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Pioneer 640 getting scarce - Page 8

post #211 of 323
My local store received another open box 640. I was thinking of picking it up but I have 2 already. They want $421 Canadian for it but I think I can talk them down a bit.
post #212 of 323
That Audio Advisor link seems to be still valid. They couldn't have anymore left could they?
post #213 of 323
Granted opening eBay prices are meaningless.
Granted they are demo units from 6th Ave stores.

But prices for the 3 closed EH55S units (see below) are all under $400.
A far cry from the $1000 they fetched a few weeks ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by garyjo View Post

6th ave electronics is selling 6 Pan DMR-EH55S (open box) units on eBay currently.
Opening price is $359. All of a sudden these high end large HDD DVD Recorders are "coming out of the woodwork."
items#
280099893131 $376 Closed
280099893142 $386 Closed
280099893160 $391 Closed
280099893181 Active
280099893234 Active
280099893215 Active

Are the days of a $1000 DMR-EH55 unit over?

Quote:
Originally Posted by slprp1 View Post

These are more than likely to be store demo units (they have multiple stores) that could have been used (and abused)!

As you should know, the "opening price" is meaningless!
Keep watching e-bay...... These are getting more valuable (as are the Pion. 640's), not less valuable!
post #214 of 323
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyco_ork View Post

I was speaking with the supervisor of customer service at Pioneer today, about the issue of upgrading burner firmware from 8x to 16x (not looking good),

Can you provide contact info for this person ? (Not just the general email address.)

I had thought that the 640 might already have faster burning than my older 520, which was supposed to do 8x. I do see that the reported burn times for 16x media on the 520 (which can't have much in the way of write strategies for them, and therefore probably defaults to a 4x burn) seems to be borne out in the actual results. The 640 does noticeably better with the 16x media. (I'm only using Verbatim in 16x.) Anyway, good available media and the existing DVR write strategies are going to be more and more of an issue as time goes on, so I'd say STOCK UP on the good stuff. Replacing these burners is said to be a bit more challenging than even the Do-It-Yourself HDD replacement procedure, so it's not a bad idea to pick up a spare burner of the right model now as well. They will cost more later and be harder to find as new, leftover stock or in low hours / excellent condition. Pioneer is charging $300. for a replacement burner ! I guess it depends on how much you like these units, and how long you'd like to keep them going . . . . I've seen most of the competition (today, only the low-end junk at Walmart seems to remain), and the Pioneers just look better and better, particularly in terms of build quality.
post #215 of 323
Quote:


Seeker47 posted: Can you provide contact info for this person ? (Not just the general email address.)

His name is Mark Passmore. He did not give me an email address, and I only have the main Pioneer number, but maybe you can get through to him. He called me because I had written a letter to the COO of PNA, Tom Haga, complaining about the lack of a firmware upgrade to handle the faster media. Passmore said they're working on it, but I shouldn't hold my breath, because it's a low priority, especially since they're pulling out of this market in North America altogether. I have stocked up on Verbatim 8x media. I'll look into getting a spare burner as well. I don't see any other machines out there as good as my PRV 9200, and I'm going to use it until it dies, or I die, whichever comes sooner.

You're right that the Pioneer 8x burner steps down to 4x when it's confronted with 16x media. The people at Verbatim informed me that this is because the 16x media require more laser power. The 8x burner can't provide the power to burn even at 8x, not enough power for the 16x media, so it steps down to 4x, which to me means there's a greater chance of burn errors. In addition, it's going to wear the laser out that much faster. For all those reasons, I wanted the firmware upgrade so I could safely use 16x media. I already stick to 4x when I author DVDs on my computer, because thoses discs are even more prone to burn errors.

In addition to everything else I've seen on this thread, I think there's one more thing driving the nail in the coffin of these machines: I suspect there have been quiet phone calls made by certain lawyers, pointing out the potential for lawsuits if a hard drive DVD recorder equipped with a digital tuner ever hits the market. Imagine the quaking of knees in the broadcast industry if the idea of direct digital copies off the air or over cable became a reality.

