so just WHAT *IS* the best VHS / DVD copier? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 36 Old 04-12-2011, 11:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello All,

I have been through a few different VHS / DVD copiers and can honestly say I wish I had just taken all my tapes to be "professionally" done. The newest one, a Panasonic DMR-EZ48V will just stop mid stream with various errors, say that I am trying to copy copyrighted (even though they are HOME movies) ones, or even worse, I'll come back after several hours to it still saying "copying" when it's clearly FROZEN. I had an older one that had to be replaced and the last repair was very expensive (it was a JVC model of some kind). Can someone answer and let me know, just what exactly IS the best combo unit? It seems to me the quality of them is poor and it was an afterthought of the industry to make these pieces of junk but they are just that, junk. I like the idea of standalone unit and if I can find a decent one, would like to get 4 or 5 so I can have them all going at once. Any advice on this, would be most appreciated! Thank You!
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post #2 of 36 Old 04-12-2011, 11:38 PM
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The best way to copy VHS to DVD is with separates, not combo units. There are numerous threads around here discussing this. I see three on the first page alone.
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post #3 of 36 Old 04-12-2011, 11:41 PM - Thread Starter
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That kinda defeats the whold purpose, doesn't it?? Then if that's the case, I guess I'll be hooking up to Nero and doing it THAT way ---- do you have a VCR recommendation? Ideally I'd like to find one that functions like a mini-dv8 camcorner does where you can hook it up with firewire and the software does all the playback controls on the tape drive. Thanks.
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post #4 of 36 Old 04-13-2011, 12:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregtompkins View Post
That kinda defeats the whold purpose, doesn't it??
The purpose of combo units? Despite the fact that combos LOOK like they'd be perfect for VHS to DVD transfers, there has only been maybe the Panasonic EH-75v model (with hard drive equipped) that was even considered adequate. Manufacturers never really intended for them to be used as dubbing, just as a way to market a unit that did both VHS and DVD recording. And what's worse, people bought them anyway in enough numbers to justify making more of them, because they fell into the same trap you did. Yes, it sucks, but what can you do?

That Panasonic EZ48 is a particularly apt example of this. It's a horrid machine with plenty of complaints. The BEST combos were the aforementioned Panasonic EH-75v, but they've been out of production for some time, and used ones command a premium. Good luck finding one that the owner is even willing to sell.

If you can swing PC dubbing, that's great, but most like a DVD recorder and separate VCR. It's easier to set up, the software is ready to go, and it burns discs about as well. A PC might be a tad more flexible if you want to do some funky editing, but for most, a DVD recorder (with a hard drive) and a good VCR works fine.

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post #5 of 36 Old 04-13-2011, 09:35 AM
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gregtompkins, you are not alone. It is almost comical the number of people who come here weekly complaining that their "simple" DVD/VHS combo doesn't work like they expected it to. One would think word would have gotten out by 2006, never mind 2011, that they all suck so don't waste your time. But no: people insist on buying despite warnings against it published by everyone from Consumer Reports to the State Dept. Dreams die hard.

Your reaction is also typical of what happens when members here inevitably give the answer "combos don't work, period, get a separate VCR and DVD/HDD recorder." Instead of considering it and thinking it over, the usual reaction is "screw that, I'm just gonna use my PC." Hate to break it to you, but using your PC will be five times more difficult and ten times more likely to fail. If you thought the combo sucked, wait till your PC starts jerking you around: so-called "capture cards" are a bigger bait and switch scam than combo DVD/VHS recorders ever were. PC capture cards are designed for absolutely perfect video signals that do not exist in the real world and certainly not from a VHS vcr. You plug a VCR into your average PC, and it subjects you to a barrel full of BS technical issues requiring more and more software and expensive external boxes to fix.

