FAQ: DVD Recorders and the Analog to Digital Transition - Page 6 - AVS Forum
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post #151 of 220 Old 01-23-2009, 03:24 AM
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Thanks. Could you please elaborate as to what make/model comes the closest and which features exist and which don't exist.
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post #152 of 220 Old 01-23-2009, 10:43 AM
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There are some models out there that do everything you mentioned except work with satellite and have DVD burners built-in.

The TiVo HD would be the best of them. But that and the fee (you can get pre-paid, lifetime service) will set you back a lot more than any recorder similar to your Polaroid. For something similar to the TiVo without any fees whatsoever, you could look for a used LG 3410A.

Then there are the HDD/DVD recorders like your Polaroid, which have cable and over-the-air tuners and will record from any other external tuner, including satellite (like the Polaroid). But none (including your Polaroid) will output anything in true HD. They can only upscale 480i to "faux HD". The Philips 3576H (or 3575H) and the Magnavox H2160 (or H2080) would be examples of that. They are the only ones available with digital tuners.
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post #153 of 220 Old 01-23-2009, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

There are some models out there that do everything you mentioned except work with satellite and have DVD burners built-in.

The TiVo HD would be the best of them. But that and the fee (you can get pre-paid, lifetime service) will set you back a lot more than any recorder similar to your Polaroid. For something similar to the TiVo without any fees whatsoever, you could look for a used LG 3410A.

Then there are the HDD/DVD recorders like your Polaroid, which have cable and over-the-air tuners and will record from any other external tuner, including satellite (like the Polaroid). But none (including your Polaroid) will output anything in true HD. They can only upscale 480i to "faux HD". The Philips 3576H (or 3575H) and the Magnavox H2160 (or H2080) would be examples of that. They are the only ones available with digital tuners.

Thanks a lot for the response. I'm a bit confused since you first say there are units that meet all, but the satellite and then at the end suggest that none can meet the hidef output. I'd be willing to compromise on the satellite. I definitely don't want Tivo. Anything of the HDD/DVD variety that would do cable and OTA with hidef output? Thanks again
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post #154 of 220 Old 01-23-2009, 06:04 PM
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post #155 of 220 Old 01-23-2009, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paroots View Post

Anything of the HDD/DVD variety that would do cable and OTA with hidef output? Thanks again

No.

The used LG 3410A I mentioned can do analog & clear-QAM digital cable, and OTA, and is HD. It's only a hard drive recorder, and has no DVD burner.

No HDD/DVD recorders can output in HD.
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post #156 of 220 Old 01-24-2009, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

The used LG 3410A I mentioned can do analog & clear-QAM digital cable, and OTA, and is HD. It's only a hard drive recorder, and has no DVD burner.

No HDD/DVD recorders can output in HD.

But there is the DTVPal DVR, which is OTA only with no DVD burner.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1099071
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post #157 of 220 Old 01-24-2009, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L David Matheny View Post

But there is the DTVPal DVR, which is OTA only with no DVD burner.

He wants cable and satellite compatibility, so I didn't mention that. The Pal DVR can't do either. I was trying to stick with the closest to what he was asking for.

Besides, the Pal DVR is still so buggy at this point that, for $280.00, I couldn't recommend it in good consciensce anyway.
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post #158 of 220 Old 01-25-2009, 08:47 AM
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I should clarify my requirements with respect to Cable and Satellite. We live full-time in an RV and each RV park is different. We will either use our OTA antenna or plug into a coaxial cable (when available) at the site. We don't necessarily know what's on the other end of the cable. In no case will we have any kind of set top box in RV. Does that change or simplify our requirements?
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post #159 of 220 Old 01-25-2009, 10:27 AM
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Then you would need it to be compatible with ATSC, NTSC and QAM.

So for that I'd probably look for a used LG LST-3410A for HD, or a new Philips 3576H or Magnavox H2160 for SD.

If it's on a smaller TV, being SD may not be that noticable. You'll still get the full, widescreen ratio for the HD programming when using the HDD (that is, if you need that feature). And those models are a heck of a lot easier to find than the LG.

The DTVPal DVR would be OK for OTA-only, if you wanted to take a chance on it.

There are threads on all of those units between this and the "HDTV Recorders" forum if you want to learn more about each.
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post #160 of 220 Old 01-25-2009, 06:56 PM
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Thanks. That gives me something solid to focus on.
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post #161 of 220 Old 01-27-2009, 09:23 AM
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I've read through a couple pages on this thread and have been really impressed with the helpfulness and knowledgeable replies. I'm quite a novice in the world of digital audio/video systems and recorders.

