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post #1 of 39 Old 02-15-2009, 06:55 AM - Thread Starter
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I've seen occasional references to this model, but no thread, so I thought I'd start one, hoping someone can help me with a few questions about the DMR EA38V. I've had a number of panasonic DVD-recorders over the years and just got a new panasonic TV, but this model DVD + VCR has me stumped on a few fronts.

First, I knew it was tunerless when I bought it, but ... because I have cable, I assumed that would be okay. What I did not realize is that there is no antenna in option so there was no place to "plug in" the cable if you don't use a secondary box. I was trying to AVOID cable boxes because I want to be able to do multiple unattended recordings -- didn't want to have to switch channels manually. Anyway, I have an old vcr and an old DVD recorder (neither of which reliably record any longer) so I put my trusty old panasonic DVD-recorder to work on the LINE 2 input,acting as a tuner .

Initially I was going to run the cable through the DVD recorder to my new panasonic LCD TV (model TC-26LX85 -- which, by the way, I adore). Signal seemed compromised, so I split the cable and put one Coax directly into TV, the other into the halfdead DVD recorder, and fed that into the new tunerless EA38v line 2. So far so good. I also added a DTV converter box hooked up to an antenna, so I could get higher quality over the air signal (better than my comcast feed) for certain PBS stations and fed that into line 1. Thought the 'two' input options might give me more channel options, but now that I have it working (sort of ) not sure that's the case.

I'm beginning to think that getting a tunerless DVD recorder was a stupid idea. I cannot figure out how to activate the Viera auto channel download (what are these channels downloading TO?) , nor can I figure out how to activate the Viera RECORD NOW function. It's advertised as able to record the channel you are watching on TV on the DVD-recorder, but I can't seem to get that option to work. I'm obviously doing something wrong, or the advertising is inaccurate for this model, or (possibly?) that it only works if you're using a cable box. Can someone please enlighten me as to how to get the full viera feature to work. Right now the tv and dvd recorder are talking to each other a bit (I can start PLAYING a dvd directly from the TV control and it knows when I insert a DVD to play -- but I just cannot trigger the RECORD NOW function. It's grayed out.

Any ideas? Also, had some remote control conflicts (three panasonic machines in close proximity)and I had to change the remote codes (*so I could do a channel scan of the OLD dvd recorder tuner) but I left the new DVD-recorder and TV on the same remote code, thinking that might enable the viera. Still no luck.

I'm thinking I may need to either return this model for one with a tuner (I bought this one because the EZ line has had such crummy reviews and the EA were (in theory) better....

Maybe it needs the firmware update? Or ...??? Maybe it only works properly with a cable box? I know that will disable my ability to do remote recording - as I understand it, you need to set the box to the channel in order to get the DVD-recorder to record. No more unattended multiple recordings? That seems like a huge trade off.

I'd appreciate any thoughts on this. I haven't tried recording VCR to DVD yet, but the off the air recording (line 1) and the old tuner to DVD recorded fine too (not a great signal that way, though) So I don't HATE it, just have been hitting my head against the wall trying to figure out why it's so complicated -- when usually Panasonic machines are fairly straightforward. Can anyone at least clarify the VIERA part of the mystery? I'll work through the cable connection options myself through trial & error. thanks!
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post #2 of 39 Old 02-15-2009, 08:58 AM
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The EA-38 or any tunerless DVDR needs to be hooked up to a STB of some type. If you're OTA then a CECB would work just fine. If you're cable then your best option would be a cable company STB that would feed both your TV and EA-38. If it was a HD STB you'd probably have the HDMI or component feeding your HDTV and the S-video or composite video and audio feeding your EA-38.
In this setup you'd rarely use your TVs digital tuner. You'd be doing all your channel changing with your cable company STB. The one case you might use your TVs tuner would be if you wanted to record one channel on your DVDR and at the same time watch a different channel on your TV.
Assuming you're watching TV through the cable companies STB anytime you push record on your EA-38 you'll be recording what you're watching on your TV(assuming you're on the correct line input on your EA-38, that is line input 2 and not your CECB which you have hooked to line input 1).
Note you should get a HD STB from your cable company. If you get a SD one then you won't really be able to take advantage of your new LCD. Of course you could still tune the HD QAM in the clear channels on your TV but then you wouldn't have the advantage of just being able to push record to record what you're watching.

Setting things up the way you've done will work but it very kluge. Also using your old DVDRs tuner you won't be able to record the QAM HD digital channels and you won't be taking advantage of all the potential that your Panny has for great recordings from HD channels.

The EZ-48 with tuner would also work but note it will only get the "in the clear" digital channels that your Panny TV currently gets. You'd probably get lots more digital channels using a rented cable company STB.

I'll also throw out one more possible option. Not sure about your Panny LCD but mine has a video "OUT". If yours' does and you hook this video and audio out to your EA-38s line input you'd also be able to record the HD channels in the clear, that is every channel that your TV was tuned to. This isn't the best option since your TV needs to be ON but in a pinch it works and should give you better picture quality than your old DVDR method.
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post #3 of 39 Old 02-15-2009, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the fast and extremely helpful reply! I probably will get a high def STB --I was deliberating about whether to get the 'digital' or hi def and figured the best thing to do was get the tv first, plug it in, and see what kind of signal i can receive directly from the cable and how many channels I can pick up with QAM. More than I expected, but I know I'm missing a lot.