Take our word for: most of us who still bother answering this question have been making tape-to-DVD conversions for five, six, even seven years. Members like DigaDo, Tulpa and kjbawc know what they're talking about. If we tell you its better to get a separate DVD/HDD recorder and VCR, just do it, and avoid further headaches. You already have a decent VCR built into your awful Panasonic EZ48V: most of the problems with that machine are in the DVD section and internal dubbing software, the VCR section on its own should be able to play tapes all the way thru without issues. (If you plan to return your EZ48V for refund, then pick up any clean Sharp, Mitsubishi or Panasonic 4 head hifi VCR from your local Craigs List, they cost $20 nowadays.) Connect the line outputs of your EZ48V (or other VCR) to the line inputs of a DVD/HDD recorder, like the ubiquitous Magnavox MDR513 or MDR515 available via Wal*Mart web store.

Dub your tapes to the Magnavox HDD: this succeeds nearly 100% of the time, with none of the annoying freezes and failures that happen with the "direct VHS to DVD combo." Once the tape is on the HDD, you can perform edits easily (like dividing a tape with four episodes of a TV show into 4 separate DVD titles, or adding chapter marks to your favorite movie scenes). When you're happy with the dub, you can high-speed-copy the HDD dub onto a DVD in about 15 mins. Additional DVD copies can be run off, each taking only 15 mins. The Magnavox HDD can store the dubs of up to 60 two-hour VHS tapes, allowing you to mix and match content from different tapes onto one DVD. This is much like working with PC capture gear, without the headaches of PC dubbing failures or tying up your PC for hours on end with boring tape dub work.

Further details can be found in threads like these:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1328173

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1324679

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1327611
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post #6 of 36 Old 04-13-2011, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank You, so much, for the thought out responses. It totally makes sense to me now as to the "way forward". Why these manufacturers don't just make a dual VHS to DVD combo that has a HD in it so it copies to HD first!? ha! Maybe I can invent that. So the Magnavox one with 320GB HD is a good one huh?
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post #7 of 36 Old 04-13-2011, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregtompkins View Post

Why these manufacturers don't just make a dual VHS to DVD combo that has a HD in it so it copies to HD first!? ha! Maybe I can invent that.

Panasonic had one.

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So the Magnavox one with 320GB HD is a good one huh?

It's about the only good one left. They also now make one with a 500GB hard drive.

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post #8 of 36 Old 04-13-2011, 10:49 AM
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The Magnavox 515 is the 500GB model. The first post in Wajo's sticky thread is the gateway to a wealth of information concerning Magnavox HDD/DVD models:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...6#post12244086

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post #9 of 36 Old 04-13-2011, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregtompkins View Post

Why these manufacturers don't just make a dual VHS to DVD combo that has a HD in it so it copies to HD first!?

There were a few made until 2006, but they failed in North America due to a combination of poor design and high pricing. It is much harder than consumers realize to properly integrate VHS and DVD into a single box: the recording concepts are just too different from each other. The HDD can help, but still requires clever integration which most mfrs failed at. The only one that was really good was the Panasonic EH75V, but it cost a whopping $599 which few people (aside from our usual AVS suspects) were willing to pay.

The same pricing problem strangled DVD/HDD recorders in general: the average consumer simply couldn't wrap their minds around why they should want an HDD in their DVD recorder or why it was worth $450-600, when they could buy a crapbox DVD/VHS combo deck instead for $200-300. The integrated VHS seemed so much more attractive and easy to understand. Blah-blah-blah, and so here we are today with a limited, atrocious selection of home video recorders (most of em lousy DVD/VHS combos). There are many ongoing threads here regarding the decline and fall of the DVD/HDD recorder, you can bore yourself with those on a rainy day. The biggest drawback was pricing: big names like Panasonic just could not sell a DVD/HDD recorder for much less than $450 without losing money on it. One by one the big brands just stopped making North American models (they remain popular in Europe/Asia). The only one left is the Magnavox line, which fortunately is pretty decent and very attractively priced (mostly because Wal*Mart is involved).


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So the Magnavox one with 320GB HD is a good one huh?