I recently upgraded my TV and receiver and would like to replace my old VCR with a DVD recorder soon...but it's not clear to me that what I'm looking for is available. I'm hoping folks here can make a few suggestions. Here's my situation:

- I live in the US, have an outdoor antenna and will receive all my TV signals OTA this way. A coaxial cable brings the signal into the house.
- I have a Samsung LN52A650 HDTV (w/tuner)
- I have an Onkyo TX SR605 receiver

My coax antennae cable currently goes to the receiver in the TV. I'd like to keep it this way so that I don't have to run the DVD recorder in order to watch TV. I don't care about tuners that pick up analog signals at this point...(is there a reason why I should at this point?)

I want to be able to record the occasional digitally broadcast TV show and play it back with the highest quality video/audio that my other components are capable of.

I would like to be able to use R+ DL discs (not a BIG sticking point, but I do like their capacity). I don't need support for video tapes anymore.

I would like to be able to playback commercial DVDs with the highest quality video/audio that my other components are capable of.

I'm hoping to spend less than 250 bucks. I've been looking at the Panasonic DMR EZ28K but I have the impression that there are picture quality issues, that the tuner isn't as good as the tuner in my TV and it's not clear how I could hook it up so that the OTA signal starts out at the TV....

Any suggestions?

Am I dreaming?
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post #162 of 220 Old 01-27-2009, 09:42 AM
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A perfect unit for you, except for the +R DL thing, is the Magnavox H2160MW9, which has QAM tuner, 160GB HDD (which you'll love and wonder how you got along without it before)!

If you connect as shown in sketch 1a here, you can watch TV normally, w/o the DVDR being on, and also record a diff. channel at the same time if desired. The text explains how a DVDR is diff. than a VCR in what the coax connection does, etc.

Click #1 in my signature for a complete list of info and help files.
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post #163 of 220 Old 01-27-2009, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wajo View Post

A perfect unit for you, except for the +R DL thing, is the Magnavox H2160MW9, which has QAM tuner, 160GB HDD (which you'll love and wonder how you got along without it before)!

If you connect as shown in sketch 1a here, you can watch TV normally, w/o the DVDR being on, and also record a diff. channel at the same time if desired. The text explains how a DVDR is diff. than a VCR in what the coax connection does, etc.

Click #1 in my signature for a complete list of info and help files.

Thanks for the tip. Tried searching for a manual online...no luck. So the Coax out is like a "pass-through" or whatever they used to call it on old VCRs? Bummer about the inability to play DVD +R DL...I've got a lot of content on that format already...
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post #164 of 220 Old 01-27-2009, 10:08 AM
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All DVDRs (except combos) have only passthru on RF. You need the RF first to go to the DVDR and then to the TV. This doesn't mean you need to have the DVDR on to watch TV, it just needs to be routed this way. You could also have a 2 way splitter at your wall jack and have one side go to your TV and the other to your DVDR, it's just there is less loss using the passthru on a regular DVDRs and something like the Philips or Mangnavox actually boosts the passthru signal.
BTW all DVDRs will play DL discs it's just not many will record to them, and IMO nothing wrong with the picture quality on the Panasonic EZ-28 but it does have it's operational quirks.
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post #165 of 220 Old 01-27-2009, 10:12 AM
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Thanks for the clarification; jjef. Yes, I read your comments on the Panasonic...Does it have the RF pass-through? It didn't appear to from what I could tell...
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post #166 of 220 Old 01-27-2009, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leonc View Post

Thanks for the tip. Tried searching for a manual online...no luck. So the Coax out is like a "pass-through" or whatever they used to call it on old VCRs? Bummer about the inability to play DVD +R DL...I've got a lot of content on that format already...

If you click #1 on my signature, there'll be a Section 8, Seller and Support, which has links to all the manuals.
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post #167 of 220 Old 01-27-2009, 10:19 AM
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Thanks! Will check it out.
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post #168 of 220 Old 01-27-2009, 11:19 AM
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leonc,

No pic quality, tuner or upconversion issues here. I actually haven't heard of any pic quality issues. Tuner is actually better than the one on my TV. Although the 28 can do DL, I can't think of a compelling reason to use them that would justify the expense. I'd stick with RAM for everyday recording and single layer for archiving.

As jeff said, the antenna hook up passes right thru the 28, so I'm pretty sure it doesn't have to be on. It doesn't get modulated like it does on your VCR. Just connect the antenna to the 28, then out from the 28 to your TV for the least signal loss.

