Philips 985 DVD Recorder +R type, on closeout at Circuit City, 380$-415$ or less - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 175 Old 05-31-2003, 10:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Rumor has it this model is being phased out by Philips. Circuit City is closing it out at different stores in the above price range. Best Buy is selling them off in the 400-500$ range too. I have not checked the internet too much but hear about 450$ price range is the best on the net right now.

update: many people report purchases in the 280$ range

The recent production runs (series A41 on the serial or model #) are supposedly very very reliable and have new firmware.

The earlier runs and the first runs had lots of problems in the firmware before the updates, even though the recording quality was excellent. Especially for VHS conversion or high quality source material.

It also is one of the only few DVD recorders with Component INPUTS for recording. No hard drive, it has a timer but is not like a Tivo.

The updates have fixed the clock in those early production runs for those who didn't just have plain defective units that should be replaced.

I had one of the very first ones, and Philips refunded all my monies about 8 months later.

The unit runs very cool, and is in a taller chasis than most dvd recorders on the market, and Philips newer models are now slimline like the rest, but pretty much the same except this 985 model has COMPONENT inputs, not just outputs. It also has S-SVHS in and out.

I have one now of a more recent build and it runs like a tankm and have made about 100 discs with only one failure, most +R. I think I scratched that one somehow. I use FujiFilm +R's for 1.50 each from BestBuy.

I think for the money the recording quality is superb can't be beat but I would buy the extended warranty to be safe, at this price its still cheap.

It has the Faroujdia Chipset and is an excellent player.

If you want a +R DVD recorder, this is a chance to get a model near the end of its run with the benefits of the fixes along the way. It's 100$ or more less than Philips new ones.

Just a note to all on the price drop/sale.

owner of several Samsung LCD Panels
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post #2 of 175 Old 06-01-2003, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Rumor has it this model is being phased out by Philips.
Actually, this is in fact true. Philips released the DVDR75 just a couple of weeks ago while the DVDR80 is expected to be available this month (June).

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post #3 of 175 Old 06-02-2003, 03:31 PM
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ZZtop

I am a newbie to DVD recorders. I have DirecTV TIVO and Zenith HD DirecTV set top box and a Toshiba 50H82 HDTV. Will the DVDR985 record from DirecTV inputs? Also have Mediacom basic cable service. Also, do you feel the DVDR985 is one of the better sub $500 units?

Thanks for your help.

John in Iowa........
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post #4 of 175 Old 06-02-2003, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
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This recorder will not record HDTV, for a variety of reasons, the bandwith required by the internal electronics to process and the lack of capacity.

I think one 4.7gb dvd would hold about 30 min of HDTV resolution content...

BUT the quality of the video is superb and +R was designed with a few things the magazine reviews say make it better for video recording.

The interface screen is a little odd, but it has the best set of inputs, outputs I know of and the quality is also the best of know barring blu-ray or D-VHS.

Just look for one with the "A41" suffix on the serial or model number and download the latest firmware if it doesn't have it.

Since the units are so cheap now I would spring for the extended warranty as well so there are no problems, though I suspect by the time it wears out, the new hd recorders will be out.

I use the cheap Fuji +R media Best Buy sells in the 25/50 and 50/100 packs for about 1.50$ each, and haven't had a defective disc yet when I went to use one.

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post #5 of 175 Old 06-02-2003, 07:00 PM
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ZZtop - Thanks for your reply. I understand that the 985 will not record HDTV. Will it record regular DirecTV programs through either my Zenith HD520 or my Hughes TIVO? How about non digital Mediacom
cable transmissions?

Thanks again.......

John in Iowa
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post #6 of 175 Old 06-02-2003, 08:50 PM
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Yes, it can record regular DirecTV programs through either your Zenith HD520 or your Hughes TiVo. Note that the 985 has no way of controlling the DirecTV box (or cable box for that matter) so you'll have to babysit the unit. As far as I know, none of the standalone DVD recorders currently available include an IR blaster to control external boxes.

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post #7 of 175 Old 06-02-2003, 09:17 PM - Thread Starter
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You can record on anything that outputs signal in firewire or component or s-vhs that doesnt employ some kind of copy protection.

I use record off the 520 all the time for HDTV and cable , the HDTV being recorded at a greatly reduced bit rate of course.

Should work fine for DirectTv outputted from the component or s-vhs jacks into either the component or s-vhs on the 985, it has both.

