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Magnavox DVD Recorder ZC352MW8

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
I went to 2 mal-warts today looking for the Phillips DVD recorder, the first one didn't have the phillips, but they had this Magnavox ZC352MW8 so I bought it:

Paid less than $150.

I picked up the phillips at the next stop, so my comparisions are to the phillips DVDR3505 and the LG recorder which I owned for 10 days but returned because the tuner was poor.

First the unit feels cheaper than the phillips, lots of plastic everywhere. Noticably lighter than the others.

The unit is almost an exact copy of the Phillips DVDR3505, the outputs on the rear are in the same exact place, the front is slightly different.

The major difference between the phillips is this unit has no HDMI output, and no front DV input.

The software and menus appear to be exactly alike.

I only have this hooked up to a small antenna, and it picks up 2 of the 3 locals, I expected the 3rd to be picked up also, since the other tuners I've owned picked up all the locals with just the small antenna.

I will try this with the roof antenna later and report back with DVD recording observations also.

Reviews for the Mangavox ZV450MW8 DVD Recorder with VCR also appear in this thread.
post #2 of 45
Looking forward to this. I've been looking at this unit in my local Wal-Mart... actually, its brother, which includes a VCR. I'm especially interested in how it records. Specifically, the manual for the one with VCR included says it will not record 16:9, but I've gotten some conflicting information on that from their help desk.

The help(less) desk says that what it records is based on the display settings. Choices are 4:3 Pan & Scan, which will cut off the right and left edges of the widescreen programming, 4:3 Letterbox, which, um, letterboxes a widescreen program, and 16:9... but they can't tell me what gets recorded if the unit is set to 16:9.

I'd love an answer to that nagging question. It's the only thing stopping me from picking one up right now.
post #3 of 45
Thread Starter 
I've set the unit to 16:9, and I'm recording ABC which is showing something in HD now.

With 4:3, it was letterbox, and with 16:9 the image is now stretched fullscreen.

I'll let you know how it records.
post #4 of 45
Thread Starter 
It records as it appears on a 4:3 screen, stretched vertically.

Other observations:
The unit is made by Funai, and was manufactured in Jan 2007.

I've hooked it up to the CM 4228 antenna and I'm getting the same results as the Phillips DVDR3505, which is pretty good.

Only one station is too pixelated to watch from multipath interference. The Phillips may be just a hair better with multi-path, but right now, they are both unwatchable (with the same channel).

The remote is has 2 added functions (compared to the LG), it has a 30 second commercial skip button (yeah!), and a "rapid play" button with 2 positions, it speeds up replay slightly and the audio is still present.

Both the Phllips and the Magnavox have a button to go directly to the timer, the LG required going through some menus.
post #5 of 45
Thanks much DrBri99. Your results when recording with it set to 16:9 are what I was hoping for. If it appears stretched vertically on a 4:3 screen, then it's recording the anamorphic signal and should look "normal" on a 16:9 screen.

I'll be stopping and picking one up today. Actually, I'll be picking up the ZV450MW8, which contains a VCR as well. I'm hoping it handles recording to video tape in exactly the same way as it does on DVD.

Out of curiosity, does the manual for yours contain the same statement that the ZV450MW8 manual does on recording? Namely that it won't record 16:9? I'd imagine it does. I also imagine that it's because it doesn't record the anamorphic flag rather than because it doesn't record the signal itself.
post #6 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimSH View Post

Thanks much DrBri99. Your results when recording with it set to 16:9 are what I was hoping for. If it appears stretched vertically on a 4:3 screen, then it's recording the anamorphic signal and should look "normal" on a 16:9 screen.

Out of curiosity, does the manual for yours contain the same statement that the ZV450MW8 manual does on recording? Namely that it won't record 16:9? I'd imagine it does. I also imagine that it's because it doesn't record the anamorphic flag rather than because it doesn't record the signal itself.

Wouldn't it have side pillars on a 16:9 display, since the recording is still 4:3?

Yes, the manual does say it cannot record 16:9, and it will record it as 4:3.
post #7 of 45
IF it actually recorded the flag, then it would have side pillars. If what you're seeing is stretched vertically, though, then it will probably fill out the frame on a 16:9 set. I'll find out for sure tonight and let you know.

