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post #1 of 77 Old 01-23-2008, 11:14 PM - Thread Starter
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I am looking for a method to back up VHS tapes, in whole or in part, to a digital format with the least possible amount of image quality loss. Previously I was using a Lite-On VHS to DVD recorder in the highest quality, 1 hour mode. I am under the impression that a VHS to DVD recorder of some sort, as opposed to a PC capture card, is still the best choice. Once the videos are on DVD I can handle all the editing or whatever that needs to be done, if any. The VHS tapes I want to back up are either old family movies or old recordings (at least 5 years old mostly) off of TV. I like to grab some of the old commercials among other things. Nothing should have any sort of copy protection, and none of them are S-VHS that I am aware of (how would I check that?).

So, I am wondering which VHS to DVD recorder would provide the best quality transfer? I heard once that the kind with a built in HDD would allow the "uncompressed" video to be stored to the hard drive, so the conversion to MPEG2 DVD format would not have to be in real-time and could result in higher quality? Is this true? Other than that, is there really any difference in the quality between different recorder models?

Thanks a lot.

PS. One of my DVDs I recorded with the Lite-On drive failed to finalize correctly, and now no DVD drive, including the original recorder, will recognize it as even a valid disc, or a disc at all. Is there any way to recover the video? The disc had a bunch of short clips from different VHS tapes, so it would be a pain to go through them all again, and remember what I wanted to archive.
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post #2 of 77 Old 01-24-2008, 03:10 AM
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All the standalone DVD recorders that I've heard about encode directly to MPEG-2 in real time while recording, whether to DVD or to hard disk (HDD). If you do all the necessary editing on the unit's HDD, then do a "high-speed copy" to DVD (which basically copies the encoded MPEG-2 data without re-encoding it), that will preserve the image quality of the original recording on the HDD.

For archiving, you need to be careful not to do anything that involves re-encoding the MPEG-2 data, because it's a lossy compression method. When I convert MPEG-2 to DV format for editing on my Mac, then re-encode to MPEG-2 for a new DVD, I can see a difference in image quality. For some kinds of material, I can live with it, but I always keep the original files/DVDs in case I want to change something.
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post #3 of 77 Old 01-24-2008, 05:40 AM
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1. You'd know if they were S-VHS. For one thing, they'd be recorded on a special S-vhs tape, Another thing is that they wouldn't play on a standard VHS player, with good results.

2. jtbell is correct, you're not going to get any better PQ using a DVDR w/hdd for a straight VHS to digital copy.

3. I personally like Panasonic DVDR's for best PQ. IMO the 1,2 and even up to FR 3 hr speeds look almost as good as the original source, and if the source is VHS, lots of people agree the resulting DVD will actually look better than the original VHS.
In the case of VHS source, I have even used 4hr LP speed, but note if there is lots of fast movement in the source, keep an eye out for Macroblocking.(picture will break up into little squares). If this is the case, use a faster speed.

For your project you could use a Panasonic EZ-37 or 47(5). They will be >$250 (try Costco if you have a membership). They both have a DVDR and VHS(note the VHS is also quasi S-complaint. This means if the program is in S-VHS it will play it back, although not in the S-VHS quality, only regular quality.)
If this is too much for your liking, you could get a Panasonic EZ-17, which is <$200 and omits the VHS.
You could also spend ~$100 and get a cheaper Walmart type DVDR machine. If you stick to the 2hr speed you may also get results you like(I personally don't)

4. As far as your Lite-on DVD, I would think a PC would be your only hope. Unfinalized DVD's normally only play in the brand of player that they were recorded on. And as far as I know Lite-on no longer produces standalone DVDR's. DVD's are very unstable until they've been finalized, and if they're going to fail, it's usually during finalizing, at least that's what I have found.
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post #4 of 77 Old 01-24-2008, 10:45 AM
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If you want to do things like"grab commercials" or "short clips" like you mentioned, you are going to need either a DVD recorder with HDD or at the very least a DVD recorder that can use DVD-RAM discs (i.e. Panasonic). Trying to archive short clips *directly* to DVD -/+R media will give you a migraine, because once its on the disc you can't do anything with it. Using a hard drive recorder, you can trim the clips precisely on the HDD, add chapter marks, add a custom thumbnail to each clip, and accumulate them randomly until you're ready to burn the DVD-R archive disc, at which point you can create a custom playlist.

