Need help on DVD Recorder to buy! PLEASE! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 03-12-2009, 08:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi. I hope someone will be able to guide me here because I am completely perplexed and overwhelmed by too many options!!! I received a Canon HF 100 camcorder as a gift. It records in HD to an SDHC card. I have an HD Panasonic Veira TV. I have filled an 8GB SDHC card with video of my new baby girl . I want to copy from the card to something that will preserve the HD quality (why record in HD and then have to save in regular format???).

The camcorder manual says something about AVCHD? I saw a Canon recorder (Vixia HF 100) where I can copy the videos from the camcorder to disks in AVCHD but then won't be able to play back on my regular DVD player? I think Sony makes something similar. Can I save to my Mac or Windows computer and preserve the HD quality that way? Can I burn DVDs in HD quality to a combo VCR/DVD burner like the Panasonic 48 if I buy one of those? Please help I am so confused and just want to preserve every precious moment with my beautiful little girl!
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post #2 of 11 Old 03-12-2009, 11:16 AM
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At present, High Definition camcorders remain a rather pointless exercise in futility for most people, unless they enjoy hooking up the camcorder whenever they want to watch their personal videos. There is no affordable, standardized high definition format in North America that will play "everywhere", and certainly not on an ordinary commonplace DVD player. Your only option is the PC. You can use software to create PC-standard High Definition files from your camcorder footage, and then burn those files to CD-ROM or DVD-R. While these discs won't play anywhere but on other PCs, almost everyone has a PC, so you can share your videos in true hi def by giving interested people copies of the discs. If the PC is set up with hi def video outputs, it can also show your videos on a TV display. Another possibility is to use PC software to re-encode your camcorder files as Anamorphic 16:9 standard-def DVDs: these look nearly as good as true hi def in many cases, and give you the "play anywhere" feature.

Eventually there will be a standardized high-definition recordable format you can transfer your files to, that will be playable everywhere, but it will likely be a memory card and not a disc (it doesn't look like recordable BluRay is going to be marketed in the USA). In the meantime you can do many things on your PC. BTW, if you happen to have a BluRay player, there is PC software that will record HiDef personal videos onto a standard-def DVD-R that can be played in full hi def on BluRay hardware (the disc will not play on ordinary DVD players, tho.)
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post #3 of 11 Old 03-12-2009, 11:48 AM
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AVCHD is a standard for storing high-definition on DVD. Unfortunately, only Blu-ray players support playback of AVCHD disks. You can't play them on a DVD player. DVD players are a legacy technology without any support for high-definition.

Most newer DVD burning programs like Nero allow you to create AVCHD-compatible DVDs.

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post #4 of 11 Old 03-12-2009, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for the posts. If I were to save my video clips to a hard drive, would they be saved as HD? If so could I later burn them to a DVD standard or AVCHD, thus maintaining the HD quality. Any input about the Canon DVD burner or Sony DVD burner? This is all a little disappointing as the camcorder was a very expensive gift from my family who thought they were giving me the ability to preserve videos in HD quality. Thanks again for your advice!
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post #5 of 11 Old 03-12-2009, 12:49 PM
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You can preserve the full HD quality, but you'll have to do your authoring on a computer. Time to head over to the camcorder forum to get a lot better info about the process. The DVD recorders discussed in this forum don't do HD (if you don't count upconverting). As others have said, many Bluray players will play AVCHD recorded by a computer onto standard DVD's. AFAIK, besides playing back from the camera straight to your tv or playing back on a computer, that's the only way to watch your HD material.
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post #6 of 11 Old 03-12-2009, 12:51 PM
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I had one of my frequent "brain freezes" above and forgot to correlate that AVCHD is the format that allows storing HD video on standard DVD-R for playback on a HD disc player such as BluRay or Playstation 3. Luckily bfdtv replied quickly with complete links to info. Click on those links to learn more about making AVCHD discs, although they won't be of any use to you unless you have BluRay hardware to play it on. I think AVCHD files can be burned using any burner, you don't necessarily need a Sony or Canon burner, but check bfdtv's links to be sure.

Yes, you can save the full HiDef camera files to a computer hard drive and preserve all the quality: computers have no problem with HD, but standard DVD players cannot accomodate it. Once the "full" Hi Def camera file is on your PC, you can make copies in whatever format is needed at the moment. For the best compatibility with other family members, your best bet for now is to make standard-def 16:9 DVDs from the camera files: I promise you, in nine out of ten cases, people will think the results look as good as the true hi def (or at least as good as a Hollywood DVD). Later on, as high def hardware becomes more common in every home, you can convert the full-quality camera files stored on your hard drive into whatever hi-def format becomes popular, no problem. Even though its a little confusing and inconvenient right now, using a hi def camera preserves your memories in "future-proof" quality for your daughter to enjoy in later years. The effort will pay off in the long run.
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post #7 of 11 Old 03-12-2009, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stagedr View Post

Thank you for the posts. If I were to save my video clips to a hard drive, would they be saved as HD?

If you save the clips to your computer's hard drive, then they are saved as HD.

Some (not all) Blu-ray players have a SD slot. You can stick the SD card into that slot and play those recordings without the need for another disk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stagedr View Post

If so could I later burn them to a DVD standard or AVCHD, thus maintaining the HD quality.

You can burn them to a DVD in AVCHD format using the DVD burner in your computer. You cannot use the standard DVD format, because that is 13 years old and does not support HD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stagedr View Post

Any input about the Canon DVD burner or Sony DVD burner? This is all a little disappointing as the camcorder was a very expensive gift from my family who thought they were giving me the ability to preserve videos in HD quality. Thanks again for your advice!

