Samsung DVD-AR650 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 253 Old 04-06-2007, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Picked this up today at Mal-Wart: Retail just under $220.

They had about 5 boxes, each with 1-day air labels (I tracked the package and it just arrived on 4/2/07).

So far I've hooked it up and set up my OTA channels. The menus are quick.

The tuner is decent, I'm getting locals and most of the distant stations (just missing CBS in HD).
*just found out on the Richmond thread they are off the air now

The Samsung passes 5.1 audio!

I don't have an HD display, so I can't comment on HD passthrough.

The box just says "HDMI output (up to 1080i)"

This unit turns on fast, in under 3 seconds, even with a disc in. There is a setting which keeps the unit "on" so a disc doesn't have to initialize each time you turn on the unit. (you can change this setting)

My initial observations are:

This unit is very cool, it has a blue light surrounding the power button, like the set-top 260 unit. There are many front panel buttons for convienience (channel, input, play, record, stop.

The clock is displayed except when changing channels.

It says in the manual the timer records when the time is reached (wheter the power is on or off).

You can record from the Electronic Program Guide.

I'll post more throughout the weekend when the Masters isn't on.

April 2008 Update
This unit was discontinued, Samsung annouced a DVD-R175, but no word on if it has a digital tuner.

I returned my original unit last year, and a few weeks ago I decided to buy a used one for $60 (with shipping), my main complaint was discs not usable, recordings lost with the unit. Since others posted the same issues, but resolved them with certain manufacturers discs I decided to try this again.

Do not use Imation DVD-RW's, I've had to reset the unit 5 times in 2 weeks from using these discs, it does't like them. The reset is to hold down the up and down channel button on the unit with the power on.

I am using this for OTA only, and one other item that some people find important, you cannot rescan and pick up channels from a different antenna heading, the memory is completely cleared with a rescan. For me, all channels are received with one antenna position.

I've had this hooked up side by side to the zenith CECB, and the tuner was just as sensitive.

So, for $60 it's a keeper. I think the clearance price at wally world was $129.

January 2009 Update:
My unit is still working well. I bought a new TV in December, and this tuner was better than the internal TV tuner! I returned that TV and bought a Vizio which seems to be similar in tuning channels.

I am now using the HDMI output, and 4:3 content is stretched to fill the screen with HDMI.

When I watch a DVD I get a message that HDMI Audio is not supported, but if I switch to HDMI 2, and then back to HDMI 1 the audio is there through the TV. I'm not sure if this is a quirk of my TV or the Samsung.

A few months ago I wasn't able to listen to audio CD's or MP3 CD's anymore. I just get an error message on all CD's, pre-recorded or burned.

I plan on burning some MP3's onto a DVD to see if it will read them.
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post #2 of 253 Old 04-06-2007, 07:37 PM
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Two questions:

1. How is the DivX playback? Any freezing, AV/Sync issues not seen on other DivX capable players?

2. Can you record 16:9 conent as such? As in, not letterboxed? If so, what's the quality of the recordings (screenshots maybe)?

302 Blu-ray Discs and counting.
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post #3 of 253 Old 04-06-2007, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm not sure about DivX, and I won't have a way to check.

I'll do some recording later and post my findings.
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post #4 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 05:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrBri99 View Post

I'm not sure about DivX, and I won't have a way to check.

I'll do some recording later and post my findings.


Glad to hear that it passes 5.1 audio when watching live TV... the manual didn't say much about that.

Does it let allow for simultaneous record/play with a DVD-RAM disc? How does it handle wide screen recording?
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post #5 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 05:56 AM - Thread Starter
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One quirk about the unit so far: when watching digital channels there is no on screen display when changing channels, yet there is an on screen display when changing channels analog.
Also, you can go to ananlog stations by pressing the channel number , "dash 0", but to go back to digital stations you have to press the input button, (counter intuitive to me).

Unlike previous samsung set top boxes, you can only get to the channel by typing in the mapped channel, i.e. 8-1, 12-1, 12-2, etc. On the SIRT451 and DHTB260F you could type the actual RF frequency and it would go to the mapped channel automatically.

I tried recording with the display set to 4:3 letterbox, and 16:9. I then finalized the disc, and played it on my computer. Both recordings played letterbox on the computer and on the tv (I did return the display to 4:3), although there was a slight difference. I recorded on a low quality, and there was a visible "line" at the bottom of the 4:3 letterbox image. With the 16:9 recording, the line was at the bottom of the tv image, between the image and the black bar of the letterbox.

I will try to post screen captures later when HD programming is on.
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post #6 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 06:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acteng View Post

Glad to hear that it passes 5.1 audio when watching live TV... the manual didn't say much about that.

To me, that is worth the extra money compared to the Phillips/Magnavox, and it is cheaper than the LG.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acteng View Post

Does it let allow for simultaneous record/play with a DVD-RAM disc? How does it handle wide screen recording?