The FCC rule certainly played its part. But the simple response to that would have been to bring out machines with ATSC tuners, and that's not happening.

Just a hunch, but I'll bet I'm right.

Pioneer's main number is 310-952-2000. You can write to Haga (COO) or Passmore (Supervisor of Customer Support) at:
Pioneer North America
2265 E. 220th St.
Long Beach, CA 90810-1639

The more people jump in on this, the better chance there is that something will happen. We'll get nowhere through the regular customer support channels.

RB
post #216 of 323
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyco_ork View Post

In addition to everything else I've seen on this thread, I think there's one more thing driving the nail in the coffin of these machines: I suspect there have been quiet phone calls made by certain lawyers, pointing out the potential for lawsuits if a hard drive DVD recorder equipped with a digital tuner ever hits the market. Imagine the quaking of knees in the broadcast industry if the idea of direct digital copies off the air or over cable became a reality.

That doesn't wash. None of these units have network connections so to get recorded content on the internet you would have to burn it onto DVD-R/W to get it to you PC. So what's the difference between dubbing it from a HDD unit or burning it directly to disk via one of the current ATSC units.
post #217 of 323
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyco_ork View Post

I don't see any other machines out there as good as my PRV 9200

That's the industrial model, isn't it ?

Thanks for the contact info. I will pursue that also.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nyco_ork View Post

You're right that the Pioneer 8x burner steps down to 4x when it's confronted with 16x media. The people at Verbatim informed me that this is because the 16x media require more laser power. The 8x burner can't provide the power to burn even at 8x, not enough power for the 16x media, so it steps down to 4x, which to me means there's a greater chance of burn errors. In addition, it's going to wear the laser out that much faster. For all those reasons, I wanted the firmware upgrade so I could safely use 16x media. I already stick to 4x when I author DVDs on my computer, because thoses discs are even more prone to burn errors.

Yeah, but wouldn't you have to replace the whole burner also, not just the firmware ? (You said the 8x burner lacks enough laser power . . . ) I've read about a procedure for replacing the laser assembly, but not the whole burner.

To reiterate, I don't think the 16x media is nearly as much of an issue for the 640. vs. an older model like the 52x or 53x machines. According to a tech forum post in the U.K. that I read, the 540 / 640 uses an "L11X" burner. This seems to be proprietary, with some special functionality, but is of the same generation as the 111D -- a fully 16X capable burner.
post #218 of 323
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

That doesn't wash. None of these units have network connections so to get recorded content on the internet you would have to burn it onto DVD-R/W to get it to you PC. So what's the difference between dubbing it from a HDD unit or burning it directly to disk via one of the current ATSC units.

(Hote this isn't a duplication, but an earlier reply seems to have gone into the ether.)

A couple other things don't wash with this argument. I'm pretty sure I've seen a couple of the last Pioneer models for the Euro market, which already had digital tuners. (But rather pricey.) Secondly, the mass market isn't very discrimminating, as witness all those crappy quality "handycam under the raincoat" screen-cap $5. bootlegs that are regularly confiscated in raids. The existing DVRs that are / were available in our market can already do a lot better than that, receiving even analog signals.
post #219 of 323
Quote:


Seeker 47 Posted: Yeah, but wouldn't you have to replace the whole burner also, not just the firmware ? (You said the 8x burner lacks enough laser power . . . ) I've read about a procedure for replacing the laser assembly, but not the whole burner.

The PRV 9200 was considered a professional unit, but Passmore told me it was closest to the 520. I thought the 640 seemed pretty close. They discontinued the 9200 in January 2006, but I managed to buy one that April.

According to my research, some units, such as the Panasonics, can get firmware upgrades to enable them to use 16x media. The user downloads an ISO file, burns it to CD, inserts the CD in the unit, and plays it. The firmware is upgraded for 16x. The site is specific about this. That was part of the discussion I had with Passmore. I asked him why Pioneer couldn't provide the same service as Panasonic. That's when he said they're getting out of the market. (I'd have to backtrack and find the right Panasonic page again in order to post the link, but this thread is about Pioneer.)