Mostly I was trying to avoid losing the option to do unattended recordings on various channels - but it sounds as though that's not really possible on the panasonic EA 38 -- even though it is one of the few models that lets you control the STB with the IR, I'm not clear how to achieve multiple timed recordings on different channels if the BOX has to be set to the target station each time. Have people just given up on timed recordings? I don't see any way that the recorder can change the STB channel (or can it?). I suppose I could get a DVR from the cable company too, but I would want to be able to export some of the recordings to a more permanent format. I'm so accustomed to making and keeping my own dvds that the comcast offer of 10 hours of recording (!!!!) seems paltry. Wonder if any of those recorders come with firewire/video out? (Im assuming they wont let you feed THAT recording into the panny EA 38 and record the recording - even if at lower res?)

I'm picking up QAM on the tv and enough HD channels OTA to know what I'm missing! I've heard that Comcast HD can be a little disappointing in our area, but it's probably better than the old analog DVD recorder can deliver as "video in"!

According to Panasonic the stb connection goes into the recorder and then out to TV through viera HDMI 1, but if it's possible to use dual outputs from the one STB (do they have HDMI out or is it component?) and send the best one to the TV and the less high res one to the dvd recorder, which can't record hi def anyway, that seems like a better way to go.

Panasonic docs suggest that even tho the recorder cant record hi def it passes it through to the tv through the Viera HDMI uncompressed -- but I think only when the recorder is OFF. That seemed odd. ( It's all so unlike what I'm used to, I confess I'm a little disappointed about the recording part -- the TV itself is fabulous.

My ancient analog STB was very primative so I ditched it and just plugged the cable into the TV directly - doubling the number of channels. The HD QAM in the clear channels on the TV look fine, but *(I think) I could also put in an antenna and pick those HD channels up over the air (as alternate viewing option.


The push one button to record what you're watching thing had me totally stumped, but it sounds from what you're saying that feature will ONLY work that way if the recorder and the tv are sharing the same cable box connection. That explains why it's grayed out. The missing link!


Only digital audio out on this TV model, so video out from TV to recorder is not an option, but I see your point. Following your advice, I'm sure I'll get better recordings (even if only one at a time)

I'm usually pretty adept at AV set up but the dual recorder also was confusing on this model. If the vcr only records analog signal would there be any advantage to having the cable (STB) AND a converter box (to feed the VCR part?) connected to the EA 38? I could leave the OTA box connected and have the 20 or so channels that I can get that way coming in through the other line in. That would give two recording options while away from home, vs just one, since you can set the input source (I think) for each timed recording. you just cant change the channel for each recording from the STB (right?). It doesn't sound as though the EA 38 will be very useful for the kind of recording I'm used to but it will be fine for attended recordings (or one pre-set -- as long someone else using the tv doesnt accidentally change the channel on the STB!) and of course for converting old tapes to DVD.

You've gotten me thinking and I REALLY appreciate the comprehensive advice. Thanks so much for taking the time and explaining it so thoroughly. What a great intro to this forum!
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post #4 of 39 Old 02-15-2009, 02:00 PM
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Actually one of the BIG advantages of the EA-38 for cable/sat. people (with STBs) is using the EA-38's IR blaster you're able to program the EA-38 to automatically send out a IR signal to change the channel on your STB.
If you haven't found the IR blaster it's a ~4' wire with a LED on the end. You place the LED near your STBs IR receiver and program your EA-38 for the corresponding STB codes any you're good to go. When setting up your EA-38 it should ask for your brand of STB. You may have a choice of a couple different codes to try. Hopefully one will work. Note when you have a scheduled event programmed in your EA-38 you'll want to make sure to leave your STB ON. Otherwise the EA-38 will not be able to change it's channels and your STB will also probably not output a signal when off.

Since you have a HDTV you'll really want to get a HD STB. Otherwise the only way you'll be able to watch HDTV will be using your TVs built in tuner, which again won't get nearly as many channels as your digital STB will.
Lastly, depending on the STB you get it may or may not be able to output Wide Screen over it's S-video or composite outputs. If it won't output WS over SD outputs (S-video or composite) this will be a big hit for picture quality. All your digital recordings will be letterboxed. True you could use the zoom on your TV, but as others have found out this is less than ideal and produces a rather fuzzy picture. If I had cable I'd insist on a box that could output WS over S-video, that or I'd be getting a EZ-48 and hope the WS HD channels I wanted to record were "in the clear" channels.

Very few STBs seem to have "firewire" output but it wouldn't do you any good anyway. The DV input on any DVDR isn't firewire but more for recording from camcorders and such. Using a DVDR your best input will be the S-video input which is analog.

As you've notice Comcast HD isn't as good as OTA HD but it's a far site better than Comcast analog.

You'll want to run S-video and audio from your STB directly to your EA-38's line inputs and then HDMI from your EA-38 to one of your TVs HDMI input. Use this connection for only recording/playback and setting you recordings. To watch HD from your STB you'll want to watch using your STBs HDMI/DVI or component outputs which will go directly from your STB to TV. Anything routed through your EA-38 will be SD or upconverted SD. Not nearly as good as HD from either your TVs built in tuner or from your STB via it's HD outputs.

