Is the Toshiba DR430KU a good, stable DVD Recorder? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 04-30-2012, 08:22 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking for a DVD Recorder because I don't want to pay the cable company extra money for DVR service. It looks like DVD Recorders are slowly on the way out, so I think it would be wise for me to buy one now so I can time record any programs that I won't be home to watch.

I was looking at Amazon and it seems like the Toshiba DR430KU is one of the few DVD Recorders still available. Is this a stable DVD recorder? Meaning... it doesn't freeze, hiccup or have any types of issues when recording and playing.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
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post #2 of 32 Old 04-30-2012, 09:25 AM
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There is no such thing as a "stable" DVD recorder: since they got dumbed-down and cheapened a few years ago, not to mention made ever-more-sensitive to Hollywood anti-record signals, none of them are really any good. The best you can say about one is that it works most of the time.

This particular Toshiba has no tuner, it is intended for use with a cable or satellite decoder box, or one of those coupon-subsidized off-air ATSC tuners that were popular a couple years ago. Recorders that have no tuner tend to be notably more reliable than recorders with tuners: the transition to digital broadcasting and digital cable made digital tuners into the Achilles Heel of new DVD recorders. The vast majority of whining and complaining about "unstable" DVD recorders comes from inexperienced, non-technical buyers who are tricked by certain forum pundits into believing a cheap DVD recorder is anywhere close to being a substitute for a cable company rental PVR.

Let me save you a lot of heartache: it isn't. The trouble is, cable is very profitable, very protective of those profits, and not at all stupid. Cable knows we're all trying to be cute and use cheap recorders, so cable has taken steps- very effective steps- to make that as unpleasant and inconvenient as possible. DVD recorders, by and large, use poorly-designed "first generation" digital tuners that are easily confused by cable company signal tricks. When the cable company isn't busy confusing the tuner, its taking entire channels off the wire and insisting they can only be tuned by a decoder pod or box. Once you are stuck using the box, you lose all the convenience of multi-event timer in the recorder (since the recorder can't change the channel on the cable box: you have to be there to change it). Yes, there are workarounds, and some of the more dedicated fringe element on AVS spend their entire waking lives trying to outwit the cable company.

You may have better things to do with your time, so here's a quick rundown of your options:

If you want true HiDef picture quality recording cable, rent the cable PVR or get a TiVo. No DVD recorder does HiDef and standard def cable recording generally stinks on a flat screen.

If you don't have any interest in making a DVD library, SKIP THE DVD RECORDER. They are a chore to use with cable, the PQ just isn't there, and the cable company can throw a thousand curveballs at you to render the thing practically useless.

If you have "no-box" cable, you need a DVD recorder with a tuner, and the tuner is the can of worms that cable has a field day screwing with. You may get it to work, but it will be an ongoing struggle. You will lose channels or miss programs at the worst possible moments. These days, a DVD recorder is only really reliable for off-air antenna use or connected to a decoder box with the cable company tuner. If using a decoder box, buy a "tunerless" DVD recorder to save money: you don't need the tuner. But don't expect miracles, because:

Consider the limitations of DVD recorders in general. DVD does not work like VHS, where you could get away with 6 or 8 hours on a single tape. DVD is barely adequate for cable recording at 2 hours per disc, go to the 4 or 6 hour speeds and the video looks terrible on most current recorders except perhaps Panasonic, and even then it isn't good on a big-screen TV. To get anything even remotely similar to the picture quality and convenience of the cable company PVR, you need a DVD/HDD recorder, which is a more expensive model with built-in hard disk drive (what the cable PVR and TiVo use). The HDD lets you record up to 60 hours or so of shows in the very fast, top quality HQ (or XP) speed, which would fit only one hour on a DVD. You would only make a DVD copy when you wanted to keep something. Otherwise, you record and watch everything on the HDD, and hit the Delete button to erase it when done.

Unfortunately, the only DVD/HDD recorders left are the Magnavox 513 and 515, which were recently discontinued and thus selling out everywhere at inflated $300+ prices (up from $200 a few weeks ago). If you're willing to wait and gamble, our fearless AVS Magnavox guru with "inside info" is dropping ever-stronger hints that a new Magnavox model is probably coming out (but not until all the old ones are sold off at increased markup). Keep an eye on the WalMart website DVD recorder page to see what happens.
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post #3 of 32 Old 04-30-2012, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
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But I don't understand. In the 1990s, recording from TV was so convenient. Just buy a VCR and some blank tapes and you could record all you want without an extra monthly fee. Why are they taking that convenience away from us?
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post #4 of 32 Old 04-30-2012, 10:20 AM
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Why are they taking that convenience away from us?