If you can't find an HDD-equipped DVD recorder, the next best solution is to record direct to DVD-RAM discs, which operate similarly to a HDD. They allow all kinds of editing and the discs are interchangeable among any DVD-RAM drives. In fact, if you're serious about archiving the ideal machine is an HDD equipped recorder which burns BOTH DVD -/+ R and DVD-RAM. (Recent Pioneers and older Panasonics). You can make a DVD-R disc for wide compatibility with standard DVD players, and also a DVD-RAM disc of the same material which you can reserve for future non-destructive editing (material on DVD-RAM can be copied back to the HDD without re-encoding.)

If you're really, REALLY serious about archiving the best method recommended here is to use a PC and capture the VHS to DV format. This will allow endless highest-quality non-destructive editing until you make a DVD-format re-encode. Hold onto those original DV files, and you'll have the ultimate archive format.
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post #5 of 77 Old 01-24-2008, 05:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

If you want to do things like"grab commercials" or "short clips" like you mentioned, you are going to need either a DVD recorder with HDD or at the very least a DVD recorder that can use DVD-RAM discs (i.e. Panasonic). Trying to archive short clips *directly* to DVD -/+R media will give you a migraine, because once its on the disc you can't do anything with it. Using a hard drive recorder, you can trim the clips precisely on the HDD, add chapter marks, add a custom thumbnail to each clip, and accumulate them randomly until you're ready to burn the DVD-R archive disc, at which point you can create a custom playlist.

If you can't find an HDD-equipped DVD recorder, the next best solution is to record direct to DVD-RAM discs, which operate similarly to a HDD. They allow all kinds of editing and the discs are interchangeable among any DVD-RAM drives. In fact, if you're serious about archiving the ideal machine is an HDD equipped recorder which burns BOTH DVD -/+ R and DVD-RAM. (Recent Pioneers and older Panasonics). You can make a DVD-R disc for wide compatibility with standard DVD players, and also a DVD-RAM disc of the same material which you can reserve for future non-destructive editing (material on DVD-RAM can be copied back to the HDD without re-encoding.)

If you're really, REALLY serious about archiving the best method recommended here is to use a PC and capture the VHS to DV format. This will allow endless highest-quality non-destructive editing until you make a DVD-format re-encode. Hold onto those original DV files, and you'll have the ultimate archive format.

I already have made DVDs of several short clips, and I am indeed able to do stuff with it. I try to keep the videos in MPEG2 format to prevent quality loss. What exactly is "DV format"? I know there are DV tapes but I didn't realize the format could be read on standard PCs.
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post #6 of 77 Old 01-24-2008, 09:41 PM - Thread Starter
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I bought a Panasonic DMR-EZ37V. It was kind of expensive at $280.

Fortunately, Target claims I can try it and return it if I don't like it, with no penalty.
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post #7 of 77 Old 01-25-2008, 04:00 AM
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Good luck SkiDragon, IMO the EZ-47's not going to gain you much. I think only the HDMI upconversion, which IMO is not worth too much. Use the component, or at the lease S-video outputs for best PQ.
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post #8 of 77 Old 01-25-2008, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

Good luck SkiDragon, IMO the EZ-47's not going to gain you much. I think only the HDMI upconversion, which IMO is not worth too much. Use the component, or at the lease S-video outputs for best PQ.

You've seen a VHS player with component outs? Personally, I would just use composite or S-video. I do agree with the DV post above.

Honestly, I'm just going straight VHS to DVD single layer. I don't see what I would gain other than wasting money on a dual layer disc. The quality of DVD IMHO is so much better than most of my recorded VHS tapes I could actually lower the quality of the DVD (from 2 hrs to 4 or 6 hrs) and it wouldn't look any worse.
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post #9 of 77 Old 01-25-2008, 10:50 AM
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SkiDragon:

Quote:
I already have made DVDs of several short clips, and I am indeed able to do stuff with it. I try to keep the videos in MPEG2 format to prevent quality loss. What exactly is "DV format"? I know there are DV tapes but I didn't realize the format could be read on standard PCs

.

