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DVD recorder VCR combo reccomendation  

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
I've been reading through these forums quite a bit and haven't quite found what I was looking for ... I'm hoping to get a reccomendation from someone more knowledgable than I.

I'm wanting a high-quality VCR-DVD recorder combo that plays S-VHS tapes (quasi S-VHS is fine). I have a large number of sporting event video tapes (1,000+) that I'm looking to slowly convert to DVD and a combo one-touch dub unit would be ideal for tha that purpose, though many of them were recorded in S-VHS. I've got a Sony unit, but the playback is pretty dismal for S-VHS and I'm really leary of using it to copy.

I have a Toshiba non-recorder combo that plays back S-VHS beautifully using the "quasi S-VHS technology," so I bought a Toshiba combo recorder and it didn't work with S-VHS at all, so I returned it. Neither unit advertised the feature, by the way, but when the el-cheapo standalone worked, I sort of assumed the recorder unit would too. Not true, obviously.

Any thoughts?
post #2 of 64
Take a look at the new Panasonic DMR-ES30HS Combo unit that has "Quasi" S-VHS playback, will record dvds in all the formats & the VCR will also record in SP, LP & EP. Checkout Crutchfield for pics & etc & you might want to try a seperate post for the ES30 & see what owners think of it. Happy Hunting :)
post #3 of 64
Personally, I would skip the recorder combo and stick with just a single purpose machine, for the following reasons:

1. Money -- ones without a built-in VCR cost less. Plus you already have a combo unit that you like; why buy a duplicate machine that may not work as well?
2. Combo units usually don't have the features, and sometimes the quality, of two separate units in order to keep the costs down. That means it may not play S-VHS as nicely as the Toshiba you already own.
3. By going with just a recorder only, you have a much greater variety of models to choose from. Most manufacturers have only one or two choices when it comes to DVDR/VCR combo units. Most aren't available with HDD's.

The only real advantages of a combo unit over two separate components are space, ease of cabling (only one set to hook up), and one-touch transfer between tape and DVD. Hooking up an extra set of cables and having to press two buttons isn't all that difficult, so unless you have a tiny A/V cabinet having two separate components is definitely the way to go.
post #4 of 64
I agree with RonDawg. I would also think you would be better off feeding a DVD Recorder 400 lines of resolution from S-VHS Tapes than 250 or so lines from Quasi S-VHS Tapes.
post #5 of 64
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice, much appreciated!
post #6 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonDawg
The only real advantages of a combo unit over two separate components are space, ease of cabling (only one set to hook up), and one-touch transfer between tape and DVD. Hooking up an extra set of cables and having to press two buttons isn't all that difficult, so unless you have a tiny A/V cabinet having two separate components is definitely the way to go.
I'd have to disagree. The new Panasonic combo (EV30) comes with a large number of useful options. It makes transfer of VHS extremely easy.

1) It shuts off when the tape stops or the disc is full. You just pick up where you left off on the tape when you insert a new disc.

2) It will record a specified length of tape and then shut off. The tape stops at this spot as well. I find this really useful when I am only recording a portion of the tape.

Both of these features let you "dub" unattended. If you've much dubbing to do, you will realize how much time and effort this saves.

I'd say that if you have only a few VHS tapes to dub, then separates (including a DVDR with a harddrive) are the better investment. If you have a great deal of dubbing to do, I'd recommend getting a VCR/DVDR with at least the first feature listed above.
post #7 of 64
Although I have an ES30V from Panny, and would not give it up, for your purposes susanandmark, I would go with a standalone DVD Recorder.


Since it sounds like you already have an S-Video VHS player, I would output that player(via an S-video output) to a standalone DVD Recorder(via the S-Video input).

This will save you money, and is very easy to do, hookup and otherwise.

I WOULD recommend the Panny ES10 for $169 on sale this week at either Best Buy, or Circuit City, I can't remember. It is an excellent DVD recorder for the price.

If you have any problems or questions on this unit, feel free to post here or PM me.

Either myself, or someone here, will talk you through it.
post #8 of 64
In addition to STEELERSRULE's recommendations, another one is the Pioneer 220/225/320 series. The 220 can be found at WalMart for about the same price as the Panasonic ES-10; the 225 the Best Buy version and to my knowledge doesn't offer any more features, but for some reason costs more. The 320 is simply the 220 with DV-in (FireWire/iLink).

