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Panasonic EH-68 confusion PAL/NTSC

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
Okay, I am a NUT (according to my wife). I decided to sell my EH-67, which I have had for a while, and get the newer EH-68, mostly because I want to know if there were any improvements. I wouldn't have done it if I hadn't been able to sell the original machine, I'm not THAT crazy.

Anyway, it arrived yesterday. I quickly hooked it to my television via HDMI and powered it on. (initial impressions) It has the same look and feel as the EH-67. Unlike the EH-67, the EH-68 was set up for NTSC out of the box. I didn't connect it to my DirecTV receiver, so I was unable to do any recording. I went through setup and it all seemed VERY familiar. I did set the clock (as expected, it isn't a 12 hour AM/PM but a 24 hour clock).

Here is the confusing bit. This is a region free machine, but the web site says very clearly that it will not convert between PAL and NTSC. This is not just the W-I web site, but every one I could find says this. I had bought some region 2, PAL disks, so along with the recorder, I bought a PAL/NTSC converter. Well the converter isn't supposed to arrive until today, so I cannot play the disks. The setup clearly says the recorder is in NTSC mode. On a whim, I put in one of the disks because I wanted to see what error message I would get. The error was indeed strange--it played the disk to my television just fine! Okay, I say to myself, maybe it's because I am using HDMI, so I set up a composite link. Again, it works fine! Huh?!?

I take the disk to my $30 Walmart DVD player and it won't play. I then put it in my EH55 (US) and it won't play. I put it in my very old Sony DVD player and it says, "cannot play--area restriction" on the screen. I expected this because the disks should be region 2 (UK). I get out my EH67 (which I still physically have) and it plays the disk just fine too. I doubt that my Vizio is a multi region television, and my Panasonic 53" isn't either. For all I can tell, the machine certainly appears to be converting the PAL disks to NTSC, in defiance of what I had been led to believe. The picture was very good.

If anyone has any specific questions, ask away. I don't guarantee I can answer them. As I have said, I used DirecTV as my sole source, so the tuner was never an issue. I guess I'll have to record something to test much of anything. Oh, the 67 and the 68 came with the same remote. the 68 STILL responds to my very old E80 remote, which I use because it has the DVD drive open/close button that the more modern remotes lack. The 68 responds to the open/close command.

The manual is hard to follow, but it says nothing (to me) about playing a PAL disk with the machine in NTSC mode and having an NTSC video stream being produced.
post #2 of 64
Vizio is a multi-system TV able to display either NTSC or PAL which means you only not need a region-free player, not a video converter. Most off-brand LCDs are multi-system while name brands such as Sony, Samsung, Toshiba, Panasonic, etc are not. I own both Vizio and Sony LCDs and only the Vizio can display PAL video from a region-free player/recorder that does not include a video converter.
post #3 of 64
What is the W-I website? Is that where you purchased it from? I've been eyeing one to get as a backup for my DMR-EH75V. As soon as I'm done with my old vhs tapes, I'll only need to archive from line-in. Do you know if it can easily switch back and forth between recording PAL and NTSC material on the HDD? I mean, once it's set up for NTSC, can it be changed back to PAL and then back again to NTSC? I have some PAL tapes and a worldwide vcr, but I wouldn't want to have to reset/reformat the unit every time I need to archive. Thanks,

EDIT: Nevermind the 1st question, I see it's world-import.com. Does anyone have any experience with 220-electronics.com, 110220volts.com or samstores.com?
post #4 of 64
No surprise, just undocumented like a few of the other specs for the EH67/68.

My EH67 said it was 220v/50Hz. It works fine on 120v/60Hz and has done so for more than a year.

Spec says Region 3 only, but someone at J&R must have performed the region-free mod, which is fairly simple if you have the right remote.

Plays PAL on NTSC TVs - yes, indeed. This is not a vestige of your Vizio TV, as I have found it true on several old analog TVs.

