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Leaning towards the Panasonic DMR EH50 but have some concerns  

post #1 of 80
Thread Starter 
I am posting this with the hope that some owners of the Panasonic DMR EH50 will respond.

I plan on connecting my Digital Cable box to the Panasonic either via RF or A/V Line input. But I do not want to utilize the TV Guide.

Now I started reading the manual (pdf) and things got a bit confusing. During the setup, a question is asked whether a cable box is connected. The user is prompted to reply "NO" if the TV Guide is to be disabled. But by replying "NO", how does the Panny actually know I am using a cable box and what input I am using?

It says to go to page 57 and do "auto channel/auto clock". But I am not using the Panny's tuner, I am using a cable box to tune in all the channels.

Also when it comes to doing a basic recording, the manual says to select HDD or DVD, and then select the channel. But I will not be using the Panny's tuner. Nowhere does it ask if the input is RF or Line In.

I am really confused.

I hope some Panny DMR EH50 owner's can respond and clarify things for me.

I cannot make the purchase unless I feel confident about it.

Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 80
I don't own one but I'll give it a shot.

If the TV Guide is turned "OFF" you would have to program Timer Recordings first by setting the Cable Box to the channel you wanted to record & then you must leave the box "ON". Then you would enter in the Timer Program whatever channel the box comes in on if you used the RF Input.

If you used the A/V Inputs instead of entering a channel number in the Timer Program you would enter "Input" instead.

The only drawback to this is that you will not be able to do another Timer Recording on a different channel unless your cable box has a timer in it & then you would setup both the Cable Box's & the Recorder's Timer Record Function to come "ON" at the same time.

Also some Cable Boxes that have Timers in them can turn the recorder "ON" instead of the other way around.

Hopefully someone with a EH50 will chime in here & straighten both of us out :D

But the easiest way probably to figure out how to hook it up & do Manual Timer Recordings with it is that it would be hooked up exactly the same way that you would hook up a VCR to the Cable Box to do Manual Timer Recordings on the VCR.
post #3 of 80
Thread Starter 
Bill1313:

Thanks for your reply but I really need to hear from DMR EH50 owners.

The manual is very unclear on how to do recording on the fly when one connects a Cable Box but the DVD Recorder thinks there is no cable box (in order to defeat the TV Guide).

Yes, my cable box has VCR timers where I can set the box to turn on and off at specified times and tune to a specified channel. There are 8 events on my cable box. So I do not have to worry about unattended recording so long as the Panny is capable of doing it manually.

And hookup is not as simple as a VCR. The Panny requires A/V output to the TV. The RF simply passes through the signal from the Cable Box. And I do not know how I'll be able to use the Line Input connection when my cable Box only has one set of A/V outputs which are already being used.
post #4 of 80
I have an EH50 but I am a little confused what your asking. I have mine hooked up with AV cables from my cable box. There is another option in the guide menu for the EPG that you have to disable to shut it off completely. Not only selecting no cable or antenna. You can set up a timer recording for the Panny. You select the input, record speed and when to come on and set your cable box for a timer. Unless you want to just leave the panny on the line you are using for the cable box. I use line 2. Its the fron inputs. I use the 2 back 1 & 3 for my satellite systems.
post #5 of 80
Well I don't know if this will help or not but here is how my daughter has her Panny E55 (No EPG On It) hooked up.

RF Cable TV wire that comes out of the wall goes to a 2-way RF Splitter
2-way RF Splitter Outputs: One To the Cable Box RF IN & One to the Panny RF IN
Panny RF Out goes to the VCR RF IN (If No VCR hook it to the TV)
VCR RF Out goes to the TV RF IN
VCR Audio/Video Out goes to the Panny Line 3 Audio/Video IN
Panny Audio/Video Out goes to the TV Audio/Video IN
Cable Box Audio/Video Out goes to the Panny Line 1 Audio/Video IN

When she wants to record any Analog Channel she enters the Channel Number she wants to record in the "Timer Menu" (Just like a VCR)

When she wants to record any Digital Channel she enters "Line 1 Input" in the "Timer Menu" instead of a Channel Number.

For Digital Channel Recording she also sets the Cable Box's Timer to come on at the same time that the recorder is set to turn "ON" & Record from Line 1.

The only drawback to this setup is that you cannot watch a Digital Channel without turnning "ON" the Cable Box & the DVD Recorder & setting the Recorder to Line 1 Input.

You cannot watch one Digital Channel & Record another Digital Channel at the same time.

But you can record a Digital Channel & watch any Analog Channel at the same time.

