Pioneer DVR-460h USB Question - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 10-11-2012, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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I recently found a Pioneer DVR-460H stashed away and would like to use it to play video files off of a USB thumb drive. But I can't figure out how to do it. The owners manual I downloaded doesn't seem to indicate what needs to be done in order to play them. I did try to locate a menu to switch inputs, from the HD to dvd to USB for example, but there doesn't seem to be such a menu. On my blueray player that I have connected elsewhere that is exactly what I have to do to play off the thumb drive.

Has anyone used this DVR for such a use? I'm sure it can be done. One thought I had is that the drive is bad and doesn't recognize that anything is plugged in.

Any help is appreciated.
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post #2 of 14 Old 10-11-2012, 02:35 PM
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I have a 650 and the manual says that some USB devices may not work with the recorder. Also, file system must be FAT32. Mostly, the USB input is for connecting laptops for file transfers and especially keyboards so you can do titles easier. Divx playback seems more likely for disc playback than anything else.
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post #3 of 14 Old 10-11-2012, 02:42 PM
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I have a Pioneer 460, so can answer your question.

The 460, like all other Pioneers with USB, cannot actually do much of anything with that connection. Everyone expects they'll just plug in a USB hard drive or thumb drive and these units will just happily play them, but that ain't the way the DVD recorder ball bounces. Unlike many dedicated DVD players, which will read and play anything you connect to their USB sockets, DVD recorders are always crudded over with restrictions under the guise of "discouraging copyright infringement." There have been a handful of exceptions, but most of the major brands and models of recorder work like the Pioneer 460, as follows:

The USB connection cannot be used as a direct playback source for video. Period. So if that's what you urgently want to do, forget it, and go buy a more flexible and suitable DVD player or discless media player interface for your TV.

The USB connection cannot be used as a direct playback source for audio files (MP3s).

The USB connection CAN be used as a direct playback source for still image (most JPEG files) stored on a thumb drive, HDD, or connected camera.

The USB connection CAN be used with a PC keyboard for entering title names on recordings.

Compatibility with video files stored on external USB drives (or on data DVDs or CDs) is somewhat limited. The Pioneer 460 can only play AVI format files and some variations of DiVX files. It will play both NTSC and PAL video files, but certain off-spec PAL files won't play and the converted PAL signal can only be viewed on your television (if you try to copy it, the recording device won't "see" the signal). MP4, MKV, M4V and H264 are not supported at all.

Video or audio files from USB devices MUST be copied to the PIoneer 460 hard drive in order to play them. To do this, connect the USB device and then go to the Home Menu and select "PC Video." When the submenu appears, choose "Copy Video File from a USB Device." A file list will appear, and you can choose which files to copy to the Pioneer HDD. Once copied to the Pio 460 HDD, they don't appear in the normal Navigator window: you choose to view them in a separate file browser by going to Home Menu>PC Video>VIEW Video File On The HDD." The same procedure applies for MP3s and JPEGs, you just choose the appropriate browser in the Home Menu.

Again, be aware that a lot of video files just won't play even after you copy them to the Pioneer HDD: there's no way of knowing in advance, since the unit won't allow playback attempts directly from the USB source. Of the many files I download, perhaps 1 out of 5 can be played on DVD/HDD recorders.

Things are a bit easier if your video or audio files are stored on a DVD or CD data disc. The 460 is equipped to play files directly from loaded discs, which enables you to check if they're worth copying to the HDD. If choosing a video file on a disc results in a black screen, or audio with no video, then you know it won't work. Audio files and JPEGs that are off-spec will display in the 460 file browser with a yellow question mark triangle icon, indicatiing they're not compatible.

Regarding video cameras, connecting one to the DV input (FireWire) will allow playback from the camera. More recent cameras that connect via USB instead of DV/FireWire are treated as if they were thumb drives: video must be copied to the 460 hard drive before they can be played.