My theory: specs are what it is guaranteed to do. To discourage use in markets not intended for the device, the specs don't tell the entire story.

Alas, the tuner is weirdly PAL only for the Singapore market.

A great DVD recorder. Too bad Panasonic has lost interest in the North American market.

By the way, in addition to J&R, B&H has carried these recorders. Search carefully at the website, as they do not appear in their normal DVD recorder section.
post #5 of 64
Ernie6 is of course, correct. No name digital TVs have a good chance of being multi system while the bigger names lock that feature out. I'm not sure what's up with your Panny plasma though, but if it's displaying your Pal DVD it must be multi system. Try the DISPLAY button on your TVs, on my Sony LCD anyway it says NTSC in the display screen(which is funny because it probably only plays NTSC).
Cheap DVD players many times also have PAL playback. A $16.95 Harmon Tech player I bought on black Friday 2 years ago has PAL for a option, but since it's only region ONE the DVD would have to have no region code(which eliminates most commercial DVDs).
Your international Pannys on the other hand will play all regions so you only need a multi system TV which it sounds like both of yours are.
Note without the converter that you're buying you wouldn't be able to copy your PAL DVD to say a NTSC DVDR since the NTSC DVDR only records in NTSC and even if you fed your EH-57 from your EH-58 the resulting DVD would still be PAL unless you change the system with a converter.

I'm not sure how expensive your converter was but Oppo and some other DVD players will play a PAL DVD and output it as NTSC. I think Oppos start at >$150 so if your got your converter cheap enough it's probably still your best bet.

edit:mmihalik, are you saying you outputted your EH-57 to a tube non multi system TV and it displayed the PAL DVD? If so the EH must be doing the conversion, odd indeed Tube TVs will NOT display PAL unless they're multi system (or PAL only).
post #6 of 64
i got my pioneer 550hs from 220 with no problems, they usually include the voltage converter (since it's an international model). unit has been rock solid in performance for over a year now.
just to expand your choices though, there are also canadian models available for probably less and according to much more experienced members, they have less of a learning curve since they are basically domestic.
hope this helps!
post #7 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ernie6 View Post

Vizio is a multi-system TV able to display either NTSC or PAL which means you only not need a region-free player, not a video converter. Most off-brand LCDs are multi-system while name brands such as Sony, Samsung, Toshiba, Panasonic, etc are not. I own both Vizio and Sony LCDs and only the Vizio can display PAL video from a region-free player/recorder that does not include a video converter.

The manual for the Vizio I was using says nothing about PAL. A search of the manual on-line yeilds nothing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by i86time View Post

What is the W-I website? Is that where you purchased it from? I've been eyeing one to get as a backup for my DMR-EH75V. As soon as I'm done with my old vhs tapes, I'll only need to archive from line-in.

I think you found this. It is indeed world-import, site is here.
Quote:


Do you know if it can easily switch back and forth between recording PAL and NTSC material on the HDD? I mean, once it's set up for NTSC, can it be changed back to PAL and then back again to NTSC? I have some PAL tapes and a worldwide vcr, but I wouldn't want to have to reset/reformat the unit every time I need to archive. Thanks,

The changeover is very easy. It can be done through the menu system, or from the front panel (two button press and hold).
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmihalik View Post

No surprise, just undocumented like a few of the other specs for the EH67/68.

My EH67 said it was 220v/50Hz. It works fine on 120v/60Hz and has done so for more than a year.

As did my EH67. The EH68 clearly states in the back where the power cord attachment is, that it will work with multiple power systems.
Quote:


Spec says Region 3 only, but someone at J&R must have performed the region-free mod, which is fairly simple if you have the right remote.

Plays PAL on NTSC TVs - yes, indeed. This is not a vestige of your Vizio TV, as I have found it true on several old analog TVs.

My theory: specs are what it is guaranteed to do. To discourage use in markets not intended for the device, the specs don't tell the entire story.