The Magnavox 513 with 320GB is excellent and a steal at the current $199 closeout price. It was replaced by the 515, which at $249 includes a 500GB HDD, a better-designed remote, and a couple of operational refinements. I would opt for the 513 while its still available: the 515 is great but has a slightly worse reputation for bugs and malfunctions (nothing like your Panasonic EZ48V, not even close, but a bit worse rep than the 513). Odds are if you bought a 515 it would be just fine, a few people have gotten flaky ones and had to exchange them. No big deal, Wal*Mart is cool about that sort of thing, but if you're already grouchy over your EZ48V you might want to avoid another exchange possibility.

Note both the 513 and 515 have an odd initial setup procedure that locks the DVD tray until you set the clock for the first time. A lot of the "defect" complaints are from people who did not understand that part of the instruction manual, which like most manuals is written in Aramaic. The other most-common "bug" complaints on these units come from people who insist on plugging them directly into their cable service. The "feature" on all current DVD recorders that claims you can use their internal tuners for basic cable channels is about as reliable as the tape dubbing features in DVD/VHS combos: it often fails. Cable companies want you to use a decoder box. if you bypass it they screw with the channel signals to confuse your DVD recorder. The Magnavox can tune basic cable stations, but will occasionally "lose" some channels due to cableco shenanigans. This requires a tedious re-scan of available channels, and causes all the complaints. If you're aware this isn't the recorders' fault, it won't bother you as much, and you can eliminate the problem entirely by using a decoder box to feed the line inputs of your recorder.
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post #10 of 36 Old 04-13-2011, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

The only one that was really good was the Panasonic EH75V, but it cost a whopping $599....

Think I only paid about $350 for mine new from the Circuit City here - it was one of the last two or three they had (I got them to give me the internet sale price in the store).

If I remember right, the retail was only around $400 or so towards it's latter days.

I suppose it's possible, though, if you didn't have any big box chains around, with the cost of living there, the going price might've stayed around $599.
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post #11 of 36 Old 04-13-2011, 02:43 PM
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I kind of wish I had accurate retail prices(not closeout or discounted) for the various Panasonic DVDRs and I'd add it to my signature thread.
$400 sounds WAY to cheap for the retail price of a EH-75v, I'd guess more like Citibear said($600). My first DVDR, a excellent combo in '05(but no HDD) ES-30v, cost me $400 discounted at Sams club, I'd guess the retail was $499. Even though it was a year later and slightly cheaper build quality I'd have to guess the EH-75v would have been going for $599 or more retail.
I also remember seeing a couple floor model EH-75v's at Circuit City in '07 and I believe they were priced between $350 and $400 for the better looking one.
Again if anyone knows actual US retail prices for older Panasonics I'd like to add that feature to my signature thread.
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post #12 of 36 Old 04-13-2011, 02:51 PM
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Now that I've thought about it a bit more, it might've been around $500 for at least the first half of it's run. But for at least the last third, it wasn't over $450 around here, I don't think (The price of $415 rings a bell, for some reason).

I really can't remember it ever actually being sold at $600 in a chain, big box store around me, though.

I didn't say I didn't believe that the original retail price wasn't listed at $600, though (nor did I mean to sound like I was implying that the original retail price was as low as $400 - that would be utterly insane). I don't doubt the original, $600 retail price for one minute. All the HDD/DVD recorders retailed way, way up there like that.

I was just saying that it wasn't always sold at $599 (everywhere - it would be easy to mistake what he said that way). At least not in the big box stores I saw it in (which was mainly CC here - I don't even remember BB, Sears or anyone else carrying it - but I never went to any independent stores and looked for it - like Citi has in downtown NY). Now, it could've very well been that price (and probably was) in my Crutchfield catalogs, because they always had stuff going for full retail in there (I do remember some of the other, non-combo models going for crazy prices, all the way up to a grand, like the 500GB models - I think JVC and Toshiba even had HDD's larger than that. But I didn't get those catalogs to actually buy that kind of stuff out of - I got them because they carried a lot of models, and were about the most thorough at listing the specs that I could find. They were more for research. I wish I had saved all of those, and I would've if I still had the space - then I'd be able to help you with a list).
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post #13 of 36 Old 04-13-2011, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