All of the above applies to the Pioneer 450, 550, 650, 460, 560, 660 and LX models. The 540, 543, 640, and related Sony clones like the RDR-HX780 are similar but will only play DiVX/AVI from a loaded disc (they cannott copy the video files from disc to their HDD). The x40 series does not recognize USB keyboards, the Sony 780 might accept one.

Specific instructions and details can be found beginning on page 85 of the 460-560-660 user manual. Note the true functionality of the "USB file transfer from a laptop or PC" feature is grossly misrepresented: the feature almost never works. There is a bug in the Pioneer firmware that restricts recognition of USB-attached PCs only to those running a handful of particular Windows XP service updates. Some users succeed, most don't. I have not heard from anyone who attempted connection to a Windows 7 PC, nor have I tried it myself, so can't advise on that point.
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post #4 of 14 Old 10-11-2012, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow. Great post. Thank you for your input. I am going to give it another try tonight.
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post #5 of 14 Old 10-11-2012, 03:06 PM
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Yes, good to know. I tried some Xvid discs and the files all play fine. I would not expect the device to accept either MP4 or MKV even if they are 480i video so I haven't tried. But that is what my Seiki Blu Ray player is for. Again, thanks for the extensive reply Citibear...
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post #6 of 14 Old 10-11-2012, 04:26 PM
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Glad to assist when I can.smile.gif

It took awhile for me to figure the ins and outs: as darknihilus mentioned, the Pioneer user manual isn't especially helpful. What started my experiments was wanting to create a "quick & dirty" DVD slide show without having to download and learn a PC program. I quickly picked up how to make a Pioneer slide show that plays as an ordinary DVD, with MP3s as background music. You don't have much control over layout or template, but it really came in handy for a family deadline.

That project made me explore the rest of the "A/V Jukebox" features. They can be disappointingly limited, but some aspects work really well. I was surprised and happy to discover the 460 will auto-convert PAL avi/divx/xvid to NTSC during playback: that was a boon when I downloaded a couple PAL series like the British "Ashes To Ashes" and Australian "Wilfred". Normally I would use a AVI>DVD pc app to create standard NTSC dvds, but this often results in lipsync problems that distract from the show. Playing the actual PAL AVI files from a data DVD worked much better: perfect audio sync and the video quality was very very good (16:9 is output as 4:3 anamorphic, a quick framing change with the TV remote and it looked as good or better than a commercial DVD!) I'm a sucker for worthwhile gimmicks: I think my biggest charge came from having the entire 17 episode run of the Aussie "Wilfred" (nearly 9 hours) stored on the 460 in just 3.6 GB of HDD space, so we could watch 'em at our convenience in great PQ.

Its just too bad that the PAL>NTSC conversion only works for TV playback. I've tried tapping the 460 analog output with various other recorders, a PC, and a Mac, but none of them could lock onto the pseudo-NTSC signal (you get the sound, but no video image). If it worked, it would make easy work of many conversion tasks that otherwise require compromises to lipsync or aspect ratio using PC apps.frown.gif
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post #7 of 14 Old 10-12-2012, 10:46 AM
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All the restrictions and hoops on using the USB port for video content is a disappointment, though as Citibear explains it, it sounds a lot more useful than I thought it was. But just being able to plug a computer keyboard into the 460 for entering titles is SO handy, I have to wonder why the feature wasn't offered on more machines. When you get going, you can even use the keyboard for editing. Since the one thing I hate about burning DVDR content to the actual DVDs is the slowness editing/labelling process, I really love this feature.
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post #8 of 14 Old 10-12-2012, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

Video or audio files from USB devices MUST be copied to the PIoneer 460 hard drive in order to play them. To do this, connect the USB device and then go to the Home Menu and select "PC Video." When the submenu appears, choose "Copy Video File from a USB Device." A file list will appear, and you can choose which files to copy to the Pioneer HDD. Once copied to the Pio 460 HDD, they don't appear in the normal Navigator window: you choose to view them in a separate file browser by going to Home Menu>PC Video>VIEW Video File On The HDD." The same procedure applies for MP3s and JPEGs, you just choose the appropriate browser in the Home Menu.