Mine is region 2, but W-I made it region free, at least is says so on the web page.

The output works with my old CRT projection Panasonic PT-53WX53.

Maybe your theory about specifications is correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

Ernie6 is of course, correct. No name digital TVs have a good chance of being multi system while the bigger names lock that feature out. I'm not sure what's up with your Panny plasma though...

The television is an older model (see above).
Quote:


...Note without the converter that you're buying you wouldn't be able to copy your PAL DVD to say a NTSC DVDR since the NTSC DVDR only records in NTSC and even if you fed your EH-57 from your EH-58 the resulting DVD would still be PAL unless you change the system with a converter.

Yup, that's a big point.
Quote:


edit:mmihalik, are you saying you outputted your EH-57 to a tube non multi system TV and it displayed the PAL DVD? If so the EH must be doing the conversion, odd indeed Tube TVs will NOT display PAL unless they're multi system (or PAL only).

That's what I am saying too.

I'll try to run it through a few paces and see how it does. My suspicion is, it will be fine. The PAL/NTSC thing took me more than a little by surprise and ate up my evening. I'll see what happen with a few experiments this evening.
post #8 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post


If anyone has any specific questions, ask away. I don't guarantee I can answer them.

I'm not sure if you want to crack the cover on your new baby, but if you do I'd love to have a verification of what type of CPU the EH-68 uses. The CPU may or may not have a heat sink covering it's top. If it has a heat sink you probably don't want to mess with removing it but I'd really like to know if it's Panasonic or LSI/Magnum. I was told international Pannys would have the Panasonic chip but I don't know if my source knew of the EH-68. If you're not familiar the CPU will be the largest chip, maybe about 1"+ square and somewhere on the main board, probably not the power supply board.
Oh and you might want to play with the Gracenote thing. I think if you put in a older CD it's supposed to display things like artist, title, etc. Your EH-57 didn't have that feature. The reason I say older CD is you'd have to somehow update the machine for CDs released after the DVDR was made. I think I read in the manual you somehow update it via the web.
post #9 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by raccerexx View Post

i got my pioneer 550hs from 220 with no problems, they usually include the voltage converter (since it's an international model). unit has been rock solid in performance for over a year now.
just to expand your choices though, there are also canadian models available for probably less and according to much more experienced members, they have less of a learning curve since they are basically domestic.
hope this helps!

Thanks for the info. That's good to hear. I had contacted three e-tailers that list this product, asking a couple questions and if the unit was in stock. None have emailed me back in 4-5 days. I guess they figure with this kind of merchandise, you want it or you don't.

I had considered the Pioneer 460/560/660 models as word has it they also do a superior job of encoding. But I can't seem to find a place that has them at a reasonable price. For the cost of a 560 or a bit more, I can get the DMR-EH68 (which has a larger HDD). Since I have a Panny already I know how the interface works. Plus, I do have some PAL tapes.
post #10 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

The changeover is very easy. It can be done through the menu system, or from the front panel (two button press and hold).

Thanks for that info. I'll probably be picking one up now. Did the unit come with a US 2 or 3 prong cord, or did it need an adapter?


Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

...I'd love to have a verification of what type of CPU the EH-68 uses. ...I'd really like to know if it's Panasonic or LSI/Magnum. I was told international Pannys would have the Panasonic chip but I don't know if my source knew of the EH-68.

Is one better than the other at encoding (or offering better features)? Is there a site which lists the benefits of one over the other?
post #11 of 64
In the past WI has supplied the $2 converter plug that converts from the 2 round plugs to our 2 vertical plugs.
AFA the LSI vs Panasonic CPU I've seen very little mentioned about what machines have what chips. I just know the older more reliable ES Panasonics had the Panasonic CPU and were very reliable. AFAIK every (US) Panasonic that had the LSI chip has been plagued with bugs and quirks. Because of this I'd personally want to stick to a Panasonic CPU if possible. AFA the features I've been told this is more a function of the firmware that drives the chip which may actually be the source of the bugs in the way the Panasonic firmware talks to the LSI CPU. Feature wise the machines are very similar and other than the bugs you wouldn't know the machines had different CPUs.
For encoding some people actually prefer the LSI chip for less macroblocking although I've used both machines and I can't say I notice a difference in encoding, but I do notice the bugs
post #12 of 64
The EH67/EH68 DOES convert PAL to NTSC. When playing a PAL disc with the unit set for NTSC, the composite video out is good old NTSC. So in essence, it is a "cheap" PAL-to-NTSC converter.

