Panny DVDR recording from the same source, but if you're used to anolog tuner recordings, recording from a Wide Screen HD channel will blow you away. W.S. and quite clear. Like a commercial DVD.
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post #8 of 876 Old 03-15-2008, 10:52 AM
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Does this recorder have any problems with the likes of HBO or Showtime via satellite services? No protection issues?
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post #9 of 876 Old 03-15-2008, 12:27 PM
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Well they didn't change the timer operation. I setup a event to record last night from 8-9:01 PM XP. It finished at 9:01:30 pm. The machine turned off. At 9:05 pm it turned itself back on, displayed incrementing 000000's, then the numbers went totally away, no time, no nothing except a flashing red clock icon. It did this for 30 seconds, followed by incrementing 000000. Finally it turned off and displayed the time, with no red clock icon.
At 9:10pm I turned the machine back on, looked at the recording(all was fine). Reformatted the -RW disc and turned it back off. Note this event was a weekly event(crucial for failure of second event) and the second event was for today at 1pm-2pm XP.

I did NOT turn the machine on today prior to the second event(crucial for the second event to fail). At 1pm today NOTHING. Machine did not start second event. At 1:05pm I turned the machine on, looked at the schedule list and saw the event that should have been recording 1-2pm, it looked OK. I turned the machine OFF, and immediately the second event started to record.
This is the exact timer bug that is present in the EZ-x7 series recorders. They did nothing to fix it, or probably any of the other timer bugs(just guessing). I suppose I should not be surprised since no one at Panasonic cared to listen to my account of the bug. NO one at Panasonic I spoke with in the last 7 months seemed to have a clue.
Apparently Panasonic doesn't have a clue of forums either. I'm dumbfounded.

I think I'll play with the unit for the next 29 days, seeing if it dies the ugly u99 death that my last 5 EZ-x7's did. If it doesn't I will still return it. I really have no confidence it will last 3 months with my light use. I don't want to have go through what I did with my 5 bad EZ-x7's. Too much heartburn.
I'll report any further anomalies with this unit in the time I have it.

Wow I didn't remember that second to the last paragraph, but I'm into my second month and no major issues. Actually at 29 days I just got a new receipt(original unit) which will buy me 30 more days to be able to return(not exchange) the unit. I figure after 3 months I'll be safe. Or at least that's what I'm hoping.
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post #10 of 876 Old 03-15-2008, 12:49 PM
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In my other post I touched on the occasional fuzziness of a few frames on the EZ-17/27 series DVDR's watching live TV. I said I didn't see this on my quick test of the EZ-28, well I looked harder last night and found this:
The EZ-28 does have a very very slight problem of fuzzy frames. They seem to be most obvious watching a true 1080i HD channel. I believe CBS tends to have the best PQ and watching "Ghost whisper" on CBS HD last night I did see, if I got 2 feet from my 720p LCD TV a slight problem with fuzzy frames. Occasionally the PQ would get fuzzy(most noticeable on things like a tweed suit coat that has sharp closely spaced lines). I'm being quite picky here since I was aware of the problem with the EZ-x7 series DVDR's. I don't even know if I would have seen this if I wasn't looking for it.
Note this does not seem to be a problem with 720p channels, like FOX. I was watching House and it seemed like the PQ was actually better watching through the DVDR than on my TV's HD tuner. I know, doesn't make sense, but I flipped back and forth many times, always preferring the PQ through the DVDR. This was not always the case with every 720p channel, but does point to the good overall quality of the EZ-28 tuner on 720p channels.
On XP the recorded picture closely resembled watching TV live through the unit's tuner(very good).

DHJELLEN-Do you get the code Hdr71 on the display when turning the machine on? I get it during various operations, it only displays for a few seconds, then clears. I don't think it's a problem, more like displaying maybe firmware?? or some other thing internal to the machine. Only displays on the front display of the machine, not the TV screen.

RDGRIMES-I don't have cable or sat to try and record HBO or some other CP'd channel, but I'm sure the EZ-28 would obied by all current CP schemes.
That's what a CT-2 or DP-5000 "filter" are for
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post #11 of 876 Old 03-15-2008, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

RDGRIMES-I don't have cable or sat to try and record HBO or some other CP'd channel, but I'm sure the EZ-28 would obied by all current CP schemes.
That's what a CT-2 or DP-5000 "filter" are for

Reason enough, if accurate, to stick with my trusted ES-10. But the sats are not known for strict CP, is why I was asking. There a lot of variation in recorders as to how they behave with the D* and E* services.
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post #12 of 876 Old 03-15-2008, 01:22 PM
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I don't believe Panasonic is nearly as prone to "false" CP warnings like maybe Sony would be. Recording OTA and from Non CP'd DVD's/VHS's I have never got a false CP warning from any of my Panny's, including the now returned EZ-17. I would expect similar from the EZ-28, but will refrain from commenting about Sat/Cable, since I'm only OTA. Hopefully others with Sat/cable will post their findings in that regard.
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Does this recorder have any problems with the likes of HBO or Showtime via satellite services? No protection issues?

