Pioneer DVR 640h-S User Reports. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 3215 Old 06-01-2006, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
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I'll start this thread for those of us just getting our units to post thoughts.

I've just got mine set up. I can't take requests to try things out but will post what I come across.

Setup was relatively simple. I have programed three recordings to record from line 3 2 tomorrow and 1 saturday.

Bad news Divx AVI's and non standard mpegs that play on my Phillips player. Were all rejected by the 640h-s. Not a Big deal for me becuase I have my stanalone Phillips.

I will be trying out a Short recording in MN10 mode shortly to see the PQ.

Not planning on Burning any DVDs yet.
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post #2 of 3215 Old 06-01-2006, 02:27 PM
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So does it have a DV input or not?
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post #3 of 3215 Old 06-01-2006, 02:28 PM
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Some simple questions:

1) Has the nasty EPG ?

2) Has DV/ Firewire input ?

3) After turn it on, is operative right away or has the same 30 sec delay with the message "wait a moment" displayed as in the 633 ?
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post #4 of 3215 Old 06-01-2006, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
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No EPG

no dv, no firwire.

did'nt notice a wait period. will say for sure next time i turn it on. Edit. : Standby to on is about 5 seconds of black screen.

very quiet no distracting hdd or fan noise.


Update on DIVX playback. A File which never played on my Phillips played on the Pioneer. I guesse that means hit and miss.
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post #5 of 3215 Old 06-01-2006, 03:53 PM
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Great! So the highly anticipated 640H is finally in the hands of users! Looking forward to reading this thread! I will be buying a HDD-based recorder sometimes this year, and this one is high on my list based on specs.

For my usage patterns, the absence of DV and EPG are non-issues. The absence of EPG may even be a plus :-) Of course other people have different preferences, so for their usage it may be a showstopper....

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post #6 of 3215 Old 06-01-2006, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Hopefully when Suplex gets thiers they will chime in as well.
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post #7 of 3215 Old 06-01-2006, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncaahoops View Post

Great! So the highly anticipated 640H is finally in the hands of users! Looking forward to reading this thread! I will be buying a HDD-based recorder sometimes this year, and this one is high on my list based on specs.

I'm also looking forward to replies to this thread, ncaahoops!

I'm most curious to see if the 'reported' recorded picture quality on the Pioneer 640 compares favorably to the '06 Panasonics. (I trust I'd have to buy one to find out.)

I'm still pleasantly surprised here with the DMR-ES15 picture quality at LP or FR at or above LP speed. I don't anticipate needing a harddrive DVD recorder since I rent an SA 8300HD from Cablevision LI, NY, but the editing and fast-copy-to-DVD of an HD DVDR are tempting...

Disclosure: Pioneer DV-656A player, Samsung DVD-HD950 upscaling player, and Panasonic ES20 and ES15 recorders; JVC LT-40FH96 1920x1080 pixel LCD TV.
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post #8 of 3215 Old 06-01-2006, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GhostInTheMachin View Post

Hopefully when Suplex gets thiers they will chime in as well.

I certainly will chime in my forum friend. It got delivered to me at 7:00pm (EST), and believe it or not, I am actually reading the manual to go over some things BEFORE I hook it up (very unusual for me to do something like that).

So far it looks like there are several things that you can do with the "-" (Minus) media, that you can't do with the "+" (Plus) media.

Here is an example...and this is just from reading the manual...you can set a DVD to anywhere from One Hour & One Minute, to 13 Hours and 22 Minutes (61 minutes to 802 minutes) with 30 incrimental steps in between for a total of 32 possible settings. They can all be used with the "Minus" media.

However with the "Plus" media, oh and by the way...to clear up any controversy...this unit DOES record to all four blank DVD types (actually 5 if you include DVD-Ram) those being: -R, +R, -RW, & +RW. But back to what I was saying about the "Plus" media...can only be set from the One Hour & One Minute mode to the 8 Hour mode (480 minutes). So you lose the 10 Hour, 12 Hour, and 13 Hour:22 Minute modes with the "Plus" media.

Also you can high speed dub from the HDD to DVD, and you can do that on ALL recording speeds with "Minus" media, but with "Plus" you can only do it with the 300 Minute (5 Hours) setting or lower, which makes for 6 settings that if used with "Plus" media, do not allow High Speed dubbing.

Now I don't know why "Minus" media is allowed to pretty much do just about anything, and "Plus" is limited...or if it would really even matter to anyone...but I thought it was unique enough to list here.

To everyone in this forum, I promise that once I start using it...will be very soon...I will be back and list any goods or bads that I discover with this unit. It might take a moment until my next post, but...I'll Be Back (no pun intended).