Don't know about the Tivo as I dont have one.


I have used the 985 to record in via the SHVS from the hd520 an hdtv signal that I received at 1080i. Pretty nice actually.

What was weird is that it retained the smaller sized box , meaning the higher res signal displayed as a smalled area on my plasma, didnt expect that.

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post #8 of 175 Old 06-03-2003, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gil T. Pleasure
Yes, it can record regular DirecTV programs through either your Zenith HD520 or your Hughes TiVo. Note that the 985 has no way of controlling the DirecTV box (or cable box for that matter) so you'll have to babysit the unit. As far as I know, none of the standalone DVD recorders currently available include an IR blaster to control external boxes.
The new DVDR80 will have a "Sat Mouse" to control your satellite receiver...

Regards, Peter
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post #9 of 175 Old 06-03-2003, 06:06 PM
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I want to ask one more question: Is the 985 programmable like our old fashioned VCR'S or do you have hit a record button?

I want to thank everyone for the help given to this "newbie". Also, want to compliment the forum administrators. Searches and other screens are loading much faster than before.

John in Iowa.......
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post #10 of 175 Old 06-03-2003, 06:26 PM
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John in Iowa,

According to the manual, the 985 has the following recording options:

* One-Touch Recording
* Timer Recording
* VCR Plus+® Timer Recording

So yes, it's like our old fashioned VCR's.

Of course, the new soon to be released Philips DVDR80 and RCA DCR8000N will have a free Program Guide, which hopefully will make it even easier to record your favorite shows.

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post #11 of 175 Old 06-03-2003, 06:55 PM
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Also, note that these recorders come with two versions of the optical engine. Decks manufactured after Dec 2002 (made in Hungary) will have the Gen 2 optical engine. You can/should upgrade the machine to firmware FF12r (from www.dvdplusrw.org) that will give you M3 playback and other recording modes (SP+ and EP+). This recorder is region hackable using a special remote hack (the same as the Q50 DVD player), and it can also be used as an external de-interlacer for cable TV and other video sources (component, S-VHS, CVSB) - it is basically a TV tuner with progressive video output! Overall an amazing machine for the money. If anyone knows how to enable it to output PAL progressive please let me know.
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post #12 of 175 Old 06-05-2003, 09:58 AM
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Which Philips DVD recorder to buy?

Option 1: DVDR985 $449.00 at BestBuy local store

Option 2: DVDR75 internet price $476

Option 3: Wait for DVDR80?

John in Iowa

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post #13 of 175 Old 06-05-2003, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Buy the 985, you get the benefits of the fixes over the life of the product AND the larger chasis run MUCH less hot, I am hearing these slimline units heat up. That can't be good for the discs either.

THEY can and do become unreadable at temp variances.

No cirucit city nearby?

Be SURE to look for the A41 number on the end of the serial number or model number on the box to get what is supposedly the best version of that dvd engine.

owner of several Samsung LCD Panels
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post #14 of 175 Old 06-06-2003, 11:04 AM
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My local Circuit City (Fremont) is selling this for $345. I had to pick it up at the Hayward CC (both are in Northern CA) and they are selling for $499!

I decided to take a chance and pick one up, hopefully I will like it :)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Scudling
My local Circuit City (Fremont) is selling this for $345. I had to pick it up at the Hayward CC (both are in Northern CA) and they are selling for $499!

I decided to take a chance and pick one up, hopefully I will like it :)
So the Hayward store honored the Fremont store's price? Or did you have to pay $499?

Also, there is no Fremont store. Are you referring to the Newark one?

Thanks and regards, Peter
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post #16 of 175 Old 06-06-2003, 12:27 PM
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CC's website lists the 985's closeout price as $599.99. Is the $400 price for in-store only?
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post #17 of 175 Old 06-06-2003, 06:34 PM
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So the Hayward store honored the Fremont store's price? Or did you have to pay $499?
I purchased the item at the Newark store and picked it up at the Hayward store (only Hayward and Dublin had stock). Once I arrived I decided to see if the cost was the same (hoping to get an even cheaper price) and I was quite shocked to see such a difference. I also asked what price they would sell the display model for (the only unit in the Newark store) and was told that they wont sell it until all the local stores are cleared out of inventory. The unit I picked up in Hayward is an A41.

Quote:
Also, there is no Fremont store. Are you referring to the Newark one?
Yes, the one on Mowry. Didn't know that was Newark.