Now, it could've very well been that price (and probably was) in my Crutchfield catalogs, because they always had stuff going for full retail in there (I do remember some of the other, non-combo models going for crazy prices, all the way up to a grand, like the 500GB models - I think JVC and Toshiba even had HDD's larger than that. But I didn't get those catalogs to actually buy that kind of stuff out of - I got them because they carried a lot of models, and were about the most thorough at listing the specs that I could find. They were more for research. I wish I had saved all of those, and I would've if I still had the space - then I'd be able to help you with a list).

I agree, the Crutchfield catalogs were/are great for reference material including prices. I used to get them when I was purchasing car stereo stuff but since most newer cars come with pretty decent stereos(my Scion came with a rather nice Pioneer CD player) I stopped purchasing from them and then stopped getting their catalogs
I've also thrown away all my older catalogs, otherwise I too could refer to them for the '03-'06(most revered) Panasonic HDD prices. Maybe some other pack rat will come forth.
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post #14 of 36 Old 04-13-2011, 04:37 PM
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It was not my intention to start a branch-off regarding the retail price of the Panasonic EH75v, but that seems to be what I did. I was always surprised that Panasonic even bothered with a DVD/HDD/VHS triple-box in 2006 after the multiple debacles sister firm JVC endured with several botched overpriced triple-combos in 2004 and 2005.

The trouble with tracking the EH75v store pricing is that it had uneven distribution from state to state in the USA, and the great majority of people who did actually buy one did so late in the run when it became more available (and affordable) as a closeout item. I'm almost certain the original retail at most dealers was $599, which was occasionally dropped during sale promotions. The beloved EH55 was the EH75v minus the VHS deck, since that regularly sold for over $400, I doubt the EH75v was tagged at anything less than the low fives- at least not initially. Things also became confused as the months went by, these were 2006 models and 2006 was the year everything went to hell in the DVD/HDD recorder market. Decks that came out in February 2006 priced at $499 were selling for $369 or less that summer and fall. The EH75v largely fell into the category of electronics items that are considered "too pricey" at first, so fewer stores carry them, which lowers exposure, which lowers demand, which causes excess stock to pile up in warehouses, which results in sudden cheap availability everywhere at once as the panicked mfr tries to dump that stock at blowout prices before it becomes too stale. This cycle goes back decades, big stores like J&R Electronics built their business specializing in these orphaned products ($1500 SACD player for $99, anyone?).

Pioneer and Sony continued to sell new models of DVD/HDD recorder in Canada for two-three years after Panasonic stopped selling the similar EH55. The Pioneers started each year priced at $449, $479 and $549 only to be blown out for $250-350 at the end of the year. The Sony started at $429 and ended two years later at $229 (Future Shop employees were practically handing them out as party favors). It briefly shot back up to $399 when people here got wind it was discontinued and lined up to buy it: stores returned to full retail to make a final profit.
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post #15 of 36 Old 04-13-2011, 04:50 PM
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http://reviews.cnet.com/video-player...-31864416.html
Looks like Cnet says $500(probably $499) was the ORP. Wow I bet more than one would pay $500 for a NIB EH-75v now Like I said I paid $399 at Sams in '05 for a hdd less ES-30v, if only I had known or waited....
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post #16 of 36 Old 04-13-2011, 05:02 PM
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I purchased my first eh75 in 05 from JR in ny for 299.00 brand new in box. I now have 5 units.

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post #17 of 36 Old 04-13-2011, 05:17 PM
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$500 it is, verified by the oracles of CNET, I stand corrected. Going once, going twice...

Given the context of other machines at the time, thats an unusually cheap price for Panasonic: other DVD/HDD brands without the VHS were about the same cost.
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post #18 of 36 Old 04-13-2011, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

Given the context of other machines at the time, thats an unusually cheap price for Panasonic: other DVD/HDD brands without the VHS were about the same cost.

