Toshiba DR430 Recording Quality vs. Panasonic Question - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 02-03-2013, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm consitering getting a DR430 and was wondering what the recording quality was like in SP mode compared to Panasonic's last few generations of DVD Recorders.

How does the encoding looking? Good picture with proper colors and blacks?

It's just that being made by Funai I don't know what to expect.

What's recording in LP like? I know nothing is as good as the later Panasonic were in that area, but what can one expect bitrate and resolution size?

It it a good unit to transfer VHS videos with - or do weaker recording tend to be capture washy?
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post #2 of 3 Old 02-03-2013, 07:18 PM
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The DR430 is what it is: a decent budget DVD recorder. Does it compete point for point with comparable Panasonics? No, because Panasonic didn't make "budget" recorders built to a price. To some degree, you do get what you pay for.

Whether you'd be happy with the Toshiba depends on how much you value certain features of the Panasonic that the Toshiba lacks. For all intents and purposes, the Toshiba is primarily an SP speed recorder, which will typically fit about 127 minutes on a DVD. Beyond this, the machine starts to fall apart for anything but temporary recordings. The Toshiba LP speed uses the older half-D1 spec, which is half the resolution but twice the bitrate of the Panasonic LP speed. Funai recorders with built-in ATSC tuners can give good results at the half-D1 LP spec, because the source is pristine enough to survive the resolution drop. But as a tunerless unit, the DR430 is dependent on line input from a cable/sat decoder or a VCR: these sources tend to go rather soft at half D1.

People have debated the half-D1 vs full-D1 LP issue for eight years now, it is a subjective question you'll need to decide for yourself. Rule of thumb is, if you've never owned another DVD recorder, half-D1 LP seems fine, but if you started with a Panasonic you'll have a hard time adjusting to a Toshiba or Magnavox. There are advantages to both versions of LP: half-D1 can potentially offer smoother motion in fast action scenes, while full-D1 offers a sharper picture for more static scenes. As I mentioned, a recorder with off-air ATSC tuner can level the playing field because the broadcast quality is so much better than anything you'll pull from line inputs.

Panasonic offers the FR feature, which adjusts recording specs to fit any given length of video onto a DVD at maximum possible quality (i.e., a 139 minute movie will record at just slightly worse quality than SP). The Toshiba cannot do this, you only have a stark choice between SP or LP. Panasonic can record to dual layer dvds and DVD-RAM discs, the Toshiba cannot.

Of course the flip side of all this is you can no longer buy a new Panasonic at anything approaching the cost of a Toshiba DR430. The official USA lineup of recorders has been discontinued, the cheapest Panasonic import model available is the superb DMR-EH59 DVD/HDD unit at approx $349. It offers an incredible array of convenience and editing features optimized for making customized dubs from a VCR, far beyond the older Panasonic DVD/VHS combos, and it leaves the poor DR430 choking on its dust. But $349 is a lot to spend if you don't expect to make hundreds of VHS dubs or have no interest in extensive editing or custom FR recording speeds.

If you can live within the confines of 127 mins per DVD, and don't need to do any editing, The Toshiba DR430 is a steal at $99. It is a very simple unit, but simplicity is a virtue if you don't need anything more. Recording quality at SP is very similar across all modern recorders made after 2007. Your best course is to buy the DR430 from a site like WalMart that offers very liberal return/refund policy if it disappoints you.
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post #3 of 3 Old 02-19-2013, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HerbFlynn View Post

I'm consitering getting a DR430 and was wondering what the recording quality was like in SP mode compared to Panasonic's last few generations of DVD Recorders.

How does the encoding looking? Good picture with proper colors and blacks?

It's just that being made by Funai I don't know what to expect.

What's recording in LP like? I know nothing is as good as the later Panasonic were in that area, but what can one expect bitrate and resolution size?

It it a good unit to transfer VHS videos with - or do weaker recording tend to be capture washy?

I have the Toshiba DR430 and my only complaint is that the picture tends to flicker when the video displays something very bright white. There's something about bright white that the player reacts to. Not sure why. Other than that minor annoyance, I was pretty impressed with the picture quality. Even when recording in LP mode, the picture still looks pretty good. For $100, I'm very happy with it. But I use it for recording from TV and not VHS to DVD conversion. For transferring VHS tapes, I'd recommend something better. That flickering issue is the reason why I wouldn't recommend it for that purpose. You want your VHS videos to be converted in the best possible way....
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