----

Quote:
CC's website lists the 985's closeout price as $599.99. Is the $400 price for in-store only?
Yes, and apparently the price varies from store to store.
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post #18 of 175 Old 06-06-2003, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
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I heard rumor of a few sold for 315$ at circuit. Remember to mail those warranties cards within the 10 days and I am recommending the extra warranty either from cc or from philips! Esp now that these units are so cheap.

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post #19 of 175 Old 06-06-2003, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by vulture
Also, note that these recorders come with two versions of the optical engine. Decks manufactured after Dec 2002 (made in Hungary) will have the Gen 2 optical engine. You can/should upgrade the machine to firmware FF12r (from www.dvdplusrw.org) that will give you M3 playback and other recording modes (SP+ and EP+). This recorder is region hackable using a special remote hack (the same as the Q50 DVD player), and it can also be used as an external de-interlacer for cable TV and other video sources (component, S-VHS, CVSB) - it is basically a TV tuner with progressive video output! Overall an amazing machine for the money. If anyone knows how to enable it to output PAL progressive please let me know.
I have two questions

I created a firmware update disc using Nero "Burn Image" as stated in the dvdplus notes but my 985 opens immediately after trying to read the CD-ROM. Is there something special I missed.

I am also curious as I have seen both box A41 units and another that was made in Belgium but manufactured March 2003. I'm gathering since it was manufactured in 2003 it has the newer optics like the Hungary A41 units. Can anyone verify this.

Thanks

Kurtis
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post #20 of 175 Old 06-07-2003, 01:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kurtis Bahr
I have two questions

I created a firmware update disc using Nero "Burn Image" as stated in the dvdplus notes but my 985 opens immediately after trying to read the CD-ROM. Is there something special I missed.

I am also curious as I have seen both box A41 units and another that was made in Belgium but manufactured March 2003. I'm gathering since it was manufactured in 2003 it has the newer optics like the Hungary A41 units. Can anyone verify this.

Thanks

Kurtis
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I finally solved the firmware update. The Juliet box was also checked. I made a CD the long way verses using the quick autoburn way.

One down, hoping for an answer on the second question.

Kurtis
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post #21 of 175 Old 06-07-2003, 08:46 AM
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Help needed for wiring problem. I ran my analog cable coax directly to my new 985 and am able to record & watch those channels. How do I run the DirecTV satellite coax to the 985 when there is only one coax input?

Also I was never able to get a picture by running the coax to the Zenith HD520 and then looping it to the 985. I don't fully understand the Quick Start Guide Satellite Receiver instructions about setting the DVD recorder to channel 3 or 4 and then setting TV to the correct Audio/Video In channel.

Any help is appreciated.

John in Iowa

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post #22 of 175 Old 06-07-2003, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
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The box will say A41 usually near the sticker with model/serial info. If not check the serial number on the back upper right of the unit, if you see any stickers ADDED, the engine was most likely changed at one point , especially if its a RED sticker, I had 1 like that.

They changed it from one engine to another during original manufacture or after but before shipping it out for retail sale. It was NOT an A41 unit but one from Sept last year I believe.

Anyway, you should the A41 as a suffix somewhere there hopefully.

I heard a rumor these A41 units got MUCH, newer better optics.

These babies at the end of the run here are turning out to very nice machines.

owner of several Samsung LCD Panels
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post #23 of 175 Old 06-07-2003, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ZZtop
The box will say A41 usually near the sticker with model/serial info. If not check the serial number on the back upper right of the unit, if you see any stickers ADDED, the engine was most likely changed at one point , especially if its a RED sticker, I had 1 like that.

They changed it from one engine to another during original manufacture or after but before shipping it out for retail sale. It was NOT an A41 unit but one from Sept last year I believe.

Anyway, you should the A41 as a suffix somewhere there hopefully.

I heard a rumor these A41 units got MUCH, newer better optics.

These babies at the end of the run here are turning out to very nice machines.
I don't have the box for the March 2003 manufactured one but finally discovered the buttom has the full serial number, it has A03 on it. I did update the firmware to ff12r.

My question, is the Belgium A03 version equal to the Hungary A41 version. If there is doubt I can still return the A03 one for a full refund for the transport?

Kurtis
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post #24 of 175 Old 06-07-2003, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Curtis:

I don't know. I would post that question here :

DVD PLUS ORG LINK and Philips Recorders Firmware Update site

btw, yes these units had problems like many other models because this is new technology at the beginning of the mfg run, now they are mostly ironed out. Philips had a contact that helped work on and sponsor the web board at that link and it was abused rather badly by people who reposted over and over the same problems making it look like the problems were far more numerous.