However, as for the hard disk, the setting is NTSC or PAL. You cannot mix both types of recordings on the internal hard drive. When set to NTSC, source must be NTSC; output is NTSC. NTSC discs play as expected. PAL discs are converted to NTSC. Composite inputs are NTSC only.

Can you record the PAL discs? Yes, indeed, but only on the outputs. As far as I know, you cannot transfer a PAL DVD to hard disc, and then use the DVD drive to burn an NTSC disc. Instead, you would have to connect another DVD recorder to the composite outputs.

As for the 120/220 conversion. My unit came with a foreign line cord. Since the socket on the back was standard, I just changed to a US line cord. I think this is a fairly common line cord for consumer electronic devices. The unit is clearly marked as 220v/50hz only, but fortunately, I had another US 120v unit to compare to, and the power supplies were identical. Again "marketing restrictions".

There is quite a lot of useful info in the manuals (available online) so you can investigate to your hearts content.

Also, not mention is those funny AV connections on the rear - those 21-pin "block of pins" otherwise known as SCART connectors. I picked up a few at www.svideo.com to enable the more common RCA connections.

If you pick up the EH67 or EH68, you will be very happy. It is a well made unit, and quite welcome in this AV household.

I also have several other DVD Recorder/Hard Drive combos - Panny E90 and E85, the Philips 3575, and a Toshiba RD-KX50. The Panny's are the best and most useful to me. Hoarding? Perhaps, just in case they aren't available in the future (we all know the current US situation).
post #13 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

I'm not sure if you want to crack the cover on your new baby, but if you do I'd love to have a verification of what type of CPU the EH-68 uses... Oh and you might want to play with the Gracenote thing. I think if you put in a older CD it's supposed to display things like artist, title, etc. Your EH-57 didn't have that feature. The reason I say older CD is you'd have to somehow update the machine for CDs released after the DVDR was made. I think I read in the manual you somehow update it via the web.

On opening the case... Um, I'll consider it. Since I am getting rid of the 67, maybe I'll do that unit instead. The buyer won't know. (Yeah, I'm THAT bad somtimes!)

I have never heard of gracenote. I'll give it a try and see what happens.
Quote:
Originally Posted by i86time View Post

Thanks for that info. I'll probably be picking one up now. Did the unit come with a US 2 or 3 prong cord, or did it need an adapter?

World-Import proveded a power adapter, just like they did with the EH67 I bought from them some time ago. The supplied power cord has two large round pins. The adapter is an extremely cheap molded plastic plug that accepts the two round pins, and has two blade-type connectors like any power plug. The round pins, and the adapter are not polarized (If that matters) so there is no wide blade and narrow one. Both are the same.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmihalik View Post

The EH67/EH68 DOES convert PAL to NTSC. When playing a PAL disc with the unit set for NTSC, the composite video out is good old NTSC. So in essence, it is a "cheap" PAL-to-NTSC converter.

I get that now. It is surprising, since the manual does not mention it, nor does any web site where the EH-68 is sold. In fact, the web sites all say just the opposite, that it will NOT convert. It IS more convenient that way though.
Quote:
However, as for the hard disk, the setting is NTSC or PAL. You cannot mix both types of recordings on the internal hard drive.

