I wanted to share my thoughts on my recently acquired, Panny E30 and E80 units. Amazing.
I used Beta, then SuperBeta, then Hi-8mm VCRs. Dubbed many a DVD and Laserdisc to hi-quality Hi8mm, (not a copy-encoded format).
Never got bit by VHS.
I've had the E30 for 2 weeks and the E80 for 1 week. Besides using a PC to burn DVDs, this is probably the most user friendly, cost effective, way to time-shift tv, record video. From my DVD source the XP quality is amazing and SP is very good also.
I always prefered Sony higher end products but the Pannys are pretty well set up, but frustrating at the same time, with the un-friendly menus. Sony is much better at this. Getting particular data is sometimes 2 to 4 screens away and lots of common very useful data, times, etc are never shown.
But overall it's a great format, the hard drive feature of the E80 is a high point, but I'm already wishing for the increased funtionality of a bigger hard drive, but I have been using XP mostly, may need to start using more of less hoggy SP mode.
Well, except for the pedantic menus and data screens I love the E80. Why'd they take off the Flex Record button from the remote??, it takes multiple menus to get to it now. The local stores can not keep these machines in stock, I know why now. I mail-ordered my E80 and got the E30 on ebay.