Simple, it's all about the $.

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 #5 of 32 Old 04-30-2012, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, just one question. I still have an old VCR and can record from my HD Cable box just fine. So, why would a DVD Recorder be more of a problem??
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post #6 of 32 Old 04-30-2012, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrHT View Post

But I don't understand. In the 1990s, recording from TV was so convenient. Just buy a VCR and some blank tapes and you could record all you want without an extra monthly fee. Why are they taking that convenience away from us?

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Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

Simple, it's all about the $.

Also in the 90's, there were no DVD boxed sets of entire seasons or series to be had either. The content providers want you to purchase their commercial DVDs/BRDs, so they make it less convenient to record from TV, especially in digital HD format. Again, it's all about the $.
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post #7 of 32 Old 04-30-2012, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by MrHT View Post

But I don't understand. In the 1990s, recording from TV was so convenient.

A lot has changed in 20 yr. Also, citibear forgot to mention that with the advent of digital cable, the near-term trend is to eliminate all analog cable broadcasting and scramble (encrypt) all channels except the locals. This means that whatever recorder you buy, you will have to record from the cable box (or cable DVR) if you want to be able to record all those extra cable-only channels you pay for. So since you will need a STB anyway, consider what is the cost differential between renting a cable box and a cable DVR. How many months of incremental DVR rental can you enjoy before you would reach a break even point on a DVD recorder purchase.

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post #8 of 32 Old 04-30-2012, 11:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dare2be View Post

Also in the 90's, there were no DVD boxed sets of entire seasons or series to be had either. The content providers want you to purchase their commercial DVDs/BRDs, so they make it less convenient to record from TV, especially in digital HD format. Again, it's all about the $.

Yeah, true. And no YouTube back in the 90s either.
I get what your saying.
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post #9 of 32 Old 04-30-2012, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by MrHT View Post

But I don't understand. In the 1990s, recording from TV was so convenient. Just buy a VCR and some blank tapes and you could record all you want without an extra monthly fee. Why are they taking that convenience away from us?

In a word? TiVo. The TiVo came out and changed all the rules and expectations of home video recording (even though its actual user base is relatively small its impact on the culture has been enormous).

Most people are inherently lazy when it comes to TV recording: they couldn't even cope with setting the clock on a VCR. The TiVo automated the whole deal: you look for your show or movie using the easy on-screen guide, click on it, and your timer is set. For TV series, it even detects reruns and avoids recording them. It integrated seamlessly with cable, becoming the first cable PVR.

Cable and satellite took notice of this and saw a fantastic business opportunity. For years, they'd been trying to pry frugal cable customers off the cheapest "boxless" service tier, so they could charge more for "standard" service with extra channels and open the door for lucrative "On Demand" and Premium services (all of which require some kind of box). The popularity and publicity of TiVo gave them the irresistible lure they'd been dreaming of: put a PVR into the decoder box, and customers will be forced to upgrade their service to a "boxed tier" in order to get the PVR feature. There was an initial tussle with TiVo, but eventually the lawsuits settled down into an uneasy truce. The overwhelming majority of households now do their video recording with a cable/satellite subscription box, most from their provider (the power users still buy a TiVo).

DVD recorders struggled to remain relevant, and during the middle-2000s managed to barely hang on by incorporating a clever but ill-fated "free" knockoff of TiVo called TVGOS. This worked until 2008, when the oft-delayed and massively-dysfunctional American transition from analog to digital TV signals effectively destroyed the DVD recorder market. The FCC mandated insanely expensive dual analog & digital tuners on every recorder too far in advance of the transition, doubling the price of DVD recorders overnight. Cable took advantage of loopholes in the new QAM digital cable specs and flaws in the new recorder tuners to make life a living hell for anyone who wasn't renting a proprietary cable PVR or TiVo. The result was a massive and rapid consumer migration from old vcrs and dvd recorders to the $10/mo cable PVRs.

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Ok, just one question. I still have an old VCR and can record from my HD Cable box just fine. So, why would a DVD Recorder be more of a problem??