Short clips is not really something direct-to-DVDR was designed for. Yes, if you use RW discs and VR format you can play around a bit with editing but they are incompatible with the majority of standard DVD players out there. You also run the risk of the disc crashing and dying on the 20th clip, forcing you to redo the entire thing. Not fun. Pre-recording to a recorder with HDD or to DVD-RAM is just better if you are going to encode straight to MPEG2- DVD format.

DV format is what tape camcorders use and what software like Apple's iMovie uses. This format takes up more space on a PC than DVD format, but has huge advantages: each frame of the video is complete in itself which is much more conducive to editing and using filters, transitions, etc. because little or no re-encoding is required to do it. Quality is preserved, and if you keep the raw file stored away you can perform endless revisions on the material whenever you want. When you need a DVD, you just author one and burn it.

If you transfer your VHS direct to DVD format, it is stuck forever as a compressed MPEG2 file and any further edits or changes will force re-encodes and quality compromises. This is actually fine for most VHS transfers because the point is usually to make a DVD and get rid of the tapes to reclaim storage space in your home. Generally you are not going to re-edit such transfers. But if you are very ambitious and think you may rework the material in future, you'll want to consider capture to DV on a PC as the master format.
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post #10 of 77 Old 01-25-2008, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
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So, how would I convert directly to DV format? With a PC capture card? I heard that the quality on many capture cards is pretty bad, but I guess there must be some good ones out there. I keep the original DVDs around, and I have been using a program called Mpeg2cut2 to cut the clips I want, which supposedly does it losslessly. I am stuck cutting to the nearest "key frame" or whatever, but I can deal with it.
Is there a way to convert DVDs or MPEG2s to "DV" format? What file extension is DV, because I have never actually seen a file in that format before.

I don't have an HDTV, but I do use component when possible. Also, I realize the risk of the DVD screwing up, since it has already happened to me, but I just have to take my chances.
Thanks.
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post #11 of 77 Old 01-26-2008, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, this DVD recorder is really no good, in my opinion. First of all the quality seems to be a little worse than the Lite-On I was using before. Perhaps not with a still image, but while a video is playing, it looks choppier, at least on my computer.
Second, for my purposes it is totally useless. The Lite-On made a DVD with VOB files that functioned as simply long MPGs with all the clips end to end. This Panasonic DVD recorder makes a separate VOB file for each clip, which would be fine except that for some bizzare reason, if I play the VOB file by itself in a program like VLC, it skips a large section of the middle of the clip. It plays through the menu, but even there it freezes a bit in the same place. I have no idea why it does this.

Is there a DVD recorder that makes long, normal VOB files like the Lite-On?
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post #12 of 77 Old 01-27-2008, 10:39 PM - Thread Starter
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http://www-personal.umich.edu/~adonald/video/

Here is an example if you want to do me a big favor. beast.MPG is a video I took from the Lite-On DVD recorder. I cropped it so it is only the commercial.

VTS_02_1.vob is taken straight from the DVD recorded on the new Panasonic recorder, and contains the same commercial, but is not cropped. This file does a weird skipping thing on most programs I try to use to play it. Try VLC for an example. Is there a way to get rid of this weird skipping phenomenon? I know the whole video is there because some programs, such as Mpeg2cut2, can see the whole thing.

Also, I am trying to decide which has the best image quality. Any thoughts?
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post #13 of 77 Old 01-29-2008, 11:56 AM
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Maybe this could be indicating a "broken timecodes" issue? I don't fully understand how this affects mpeg2 files, but I have seen similar symptoms to what you describe. Try tracking down a freeware app called MPEG Streamclip. In there, you will find a menu item "Fix Timecodes" (to get this thing running, you will also have to fuss with Quicktime components and mpeg2 lib, as part of the installation, of course- it's all explained in the installer instructions...). Anyways, when you run the Fix Timecodes operation on your vob file, it does some sort of hocus-pocus on it, and hopefully missing segments will be properly accessible, again. You will notice this when you see the indicated program time change from an unusually low value to a normal/expected value.

