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Panasonic ES20 - First Impressions (blog style) - Page 2

post #31 of 549
The ES20 will record in stereo using the built-in tuner.

Also, if you are going to record on the ES20 and edit on the PC, use rewritable discs (DVD-RW) not -R/+r discs.
post #32 of 549
So is this worth getting ya think ??
post #33 of 549
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dxtra30 View Post

So is this worth getting ya think ??

If it works as well as the ES10, it will be a good entry level DVD recorder.
post #34 of 549
Thread Starter 
After a few weeks of using the ES20 for recording sports (mainly basketball) here are my thoughts:

Let me preface this by saying I am not an expert, these are my observations from using the ES20. (See the original post for more on that).

For basketball, I noticed two types of artefacts:

A) The most common is when the camera tries to follow a player after a made basket as he is running back on defense with the background being the crowd in the stands. What macroblocks mostly is the crowd in the stands, which is of no particular interest anyway. But nonetheless some people find it annoying, and others want to have a clean copy. This is sometimes observed in SP mode as well but it is much less pronounced than LP.

B) movement-related: sometimes during fast movement of players. As expected, this is more common in the 4:20-4:50FR mode and rare in the SP mode.


The artefacts seem to depend on various factors -in my estimation-, including:
* mpeg compression and ES20 internals
* quality of the original broadcast (eg compression) - some instances (of digital cable channels particularly) already have light macroblocking in some of these situations
* camera and cameraman handling and position, camera movement, lens, camera angle, etc
* color/lighting in the arena (in some arenas you may notice jaggies in the 3-point lines or the paint lines)


Recording modes and Macroblocking
-----------------------------------------------
LP mode seems to have more macroblocking and artefacts than SP or FR (4:20 to 4:50) or so. EP mode (6h or 8h) is unwatchable for sports because of the compression/smoothing/etc. 3hr-FR seems to behave similarly to LP mode. SP mode is better but not 100% perfect. I haven't used XP much so I can't commend on that one. However the ES20 does not deserve all the blame because I notice lighter compression artefacts in the original Comcast DVR picture and DVR recordings. In other words, the additional compression of the ES20 may be magnifying the side-effects of Comcastic compression. But regardless of that,the final picture is what matters to the viewer


Other important factors to consider
--------------------------------------------
Another thing to keep in mind is what exactly are you planning to record, and what sources, as different dvd recorders may be more suited for some things better than others.

In my case this falls into two main categories:

1) Active watching and recording. (chase-play live games, live live games, already recorded games or even VCR games). For most new games of the 05-06 season, I record them to the Comcast DVR, then start watching after 30 minutes or so (for chase play/commercial skip), and at the same time record them to the ES20 while watching. This has the benefit of removing commercials since I don't watch the commercials anyway. It only has the additional overhead of pressing PAUSE before and after each commercial break. Not a big deal.

(Btw, most games fit on one disc at SP with room to spare. But if it's a long close game with lots of whistles/delays or it goes into 2nd overtime, you may fill up the disc).

For this type of recording the ES20 has the disadvantage of basically two options: either SP or LP. You can't pause/restart recording with the FR modes. The Pioneer MN-32 mode would give a lot more choice here!


2) Passive recording (eg not watching): This could be either from the RF tuner, cable box, or VHS. FR can be used here to utilize the most out of the disk since the size of the recording is predetermined for non-live games, and can be guestimated for live games (eg 2:30 - 3hr FR)


* I am not doing any PC editing nor do I wish to do any post-recording editing in the device (I would do some if DVD-RW(VR) was available, or if DVD-RAM was as cheap as DVD-R/RW, but as it is right now, there's not much to gain from heavy editing, other than commercial removal which I personally find a hassle unless I am watching/recording at the same time in which case commercial removal is easy)

* For VHS recordings the ES20 does clean up noisy tapes. Don't expect miracles but it can turn an unwatchable tape into a watchable one in _some_ instances. YMMV and it also depends on personal preference, equipment, etc.


6hr VHS or 4hr LP mode
------------------------------
I think this is one of the biggest trade-offs of both this device and deciding whether to go with DVD or continue with VHS tape. Each has its pluses/minuses, which have long been debated so I won't get into that debate. Neither one is perfect, so it is up to YOU to decide what to use and when. Obviously future generation DVD recorders will improve, so perhaps a hybrid strategy of VHS and DVD at this moment may be one possible solution for those who can't decide between the two.
post #35 of 549
Quote:
probepro, The new 20 does not have a Shuttle Dial (But the new HDD 60 may have it?)