I think what's happening is that it's recording the same resolution as it would for a 4:3 image, but without the flag, a 16:9 set will stretch it out to its natural proportions. The image quality won't be as good, but it should be good enough, at least for my purpose of simply time shifting 16:9 content.

Will go to Wal-Mart today at lunch time and pick one up, then get it hooked up and test it tonight. I'll let you know and post some pictures if possible.
post #8 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimSH View Post

The image quality won't be as good

shouldn't the picture quality be the same,now only stretched and displayed properly by the tv?
post #9 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Lococco View Post

shouldn't the picture quality be the same,now only stretched and displayed properly by the tv?

I suppose it depends on how it handles things. Standard TV frame is only so wide. If it's squeezing it into that frame, then I'd imaging you'd lose some horizontal resolution. Shouldn't be too awful though. Small price to pay for the added content as far as I'm concerned.
post #10 of 45
BTW, I picked up the ZV450MW8 today on my lunch hour. Should have a report some time this evening
post #11 of 45
OK, Got it all hooked up.

Overall, I have to say I'm pretty happy with it for what it is.

It DOES record 16:9 if that's what you have the display set for. I don't believe it's recording the anamorphic flag, so if one of my recordings were played back on a 4:3 TV, it would be horizontally compressed. Not a problem for me since I have a 16:9 TV. If I want to record something to take to my girlfriend's house, I'll just have to remember to set it to 4:3 Letterboxed before recording. Not a likely scenario, since she has a Tivo. Since I'm strictly OTA at this point, and have no intention of shelling out $700 + subscription fees for a series 3, this will do quite nicely.

Recording behaves the same way on both the DVD Recorder and the VCR.

I have to say the remote pretty much sucks. Little buttons, unintuitive layout, etc. but I'll live with it.

It does not (so far as I can tell) do chasing playback, or record 5.1 audio, but I only have an old ProLogic sound system, so again, not a problem for me.

The tuner seems pretty good. I pick up all but the local NBC Affiliate on the ATSC side, but they're on VHF digital 2, which makes it nearly impossible to get at any rate. The tuner actually seems a bit more sensitive than the one built into the cheap 27" LCD TV I've got. For $189, not a bad deal.

It's busy recording CSI right now. When it's done, I'll see if I can grab a frame and post if anyone's interested.
post #12 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimSH View Post

The tuner seems pretty good. I pick up all but the local NBC Affiliate on the ATSC side, but they're on VHF digital 2, which makes it nearly impossible to get at any rate.

Really, that seems strange as in the major cities around me, even the lower channels (I.e. 6, 7, etc) moved their digital feed up (if not completely to the UHF spectrum). This may only be until the analog cut off in 2009 and they may move it back.

I have some tuners that actually show the alias number, so when I key in (for example) 7, it would actually tune to 56. Although my display only shows 7. I actually have one tuner in which I can enter the true frequency or the alias and it will tune it either way. I think antennaweb.org shows the true frequency.
post #13 of 45
Yep, it blows, but channel 3 in Cleveland is on digital 2. Many people I know are peeved about it. It's all but impossible to get. Maybe, if I put up an outdoor antenna, which is difficult since I live in a high rise. Even their analog signal is bad where I'm at. Don't watch much on NBC though, so I don't feel like I'm missing much. The cable Co. that services my building carries the HD feeds for all NBC, ABC, CBS & Fox, but I just can't see paying for it. Especially since the quality of the rest of the analog feed was poor. The audio on SciFi was awful. I decided I'd rather just buy it from iTunes and watch it on the computer. Heckuva lot cheaper than paying the $40 a month for cable. Besides, now that the kids are grown and I have a life, I don't watch nearly as much TV as I used to.

I'm just happy to be able to time shift the stuff I want, the way I want.

On topic, played back some of CSI. Looks great recorded at SP speed on the 16:9 set. Not HD, but much better than what my recently deceased ReplayTV got off of the analog signal.

The unit is definitely NOT recording the anamorphic flag, as I suspected. When I put the disk in my computer it played back compressed horizontally into a 4:3 frame. That's pretty much what I expected to happen.

Bottom line, the manual isn't entirely accurate, but it's not entirely wrong either when it comes to recording 16:9 material. I suspect that's the way many of the low end units (which this is, given the price point and, ahem, retail source) will be. As I said, good enough for my purposes.
post #14 of 45
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your review TimSH.