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post #14 of 77 Old 01-29-2008, 03:42 PM
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My friend recorded a Laserdisc to DV. I think he connected the LD player S-Video out to his Sony Handycam. I don't know which model Sony, but can find out. So if you have an S-VHS recorder with S-Video out you can probably do a direct to DV recording. Then keep this as your master digital copy. I guess you can then copy that to your PC via firewire.
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post #15 of 77 Old 01-29-2008, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Hanky View Post

Maybe this could be indicating a "broken timecodes" issue? I don't fully understand how this affects mpeg2 files, but I have seen similar symptoms to what you describe. Try tracking down a freeware app called MPEG Streamclip. In there, you will find a menu item "Fix Timecodes" (to get this thing running, you will also have to fuss with Quicktime components and mpeg2 lib, as part of the installation, of course- it's all explained in the installer instructions...). Anyways, when you run the Fix Timecodes operation on your vob file, it does some sort of hocus-pocus on it, and hopefully missing segments will be properly accessible, again. You will notice this when you see the indicated program time change from an unusually low value to a normal/expected value.

This seemed to do the trick. Thanks. However, I do not know how to save the fixed VOB file. If I just use "Save as", it seems to save the identical file with the broken timecodes. "Convert to MPEG" (which shouldn't actually convert anything, right?) made a .mpg file that plays correctly in VLC but still not in Windows Media Player. Still, it might be acceptable. Any tips?
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post #16 of 77 Old 01-29-2008, 11:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Using "Convert to Headed MPEG" seemed to do the trick. I took a test video that I had captured with both my new and old DVD recorder, and compared the resulting, cropped video clips. They looked very close in quality, and perhaps the Panasonic looked a little better, although it had a weird VHS artifact in the lower left corner. I then uploaded this clip onto YouTube to compare it to the upload from the Lite-On recorder. For whatever reason, YouTube really screwed with the quality of the new clip, and the old Lite-On clip looks much nicer, on YouTube at least. Check it out if you would:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8o7gCJpvw6M

Is there a good way I can pre-process my clip so that it looks just as good on YouTube? I want a good "archive" file, but it would also be nice for the uploads to look nice.
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post #17 of 77 Old 01-30-2008, 06:44 PM
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Glad you found a solution, as you were going to the next step which I had no experience to offer. My particular uses went to the demux route, so I had never encountered what you described.

Sounds like you need to move to a full-featured transcoder software to do the preprocessing you describe. I don't have much experience with recommended software in that area, but there is a software I have been playing around with past couple of weeks. It is still in a very early stage of development, so you will need some patience with bugs and generally fussy nature. It is quite versatile, once you have it figured it out, though. Try looking up freeware called MediaCoder. There are configurations for making adjustments to the video prior to actual encoding. I have no idea how ironed out there are, or if they are functional (the intent of the development is there, though).

Alternately, you may look into freeware software called VLC. That has similar transcoding and alteration functions.

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post #18 of 77 Old 01-30-2008, 11:59 PM - Thread Starter
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I spent a while looking up how to upload high quality videos to YouTube and how to trick the system so that my video wont be recompressed.

Then I looked at the video I uploaded again, and it seems to be better quality. It seems that YouTube initially put up a lower quality video, and over the past 24 hours reconverted it to make it better. It's very strange, but good news I suppose.
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post #19 of 77 Old 01-31-2008, 12:46 PM
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I believe I've heard it here(somewhere)...that acrhiving onto DVD is not really archiving in the strictest sense.

Taking that to heart, I have a bunch of old SVHS, VHS and 8MM tapes I want to preserve, so I bought a DAC-200, and saved the footage to .avi files on a hard drive I set aside for that purpose. The files were larger than if I had put the footage directly on to DVD's, however my editing software plays much better with avi files. The unedited files stay on hard drives until I want to put something together for family or friends. I just gather the assets in my editing program, add transitions, effects, and a menu, then burn to DVD.

Dont much like archiving to DVD...but I have used DVD-RAM to archive some of the avi files from captured tape footage.

