Because of the odd way in which Funai chose to deploy the 2.5 hour (SPP) and 3-hour speeds, their loss doesn't technically matter all that much in the long run. It was kind of a "bait & switch" in the first place, giving the illusion we were getting these great compromise speeds for longer movies (while in reality just being LP resolution with a higher bitrate). When I had my H2160 and MDR513, one of my biggest disappointments was discovering SPP was not at all comparable to the 2.5 hour speed of my Pioneer and Panasonic recorders (which run their 2.5 hour speeds at full SP resolution with a slightly reduced bitrate). A 140 minute movie recorded on a Pioneer or Panasonic looks very close to SP quality, the same movie from the same source recorded at Magnavox SPP looked noticeably softer (on my TV with my eyes- YMMV). Magnavox 3 hour looks exactly like LP to me.
I'm not saying the Funai interpretation of SPP had no merit: it was useful to some people. For one thing, it would completely fill a disc with a 150 minute movie (while the comparable LP speed would only fill it halfway). And while the resolution at SPP was half that of SP, the bitrate was similar, so it did preserve motion accuracy better than LP. We can only report our personal experience with this gear: to my eyes, SPP just didn't work as a compromise. The SP bitrate did not compensate for the slashed resolution at SPP: to me SPP looked like LP, and if I'm gonna accept LP quality then I'd rather use LP to at least gain the benefit of the 4 hour capacity.
On the plus side, Funai uses a more efficient SP encoder than most other brands. Typically, DVD recorders can fit 125 mins max on a DVD using SP speed. The Magnavox recorders usually manage 127 mins and I have occasionally gotten a few seconds shy of 130 mins when recording a letterboxed movie from TCM at SP speed. This largely makes up for not having the SPP speed, since the majority of us only needed it for 125-130 min movies. With careful planning and perhaps a tiny edit, the Magnavox will squeeze in a longish movie at SP (compensating somewhat for loss of SPP). With little to no difference between Magnavox 3-hr and LP video quality, losing the 3-hr option is fairly painless.
Last edited by CitiBear; 07-02-2014 at 08:27 AM.