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post #9 of 3215 Old 06-01-2006, 07:43 PM
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Quote:


oh and by the way...to clear up any controversy...this unit DOES record to all four blank DVD types (actually 5 if you include DVD-Ram) those being: -R, +R, -RW, & +RW

Actually 7, if you include DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL.

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post #10 of 3215 Old 06-01-2006, 09:10 PM
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Thanks for the reviews. I wish I didn't sell my 533 a few months back in anticipation for this. No DV is a deal breaker for me. Looks like I will be buying the Panny

Does it have the Jukebox feature? I believe you were able to upload your Mp3 songs in the Jukebox and play them.
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post #11 of 3215 Old 06-02-2006, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by vferrari View Post

Actually 7, if you include DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL.

I can't believe I forgot about those, thanks for the clarification.

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post #12 of 3215 Old 06-02-2006, 06:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bnbhoha View Post

Thanks for the reviews. I wish I didn't sell my 533 a few months back in anticipation for this. No DV is a deal breaker for me. Looks like I will be buying the Panny

Does it have the Jukebox feature? I believe you were able to upload your Mp3 songs in the Jukebox and play them.

The Pioneer does have the Jukebox feature. It also has a USB port so you can take one of your Memory Sticks (or even an External Hard Drive if you have many songs) connect it to the Pioneer and upload your songs into it like that.

Just on a side note, my manual says it's for the following models:

DVR-640H-S
DVR-543H-S
DVR-540H-S

I don't even know what the 543 is (first I have heard of it) but I just wanted to list it here.

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post #13 of 3215 Old 06-02-2006, 09:53 AM
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Anybody want to bet the 543 is slated for Walmart? If that's the case, I'll be the first person standing in line to get one off the truck.
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post #14 of 3215 Old 06-02-2006, 10:24 AM
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Can you confirm that the 640 has an RF input? I can't seem to find that information in any of the documentaion I have seen.
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post #15 of 3215 Old 06-02-2006, 11:54 AM
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Chris, I'm willing to bet it's for Costco not Wal-Mart
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post #16 of 3215 Old 06-02-2006, 12:44 PM
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Just recieved my 640 today.......any questions???........ill let ya know what i see.........this is my 1st dvd recorder.......
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post #17 of 3215 Old 06-02-2006, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAH View Post

Can you confirm that the 640 has an RF input? I can't seem to find that information in any of the documentaion I have seen.

It must have otherwise the tuner couldn't work. Don't you mean RF OUTPUT?

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post #18 of 3215 Old 06-02-2006, 01:15 PM
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"RF Outputs" on every DVD recorder I have heard of or owned only provide the same signal as presented to the RF input. In other words, there is an internal splitter that sends the RF input to the internal tuner and to the "RF Output" jack.

The "RF Output" does not deliver the signal from a DVD that is playing or a recording in progress (unless, by coincidence, you are recording from the RF input).

I have heard that some combo units (i.e., integrated with VCR) might offer DVD signals to the RF output jack, but I also know that some don't.

Could they make this any more confusing? This is one significant deviation from the VCRs we all used in the past.

Dave
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post #19 of 3215 Old 06-02-2006, 02:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAH View Post

Can you confirm that the 640 has an RF input? I can't seem to find that information in any of the documentaion I have seen.


Yes 75 ohm(standard cable) RF in and out.
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post #20 of 3215 Old 06-02-2006, 05:04 PM
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Thanks for the RF info. I am new to this technology and just wanted to be sure, as I most likely will be ordering one online. I'm just waiting for a review of the picture quality to see if it is as good as the 533/633 models.
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post #21 of 3215 Old 06-02-2006, 06:15 PM
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suplex: Review #3

I decided to do a bunch of reviews as I use the Pioneer 640, instead of waiting until I have tried/tested everything with a mile long review.

Editing Something Recorded On The HDD:

When you want to edit, lets say to remove commercials, it gives you two options on how to do your editing. What it boils down to is whether or not you are going to want to "High Speed" dub, what you edited, to a DVD.

If you know you won't be using High Speed dubbing you can select an Edit mode that will allow you to pick your Beginning and End points (of material you want to remove) with frame by frame accuracy (1 second = 30 frames). When you use this mode, you can't High Speed dub.

If you want to be able to High Speed dub, you select an Edit mode that allows you to get within 1 to 1.5 seconds from the spot you wish to start the edit, and stop the edit. Doesn't allow for a precise editing, but it may be good enough for some people who must utilize the High Speed dubbing feature. For me, I would rather have precise editing, but I give Pioneer an "A+" for allowing you to make a choice.

Another thing with High Speed Dubbing is whatever chapter marks you make, or if you edit title names, thumbnail pictures, etc..., you might lose those settings, or your chapter marks/thumbnails will wind up close to what you set, instead of exact. Yet another reason...for me...to stick with real time dubbing.