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post #20 of 77 Old 02-06-2008, 05:24 PM
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When using the front panel control for copying on a DMR-EZ37 (or other current model Panasonic combo recorder) the video tape plays until a videotape index mark or real or imagined program break is encountered. The videotape stops and the DVD recording stops at that point. The videotape rewinds briefly. Then the videotape starts playing and the DVD recording restarts as a new “title.” This is an annoying feature.

Here are two workarounds. Both require connecting an external VCR to an INPUT.

I suggest making a notation of the real-time duration of the recording you wish to copy before you start.

Workaround #1. With the REC MODE button set the recording speed you wish to use. Play the videotape on the external VCR, then start recording from the INPUT with the DMR-EZ37. You may command preset recording periods of 0:30, 1:00, 1:30, 2:00, 3:00, or 4:00 by additional presses of the REC command while recording. You may wish to set those preset recording periods when your item's remaining playing time coincides with any of those recording durations.

Workaround #2. Program a “scheduled” recording, with or without Flexible Recording, where you will play the videotape on the external VCR during the scheduled recording period you have specified. Remember to select the correct INPUT as the channel to be recorded in the Schedule menu. Be sure to program a couple of extra minutes into the ending time. Remember that the DMR-EZ37 will only start scheduled recordings when the machine is powered off (standby). Watch to see when the DMR-EZ37 powers itself on. You may watch the TV beginning at that point. Notice that the DMR-EZ37 powers on in the "pause recording" phase. One minute later the DMR-EZ37 will actually start recording. At that time start the videotape playing on the external VCR. You may revise the ending time in the Schedule menu during recording, unless you have set up a Flexible Recording.

These procedures provide seamless recordings and restore control of the DMR-EZ37 to you.

These procedures may also be used with Panasonic DVD recorders without VHS sections.

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post #21 of 77 Old 02-06-2008, 05:50 PM
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Digado,
On my es-30 I can just play the VHS, and record on the DVD from the TP input. I do this all through the remote. Not using the front panel buttons. Nothing starts and stops by itself. Are you saying with the new EZ's w/VHS that they cannot be setup to copy a tape in this manor? Without this automatic start/stop thing.

Note even though it can be easily done this way on the es-30, I still generally use a external VCR, since I find juggling the VHS and DVD's pause and scan buttons with the one remote can be tedious. I like one remote for each device, but it can be done on the es-30.
Note I never really got into the one button dub that is on the front of my es-30, I rather chose to play, then record with the remote.
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post #22 of 77 Old 02-06-2008, 07:07 PM
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Jeff,

In my project dubbing around 5,200 titles from videotape to DVD I used menu initiated dubbing/copying (entered through the FUNCTIONS button on DMR-ES30V and DMR-ES35V remotes) for perhaps 85% of these recordings. The other 15% utilized external VCRs with one or the other of the "workaround" methods described in my earlier post.

FUNCTIONS menu initiated dubbing/copying makes it simple to set up Time Limited dubbing/copying and/or Flexible dubbing/copying that provide for seamless recordings.

Panasonic did not continue these features into current model combo recorders.

Perhaps the current model combo recorders may be set to copy with the method you suggest, but it is not mentioned in the PDF versions of current combo recorder Operating Instructions found on the Panasonic Support website.

As my dubbing project was concluded in September--before I read your earlier post describing the procedure--I have not had occasion to try this out for myself on my Panasonic combo recorders.

Five of the combo recorders used in my dubbing project have between 2,250 and 4,200 hours of recording (averaging around 3,000 recording hours per machine). While still functional, all five will have been set aside for servicing and standby use in the next few days. The last two still in current use will be replaced by another DMR-ES35V and a DMR-ES15 that I have used very little.

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post #23 of 77 Old 02-06-2008, 08:03 PM
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Jeff,

My DMR-ES30V and DMR-ES35V are full-featured combo recorders that have served me well, especially when I have made huge demands of them.

As I have already begun the move into the digital tuner era with my DMR-EZ17 and a new 19" LCD HDTV in my home office, I am pondering a different utilization scenario in the next generation of DVD recorders.