I really loved my little (32" 720p) Panny LCD, it was my first HDTV. Now that I've got my 46" 1080p Sony the Panny is the bedroom TV

To bad your Panny TV didn't have the video output option. It would be a work around if your STB doesn't output WS over SD outputs. My Panny LCD did output WS over it's composite output.
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post #5 of 39 Old 02-15-2009, 03:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

If you haven't found the IR blaster it's a ~4' wire with a LED on the end. You place the LED near your STBs IR receiver and program your EA-38 for the corresponding STB codes any you're good to go.

You'll want to run S-video and audio from your STB directly to your EA-38's line inputs and then HDMI from your EA-38 to one of your TVs HDMI input. Use this connection for only recording/playback and setting you recordings. To watch HD from your STB you'll want to watch using your STBs HDMI/DVI or component outputs which will go directly from your STB to TV. Anything routed through your EA-38 will be SD or upconverted SD. Not nearly as good as HD from either your TVs built in tuner or from your STB via it's HD outputs.


Ah, I thought I could change channels myself with it, but didnt realize I could program it to change when I'm qway. Luck of the innocent on that one!


This connection sequence info is exactly what I needed to know. Thanks again JJeff!
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post #6 of 39 Old 03-01-2009, 10:08 AM
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My main concern is, can this play vhs tapes through the hdmi outs? It would greatly free up jack space on my lcd tv. The toshiba tunerless one will only output vhs through composite. As far as tuner goes, I wanted this tunerless one cause you can't record from digital to vhs. I have a cm7000 that I am planning to use via s-video. I'm assuming it will record on vhs via s-video (aspect ratio can be chosen easily too). BTW, I don't suppose the ir blaster works with the channel master cm7000?. mark.
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post #7 of 39 Old 03-01-2009, 10:32 AM
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I've read that the EZ-48 allows VHS over HDMI (several people report they only have the HDMI cable connected to there TV and they can watch VHS or DVD) so I would assume the EA-38 would be similar.
The older ES series Pannys with a IR blaster work fairly well with a CM-7000 (using a old Pioneer code) so again I would "assume" the EA-38 would also work with the CM.
I know a lot of assuming but truthfully we haven't had very much posted on the EA-18 or EA-38 Pannys.
The reason I said fairly well is because with a EH-55 anyway I'm not able to have the Panny tune to a single digit sub channel (other than the main .1) and also back to back events on different channels don't work for the second event. Other than those 2 problems the CM works very well and provides excellent PQ for the Panny and hopefully would work the same for your EA-38.
You should be able to record from your CM to either the VHS or DVD side of the EA-38 using the line inputs.
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post #8 of 39 Old 03-01-2009, 11:50 AM
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I'd say the chances are at least 95% in favor of it being able to control the CM-7000 (if not actually higher - except for that single-digit subchannel issue, of course).

So I wouldn't worry about that part of it.
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post #9 of 39 Old 03-04-2009, 06:50 AM
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What about controlling the Samsung DTBH260F? I'm interested in the IR blaster in these tunerless Panasonic DVD recorders can work with them. The operating instructions for these recorders show at least a dozen codes for Samsung. Has anyone tried them on the DTBH260F?

Thanks.


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post #10 of 39 Old 03-07-2009, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
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OK, I can report that the VHS tape does play through just an HDMI connection from 38vk to panny TV. The DMR 38 needs to be cycled through the USB SD DVD options, but once you get to VHS, yes, it plays through to the tv's HDMI port. (the picture quality of the tape didn't look so hot, but it was an old concert not recorded at very high res, and not previously viewed on a high def tv, so I guess there's only so much "upconversion" possible. Anyway, one mystery solved.

As far as tunerless DVD recorders, I'm still a little sorry I got this EA 38 (supposedly better hardware than the EZ48) because timed recording has been complicated without a cable box. (I may upgrade to a comcast box, but wanted to explore all other options first)

Right now, I'm looking at an OTA digital converter box with 'vcr timer' function - I've spotted two that look interesting and are coupon-eligible -there's a highly rated Zinwell converter box that might do the trick -- there's also a timer on the DTVPal Plus. it would require double settings to control multiple timed recording, but it would help when it came to trying to record PBS and regular channel programs. I have a zenith 900 now and have to set the channel on the box, then set the recorder to record the line input, then remember to turn the recorder OFF so it will wake up to record. Kind of clunky.

Oh, forgot to mention, some of you considering this model might be interested in this -- i ran into a "copyright protection' recording error on the DMR 38vk a few nights ago -- I had left the 'over the air digital box channel set to PBS -- I don't know what program came on at 1230 am (not the one I was planning to record, I had just forgotten to reset the channel to the one I wanted (CBS) on the digital converter box. Nothing recorded. The next morning I saw a "you have tried to record a copyright protected program" message (not sure of the exact language, but you get the idea.) I have NEVER had a tv recording refused before on a Panasonic recorder. They really have crippled these newer machines! No idea what was on, but it was PBS for heaven's sake, not HBO or payperview.

