Originally Posted by Desert Hawk
4. Only 50 movies watched and 50 discs recorded? That doesn't sound like a lot. Much more than 100 hours of life is surely to be expected, isn't it?
This is all relative, those of us who are paranoid about using our recorders as players base that fear on previous experience with various brands of very expensive (at the time) recorder. You would be astounded, for example, by how many owners of the pricey and unique Toshiba XS series of DVD/HDD recorder reported they did
in fact die after burning and watching less than 100 DVDs. This also happened with many a Sony, some Pioneers, and quite a few of the earlier Philips models. Even Panasonic, the most popular recorder on AVS by far, suffers from a maddening sensitivity to dust and finger oils on DVDs migrating into the mechanism, causing premature and frequent failure. (At least the Panasonics can be repeatedly cured by disassembly and cleaning, and will last forever if maintained that way, but it shouldn't be necessary and most owners have no clue regarding this grime issue.) Overall, the burners mfrs installed in DVD recorders historically have been absolute crap, whether the model cost $99 or $699. Adding insult to injury, replacement cost for these crappy proprietary burners was/is in the realm of $250-429 if you could even get the thing fixed
The Magnavox H2160, 513 and 515 put a different spin on many of these factors. The retail cost of a new one was half that of previous models, so your $$$ investment is much less to begin with. Over the last several years, failure reports on the Magnavox burners have been very very few, amazingly few compared to earlier Philips models and vanishingly few compared to Sony, Toshiba, Pioneer and even Panasonic. Best of all, in the unlikely event your Magnavox burner fails out of warranty, Funai is the only
mfr ever to cooperate with DIY repair: they will sell a replacement burner direct to end users at the very reasonable price of $68 (Panasonic wants $429, Pioneer $275, classic Toshibas and Sonys are now impossible to get parts for at any price.)
So I would say its probably
safe to use a Magnavox DVD/HDD recorder as primary DVD player as well as recorder: poor quality blank media you record on is more likely to wear out the machine than playback usage. Stick to the premium 8x Verbatim DataLifePlus, TY/JVC 8x DVD-R, or Verbatim AZO 16x and your Magnavox should prove very durable. My biggest concern is the continued viability and availability
of the Magnavox, period. In six months or two years, slowing demand may cause Funai to discontinue it (the European versions have already been pulled). If recorders were wildly popular, and we could reasonably expect the Magnavox to still be at Wa*Mart for $198 in 2015, I would say use it to hammer nails or mix drinks: who cares how you treat it, if it can be replaced tomorrow cheap. But recorders in North America are not
popular, and long-term availability not
expected: in this environment, it seems wise to reduce any chance of additional laser wear by using a separate player. Of course, each Magnavox owner will make that choice based on their usage pattern and shelf space.