Now I will also say that I did a test taking out a commercial and when I played it back it was seemless when it got to the part that I edited out. On my Toshiba D-R1 model (no HDD) you could always tell where you took a commercial out during playback...not the end of the world...but Pioneer does it perfectly.

Another thing I found out (and I promise to test this when recording direct to a DVD) is that on the HDD you can press pause while you are recording something your watching (meaning you are not doing a timer recording) and it works just fine as an edit feature. This is a problem with many DVD recorders when trying it directly to a DVD, but the HDD works ok, so I assume the DVD will also...but I will test it.

One thing I though I wasn't going to like is when you set it to record something manually. You have to set it in 15 minute increments, meaning an 8:00pm starting time can be set for: 8:00pm, 8:15pm, 8:30pm, 8:45pm, etc..., then what you do is set your timer and you can go back into it and edit what you set...from there, you can change minute by minute for whatever you like. Meaning if you want to start it at 7:59pm...you can. I love being able to set a timer for any hour:minute to any other hour:minute without restrictions, so although I wish you could do that during the initial setting, it doesn't bother me as long as I am able to do it somehow.

That's about it for this post, I will discuss the much anticipated Picture Quality as my next post, and I have a gut feeling it will be a great review from what I have seen so far.

Oh, just one more thing. So far, there is only One thing I don't like. It's not the end of the world, and I will even explain how it kind of doesn't matter in a way, but it would be nice if the Pioneer 640 had it, but it doesn't.

What is it? An Open/Close (Eject) button on the remote...it's not there.
Why doesn't it matter? Because you have to get up anyway to load/unload the disc, so you just press the button on the unit when you get up...but...it should still be on the remote.

Until next time...

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post #22 of 3215 Old 06-02-2006, 06:44 PM
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Suplex

Thanks for the info. Can you tell me if the 640 can have an alternate remote code? I already have a Pioneer 79 player and I need to use a separate RC code for the recorder. Thanks.

Sergio

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post #23 of 3215 Old 06-02-2006, 07:27 PM
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Suplex

Thanks for the info. Can you tell me if the 640 can have an alternate remote code? I already have a Pioneer 79 player and I need to use a separate RC code for the recorder. Thanks.

Sergio

Sergio:

Yes, in fact, it does allow you to do that. There are three settings you can use, so one of them should certainly be different enough so it doesn't interfere with your 79 Player.

suplex.

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post #24 of 3215 Old 06-02-2006, 07:44 PM
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suplex,


Good info, but the following is a little disconcerting:

Quote:


If you want to be able to High Speed dub, you select an Edit mode that allows you to get within 1 to 1.5 seconds from the spot you wish to start the edit, and stop the edit. Doesn't allow for a precise editing, but it may be good enough for some people who must utilize the High Speed dubbing feature. For me, I would rather have precise editing, but I give Pioneer an "A+" for allowing you to make a choice.

Panasonics don't force you to have to make this choice, nearly "frame accurate" editing and chapter marks are available even with high speed dubs. In fact, Panasonics allow editing to be made "non-destructively" to the original recording using a "playlist" editing feature as well (same precision), which also allows you to high speed dub to DVD.

Does real time dubbing on the Pioneer result in any nocticeable degradation due to the inevitable re-encoding that takes place?

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post #25 of 3215 Old 06-02-2006, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suplex View Post

Now I don't know why "Minus" media is allowed to pretty much do just about anything, and "Plus" is limited...or if it would really even matter to anyone...but I thought it was unique enough to list here.

Thanks for giving us a first hand report on the 640!!!

I think the media differences are sort of like a religious thing. The -R camp companies (eg Panasonic, Pioneer) are more competent/supportive of the -R format, while the +R camp companies are more competent/supportive of the +R format, so they tend to favor that instead of the other. That along with the marketing, philosophical and copyright issues behind each camp I think cause this discrepancy in feature-sets and support, along with the specifications/technical-limitations of each format.

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post #26 of 3215 Old 06-02-2006, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vferrari View Post

suplex,


Good info, but the following is a little disconcerting:



Panasonics don't force you to have to make this choice, nearly "frame accurate" editing and chapter marks are available even with high speed dubs. In fact, Panasonics allow editing to be made "non-destructively" to the original recording using a "playlist" editing feature as well (same precision), which also allows you to high speed dub to DVD.

Does real time dubbing on the Pioneer result in any nocticeable degradation due to the inevitable re-encoding that takes place?

The Pioneer also uses a "Playlist" for when you have the material ready on the HDD and you want to dub it to a DVD, so they're both probably very similar in that respect.