I do not have satellite or cable for my television feed. Unfortunately, I am in the same boat as jjeff and cannot comment directly on current restrictions in this area.



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DHJELLEN-Do you get the code Hdr71 on the display when turning the machine on? I get it during various operations, it only displays for a few seconds, then clears. I don't think it's a problem, more like displaying maybe firmware?? or some other thing internal to the machine. Only displays on the front display of the machine, not the TV screen.

I did not recall ever seeing "Hdr71" on the front display when turining the recorder on (or at any other time for that matter). After seeing your post I tried turning it on and off several times and still did not see it. I have mine set to the quick start mode (which works great btw), so perhaps that is making a difference. Do you have the quick start on or off?
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post #14 of 876 Old 03-15-2008, 02:42 PM
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I always have QS off, but I did try it on, and I also got it, but for only 1/2 second. It happens after turning the machine on(when there is a disc in for sure) it displays for maybe 1-2 seconds right after it finishes reading the disc.
Just checked, it also happens without a disc in the tray. In that case it displays right after it tries to read the disc, it displays Hdr71, followed by No Disc. Kinda odd.
Note, nice opening post. I have read from newbies using the forum that said they would like the first post to a "official" thread updated, like you're doing. That way once the post gets to be 50! pages long, a newbie only needs to go the the first post to get the low down. Seems like you were reading their mind
Here's a link to that post. Good job!
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=996039
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Thanks for letting me know. I was debating on adding WaldorfSalad's link to the PDF of the user manual in the top post, but did not want to do it if it was frowned upon.
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jjeff,
Is the DVD drive as noisy as in the EZ17 series? I do not use chase play with the EZ17 nearly as much I do with the ES20 because the drive is making such a racket going back & forth. I hear it all the way across the room. I was wondering if your EZ28 is quieter in this respect than the other Panny's that you returned.
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I believe the drive is the same as in the EZ-17. I know what you're talking about but I only use mine for recording(no playing, I use a Sony player for that) so just recording it is quiet. Finalizing, changing thumbnails etc. is another story, that's when I hear the thrashing you're talking about. Note my ES-15 and ES-25 also sound like this. My last "quiet" Panny was my ES-30(I believe 2 years before ES-15). It also weighed 3 times what the ES-15 or EZ-28 does. I attribute the noise to the thinner material used for the chassis of the newer models. The old ones(like your ES20 and my ES30) were built like a tank, but hey they cost "hundreds" of dollars more than the new ones. Just like VCR's the newer ones were cheaper, but they were also "cheaper" if you get my drift. To a degree were getting what were paying for. but once you've seen the PQ recording off of a WS HD digital channel, it's hard to go back to analog. I would really suggest a CECB(converter box) for your ES-20. You'll probably get just as good PQ as using the EZ-28. I know I do using a Samsung 260 hooked up to my old ES series Panny's. Makes the recordings look better than new.
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post #18 of 876 Old 03-16-2008, 09:31 PM
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jjeff,

If I recall, the ES20 & EZ17 list prices were the same, or very close. However I purchased both on sale & paid $10 more for the EZ17. No big difference, but the EZ17 does have the digital tuner & as you said it makes a very good WS recording from a HD channel. As a Panny engineer said to me, they have to keep cutting costs in order to keep prices competitive. So the EZ17 probably has cheaper parts. But the difference in drive noise is unbelievable.

I went to Best Buy & looked at the new EZ28 & did see the fan on the back. I guess they figured they'd better do something, based on overheating problems mentioned on the forum. Supposedly the ES20 has a heat sink & the EZ17 does not. Perhaps they feel a fan is better than a heat sink, unless the EZ28 has both.

I'll have to check out converter boxes. Does your Samsung 260 have ATSC & QAM tuners? Can it be programmed to change channels?
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Originally Posted by Mike99 View Post

Does your Samsung 260 have ATSC & QAM tuners? Can it be programmed to change channels?