Setting aside the fact using a $98 direct-to-DVD recorder severely limits your recording time in any case, recording from the cable box and recording from the cable itself are two different things. Recording from the box is easy, for either VCR or DVD recorder. The only hitch is the channel changing: some decoder boxes have timers, so you can set them to change channels along with the VCR or DVD recorder. Many new boxes don't have timers, or a cable company "software upgrade" deactivates the timer feature. Then you're stuck, because there's usually no way for your recorder to change channels on the box. At that point, since you're already paying for the decoder box, you may as well just pony up the extra fee for the PVR feature and enjoy it.

But most people who ask about cable and DVD recorders *do not* have a decoder box, do not now and do not ever *want* a decoder box, would rather catch an STD than use a decoder box. Such people are on bottom-tier "boxless" cable service plans. In some cities, a VCR (or older pre-digital DVD recorder) still works with "boxless" cable because its "stupid" and doesn't have the computerized digital/analog hybrid tuner of a newer DVD recorder: it only has the old analog tuner, so it completely ignores all the digital tricks the cable company pulls to confuse new DVD recorders. Eventually a VCR or older DVD-R will stop working, because cable companies are rapidly phasing out analog signals altogether now that its four years since the digital transition and almost everyone in America has bought a huge digital LCD or Plasma television. Once analog cable is gone in your area, you'll need a decoder box for any recorder. Remember also, EP/6hr on a VCR with a tube TV looks a hell of a lot better than EP/6hr on a DVD connected to a 32" LCD TV. A DVD recorder can't really record more than one or two shows per night in good quality unless it has a hard disk drive built in, and even then most owners of big flat screens are disappointed at the PQ.

Other trends need to be factored: before DVD was invented, everyone owned a VCR that could record because you couldn't really buy a VHS that "only played" for very much cheaper (the mechanism was the same for both). In the early days, most people recorded TV, but once tape rental stores sprouted on every corner 9 out of 10 people used their VCR as strictly a movie rental player, rarely recording anything. When DVD came out and took off like wildfire, it didn't record at first, yet nobody cared: the video quality of rental movies was now MUCH better, and hardly anyone recorded. Those that did, found TiVo.

After a few years, DVD recorders were introduced, but unlike with tape (which recorded from day one) adding a recording feature to DVD quadrupled the price of the machine. People viewed DVD recorders as a novelty stunt, esp when early models proved incredibly confusing to use and limited in function compared to the "obsolete" VCR. By the time prices dropped enough to make DVD recorders "affordable," huge flat screens had taken over the living room and suddenly DVD recorders weren't "sharp enough" to record the SuperBowl. The combination of the HDTV boom and the ease of use and cheap rental cost of cable/satellite HDTV-PVRs was the deathblow to advanced DVD recorders.

Today, DVD recorders are only bought by a tiny minority divided into two camps:

1. Those who want to build a library of DVD video recordings, and will tolerate all manner of inconvenience and "standard def" PQ to do it.

2. Those who delude themselves that they can "get over" on their cable company by using a DVD recorder instead of renting the cable PVR. This group is very vocal on various forums, swearing up and down that a DVD recorder works just great for them and crowing about how they're screwing their cable company blind. Its tempting to believe them, and many are indeed successful, but be aware of two key things they often fail to mention: they watch on a 27" tube television that makes everything look great, and probably live in Hooterville, SD where the cable company hasn't joined the 21st century and still provides everyone in town with an uncontaminated analog boxless feed. If you live in Des Moines or Chicago or bought a TV set after 2006, forget it.
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post #10 of 32 Old 04-30-2012, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

Your VCR still works because its "stupid" and doesn't have a computerized digital/analog hybrid tuner: it only has a prehistoric analog tuner, so it completely ignores all the digital tricks the cable company pulls to confuse DVD recorders and simply locks onto the analog. Eventually your VCR will stop working, because cable companies are rapidly phasing out analog signals altogether now that its four years after the digital transition and almost everyone in America has bought a digital LCD or Plasma television.