Making me think it might be worth taking my old model into the repair shop for a rehab. It recorded EVERYTHING. I don't know if this is a digital tv issue or a recorder issue, or what, but the more I use this the more I miss the simplicity and reliability (well, for the first three years, anyway) of the old recorder.
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post #11 of 39 Old 03-07-2009, 11:51 AM
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Since the EA-38 has the IR blaster are you not able to control your Zenith box? Those of us with older ES series Pannys are doing just that. I thought that was one of the advantages of getting a EA series Panny, that is if your had a STB or CECB you could use the EA's IR blaster to automatically change the channel for scheduled events.
I don't think you need a Zinwell or Pal or the complications of dual programming for every event. Have you read the manual in regards to the IR blaster operation?
BTW most people doing this with a ES series Panny seem to prefer the picture quality of the CM-7000 via S-video. It works with the old Pioneer STB code. Oh, and what model is your old Panny? If it's a HDD model it would sure be worth fixing for Panasonics $130 flat rate repair.
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post #12 of 39 Old 03-11-2009, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

Since the EA-38 has the IR blaster are you not able to control your Zenith box? Those of us with older ES series Pannys are doing just that. I thought that was one of the advantages of getting a EA series Panny, that is if your had a STB or CECB you could use the EA's IR blaster to automatically change the channel for scheduled events.
I don't think you need a Zinwell or Pal or the complications of dual programming for every event. Have you read the manual in regards to the IR blaster operation?
BTW most people doing this with a ES series Panny seem to prefer the picture quality of the CM-7000 via S-video. It works with the old Pioneer STB code. Oh, and what model is your old Panny? If it's a HDD model it would sure be worth fixing for Panasonics $130 flat rate repair.

Haven't tried it with the Zenith, since I was under the (mistaken?) impression that the box had to have a timer option, not the DVD recorder in order to do unattended recordings. I thought the IR would only change channels on the Zenith while you were there using the remote control, not when the TIMER of the DMR 38 kicked in. Come to think of it, I HAVE an older model ES series, as well (lots of aging Pannys here!) so I could use the box with THAT instead, since we know it works. I don't remember having an IR blaster, but it's small and I might have overlooked it since at the time I wasn't using it. Will see if I can track down the box. That DVD recorder doesnt have anything but standard composite out and Svideo -- so that wouldnt work with viera link the way the new one does. I have a coupon left, expiring soon, so figured I should get something as backup for another analog recorder to use down the road. I was considering one of the ones mentioned because of the timer, but if the CM7000 can be run this way using IR from the Panasonic recorder, it sounds as though the higher PQ from s video output trumps the "convenience" of 8 program timer on the Zinwell or easy guide on the Pal. Thanks again for the HELPFUL info. Will report back if -- no WHEN -- I can get it working.


No HDD models here, unfortunately -- but I was sticking w/ Panasonic because I like the erasable disks, the chasing playback, and I have a lot of (guilty!) unfinalized dvds on which I've recorded so I wanted to maintain some compatibility with these old recordings. I didn't realize P had a flat rate for repairs. Might still be worth it since the older machines didn't have the same copyright protection lock ups as my last two. Will look into it -- If memory serves, I think it was a model E55 - it's blipping on timed recordings now - getting a lot of stuttering and interruptions when recording but playback of commercial disks still ok -- I haven't tried 'cleaning' the laser (not sure that's for real) but I did run the firmware update , which helped a little. I suspect it's largely age of the drive + a media recognition problem - Im pretty sure the new blank discs are all too fast for the old recorder and it's hard to find 1 x or 4 x these days. Would like to keep it alive and ticking so will experiment a bit. Thanks for the reminder !
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post #13 of 39 Old 03-11-2009, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artwire View Post

Come to think of it, I HAVE an older model ES series, as well (lots of aging Pannys here!) so I could use the box with THAT instead, since we know it works . . .

I didn't realize P had a flat rate for repairs. Might still be worth it since the older machines didn't have the same copyright protection lock ups as my last two. Will look into it -- If memory serves, I think it was a model E55 - it's blipping on timed recordings now - getting a lot of stuttering and interruptions when recording but playback of commercial disks still ok -- I haven't tried 'cleaning' the laser (not sure that's for real) but I did run the firmware update , which helped a little. I suspect it's largely age of the drive + a media recognition problem - Im pretty sure the new blank discs are all too fast for the old recorder and it's hard to find 1 x or 4 x these days. Would like to keep it alive and ticking so will experiment a bit . . .

Panasonics are forward and backward compatible so more recent models may finalize discs recorded on older machines. (A DMR-ES40V that I purchased new in December 2005 usually failed during finalizing its own discs, even when it was a new machine, so I usually finalized ES40 discs on older or newer model Panasonics. Firmware updates did not correct the ES40 bugs and design flaws. This ES40 has accumulated just 355 recording hours in more than three years, spending most of its "life" in its box stored in a closet. I keep the ES40 in case it's necessary to swap in the compatible DVD Drive to one of the four heavy use DMR-ES30V models in our household.)