I am just now starting to look at the threads dealing with the Philips DVDR3575H. I have seen that you find that the Philips does not quite equal the picture quality found with Panasonics. I assume that your comparison is of same-speed recordings. I am especially interested in any observations you care to make concerning color reproduction at LP, the four hour per DVD speed, or black and white reproduction, at the six hour per DVD speed. And is it possible to record to hard drive at one quality level, say SP or LP, and copy this material to DVD at a different quality level, say at the six hour per DVD speed? Or is the six hour per DVD speed, even with black and white program material, of an inferior picture quality with the Philips?

I will appreciate any comments you care to make.

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post #24 of 77 Old 02-06-2008, 08:25 PM
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And is it possible to record to hard drive at one quality level, say SP or LP, and copy this material to DVD at a different quality level, say at the six hour per DVD speed? Or is the six hour per DVD speed, even with black and white program material, of an inferior picture quality with the Philips?

Any dubbing from one rec speed to another, will be done in real time-the actual length of the program. So if you record to the hdd in SP mode, and want to dub to a disc in LP mode, it will be a real time dub, and the picture quality will take a hit as it's re-encoded in the new rec mode.

So yes, it's poissible, but time consuming, and yields pic quality less than the original. High speed dubbing material from the hdd to disc, in the program's recorded speed is best/recommended.

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post #25 of 77 Old 02-06-2008, 08:36 PM
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Why must you use DVD? A $20 capture card for your PC will archive VHS much more elegantly than DVD.

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post #26 of 77 Old 02-07-2008, 02:26 PM
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Digado,
I personally did not think the PQ of the 3575 equaled any of my Panny DVDR's. I just didn't see the depth and resolution I had come to expect with them. Now I'm not saying the 3575 is bad, and recording off of a digital HD channel produced some very good PQ recordings, I might even say better than the same program recorded off of a SD channel on any of my Panny's. But IMO recording the same program on my EZ-17(or older ES machines fed the HD lite signal from the EZ machines tuner, via S-out) produced a superior picture. Now this is SP for SP, where I believe the Philips really suffers is anything below the SP speed. There is a noticeable drop in resolution on the Philips on all speeds below SP. I believe Panasonic is the only mfg. that produces full resolution on speeds above SP, all the way up to 4hr LP. Note this produces a side effect with the Panny's, most noticeable is macroblocking on fast moving objects, but assuming more stationary images, the Panasonic LP PQ IMO cant be beat.

Now I really don't record a lot of B & W material, and never was able to record any on my 3575, before giving it to my father, I sure know the Panny's can sure produce some very fine B&W recordings, even on the LP speed.
Note my father really loves the 3575. He records a LOT, and I believe using the 6hr speed every time I ask. He mostly records talk shows and was using mostly EP8 on his previous Panny's. He has a 20" Vizio, and sits 10'? from the screen. (I always detest when he gives me something to watch from any of his machines, it really looks poor to me), but I guess he's satisfied. To each his own.

Another thing you may miss about the 3575 is the lack of a 8hr speed. My father was kinda bummed about this, until I told him that he could still fit 168hrs of 6hr speed on the HDD. Note depending on your preferences you may really like the 3575, I think it's worth a try. With the great return policy of Walmart, you have nothing to loose. I think you'll like the operation of the Philips compared to the Panny's. They have some nice features not found on Panny's, and having never had a DVDR w/HDD I really loved it on the 3575. Too bad Panasonic is refusing to make a HDD DVDR w/ASTC digital tuner. I would really think about Canada, but the digital tuner is a MUST for me on any future purchases.
I think until that time I will be purchasing some of the new digital tuner boxes and will try hooking them up to the S-input of some of my older ES machines. I'm hoping to get similar PQ as on my EZ-17. I really like the WS part of the new ASTC tuners, and I really dislike recording off of SD channels anymore, having gotten used to the HD lite recordings made on my EZ machine(as flaky as it is). Note I am only OTA, and all my local channels have a HD equivalent, except for a few that I don't really record off of.

Note another thing you may like about the 3575 is it's ability to record to HDD, then edit material deleting commercials etc. and then high speed copying to a DVD with no loss in PQ. As Westly said, you must keep the speed the same for HS copying, so you cannot say record HQ to the HDD, and then change the speed to SP for the DVD, unless you record in real time, and that will produce picture degradation.

