Replacement for Panasonic DMR-E85H - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 12-28-2013, 09:18 AM - Thread Starter
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My Grandfather's Panasonic DMR-E85H just broke after years of using it, and I was wondering if anyone could suggest a replacement unit that is comparable. I would need one with a hard drive to record onto and then later burn onto a DVD-R without the commercials. He also does some recording onto DVD-RAMs, so compatability with those would be a plus.

 

Any advice of current equipment would be appriciated.

 

Thanks!
Steven

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post #2 of 26 Old 12-28-2013, 09:24 AM
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send me a pm I repair these for members on the forum just ask about my work.

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post #3 of 26 Old 12-28-2013, 09:43 AM - Thread Starter
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At this point, I am not necessarily looking to repair if I can purchase a new unit that has the same features.

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post #4 of 26 Old 12-28-2013, 09:57 AM
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Please keep topic titles specific. See my edit.

Since this is not an HDTV device, I've moved this thread to the proper section.

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post #5 of 26 Old 12-28-2013, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
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I am not opposed to getting a HD model as a replacement, but SD would be OK too.

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post #6 of 26 Old 12-28-2013, 11:06 AM
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DVD recorders are dead in the water now. Very few are left for sale in USA/Canada.

The only direct replacement for the DMR-E85H still being sold is the import model DMR-EH59, sold primary thru pro dealer B&H Photo/Video. It costs approx. $330 new or $230 for an open box unit (when they have one). It is a fantastic DVD/HDD recorder, very popular with Panasonic aficionados on AVS who need to replace their aging decks.

Do note several caveats, however: since it is an "international" multi-region model not officially marketed for USA sale by Panasonic, there is no mfr warranty (the dealer offers its own warranty). This is not much of an issue, as the techs at Panasonic USA couldn't change a light bulb without breaking it and their warranty "service" on DVD products has been a laughingstock for years anyway. Ironically, the last place anyone should send a Panasonic recorder to be repaired is Panasonic.

The second caveat is more significant: the EH59 does not have a built-in tuner for USA or Canada broadcasts. It can only record from an external tuner connected to its line inputs. This is no big deal if you already subscribe to cable or satellite with a decoder box, since that is how you'd set up any recorder to work with it. But if you get your TV signal from an antenna, or use the flakey "boxless" bargain cable service, the EH59 can be problematic. External off-air tuners are hard to find nowadays, at least good-quality ones at a good price.

If your Dad gets TV from an antenna (or "no-box" cable service), the only recorder left worth buying for him is the Magnavox MDR533 DVD/HDD at WalMart online. The Magnavox isn't nearly as nice as the Panasonic EH59: it is built to sell cheap, and it cannot play or record RAM discs. Its sole advantage over the EH59 is a built-in tuner for USA/Canada off-air broadcasts. The Magnavox works competently enough for basic needs, it just doesn't "feel" as nice to use as a Panasonic and has far more limited editing and convenience features. It sells for $239 and WalMart has a very generous warranty/return/refund policy. As with the Panasonic, however, "warranty" is a joke term: if it breaks, they give you whatever they have sitting on their workbench instead of "repairing" your unit. There is no true warranty on these things anymore: it breaks, you throw it out.

The exception, of course, being our friend mickinct, who does great, expert independent repairs on Panasonics: far better than Panasonic itself was ever capable of. smile.gif
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post #7 of 26 Old 12-28-2013, 11:57 AM
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As Citibear said the EH-59 would be a very nice replacement for your E85H, unless you need the tuner(the EH-59 isn't even able to record from a channel 3 or 4 cable box output, it's LINE INPUT only for N. American use. A EH-59 has a couple advantages over the much older E85H, one is it can record up to 4hrs of full D1 resolution(your E85H switched to 1/2 D1 on anything longer than SP) and the EH-59 can also record to DL media. If neither of these things much matter to you then the offer by Mickinct of repairing your E85H is a good one, once repaired it may very well last for quite a bit longer, the build quality is actually better on the older DVDRs(overall weight, metal vs plastic, etc) not to say that the EH-59 is lightweight junk but it's not that tank that something like a E85H was.

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post #8 of 26 Old 12-28-2013, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sstangle73 View Post

My Grandfather's Panasonic DMR-E85H just broke after years of using it, and I was wondering if anyone could suggest a replacement unit that is comparable. I would need one with a hard drive to record onto and then later burn onto a DVD-R without the commercials. He also does some recording onto DVD-RAMs, so compatability with those would be a plus.

Any advice of current equipment would be appriciated.

Thanks!