I actually have an EZ27, but the 28 is supposedly even better.
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post #169 of 220 Old 01-27-2009, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leonc View Post

Here's my situation:

- I live in the US, have an outdoor antenna and will receive all my TV signals OTA this way. A coaxial cable brings the signal into the house.
- I have a Samsung LN52A650 HDTV (w/tuner)
- I have an Onkyo TX SR605 receiver

My coax antennae cable currently goes to the receiver in the TV. I'd like to keep it this way so that I don't have to run the DVD recorder in order to watch TV. I don't care about tuners that pick up analog signals at this point...(is there a reason why I should at this point?)

I want to be able to record the occasional digitally broadcast TV show and play it back with the highest quality video/audio that my other components are capable of.

I would like to be able to use R+ DL discs (not a BIG sticking point, but I do like their capacity). I don't need support for video tapes anymore.

I would like to be able to playback commercial DVDs with the highest quality video/audio that my other components are capable of.

I'm hoping to spend less than 250 bucks. I've been looking at the Panasonic DMR EZ28K but I have the impression that there are picture quality issues, that the tuner isn't as good as the tuner in my TV and it's not clear how I could hook it up so that the OTA signal starts out at the TV....

Any suggestions?

Am I dreaming?

I agree with other replies to your question, but note: While the current crop of DVD recorders will tune HD broadcasts, they down-convert them to SD for recording/playback and even for viewing using their tuners. If you try a recorder with a hard drive (DVR), you will never want to go back to anything that is limited to removable media. About the only two current HD DVRs are the Tivo HD and the DTVPal DVR, but they lack burners, which complicates archiving. Browse these two threads:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=879469
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1099071
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post #170 of 220 Old 01-27-2009, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leonc View Post

.Does it have the RF pass-through?

Yes it only has RF pass-thru, it lacks the RF modulator like basically all DVDRs without a VHS section do. It can be on/off or even unplugged and will still have RF Pass-thru. The Philips/Magnavox mentioned needs to be plugged in but not powered on to have good pass-thru since it's amplified.
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post #171 of 220 Old 01-31-2009, 07:19 PM
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I have read most of the postings on switching to a DVDR, and I'm still not certain that all the questions I have about choosing a DVDR that responds to my current needs have been answered. Let me explain what I currently own and do, and what my needs are for the future.

1. I'm getting good OTA analog reception now in L.A. on my Sony FD Trinitron WEGA (no digital tuner) and won't switch to cable or satellite for the foreseeable future. I added a Zenith DT901 converter and am getting all digital program channels beautifully.

2. I have been using without a single glitch for many years two analog recorders: a Panasonic VHS recorder and a Toshiba DVD Player/VHS recorder connected to the roof antenna with a Y connector. This allows me to record simultaneously to the two VCRs (which happens often), while I'm either away on a 2-3-week long trip, or playing a DVD or watching a third program over the air. Once I watch a taped show, I seldom keep it, unless it is very special. Thus, absolute highest definition taping is not very important. However, I still have many PBS taped shows which I have not had the time to watch yet, but would like to some day.

3. It seems that if I want to tape two shows on the same date and hour, I would have to get 2 DVDRs. Is that correct?

Questions: a) I've obviously been unable to use my current analog recorders to record a digital station when the Zenith converter is on, because the digital stations don't show up on either recorders' screen. Is there some add-on gizmo that might allow me to do that, so that I don't have to get 2 digital DVDRs - and maybe just use my current ones instead?

b) If that is not possible and I have to give up recording at the same hour, a Philips tech support person claims that after the switch to only digital broadcasting I could still use my present DVD player/VCR combo to play any rented DVD or VHS tape I have previously recorded, even while the Philips hard drive DVDR3576H/37 is recording. Is that true? Would that also be the case with the Panasonic DMR-EZ48/485DK?

c) Having delayed my decision hoping that Congress would extend the switch to digital and perhaps allow Panasonic and/or Philips to come out with enhanced products - it looks like neither Congress nor the companies plan to do so. Therefore, based on my future needs, which of the two DVDRs should I get? The Panasonic is attractive, but would have very limited recording capacity when I'm traveling. The Philips can record a lot onto the hard disk, but if I can't play anymore one of my present VCRs how will I play the VHS tapes I still have?