The manual says DVD-RAM is supported, but it doesn't mention "chasing" playback. I couldn't find any DVD-RAM's at Best Buy or Staples yesterday, so I don't have one to try it.
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post #7 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 08:38 AM
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I've got a 4:3 standard TV and have been looking mainly for a decent ATSC tuner for it. I would consider DVD recording with time slip a welcome bonus. For this how would you rank this unit against the other options out there that you've tried? I've been considering the DTB-H260F and Hisense DB-2010 tuners and the DVD-AR650 recorder. Right now I'm thinking that either the DVD-AR650 or a cheap Hisense DB-2010 off ebay makes the most sense for my situation.
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post #8 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
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I tried the DTB-H260F, mainly to see what reception I would get before buying an HD display. The reception was great, better with multi-path interference than the Samsung SIR-T451.

For $30 more compared to the 260, you get a DVD recorder, and lose true HD output (I beleive), if you ever want to use this as a HD tuner.

If you only have a 4:3 display, this is probably the best thing going.

So far the DVD-AR650 has been great with reception, I will need to have it longer to tell for sure. With the SIR-T451 I got better reception with snow on the ground (why? who knows), and there is snow on the ground today.

I haven't seen (or heard of) the Hisense.
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post #9 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 10:03 AM
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Thanks for the feedback. The Hisense is a linux based HDTV" tuner that I read about elsewhere in these forums. They are 4th gen tuners that currently run <$75 on ebay. They are well spoken of for standard 4:3 TV's. Supposedly they zoom in on pillarboxed 4:3 broadcast better than the samsung tuners. The comment has been that the samsung tuners have trouble zooming in without either cropping or distorting the image somewhat.

Have you had a chance to check the zoom feature on the AR650? Any sign of cropping or distortion? I'm hoping Samsung has fixed this in their DVD recorder.
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post #10 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
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I remember now, the samsung 260 didn't display properly unless you used component or HDMI.

The DVD-AR650 displays all images properly, there is no stretching or overscanning.

The choices for display are 4:3 letterbox, 4:3 pan&scan, and 16:9.

I keep it on 4:3. I did switch to pan & scan and it didn't do anything i.e. a 4:3 broadcast is still pilliarboxed.

Just a note, the boxes are black, not grey like the SIR-T451.
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post #11 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 11:09 AM
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My darn luck! I just tried three Walmarts, before I finally found the Samsung. Then bring it home and it's totally broken - the whole front panel was pulled out from the body of the recorder and the power button was missing. Now I have to fight the crowds at the stupid Walmart again to exchange it.
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post #12 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyslav View Post

My darn luck! I just tried three Walmarts, before I finally found the Samsung. Then bring it home and it's totally broken - the whole front panel was pulled out from the body of the recorder and the power button was missing. Now I have to fight the crowds at the stupid Walmart again to exchange it.

Where part of the country? I called four stores in south east phoenix and none of them had them.
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post #13 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 12:05 PM
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Kinda weird that Walmarts are getting these shipped to the store next day air - why?

Seeing as this is the only DVDr so far to pass 5.1 audio I have a feeling it will also pass real HD. I assume in typical Samsung fashion it doesn't have a QAM tuner? The tuning section is probably straight out of the 260 STB.
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post #14 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by biker19 View Post

Kinda weird that Walmarts are getting these shipped to the store next day air - why?

Some companies decide that the cost difference is little and the pluses are plenty for next day air, such as mine. Since few of the walmart's have them in stock, perhaps their computer says to ship it next day air.

The sammy has QAM as do all atsc recorders released so far, I believe.
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post #15 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 12:55 PM
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I wonder if this unit is the guts of the 260 STB with a DVD added to it - you're basically getting the 260 STB with a DVD added for $40.
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post #16 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biker19 View Post

Seeing as this is the only DVDr so far to pass 5.1 audio I have a feeling it will also pass real HD.

I -- and others, I'm sure -- would really be interested in knowing the answer to that question. I have confidence in the readers of this board to provide the answer very soon now. Shoot, if my HDTV didn't weigh 120 pounds (CRT Sony) I'd take it down to my neighbor DrBri99 there in Afton and beg to plug it in to find out.
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post #17 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 01:08 PM
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Got mine at Walmart today, so far I like it, I'm located around 54 miles from my local broadcasters and the AR-650 picks up all of my available digital stations, I do have a large outside antenna w/amp. It does pass 1080i thru hdmi while viewing, I haven't tried to record anything yet as I have it temporarily set up on my kitchen tv.
