Although Pioneer is expected to release new models soon, from what I've read elsewhere the older versions are superior as the new ones leave out certain features (like the ability to manually set bitrates) that made the Pioneer units a favorite among AVS members.
post #9 of 64
This link will give you what some others think of the ES10. It's fairly long. (I have read only the first few posts and have no idea whether, over all, people like it or not. Don't just read part of it if you are considering this recorder. People's experiences and satisfaction varry and so do their purposes for buying a DVDR.)
post #10 of 64
Oldemanphil's own review seems to sum up pretty well the good, bad, and ugly of the new ES-10:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&&#post5721254
post #11 of 64
Thread Starter 
Actually I no longer own a "true" S-VHS VCR, hence the request. But I do have several hundred S-VHS-recorded tapes I'd like to copy to DVD. (When my S-VHS VCR died a couple years back, I didn't even think of replacing the outdated tech.) The combo unit has great appeal because of the ease of the use. (A two-stage transfer--first to hard drive, then to DVD--holds no appeal what-so-ever, though I'm not arguing the wisdom.) When you've got 1,000+ tapes to dub (very long project, I know), you want it to be as easy as possible. I used to swear by my Go Video VHS-VHS machine, SO much easier than two VCRs hooked together. Obviously, I want the best possible quality, but not at massive expensive and/or hassle. I'll definitely look at the new Panasonic reccomended here--though I did check and they don't seem to be out yet, right?
post #12 of 64
True S-VHS machines can be purchased for less than $100 these days, and the results of a dub from such a machine wil be visibly superior to S-VHS Quasi Playback dubbed to DVD.
As far as dual decks, the Panny ES30V is available now.
Except for the hook-ups, I see only one really great advantage in the ES30v, and that is its ability to shuttle the tape, determine the total recording length, rewind it, and automatically fit it on a disc. If it works, this seems like a very smart feature (they call it GUI transfer).
Its usefulness depends on what kinds of VHS recordings you have. If you have a lot of incompletely filled tapes, or you know you want an exact correspondence between the tapes you have an the number of discs you want to create, then this is really nice.
However, if you want to create discs that have only some of the content of a tape, or want to combine several tapes on one DVD, I think a separate VCR and DVD recorder would be just as easy.

Sometimes, a method sounds harder, but is actually easier. One use for hard drive DVD recorders is that you can
1. record all of the content of a tape onto the hard drive <i>unattended</i>.
2. Come back later (how later depends on recording speed) and cut the programs up (trim the stuff you don't want before or after the program)
3. high-speed copy to disc (which can also be unattended).

If you don't want to or need to do 2 and 3, you can always just record right to disc (just like with a non-hard-drive DVD recorder). However, you have more flexibility in getting stuff onto discs.

For example, my wife had dozens of tapes with 30-minute craft shows recorded at EP. Copying these to DVD at EP (6-hour mode) would produce unwatchable results (not that the original was that good to start with, but video lousiness is exponential, not additive). So, I went for LP.
Directly copying to DVD, I would have to check the results (or set to play-record) the first tape at four hours. Then, on a separate disc, dub the last 2 hours of that tape to the first 2 hours of the disc. Then, add the first two hours of the next tape to the last 2 hours of the disc, etc.
Using the hard drive, I record every tape to the hard drive <i>unattended</i>. That is, I dub all six hours at a time (in LP mode) from each tape to the hard drive. Once all (or many) tapes are recorded on the hard drive, I segment them in a couple of minutes and dub each 4-hour block to a disc at high-speed (which takes 8-15 min. for newer machines, or an hour for the older recorders). The dubbing from hard drive to disc can also be unattended or can be done while I am watching recordings on the hard drive or recording more material to the hard drive (using Pioneer models).
post #13 of 64
"However, if you want to create discs that have only some of the content of a tape, or want to combine several tapes on one DVD, I think a separate VCR and DVD recorder would be just as easy."

The ES30 also has a feature that allows you to set a specific time length to dub. I find it much easier than having to watch for the time length (which is what you'll have to do with a separate DVD/VCR). I have combined segments of tapes, changed recording modes within tapes, and changed them back again within tapes, using the EV30. It is much easier when you can set the length of the segment and walk away. Additionally, you can start the next segment without having to find where the first segment ended and rewind/recue the tape to that spot. When the recording stops, the tape and the disc stop. It's also true if the disc is full or the tape ends. You just pick up where you left off.
post #14 of 64
Double post...Sorry
post #15 of 64
Tripple post...Sorry
post #16 of 64
"However, if you want to create discs that have only some of the content of a tape, or want to combine several tapes on one DVD, I think a separate VCR and DVD recorder would be just as easy."