Oh no, that's not how my VCR is recording. I used the Yellow, Red and White A/V composite cables to hook up my cable box to my VCR. Now if I were to buy a DVD recorder and hook my HD box the same way, would there still be a problem in recording?
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post #11 of 32 Old 04-30-2012, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by MrHT View Post

Oh no, that's not how my VCR is recording. I used the Yellow, Red and White A/V composite cables to hook up my cable box to my VCR. Now if I were to buy a DVD recorder and hook my HD box the same way, would there still be a problem in recording?

No, it would work exactly the same, in principal. The way your first post is worded, I took it to mean that you currently have a cable DVR and you were looking to buy a DVD recorder to replace the cable co DVR and save money that way. If you currently are set up with a VCR hooked to a STB with red/yellow/white composite cables for recording, then a DVD recorder would be a drop-in.

My other comment still stands. Figure the incremental cost between a STB and a DVR and see how many months of DVR rental would break even with purchasing a DVD recorder. If it is around 3 yr or more, rent the DVR.

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post #12 of 32 Old 04-30-2012, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
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My other comment still stands. Figure the incremental cost between a STB and a DVR and see how many months of DVR rental would break even with purchasing a DVD recorder. If it is around 3 yr or more, rent the DVR.

Time Warner charges $15 extra per month for the DVR service. That DVD Recorder I'm looking at is $95 at Amazon. After 7 months of DVR service, I would have already surpassed the cost of the DVD Recorder.

I really never saw any use for a DVD Recorder because I have a video capture card on my computer and can burn them to DVD, so I can easily convert my old VHS tapes to DVD. But since I recently subscribed to HD Cable, I find myself missing programs on TV because I'm not home all the time. I already pay the Cable company enough money for the cable service, so I refuse to pay extra for DVR. The Cable bill is already $160.
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post #13 of 32 Old 04-30-2012, 01:57 PM
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While The Toshiba should certainly work for you the biggest drawback of a direct to DVD DVDR is the limited recording time. Using RW DVDs you only have 2hrs of full D1 resolution up to 6 with worse than VHS recording quality. Using a HDD DVDR(like one of the Magnavoxes in the sticky thread) you can get closer to 100 hrs of full resolution quality. HDD recording is also inherently more reliable than RW recording(RWs can fail and when they do you generally lose everything) HDD recording is many times more reliable. Of course a HDD recorder is closer to $200 or more so you've got to take that into account too. Personally I'd rather look at a 6hr VHS recording than 6hr(or even 4hr) DVD recording of course using the two hour recording mode I'd take DVD any day.
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post #14 of 32 Old 04-30-2012, 02:09 PM
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I have had the Toshiba DVR that you are considering for a year(bought it from Amazon). I have a premium HD cable package which includes movie channels such as HBO and Starz, and a cable box provided by my cable company(Cablevision). I can tell you that the Toshiba(in my experience) works flawlessly. I have never had any problems recording anything through the box. Picture quality is good but but of course not as good as the HD viewed directly from the box. I have no problem recommending this unit.
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post #15 of 32 Old 04-30-2012, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by MrHT View Post

Time Warner charges $15 extra per month for the DVR service. That DVD Recorder I'm looking at is $95 at Amazon. After 7 months of DVR service, I would have already surpassed the cost of the DVD Recorder.

One key point is people do not really understand a $95 DVD recorder in 2012 is not at all comparable to a $95 VCR in 2002. That ten year old VCR is probably still fully functional, and short of abuse will remain operational for another ten years. It is also easy to use. The cheap DVD recorder has an expected lifespan of two years, tops, before it starts acting up and needs to be replaced. Using RW discs is a PITA and the recording capacity is unrealistic unless you're half-blind and watching on a 20" Trinitron.

Another point is the tiresome but relentlessly true cliche that you get what you pay for. A $95 DVD recorder is, well, CRAP compared to the $15/mo Time Warner PVR: they aren't even comparable, really, since the $15/mo TWC recorder is far closer to a $600 TiVo LifeTime. Here's what you get for your $15/mo: full HDTV video quality with 5.1 multichannel sound, integrated point & click timer setting (no having to set a cable box timer *and* DVD recorder timer), realistic storage capacity for at least a weeks worth of recordings, ability to record up to two shows on different channels at the same time while watching yet a third channel, no futzing with kludgy RW discs and their twitchy erasing/deleting/formatting glitches, and guaranteed ability to record everything in your cable tier (external DVD recorder is subject to anti-record signals increasingly popping up on even non-premium channels). If the cable PVR breaks, you disconnect it, take it to the cable office and swap it for a replacement. Cheap DVD recorder breaks? Forget warranty service- not worth the paper its printed on. DVD recorders are the most disposable electronics item ever marketed.