Thank you all for your advice!
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post #172 of 220 Old 01-31-2009, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ImagineAll View Post

3. It seems that if I want to tape two shows on the same date and hour, I would have to get 2 DVDRs. Is that correct?

Questions: a) I've obviously been unable to use my current analog recorders to record a digital station when the Zenith converter is on, because the digital stations don't show up on either recorders' screen. Is there some add-on gizmo that might allow me to do that, so that I don't have to get 2 digital DVDRs - and maybe just use my current ones instead?

b) If that is not possible and I have to give up recording at the same hour, a Philips tech support person claims that after the switch to only digital broadcasting I could still use my present DVD player/VCR combo to play any rented DVD or VHS tape I have previously recorded, even while the Philips hard drive DVDR3576H/37 is recording. Is that true? Would that also be the case with the Panasonic DMR-EZ48/485DK?

c) Having delayed my decision hoping that Congress would extend the switch to digital and perhaps allow Panasonic and/or Philips to come out with enhanced products - it looks like neither Congress nor the companies plan to do so. Therefore, based on my future needs, which of the two DVDRs should I get? The Panasonic is attractive, but would have very limited recording capacity when I'm traveling. The Philips can record a lot onto the hard disk, but if I can't play anymore one of my present VCRs how will I play the VHS tapes I still have?

Thank you all for your advice!

3. No, you would be able to tape two shows if you had two converter boxes, if you connected one to each VCR. The box, however, would have to be manually tuned to the station you want recorded. Thus, if you were gone for an extended period, you would only be able to record one station per box (your VCRs cannot change the channel on the box, only turn on at specified times and record whatever is coming through the input the VCR is tuned to, which would be the channel you tuned the box to before you left).

a. You need to connect the antenna to the antenna in on the Zenith, then connect the RCA/composite cables to an input on one of your VCRs, then tune the VCR to that input. You must then leave it tuned to that input, and only change channels with the Zenith box.

b. I don't have either of those models, but the two Pannys that I own (both with HDDs) will indeed play one thing while recording another.

c. You've identified a key limitation to a recorder without a HDD (but then again it's no more limited than a VCR with 6 hours of recording capability). As far as the rest of your question, if i understand it correctly, you will still be able to play VHS tapes through whichever VCR you keep hooked up.
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post #173 of 220 Old 01-31-2009, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ImagineAll View Post

Questions: a) I've obviously been unable to use my current analog recorders to record a digital station when the Zenith converter is on, because the digital stations don't show up on either recorders' screen. Is there some add-on gizmo that might allow me to do that, so that I don't have to get 2 digital DVDRs - and maybe just use my current ones instead?

The Zinwell ZAT-950A/970A CECB will pass the RF antenna signal through while the box is on.

(As a side bonus, it also lets you set up to 8 manual timers so that it can change channels on it's own.)
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post #174 of 220 Old 02-01-2009, 07:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

The Zinwell ZAT-950A/970A CECB will pass the RF antenna signal through while the box is on.

Not to get OT but are you saying you're able to turn OFF the RF modulator on the Zinwell? If so that's what I always wanted in a CECB, a way to have it ON but just pass the RF through from In to Out. Of the CECBs I've seen that have APT they all needed to be OFF for APT to work and require a splitter and extra cable to work like the Zinwell(if I understand your post correctly).

ImagineAll-Honestly if you're OK with your current setup(PQ wise) I'd probably just get 2 Zinwells like Ramm said and hook those to your VCRs and keep your Zenith hooked to your TV. It would be cheaper than getting 2 cheap(probably less reliable) DVDRs with the digital tuners.
I'll mention another option which sounds perfect for you except for now I couldn't really suggest it because it's proven to be so buggy, but that would be the Pal DVR. It has 2 digital tuners for recording 2 separate channels and a HDD for longer recordings. It runs ~$250 and could work fine with your TV.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1099071
Again if PQ wasn't a big priority the 2 Zinwells would probably give you less headaches.
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post #175 of 220 Old 02-01-2009, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

Not to get OT but are you saying you're able to turn OFF the RF modulator on the Zinwell? If so that's what I always wanted in a CECB, a way to have it ON but just pass the RF through from In to Out. Of the CECBs I've seen that have APT they all needed to be OFF for APT to work and require a splitter and extra cable to work like the Zinwell(if I understand your post correctly).

tk54911-Honestly if you're OK with your current setup(PQ wise) I'd probably just get 2 Zinwells like Ramm said and hook those to your VCRs and keep your Zenith hooked to your TV. It would be cheaper than getting 2 cheap(probably less reliable) DVDRs with the digital tuners.
I'll mention another option which sounds perfect for you except for now I couldn't really suggest it because it's proven to be so buggy, but that would be the Pal DVR. It has 2 digital tuners for recording 2 separate channels and a HDD for longer recordings. It runs ~$250 and could work fine with your TV.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1099071
Again if PQ wasn't a big priority the 2 Zinwells would probably give you less headaches.

Hi jjeff,

I suspect you're responding to ImagineAll? My reply was in response to his questions.
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post #176 of 220 Old 02-01-2009, 07:49 AM
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yep, didn't go back up far enough when doing cut & paste I'll change it.
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post #177 of 220 Old 02-01-2009, 09:24 AM
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Hello -

I just finished reading this thread and it's answered almost all my questions. Thanks for all the informative posts. But I'm still a little unclear about a couple of points.