About your question on degradation, did you mean if "High Speed" dubbing causes it (as many people think doing anything quickly results in lesser quality), or did you mean "Real Time"? Because so far, I have not noticed any visible quality loss from what is on the HDD to the DVD created from it, using "High Speed". I haven't tested "Real Time" yet, but I doubt that would give a problem...I was concerned with quality loss from "High Speed", and there isn't any.

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post #27 of 3215 Old 06-02-2006, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncaahoops View Post

Thanks for giving us a first hand report on the 640!!!

I think the media differences are sort of like a religious thing. The -R camp companies (eg Panasonic, Pioneer) are more competent/supportive of the -R format, while the +R camp companies are more competent/supportive of the +R format, so they tend to favor that instead of the other. That along with the marketing, philosophical and copyright issues behind each camp I think cause this discrepancy in feature-sets and support, along with the specifications/technical-limitations of each format.

First off...You're Welcome.

Secondly...I agree with your theory 100%. If you think about it, DVD Recorder manufacturers COULD make thier units so that you could do anything with either -R or +R with no limitations, but they simply CHOOSE not to.

It would be like a High Def DVD Recorder (HD DVD) that could ALSO record Blu-ray. Never gonna happen! The technology exists to create such a device, but too much politics would not allow it.

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post #28 of 3215 Old 06-02-2006, 09:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suplex View Post

If you want to be able to High Speed dub, you select an Edit mode that allows you to get within 1 to 1.5 seconds from the spot you wish to start the edit, and stop the edit. Doesn't allow for a precise editing, but it may be good enough for some people who must utilize the High Speed dubbing feature. For me, I would rather have precise editing, but I give Pioneer an "A+" for allowing you to make a choice.

Unless there is something dramatically different in the encoder on the 2006 models, the accuracy should be to the nearest 0.5 second as on my 2005 Pioneer 533 and 633 models. You can tell because when you select an edit point the time value will show as "hh.mm.ss.xx", where ".xx" is either ".00" or ".15". The ".xx" represents the frame number within a second and ranges from ".00" thru ".29".

This is because the encoder inserts a new I-frame (a frame containing complete picture information, as opposed to just the differences from the previous frame) twice per second, and can only perform a "high-speed-copyable" edit that ends and begins on the I-frames.

On the 533 and 633 you can set thumbnails accurately if you use an I-frame for your thumbnail. This means choosing a frame with a time that ends in ".00" or ".15". I would be surprised if this weren't also true on the 640.
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post #29 of 3215 Old 06-02-2006, 09:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suplex View Post

The Pioneer also uses a "Playlist" for when you have the material ready on the HDD and you want to dub it to a DVD, so they're both probably very similar in that respect.

About your question on degradation, did you mean if "High Speed" dubbing causes it (as many people think doing anything quickly results in lesser quality), or did you mean "Real Time"? Because so far, I have not noticed any visible quality loss from what is on the HDD to the DVD created from it, using "High Speed". I haven't tested "Real Time" yet, but I doubt that would give a problem...I was concerned with quality loss from "High Speed", and there isn't any.


A high speed dub is typically a direct data dump so there is never quality degradation there (its a bit for bit duplication of the source recording), that's one of the reasons its preferred besides the fact that is saves time. I was specifically asking about real time dubs (you stated in your post that was your preferred method so I just assumed you had already done one. Real time dubs will result in some quality loss because re-encoding is involved, its just a matter of how perceptible the quality loss is. So that's what I'm asking about - real time dub quality (as I explicitly stated in my original question: "Does real time dubbing on the Pioneer result in any nocticeable degradation due to the inevitable re-encoding that takes place?" [emphasis added for clarity])

Thanks.

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post #30 of 3215 Old 06-02-2006, 10:55 PM
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I don't think I understand the edit thing. On my 533 I can chose which way I want to edit. Frame accurate or the video compatible mode. Yet, they both can do a high speed dub. The only difference is the thumbnail picture (if that.) Are you saying that they dropped that? That instead of being able to do editing in either mode and then high speed dub you only get one choice? That, if for some reason, I have to go into frame accurate mode to edit one small thing I am now forced to copy the whole thing over in real time?

I also would like to know about the picture quality and real time dubbing PQ difference. As I think I read that these new ones are made by a difference co. than last year's model.

Also, I hate that if I edit and then move something to DVD I only get my edit points if I high speed dub. If I do real time dub it ignores my edit points and puts it's own in every 10 minutes. On this new one, can you put in your own edit points where ever you want and have it dubbed over in real time keeping your edit points? Can you edit, in say frame accurate mode, where each cut should put in a chapter point; then dub in real time keeping those edit points or again does it ignore all of your edit points and just put in one every 10 minutes?
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