With a Panasonic it's of vital importance to clean the DVD Drive's rubber hub on a regular basis in order to maintain reading, writing and finalizing performance. I clean the rubber hubs at eight to ten month intervals with light use machines, more often with heavy use machines. (Lens cleaning discs do not clean the rubber hub.) This post and those that follow it provide advice, instructions and photos:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...8#post14479898

When using newer media with older machines it's important to run the most recent firmware updates that allow use of current media. Carefully follow the instructions to avoid a firmware installation failure. Find your model here then click on "get support" and then "downloads:"

http://www2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs...&storeId=15001

Information concerning the $130 flat-rate service/repair through the corporate Panasonic Digital Service Center in Elk Grove Village Illinois is found here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...8#post14451738

Local "authorized" shops may charge whatever they please for Panasonic service/repair as they pay full retail for parts and shipping then add their labor. "Authorized" shops and the public may purchase "current" parts through the Panasonic Service and Technology Company in Kent Washington. "Obsolete" parts are reserved for use at the corporate Panasonic Digital Service Center in Elk Grove Village Illinois. Elk Grove Village does not sell parts.

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post #14 of 39 Old 03-11-2009, 02:39 PM
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I think only the older Pannys with a HDD and TVGOS had the IR blaster(and now the EA series Pannys).
As far as your media, I've read posts of even '04 Pannys being able to record to the newer 16x media, and I know first hand my '05 works just fine with 16x -R discs. Note the older machines weren't really tuned for + discs so I'd try and avoid those for your Panasonics.
Personally I would think it would be easier to just program the Panny instead of it and also a CECB like the Zinwell. Just one more thing less to get wrong.
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post #15 of 39 Old 03-13-2009, 08:43 AM - Thread Starter
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whoa! Lots of info to digest. Very helpful links and advice. Thanks to both of you. I really appreciate it. Cleaning an early model sounds complicated, but I may give it a whirl once I hook up another for everyday recording. His instructions referred to my exact model ("I have a 3 year old DMR-E55 recorder (a fantastic old machine") Funny, I had forgotten how old it was! And, more important, I'm experiencing the exact symptoms. So clearly, this is worth trying.

Another thing that caught my eye -- I ALWAYS hold dvds by the center hole - he says not to since it compromises the disc. Who knew?

Meanwhile, I'm off to try the IR blaster on the Zenith CECB .... will report back if successful. That *would* make life easier! Thanks for the help, guys!
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post #16 of 39 Old 03-13-2009, 09:32 AM
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Well, the copy protection thing has me worried. Just when I think I found what I want, a new problem comes up. mes.
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post #17 of 39 Old 03-13-2009, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
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The copy protection thing has only happened to me once , and I'm not sure what was coming out of the converter box (that's how the recorder was hooked up that night, via a CECB ) so I can't really comment on that yet. It may have been getting fed 'middle of the night' static from PBS , since it was set to record the Late Late Show (but I accidentally left it set on the local public tv station, which may have been off the air) I'd be happy to try to record something 'protected' from either cable and/or ota and see what happens, if that would ease your mind.

I have some success to report with the IR blaster -- after a LOT of trial and error and a few google searches I was FINALLY able to get the Zenith 900 box to respond to the Panny DMR 38 remote by *(get this!) using the SATELLITE setting and selecting LG (not Zenith). Guess the motto is dont ask why, just be happy it works, right? I must have tried 50 settings, but this did the trick. So, if you get stuck as I did, give that a try. Now, the bad news is... I can get the CHANNELS on the Zenith CECB to change remotely by using the Panny remote, but when it comes to programming the 38vk, I'm still stuck . I cannot for the life of me figure out how to sync the 'channel' line up on the box to the recorder -- all it's showing me is LINE 2 and LINE - (that's a dash). I tried manually entering the channel numbers using the keypad , but then you don't have the option to pull in channels like 26-4. I really like so many features of this hardware, but recording unattended still eludes me. I can't understand how to get the 'tunerless' recorder to 'set' the channels from the external input. I also left the ZEnith ON because I wasnt sure if the remote could trigger a change if the box itself was off. No luck. I feel so stupid (and I'm usually the one who explains things to everyone else!) It's making me a little crazy. So, great machine... IF you use a cable box. In this more complicated set up, I can't say I'd wish this on anyone else. I guess I'll have to bite the bullet and call (say it isn't so) Comcast unless some kind soul can point me to what I'm doing wrong. I can't seem to get the programming to work unless it's just a standard LINE 1 input (without any channel selected -- I use 0 just as a token) When I set a station, that doesn't seem to "take." For multiple unattended recordings I have reverted to double programming my old recorder and this new one, and I just recycle the stuttering recording that the old machine makes -- that way the timer from the model 55 turns on and turns off, as scheduled, and the 38 happily records its timer recordings via input via line 2. Crazy, but it works. Just not what I had in mind.
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post #18 of 39 Old 03-13-2009, 02:32 PM
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I'm sorry I can't give you more specific information on the IR blaster setup for your EA-38. I've personally never used a EA machine and only know how the IR blaster works for my '06 ES series machine. I was assuming the EA series machines would work similar. That is for scheduled events (once you've got the correct code for your STB) you would just enter in the channel number you want to record from. Since it's a newer device (unlike the ES series machines) it should have a - key for channels like 2.1 or 17.2 etc. On our ES series machines it's more complicated without the - key, usually entering something like a 17 will take you to 17.1 or 171 may or may not work, depends on your STB.
It's hard to believe you can't schedule a event entering entering in the channel you want to record from, otherwise what's the purpose of the whole IR blaster thing? If you were actually there you could just as well use your STBs remote....AFA using a LG code for your Zenith box, actually I believe LG makes the Zenith CECB so that makes a little sense.
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post #19 of 39 Old 03-13-2009, 02:36 PM
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As far as the channel numbers you'll need to use, there's a poster here named "sggoodri" that can help you with that. You can try and PM him.
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post #20 of 39 Old 03-14-2009, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks , guys. I'm glad to hear that it is a 'complicated' issue for others, too. Was beginning to think I was just missing something obvious. Read "sggoodri"'s whole thread and there were some interesting tidbits, but I really think the issue for me is that there is no internal tuner, so no way to get 'guide' and channels. I will experiment with manual (software) key entry ...