Again, the manual says, in several places, that the hard drive can contain recordings of both type NTSC and PAL simultaneously. From page 11, for example:
Quote:
≥This unit cannot record NTSC signals to discs that already have
PAL signal recordings. (However, both types of programmes can
be recorded onto the HDD.)

so according to the manual, mixing formats on optical media is not supported, but it is on the HDD.
Quote:
When set to NTSC, source must be NTSC; output is NTSC. NTSC discs play as expected. PAL discs are converted to NTSC. Composite inputs are NTSC only.

Can you record the PAL discs? Yes, indeed, but only on the outputs. As far as I know, you cannot transfer a PAL DVD to hard disc, and then use the DVD drive to burn an NTSC disc. Instead, you would have to connect another DVD recorder to the composite outputs.

This sounds very confusing. At this point, all I want to do is playback some PAL disks, maybe make copies of them in NTSC so I can play them on all of my machines (personal copies only). I have no need for extensive PAL compatability.
Quote:
Also, not mention is those funny AV connections on the rear - those 21-pin "block of pins" otherwise known as SCART connectors. I picked up a few at www.svideo.com to enable the more common RCA connections.

Yes, I got two SCART adapters from W-I when I bought the recorder. Those connectors are why when cycling through the inputs, there are four AV-IN selections, but only two on the machine (one front, one back). The other two are part of the SCART connectors.
post #14 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

On opening the case... Um, I'll consider it. Since I am getting rid of the 67, maybe I'll do that unit instead. The buyer won't know. (Yeah, I'm THAT bad somtimes!)

I have never heard of gracenote. I'll give it a try and see what happens.

Yes, I got two SCART adapters from W-I when I bought the recorder. Those connectors are why when cycling through the inputs, there are four AV-IN selections, but only two on the machine (one front, one back). The other two are part of the SCART connectors.

Unlike some DVDRs Pannys don't have the warranty void sticker so no one would be the wiser
I've never used a device with gracenotes (unless it's what automatically titles my MP3s when I rip them from a CD and log onto the internet. After being on the net for a few minutes the titles magically appear in my Windows Media Player.
How much were the Scart adapters you purchased at WI, and do they convert to S-video or just composite?
It looks like Svideo.com sells a SCART output to composite for $10 and the SCART output to S-video for $22 while the more practical for dubbing S-video output to SCART adapter looks to be $19. I could be wrong, they have so many SCART adapters it's confusing
post #15 of 64
Thread Starter 
The wizeacre in me would like to say something, but in respect for the assistance you have given me, jjeff, I will contain the puns forming in my mind.

The manual says the E68 ships with 350,000 album titles in the Gracenote database. It also says that you can update the database. It is stored on the hard drive, so if you have to replace the hard drive, the database will be lost.

The SCART connectors I bought do not have S-Video break-outs, just RCA type. Yes, there are a bunch of SCART adapters!
post #16 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

Again, the manual says, in several places, that the hard drive can contain recordings of both type NTSC and PAL simultaneously. From page 11, for example:

so according to the manual, mixing formats on optical media is not supported, but it is on the HDD.

I couldn't quote what you quoted from the manual in there, but that's the answer I hoped for. I knew you can't mix PAL and NTSC on one DVD, but I was worried the system wouldn't let you have both PAL and NTSC content on the HDD at the same time to prevent multiple consumers calling/emailing why they couldn't burn these videos. Also, the passage from the manual you quoted says that in NTSC mode PAL discs are displayed as NTSC, so the conversion is official and supported, I guess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

This sounds very confusing. At this point, all I want to do is playback some PAL disks, maybe make copies of them in NTSC so I can play them on all of my machines (personal copies only). I have no need for extensive PAL compatability.

That may be a whole other ball of wax entirely. It may be that only the output circuitry converts PAL->NTSC, and when copying a disc to the drive, there will likely be no conversion. However, set the unit into NTSC mode and record the PAL disc to the HDD and see what it does.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

Yes, I got two SCART adapters from W-I when I bought the recorder. Those connectors are why when cycling through the inputs, there are four AV-IN selections, but only two on the machine (one front, one back). The other two are part of the SCART connectors.

