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How do U.S. residents buy a Pioneer DVD recorder from Canada?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I want to buy a Pioneer DVR-560 or DVR-660 DVD recorder/player from Canada, but cannot find out how and where to do it. Pioneer-USA advised me that the serial number must end in "CA." BestBuy.ca and FutureStore.ca will not ship to the U.S. so where do I order it from?:
post #2 of 20
It's lovely this time of year. Have you considered coming up for a visit?

Otherwise, a more pedestrian approach would be a popular auction site that starts with E and ends with bay. Also, a member here, Citibear, might know some people who know some people...
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Sorry, I cannot travel that far because of health. I have tried every thing I know how, including ebay, without any results. Local Best Buy cannot order or help me. I need to find a store that will sell and ship from Canada to the U.S.
post #4 of 20
Find a Canadian and have him buy it and ship it to you?

I couldn't find any stores. Might be some duty restrictions or something. I dunno.
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
How do I contact this "Citibear?"
post #6 of 20
He's a member here.
post #7 of 20
The choice of models "easily" available to Americans by mail is very narrow compared to what you can obtain by visiting Canada or having a Canadian friend/relative buy it and ship it to you. The 550, 650, 560 and 660 are impossible to obtain without going to Canada yourself or asking a Canadian to buy it for you- period. These models are in high demand, when they get returned by clueless buyers they are immediately marked down as "open box" and blown out of the stores. They are not sitting around in quantity so some internet liquidator can come along and get them for you.

On eBay or on various electronics import sites, you will occasionally see a 550, 560, 650 or 660 but the prices will be outrageous, close to $1000, and these are generally not the Canadian/North America version but the complex "international" models with oddball tuners and connections. There are members here who heartily recommend such "international" units, but I think they're a rippoff unless you are utterly desperate and have money to burn. (The Pioneer international units have particularly strange timers that require tricky settings to even make them visible on a USA television- beware.)

The North American Pioneers most frequently seen on eBay are the 540 and 450 (eventually we may see the new 460 pop up as well). The 540 is a 640 with a smaller hard drive (80GB vs 160GB) and no USB socket. The 450 is identical to the 550 but does not have USB or DV sockets (it does have HDMI). The new 460 has not been liquidated yet, it is identical in every way to a 560.These appear often on eBay because they are special models Pioneer makes for warehouse clubs who buy thousands of them at a time to put on sale. Of course the typical warehouse customer finds a DVD/HDD recorder "too complicated" and returns it almost immediately, so CostCo etc winds up sitting on hundreds of brand new "opened box" Pioneer recorders it can't get rid of. Eventually an electronics liquidator will buy dozens at a time from these warehouses, and put them up for auction on eBay, where on average they sell for $250-325 including shipping to USA. I have bought several of these over the years and never had a problem. If you can get over the psychological hurdle that someone else opened the box before you did, they are an excellent buy and the easiest way for an American to obtain a current Pioneer recorder.

There are two liquidators on eBay I have dealt with successfully, one is in Montreal and is a little hard to communicate with because their French is better than their English. The other is elsewhere in Ontario and is very easy to deal with. I'm sure its against forum rules for me to recommend an eBay dealer by name, so I'll just say he's easy to find by searching for "pioneer dvd recorder", looking at any of the DVR-450 listings that come up, and zeroing in on the seller whose "handle" is his three letter name combined with a four digit number. He generally has one or two DVR-450s listed every ten days, although I don't see one today. His listings never change- there is a picture of the unit and its box, and a narrow column of text describing what "open box" means and detailing a one-year warranty.
post #8 of 20
Here's one selling in the U.S.
Ebay Item number: 320278596756
post #9 of 20
My experience with buying two Pioneers Hard Drive International recorders was excellent. I paid under $400.00 for each recorder and found both as easy to use as my E50 Panasonic. The time setting for one of the recorders is in Zulu, which is 1 - 24, eliminating separate settings for AM & PM. No problem, very easy to use.

The coaxial cable connections are European design. Adapters are available from the sites selling the recorders and cost around $5.00. I didn't purchase them because I didn't need to hook up a coaxial cable. I hooked my DirecTV receiver to the recorder's s-video and audio cable inputs.

The Pioneer recorders allow you to set the thumbnail, enter a title, select the menu and setup for finalizing when dubbing from the hard drive. When the dubbing is finished the DVD is ready for viewing.