The VCR can also record any Analog Channel at the same time that the DVD Recorder is recording.

While the DVD Recorder & VCR are both Recording any Analog Channel can be watched at the same time on the TV by using the VCR's TV/VCR Button.
post #6 of 80
I just wanted to add that don't be to concerned on hooking up the EH50 without the TV Guide because it can be done & if you get stuck just come back here & someone will help you figure it out.

Again, as I said above it will really be the same way that you would hook up a VCR if you were using the VCR's A/V Outputs to the TV's A/V Input.

The big thing & you haven't mentioned it, does you TV have at least one Audio/Video Input? because the Panny will not output a picture from the recorder through the RF Out like a VCR will.

The Panny RF Out only sends the same signal (Picture) that is coming into the RF IN (It's just a Loop) so it doesn't send the DVD picture from the Panny to the TV.

I should add that on my daughter's setup she also has 2 Macrobusters & A DVD player added to the mix so she can dub her store bought DVDs & Video Tapes.

So buy the Panny if you want it & don't fret too much about the hook up because what you want to do Can Be Done :)
post #7 of 80
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all your replies.

1. I will not be using any splitter or VCR. I will be feeding the DMR EH50 directly from my Cable Box. Yet the manual (pages 12 and 13) makes you think that you must connect a VCR.

2. My TV has four A/V inputs plus component video input so that is no problem.

On page 20 of the manual (Recording Television Programs), it says in step 3 to select the channel. No where does it mention selecting the Input. THIS PAGE IS WHAT IS CONFUSING ME.

Let's say my wife happens to be watching a program and would like me to record it on the fly because she has something to attend to. Ok, I turn on the DMR EH50, Press HDD, but then what do I do before selecting the Record Mode? How does the DMR know what input I am using (RF, Line IN)? All it says is to select the channel. What channel? I am using a Cable Box.

On Page 57, please explain "Set Channels Automatically"? There is nothing to set in my situation. I am using a Cable Box even though I am instructed on page 16 to say "NO".

Maybe I am worrying needlessly, but I would appreciate help in understand things mentioned here before I make a purchase.

Thank you all.
post #8 of 80
Captnvideo,

I have the model you are interested in buying. I also have the E80 from panasonic. I have satellite,but my hookup sounds like what you are trying to do. My sat box has S-Video out. I hook the S-Video out from my Sat box into the line 1 input on the back of the EH50. I hook up the audio out from the Sat box into the audio inputs for line 1 (you can also use composite in if your cable box does not have s-video). Then I send the video out to my TV by using the component output on the EH50 and use the audio optical output to my stereo system). Again, if your TV does not have component inputs, then you can use S-video or composite outputs from the EH50. When you are only watching TV the signal from the sat box passes through the EH50 to the TV.

When I record, I press the schedule button on the EH50 remote. Then I press the green button on the remote to manually schedule a recording. Then I select the line 1 input on the schedule recording screen and set the time to record and the recording format (XP, SP, EP, etc.). Using this method, you will have to leave the cable box on (you can turn off the TV) and set to the channel you want to record. The EH50will not change the channel for you. As another poster metioned, most sat box and cable box will allow you to set a timer on the box which will allow to to have the channelchanged to the channelyou need to recordif you are doing multiple recordings and you are not there to change the box, thus you have to setup the EH50 to record and set the cable box to change the channel.
post #9 of 80
Thread Starter 
kitzj0:

Thanks for the information.

Two questions:

1. I understand how to schedule recording events, I would tell the Panny that I am using Line Input 1 and I can then set my CableBox to change the channel. But how would I record "on the fly" (not scheduled)? Page 20 is so unclear.

2. What steps did you do to prevent the TV Guide from downloading? I am not interested in the TV Guide and have heard there are problems with it.
post #10 of 80
Captnvideo

To record on the fly, just hit the record button on the remote.

The steps to prevent the TV Guide is in the setup to tell the unit you are not using a cable box. However, when the unit turns off and I turn it on, a screen sometimes pops up saying there was an error and the program guide did not download. I hit the return button and the screen disappears. I think the screen will go away on its own after a minute or so.
post #11 of 80
Thread Starter 
To record on the fly, just hit the record button on the remote.

Will the Panny know automatically that the signal is coming into it via the Line Input or will I have to tell it somehow?
post #12 of 80
Captnvideo,

Yes it will know to record from the line input. However, you may need to set up a timer recording and tell it which line input to record from first. I think my first recording was just hitting the record button and it knew where to record from, so you might try that when you set the unit up.
post #13 of 80
Thread Starter 
kitzj0:

Thanks again for the information.