Hey CitiBear I don’t think I can copy video files from a USB stick to the HDD on my RDR-HX780. My problem is I can’t see a “PC Video” selection in my menu options. I have options for “Photo Album”, “Music Jukebox”, "CamDV dubbing” and I can input a KB for titling/editing. In the past I have copied JPG files from USB stick to HDD using the “Photo Album” menu but I can’t seem to find the “PC Video” menu option.

One day when you have time can you verify that your 640 has the “PC Video” option? I can’t see it in my 780. My 780 will apparently play AVI and DivX files off a disc but not off an external source like a USB stick – unless I’m doing something wrong.
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Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

It will play both NTSC and PAL video files, …and the converted PAL signal can only be viewed on your television (if you try to copy it, the recording device won't "see" the signal).

Its just too bad that the PAL>NTSC conversion only works for TV playback. I've tried tapping the 460 analog output with various other recorders, a PC, and a Mac, but none of them could lock onto the pseudo-NTSC signal (you get the sound, but no video image).(

Regarding the NTSC/PAL are you sure your Pioneer isn’t outputting PAL as PAL and your TV is capable of playing back a PAL signal? I’m pretty sure that in the past I tried a region-free PAL DVD disc in my 780 and it indeed tried to play back the signal but only in PAL – no PAL to NTSC conversion and the TV wouldn’t accept the video as it’s an analog CRT but I could hear the audio. I now also have a small LCD PC monitor that will accept any signal as long as its progressive maybe later I will try hooking up my 780's HDMI to it and see if it will indeed play back PAL as PAL (no pal to ntsc conversion) as I suspect.
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post #9 of 14 Old 10-12-2012, 06:03 PM
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Hi Super Eye,

Well, you certainly got my curiosity up regarding the Sony 780 and the Pioneer 540/543/640. Good thing you did, too, because it turns out I was wrong about the Sony 780: I always thought it was a hybrid of the Pioneer 640 and 550, but after some research into your question I discovered it has zero/zilch in common with the 550. The Sony 780, for all practical purposes, is a Pioneer 640 with HDMI and DV connections grafted onto it. The underlying interface does not have the 550 tweaks: its the 640 interface with a couple minor Sony alterations like the Bravia TV controls. My RDR-HX780 materials are all for the UK version of the unit, not your Canadian model, so things get a little confusing due to the SCART additions and different PAL/NTSC options omitted from the Canadian model.

But the gist is, the 780 is a 640. With that nailed down, I dusted off my stored Pioneer 640 to hook it up and compare with the Sony 780 user manual. Just about everything is the same regarding USB features, DiVX, MP3s and JPEGs. Neither the Sony 780 nor the Pioneer 640 can copy DiVX or AVIs from the USB drive -or- a disc to their HDD. Neither can play DiVX/AVI from USB. The Pioneer cannot recognize a keyboard but apparently the 780 can, I believe you mentioned you've used a KB? Perhaps this would be a good thread for you to confirm that in. Anyways, both the Pioneer 640 and Sony 780 manuals are very vague regarding DiVX/AVI playback from discs: they just mention they can be played, but don't give any details.

So I sussed it out for myself. The Pioneer 550 and 560 series do have the "PC Video" home menu option I mentioned earlier, I forgot the 640 does not and the Sony follows suit. The 550 and 560 do absolutely nothing with a DiVX disc until you go to the "PC Video" option and choose an action from that submenu. The 640, and your Sony 780, allow directly accessing a DiVX title list by hitting the normal DVD "Top Menu" remote button. (I'm surprised I never noticed this, but then I didn't start fooling with DiVX until after I moved to a 460 with the PC Video menu.) The 640 and 780 will not copy DiVX files to their HDD, only play them from a disc.