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I already pay the Cable company enough money for the cable service, so I refuse to pay extra for DVR. The Cable bill is already $160.

See above re you get what you pay for. My bill recently creeped over $200, I negotiated it back down to $150 by going to my TWC office, scoping out the nicest rep, and requesting a reduction (this works if you do it every two years). People tend to obsess over the $15 DVR fee and ignore the fact that they're already paying $160. Cable hasn't been $29.95 a month since 1988: today, you're in it to be gouged, with both eyes open, or you're not in it at all. If you can afford $160, you can afford $175, or you can shift your plan around a bit (ask for a bundle discount, or drop a lesser-used premium channel in exchange for the PVR). There is no cheap way to get deluxe cable: if you can't afford the PVR, you probably should drop cable service and invest in a huge off-air antenna.

I don't subscribe to the cable PVR myself, I'm not a fan, so don't assume I'm shilling for them: my recommendation is aimed at the average person with a big screen who wants the best recorder PQ with the least amount of work. That is not my priority: I'm a compulsive collector, I keep nearly every TV series I watch. Building my library trumps PQ or convenience: I force myself to watch everything in standard def filtered thru my DVD/HDD recorders, so I can avoid noticing the difference between cable HDTV and my standard-def DVD copies. I set multiple timers on my cable box and DVD recorders without a second thought, and never miss a beat. I calculate what will fit on each DVD down to the second.

That is not a normal cable subscriber: a normal cable subscriber paying $150/mo is gonna damn well want to see the HDTV quality they're paying for, and they don't want to futz with a balky DVD recorder and separate timers. They want TiVo-like features built right into their cable box. If I wasn't a crazed videoholic who keeps a hard copy of everything, I wouldn't go within 100 feet of a DVD recorder: they force one compromise after another, they're a giant PITA to use, and cable has a trillion dollar war chest they're spending to make cable as inhospitable as possible to DVD recorders.

Why on earth would anyone use a DVD recorder unless they just had to have DVDs? They only make sense as part of a cable system if the person is either OCD about recording and keeping everything, or hardly ever records anything. Everyone in between should cut the crap and just subscribe to the damn PVR: you'll be WAY happier. A DVD recorder isn't a VCR, it isn't a TiVo, it isn't a cheap substitute for a PVR: its a crutch for people like me who just can't let go of the home recorded library idea, despite Hollywood and the mass market having abandoned it ten years back.

Quote:


I really never saw any use for a DVD Recorder because I have a video capture card on my computer and can burn them to DVD, so I can easily convert my old VHS tapes to DVD. But since I recently subscribed to HD Cable, I find myself missing programs on TV because I'm not home all the time.

Since you specifically mention "recently subscribing to HD cable" you probably would prefer an HD recorder. And if you're geeky enough to capture VHS on your PC, a DVD recorder is an even bigger waste of time for you than for Average Joe. If you're slick enough to do that, you're slick enough to set up an HTPC PVR and use that instead of a DVD recorder or a cable PVR. Take a look at this related thread, esp the later posts by Kelson on recent PC-PVR developments.

Honestly, I don't see any advantage to you buying a $95 DVD recorder. It will be more annoying to use than your existing VCR. If you just wanna be able to occasionally catch up with a show you missed, don't care if you catch up in super-duper-HD-quality, don't plan on building a DVD library and don't expect to get hooked on two dozen TV series, just keep using your old VCR. Its a lot easier and has better recording time.
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post #16 of 32 Old 04-30-2012, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
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...I don't subscribe to the cable PVR myself, I'm not a fan, so don't assume I'm shilling for them: my recommendation is aimed at the average person with a big screen who wants the best recorder PQ with the least amount of work. ...

Since you specifically mention "recently subscribing to HD cable" you probably would prefer an HD recorder. And if you're geeky enough to capture VHS on your PC, a DVD recorder is an even bigger waste of time for you than for Average Joe. ...

Just want to say a few things...

First, I only have a Samsung 32" 720p TV. I'm not the kind of person that has this big screen TV. So, I'm not really "average."