Have you performed many dubbings from the HDD to DV-R?

Someone on another forum who owns the DMR EH50 posted that he gets two or three one-second pauses randomly on the DVD only when dubbing from the HDD. He also tried reformatting the HDD but said it did not help. I hope his problem is an isolated one.
post #14 of 80
captnvideo,

I have dubbed to DVD-RAM (I edit out the commercias with TMPG DVD author Pro, then put on DVD-R) but not to DV-R. I have not noticed any pausing. Is the pausing you mentioned on edited video (cutting out commercials) and does the pause appear at these junctions? Did the same thing happen to this guy with +R? The EH50 dubs to DVD-R/RW, RAM, and DVD +R.
post #15 of 80
Thread Starter 
I have dubbed to DVD-RAM (I edit out the commercias with TMPG DVD author Pro, then put on DVD-R) but not to DV-R. I have not noticed any pausing. Is the pausing you mentioned on edited video (cutting out commercials) and does the pause appear at these junctions? Did the same thing happen to this guy with +R? The EH50 dubs to DVD-R/RW, RAM, and DVD +R.

I forgot where I read this post but I believe he tried different discs as well and this pausing was at random. He said it only happened when dubbing from the HDD, NOT when recording directly to DV-R from the video source. At the time I read this post, no one had replied.

I am a bit concerned about what Panasonic states near the beginning of the manual in regard to the reliability of the HDD. They claim it is not designed for long-term storage and anything important should be archived as soon as possible.

I own a CD recorder with HDD by another manufacturer. I have had it over two years and its HDD has never given me any trouble. I have done extensive recording to it, recording from it, and editing. Some of the "virtual" discs on the HDD have been there for a long time and they play perfectly.

If I purchase the DMR EH50, I plan on doing a lot of recording to the HDD (this will replace my VCR) for time-shift viewing. When the HDD is full, I will have to do some erasing. Editing the HDD will probably be done less frequently, only in preparation for archiving to DV-R. If any problems occur with the HDD on the Panny, wouldn't formatting the HDD be the solution? True, I may lose the data on the HDD but it should still be functional for future recording.
post #16 of 80
Captnvideo,

I have had my EH80 for over two years now and I have used it extensively. I have recorded hundreds of programs and have shortened segments (edited out commercials) and have not had any trouble with the hard drive. I have had one show on the recorder for over a year and no problems. With any hard drive there is a risk of failure, but with my EH80 nothing has happened.

Some have recommended to always leave a couple of hours free (don't fill up hard drive) and some have recommended using playlists to edit out commercials instead of shorten segment, and some format the hard drive every once in a while. I have never formatted the hard drive on my EH80.

I have put my EH80 through alot of use, and never had any problems.
post #17 of 80
Thread Starter 
I have had my EH80 for over two years now and I have used it extensively. I have recorded hundreds of programs and have shortened segments (edited out commercials) and have not had any trouble with the hard drive. I have had one show on the recorder for over a year and no problems. With any hard drive there is a risk of failure, but with my EH80 nothing has happened.

That is very reassuring. I will always leave some room on the HDD.


some have recommended using playlists to edit out commercials instead of shorten segment

I will check the manual to see if "playlists" are explained well enough.
post #18 of 80
Just wanted to let you know that by not using a 2-Way Splitter on the main Cable TV line that you will not be able to watch one program & record another program at the same time.

As for doing "Quick" manual recordings all you have to do is keep pushing the Record button to set the recorder to turn off in 30 min, 1hr, 2hrs & etc & it works just like a VCR that has the "One Touch Recording" feature & without a Splitter the program that you see on the tv is the one that you will be recording. (What You See Is What You Get).

Unlike VCRs on DVD Recorders you do not have to worry about going over something you recorded because you don't have to look for blank spaces on a DVD like with tape because a DVD Recorder will automatically find the blank space on the disc for the new recording which really makes it the perfect recorder for "On The Fly" Recordings.

And don't worry about the diagrams in the Owners Manual because they are Very, Very Generic & to include every possible setup would take them pages & pages to write & their just not going to spend that kind of money on owners manuals.
post #19 of 80
Thread Starter 
Bill1313:

Thanks for your advice.

Just wanted to let you know that by not using a 2-Way Splitter on the main Cable TV line that you will not be able to watch one program & record another program at the same time.

That is not a problem. We would only be able to view non-scrambled stations anyway, and we have another TV upstairs with a direct cable feed.