Almost all the computer burners (except mine, unfortunately) have downloadable firmware upgrades to accommodate 16x media. So it must not be necessary to change the actual hardware. I guess they can increase the laser power with the firmware.

Pioneer is still selling the PRV LX1, which is their big industrial unit, and it only burns at 4x. I don't know of an "LX11," but maybe I missed something. Also, I downloaded a PDF of the 640 manual, and it specifically says it handles 16x. So I don't see how it could be the same burner as the LX1.
post #220 of 323
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

That doesn't wash. None of these units have network connections so to get recorded content on the internet you would have to burn it onto DVD-R/W to get it to you PC. So what's the difference between dubbing it from a HDD unit or burning it directly to disk via one of the current ATSC units.

Kelson, I wasn't talking about using the units to upload files to the internet. I was thinking more of pirate DVDs. But even that's not really the issue. I agree that the quality of the DVDs, even with the analog inputs, is pretty awesome, better than a lot of DVDs pirated by filming in a theater.

As for your question about what's the difference between something transferred to a PC by a DVD-R or something taken directly off the Internet, the industry has already answered that question with scores of lawsuits. Every time there's a digital-to-analogue conversion, and then back again, there's some loss of quality, even if our eyes can't see it. A direct digital copy, with no analogue conversions in the path, is what worries them. They're all looking over their shoulders at what happened to the music industry, and I can't blame them.

My point is that the I suspect the broadcasters might have waved the threat of lawsuits at the manufacturers if they put digital capture units on the market. It may not even have been the deciding factor, since they say the market was so small anyhow. But all these things add up. I can't speak to what happens in the EU. It's a different market with different rules.

I don't remember if it was on this thread or another that someone said Panasonic had signed a contract with Comcast for something like a million set-top receiver boxes with Panasonic hard drive recorders installed. But those units are watch-only, then erase. You can't burn a DVD with them. I think that gives at least a hint that there's something to my supposition. Maybe Comcast waved a sweet contract instead of a threat of a lawsuit.
post #221 of 323
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyco_ork View Post

As for your question about what's the difference between something transferred to a PC by a DVD-R or something taken directly off the Internet, the industry has already answered that question with scores of lawsuits.

No that wasn't my question. I guess I interpreted your comment to mean that it would be easier to record a TV program and subsequently distribute it on the internet (i.e. youtube) if the recorder had a HDD. My response was to indicate that is not true.

As far as duplicating DVD's for backup or piracy, the only people who try to make analog copies of DVDs are those without a PC and DVD burner (possibly an exaggeration so don't frag me guys). Our copyright abiding "friends" from beijing provide free software to all over the internet (updated weekly and supported on-line) that will crack, rip and burn any DVD on the market to make direct digital duplicates. They already have the proto-type for ripping HD-DVDs up for beta testing and promise that Blu-Ray is right around the corner. Home DVD recorders don't even enter into this equation.

It really is a losing battle for content providers. All it takes is 1 guy to upload a TV episode and within an hour there are a million copies all over the internet socked away in places you would never think to find, waiting to surface. No matter how hard they try to make it there will always be a bunch of someones who will get a copy on the net just to spite them.
post #222 of 323
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

It really is a losing battle for content providers. All it takes is 1 guy to upload a TV episode and within an hour there are a million copies all over the internet socked away in places you would never think to find, waiting to surface. No matter how hard they try to make it there will always be a bunch of someones who will get a copy on the net just to spite them.