I thought I'd fixed it to remotely program, but it recorded the channel the Zenith box already was pre-set to, not the programmed one on the Panny, so I'm still not convinced it's working to 'change' channels via IR. The thread I was referred to talked about the need to send two signals, one to change the box channel, and another to change the input back to line 1. That's way too complicated a process to trust for each unattended recording. They finally solved the converter problem by connecting via video 3, and in my manual (yes, I read it!) it specifically says to use line 1 input for the source machine connected to the IR blaster. Might as well give it a try...


I have the Zenith 'connected' and the remote works, so I will try a rescan and maybe expand the number of ---- blanks to accommodate subchannel entry. It's possible I missed a set up step, since when I did it there was nothing with 'channel' input and no "guide" -- but I really think , much as I hate to admit it, the best solution is to get this puppy a cable set top box.

I guess I will get another CECB since I have the second coupon -- looking at Channel Master for image quality, or one of the two with timers for 'just in case I'm away' sequential programming. Another Zenith would be okay, too.... image is nice, but the sound's not so good - you have to leave it in mono to hear it well. Also will probably end up getting a different recorder (one with tuner and DVD recorder, but no VCR - looking at the EZ28 if it's sstill available) and use this EA 38 one mainly for tape to dvd tranfer. Note how this one 'bargain' EA38 purchase has now lead me to consider a new dvd recorder to replace it, a new set top box to add functionality, and/or maybe a comcast set top box to change the channels... !!! But on the plus side, I' ve learned how to clean the spindle and resurrect my old model 55, so I guess it's a fair trade .

thanks again for all the advice - I learned a lot and I really appreciate the friendly welcome. This is a great forum!
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post #21 of 39 Old 03-15-2009, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Guess what, it only took a week to figure out but I think I've got it. Finally. I don't know if this works better because I just did a firmware update, or if I just figured out a very illogical step that I had been missing (I assume the latter). Will post what I've learned in case any poor soul needs to follow in my footsteps. I previously was able to figure out how to set up the remote IR blaster from the DMR-38 to the Zenith and could change channels manually using the 38's remote control. Success at step one. (Key = You need to use the "satellite" code for LG ... not the Zenith set top box code) That was handy, but the programming part remained incomprehensible. Here's why .

On this tunerless model, in SCHEDULE, when you go to 'select' the channel to program, you only have the line inputs and - blank to choose from. There seems to be no way to select a number of a channel since you haven't pre-tuned any stations. What I had to do is click the SUBMENU button on the remote, then use the keypad menu (the test IR sub-option below it will be faded and unavailable at this point) to type in your desired channel on the keypad. You have to click the remote's OK for each of the numbers that you are navigating to on the screen layout (channel selection would not "take" if you just click the remote number keys to punch in the channel numbers). At first I couldn't see what channels I was selecting on the keypad or if the key entry was working because the menu was running off the left side of the TV screen (I finally figured out that if you reset the TV screen to "Full" you can see the whole menu from teh Zenith. The 4:3 and other settings didn't shrink the menu enough to view which numbers you had typed in and if they had taken. To select channel 7 you click 7 on the keypad. Just 7. Not 07. To select channel 22-1 you select 221 on the keypad (I had set the IR to accept 3 slots for programming off the zenith CECB) That all worked okay. But, when I went back to the scheduling menu, it kept disappearing. Each time I did it the schedule was lost. The thing that I missed is that when using the keypad, you have to press the STOP button on the remote for the 38 to 'set" the channel, if you press the OK button, it erases itself and starts a new timer schedule. I can't tell you how many times I must have accidentally erased a program! (by the way, the remote's pause button =delete on the keypad) Once you have a channel locked in the number on the keypad USING THE STOP button, you can go back to the prior screen and actually TEST the IR using the no-longer-grayed-out TEST IR button. You can watch the channel change. But I wanted to be sure it would change when set to a different channel, so I tried recording to channel 221 after I had reset the CECB Zenith to channel 4 .... and .... it worked! You also have to remember to turn off the Panasonic 38 ...

So, it's a REALLY kludgy way to remotely change the channel for a timed recording, but... at least I'm happy to report that it is POSSIBLE to do it on the Zenith 900 box with the IR blaster from the model 38 recorder.
Will experiment a bit more, but the key is that you have to keep pressing the STOP button to accept the channel setting and it's also confusing as to whether or not the 'program' setting sticks. Will try it with a few sequential programmed recordings to see if it actually is able to do more than one this way.... but at least I can report a modest success with the IR blaster.