From my research on thet net, it would be better to use the SCART adapter with RGB to connect to analog TV's (or other analog devices you may connect to this unit), as it generally provides a better picture than s-video. My worldwide VCR has a SCART connection, so I may use that. It appears that using a SCART to s-video or composite connector will not provide a better signal than using either s-video or composite alone.
post #17 of 64
Thread Starter 
Okay, new info, and much of what I have said is in error. maybe I should close this thread and start a new one.

First, jjeff, I took the cover off, and there is almost nothing to see. The HDD is on one side, the DVD drive on the other. In the center is a big metal cover which does not look like a heatsync. There is a circuit board under these components, but all I can see is jumber wires and a few capacitors. It looks pretty darn simple for such a complex piece of equipment! The power module is just behind the DVD drive, and that has a few more components, but no chips are visible unless I get more agressive with further dissassembly. It is really unlikely at this point.

I tossed in a CD, and the Gracenote thing found lots of info each song. I guess that bit works just fine. I think it's unlikely I will put hours on my DVD drive laser listening to CDs though.

I tested the SCART connectors, and both top and bottom connectors put out a video signal. The adapter I have has video in and out, but I haven't had the chance to test the inputs. Since the outputs work, I have no reason to believe the inputs won't. My adapter does not have S-Video connections.

Here is the embarrassing bit. Almost everything I said earlier was in error to some extent. I was very rushed because as soon as the wife saw the disks would play, she wanted to watch them wich ended my testing (yeah, blame the wife, like that'll work!).

To those who said the Vizio was PAL capable, thumbs up. I wanted to test it so I hooked it all up and changed the EH-68 to PAL from the menu. The Vizio displayed it fine, either mode. I then put in the PAL disk and played it. It didn't matter what mode the EH68 was set to, the Vizio displayed the picture. Video, S-Video, HDMI, PAL or NTSC, the Vizio worked perfectly. It DOES have a display to show the input signal type, and here is where I made my earlier mistake. When in NTSC mode, if I put in a PAL disk and play it, the EH-68 switches to a 576i signal while the disk is playing. As soon as I press stop, it reverts to 480i.

So, the player does NOT convert PAL to NTSC. It's just that the TV I was using for testing was much more flexable than I thought, or than the manual stated. When I connected this to my PT-53WX53, the menus and other screens displayed just fine, and that was my second mistake. I never played the disk! When I pressed play, the picture became unwatchable, pressed stop, and it was okay again. I added the PAL to NTSC converter I bought and the display stayed solid. The picture through the converter is really not very good on my 53 inch television, but it's serviceable. When text is shown on screen it is the most noticeably bad, but when it is not showing text, it's okay. Not great, but okay.
post #18 of 64
That makes the most sense, chalk one up for your Cheapo Vizio, I have one and it works quite well although I've never tried PAL but I guess I could try. I have some PAL VHS tapes along with a PAL Aiwa brand player I might try although I haven't fired it up in a decade.
Are you saying when you play your PAL DVDs on your Vizio the picture is noticeably worse than when you play the same DVD (on your Vizio, not 53" TV) though the converter box? If so that's too bad because if you use the converter box to make DVDs those DVDs won't look any better than the converter output.
I'm personally a big believer in S-video for DVDR input use. In one case I'm forced to use composite instead of S-video and I think the picture looks so much worse I really hate to watch it. Of course RF (CH3 or CH4) is worse than composite, but I haven't used RF outputs since I got my first TV in '83 with a composite input.
post #19 of 64
OK I did some testing with my PAL VCR and new TVs, and I even through in my Sima CT-2 for good measure, I used composite connections.
My Vizio turned out to be PAL compatible. It displayed my tape in 576i and quality was fine. On my Sony LCD I could only get a B&W picture when connected directly to my VCR, if I ran the signal through my Sima (with the format switch set to NTSC) I got color but the picture had herringbone areras. If I set my Sima to PAL it again was only B&W
My Panny LCD only displayed a rolling B&W picture directly connected to the VCR.
My cheap Insignia worked like my Vizio and the tape was in full color 576i with the direct connection.
Moral of the story, the less you spend for a LCD TV the more chance it will be multi system, the more you spend the more chance it has of not working
Now I'll put my PAL VCR and tapes back in the basement and see if they still play in another decade. The Aiwa VCR was as cheap of a PAL player I could find a dozen years ago, it weighs 4 times what a new DVDR weighs and has the built quality we could only wish of in new DVDRs
post #20 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

