I apologize in advance if this is "yesterday's" news and certainly the 985 is! Needless to say, it was just last Feb. I got my 985/172 (Mfg. in Hungary). Worked flawlessly for 30 or so discs I have recorded. Nice S+ feature to record 2hrs/30 min.,etc. Great addendum to TiVo.
Then came the rash of "Disc Errors." First I thought it was a Maxell disc issue, but ran into this problem with 3 discs. Recently, I'm experiencing problems with playback of commercial discs --generally about 1 hour 20 min. into the disc, we get freezes and skips. The new James Bond movie got totally jammed and now the 985 doesn't recognize the disc.
I did a half-dozen passes with a optical cleaner (Maxell). I called Philips today and they are sending an firmware upgrade. Aside from installing it, any other suggestions from those of you that may have experienced similar problems?
I purchased a 985 when they became available here in So Cal. (I also own a Pioneer DVR7000 which uses -r/-rw format). For the first three months, the 985 performed without an error. After three months, it began generating the "disk error" problem (this was after the first firmware upgrade). The problem had been going on now for almost seven months. Unplugging the machine for a day or two usually lets me record a couple of discs (I only use +rw). After the "ff12r" upgrade, the machine doesn't give disc errors any more, but nowit doesn't finalize the menus properly. When I play the disc on another DVD player the menus, et. al. are perfect. When I play the same disc on the 985, I get the "flashing" menu effect, and can't play the disc. By way of comparison, I have had absolutely no problems with the Pioneer DVD Recorder. I have made over 200 discs on the Pioneer and about 85 on the Philips. The new firmware upgrade "ff12t" was just installed today. I'll let you know how it works out. I haven't had the time to take the Philips to the Philips repair center here in So Cal. From my experience, I recommend purchasing the extended warranty plan from Philips for the 985.
There have been various anectdotal reports of these types of glitches with the 985. I have no doubt that some folks have had problems.
OTOH...my 985 has been flawless for about 15 months or so.
I have the latest firmware (using a link provided somewhere on this site), and occasionally I get disc startup read errors, on verbatim dvd+r discs. Fortunately it goes away after ejecting and re-inserting the disc.
For anyone who owns a 985, I suggest you get a backup dvd player/recorder, since you never know when it (985) will go on the fritz.
Just a follow-up to my last post.
Today I upgraded the 985 to the latest firmware version: ff12t.
So far today, I've recorded five Laserdiscs to DVD: Speed, Total Recall, Chain Reaction, Star Wars and even Schindler's List (a four laserdisc set). In each case the 985 performed flawlessly. It reminds me of the manner in which it behaved when I first purchased it.
Look at the other post for the newest firmware upgrade if you're having "disc error" or other problems.
By the way, I use the least expensive DVD+RW I can find. Right now I'm using the Shop4Tech generic brand, and they haven't produced any problems on the 985 nor on the PC DVD burner I have.
One other follow-up post. I've now recorded almost two dozen Laserdiscs to DVD. This morning, the 985 gave the first error ... the "flashing menu" error. If you haven't seen this, it happens in the menu creation/finalization phase of recording. One sees "MENU CREATE" followed by "POST FORMAT" messages. At the end of these messages, both the display on the 985 and the display on the TV flashes on and off. Upon removing the DVD and re-inserting the DVD, the 985 displays "EMPTY DISC" on its display. Taking the same DVD and placing it in another DVD player shows the usual 985 menu, and the DVD plays perfectly.
I guess I'm off to the repair shop after all. I had hoped the ff12t firmware upgrade fixed this problem. No such luck.
As stated in my first post, I also have a Pioneer Elite DVR7000. With over 200 recordings on this machine, I have not had one problem with either DVD-R or DVD-RW recording. I opted for a Philips 985 due to the compatibility of DVD+RW discs recorded at times in excess of two hours with other DVD players.
I have sent my 985 to the factory again for the third time and it has all the software upgrade and I was still having the same problem. I'm beginning to think this thing is junk
Dr.John - Tell me about your laserdisc recording? How do they look on dvd? I'd love to see one of them run through my Bravo. If this is worthwhile I'll pull my laserdisc player out of the closet and try to find somewhere that rents 'em still
The Laserdiscs look as good on DVD as they look originally. I run SVHS to the input of the DVD Recorder. The Pioneer Elite DVD Recorder has progressive out, which is run through a scaler to 1080i input on HDTV. The resulting pictures are great!
I have DVD editing software (and lots of time), so I edit out the side change on the Laserdisc recording. For those laserdiscs which have more than one disc (Schindler's List is a good example), I use this software to join the distinct movies on the DVD together, re-author them, and burn another DVD.
The DVD quality alone (run through SVHS output to SVHS input on HDTV) is striking in itself. Not as good as a "store-bought" DVD of the movie, but good nonetheless. (Remember, we're taking digital to analog to digital to analog here).
Hope this helps. Good luck finding Laserdisc rental stores any more. Ken Crane's here in So Cal had a massive blow-out sale about a year ago, and all other stores which used to carry Laserdiscs don't anymore. There's good buys on e-bay, etc.