Regarding PAL>NTSC conversion, none of my Pioneers (640, 540, 450, 460) will play commercial PAL dvds at all: they spit them out by opening the tray and displaying a "Wrong Region" alert. With region-free PAL dvds, my 540 and 640 will play those via analog line out to my Sony and Samsung LCD TVs, although it doesn't work with CRT TVs. The later 450 and 460, curiously, will not play region-free PAL dvds thru analog line out: only HDMI. This may be a compatibility quirk with my particular Sony and Samsung TVs, however. The same applies with DiVX-files-on-disc: my 540 and 640 will play PAL over analog, the 450 and 460 will only do it over HDMI. When I have time, I want to do more experimenting with different combinations: I actually had no idea my 540 and 640 could play PAL DiVX, that could be a gamechanger for me in some tasks (redeeming their lack of HDMI).

I've updated my earlier post to reflect your comments on the 780, and my testing this evening of 540/640.
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post #10 of 14 Old 10-12-2012, 08:23 PM
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I actually do think that the Sony 780 falls between the 640 and 550 – in both hardware and software.

First off CitiBear you can mark the following KB fact in your FAQ Archives as a true fact.

True Fact Start:
“The Sony RDR-HX780 will accept a USB keyboard for titling and editing.
True Fact End:

The KB feature is “NOT” documented in the Canadian RDR-HX780 manual. I had no idea about it until (I think it was you) told me to try it. I love the feature for title input and use it all the time.




Now why I believe the 780 is a unit between the 640 and 550 in both hardware and software. Tell me if anything appears wrong.

Hardware differences: AFAIK

The 640 DAC is 10-Bit 54 MHz
The 780 DAC is 10-Bit 108MHz. (double MHz)
The 550 DAC is 12-bit 108MHz (Higher bit)

The 640 No HDMI
The 780 Yes HDMI
The 550 Yes HDMI


The 640 OUTPUT 2 (second audio, S-video, composite out)
The 780 No
The 550 OUTPUT 2 (second audio, S-video, composite out)

The 640 has Control-I/O (Pioneer specific)
The 780 No Control-I/O
The 550 has Control-I/O (Pioneer specific)

The 640 No DV/FireWire in
The 780 Yes DV/FireWire in
The 550 Yes DV/FireWire in



Software differences: AFAIK

The 640 Max bitrate to HDD 10Mbps
The 780 Max bitrate to HDD 15Mbps
The 550 Max bitrate to HDD 15Mbps


The 640
The 780 HDMI Sync for Sony TV (Sony Specific)
The 550

The 640
The 780 Various Dub Features for Sony Camcorders (Sony Specific)
The 550

The 640 Firmware for burning DL –R up to 4x
The 780 Firmware for burning DL –R up to 8x
The 550 Firmware for burning DL –R up to 8x


The 640 No KB titling
The 780 KB titling (not documented in manual)
The 550 KB titling

The 640 RAM Read/Write
The 780 RAM Read ( I need to try writing to RAM one day)
The 550 RAM Read/Write

Initialize new HDD with service remote
The 640 needs data disc
The 780 no data disc
The 550 needs data disc

If you add it up the 780 has many, not all but many of the hardware and software features of the 550. There are a few Pio only and Sony only features between the decks as well

I think there are other differences not mentioned above. Feel free to add to the list.

EDIT:
Forgot one.

The 640 No USB to HDD DivX Avi
The 780 No USB to HDD DivX Avi
The 550 Yes USB to HDD DivX Avi
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post #11 of 14 Old 10-12-2012, 09:56 PM
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Super Eye, I'm thinking now the answer to "are the Sony versions of the Pioneer recorders closer to the 640 series or the 550 series" depends on how you spin the question.wink.gif

Based strictly on primary OS, interface and file handling features, its a 640.

Based on some hardware updates, one could argue for the 550 influence.

Add it all up, and the Sonys split the difference right down the middle (which has been my take on it for years now). If a user is personally more interested in the underlying hardware or the media file handling, their take on it will swing either way.