And don't worry about the diagrams in the Owners Manual because they are Very, Very Generic & to include every possible setup would take them pages & pages to write & their just not going to spend that kind of money on owners manuals.

They seem to emphasize connecting a VCR to the DVDR. I cannot understand why. The HDD is a replacement for a VCR. If I have VHS tapes I wanted to dub to DVD (which are very few if any), I would connect the Line Out of the VCR to the front panel Line In of the DVDR temporarily. I do not have the room in my A/V unit for both a VCR and DVDR.
post #20 of 80
The reason they show a VCR in the setup is because there are a ton of people that still use them for Watching video tapes, Dubbing their video tapes (Without having to run around hooking up a VCR) & I still know a lot of people, including my daughter, who are still using their VCRs to Record Programs. This especially comes in handy when you want to just record different programs that are on at the same time.

I know my daughter say on Monday Night will watch her afternoon soaps on the E55 while it's recording a movie off of HBO & her VCR will be recording CSI: Miami :eek:

So VCRs can still serve some use :D
post #21 of 80
Thread Starter 
The reason they show a VCR in the setup is because there are a ton of people that still use them for Watching video tapes, Dubbing their video tapes (Without having to run around hooking up a VCR) & I still know a lot of people, including my daughter, who are still using their VCRs to Record Programs.

I guess this is true.

It is just that I personally got turned off to VHS a long time ago and only used the VCR for time-shift viewing. The same with audio cassettes. But now I am heavily into archiving music to CDs and will probably do more of the same with Video once I get my DVDR.
post #22 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by captnvideo
[b]I forgot where I read this post but I believe he tried different discs as well and this pausing was at random. He said it only happened when dubbing from the HDD, NOT when recording directly to DV-R from the video source. At the time I read this post, no one had replied.

I am a bit concerned about what Panasonic states near the beginning of the manual in regard to the reliability of the HDD. They claim it is not designed for long-term storage and anything important should be archived as soon as possible.
We own an E100H and an EH50. Have extensive experience with the E100H and initial experience with the EH50.

As far as the pausing goes, with our E100H, setting chapter points using the "marker" retains the chapter points when doing a high speed dub to DVD-R. There is no pausing on playback from the dubbed DVD-R. .... But there is only one thumbnail for the beginning of the program and no thumbnails for each chapter "marker".

If I eliminate commercials using a playlist or shorten segment, there is no pausing when playing back from the HDD. But there is about a one second pause at each segment when playing back the same edited program from the DVD-R. .... There are thumnails for the beginning of each shorten segment. I can't remember if there are thumbnails for each segment when using playlists.

As far as long term storage goes, I haven't read what you mention but I think Panasonic probably is referring to keeping programs on the HDD for years. Just to make room for new material one needs to archive to removeable media on a regular basis so I would not worry about this concern.

Skylark
post #23 of 80
Thread Starter 
Skylark:

Thanks for the additional information. It is good to be reassured about the reliability of the HDD.

This is all new to me, so I do not understand terminology like "marker", "playlist", and "thumbnail" yet. I suppose these have to do with editing on the HDD.

I have been reading the DMR EH50 manual in pdf format to get an understanding of the basics like hookup, setup, and simple recording. This is where the people here at AVS Forum have really been helpful since the manual is not always that clear.

I'll try to look into the manual further, but if you can explain simply what these terms mean, I would appreciate it.

I am still going to wait a bit before making the purchase because I want to have as full an understanding as possible ahead of time.
post #24 of 80
Your first mistake is in taking the manual too seriously. It was written by someone who clearly did not understand American English as it is used. It is very difficult to understand and follow. If reading the manual makes you feel uncomfortable, don't let it. The people who designed the unit know a lot more about electronics than the people who wrote the manual know about American English.

The disclaimer about the hard drive is there to prevent Panasonic from being held financially responsible for lost content in the off chance the hard drive should fail. If you look inside, it's a standard off the shelf hard drive made by a well known manufacturer (varies with model). The hard drive won't fail in your recorder any more often than it would in your computer. What they are saying is, if you have the only copy of your wedding video on the hard drive and it fails, Panasonic is not financially responsible because YOU WERE WARNED! It really means almost nothing because those disclaimers hold little legal weight.

The diagrams that show VCRs are there as examples only. They use a VCR because they expect you will understand how a VCR works and is hooked up, not because one is required in any configuration. It's like the serving suggestion on the cover of the box of Kraft macaroni and cheese. You don't have to serve it with a hot dog! The picture is just there as a suggestion.