It really wasn't that big of a seller most of the time it was out, as far as HDD/DVD recorders go. I think only having an 80GB HDD had a lot to do with it. People that just wanted a combo without an HDD bought that instead, and our types bought the bigger hard-drived models.
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post #19 of 36 Old 04-14-2011, 10:52 AM
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First, let me disagree with the people who said the EH75 was a good VHS to DVD platform. I have two of them, and intended to use them for my tape to disk project. They didn't work, at least not for me. I ended up using them as the recorder, but I had to use some of my old VHS decks for playback. They have some characteristics that made them less useable for the project as a whole, so YES, use separate components, DO NOT rely on a single device for tape to disk transfer.

I paid $400 for each of my EH75s, and they were both open-box items. I was glad to get them, even at that price since in both cases, it was after the initial run had all but been sold out. Even open-box as they were, both have worked great, with no issues at all to speak of.

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post #20 of 36 Old 04-14-2011, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

Now, it could've very well been that price (and probably was) in my Crutchfield catalogs, because they always had stuff going for full retail in there (I do remember some of the other, non-combo models going for crazy prices, all the way up to a grand, like the 500GB models - I think JVC and Toshiba even had HDD's larger than that. But I didn't get those catalogs to actually buy that kind of stuff out of - I got them because they carried a lot of models, and were about the most thorough at listing the specs that I could find. They were more for research. I wish I had saved all of those, and I would've if I still had the space - then I'd be able to help you with a list).

Actually, I might have a Crutchfield catalog from that period....The cat was getting into an "opening up cupboard doors" phase, and I rolled up a Crutch catalog to bar the doors on my makeshift nightstand. Got the cat in early 2006, so the catalog is probably from the time of U.S. spec HDD DVDRs' last hurrah. I'll check it tonight.
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post #21 of 36 Old 04-14-2011, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

The Magnavox 513 with 320GB is excellent and a steal at the current $199 closeout price. It was replaced by the 515, which at $249 includes a 500GB HDD, a better-designed remote, and a couple of operational refinements. I would opt for the 513 while its still available: the 515 is great but has a slightly worse reputation for bugs and malfunctions (nothing like your Panasonic EZ48V, not even close, but a bit worse rep than the 513).

The 513 is hard to resist, especially at the $159 + free shipping price J&R is offering for refurbs. Just snagged another one as an alternative to the refurb Panasonic EH-59/69s I was eying at B&H Photo. Then I considered a 515 refurb from J&R, but 180 gigs of extra HDD space I shouldn't be filling up anyway and a more ergonomic remote weren't worth an extra 70 bucks to me.

Throw in the cost of a good, used Mitsubishi, Sharp, Toshiba, or Panasonic VCR, and you have a decent, basic tape dubbing setup for south of $400. I shelled $650 for my first Panasonic HDD DVDR alone in 2004, and thought I was getting a good deal.
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post #22 of 36 Old 04-14-2011, 12:42 PM
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The 513 is hard to resist, especially at the $159 + free shipping price J&R is offering for refurbs. Just snagged another one as an alternative to the refurb Panasonic EH-59/69s I was eying at B&H Photo. Then I considered a 515 refurb from J&R, but 180 gigs of extra HDD space I shouldn't be filling up anyway and a more ergonomic remote weren't worth an extra 70 bucks to me.

Throw in the cost of a good, used Mitsubishi, Sharp, Toshiba, or Panasonic VCR, and you have a decent, basic tape dubbing setup for south of $400. I shelled $650 for my first Panasonic HDD DVDR alone in 2004, and thought I was getting a good deal.

My original and long-standing pet peeve about the 3575 and its successors was always the lack of auto-titling for timer recorded programs. If only they had that ability...

and, NOW, the 515 does have that ability... and it's worth $100 to me all by itself!

 

and NOW, Funai has released a FW update (SuperFW 727V) that makes the two prior SATA models, the 2160A and 513, operate like a 515, with timer rec pre-titling.