Pioneer makes the very best hard drive recorder with Panasonic a very close second. All other makes are mediocre compared to Pioneer and Panasonic. I also own the Philip's hard drive recorder and its okay, nothing special.
post #10 of 20
Originally Posted by 80sGuy View Post

Here's one selling in the U.S.
Ebay Item number: 320278596756

I got some French-artist music CD when I put in that number.
post #11 of 20
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

I got some French-artist music CD when I put in that number.

Works for me. On both the Canadian and the US site, I get a "Pioneer DVR-640H (160 GB) DVD Recorder / HDD Recorder" sold by some guy from Mentor, OH.
post #12 of 20
Hmmm. I'll have to try it again. I re-checked that the number was correct countless times. Maybe I wasn't entering it in the right place.

On second thought, nevermind. I'm not really interested in one of those anyway. I though he might be referring to a Panasonic EH55V.
post #13 of 20
I copied and pasted that item number instead of typing it in, so the Pioneer 640 listing appeared straightaway.

A new, sealed in box DVR-640 is a nice thing to have but not at the price this one seems poised to run up to. I smell a bidding war in which case this one is going to get way overpriced: its already at the outside limit of its true value. Before I pay $500 for a 640 I'd look for a later 450, or pay someone in Canada $100 to buy me a 650 and still come in below $500.
post #14 of 20
If you are able to spend approx. $530 total including shipping, J&R Music World in New York City sells the Pioneer DVR-550H-S in their Manhattan store and also on their website jandr.com. This particular version does include both PAL and NTSC tuners and is otherwise pretty much the same DVR-550 sold in Canada. The price is reasonable given that J&R is a very reputable dealer that has been a NYC staple for 30 years in the same location (they started with a tiny record store near City Hall and eventually expanded to take up the entire block with multiple "department" stores: one for Apple computers and Windows PCs, one for Video hardware, one for Audio, etc.) They are not some fly-by-night importer.

Keep in mind what I said earlier: these multi-region international models are not that easy to set up for a neophyte in the USA. They come from the factory preset for use as PAL recorders, you must read the manual very carefully and use a specific button code on the remote to switch the tuner and outputs over to American NTSC settings. If you do this incorrectly, all you will see is a rolling illegible setup screen on your TV. Also, I have had numerous offline conversations with other AVS members who have purchased these units and gotten totally lost trying to set the timers on them. Not only are these timers on 24-hr military time, they are damn near invisible until, again, you play around with certain settings to switch them to NTSC. Additionally, you'll need adapters for the AC cord and for the antenna connections. None of this is insurmountable, just a pain if you want to be up and running immediately and don't have prior experience with "complicated" video devices.

Personally I would opt for an "open-box" Canadian refurb deal on an NTSC DVR-450 at half the price, but to each his own. If you want a brand-new, sealed-box Pioneer DVR-550 from a truly reputable USA dealer, this J&R offering is tough to beat. (They also have a Panasonic DMR67 at about the same price, but that unit has a PAL-only tuner, is region-3 playback only, and is not as good a value.)
post #15 of 20
B&H stocks this one if you want to spend the bucks.

Pioneer DVR-LX70 Multi-System DVD Recorder

* Internal 500GB HDD
* 1080p Upconversion
* Built-in TV Tuners
* HDMI Deep Color Out
* DV Input
* USB Input
* Editing/Dubbing Capabilities
* DivX Certified
* Dolby Digital Decoder
* Records: DVD+R/W, DVD-R/W, DVD-RAM


Here's more (retailer in California)
post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
Somehow the model numbers I am interested got transposed by some of the responders. I am looking for Pioneer DVR-560 (Canada SN only) or Pioneer DVR-660 (Canada SN only). Pioneer tells me I must have the "CA" at the end of the Serial Number to work correctly in the U.S.

Now, does anyone know how I can get one of these units shipped to the U.S.?
post #17 of 20
We do understand you specifically asked for the DVR-560 and DVR-660, we're simply pointing out that it is not possible to obtain those specific Canadian models unless you go to Canada yourself or know someone there who can ship one to you. They randomly pop up on eBay every few weeks by private Canadian sellers looking to make a killing, but that's it.