Steven


To what extent is the DMR-E85H broke? This post might help determine if it is "broke" or just needs the routine DVD Drive rubber hub and laser lens cleaning:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1055071/panasonic-2006-and-newer-dvd-drive-hub-spindle-cleaning-and-reassembly-complications/0_60#post_14479898

All Panasonic DVD Recorders need routine DVD Drive cleaning from time to time. My most heavily used Panasonic HDD/DVD Recorders are a pair of 2005 DMR-EH50 models, still going strong after eight years. I also have four standard series (non HDD) Panasonic recorders set up for daily use, three of them from 2006 and one of them from 2009.

"A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME WILL SMELL AS SWEET. BUT IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT WHATEVER WE CHOOSE TO CALL A ROSE WILL POSSESS THE ROSE'S FRAGRANCE."

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post #9 of 26 Old 12-28-2013, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sstangle73 View Post

I am not opposed to getting a HD model as a replacement, but SD would be OK too.

There are no HD recorders with DVD Drives. HDD means "hard disk drive."

"A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME WILL SMELL AS SWEET. BUT IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT WHATEVER WE CHOOSE TO CALL A ROSE WILL POSSESS THE ROSE'S FRAGRANCE."

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post #10 of 26 Old 06-25-2014, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post
As Citibear said the EH-59 would be a very nice replacement for your E85H, unless you need the tuner(the EH-59 isn't even able to record from a channel 3 or 4 cable box output, it's LINE INPUT only for N. American use. A EH-59 has a couple advantages over the much older E85H, one is it can record up to 4hrs of full D1 resolution(your E85H switched to 1/2 D1 on anything longer than SP) and the EH-59 can also record to DL media. If neither of these things much matter to you then the offer by Mickinct of repairing your E85H is a good one, once repaired it may very well last for quite a bit longer, the build quality is actually better on the older DVDRs(overall weight, metal vs plastic, etc) not to say that the EH-59 is lightweight junk but it's not that tank that something like a E85H was.
jjeff - i've been looking at one of the panasonic hdd/dVD recorder, the EH-59 being one of them - noticed you posted a review on amazon's site on the 59 - can i ask, The amazon users that posted reviews complained the manual was only in japanese - where did you find an owner's manual in english?

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post #11 of 26 Old 06-25-2014, 02:14 PM
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They come with a couple manuals, one is English. Not sure why they didn't get a English manual, I've purchased several and they all came with English manuals.
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post #12 of 26 Old 06-25-2014, 02:16 PM
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did you buy on amazon or from B&H - i checked with B&H and they confirmed theirs come with english manual (saves me having to find a japanese bride) but amazon price is considerably lower
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post #13 of 26 Old 06-25-2014, 02:31 PM
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I've purchased at B&H and also J&R(which may no longer be in business). Along with the English manual mine came with a cheap little European round plug to N. American blade plug converter.
My links for the online manual seem to be all broke, I'll try and see if I can find a working link for the online manual for you.
edit: no luck on finding a online manual they used to be easily available from overseas Panasonic(Malaysia I believe) but no longer
Maybe someone else will have better luck.

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post #14 of 26 Old 06-25-2014, 03:12 PM
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tks
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post #15 of 26 Old 06-25-2014, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larryccf View Post
jjeff - i've been looking at one of the panasonic hdd/dVD recorder, the EH-59 being one of them - noticed you posted a review on amazon's site on the 59 - can i ask, The amazon users that posted reviews complained the manual was only in japanese - where did you find an owner's manual in english?
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post
They come with a couple manuals, one is English. Not sure why they didn't get a English manual, I've purchased several and they all came with English manuals.
Quote:
Originally Posted by larryccf View Post
did you buy on amazon or from B&H - i checked with B&H and they confirmed theirs come with english manual (saves me having to find a japanese bride) but amazon price is considerably lower
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post
I've purchased at B&H and also J&R(which may no longer be in business). Along with the English manual mine came with a cheap little European round plug to N. American blade plug converter.
My links for the online manual seem to be all broke, I'll try and see if I can find a working link for the online manual for you.
edit: no luck on finding a online manual they used to be easily available from overseas Panasonic(Malaysia I believe) but no longer
Maybe someone else will have better luck.

I can also confirm that my EH59s all came with English language manuals, along with other languages associated with the country that the particular model was associated--French, Arabic, etc. I purchased all of mine from B&H back when they cost about half of their current price. B&H currently has one open-box EH59 for $320, which is a lot less than the $500 new price they are asking OR the $420 that Amazon.com is asking. Both jjeff and I have had really good luck with their open-box items. They don't show up often (used EH59s) and they don't stay around for long when they are available.


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search...Top+Nav-Search=


I found a manual here:


http://www.panasonic.ae/EN/Manuals/DMR-EH59.pdf


...but the one you probably want is this one:


https://support.panasonic.co.nz/docs...nstruction.pdf


Like jjeff, I got an adapter for the power plug. Here is one, though your machine should come with one. Sometimes they get lost in the box and you have to look for it.