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post #23 of 36 Old 04-14-2011, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
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My original and long-standing pet peeve about the 3575 and its successors was always the lack of auto-titling for timer recorded programs. If only they had that ability...

and, NOW, the 515 does have that ability... and it's worth $100 to me all by itself!

And the international Panasonics do not have that feature, basically because they have no tuner, so there is nothing but L1 - L4 as inputs, no titles. Sigh... It seems that we have never been able to get all the features we would like in any one machine.

The 44 character phrase save feature was almost worth the investment also, I thought at the time, and still mostly do.

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
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post #24 of 36 Old 04-14-2011, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

And the international Panasonics do not have that feature, basically because they have no tuner, so there is nothing but L1 - L4 as inputs, no titles. Sigh... It seems that we have never been able to get all the features we would like in any one machine.

The 44 character phrase save feature was almost worth the investment also, I thought at the time, and still mostly do.

And I was going to say that while I've never felt a burning need for the "pre-titling" feature that users like Wajo find so important, I really would like the Panny "phrase save" feature. We all have different workflows, and want to shortcut tasks that are important to us.

In a reflective moment, I realized that it's almost never absolutely necessary to put give names to titles at all--you have the outside of the disc labeled, and the program itself will have all the title info. We survived the VCR tape era just fine with no more capability. But DVDRs made it possible for us to do rudiementary "authoring" on our discs, and because it became possible to do these things, we started doing them.

Going way, WAY back, my DMR-E85 would pick up program titles from TVGOS on recordings scheduled through TVGOS. Was kinda handy for knowing what something on the HDD was, even if I always ended up editing the titles on "keepers."

And keep in mind that the MDR-515 I decided not to pull the trigger on cost fully 1/3 what the E-85 cost when it was new, yet certainly has far more than 1/3 the 85's features (and a harddrive 4x the size, too!).
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post #25 of 36 Old 04-14-2011, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doswonk1 View Post

And I was going to say that while I've never felt a burning need for the "pre-titling" feature that users like Wajo find so important, I really would like the Panny "phrase save" feature. We all have different workflows, and want to shortcut tasks that are important to us.

In a reflective moment, I realized that it's almost never absolutely necessary to put give names to titles at all--you have the outside of the disc labeled, and the program itself will have all the title info.

My interest in pre-titling is for HDD titles from timer recorded programs, of which we have 20-25 per week here. Mucho easier to find out what that index pic represents with the show title right above it!
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post #26 of 36 Old 04-14-2011, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by doswonk1 View Post

In a reflective moment, I realized that it's almost never absolutely necessary to put give names to titles at all--you have the outside of the disc labeled, and the program itself will have all the title info. We survived the VCR tape era just fine with no more capability.

Logically, yes, emotionally, no.

It isn't as simple as DVD recorders just giving us the "option" to add title names and thumbnails to each recording: DVDs look cheezy if you don't include them, or if you let the recorder auto-enter generic info, so you're pretty much forced to deal with basic authoring. Even if you never let anyone else see your DVD menu screens, its still annoying to have a half-assed menu screen when you know it was possible to do better with a little extra effort. To some degree the "pressure" of authoring is proportional to the recorder brand. Panasonic will optionally burn menu-less autoplay DVDs, which allow you to avoid seeing a menu screen entirely. Since there is no menu screen to look crummy if you don't customize it, this is the way to go if you can't be bothered. Unfortunately not all brands offer a menu-free burning option, you're stuck with an opening screen whether you want it or not, and if you're stuck with it you'll be annoyed if it doesn't look right and match the contents of the DVD. Sure, if you're very cool-minded you can ignore a generic gibberish date title and random thumbnail (black, commercial, the previous show, whatever). Most of us find it irritating.