Second, capturing videos and burning them to DVD is really quite simple. If you have a DVD burner in your computer (which most people do), then THIS is all you need. For $7, you can convert your VHS tapes to DVD. That is what I have and it works great! A lot of people wrote negative reviews at Amazon because they just don't know how to work it. I use it on my Vista computer and am very happy. I normally prefer to just buy my movies on DVD, but since there are a few home movies I own on VHS, I needed to convert them before I lose them permanently.

I was looking into just getting a DVD recorder to just record missed shows on TV. I can't program my computer to record at a certain time like you can do with a DVD recorder... or can I? Even if I could, that would mean I would have to leave my computer on, which I prefer not to do. Capturing videos on the computer and then burning them to DVD takes several steps. It doesn't work like a VCR where you can just record and then play. A DVD recorder does that.... or so I heard.

I see KJHarris answered my initial question and said that this player works flawlessly. So, that answers my question regarding stability. But then the next question would be (as you mentioned)... is this worth the cost? Hmm. Maybe it's worth it now, but I'm not sure about how useful it will be long term. I'll have to sleep on this some more.
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post #17 of 32 Old 05-01-2012, 01:06 AM
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First off, it'd probably be a good idea to read through the Amazon reviews first (start with the "Newest First"). You'll get a better idea of the general quality control of the unit.

After that, if you still want it, and as long as you don't mind watching everything recorded by it in 480i on your HDTV, then you might want to try it, as long as you can return it without any problems if you need to.

However, don't be surprised if it doesn't last you more than a couple of years (if even that, after reading some of those reviews). Also, I don't know what speeds you record with now to VHS, but you should seriously take heed that you're not likely to want to record any more than 2 hours worth of programming on each disc (and if that ever needs to be from more than one channel, make sure your cable box has a way to change the channels on it's own while you're not present). On the Toshiba, more than that will not look good at all, and any longer will be much worse than EP on a VCR, like others have said).

Hopefully, your new, HD cable box is one of those very rare boxes that outputs over both HDMI (to the TV, in HD) and composite (to the recorder, in SD) at the same time. Either that, or it has component out, and your TV has component in. That and composite (and s-video) are usually active simultaneously. HDMI and the others rarely ever are. You won't be able to hook the cable box to the Toshiba using RF coax, and use "pass-through", like you could with a VCR, because that recorder doesn't have a coax input (no tuner-less DVD recorder does). If it works when using your VCR now, then you're OK.
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post #18 of 32 Old 05-01-2012, 01:24 AM
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Interesting thread, i like reading the long posts about americans history of home recording

I dont think there is any risk of FTA TV shutting off analogue outputs for us though yet, i was going through all the channels the other day and about 22 out of 25 are 576i and the rest were 720p or 1080i. And now i see how bad digital 576i is on LCD. If you loose signal you get black screen or pixels. CRT's really hid the poor quality of SD and with analogue signals, if they got a bit weak, you might get some light snow or fuzziness and not complete cut outs. Everything looked crystal clear on the old CRT's
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post #19 of 32 Old 05-01-2012, 06:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

However, don't be surprised if it doesn't last you more than a couple of years (if even that, after reading some of those reviews).

I have to ask.... why won't this player last a couple of years if they have fewer moving parts than VCRs? Just curious.

And yes, my HD cable box can output both HDMI and composite at the same time. Like I said, I've been recording from my VCR via composite and watching via HDMI at the same time without an issue.
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post #20 of 32 Old 05-01-2012, 06:58 AM
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I have to ask.... why won't this player last a couple of years if they have fewer moving parts than VCRs? Just curious.

And yes, my HD cable box can output both HDMI and composite at the same time. Like I said, I've been recording from my VCR via composite and watching via HDMI at the same time without an issue.

Because they are made uber-cheaply, but it doesn't matter. For $100, if it only lasts a year you have gotten your money's worth out of it. I now understand what you want to do, and for you the Toshiba is a drop-in replacement for your VCR. Just unplug the yellow/red/white connector from your VCR, plug it into the Toshiba and you are ready to go.

You should heed the warnings about recording time. Putting more than 2 hr on a disk will look crappy because both the bitrate and the resolution will have to be decreased. But, what you are willing to accept for PQ is a personal choice and will be influenced by your display size and quality. You should simply try out all the lower speeds; pack as much on a disk as you can and see what you get. If the quality of 6 hr on a disk is good enough for you, case closed.