...Are you saying when you play your PAL DVDs on your Vizio the picture is noticeably worse than when you play the same DVD (on your Vizio, not 53" TV) though the converter box?

Yes, the converter box makes the picture look poor. It was a compromise, and I haven't played with it much, but that is be first glance assessment.

If you want, I can take a picture of the EH-68 interior and mail it to you. I don't think it's very interesting, but if you want it...

I guess Vizio thinks it's cheaper to make a single signal processing board/system/chip(?) and put it into all their machines than to make individual ones for each country. I suppose it makes sense. They only acknowledge and "support" the system used in the country where the unit was sold, but the others are still there, unused, undocumented, unsupported, but operational.
post #21 of 64
AFA the picture, that's OK I was mainly interested if you could see who made the CPU. It sounds like it might be buried under the drive and I wouldn't bother with touching that.
I also agree with your assessment of the multisystem capability of the cheaper digital TVs, the big names like Sony and Panasonic can afford to spend more to make a TV do less After all you could spend a lot more to buy a Sony multisystem TV from one of the NY grey market dealers
post #22 of 64
I held off commenting on this one, because I was pretty sure it would turn out to be a fluke and that ChurchAVGuy and jjeff would get to the bottom of it quickly, them being such old hands at Panny testing. While disappointing, this does again confirm that none of the multisystem DVD/HDD machines does any converting: they play and record whichever format you feed them, but independently. They're primarily designed for use in Europe, where nine out of ten televisions include conversion circuits.

For conversions, my experience has been the same as ChurchAVGuy: accessory converter boxes do a barely adequate job. There isn't much choice when converting tapes, but when I need to convert DVDs I get much better quality by using a region-free autoconverting DVD player to feed the line inputs of a recorder. The NTSC dupe usually looks as good as the actual PAL disc during on-the-fly conversion. (Starngely enough, I discovered my old JVC DRM-V5 DVD/VHS combo recorder has an undocumented PAL>NTSC conversion feature that works quite well- came in handy when I borrowed a stack of foreign films that hadn't been released in North America.)
post #23 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

For conversions, my experience has been the same as ChurchAVGuy: accessory converter boxes do a barely adequate job. There isn't much choice when converting tapes, but when I need to convert DVDs I get much better quality by using a region-free autoconverting DVD player to feed the line inputs of a recorder. The NTSC dupe usually looks as good as the actual PAL disc during on-the-fly conversion. (Starngely enough, I discovered my old JVC DRM-V5 DVD/VHS combo recorder has an undocumented PAL>NTSC conversion feature that works quite well- came in handy when I borrowed a stack of foreign films that hadn't been released in North America.)

It's funny you should mention this. Over the weekend I found out something pretty remarkable. Several years ago I bought a small Polaroid portable handheld DVD player. I like it, and it does exactly what you might expect. My living room has a 53" television, and this one is maybe 10" diagonal, but it works well doing what it was intended. The manual clearly states, region 1, NTSC only. I was testing all of my DVD devices and this little thing not only plays my region 2 PAL disks on it's internal screen, the composite video out (there is no S-Video out) is also NTSC 480i. and it looks much better than the converter I bought (for about the same price). I'm still surprised at this tidbit. The picture on my 53" set using the Polaroid Video out is as good using an NTSC disk as a PAL disk. I have had PAL material for less than a week, so I never had a chance to test any of my devices before, but this has been very intersting, with one revelation after another.