I currently record about 5 hrs of OTA content over a period of about a week and watch it on the weekend. I can live with the PQ I currently get watching the analog tapes on my PX80.

While the 3575 seems like the optimum solution, finding one is alot like snipe hunting -- everyone says 'there it is' but when you shoot you never hit anything! I've visited the walmart site within 15 min of a posting that they are in stock only to find they are out of stock.

Anyway, my questions:

If I get say an E28 (widely available) and record say -RW will the recorder just add on to the disk each day and when I get home I'll have my 5 hrs assumming I use the 6 or 8 hour recording length? I will playing on same so compatibility isn't an issue.

Will the PQ be about the same as a VHS tape at EP recording rate?

TIA, great site.
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post #178 of 220 Old 02-01-2009, 10:24 AM
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Yes you can just keep adding on to the disc until it's full(and playback anytime you want, you don't need to wait until the disc is full but if you delete a title other than the last title you won't gain back your full time). If you're going to play it on the recorder you don't even have to bother with finalizing the disc which would take a couple minutes. Panny users also like to use RAM discs which are harder to find B&M and less compatible with DVD players but they potentially last longer and have the advantage of chase play where you can begin watching a program while the end records. You can also play one title while another one is recording, you also gain back the full time when deleting any title, not just the last one like on a RW disc. On-line they're not much more than -RWs can be B&M.
On unfinalized RWs and RAMs you can either erase titles or just reformat the disc, either takes only ~10 seconds. Finalized RWs can only be reformatted.

PQ is kind of subjective but when I switched from VHS to DVD my "noted" original comparisons were(on a '05 Panasonic ES-30v DVDR):
XP-original quality
SP-basically original
LP-better than VHS SP, very good
EP6-as good as VHS SP, but for copying DVDs stick to LP, big drop in resolution form LP
EP8-like VHS SLP, maybe for unimportant timeshifting

My original impressions on 3575:
HQ1-Like Panny SP
SP2-Like Panny LP, fine
SPP2.5-Like Panny ep6 big drop
LP3-Like Panny FR7, more drop
EP4-Like Panny EP8, quite bad
SLP6-Like Panny FR12(just guessing not a valid Panny speed) Awful

Since my original Panny notes 3 1/2 years ago I've switched from LP to FR3 for things I care about due to macroblocking in the LP speed. I still occasionally use EP8 for talk shows when I don't care about the PQ and if I care a little I use EP6.
If you're used to VHS SLP I think you'll be fine with EP6 on a Panny and if you were a SP user like me you'd probably want to use FR3 or maybe LP if the subject matter doesn't have a lot of motion.
My notes for PQ were similar for other brands of DVDRs other than Panasonics, that is other brands I tested were similar to my Philips 3575 findings. I never tested a Pioneer made Pioneer or XS series Toshiba. I did test Sony, LG, Liteon, Centrios, Ilo and Cyberhome.

CYA part, these picture quality assessments are only mine and others may notice different things, I'm just sharing them with you since you asked
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post #179 of 220 Old 02-01-2009, 10:29 AM
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jjeff - Yes - the RF pass-through (supposedly) works when the Zinwell is left on. It's also the same with the Magnavox and Philco with pass-through, although for some reason I'm not sure of at the moment, I believe it's implemented best in the Zinwell.

I've never had any of those myself, but that's what they've been saying in their threads, anyway. You can double-check over there.

(edit: I'm reading the Zinwell thread now, and they're saying something like only VHF-hi and UHF passes through on the 970A. Maybe the 950A is better.)
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post #180 of 220 Old 02-01-2009, 10:33 AM
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Another perspective: I use 6-hr-SLP rec mode on my Philips 3575's to record dramas on digital channels, where the starting res is miles ahead of any anlaog channel.

I've recorded NFL football games on digital ESPN channel on 3-hr-LP with good results, with only the long field shots show a slightly hairy edge on the teeny weeny players on the field... as soon as the camera zooms closer, everything looks great.

Some info here on recording football, IMO the most difficult thing to record if you want it to end up on a std DVD.

If you just want to timeshift a program and WATCH the recording later, you can set the 3575/3576's or Mag 2160's HDD for 1-hr-HQ rec mode, record up to 12-hours straight, and get unbeatable picture quality (PQ).

After MANY tests with my 3575's, I've never recorded ANY program at any rec mode that was "awful"... and I subscribe to basic (analog) cable and view PQ on a 47" 1080p LCD.
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