The new Magnavox DVD/HardDrive recorder...Your feeling on loss of 2.5 and 3 hr. mode? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 07-01-2014, 08:17 PM - Thread Starter
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The new Magnavox DVD/HardDrive recorder...Your feeling on loss of 2.5 and 3 hr. mode?

Thought it'd be interesting to get a single thread addressing only this issue with the new 557 machines.
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post #2 of 12 Old 07-01-2014, 11:08 PM
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I have seen this in the past with VCRs. It seemed every year, when the new models came out, they would have new features, but other features that I used frequently, would disappear. What is gained by removing the 2.5 and 3 hr record modes? Isn't it just in firmware that has already been written? People USED those record modes, and I just can't see an advantage in removing them since the hassle of making them work has already been completed. They giveth and they taketh away! But why?

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post #3 of 12 Old 07-02-2014, 05:08 AM
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I don't use a Magnavox but with my Panasonics the single most used speeds are between 2hrs 42 minutes(I call it fr2.7) and fr3(3hr speed). Without those two speeds I'd be very upset. My father uses Funai recorders and while he used to use the longer 4 and even 6hr speeds he now basically uses the 2.5 and 3hr speeds, I don't know what Funai was thinking by removing those incredibly popular record speeds My guess is for people in the know(who realize those speeds are gone or know what they used to look like) this new model will be a big flop and end up being priced appropriately on the second hand market. Of course for people who never knew those speeds they probably will never know what they've missed. Either way I think it was a dumb move by Magnavox and only points to someone who is making decisions to be incredibly out of touch with their customers
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post #4 of 12 Old 07-02-2014, 07:59 AM
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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.
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post #5 of 12 Old 07-02-2014, 10:20 AM
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I basically agree with everything you've said CB but remember we're not the ones purchasing these things and from what I've read I believe the 2.5 or 3hr speeds were quite popular, for sure with the people I know, who actually use them
Even though the resolution of 2.5 and 3 may be the same as 4 I just think people don't like wasting 25-40% of the disc space for movies that run past 130 minutes, I know I wouldn't. I guess time will tell but from what I've seen around here not too many people have purchased one of the new models with the reduced speeds, I guess they would be able to provide the best answer why or why not.....
Oh and don't forget, Panasonics retain full D1 through 4hr LP(at least '05 and newer models) a feature I use quite frequently. Generally not for main titles but things like extras or snippets. All the resolution of SP but just the possibility of macroblocking during excessive motion, a tradeoff I'm willing to make.
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post #6 of 12 Old 07-02-2014, 04:53 PM
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I have very few recordings at 3hrs and even fewer at 4hrs (long festival type concerts) but those always get split into two discs, even in the BETA/VHS days I would split anything over (2.4hrs VHS) (3hrs Beta) into two tapes.

The longest recordings I ever archived on SL discs are 2hr 40 minutes and as I said I only have a few at that length. I have a few more that go less than 2.5 hrs and losing that speed (even at a lower resolution) would be a deal breaker for me.

Instead of getting rid of those speeds what Funai should of done is make the 2.5 and 3hr speeds full resolution. Everyone here that owns a Funai deck says that the encoder is very nice. Most likely it would record at 2.5hrs at full resolution really nice.

Thankfully they didn’t get rid of the 1hr and 1.5hr speeds – really those are the speeds I use the most as most TV concerts run those lengths. Thankfully my RDRHX780 uses full SP resolution at.2hr 40min speed. Thankfully I can dial in any bitrate I want – Pioneer MN settings is the best feature of my deck. That and the terrific I/O tweaks. 7.5 IRE problems? Not with this baby…
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post #7 of 12 Old 07-03-2014, 12:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post
from what I've read I believe the 2.5 or 3hr speeds were quite popular, for sure with the people I know, who actually use them
Even though the resolution of 2.5 and 3 may be the same as 4 I just think people don't like wasting 25-40% of the disc space for movies that run past 130 minutes

Yes, agreed: I mentioned filling the disc as one of the SPP and 3hr benefits regardless of actual resolution.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post
time will tell but from what I've seen around here not too many people have purchased one of the new models with the reduced speeds, I guess they would be able to provide the best answer why or why not.....

I think its a safe bet the reasons are primarily "AVS repeat buyer fatigue" and the fact that WalMart is not selling these new models (yet).

Most of the AVS Magnavox fanatics are tapped out at this point: they've been put thru the "discontinued forever!" hustle one too many times. How many spare recorders can you stack up in the closet before your wife decamps to live with her mother, anyway?

If you panicked when the H2160 was dropped, and bought a refurb 513, then upgraded to a 515 for the better remote and larger HDD, then freaked when the 537 was dropped and jumped on that to get the ridiculous 1TB HDD capacity- you really are in no mood for yet another warmed-over version of the H2160 with minor improvements but no 2.5 or 3 hour speeds.

Also, even Magnavox diehards are finally getting gobsmacked by the ComCast cable demons: once bitten, twice shy. No one in their right mind is running to buy a Magnavox without the security of WalMart's "yeah, whatever" return/refund policy: if it chokes on your cable service, you're gonna wanna be able to return it "at will" without Amazon or private dealer hassles. Not many AVSers will "audition" a 557 until they can get it from WalMart.

Last edited by CitiBear; 07-03-2014 at 12:37 AM.
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post #8 of 12 Old 07-03-2014, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post
I think its a safe bet the reasons are primarily "AVS repeat buyer fatigue" and the fact that WalMart is not selling these new models (yet).
I think price has a big influence. People who buy funai are looking to go cheap and the 533 at $~230 is $100 less than the 557.

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post #9 of 12 Old 07-05-2014, 07:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Eye View Post
...Thankfully they didn’t get rid of the 1hr and 1.5hr speeds – really those are the speeds I use the most as most TV concerts run those lengths…
Uh...

1.5 hour?

When did the Maggies ever have that?

Mine have had 1, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, and 6.
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post #10 of 12 Old 07-05-2014, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
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So, most of you guys are saying the picture quality at 2.5 and 3 hours was the same as the 4hour?

After all this time, I never noticed that.
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post #11 of 12 Old 07-06-2014, 08:00 AM
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^^^ It's the same resolution(1/2 D1) so recording a static test pattern or picture should look basically the same but where you gain picture quality is during times of motion where the longer recording times will be bitstarved and tend to macroblock or the picture will break up into areas of smaller squares. Not sure about the Magnavox but some DVDRs even dropped resolution a bit lower to 1/4 D1 on their longest speeds, such as 8 or even 10hrs/DVD
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post #12 of 12 Old 07-06-2014, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gastrof View Post
Uh...

1.5 hour?

When did the Maggies ever have that?

Mine have had 1, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, and 6.
Oops sorry I though the deck had a 90 min setting.


As to bit-rates and motion I agree with jjeff fast motion images need a higher bit-rate. Scenes with flashing, fading and strobing also need a higher bit-rate.

I've also seen scenes with thick forest foliage and very little movement get bit starved at lower than XP bit-rates. I proved this to a couple of my buddies that insisted that SP looks as good as XP. I had some work related footage of thick forest foliage with a very slight wind slightly swaying trees and leafs falling down. I down converted this to SD studio-profile 50 Mbps 4:2:2. Then I made 1 DVD at SP and 1 DVD at XP and my buddies could clearly see the difference in the bit-rates. Although SP is good for most scenes – certain scenes WILL get bit-starved at SP. That’s why even most commercial released movies will encode using 2-pass-VBR calculating which frames need high bit-rates and what frames can go with lower bit-rates.

Last edited by Super Eye; 07-06-2014 at 08:10 PM.
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