Enlighten me on this HDD 60. I did a search on panny's website and no info...
post #36 of 549
It's the Panasonic EH-60 HDD DVD recorder. This is basically the EH-50 with a bigger (200 GB vs 100 GB) HDD. It is currently available in North America only in Canada, but should be available in the US soon.

Here's a link to the Panasonic Canada site: http://www.panasonic.ca/english/audi...er/dmreh60.asp
post #37 of 549
Thank you very much for the review....I'm looking into buying the ES20 or ES30 after Christmas (should be some good sales by then).

I'm not into the whiz-bang stuff....I just want a basic DVD recorder/player that will tape certain curling games (don't think they'll be too much problems with motion problems considering the slow pace of the game). I'm not into converting my old VHS tapes...don't have they many anyway and they are not worth saving.

I have a dish (Star Choice)....correct me if I'm wrong, but it's the receiver box, ES20/30, then TV...correct? Will the 20/30 work of dishes???

Would a ES20 or ES30 be a good choice for a bare-bone beginner???
post #38 of 549
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aksarben View Post

Thank you very much for the review....I'm looking into buying the ES20 or ES30 after Christmas (should be some good sales by then).

I'm not into the whiz-bang stuff....I just want a basic DVD recorder/player that will tape certain curling games (don't think they'll be too much problems with motion problems considering the slow pace of the game). I'm not into converting my old VHS tapes...don't have they many anyway and they are not worth saving.

I have a dish (Star Choice)....correct me if I'm wrong, but it's the receiver box, ES20/30, then TV...correct? Will the 20/30 work of dishes???

I don't have any experience with satellite dishes, but the manual mentions the above as a way to connect it to either the cable box or satellite receiver.

Apart from that, I dont know if you can split the satellite signal or what to do for programming with the satellite box.

The SP mode solves most of the motion related problems, but it is not 100% crystal clear. I haven't used XP extensively to comment on that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aksarben View Post

Would a ES20 or ES30 be a good choice for a bare-bone beginner???

It is a good choice, it is a fairly basic and easy to use recorder and one can get started almost right away. There are some other good recorders in the same price range as well, notably some of the Pioneers.
post #39 of 549
Thread Starter 
When playing a finalized disc (+/-R) or DVD-Video (commercial DVD) when you press STOP you get a background screen that says "Panasonic DVD-RAM blah blah". You cannot use TimeSlip or view the tuner channels or IN1/IN2/DV.

But I accidentally discovered that if you press STOP one additional time - while on the Panasonic background screen - that screen disappears and you get back the picture that comes in from the Tuner or IN1/IN2. So you don't have to remove the DVD-Video or finalized +/-R to look at the Tuner or IN1/IN2. Be careful not to press STOP many times in a row as the ES20 may reset your current position on the DVD.
post #40 of 549
{For this type of recording the ES20 has the disadvantage of basically two options: either SP or LP. You can't pause/restart recording with the FR modes. The Pioneer MN-32 mode would give a lot more choice here!}


Are you sure?

I have the ES10 and you can pause/rec. in FR mode. You cant stop/rec. in FR mode
post #41 of 549
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trebor Pyn View Post

{For this type of recording the ES20 has the disadvantage of basically two options: either SP or LP. You can't pause/restart recording with the FR modes. The Pioneer MN-32 mode would give a lot more choice here!}


Are you sure?

I have the ES10 and you can pause/rec. in FR mode. You cant stop/rec. in FR mode


Yes, the ES20 in FR recording mode started with the "F REC" button on the remote control ignores the PAUSE button. I just re-tested it using both a Sony DVD-RW and Panasonic DVD-RAM. It keep recording unless you press STOP or the recording completes. The same thing happens if the FR mode is initiated from the menus [Other Functions / Flexible Recording]. The FR mode cannot be paused when using the Scheduler/Timer either.

I guess we have uncovered another difference between the ES10 and ES20?

Pausing in FR mode would be HUGE for me when I record things off the Comcast DVR. Grrrrrr @ Panasonic!
post #42 of 549
I'll say that's a HUGE difference with the "FR" mode & it looks like Panasonic is really forcing you to step up to the HDD model or a new Hi-Def Recorder when they come out.
post #43 of 549
{I guess we have uncovered another difference between the ES10 and ES20?}

Thats a big difference and a deal breaker for me as i was looking at getting an additional DVR and was considering the ES20 because i have been so happy with my ES10.I record alot in FR mode..especially programs that have commercials i pause out.

What are these people thinking?
post #44 of 549
What their thinking is how do we compete against the $99 recorders from China that the average person might go out & buy so lets cut back on as many things as possible on the entry level models so we can get the price down on them.