The last issue is the longevity of DVD-RW disks for repeated erase/write. Don't expect them to last as long as video tapes. Buy them in bulk (25 packs) and don't expect to get more than 25 erase/write cycles before you start having problems. Older toshiba recorders were DVD-RAM capable, I don't know if this model is. If it is, use DVD-RAM instead of DVD-RW. RAM disks are practically indestructible and last for years of dependable recording.

- kelson h

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post #21 of 32 Old 05-01-2012, 07:48 AM
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Getting back to the original question. I've used that Toshiba without issue. It doesn't have flex recording like panny, but isn't bad. PQ is fine as long as you stay under 2hrs per SL disc. For time shifting, go for something with a HDD, like Maggie, which was still available a few places like J&R last time I checked.

Ebay used to be a great source for cheap recorders. Haven't looked lately though.

Honestly, in spite of the ongoing charges, DVRs are far better than DVD recorders. If you dump cable and get satellite, the DVR fees are quite reasonable ($6/month) and you gain some pretty serious functionality, like:
- Simultaneously recording up to 6 channels on one DVR while watching 3 other recordings at the same time, all in full HD.
- 1TB or more of recording space
- Seamless, one-button, guide driven scheduling
- Web based DVR and schedule management
- Remote viewing of all your live and recorded content from anywhere in the world

The profit from selling my old recorders will continue to fund my DVR fees for at least 10 more years.

So DVD recorders are great for occasional archiving. But they truly are dinosaurs as DVRs, as the general public discovered years ago. Of course I'd rather not lease, but considering the functionality you gain, it's well worth the small price. Cable DVRs are a different story. They are outrageously expensive and dogs in terms of functionality.

My 2 cents.
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If you dump cable and get satellite, the DVR fees are quite reasonable ($6/month) and you gain some pretty serious functionality

I live in an apartment that doesn't allow satellite dishes hanging out the window. So, I can't get satellite unless of course I keep my dish indoor, which I heard is not good. I don't have Fios in my apartment either. My only options are Time Warner or RCN cable. I've tried RCN before and they kept charging me for services I never subscribed to every month and I had to keep calling them every month to contest the charges. So, I dumped them for Time Warner and Time Warner charges $15 a month for DVR service. Like I said, I already pay them $160 a month for HD cable (without DVR) and internet. I do not want to jack up the Time Warner bill anymore. I really don't care what my savings are. The point is... I don't want to jack up the Time Warner bill anymore!

My options are.... stick with the VCR, buy that Toshiba DVD Recorder or another external digital recorder, or don't record at all.
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I would suggest the cheapest Magnavox HDD DVDR(should be able to find a refurb under $200). If the cost is really most important and you can live with it's limitations then just get the Toshiba and hope for the best. It's not bad but for others use to a HDD DVDR it's kind of hard to suggest a non HDD DVDR. I really don't mind a HDD less DVDR for simple VHS or DVD copying but I'd never want to go back to one for timeshifting.
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post #24 of 32 Old 05-01-2012, 09:49 AM
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My options are.... stick with the VCR, buy that Toshiba DVD Recorder or another external digital recorder, or don't record at all.

Well there you have it. You've been told that a DVD recorder will be a drop in replacement for your current VCR; that a HDD equipped DVDR will cost more than the simple toshiba without HDD, but will give you a much better viewing recording/experience and eliminate the need to juggle disks.

It only remains for you to make up your mind. But do so quickly because HDD equipped DVDR's are fading fast from the market.

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post #25 of 32 Old 05-01-2012, 09:51 AM - Thread Starter
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It only remains for you to make up your mind. But do so quickly because HDD equipped DVDR's are fading fast from the market.

So are DVD recorders in general. That Toshiba is the only DVD recorder left and will soon be discontinued. That is why I'm trying to make up my mind on whether I should get one now. It's either now or never.
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post #26 of 32 Old 05-01-2012, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
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You know, maybe I won't buy that DVD recorder after all, lol. And here's why:
http://hometheater.about.com/od/dvdb...d_recorder.htm

After reading that, I'm afraid I may not be able to record certain programs on TV. Since my current VCR is 10 years old, maybe it's not as sensitive to copy protection. But I don't want to invest $100 in a recorder and then find out that I can't record.
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post #27 of 32 Old 05-02-2012, 01:07 AM
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What would have been good is affordable user replaceable DVD drives for these recorders, but no they had to make things cheap and disposable. Whats the point in charging $300 for a new drive if a new recorder was $350? They are not selling at a loss so that means there are just crazy mark ups on genuine spares.
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post #28 of 32 Old 05-02-2012, 02:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

Older toshiba recorders were DVD-RAM capable, I don't know if this model is. If it is, use DVD-RAM instead of DVD-RW. RAM disks are practically indestructible and last for years of dependable recording.