The way editing is done on one of these machines, using chapter delete, shorten segment or any other method can cause the edit mark to occur at any place in a GOP. The machine must generate a pause while it waits for the next I-frame to continue. This pause is of course is variable in length, and can be as long as a second. If you are careful and make your breaks during fade-to-black portions of a program, the pauses are unnoticeable. This is an artifact of MPEG encoding.
post #25 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by captnvideo
This is all new to me, so I do not understand terminology like "marker", "playlist", and "thumbnail" yet. I suppose these have to do with editing on the HDD.

I have been reading the DMR EH50 manual in pdf format to get an understanding of the basics like hookup, setup, and simple recording. This is where the people here at AVS Forum have really been helpful since the manual is not always that clear.

I'll try to look into the manual further, but if you can explain simply what these terms mean, I would appreciate it.
Regarding Panny E100H:

Marker - User can set markers anywhere in the program and on playback, jump to the next marker either forward or backward. Say I set 5 markers in a program. When I start playback if I press the SKIP FORWARD button, playback resumes at marker-1. If playback was between markers 3 and 4, pressing SKIP FORWARD would jump to marker-4 or pressing SKIP BACKWARD would jump to marker-3.

Playlist - A playlist enables the user to select the start and end points of desired segments without physically affecting the original program on the HDD. The playlist is just a list of the addresses of the start and end points of each segment on the HDD. Playback of the playlist from the HDD would look like one program less the commercials. Playlists can be used to record from the HDD to the removeable disc and playback of the disc would be the program less the commercials. ..... This is opposed to "Delete segment" where the commercials are actually deleted and the program is broken up into remaining segments. So in this case the commercials would be physically deleted from the recorded program on the HDD. The remaining segments could be recorded to a removeable disc and the program would playback less the commercials.

Thumbnail - A picture icon which is a frame of video that represents the segment. The DVDR will automatically select a frame of video about 1 second after the beginning but the user can change this to any frame in the segment. So when you look at a menu, there can be a bunch of thumbnails with text descriptions adjacent to each thumbnail.

Skylark
post #26 of 80
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for all your help.

I have a much better understanding of the Panasonic DMR EH50 and will probably order it next week (I am not sure from where at this point).

I know quite well about how "not well" manuals are written. But this DVDR is new for me and quite a bit more sophisticated than any other component I own. It certainly is more complex than a DVD Player or even an A/V receiver. That is why I had to learn as much as I could prior to purchasing it, despite the poorly written manual. I now feel confident about being able to connect this unit to my A/V system and set it up correctly.

I'll post here after my unit arrives and, if any problems arise, I know I'll be able to get the best help here.
post #27 of 80
CV
This dvr will do everything you seem to want it to. I manually record everything through Line in 1. My cable box dictates the station. This is my second panasonic dvr, the first one was the e50 which I still use. Setup this way if I want to tape a show right now on the dmr eh50, I change the cable box to the station and hit record. In preset sp mode I can tape over 44 hours of programming. I've been a happy user for 4 months. I've had no problems with it.
post #28 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by captnvideo
I have a much better understanding of the Panasonic DMR EH50 and will probably order it next week (I am not sure from where at this point). .....snip.....I'll post here after my unit arrives and, if any problems arise, I know I'll be able to get the best help here.
If you do buy a EH50, be advised that the "markers" I described on our E100H are not called "markers" on the EH50. They are called chapters instead. They are a little less convenient to set on the EH50 than on the E100H. Just wanted to give you a heads up so you don't spend hours searching the manual for "markers" like I did.

Skylark
post #29 of 80
Thread Starter 
Skylark wrote:

If you do buy a EH50, be advised that the "markers" I described on our E100H are not called "markers" on the EH50. They are called chapters instead. They are a little less convenient to set on the EH50 than on the E100H. Just wanted to give you a heads up so you don't spend hours searching the manual for "markers" like I did.

Its funny. On my friends DVD player, a "marker" is something that is set at a certain spot on the DVD so it can be accessed immediately when the DVD is loaded. His player has memory for five "markers". I can see why Panasonic changed their terminology and instead used "chapters". That makes more sense.
post #30 of 80
captnvideo

You can always give the guide a try, if it does not work out for you then stop using it. Because it is not that bad when it works.

And remember, with this machine, it will control some cable boxes even with MANUAL timers so you CAN still use it for the cable box control but NOT use the guide data. I use manual/guide timers all the time. Switch back and forth with cable box set up/not set up. It is very easy to do with the Panny EH50.
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