As for the Standard DVD Recorder market don't worry too much about the quality or new features just worry about the price point because very shortly people are not even going to want them anyway after we release our new Hi-Def Recorders & the price comes down on them.

I think all the features & Etc that people have been asking for (Like being able to hook up a keyboard to add titles & record all formats) will all end up on the new Hi-Def Recorders & we all had better get used to the idea that the Standard DVD Recorders are going to die out the same way VCRs did but only quicker.

We all should have expected this anyway because as far as I'm concerned the DVD Format was really dead from the beginning because it was never designed for our new HDTV system but the old Analog system.
post #45 of 549
Glad I found out about all the things missing from the ES20. I was able to find a new ES10 online and decided to buy that. I'm actually giving my E80 to my mom so that she can start using an HDD/DVD recorder instead of her old VCRs. I will miss my E80 greatly...but am looking forward to whatever comes out next year.

A keyboard on a new recorder would be nice...or I wish they could just add predictive text like all almost ALL cellphones have now. Instant messaging with predictive text is so fast and could easily be added to a recorder!
post #46 of 549
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trebor Pyn View Post

{I guess we have uncovered another difference between the ES10 and ES20?}

Thats a big difference and a deal breaker for me as i was looking at getting an additional DVR and was considering the ES20 because i have been so happy with my ES10.I record alot in FR mode..especially programs that have commercials i pause out.

What are these people thinking?

That's true! If I knew about this I would have probably waited to find the ES10 in stock somewhere, instead of getting the ES20. Or perhaps this would have tilted the scales towards the Pioneers. Pausing FR mode is such a great way to utilize available space and control recording quality. It can be sort of simulated on the ES20 in some situations with FR, stop, recalc, start new FR, but even typing the process out in this message is a big hassle and you end up with a handful of titles per ...title.

Maybe I should call Panasonic and demand a firmware upgrade! :-)
post #47 of 549
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill1313 View Post

I'll say that's a HUGE difference with the "FR" mode & it looks like Panasonic is really forcing you to step up to the HDD model or a new Hi-Def Recorder when they come out.

Yes it is! It would have been a deal-breaker for me had I known that at purchase time. We will probably not see the flexibility/features of the Pioneer 220 in a sub-$200 recorder again. This would have been an even bigger problem for me if I wasn't using the Comcast DVR to time-shift/stream recorded shows. But my next one will be a HDD-based model, I just don't know if I can give up the Comcast DVR's dual-tuner digital and analog channel recording feature. Do any of the current HDD-based models have dual tuners or can you record one thing to the HDD and another to the DVD at the same time?
post #48 of 549
Thread Starter 
I have found that the 4hr:40min FR mode using the ES20's RF tuner is a very good compromise for sports. The picture may not be as good as SP/LP, but it's better than EP, and it is a very reasonable trade-off to 6hr VHS mode. It is by no means perfect, but it doesn't have any annoying compression artifacts. During some close-ups there is soft nanoblocking in the background, but it's not annoying. This I observed after about half a dozen of 4:40 FR recordings using the ES20 RF tuner and playing them back on an ancient Apex dvd player. Similar recordings using 6hr VHS as a source are not as good (as expected because of double compression - I described that in the posts above). I am also starting to believe that some of the artifacts I was observing above were more because of the Comcast DVR, and the LP mode perhaps. 4:40FR is special for sports, because you can record an ESPN double-header (two games played at different arenas; same-arena games have a +20minute increase), and you are almost guaranteed to get the end of the 2nd game even with about 1-2 overtimes. The next thing to test would be LP mode with the RF tuner....
post #49 of 549
So just to be clear? I can use the ES20 to record onto disc a program from a DVR (8300HD) via the composite outputs from the DVR to the inputs of the ES20?

That would certainly make it worthwhile to pick one of these up for me.
post #50 of 549
You guys rock. If only the goofballs at Best Buy and Fry's knew as much as you.

I've never used a DVR, and much of this conversation seems like a foreign language. Am I reading this correctly - the ES20 has no advantages over the ES10 and offers FEWER features (can't pause during commercials, lacks "SHORTEN TITLE feature, etc.)

What is the "SHORTEN TITLE" feature?

It sounds like the Pioneer 533 is the best choice - comparable to the ES10 with a better and more responsive remote control - correct?


I have hundreds of football games on VHS. I want to copy them to DVD to save space. I want to add "chapters" at the beginning of each quarter and possibly the scoring plays.

