Originally Posted by gnrboyd
I've had the Magnavox DVR recording about 10 programs a week for the past couple of weeks and so far, everything is working great. [...] 99% of the time I will be recording one of the 4 major network channels so maybe I will get lucky and not have any of the issues you spoke about.
I'm glad it seems to be working well for you. If you were going to encounter the bug with conflicting channel frequencies, you would have noticed it by now: since you seem to be timer recording all your local channels successfully, you should be OK unless one of the stations starts messing with its frequency in future. Most of the stations that jumped on that dubious bandwagon have already done it, so odds are your situation won't change anytime soon. Most people who reported this issue had it with their local Fox affiliate, if you've been timer recording Fox shows without problems, don't worry about it.
The picture certainly isn't as good as my 42" flat screen but it is much better than the VCR that is still in use on a 27" tube TV I have in the basement. The color seems a bit dim also. I know I could adjust the TV but I don't want to change the settings every time to watch a recorded program. I can live with it.
42" is pushing the limits of standard def recordings being watchable. Hollywood DVDs can come close to HDTV quality, but not recordings we make off-air on a DVD recorder: they'll always look a bit soft and disappointing at screen sizes above 32". Your eyes tend to adjust after awhile. The "dim color" could be a combination of your TV settings and the Magnavox itself: the tuner is known to have a darker than usual signal output. For whatever inexplicable reason, theres long been a disconnect between tuners in new TVs and tuners in new recorders: the tuners in TVs are usually dramatically better. No one knows why. And flat screen televisions vary wildly in how they reproduce color: in our house we have a Sony, a Panasonic and a Samsung. The Sony has the least impressive picture, but is very consistent: color does not change from show to show or between antenna and DVD recorder. Our Panasonic has a picture than can knock your socks off, an almost magical quality, but the damn color changes from scene to scene within a program, changes with each playback input, and must be adjusted constantly to match skin tones correctly. Our Samsung falls between the Sony and Panasonic: punchier than the Sony, not as color consistent, but way steadier than the Panasonic. The old CRT tube TVs were much easier to deal with color-wise.
The Magnavox VCR I have is 15-20 years old and has been the best electronic product I have ever owned. If I get half as much use out of the DVR that I have out of the VCR, I will be happy.
As Tulpa mentioned, nothing we buy now has the longevity of a VCR. The average DVD recorder has a lifespan of 4 years before it goes wonky and can't be repaired. The Magnavox has a much better than average reputation for DVD drive durability, many owners have been running since 2007/2008 without a hiccup.
In the near future, I am hoping to upgrade my old 27" tube TV in the basement and replace it with something in the 55"-60" range. I will want to add another DVR there also. Will the bigger size cause the SD recording to suffer more on the larger screen or will it look about the same as my current 42" in my living room?
You will absolutely hate standard def recordings played on a 55"-60" screen. If you want a second DVR for this larger screen, do yourself a favor and choose one of the Chinese units from that other thread (like the iView 3500II, or upcoming ChannelMaster 7500). These will record in full HD quality, although they can't make DVDs. It is worth learning to use one of these off-brand boxes if you opt for a huge screen: I've seen Magnavox, Pioneer and Panasonic DVD recorders hooked up to 60" screens, and they ain't pretty. Not by a long shot.
Is there any way to determine what production runs have the larger hard drive (and possible power supply issue) without opening up the unit? I think if you open it, it will void the warranty.
Not really. If you are very careful, you can open the cabinet without damaging the void sticker. But I wouldn't worry about it too much: if you have a unit with power issues, they'd have likely manifested already. Have you tried setting some back to back timer recordings? Like 8:00PM to 8:30PM and 8:30PM to 9PM? If you try this several days in a row and the unit records them all properly, it is probably OK.
Note these machines can be a bit quirky and occasionally exhibit oddball symptoms that seem scarier than they really are. If the clock/timer gets goofy, switch it to the Manual setting and kill the Auto Daylight Savings feature. If it freezes, esp while changing channels, try the Soft Reset instructions wajo has posted. VCRs were mostly "dumb" electro-mechanical devices, so they just worked until they broke down completely. DVD recorders are miniature computer workstations, and like any prima-dona computer, they crap out occasionally for no apparent reason. Anything can set them off: slight power surge from the AC outlet, broadcasting glitch in a channel, auto clock signals, weather, you name it.Edited by CitiBear - 11/22/13 at 1:13am