1. Can Panasonic DMR EH67 record mp3 files onto the hard drive?
2. Can it record Divix (or .avi) movies onto the hard drive?
3. Can I create a folder for HDD recordings?
(If you need a DVR with a tuner for the over-the-air HD signals, or are not interested in PAL to NTSC conversions,
nor how I decided on buying the Panasonic EH67, you can skip the reading below
I was planning to get a DVDR and was doing some reading on this forum. Usually I don't participate since I don't have
time with kids at home, but what the heck, maybe someone will find this useful.
I wanted to get a DVDR with a hard disk and to my surprise found out there is only 1 new model offered, Philips 3576.
I was reading it's not a great unit, but there is so much written about it, for example, all the codes used to check various
functions (such as how many hours of usage there is on the DVDR laser), or even instruction on how to change the hard drive.
One just can't go wrong with getting Philips 3576.
But as of third week of January 2009 there were none available. Maybe because of the planned switch to HD for the
over-the-air signals on 2/2009. I started looking at international DVDR models, and having some family in Europe, I thought
it would be nice to have a unit that also does the PAL to NTSC conversion. Again, to my surprise, there is no
DVDR-with-hard-disk that does that. I have a cheap Philips DVP642 DVD player I bought at Walmart for $60 about 5 years ago
that is able to do it (after a quick remote number entering hack), so how come a $300-$500 unit can't???.
Before I forget, I have a Dish Network PVR, and so I was not interested in a DVR with the HD tuner.
I narrowed down my search to the international models of Panasonic and Pioneer.
I wanted a unit mainly to put my family videos from DV tapes onto a hard disk and DVDs and offload some stuff from the PVR.
I also have bunch of animated PAL DVD and Divix movies for my kids I've bought in Europe and wanted to be able to play
them and it would have been nice to be able to record some of my family NTSC videos onto PAL DVDs and send them
over, but that is not going to happen any time soon. It's cheaper to buy a DVD NTSC < -- > PAL player for $100 and send
it over then get a NTSC < -- > PAL converter for $250 (or get Oppo 981HD DVD player for about $230).
So anyway, getting back to the units, I did not want to get one that is really out of date. One of the better ones from
Panasonic was the EH67 and for the Pioneer there are bunch of models, 550, 555, 650, 660, LX61 I wanted a larger
hard drive, with 250G, so I was down to EH67 and 650/660/LX61. All the prices were high $450-$550, but if I ever wanted
to record between NTSC < -- > PAL, those units would give me that option. They are all capable of playing and recording
In NTSC or PAL. They just can't convert from one to another. The cheapest stand alone converter is about $200.
(well, I did find one for about $50, but that one only adds color to PAL). It's really expensive, but again, the option is there.
The latest and greatest' from all the units I was interested in was Pioneer DVR-LX61.
But I could not find anything about that unit on the internet, not much besides the specs. Instead I've read that
someone got the Panasonic EH67 from world-import and the unit was working fine. I also found recommendation
for the Pioneer 550, but that is a 160G unit. I wanted 250G. Why? My current (now somewhat old) Dish Network PVR
has only 60 or 80G and that is way too small. My kids are spoiled to be able to record any kid movies or shows
and abuse the record function and I'm constantly running at full. I'm comparing apple to oranges here, but it's just my
personal preference to get 250G. I don't know what I'll put there but I just want to be covered and not run out of disk space.
I've read someone got the EH67 and it was working fine and that gave me a worm fuzzy feeling about getting a unit with no US
warranty as opposed to LX61 with 0 info, and so I took the plunge and went for the EH67 from the same store (world-import).
Here are my initial thought about the unit, after having it for about a week. (based on my real experience, not just copying specs):
1. The box was previously opened, since they put some code with a remote to make it region free. Originally HF-67 is for
region 2 only, so I expected that. No big deal.
2. There was a small plug converted included. Electrical cord with a plug is for Europe. Again, no big deal. The unit works fine
with 110 volts.