Other uses would be to compile hours of "home movies" to DVD. Maybe I'll add subtitles (names, dates, events) to the footage.

My 1 year old computer has a DVD burner. Would I be better off just doing this on my computer? If so, can you recommend any software?
post #51 of 549
"FR" Record Mode

Hate to say it, but this is one of the reasons that everytime you buy "Any" new product before the 30 day return policy is up on it you should TEST Every Little Feature or Thing that you can think of out on it.

I know it can be a pain to find the time sometimes to totally check a product out but it really is a situation where You Have To Make The Time or Get Stuck With What You Bought!

That's one of the reasons boards like this can be so helpful to people who just don't have the time & I really apreciate Test Reports & Info like ncaahoops is giving us here.
post #52 of 549
Hi,

Lots of great info here! Ok, so I just bought an ES20 yesterday and I'm transferring my wedding video to the DVD RAM disc they provided in the box. I want to make chapters but from reading this thread last night, I see that the ONLY way to make chapters is on the RAM disc? Right?

So once I have it on the RAM disc, is there a way to transfer that onto a DVD-r?

Man there is so much to learn about all these formats and what you can and can't do.....

Thanks!
post #53 of 549
To retain chapters etc you would have to load it onto PC(one that will except ram).
Or if you have a DVD player that will except ram you can play it back to ES20 and record but you won't retain chapters.
post #54 of 549
Excuse my ignorance, but I can't figure how to record channels of 80 and higher from my cable system. I have the cable box hooked up to the recorder with S video and stereo sound. I also have the cable from the wall split to the cable box and the recorder (that was the only way I could get the setup to find any channels). But, when I try to schedule a recording to, for example channel 80, the recorder doesn't know 80 and won't accept such. I do realize I will have to have the cable box channel set to the channel I want to record.

thanks for the help
post #55 of 549
Well, I tried my first RAM recording and made the chapters (pretty easy with this recorder!) But of course my pc wouldn't recognize the RAM disc.



So I looked in the manual and according to page 31, it says that:

After finalizing -R or +R, "Titles are divided into about 5-minute* chapters

*Time varies greatly depending on the condition and mode of recording.

There is a pause of seceral seconds between titles and chapters during play



So it DOES create chapters on -r and +R? But what's with the "several seconds pause" in between chapters?

I'm re-recording my video on to a dvd-r to see what this is all about.
post #56 of 549
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenpaw View Post


So it DOES create chapters on -r and +R? But what's with the "several seconds pause" in between chapters?

I'm re-recording my video on to a dvd-r to see what this is all about.

I have the ES-10 and have not experienced any pause between chapters on either +R's or -R's. What it is useful for is skipping ahead about five minutes during playback.
post #57 of 549
OK, quick update (for those keeping score at home )

I recorded from my VHS source on to a DVD-R and then finalized my disc and it DID create 5 minute chapters and there is NO pause between the chapters. I'm ok with that, I mean it would be great to be able to create the chapters myself like you can using DVD RAM media, but I can live with this. The picture and sound are great.

Every review I read on this recorder pointed out that you cannot create chapters on DVD +/- R discs. I understood that to mean that when you record on that type of media, it will result in ONE long chapter, meaning you would have to literally fast forward to jump ahead on the disc (like a VHS tape) But that is not the case at all.

Again, I'm a complete newbie here, this is my first DVD rcorder, first disc I ever tried to make, so it's all new to me.

Also, for anyone who bought this DVD recorder between Nov 20, 2005 and Dec 31, 2005....here's a $50 rebate!

 

Pan 50 rebate.pdf 53.505859375k . file
post #58 of 549
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenpaw View Post

But of course my pc wouldn't recognize the RAM disc.

I was lucky in that my CD burner died a few weeks ago. I replaced it with a DVD burner that reads DVD-RAM. The one I purchased was the ASUS DRW-1608P2 for less than $40. I think that LG also makes DVD writers that read DVD-RAM.
post #59 of 549
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenpaw View Post


Also, for anyone who bought this DVD recorder between Nov 20, 2005 and Dec 31, 2005....here's a $50 rebate!

Read that rebate CLOSELY....I thought it was great too UNTIL I read that you also have to buy a portable player Read step 1 where it says "and".
post #60 of 549
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbalight View Post

Read that rebate CLOSELY....I thought it was great too UNTIL I read that you also have to buy a portable player Read step 1 where it says "and".


DAMN IT. I didn't even see that.

Thanks for saving me the stamp


OK, so I watched a little of what I burned. Awesome picture but a few times there were little glitches in the music. Nothing major but still a little annoying. So far so good.
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