Yes it has ATSC and QAM, no analog channels though, just digital ones.
As far as programming channel changes, yes it does but it's really bad.
First the box needs to be left on in order for it to change channels. Second their is no manual way to program the channel changes. The only way to program the different channels/times is to use it's built in PCIP scheduler.
Not sure if you're familiar with PCIP schedule, but it kinda sucks. It only goes out from about 6 hrs up to a couple days. It's very erratic and varies by market.
To me 6hrs is not far enough time to go out for scheduling a program.
Actually I'm probably going to return the 260 before my 30 days are up. Another quirk with the 260 is none of the OSD's are outputted to anything but HDMI or Composite. We all know no DVDR's have HDMI or Composite inputs anymore, so unless you have a TV with those inputs(I do) you will not be able to setup your box.
I'm anxiously awaiting the Echostar TR-40 CECB, which will be $40, free after coupon, and contain a better scheduler(or that's what I've heard). The date keeps getting further and further into the future. List I heard was July, I think. Note this box does NOT do QAM, only ATSC.
Mike99, the ES-20 is like a 4? year old model isn't it? Are you saying they were the same price when you purchased the ES-20 years ago? Sams club didn't carry the ES-20 that I was aware of. I bought my ES-30 w/VHS from them for I think ~$350. I'm not positive but maybe the ES-20 and ES-30 are the same, less the VHS on the ES-20.
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jjeff~ How do you have your Samsung 260 connected to your DVDR? I've got a 260 and love the PQ and good reception, but when I try to connect it to my Panny DMR-E85 via composite, the aspect ratio is wrong, and I can't adjust it.

I have the component outs from the 260 going to a 4:3 SDTV, with the aspect ratio set to 4:3 Letterbox, and everything looks fine (with the black bars across the top and bottom of 16:9 broadcasts). The image through composite connections is squished horizontally and unnaturally tall.
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post #21 of 876 Old 03-17-2008, 10:43 AM
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Another quirk with the 260 is none of the OSD's are outputted to anything but HDMI or Composite. We all know no DVDR's have HDMI or Composite inputs anymore, so unless you have a TV with those inputs(I do) you will not be able to setup your box.

Actually, Jeff, you can connect the "green" cable component output from the 260 to the "yellow" cable video composite input of a TV to set up the box. The green output carries the luma signal, which is the achromatic (or black and white) image, and so you will see the OSD in B&W. I've done it and it works. Of course this does not lessen the other limitations of this tuner.

RG
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post #22 of 876 Old 03-17-2008, 12:04 PM
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Actually, Jeff, you can connect the "green" cable component output from the 260 to the "yellow" cable video composite input of a TV to set up the box. The green output carries the luma signal, which is the achromatic (or black and white) image, and so you will see the OSD in B&W. I've done it and it works. Of course this does not lessen the other limitations of this tuner.

Good to know.
At least that way someone that had a TV without component or HDMI inputs could set the box up. I sure wish it had a display though. That way you'd know what channel you were tuned to.

Quote:
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jjeff~ How do you have your Samsung 260 connected to your DVDR? I've got a 260 and love the PQ and good reception, but when I try to connect it to my Panny DMR-E85 via composite, the aspect ratio is wrong, and I can't adjust it.

I have the component outs from the 260 going to a 4:3 SDTV, with the aspect ratio set to 4:3 Letterbox, and everything looks fine (with the black bars across the top and bottom of 16:9 broadcasts). The image through composite connections is squished horizontally and unnaturally tall.

I have the same setup, but my TV is 16x9. The DVD's are recorded in that squished 4x3 format. When I play them back I have my DVDR set to "stretch 4x3 to fill 16x9 screen", and they look perfect.
Note all my TV's are 16x9 now, but if I borrow one of my DVD's to a friend with a 4x3 TV, they complain about the tall skinny people.
It's not the best situation, but no current DVDR's correctly set the WS bit correctly. A few old Toshiba's did, and if you use RAM discs I've been told the Panasonics will correctly set the bit, but not using anything but RAM discs. In your case the discs you record will look odd for you, but if you ever get a 16x9 TV you will get the whole 16x9 image, which is very nice.
You are correct though, the 260 box is not a good fit for someone with a 4x3 TV, even worse if it doesn't have component inputs.
I bet your TV's a Sony Wega. I used to have one A 24" SD tube TV with component inputs. It was the last SD set I had. It had a nice picture, but I replaced it with a 16x9 LCD.
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Quote:
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Mike99, the ES-20 is like a 4? year old model isn't it? Are you saying they were the same price when you purchased the ES-20 years ago? Sams club didn't carry the ES-20 that I was aware of. I bought my ES-30 w/VHS from them for I think ~$350. I'm not positive but maybe the ES-20 and ES-30 are the same, less the VHS on the ES-20.


I purchased the ES20 (no VHS) from Best Buy in December 2005 for $189.99 and it was on sale for $10 off. However BB had a $50 rebate, so it cost me $139.99 plus tax. I purchased the EZ17 from Fry's in October 2007 on sale for $149 plus tax.

I was thinking about getting an EZx8 model, but if there are no real improvements I guess I'll save my money.
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I was thinking about getting an EZx8 model, but if there are no real improvements I guess I'll save my money.