One last note about PQ. Even recording SD material on the 3575 I would say it's no worse than any other DVDR I have used in the past(and actually better using a HD channel for source). Before I purchased my Panny's I tried many brand recorders. Ilo, Cyberhome, Lite-on, Sony, LG and yes even Pioneer. I really prefered the PQ of Panasonics, which is why I have stuck with them over the years. Note from reading peoples results with Pio's I have to wonder if maybe I got a bad unit, I only tried the one from Sams club about 4yrs ago, and I believe it was just a DVDR w/no HDD. I probably only had it a day before exchanging it for the Panny ES-30, which I was more than satisfied with. And it's been all Panny's from there on, except for my brief use of the Philps 3575, where I really gained a appreciation for a HDD in a recorder.
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post #27 of 77 Old 02-08-2008, 01:22 AM
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The earlier Pio's only had so-so PQ (except maybe those $1000.00 - $1800.00 TiVo models). They really only started getting to where they are now about 2 or 3 models back. Yours might have been from just before then. Being Sam's Club, that model could've been hanging around there for a long time, as that last (and probably only) VCR/DVD recorder Pio sold had been, up until a couple of years back. That thing was on their shelves for a few years at their store here by me. I think it was because they were stuck with such a huge stock of them that they couldn't sell because that thing had to have been the ugliest recorder ever made (there had to be piles of them that never seemed to get any smaller in all that time). Actually, it might even have had a small hard drive, but that still didn't make it any more attractive. I don't think it was even made by the same manufacturers that made their other DVD recorders. I think it was bought from someone else and rebranded, just so they'd have some kind of VHS/DVD model out there. And as far as I know, it was only available at Sam's. The only good thing I ever heard about it was that a couple of people here said that the VCR had pretty good PQ. I think it got down to around $198.98, or maybe even under, and it still couldn't sell.
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post #28 of 77 Old 02-08-2008, 04:36 AM
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Yes Ramm you are describing it to a tee. Note normally I'm not one that really cares what a devices looks like, I care more about how it records, but none the less it was very ugly, and I remember they had been at Sams for a year or more. From the way people talk about Pio's I couldn't believe they would have all recorded like the one I tried. Good to know if Pioneer ever comes back to the US, and has a ASTC tuner and HDD(not holding my breath though), I might give them a try again. Do you know if Pio's keep there full resolution at the LP(4hr) speed? That's what really sold me on the Panny's, although lately I try and not go above about 3hrs in FR mode if PQ is of most importance due to the fact I'm more aware of the macroblocing thing.
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post #29 of 77 Old 02-08-2008, 04:01 PM
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No, I don't know that much about the Pio's. But since I don't have one, that would also be at the top of my list if they, as you say, come out with new HDD models with digital tuners.

There are plenty of recent US/Canadian/International model owners here that should be able to answer that.
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post #30 of 77 Old 02-08-2008, 09:12 PM
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Yes, Pioneer DVD recorders keep the same resolution all the way out to LP (4 hour) speed. Mostly in answer to the obsessive Panasonic owners who made such a big noise when Panasonic heavily promoted this arguable feature awhile back. LP at "full" resolution looks like macroblocked crap to most people on a flat screen display, while LP at "half" resolution appears softer but runs smoother depending on the source. Either one is a compromise and a definite matter of personal taste, some people are more sensitive to either blocks or softness. The mfrs should really let you choose the resolution setting yourself so you can match it to the material you're recording. But that would be too easy, right?

No matter what Panasonic or anyone else says, standard-def DVD-R craps out at about SP+ speed (135 mins or so), beyond that it rapidly becomes unwatchable on an LCD display. Some older recorders dropped to half D1 resolution at roughly the 155min speed, this sometimes made a surprisingly decent recording. But this was also three years ago when you could still buy a nice Sony Trinitron Wega 27" CRT that would conceal lots of digital nasties: todays LCD screens are a horror show with anything less than downrezzed HDTV. If you can ignore blocks and noise to concentrate on the actual recording, good for you, you'll be happier than most.
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