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ibbean_to.html


It can be a good idea to get a SCART adapter or two since the EH59 has two SCART connectors, one for input, one for output. They can be gotten here, and lots of other places.


http://www.amazon.com/Scart-Composit.../dp/B006RBMJ46


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...140625222133:s


If you have done your research here, I'm sure you have the list of good/bad things about the EH59. If not ask, I'm sure jjeff and I will be happy to oblige.

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 #16 of 26 Old 06-25-2014, 04:05 PM
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tks - you read my mind on the scart connector bodies though my TV doesn't have a scart connection, there was one advantage to the scart path, so it might be worth while to get a scart>hdmi for the tv side

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post #17 of 26 Old 06-26-2014, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post
I can also confirm that my EH59s all came with English language manuals, along with other languages associated with the country that the particular model was associated--French, Arabic, etc. I purchased all of mine from B&H back when they cost about half of their current price. B&H currently has one open-box EH59 for $320, which is a lot less than the $500 new price they are asking OR the $420 that Amazon.com is asking. Both jjeff and I have had really good luck with their open-box items. They don't show up often (used EH59s) and they don't stay around for long when they are available.


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search...Top+Nav-Search=


I found a manual here:


http://www.panasonic.ae/EN/Manuals/DMR-EH59.pdf


...but the one you probably want is this one:


https://support.panasonic.co.nz/docs...nstruction.pdf


Like jjeff, I got an adapter for the power plug. Here is one, though your machine should come with one. Sometimes they get lost in the box and you have to look for it.


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ibbean_to.html


It can be a good idea to get a SCART adapter or two since the EH59 has two SCART connectors, one for input, one for output. They can be gotten here, and lots of other places.


http://www.amazon.com/Scart-Composit.../dp/B006RBMJ46


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...140625222133:s


If you have done your research here, I'm sure you have the list of good/bad things about the EH59. If not ask, I'm sure jjeff and I will be happy to oblige.
funny thing, my "google fu" doesn't to work very well with this forum's search function - but that could be my input skill
on the "open box" unit at B&H, talked to them today - it's a used unit, showing a condition of "8+" but they indicate it comes with 30 day refund/90 day warranty
- i'm going to sleep on it tonite, whether i want to go with it, or find a good DVD recorder and go the Ceton InfiniTV6 ETH route
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post #18 of 26 Old 06-26-2014, 09:39 PM
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Yes, the open box EH59 at B&H is used, which is another name for open box I guess. It is listed on the page I cited as condition 8+, and 30/90 days is their standard used warranty. As I said, I have purchased more then one EH59 form B&H, all from the used department, and I have been very happy with every one of my purchases. Many of these are barely used at all. They seem to be units that people purchased and returned without using them.


Some apparently never read the product description. Complaints like "the tuner doesn't work," "It has the wrong power cable to it will not work with the power here in the US," "The manual is all but unreadable," "I cannot connect it to my cable box," are just incorrect. The manual being indecipherable is possibly true, but the rest are just plane wrong. There IS a warning about the tuner not working in North America, the internal power supply works just fine with 120V 60Hz AC, and if your cable box puts out a composite video signal, you can connect it to the EH59.


What people don't seem to complain about are the real issues:


The date is in the European style, not the US style, and there is no way to adjust it, not mm/dd/yy, but dd/mm/yy
There is a black level issue making the blacks appear bit lighter, like a dark gray. Some think it's more noticeable than others.
The time is a 24 hour clock, not a 12 hour AM/PM clock, and that it also, not changeable.
It is made for European markets. To save space, it does not record what is in the vertical blanking interval, so it strips the closed captioning information from the composite video signal.


I can't think of any others, but I think jjeff can add some more.

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 #19 of 26 Old 06-27-2014, 04:15 AM
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I think that just about covers it, as for the positives: Great picture quality and very sharp looking thumbnails. Phrase save feature that remembers the entire phrase, not just the first 1/2 like N. American Panasonics. Full resolution through LP. Region free, if you care about that. Overall good build quality. Oh and ability to set the WS bit for making WS DVDs that could play on a 4:3 TV. I also like how I can disable the units clock display, it's only 24hr display so I'd prefer to not look at it. NO TVGOS to mess things up.
If your interested in one of these I'd highly recommend B&H, they are top notch and if for whatever reason you don't like it they have a good return policy.
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post #20 of 26 Old 06-27-2014, 12:47 PM
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just to confirm, before i pull the trigger, the EH-59 HDD, does it encode whatever it records with it's own coding or encryption (like the magicTV 7000-mini)? or will whatever it records be able to be transferred to my PC for playback?
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post #21 of 26 Old 06-27-2014, 02:16 PM
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It like all DVDRs records in the DVD standard, MPEG2. Finalized(or +RW or RAM) DVDs will play or rip to your PC, if doing a lot and you want to reuse the discs then I'd suggest -RW discs.
Record to the HDD or DVD, if HDD then next step would be to HS(losslessly) copy to a -RW disc, finalize the disc and finally rip to your PC. Erase the disc in the EH-59 and start over. Once on your PC it would be possible to convert to different formats but again all DVDRs only record in the DVD standard, MPEG2 with a max bitrate of ~10Mpbs.
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post #22 of 26 Old 06-27-2014, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larryccf View Post
just to confirm, before i pull the trigger, the EH-59 HDD, does it encode whatever it records with it's own coding or encryption (like the magicTV 7000-mini)? or will whatever it records be able to be transferred to my PC for playback?