No one actually uses the "ca" at the end of the model name, Pioneer is pulling your leg because they actively prefer Americans to NOT import these units. Any Pioneer sold by Canada retailers like Future Shop is the official "ca" version: no others are sent to Canada. Pioneer makes great recorders but has an extremely testy, snotty and territorial policy about service. For all intents and purposes there is NO service in the USA for the current Canadian models, and if you ship a broken one back to Pioneer Canada they will not repair it unless you provide a receipt proving you purchased it from a Canadian retailer. Catch-22. So if your concern is service, forget it as any sort of criteria: there is no service.

Your choice is to compromise on your model preference, or bug everyone you know until you can network your way to a Canadian contact who will agree to buy one for you. I don't know what you are basing your 560/660 preference on, but seriously there is virtually zero advantage in a new 560 over last years 550. About all the 560 adds is a better remote, and you can buy one of those separately for about $40 if you want it that badly. Otherwise the two units are identical. The 660 adds a dubious ethernet jack, which may or may not be of any practical use but does command a large price premium over the 560 or 550.

At the moment the 560 and 660 are still too new for the grey market "region-free" importers to have gotten a hold of, because Pioneer has not yet created an "international" version. So the only new-in-box Pioneer model readily available in the USA is the the 550 international unit I mentioned in an earlier post. It has an analog NTSC tuner and when set up properly it is functionally equivalent to the Canadian DVR-550. (BTW, Canada is not moving to ATSC for a few years yet and has no government policy forcing recorders to have ATSC tuners, so there are not and will not be any Pioneers with ATSC tuners for at least another 3 years, if ever.)
post #18 of 20
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

No one actually uses the "ca" at the end of the model name, Pioneer is pulling your leg because they actively prefer Americans to NOT import these units. Any Pioneer sold by Canada retailers like Future Shop is the official "ca" version: no others are sent to Canada.

The "CA" the OP is referring to is not in the model name, it is in the serial number. I have seen photos of Canadian Pioneer DVDRs on auction sites and it indeed had a CA at the end of the serial number.

I think that Pioneer adds the CA to the serial number to identify it as being distributed for sale in Canada.
post #19 of 20
Originally Posted by rgazzara View Post

The "CA" the OP is referring to is not in the model name, it is in the serial number.

I just checked my own 540 and 450 units and sure enough, they have "ca" at the end of the serial number. My apologies for disbelieving earlier, but PioneerUSA has given some pretty goofy answers in the past to Americans seeking info on the Canadian models and this just seemed suspicious to me. In any case it is kind of a red herring: if you have someone buy for you from a typical "name" Canadian retailer like Future Shop or Best Buy, its 100% guaranteed the unit will have the "ca" serial number. And its pretty certain any internet dealer who specifies they are selling "Canadian" refurbs or overstocks has the "ca" units: there is no point in lying, because the "non-ca" units actually sell for more money.

Regarding the DVR-LX70 available at some USA stores for approx $1000, this is a very nice "international" unit that appears to be based upon the new DVR-560, which would explain why there haven't been any DVR-560 "international" units floating around (apparently Pioneer finally got a clue that naming five or six different units "DVR-550" last year was confusing). HOWEVER, unless you very definitely need a couple of obscure features that are exclusive to the DVR-LX70 it is staggeringly overpriced compared to the otherwise-identical "international" DVR-550 from last year. Features of the DVR-LX70 not included on the intl DVR-550 are: 500GB HDD vs 160GB, additional DVB-T tuner (European "ATSC" system), black cabinet instead of silver, and nicer 2008-series remote. Of these four, the only truly significant advantage is the extra DVB-T tuner. But it doubles the price, and is utterly useless to USA residents. Unless you plan to spend a large amount of time dragging your recorder between New York and London, the added DVB-T tuner in the DVR-LX70 is about as useful as burning $400 with a cigarette lighter.
post #20 of 20
I got two 450s at reasonable prices from http://www.bestcost.ca through their eBay store. Shipping, however, was not cheap. I either read on this forum or figured out via some other means that these were returns from Canadian Costco stores. Both of my units (and the Pio non-HDD VCR/DVDR machine I also got from B-C) looked like new and had all their accesories. I wanted the 160 gig drive, ability to fine-tune disc capacity more precisely than the typical 1-, 2-, 4-, 6-, and 8-hour increments found on most HDD DVDRs, and Pioneer's reliability. But, yeah, I had to accept the lack of warranty coverage. And the tuner is NTSC only, so I'm feeding mine with separate DTV tuners.

Also try http://www.world-import.com but, again, don't expect to get a Pio at a bargain price.
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