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post #18 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 01:13 PM
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Texas Inst chip TVP 9000 66Z4729E1


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post #19 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 01:20 PM
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The Samsung is just to tempting I am going to go get one today and take back the Philips one I got there, I want to also see what it can do with DVD-Ram... if it can time slip that is almost as good as a HDD model for me.
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post #20 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ttundraman View Post

It does pass 1080i thru hdmi while viewing, I haven't tried to record anything yet as I have it temporarily set up on my kitchen tv.

The other DVD recorders so far down grade the signal then upscale it. Do you know if Sammy really passes thru the native signal? Can't read the IC markings. Wondering if you could take some where we could read the IC markings. No big deal. I couldn't find much on the TVP9000. http://focus.tij.co.jp/jp/lit/ds/symlink/tvp9900.pdf

Thanks for the pics!!!
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post #21 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 01:53 PM
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Texas Inst chip TVP 9000 66Z4729E1


Not a whole lot in the box there. Looks like a nice chunk of space on the left for say, a HDD maybe?

- kelson h

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post #22 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 01:56 PM
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Not a whole lot in the box there. Looks like a nice chunk of space on the left for say, a HDD maybe?

Yeah, hopefully it will arrive before 2008.
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post #23 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 01:57 PM
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OK, finally got one. I am in Columbia, SC, for those who asked. I tried 3 Walmarts, only one had 4 of them, the first one was broken physically out of the box.

Just finished setting it up - took about an hour. The digital tuner is painfully slow. It does have a QAM tuner, just doesn't say so. There is e separate menu selection for antenna or cable, choosing one or the other scans both analog and digital signals.

The OTA tuner found all channels that the Philips did, but has a lot of drop outs and stutter, I know a better or at least real antenna might fix that, but the Philips works better for me with OTA.

The QAM tuner also found the same channels. It took an hour to scan, but once it did, switching from one channel to another takes about a second, compared to about 10 on the Philips.

Discovery HD looks amazing, but so did on the Philips. I only have component input on my projector and the best the Samsung outputs over component is 480p. It still looks great and of course the 5.1 sound makes a huge difference.

Channels are kept separate - digital in one list, analog in a nother, and switching is not the best, it's done through the input button, which also cycles through the various inputs, so to go from digital to anlog channels you have to first go through AV1, AV2, DV, and then you get there.

Haven't played or recorded anything yet, been basically just playing with the tuner so far. Goind to try and see if it will remember the channel maps if I switch from cable to antenna without rescanning.
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post #24 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielCard View Post

The other DVD recorders so far down grade the signal then upscale it. Do you know if Sammy really passes thru the native signal? Can't read the IC markings. Wondering if you could take some where we could read the IC markings. No big deal. I couldn't find much on the TVP9000. http://focus.tij.co.jp/jp/lit/ds/symlink/tvp9900.pdf

Thanks for the pics!!!

Switching between a true HD source (a STB or TV's internal ATSC tuner) and the Sammy should tell us if the Sammy is internally down converting to 480 and back up to 720/1080i when watching live TV.

I'm glad to hear that there is a good, 5th gen ATSC tuner in this unit.

The Panny appears to properly record 16:9 only when DVD-RAM is used. Can anyone comment on how the Sammy handles this?
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post #25 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 02:01 PM
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Oh well.... it doesn't remember the channel maps if you switch from cable to OTA without rescanning. That really schmucks for me.
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post #26 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielCard View Post

Yeah, hopefully it will arrive before 2008.

I'm thinking that if LG has already put out an HDD model, Samsung can't be far behind and are probably looking to trump them. I just hope it's not crap, because going forward this may be the best we'll do.

- kelson h

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post #27 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 02:07 PM
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Can one of you kind beta-testers please tell me: if you are channel surfing the digital channels OTA on the 650, what is the time lag when switching channels. I kind of like the instantaneous response you get with analog and was a bit distressed by some previous accounts of other models that indicated the time lag was ~10 seconds.

- kelson h

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post #28 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

Can one of you kind beta-testers please tell me: if you are channel surfing the digital channels OTA on the 650, what is the time lag when switching channels. I kind of like the instantaneous response you get with analog and was a bit distressed by some previous accounts of other models that indicated the time lag was ~10 seconds.

It's fast, about a second at most.
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post #29 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by bobbyslav View Post

It's fast, about a second at most.

Oh, that's nice. Things may be looking up after all.

- kelson h

The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of the low price is forgotten . . . life is too short to drink bad wine

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post #30 of 253 Old 04-07-2007, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ttundraman View Post

It does pass 1080i thru hdmi while viewing, I haven't tried to record anything yet as I have it temporarily set up on my kitchen tv.

Thanks for the pics...however, I'm hoping that it is just your digital camera on the shot of screen image as that screen shot doesn't look HD at all. Is there any mention in the manual that it passes true HD?

Might go see if I can pick one up tonight and hook it up to my 100" screen

At no point in your rambling, incoherent post were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this forum is now dumber for having read it.

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