Take anything you read there negative with a grain of salt, some people were caught reposting the same stuff last year when these units were new four or more times to appear like different people.

But its the best place to get info on these units and also from other owners of all the Philips units.

owner of several Samsung LCD Panels
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post #25 of 175 Old 06-08-2003, 09:07 AM
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FWIW... the deal at Circuit City seems to be for floor models only, at least they were at the store I went to. They were also selling the HS2 for $735.
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post #26 of 175 Old 06-08-2003, 10:40 AM
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ZZtop - Since I have similar setup to yours I want to ask you about a problem I am having getting my 985 going.

Here is my setup modeled after your 6/03/03 reply to this thread:

Zenith HD 520 component out (1080/720/480) is connected to component video in (Ext 3) on 985. Component video out (Ext 3) on 985 is connected to my Toshiba 50H82 Color Stream H2 component in. I have NO COAX connected to 985. Both are connected to HD520.I am leaving my Hughes TIVO out of the picture. Satellite picture fine there.

When I run the installtion/auto find channels on 985 no channels are found. Where am I going wrong?

Frustrated John in Iowa.........
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post #27 of 175 Old 06-08-2003, 02:47 PM
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Kurtis,

If you get an answer, please post. I went to Circuit City today. I got them to bring a unit out for me to check the Model number on the box and it was an A03. The price here in Baton Rouge is $434. I tried to talk them down with no success. They said their cost was $461. Anyway, I may still be willing to pay that for the DVDR985 if I can be reasonably sure it is one with the hardware upgrade.
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Quote:
Originally posted by BRGeorge
Kurtis,

If you get an answer, please post. I went to Circuit City today. I got them to bring a unit out for me to check the Model number on the box and it was an A03. The price here in Baton Rouge is $434. I tried to talk them down with no success. They said their cost was $461. Anyway, I may still be willing to pay that for the DVDR985 if I can be reasonably sure it is one with the hardware upgrade.
As of Saturday the circuit city by me had one more new in a sealed box A41 sitting on the shelf for $344.97.

No-one has answered about the A03 yet.

Kurtis
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post #29 of 175 Old 06-09-2003, 08:42 AM - Thread Starter
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My component inputs are already used, so I used the S-VHS input to record from the 520, btw, I got the smaller window, that my local UPN station broadcasts in 1080i, which is smaller on my plasma, though obviously not the full high res bitrate or resolution.

BUT it looked damned good let me tell you.

I would guess that the problem is you have the components outputting 480p on the HD520, turn that off progressive outpute if possible. No dvd recorder I know of will take 480p in, component or any other way.

DVD's , are to my knowledge only in 480i. I have done 480i in from other tuners and sources to the 985 many times with no problems.

BUT remember, feeding a signal in external 1, 2, or 3 does NOT feed all the channels to the Philips, and the component jacks do not feed them all either as pass thru to my knowledge.

Ext 1, 2, or 3 tunes ONE channel fed to the corresponding external input jack (1, 3, o 3) on the back of the unit.

As to the A03 version of the optical engine, look for mfg date of November 2002 on and you should get a newer engine. I suggested the A41 version because based on all the reading on many sites, include the Philips site, NO one has had much of a prolbem with it at all as far as firmware upgrade viability , or function of that engine.

So, the A03 might not be a bad purchase but its not as known as the A41 series has been. It seems everyone who has bought an A41 has just chimed in with all good things.

Remember I am suggesting the extended warranty Circuit City sells or the one Philips will offer you when you register the card, WHICH has to be mailed within 10 days for some odd reason they claim. So you really are covered no matter what version you may end up with on a purchase.

Also, if you have a bad unit, usually you know right away or well before the warranty is up anyway , either you can return it or Philips will swap or repair it, its just the pain of having to do, but you still get a nice unit cheap.

CC's extended warranty is probably better priced if I had to guess.

That 344$ price is killer, buy it and get the extra warranty!

owner of several Samsung LCD Panels
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post #30 of 175 Old 06-09-2003, 10:50 AM
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What exactly are the major differences between the 985 & the 75? I can get the 75 for $460 at Amazon, or I can get the 985 open-boxed at CC for $345. I know one poster early on in this thread recommended going with the 985, but I was just wondering why.
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