To be clear, if you are asking about recording something, and then removing the hard drive from the recorder and mounting on your PC to transfer the contents, then NO. While it IS possible, and some here have done that, the difficulty is far from trivial, and not something you would likely attempt unless it was of dire importance.


The DVDs the EH59 makes are standard, and can easily be transferred as jjeff said.

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 #23 of 26 Old 06-28-2014, 03:53 AM
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i was thinking more in terms if i were to export a movie from HDD to my PC, was there any encryption that would prevent it from playing
but at this point, it's pretty much a moot point - i'll find out when the Eh59 arrives - i pulled the trigger last night on that and one of Logic design's video filters.

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post #24 of 26 Old 06-28-2014, 05:16 AM
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There is no way to hook up a DVDR(including your Panasonic) to a PC and as Luke said you cannot just take the HDD out of a DVDR and see it on a PC. Basically all DVDRs record in a proprietary format(a version of Lenux I believe) so the easiest and only real way to get something from a DVDR to a PC is the tedious way of using a DVD.
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post #25 of 26 Old 06-28-2014, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
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i was thinking more in terms if i were to export a movie from HDD to my PC, was there any encryption that would prevent it from playing
As jjeff and ChurchAVGuy have noted, there are no DVD/HDD recorders with direct PC export ability. A couple of ten year old LG/MicroSoft models had a networking feature similar to TiVo, that allowed dumping recordings to a PC in standard formats. But they were horribly unreliable units and rarely seen today in used, functional condition.

The 2003 Pioneer DVR-510 and 2004 Pioneer DVR-520 DVD/HDD recorders had an undocumented bi-directional feature in their front-panel DV/FireWire connection, which would allow many camcorders and PC software to pull a digitized feed of some or all of the HDD contents. A little tricky to use, and was somewhat dependent on aspects of Windows XP that did not carry over to Win7 or Win8.

Recorder hard drives use a variation of Linux file format and are not designed to be removed, connected to a PC, and put back in the recorder. Yes, some insanely geekified members here do this, but its not a simple process and requires strict discipline in recording (don't ever edit anything from the first moment you use the recorder: any edits on the HDD will shatter a movie into multiple file fragments that need to be pieced together).

Certain brands like Panasonic will insist on reformatting the HDD if taken out and put back in: working around that is VERY tricky. Back around 2004-2006 there were a couple of budget generic DVD/HDD models that did record in standard files to an HDD that would easily read in a PC, but here again they were crap hardware that made crap-quality videos and are rarely found in operable condition today.

About all you can do is burn DVDs and rip them to your PC, where various utilities can extract the videos and convert them to files you can further process on the PC. Other than being tedious, this method works reasonably well, but there are times when the extracted videos look funkier than the DVDs (the extraction process screws with the interlacing spec, aspect ratio, etc, depending on the source material and PC software).

IMO, if you want a smooth workflow that involves your PC and easy conversion to PC and media player file formats, don't use a DVD/HDD recorder at all. The whole concept of these recorders is dead and obsolete anyway: there's no choice of new models. They are designed to make DVDs as their end product: if you don't want DVDs, they're like trying to shove a square peg into a round hole. If you want to set up a media server for your house or have recordings that can be immediately transferred to your phone or tablet, skip the DVD recorder and look for a PC-based recording solution: Kelson and mdavej have posted recently about the currently available options.

Two other alternatives (at opposite ends of the budget spectrum) are the TiVo at $800 which will dump files to your PC, or the iView 3500 at $50 which records broadcast HDTV directly to USB hard drives in standard file formats. Kelson has made many posts re TiVo transfers, and jjeff has posted extensively on the iView.

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post #26 of 26 Old 06-28-2014, 09:05 AM
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thanks, - think i had assumed there was a means to export to a PC when i saw one of the negatives to the MagicTV7000D's HDD was that it recorded in a proprietary encryption and had to be played back thru a 7000D
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