Kelson, you've just given the best reason yet for these recorders to vanish from the market. With your scenario, they're redundant. Fortunately for me, I already have one, because it's critical to the work I really need to do. (Transfer videos of old broadcasts I was directly involved in.) As I said in previous post, my capture card is not up to snuff, and I don't have room for a PC, so the standalone does my capturing and I burn a quick disc to transfer the file to the laptop for authoring. The stuff I take "off the air," (off the cable converter, actually,) is just for laughs, or timeshifting.
post #223 of 323
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post

To reiterate, I don't think the 16x media is nearly as much of an issue for the 640. vs. an older model like the 52x or 53x machines. According to a tech forum post in the U.K. that I read, the 540 / 640 uses an "L11X" burner. This seems to be proprietary, with some special functionality, but is of the same generation as the 111D -- a fully 16X capable burner.

Seeker, you're right that it's not an issue for the 640, because its burner is rated at 16x. But here's a direct quote from the email I received from Verbatim, regarding the 9200:

Quote:
From Verbatim Customer Support: The 16x speed media requires a higher laser power than does the 4x and 8x speed media.
Most DVD recorders need a firmware update to use the 16x and high speed discs correctly.
With it's current version of firmware the Pioneer PRV9200 can not set the correct laser
power for 8x recording but can set the correct power for 4x recording. Recommend
contacting Pioneer for when the next firmware update for the PRV9200 may be available.

Which is why I contacted Pioneer, got nowhere, then wrote the COO, Haga.
post #224 of 323
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyco_ork View Post

Almost all the computer burners (except mine, unfortunately) have downloadable firmware upgrades to accommodate 16x media. So it must not be necessary to change the actual hardware. I guess they can increase the laser power with the firmware.

Pioneer is still selling the PRV LX1, which is their big industrial unit, and it only burns at 4x. I don't know of an "LX11," but maybe I missed something. Also, I downloaded a PDF of the 640 manual, and it specifically says it handles 16x. So I don't see how it could be the same burner as the LX1.

If the burner was simply in your PC, no problem -- there are online sources (like The Dangerous Bros.) for hacked firmware that adds or unlocks features. You'd just d/l it and flash the drive. (Not completely risk free, of course, but you can take your chances.) However, in a dvr like these Pioneers, the most important firmware we're talking about here is the one for the dvr itself, and that's a different kettle of fish. You would need new Pioneer 640 f/w for that.

The burner I referred to for the 640 was listed as the L11X, I believe. If you want definitive info on things like internal components, forget about the USER Manual: for that, you need to get ahold of the appropriate SERVICE Manual.
post #225 of 323
Quote:


Seeker47...- there are online sources (like The Dangerous Bros.) for hacked firmware that adds or unlocks features... However, in a dvr like these Pioneers, the most important firmware we're talking about.

The burner I referred to for the 640 was listed as the L11X, I believe. If you want definitive info on things like internal components, forget about the USER Manual: for that, you need to get ahold of the appropriate SERVICE Manual.

I'll look for the service manual. Maybe I'll find out if the 640 burner will fit in a 9200. In any event, I guess I should price spare parts, look for a burner, an HDD, and the system battery.

I've come across those hacker firmware sites, and I'm not willing to take the chance. The drives in my laptop are made by Matshita, and they're notoriously fussy. I'd be more likely to ruin them.

Edit: Actually, it will probably be impossible to find the service manual. Pioneer has never authorized its service centers to handle these machines; users have to return them to Pioneer. So there are no manuals floating around to be copied. Maybe someday Pioneer will put them in an archive. I'll start looking now and hope that I find one in a couple of years.
post #226 of 323
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyco_ork View Post

IEdit: Actually, it will probably be impossible to find the service manual. Pioneer has never authorized its service centers to handle these machines; users have to return them to Pioneer. So there are no manuals floating around to be copied. Maybe someday Pioneer will put them in an archive. I'll start looking now and hope that I find one in a couple of years.

Not really: Go to HKAN's site (pioneerfaq.info) and leave him a private message. Depending on the size of User mailboxes here, he might even be able to send it to you. (File size may be in the 3 meg. range ? *) Do mention the exact model of interest, whether it is the 640, the 533, or etc. I think they may also be available at a couple of public Euro sites as well, but I'd have to check on that..