I don't know why this didn't occur to me, but .... believe me, I must have done it a dozen times and the damn program kept disappearing. It says on the screen 'press ok to create another program' and I assumed that meant it was OK ....

Not sure I'd want to go through this EACH time, but ... at least we know it works. Next trick - trying to figure out how to turn off the 'auto' sleep on the Zenith box. Every now and then it just stops working -- not sure if it's a power interruption or a sleep cycle kicking in ... but since that might interfere wtih timed recordings that's where I'm heading next!

Thanks again guys, never would have figured this out w/o your guidance!
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post #22 of 39 Old 03-15-2009, 11:12 AM
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By default the sleep timer on CECBs is set ON and to 6hrs. I've turned the sleep timer OFF on all my CECBs since I record from them all and I never want it turning itself off. It's just a setting in the CECB's setup.
Glad you got your EA-38's IR blaster working, even if it's a bit kluge.
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post #23 of 39 Old 03-15-2009, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by artwire View Post

Next trick - trying to figure out how to turn off the 'auto' sleep on the Zenith box. Every now and then it just stops working -- not sure if it's a power interruption or a sleep cycle kicking in ... but since that might interfere wtih timed recordings that's where I'm heading next!

To disable the Zenith DTT900/901 "auto off," with the Zenith remote, press MENU, OPTION, AUTO OFF, right cursor to highlight "Off."

"A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME WILL SMELL AS SWEET. BUT IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT WHATEVER WE CHOOSE TO CALL A ROSE WILL POSSESS THE ROSE'S FRAGRANCE."

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To disable the Zenith DTT900/901 "auto off," with the Zenith remote, press MENU, OPTION, AUTO OFF, right cursor to highlight "Off."

yep. all set with the auto off. Thanks! But (you'll love this)....just found another glitch to be aware of:

I set some programs to test recording by timer.... seemed to work ok, the timer came on as scheduled, but .... got blank air. Know why? The remote that controls the DMR 38 now also controls the Zenith CECB, so... when I turned off the recorder (which you have to do to facilitate timed recording -- that has always annoyed me about the Panny menu)..... it ALSO turned off the set top box, so.... it recorded a blank. For anyone crazy enough to try this....just remember,
you have to set the program on the DVD recorder, turn OFF the DVD recorder, and then turn the Zenith back on (manually, or using the Zenith remote -- NOT the Panny (or the timer wont work!).... apparently the Zenith needs to be ON to change channels but the 38 needs to be OFF to record.

Not sure if/how this might affect multiple recordings, but that's something to be aware of. Never would have occured to me, if I hadn't been sitting right there,testing it.
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post #25 of 39 Old 03-17-2009, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
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successfully did two timer recordings last night, so I'm happy about that. there were some audio skips - not sure if its the DMR 38 burping, or what - recording onto RAM media at 4 hr speed. Drop out audio happened about 8 times during the recording. No idea what caused it but will keep an eye on it. I did the firmware update the other day (not suggesting that THAT has anything to do with it, but you never know). Anyone hear of audio issues with this recorder? (or, it might have been the Zenith cecb, or the station, but I doubt that - it was CBS) I also experienced a timer lock up. It just got stuck on the menu that shows recorded videos and would not budge. Finally had to pull the plug (and then reset the clock) . Not a good sign, I fear.

Also, day of reckoning.... I came within inches of getting the Zinwell 950a for this recorder, but I wimped out after reading a few too many iffy reports about the vendor (the only one I found selling that model) so I redeamed at Amazon instead, opting for the Channel Master 7000 and Svideo quality. I'm pretty sure someone (JJeff?) said that he was controlling one with Pioneer codes, or at least that the remote would work with it, so ... maybe I can figure that out, now that I finally have the Zenith working. This will be on a different DVD recorder anyway -- one that also has an analog tuner and timer + a cable connection -- so it's really only for 'special' recording like musical performances on PBS when I want a high quality recording. Probably only one channel at a time. I hope I made the right choice, but in any case, I think I'm going to be shopping for another DVD recorder -- I'm not convinced the 38 will be up to the task of being my go-to recorder, but for extras and VCR tranlation it'll be fine. These lock ups and blips are a little distressing but for basic nightly Late late Show recordings, should be okay.
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post #26 of 39 Old 03-17-2009, 10:08 AM
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. . . I also experienced a timer lock up. It just got stuck on the menu that shows recorded videos and would not budge. Finally had to pull the plug (and then reset the clock) . Not a good sign, I fear.

. . . These lock ups and blips are a little distressing but for basic nightly Late late Show recordings, should be okay.

I have experience with the EZ series but not the similar EA series so my comments may or may not apply to the EA.

When my EZ series machines lock up I press the recessed RESET button behind the front panel's fold down door. This usually restores control of the machine without needing to reset the clock. Occasionally the EZ series machines need other reset procedures, including disconnecting the power cord.

The most annoying lock up occurs after the machine powers up for a scheduled recording, initiates the "Pause" and when it transitions to "Record" the counter displays "00:00:00" and then the machine locks up. The counter does not advance beyond 00:00:00. The "REC" light is on as if to indicate that the machine is actually recording. (Later, in the Navigator menu one may see that the recording was not initiated.) The machine is unresponsive to its remote or front panel buttons. That's the most frequent problem requiring use of the RESET button.

