Originally Posted by lithnights
I just ordered a MAGNAVOX H2160MW9 HDD and DVD Recorder for $250 but as I'm setting it up, I think I like my old Pioneer better.
A lot of us feel that way at first, the Magnavox is very annoying in operation compared to a Pioneer or Panasonic. But you get used to it after a time, and it rewards you with the ATSC/QAM tuner and very respectable recording quality at SP. Not to mention it is the easiest recorder in the world to repair: accepts nearly any replacement HDD just by using "secret codes" (as explained in wajo's sticky thread) plus the mfr actually does sell inexpensive replacement burners that just pop in.
Thus is it possible (and easy for a newbie) to replace the hard drive in the 533HS? I'd think it would be cheaper to do that than to spend the $250 on a new recorder.
No, it isn't really possible for a newbie
, and no, it isn't really cheaper to fix a dead 2005 Pio than to buy a whole new recorder. All Pioneers require a hideously expensive and very difficult to find "service remote" to perform any kind of HDD replacement, as well as a model-specific "service DVD". While there are ways to acquire the service discs thru the Pioneer user community, the remote is a royal pain: its very difficult to "roll your own" knockoff of it, the original Pioneer remote is now discontinued but runs $100 if you do manage to find one, and generic clones of the service remote cost $50-60 when you find them still in stock at places like 1800remotes. On top of this, the poorly-designed 531-533-633 also require a near-impossible retrofit of their TVGOS software onto any replacement drive, a difficult task I have covered here on AVS several times.
The best advice at this point for anyone with a dead 531, 533 or 633 is to mourn its passing, bury it, and move on. Because of the TVGOS software issue, they are essentially un-repairable if their HDD tanks. Get a new Magnavox, or if you can afford and find one get a leftover global-market Pioneer 560 or 660 (costs 2-3x as much as the Magnavox). Canadians can opt for the Sony RDR-HX780, which is a re-branded Pioneer.
The information about cloning Sean Nelson discusses here is a great backup/future-proofing option only if your Pioneer 531-533-633 is still working perfectly
: the cloning procedure will not
help you if your HDD is already dysfunctional. The TVGOS software is both vital and easily corrupted, it needs to be cloned in perfect condition or you're wasting your time.