I would agree with that. It looks like the processing chip, picture quality, GUI and almost everything else are all the same. There are a few exceptions. It is obviously not a revolutionary change, but I would not even consider it an evolutionary change - more like it grew from being an infant to a toddler (essentially the same creature, but with a couple more capabilities).
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post #25 of 876 Old 03-18-2008, 09:44 AM
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Agreed, but I must say I did a test recording last night of "Dancing with the stars". I recorded one DVD-RW on the EZ-28 and the other on a ES-30 which got it's WS/HD signal from a Samsung 260 tuner, via S-video.
I played back both DVD's side by side to my Panasonic 32" 720p LCD. Both were very good PQ(I used FR1.5, and noticed very little(if any) macroblocking with either).
The PQ recorded on the EZ-28 was a little sharper than the ES-30. Also there seemed to be little bit better color definition on the EZ-28.
At first I thought it was just the player. I played the ES-30 DVD on a Sony progressive scan DVD player via component outputs to LCD. I played the EZ-28 on the EZ-28 hooked up to the LCD via HDMI.
The EZ-28 was superior, so then I switched discs and this time the Sony picture looked better. This tells me the Component/HDMI connection really doesn't make a difference, but the EZ-28 recording was defiantly better. Like I said, better color definition better contrast and better resolution. Especially on hair and peoples faces.

I had previously done a similar test when I had my EZ-17, but didn't have the 260 at the time. In this test I took the S-out of the EZ-17 and fed it to my ES-25. I recorded both at the same time. With this test neither disc was obviously better than another.
Not sure if this means that the EZ-28 has better PQ than the EZ-17 or maybe the 260 does not output quite the signal that the EZ-17 did, or it even could be the ES-30 does not record as good as the ES-25. Lots of variables.

But I can say, the PQ from the EZ-28 was very good. No occasional fuzzy frame like on the EZ-17(note "Dancing..." was a 720p program, I think I've noticed a slight blur when recording CBS HD 1080i with the EZ-28).
Overall I give very good marks to the EZ-28 PQ. Very much "HD lite" like.
If the EZ-28 makes it several months I think I've got a keeper. I'll just live with the timer bug. I know surefire work arounds.
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post #26 of 876 Old 03-18-2008, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
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jjeff,

It looks like the EZ28 uses a Farujha chip. Do you know what the ES30 and/or the EZ17 use?
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post #27 of 876 Old 03-18-2008, 11:58 AM
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Sorry I don't. Diagdo, or someone else might. Digado's pretty familiar with the inner workings of his DVDR's, and has a ES-30 among others. Mine are all hooked up now, or I'd pop a cover.
Did you open your EZ-28 and what does the chip look like, is it the biggest one? I would imagine it would be on the main board?
Tomorrow I could pop a cover on a ES-15, it's probably the easiest to get at.
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No, I didn't pop it open. I emailed Panasonic and they actually replied!!!

I guess I could pop it open to look, but it is so entangled into my HT system that it would be a HA.
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post #29 of 876 Old 03-18-2008, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhjellen View Post

jjeff,

It looks like the EZ28 uses a Farujha chip. Do you know what the ES30 and/or the EZ17 use?

What? Do you mean a Faroudja DCDi chip? That would be very unusual to find a Faroudja deinterlacer chip in a low-end DVD recorder. You generally only find those in higher end players (i.e. Oppo). Where did you read this. It is not on the Panasonic web site for the EZ28 and inclusion of a Faroudja chip is something a manufacturer will crow about.

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post #30 of 876 Old 03-18-2008, 12:44 PM
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Jeff,

My DMR-ES30V models are set aside for standby service, stored in a closet in their original boxes. If the DMR-ES30V chips are mounted the same way as on the DMR-ES35V it is necessary to remove the chassis motherboard from the case to see the chips as they are found on the underside of the motherboard.

I am examining the chips on a disassembled DMR-ES35V. The legible markings, as best I can read them, are shown below.

MOST OF THE MAJOR CHIPS ARE FOUND ON THE LEFT CHASSIS MOTHERBOARD:

Panasonic, MN67788, 601C6728, 1990 GDC

no mfg identification, M377GAVCWA 1, 1F3 602AZ0

no mfg identification, AN5832SA, 602

no mfg identification, 5L54HP N, A118425BF

PANASONIC, AN3656NFBP

no mfg identification, 5M4S180, AM8527F, JAPAN

SHARP, 0509H, 7X TD

M, 601, 595A

SHARP, 501NA 1, 7X TD

no mfg identification, BD6904FP, 601 H74

(Some of the above chips are very small. All of the following chips are very small.)

RIGHT CHASSIS MOTHERBOARD:

no mfg identification, S24CSO, 8AVEZ

no mfg identification, m 544, 6830

no mfg identification, L2904

There are four standup chips in the power supply section on the front side of the right chassis motherboard.

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