It may take some deeper digging, but don't underestimate what you can find online. There were a couple of long off-the-market and very hard to find programs I was looking for at one time. One might be able to find a used copy on Ebay, once in a blue moon, but even that was very problematical. Basically, you couldn't find them for love or $$. It took me three months of serious online searching, but I finally found them. And it only cost me the time.

[* EDIT: Ooops, my mistake: .PDF file sizes are more in the 8 - 12 mb. range.]
post #227 of 323
I know that pio isn't making dvr's and the 640 is very popular but i just got the 540 and it is the same except fot no usb and 80 gig hdd.
post #228 of 323
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post

Not really: Go to HKAN's site (pioneerfaq.info) and leave him a private message.

Thanks for that tip. Great site. My machine is on his list, so I've emailed him for more info.

I know what you mean about finding things on the Web. I found a service manual for my old Uher 10,000 reel-to-reel tape deck (1965 vintage) on eBay. Found an incomplete copy on a Polish site.

R
post #229 of 323
Quote:
Originally Posted by equinoxman View Post

I know that pio isn't making dvr's and the 640 is very popular but i just got the 540 and it is the same except fot no usb and 80 gig hdd.

Where? I wouldn't mind having one of those.
post #230 of 323
Canada, I believe.
post #231 of 323
Quote:
Originally Posted by crabboy View Post

Where? I wouldn't mind having one of those.

Got mine on ebay very good seller joe 7900. prices are good and they do come from Canada. So far i am more than happy with it.
To compare it with the 640 download the manual for 640 the 540 is listed in the same manual.
post #232 of 323
Quote:
Originally Posted by equinoxman View Post

I know that pio isn't making dvr's and the 640 is very popular but i just got the 540 and it is the same except fot no usb and 80 gig hdd.

Where are you located? Is the 540 compatable with U.S. AC power and cable television systems?

What is your opinion of the 540 overall?
post #233 of 323
Here in Canada it looks like the 80GB version of the 640 is called the DVR-543HS. It should be fully compatible with US power and analog cable.
post #234 of 323
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Nelson View Post

Here in Canada it looks like the 80GB version of the 640 is called the DVR-543HS. It should be fully compatible with US power and analog cable.

but......NO US WARRANTY!
post #235 of 323
Quote:
Originally Posted by equinoxman View Post

Got mine on ebay very good seller joe 7900. prices are good and they do come from Canada. So far i am more than happy with it.
To compare it with the 640 download the manual for 640 the 540 is listed in the same manual.

but......NO US WARRANTY!
post #236 of 323
Quote:
Originally Posted by slprp1 View Post

but......NO US WARRANTY!

Yes, but...There are no more new HD Pioneer DVDRs. The 540 I'm looking at is on ebay. I don't expect any kind of warranty from an ebay purchase (above and beyond what the seller offers).
post #237 of 323
If anyone is interested...I will be listing a month old 640 on eBay within the next week.
It is of course like new,works perfectly...I just decided to stay with Panasonic,and don't need the hard-drive.
post #238 of 323
Quote:
Originally Posted by crabboy View Post

Yes, but...There are no more new HD Pioneer DVDRs. The 540 I'm looking at is on ebay. I don't expect any kind of warranty from an ebay purchase (above and beyond what the seller offers).

If your looking at the same dealer i got mine from he give's 1 year warrenty . he just exchanges it with his supplier and so far i have had no trouble with this 540 and i am in the states. totally compatible.
post #239 of 323
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brother Blues View Post

If anyone is interested...I will be listing a month old 640 on eBay within the next week.
It is of course like new,works perfectly...I just decided to stay with Panasonic,and don't need the hard-drive.

640s are getting big bucks on ebay. good luck you should do well
post #240 of 323
Thanks,but I just agreed to sell it to a fellow member for slightly less than what I paid for it.
But they are getting a little nuts on eBay...I see some listed with a 'buy it now' price of 600 bucks!!!
And there have been some new ones sold for over 400 dollars...
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