3. Outside build doesn't feel as robust as my very first Panasonic A110 DVD player, but there is nothing wrong with it.
I would say this is personal preference, so for others it may be just fine.
4. Out of the box setting it was already set to NTSC. Someone mentioned theirs was set to PAL and they had to deal with
a flickering video before setting it to NTSC. I didn't have this issue, but let me just say that now that I know where to set it,
I could just follow the instruction manual and do it with the remote, without looking at the screen. When displaying PAL on
the NTSC TV, the bottom of the screen will be cut, and so will be the bottom menu, but if you count how many spots you
go down in the menu you should not have a problem accessing the setting for NTSC.
5. The menu itself after reading good things about this unit I was expecting something better and I think I just set my
expectations too high. Maybe I was just not happy that when I put in a Divix movie I was not able to store it onto the hard drive.
The menu would go to copy from DVD to HD' but the button start copying' is grayed out. The divix movie plays fine and the
video is much cleaner than from the cheap Philips DVP642 DVD player I have. In the menus it shows as the .avi file.
I was also disappointed I could not copy over the .avi files from the SD card from my small Fuji camera. EH67 sees the jpeg
files, but not the .avi. I also couldn't figure out if there is a way to make a folder. That way I could keep TV recordings
in a separate location from my home video recordings. Now they will be mixed all over the place, or rather in one location.
6. Recording to HD This one seems to work fine. I just hit REC button and STOP and it records fine from the DVD or an
outside source, like from my camera (through the RCA input). I don't have a DV cable (also called IEEE 1394). The manual
says that through that input all the stop-starts' are automatically separated into different chapters (NOT titles) when
recording. This is awesome. It makes it easier to delete the stuff you don't want, or to split the recording into different
titles at the right spots. I have not tested it. I just ordered the DV cable and will try it as soon as I'll get it.
But I guess the negative is that if you have a hi-def video camera, you may not have a DV-out.
7. Recording to a DVD. I have not tried all different formats, just DVD+R. It was fast, about 6 min to fill half of the disk
(I wasn't checking the exact time), and so the spin speed was high, making a lot more noise than when just reading a DVD,
but I consider that normal. I've tried the disk and it played fine on other DVD players and the computer.
So I was fully satisfied there, at least for my needs. I couldn't find a clear description in the manual on how to make the
recording (maybe I went too fast through it), so it took a couple of minutes to figure it out best thing to do is to first select
(with a check mark) the titles to be recorded oh and the DVD needs to be formatted first (takes less than 1 min), which
by the way surprised me shouldn't it be done automatically?
8. Video editing This one is also pretty easy. As the video plays you set the marks for the start and end of the cut.
There are also ways to split the titles and create multiple chapters (up to 500, I think), but again I have not tried that either.
9. Recording hi-def there is no DVDR at this time that can record hi-def (maybe in Japan, for a few grand), but a better
question would be, can it record in the 16:9 aspect ratio. I have not tested it. There are no hdmi or component inputs,
and from what I read RCA or S-video cables don't have a bandwidth to carry a hi-def signal. Maybe someone else has
tired it and can comment on this. I am planning on getting an HDTV, so again, sorry I can't comment on the 1080p
upscaling since I don't' have a way to test it right now.
10. Remote It seems to work fine. Does not have a lag, nor do I have to press buttons multiple times to make it work.
One thing that is really nice, it has a small section for the TV, with on/off, channel+/-, volume+/-, and av input select.
So with one remote you can turn on the DVR and the TV and change the TV video input.
1. So far there are no bugs. The unit never froze on me.
2. It's region free.
3. Can play NTSC or PAL (but can't convert from one to the other)
4. Video editing is straight forward.
5. Burned DVDs play fine on other players, well at least the ones I have (this is expected, but you never know)
1. I could not copy MP3/.avi/WAV to the hard drive unless I don't know what I'm doing
2. Can't convert between NTSC and PAL
3. Does not have an HDTV tuner (although I didn't need one)
4. Can't create separate folders for the recorded stuff. Only for jpegs.