Its funny, when I picked up two H2160 refurbs last week and began testing them, one of the first
things I noticed was this arcane problem of overwriting the "empty title" with dead air. Unlike most other recorders, the H2160 seems to have a ridiculously "literal" encoder philosophy: it just doesn't understand the concept of "dead air", and will adjust its VBR down to practically zero when you attempt to overwrite an empty title this way. I HS-copied a 105 minute movie in SP to DVD during one test, the empty title showed 22 mins remaining on the DVD at SP. I switched the unit to the DV camera input, expecting to get a quick 22 mins of dead black that I could then delete. No dice: the damned encoder expanded that "empty title" capacity to something like 90 mins! It just went on an on and on
! After 48 minutes the remaining time indicator had merely dropped from 22 mins to 17 mins, and I gave up (why run down the burner for two hours in a futile attempt to create a black empty title you're going to delete anyway?)
This taught me not to "interpret" wajo's tips: you should assume what he writes in his sticky thread is exactly
what he means.
In this instance, when wajo advises us to record any old random channel until it fills the empty title space, then delete the new unwanted title, he really does mean you should record some stupid random live video
to fill that space. Dead air from a disconnected input will slow the the empty title fill to a crawl and pointlessly wear down the laser. Lesson learned!
Yeah, I know its incredibly disturbing to us "Monk" types to have an invisible "deleted-but-really-still-there" spurious title on our finalized discs, instead of nice, neutral dead air. But this is how these machines work- and for all practical purposes, the only way the deleted "empty title" material will ever become visible is within a PC authoring application. So fuggedaboudit: once you delete the spurious filler video and finalize the disc, its gone.
There are operational quirks of the H2160 that do not thrill me, it can be very fussy to use if you're coming from a Pioneer or Panasonic. But the recording quality at SP is unbelievably good: this may be the best recorder I've seen for archiving marginal SD cable material (like the degraded TCM feed many cable systems now offer.) This is the
recorder to beat in the current USA market: nothing can touch it at its "new" price, and if you get one of the "refurbs" its cheaper than the repair fee on an old Panasonic. Amazing deal.