What burners are you talking about? Are you talking about the AVC camcorders with built-in DVDR drives?

There are three types of AVCHD camcorders. One type records to DVD in AVCHD format, and you can play those disks directly in Blu-ray players. Another type -- which you got -- saves the recordings in AVCHD format to a SD disk; you can copy these files to your computer, edit them, and use a number of different programs to create AVCHD DVDs with these edited videos. The third type of camcorder saves recordings to a built-in, high-capacity hard drive which you then transfer to your computer, for editing and burning to AVCHD DVD.

To reiterate, AVCHD DVDs only play in Blu-ray players. They do not play in DVD players, which cannot support high-definition.
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post #8 of 11 Old 03-12-2009, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

AFAIK, besides playing back from the camera straight to your tv or playing back on a computer, that's the only way to watch your HD material.

Some Blu-ray players -- and many newer TVs -- have a SD slot and will play recordings directly from SD cards.

A SD slot is feature you'd need to look for when shopping for a Blu-ray player, since not all have it.
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post #9 of 11 Old 03-12-2009, 01:13 PM
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Examples of Blu-ray players that will play AVCHD recordings on a SD card include the 2008 Panasonic DMP-BD35 and DMP-BD55, and the upcoming 2009 DMP-BD60, DMP-BD80 and DMP-BD70V (coming in April).

Since you've waited this long for a Blu-ray player, I think I might opt for the DMP-BD60.
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post #10 of 11 Old 03-12-2009, 02:10 PM
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I think stagedr is talking about a couple of standalone DVD recorders that record to standard DVDs from either a line input (S-video/composite) or a DV input from a camcorder. It's true that they will record in AVCHD but only from compatible camcorders. They won't convert anything to AVCHD they only pass it on from the compatible camcorder.
The one I'm most familiar with is the Sony available at Sams and Costco among other places. It sells for between $150 and $229 ($229 being retail I think). The major catch for these recorders is they only record AVCHD from a few camcorders and then only from the same brand. That is if you have a Sony burner it will only record HD from a Sony camcorder. JVC also makes a similar unit and Canon could also.
Since you have a Canon you'll want to look at the Canon unit and make sure your camcorder is compatible. Note as others have said the AVCHD discs will not playback in a standard DVD player/recorder. A computer or select BR player will be required.
AFA camcorders I think one of the coolest ones I've seen is one at Sams. I think it's a Hitachi and it records in full HD to 3" BR discs. Sams also sells the discs and I think a pack of 3 are ~$20 for re-useable discs. Not too bad IMO, just wish they made a DVD recorder that used those discs. I think they held something like 1hr of HD material per mini BR disc.
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post #11 of 11 Old 03-12-2009, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfdtv View Post

Examples of Blu-ray players that will play AVCHD recordings on a SD card include the 2008 Panasonic DMP-BD35 and DMP-BD55, and the upcoming 2009 DMP-BD60, DMP-BD80 and DMP-BD70V (coming in April).

Since you've waited this long for a Blu-ray player, I think I might opt for the DMP-BD60.

First it was the format wars, now its the streaming wars. It looks like Panasonic is incorporating Viera Cast into their Blu Ray players which hooks you up to Amazon VOD, YouTube, Picasa while other manufacturers are signing up with Netflix and Pandora (Internet Radio).

Also, I'm trying to visualize the absurdity that is the DMP-BD70V which is a blu ray player married to a VHS player?! Are the hardware people really trying too hard to get joe consumer to adopt the technology?

That being said, Panasonic is the only manufacturer I am aware of that is providing DVD-RAM/VR mode support (which is how I archive my recorded content) in their Blu ray player line, so that's where I am pointing if I am considering replacing my legacy Panasonic DVD player/recorders with a Blu Ray player. Why we can't get access to all streaming sites (provided we separately subsribe to them) vs. just a select few is beyond me. And when are these manufacurers going to get with the program and provide media extender capabilities in these machines (they've got everything else you would otherwise need an HTPC for, besides recording capability) so I can stop schlepping discs already?

Now, un-hijacking this thread back to the OP's original topic:

WRT to the standalone AVCHD disc recorders from Sony, Panny, and Canon (I own a Canon HG10 HDD HD camcorder) - I looked into them (specifically the Canon) and they are just way overpriced and limited for what they do (you can do it all on a PC for less than half the price including the necessary high end software from Corel or Adobe which can sweeten up your AVCHD disk with nice menus etc.) plus I am dismayed at their clunky interface to allow you camcorder to be hooked up to your TV for direct playback (vs. finding a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable).

I am now experimenting with a third alternative to getting my HD Camcorder footage to the living room TV. It's called the Western Digital WD TV HD media player. It consists of a small, easily portable interface box with USB inputs to which you can plug in mini-self powered HDDs or full size external USB HDDs and an HDMI output port (and composite A/V jacks if you don't have an HDMI enabled tv handy ). If I drag an drop my native camcorder files or an edited AVCHD file to an external HDD and plug that into the WD TV box, the box will automatically search and catalog the media files on the drive (it will also play back standard def MPEG 1/2/4, Xvid, WMV9, AVC, H.264... and digital stills (jpegs, gif, tiff, bmp, png) and digital audio files (mp3, wma, ogg, wav, aac, flac, ac3, aif/aiff, mka, and playlists). So far it works great as a way to get content off my camcorder, onto a hard drive, and played back gracefully on my Hi Def LCD in the living room without fooling around with standard or high definition optical discs of any kind. Google WD TV - the price is very reasonable and much less than these dedicated Camcorder burners offered by the camcorder manufacturers.

Good Luck.

The Future ain't what it used to be...
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