By the way, the EH68 is the one thing I really haven't tested yet. IT started all this off, and I still haven't recorded anything with it. Results on those tests, and burning disks, and other items will be forthcoming.

One point I have noticed. The E85, EH50, EH55 and EH75 machines I have used, all remember the time and setup for a very long time after being unplugged. Time spans of months have gone by and the clocks are still set and accurate. The EH68 is very different. I'm not sure of the time span, but when I unpluged it one evening, the next morning, the clock needed to be reset. Strange. The specific setup items remained though, at least the ones I examined.
post #24 of 64
Even plugged in all the time, I find both my E80s and my EH75s gain time - maybe a minute per month.
post #25 of 64
I haven't noticed what my EH-55 does after a power outage (I've got it plugged into a UPS) but starting in '06 (with the ES-15 and ES-25 for sure) they dropped the battery backup feature found on all '05 and older machines. None of the EZ's or EA's have battery backup, cost cutting measure I'm sure. You didn't mention if your EH-67 had battery backup, if it did I wonder what other cost cutting measures were done on the EH-68. I'd really start using it heavily to see if any bugs show up, isn't the warranty only like 30 days? I'd pay particular attention to weekly and daily scheduled events, if it does have problems with those it's a sign of the LSI chip
post #26 of 64
Thread Starter 
I rarely if ever use scheduled recording since I have DirecTV as my signal source, and I have their HD DVR as my receiver. I just have the DVR record what I want and then play it back into my recorder. If the timer acts up, it isn't an isssue with me. The 67 did not have a battery backup memory either.

I foud out just an hour ago that the Polaroid player that converts PAL to NTSC puts out an NTSC signal with no CP that my EH55 responds to. And there is no FBI warning! Okay, there is a "don't copy" screen of text. I am making copies so I don't need to put the converter or move that Polaroid to where I want to watch.

I have several purchased series that are on DL DS disks. I really hate those. My first action when getting these is to make -R copies of the contents. Sure, you can put an entire season of a show on three disks, but what a pain!
post #27 of 64
Quote:


I have several purchased series that are on DL DS disks. I really hate those. My first action when getting these is to make -R copies of the contents. Sure, you can put an entire season of a show on three disks, but what a pain!

GGGGRRRRRR... I agree, DL-DS was sent from hell to torture fans of obscure televison releases. The absolute worst has to be Universal's atrocious retail version of "American Gothic": 23 hours on a mere (3) DL-DS discs that are so defective, no set of these ever sold plays all the way through (you have to buy the set three or four times to amass three functioning discs, and then return the other sets). This release was so bad, NetFlix demanded (and got) a separate rental release produced on six regular DL discs.
post #28 of 64
Thread Starter 
Just telling one side of a DL-DS disk from the other requires a microscope. It must have looked good on the design board, but the execution is very poor!
post #29 of 64
Thread Starter 
Something new! The EH-68 recognizes NTSC CP and won't make copies of video so encoded. Okay, THAT was expected.

What IS new, is the ability to group titles. you can set up a group name and put titles into the group. I have wanted this type of functionality for a very long time. I wonder why it took so long?
post #30 of 64
Wow, this is a great thread. Just had a quick question (confirmation) -- I have a multi-system VCR that can play PAL or NTSC VHS tapes. I could use an EH-68 to make a *PAL* DVD (while normally keeping the EH-68 in NTSC mode) off of the VHS, correct? I'd want to record to HDD, maybe do some editing, and then create a *PAL* DVD (I have enough DVD players that are PAL and do a great job converting I figure they'd work better than my PAL-NTSC converter I run right now from the VCR to DVD recorder [to make NTSC DVDs just because that's all I can record).

Thanks for any help!
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