My EZ series machines have a variety of bugs and design flaws. Some other of the scheduling bugs have workarounds, including:

1. Schedule all recordings with actual dates instead of repeating recordings, e.g., MON-FRI, every Tuesday, etc.

2. Schedule a "dummy recording" to bridge midnight, 11:59 p.m. to 12:01 a.m. ahead of any recording scheduled in the early a.m. I use this workaround for all recordings scheduled before 6:00 a.m.

And the bugs go on . . .

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post #27 of 39 Old 03-17-2009, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
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When my EZ series machines lock up I press the recessed RESET button behind the front panel's fold down door. This usually restores control of the machine without needing to reset the clock. Occasionally the EZ series machines need other reset procedures, including disconnecting the power cord.

The most annoying lock up occurs after the machine powers up for a scheduled recording, initiates the "Pause" and when it transitions to "Record" the counter displays "00:00:00" and then the machine locks up. The counter does not advance beyond 00:00:00. The "REC" light is on as if to indicate that the machine is actually recording. (Later, in the Navigator menu one may see that the recording was not initiated.) The machine is unresponsive to its remote or front panel buttons. That's the most frequent problem requiring use of the RESET button.

My EZ series machines have a variety of bugs and design flaws. Some other of the scheduling bugs have workarounds, including:

1. Schedule all recordings with actual dates instead of repeating recordings, e.g., MON-FRI, every Tuesday, etc.

2. Schedule a "dummy recording" to bridge midnight, 11:59 p.m. to 12:01 a.m. ahead of any recording scheduled in the early a.m. I use this workaround for all recordings scheduled before 6:00 a.m.

And the bugs go on . . .

Similar here, DigaDo -- this was a very quickly sequenced transition between the two timed recordings, one an individual and the other a M- S , on the same channel. I do think you're right, setting the programs m - f (well, in this case Tu -Sat since it's a 1230 am recording) independently is a good idea. Will go back and reprogram the whole week. I reformatted the media too, and will see if I can repeat the sound problem. It may have been a reception issue, but it was every few minutes audio drop out. This just started so I was worried that the firmware update may have introduced some new bug, but maybe it was just sunspots or something Will try again...

I have another panny that's still (knock on wood) working perfectly, so this 38vk is more for vhs-dvd and time shifting on RAM, rather than for keeping finalized discs --still, it's a little annoying that now that I've finally got the timer/box working, the recording itself seems unreliable .... and it's still NEW. (The old E55 had gotten flaky after 4+ years of faithful service -- soon to be spindle cleaned and hopefully restored, thanks to advice here on the forum)

This list of bugs is useful - I'll know what to keep a watch for. And thanks for the "behind the door" reset tip, to be honest I didn't dig out the manual and just yanked the plug to motivate it. I agree, lock ups on display aren't as bad as lock ups on RECORDING. Was there a firmware update for your model, or .... is that how you got to this point in the first place?

Has panny announced any improved models for 2009 ? Ive seen new TVs but did not see anything about new DVD-recorders. They can't be that happy with the current lot.
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post #28 of 39 Old 03-17-2009, 11:46 AM
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Was there a firmware update for your model, or .... is that how you got to this point in the first place?

Has panny announced any improved models for 2009 ? Ive seen new TVs but did not see anything about new DVD-recorders. They can't be that happy with the current lot.

I own many Panasonics. My favorites are from the ES series, DMR-ES30V (from 2005), DMR-ES35V and DMR-ES15 (both from 2006). My EZ series machines are the DMR-EZ28V (2008) and DMR-EZ17 (2007).

Firmware updates have not seemed to correct problems with the EZ17 models.

The EZ series has had a very high rate of customer returns, perhaps due to the bugs and design flaws and complexities of connection and operation.

One poster reported that Panasonic advised him that the DVD recorder line has been discontinued. Another poster reported that the 2008 models will continue to be offered unchanged for 2009. That doesn't clarify whether the 2008 models continue in production or there is a supply of 2008 models yet to be sold. Either way I'm inclined to think that once the 2008 models are gone there will be no more.

"A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME WILL SMELL AS SWEET. BUT IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT WHATEVER WE CHOOSE TO CALL A ROSE WILL POSSESS THE ROSE'S FRAGRANCE."

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post #29 of 39 Old 03-17-2009, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Ouch! I'm sad to hear that... do other manufacturers support DVD -RAM ? I am hopelessly addicted to chasing playback and eraseable recordings.

As for non-eraseable, I'm thinking it might be time to do a marathon finalizing session... if they're not making more of these machines I'm gonna have a lot of unplayable discs! I've been looking for a model 28, but never thought it'd be the end of the line! Why wouldn't they continue to support recording, or is it just that cable companies have made it so hard to get a proper hookup that everyone is just leasing a box from their provider?
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post #30 of 39 Old 03-17-2009, 01:31 PM
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Ouch! I'm sad to hear that... do other manufacturers support DVD -RAM ? I am hopelessly addicted to chasing playback and eraseable recordings.

As long as you're adding you're own tuner, if you'd be interested in a hard drive model, there's the EH57, EH67 and EH68 from www.world-import.com.

People here who have bought them are generally very pleased with them.

But no IR blaster. Your cable box will need the ability to change channels on it's own.
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