Many recorders will auto-title recordings initiated with the record button (manual recordings) by picking up title data from the video feed. I find this works with off-air, cable coax, and cable line-out sources and sometimes even with VHS dubs. But in timer mode, most won't auto-title unless they have a guide system like TVGOS (and compatible data signal). This gets confusing if you're the type to collect multiple weekly shows and save them on the HDD until you have enough to fill a DVD. Even if you're just timeshifting, you can easily have more than a dozen recordings back up. If they all just show a date and a random thumbnail, you can't quickly navigate and see whats on the HDD at a glance. I find it less of a burden to just manually enter the ID data than to let a few seconds of each title play to see what the heck it is. But to each his own.

Worst-case are the Philips 3575/76 and Magnavox H2160 and 513: they don't allow custom thumbnails on the HDD and they don't auto-title timer recordings at all. HDD navigation does not show a text title next to each thumbnail, the titles appear sequentially at the top of the screen as you jump from thumbnail to thumbnail (I loathe this style of navigation). Entering a manual title is limited to crude circa-2002 cell phone texting method, changing the thumbnail can only be done by trimming the beginning of the recording so the first frame is recognizable (not always a good idea). With my H2160 I do usually just say "oh, forget it" and grudgingly accept its useless default titles and thumbnails: its just too much damn work to bother. My Pioneers are the opposite: its a simple matter to choose a custom HDD thumbnail, title names can be pre-entered on repeating timers, and there are three ways to manually title (including USB keyboard). Most DVD/HDD recorders offer some reasonably easy way to customize HDD title names, thumbnails, or both: I'd guess most of us will use those options. The Magnavox 515 finally added the ability to pre-enter title text for timer recordings, as wajo said its almost worth trading up for that one feature.
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post #27 of 36 Old 04-14-2011, 11:27 PM
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Well, here's a trip in the Wayback Machine. From page 25 of the (a?) Crutchfield Spring 2006 catalog:
  • Toshiba RD-XS54 - 250GB HDD + TVGOS - $699.99
  • Panasonic DMR-ES40VS - VHS/DVDR combo - $299.99
  • Sony RDR-GX315 - $249.99 or $199.99 after $50 mail-in rebate
  • Toshiba D-R5 - $199.99
  • Toshiba D-VR4X _ VHS/DVDR combo - $249.99

Dang it, no Panasonic HDD DVDRs. Page 23 does feature the Toshiba HD-A1 HD DVD player for $499.99 and the HDX-A1 for $799.99. And page 24 has the Sony NS3100ES DVD/SACD player, for which I eventually shelled out $424 later that year, listed at $499.99.

Figure all of these prices are full MSRP.
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post #28 of 36 Old 04-14-2011, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by wajo View Post
My interest in pre-titling is for HDD titles from timer recorded programs, of which we have 20-25 per week here. Mucho easier to find out what that index pic represents with the show title right above it!
Totally understand. My 3575's HDD is pretty packed right now--time to do some serious disc burning--and I sometimes have to nav to a thumbnail and let it play a bit to remember what the program is.....

So NOW you've put the idea into my head!

Feeding the title name from the PSIP data *would* be awfully helpful.
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post #29 of 36 Old 04-16-2011, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by wajo View Post

My interest in pre-titling is for HDD titles from timer recorded programs, of which we have 20-25 per week here. Mucho easier to find out what that index pic represents with the show title right above it!

A bit more effort, but what I do is select the title of the film as the thumbnail, until I am ready to edit, title, and dub. That way I can see what the titles are, at a glance. Also, with my Pios, checking the recordings in the thumbnail screen doesn't delete the "New" flag, so I can easily tell which titles are still unwatched.

My US Pio 640 catches many of the titles recorded from my Comcast DVR, via the line input. Unfortunately, my international Pio picks up NO titles that way.
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post #30 of 36 Old 04-22-2011, 01:02 PM
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In the interest of extending the thread topic, but including newer blu-ray info into the same thread... does anyone have comment/recommendation on buying a combo blu-ray recorder/HDD unit rather than the Mag 513/515's???

Yeah, I know VCR to blu-ray isn't a good resolution/quality move, but as long as someone is buying an optical burner, why not go blu-ray... and it can burn a DVD anyway too, yes? Make/model recommendation?
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