Some of the later Toshiba and JVC DVD recorders will only play them, but not record to them.
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post #29 of 32 Old 05-02-2012, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrHT View Post

You know, maybe I won't buy that DVD recorder after all, lol. And here's why:
http://hometheater.about.com/od/dvdb...d_recorder.htm

After reading that, I'm afraid I may not be able to record certain programs on TV. Since my current VCR is 10 years old, maybe it's not as sensitive to copy protection. But I don't want to invest $100 in a recorder and then find out that I can't record.

That recording restriction signal varies depending on the cable company, your local service area, the specific channel and program, the phase of the moon and the weather (seriously: its totally unpredictable). Satellite tends to be more affected than cable, but is also unpredictable. It even happens with off-air broadcasts now and then. TWC so far seems much less prone to this issue than other cable companies, and in New York City it doesn't seem prevalent at all. Of course that could change in a heartbeat.

You guessed correctly: your VCR, being analog, is completely unaffected by the recording restrict signal and will happily continue recording even when a DVD recorder will not. The restriction code relies on a digital detection system built into all DVD recorders but not in any standard VCRs (tho some DVD/VHS combo units will block their VCRs if the signal is detected). None of these restrictions are hack-proof: you'll find many threads on AVS devoted to "video filters" that restore a DVD recorder's ability to record when confronted with that annoying signal. Such filters cost as much or more than a Toshiba DR430, however.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

Older toshiba recorders were DVD-RAM capable, I don't know if this model is. If it is, use DVD-RAM instead of DVD-RW. RAM disks are practically indestructible and last for years of dependable recording.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

Some of the later Toshiba and JVC DVD recorders will only play them, but not record to them.

The Toshiba DR430KU under discussion has no DVD-RAM compatibility. It bears no relation whatsoever to the "genuine Toshiba" DVD-RAM recorders that were discontinued six years ago: all current Toshibas are simply Funai/Magnavox machines with the Toshiba label slapped on them. Think of the DR430KU as a Magnavox MDR513, minus the tuner and HDD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclone82 View Post

What would have been good is affordable user replaceable DVD drives for these recorders, but no they had to make things cheap and disposable. Whats the point in charging $300 for a new drive if a new recorder was $350? They are not selling at a loss so that means there are just crazy mark ups on genuine spares.

In the pre-2007 heyday of DVD recorders, many used off-the-shelf PC burners with modified controller boards. The modified controller added the Hollywood-mandated DRM chips and often a proprietary connector instead of standard EIDE. You're right, these really were nothing more than $30 burners and the post-warranty replacement fees of $300 were outrageous. In some cases, clever owners could track down the matching PC burner for their recorder and just swap the controller boards (the boards rarely go bad, so swapping them into a new laser/drive assembly was feasible). After 2007, mfrs moved to completely proprietary recorder burners which couldn't be fixed with off-the-shelf PC parts, leaving owners stuck with no options beyond the $300, take it or leave it repair fees.

Panasonic briefly had a $140 flat-fee repair program (now gone), but it was hush-hush "Joe Sent Me" with such arcane rituals attached you'd have an easier time crashing security at Area 51. Magnavox/Funai is the only recorder mfr that sells replacement burners directly to end users for the relatively reasonable cost of about $70: kudos to them.
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post #30 of 32 Old 05-02-2012, 02:27 PM
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Panasonic briefly had a $140 flat-fee repair program (now gone), but it was hush-hush "Joe Sent Me" with such arcane rituals attached you'd have an easier time crashing security at Area 51.

It wasn't quite that bad, but it was odd. If you didn'y request the flat rate repair specifically, you got the ssame repairs at a much greater price. That was a GREAT program, and in and of itself, was a compelling reason to purchase Panasonic. Good, reliable, fast service was a selling point. Now that incentive has vanashed.

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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