Regarding DVD-RAM, Sony for whatever reason decided they would support it in OEM drives but not in their own recorders. This has been true since the first Sony GX down thru the x90 models (I'm not sure about the final crummy Samsung-sourced models). The Pioneer/Sony recorders from 2006-2009 shared the same basic Sony burner, but the RAM burning function was crippled in the Sony recorders. Supposedly they can play RAM discs, but Sony could be vague in their literature and you haven't tested yours yet to tell us.wink.gif

I agree, not needing the stupid "Service I.D. Data DVD" to replace the hard drive is a great advantage to the Sonys, although it must have cost them some programming $$$ to dial that requirement out of the Pioneer firmware. For awhile there I maintained a bewildering collection of Pioneer Service DVDs, keeping track of which disc was optimized for what model was a pain. They were supposed to be "universal" but often weren't.

I do wish Sony had sold more models than just the Canadian 780 in North America. In Europe there were Sony DVD/HDD models below and way above the 780, some with dual tuners for satellite and OTA (like the Pioneer LX series). The run ended with the 1090, after Pioneer bailed and Sony turned to Samsung (with awful results). I gather from friends in Europe that moving from a 780 to the later Samsung/Sonys was like going from a Mercedes to a Yugo.frown.gif
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post #12 of 14 Old 10-12-2012, 10:54 PM
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I don’t know CitiBear.
From my software list above seems that the 780 has more in common with the 550 than the 640. Same with my hardware list.
We will never know for sure unless you get a 780 or I get a 640 and 550.tongue.gif
I will agree with what you’ve been saying for years and split the difference in the middle.smile.gif

One day I will breakdown and buy a RAM disc and let you guys know what happens. My LG PC Burner and my PC software will Write/Read RAM so I can experiment. The Canadian manual states that the 780 will read RAM but not write RAM but we will never know ‘till I try.

Yeah, I heard about the updated European Sony 780 DVDr and was salivating. Was that unit still based on the great Pioneer OS?

CitiBear, Did you get my PM?
I sent you the CDN NTSC 780 manual.
Make sure you read my second PM before downloading.
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post #13 of 14 Old 10-12-2012, 11:10 PM
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You still need the stupid service remote to swap the HDD on the Sony.
But you don’t need the DATA DISC with the Sony
As I wrote above

Initialize new HDD with service remote
The 640 needs data disc
The 780 no data disc
The 550 needs data disc

I got that info from “you” BTW. I have the procedure written down in my file.smile.gif
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post #14 of 14 Old 10-13-2012, 01:07 AM
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Thanks for the Canadian 780 manual, Super Eye! That will come in handy for my Sony/Pioneer reference library. I can't imagine why I only have the UK manual, unless it was the only one I could find four years ago.

Sorry for misquoting you on the Service Remote, of course you're right: I meant to agree the Sonys don't need the service discs but do need the remote. I think I'm punch drunk from comparing my four different Pioneers and their manuals to the Sony manual all night, for this and a couple other threads and PMs related to these recorders. I'll correct my previous post, and take a nap now.

Re the higher-end European followups to the Sony 780: yes, they were all based on the Sony/Pioneer platform. Model numbers and lineup varied a bit between countries, but I'm fairly sure in 2007-2008 there was a 680 below the 780, and a 980 and 1080 above it (plus a black 785 variation of the 780). Overlapping thru mid-2010 were the RDR-HX690, 790, 890, 990 and 1090. Apparently Sony wanted to cover every possible retail price point, since the only notable difference between the x80 and x90 recorders were the digital DVB-T tuners in the x90s (the x80 ota tuners were analog only). As you went up the model scale, hard drives got larger, satellite tuners were added and some additional features as well. At its peak in late 2008 I'm pretty sure Sony offered the largest model range of any DVD/HDD recorder mfr (followed closely by Pioneer, with Panasonic trailing somewhat). Pioneer's financial debacle threw a big wrench into the Sony/Pioneer coproduction operation: Pioneer bailed by 2009, and stockpiles of the x80 and x90 models ran dry by 2010. They were replaced by the reviled Samsung-mfrd RDR-HDC100, 300 and 500: these had a few nice features like full USB file operations but were dogged by PQ problems, faulty burners, and extremely limited editing and HDD>DVD dubbing options (worse than the American Magnavox). Not even a copy list. Sad.
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