The ES30 also has a feature that allows you to set a specific time length to dub. I find it much easier than having to watch for the time length (which is what you'll have to do with a separate DVD/VCR. I have combined segments of tapes, changed recording modes within tapes, and changed them back again within tapes, using the EV30. It is much easier when you can set the length of the segment and walk away. Additionally, you can start the next segment without having to find where the first segment ended and rewind/recue the tape to that spot. When the recording stops, the tape and the disc stop. It's also true if the disc is full or the tape ends. You just pick up where you left off.
post #17 of 64
"Directly copying to DVD, I would have to check the results (or set to play-record) the first tape at four hours. Then, on a separate disc, dub the last 2 hours of that tape to the first 2 hours of the disc. Then, add the first two hours of the next tape to the last 2 hours of the disc, etc.
Using the hard drive, I record every tape to the hard drive unattended... and dub each 4-hour block to a disc at high-speed (which takes 8-15 min. for newer machines, or an hour for the older recorders). The dubbing from hard drive to disc can also be unattended or can be done while I am watching recordings on the hard drive or recording more material to the hard drive (using Pioneer models)."

This is the advantage to a DVDR with a Hard Drive. The disadvantage is that there is no VCR and you can sometimes get false "copy-protection" errors when dubbing from an external VCR to some recorders.
However, the advantage to having a separate VCR is, the VCR part of the DVDR/VCR is the most likely component to fail (I have had 3 do this).

In other words, it's all trade-offs.

I believe a good quality DVDR with hard drive is the best answer, but know that even these have problems in manufacturing. I continue to hope for the best with DVDR/VCR combo's but will buy from Costco or Sam's Club in order to return them if defective. I have seen the LiteOn LVW-5045 at Costco, but the price is more than the Panasonic EV30 and LiteOn is frequently panned here in the forum. When the Pioneer 420 was offered over the web, I had the RT500 and didn't want to trade. Wish now that I had, but...

In the meantime, I am very pleased with the ease and effectiveness of the ES30. Hoping it will hold up as it was $269 at Costco...and that's a great price for what it offers.
post #18 of 64
For copying 1,000 tapes, I would definitely go with a combo unit. I've been very pleased with my Panasonic E75 (the older VCR/DVDR).

I usually do a manual recording though, rather than one-touch dubbing, so I can set Flexible Recoridng to the exact length for best quality. (Can the ES30 do one-touch with FR?) Even with manual recording the two units work together. You just cue and pause the tape and when you start the DVD recording the VCR is unpaused at the same time resulting in a clean start without any on-screen messages (PLAY, PAUSE, etc) from the VCR.

I don't have any S-VHS tapes to know how the quasi S-VHS looks, but otherwise the DVDs I've recorded look very good. I assume the new model would be even better and it supports the RW format too.
post #19 of 64
"Can the ES30 do one-touch with FR?"

I don't think it's one-touch, but it's very easy...though I've not tried it. I have use FR for some parts of some recordings, however. I am archiving about 15 years worth of football games and numerous other shows. I also do recordings of a few TV favorites in EP. So far, all have been more than acceptable. I've not tried XP mode at all or SP for television shows.

Something I find odd: The Panasonic does not allow for as much time recorded as the Pioneer. It's only a matter of minutes, but it's 5 minutes in SP mode, and varies with the resolution recorded. I suspect the Panasonic uses a slightly higher bit rate, though it could be that it has some kind of "cap" or limit on how much time it allows for a disc at a certain speed. More likely to be a higher bit rate, though.

It supports +RW playback and will record +R (though I've not tried this either), and plays/records -R formats as well as RAM.
post #20 of 64
I would really like a DVD Recorder/VHS combo. I need a new VHS player, and I'd also like to dub (easily) old VHS to DVDs.
I've found 2 DVDR/VHS Combos that feed VHS via component/ progressive scan... which to my understanding increases the quality of VHS (both recording to DVD and playback) and simplifies connections (all through component). The two players I'm interested in are the JVC DR-MV5S and the new LG LRY-517.

The LG LRY-517 stands out in that it records/plays just about everything: DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, and DVD-RAM, Double Layer (+R/8.5 Gigabyte) recording, DivX / MPEG4 / MP3 Playback, Duel Progressive Scan (DVD & VHS) via single component feature, and has a built in 9in2 memory card reader which would be great for viewing my pictures.
Thats a lot in one player/recorder!!

I know that the JVC DR-MV5S is a newer/improved version of the DR-MV1S. However, I haven't been able to find out about how well the LRY-517 works...

Has anyone had any experience with either of these??
Are there any other Combos that employ VHS via progressive scan/component??
post #21 of 64
In my other post, I was actually addressing 3 issues, based on my experiences. I have copied over 100 tapes (still lots to go) and own 4 DVD recorders.

1) For S-VHS, I think separate VCR and DVD recorder will give better results. S-VHS does look better if played in an actual S-VHS VCR rather than quasi-S playback.

2) If you need a separate DVD recorder, one with a hard drive greatly simplifies the work.

3) If you don't know or care about S-VHS, and don't need to edit the tapes as you transfer them to DVD (other than limiting the amount of content), then the combo units should be fine. The Panny DMR-ES30V is an attractive unit, and I did see that you can set it to copy for only a certain amount of time. In fact, I am going to get one in the next day or two. The inability to divide the recording or add chapters (on any media but DVD-RAM) is one of its few drawbacks.

It also has component output, bobaphx, but isn't dual layer. It is progressive scan.
post #22 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill1313
Take a look at the new Panasonic DMR-ES30HS Combo unit
I'm still not finding this unit listed anywhere online. Could the model number, perhaps, be wrong?
post #23 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by susanandmark
I'm still not finding this unit listed anywhere online. Could the model number, perhaps, be wrong?
Ah.. it is the DMR-ES30VS
post #24 of 64
Sorry about the "Wrong" model number. Best Buy & Circuit City both have it listed on their website's this week for $269.99 but Best Buy's says out of stock but maybe their store in your area might have it. I would guess that "all" the stores & websires that carry Panasonic products should now have them or they will very shortly.
post #25 of 64
Some WalMarts(Super WalMarts mainly) are beginning to carry the Panny DMR-ES30V for a price of $269.99+tax

Not all of them have it, but some do.
post #26 of 64
Alas, the regular Walmarts and Super Walmarts out here are not carrying it.
I bought the Panny DMR-ES30V at Sam's Club today (which is Walmart with low lights and no bags) for $278.96 plus tax. Last week, it was $269.99 at the local Circuit City (CC), but that sale ended on Sunday. However, you can still get that price online, and pick it up at one of the stores. I was impatient.

I am more impressed by this unit now that I have it. It gives you several dubbing modes. You can set it up for unattended dubbing so that it creates separate recordings on the DVD for each program. Alternatively, you can set it up to create one big program out of the whole tape. Thirdly, you can do things manually, and have complete control over when each recording starts and stops (just as you would if the VCR and DVD recorder were separate units).

Best of all, it does produce copies that are superior to the original. First, I played back my first dub prospect tape, eight hours of craft shows my wife recorded several years ago, in a pretty good JVC VCR (I am not sure it is the machine that made the recording, but probably so). I noticed quite a bit of flagging, streaking, and other video problems. Playing the same tape back in the VCR of the Panny E30S, it looked a little better. After I made a copy of the tape onto a DVD using the E30S, I was surprised that almost all of the video noise (at least 80%) had been removed.

I am very pleased with it.
post #27 of 64
doxtorRay,

Your assessment of this product is similar to mine. It is so much easier to use than the Pioneer RT500 and it's features are all useful. I've already detailed what I see as it's weaknesses in another thread, but, overall, I am very happy that my RT500 failed and I could move on to this machine.

As far as the $278 goes, since you bought it from Sam's, think of it as a $9 insurance policy. I took my RT500 back after about 5-6 months of using it (tracking in the VCR failed). I had misplaced my receipt and the price had dropped $30 from what I'd paid. I told them that I didn't expect the full amount, but would settle for the current selling price. They looked up my original purchase (via their computer) and refunded that entire price...The only stipulation was that I would have to accept it in the form a "store credit" -on a gift card. I shop there all the time, so this was not a problem... So what I'm saying is, they will treat you very well if it develops a problem. I'm not certain that the Walmart portion of their company would do the same.
post #28 of 64
I read on Cnet that the Panasonic will not insert chapters so one could FF/skip around the disc. Can someone confirm that?
post #29 of 64
I looked at the E30S at Best Buy today. I was hoping it was duel progressive scan but only the DVD outputs via component. I'm definately wanting that feature in a DVDR/VHS combo.
post #30 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by wabkab
I read on Cnet that the Panasonic will not insert chapters so one could FF/skip around the disc. Can someone confirm that?
It doesn't insert them until after the disc has been finalized and there has to be a certain length of time left in the segment...don't remember how much. The chapters are 6 minute length and not adjustable. Why 6 minutes???? I don't know but I'm guessing because it's a tenth of an hour. Regardless, it's kinda weird and annoying, but a minor annoyance.
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