Does anyone know a way to update the name of the thread to incorporate the version with VHS: ZV450MW8 ?

PM me if you do.
post #15 of 45
Interesting side note. The last DVD recorder I had produced discs that would not play on my X-Box (original, not 360). The DVD+RW with CSI plays back just fine in my XBox. That's a bonus.
post #16 of 45
Thread Starter 
Well, I've decided to return this, the time delay for tuning digital channels is just too much.

The unit works fine, records fine, the tuner is decent. I just expect faster tuning.

I now have the Samsung DVD-AR650, which is slightly faster.

Overall my final impression is good, this did everything the LG, and Phillips could do, at a cheaper price. Since it is a first generation digital tuner/DVD recorder, I expect they will get better.
post #17 of 45
The delay will always be there when tuning digital - it just might get a bit shorter.
post #18 of 45
I just picked up the DVD / VHS combo. I only notice the delay when switching digital channels being really slow when you first enter the digital realm. Otherwise, while not the fastest, it is faster than my Sony HD DVR. I bought it for my grandparents (OTA only) and will be testing it out for a couple of weeks on different TV's (16:9 and 4:3) to see how it performs and if I think it is easy enough for them to use.

I'm sure I'll be posting here often with revelations and questions
post #19 of 45
There must be variance or some of you are used to slooow tuners.
For me the Mag 450 takes several seconds for any digital OTA channel.
The tuning in LG and Philips TVs and an LG DVDR were instantaneous by comparison.
post #20 of 45
it takes about 1-2 seconds....I have decided that this will be too slow (especially since you can't skip channels without tuning it first) for my grandparents to live with as their set top box, so it will go back to Wal-Mart soon.
post #21 of 45
Thread Starter 
I agree it isn't so much the slowness, you have to wait for it to tune the channel to move on to the next. As mentioned before the remote buttons are tiny, so direct tuning can lead to errors.

I returned mine this a.m. before coming to work. Last night the timer never came on to record. I checked the clock to make sure it was set properly, and it was fine (????).
post #22 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrBri99 View Post

The remote is has 2 added functions (compared to the LG), it has a 30 second commercial skip button (yeah!), and a "rapid play" button with 2 positions, it speeds up replay slightly and the audio is still present.

Which LG?
The 797 had both.
There is an "I. Skip" button, which is a 30 second jump.
The 797 also would retain sound for the first or first two scan speeds.
(can't remember if it was just the first or first two and I've returned it)

Mike
post #23 of 45
Thread Starter 
I guess I should have read the manual...I couldn't think of what I. skip could be.
post #24 of 45
Just picked up ZC352MW8 at wally world for < $150. Build quality is piss poor - front the panel feels like its about to fall off - remote is filmy and non-responsive. From the few test recordings of local PBS HD the picture quality is watchable up to 2 hour mode anything lower becomes vhs quality. Just bare bone w/ no chase playback or hdmi - then thats to much to expect from a sub-$150 recorder anyway. The final verdict is RETURN and wait for either panny or toshi - fingers crossed.

Edit : Oh! forgot no front display on the unit itself just 3 led to indicate power, record, timer record. The manual is exactly like philips.
post #25 of 45
strange as the VHS / DVD combo adds a front display and I found the 3 hour mode from that model to be watchable on my 42" Plasma. I couldn't tell the difference on my 20" CRT in 3 hour mode...but mine is going back, too.
post #26 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by sivartk View Post

I found the 3 hour mode from that model to be watchable on my 42" Plasma

i too tested using 42" panny plasma and at 8 feet could see that edges were jagged and started to bleed with 3 hour mode. Hope panny's LP (4 hour) mode is good as last year's models.
post #27 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by saywhat View Post

i too tested using 42" panny plasma and at 8 feet could see that edges were jagged and started to bleed with 3 hour mode. Hope panny's LP (4 hour) mode is good as last year's models.

I could see some of that also, I was about 9 feet away and it was a drama, no action. I was just surprised as it was nearly as good as my Panny E80H in 2 hour mode (SP)
post #28 of 45
Bought one of these today after returning the RCA 8030 HDD unit.
(Messed up analog tuner and cant make one dubbed DVD without them freezing)

Got this Magnavox cause it dropped to 134.87.

Definitely Philips has touched this unit as was said here in posts.

Well after 10 mins with this featherweight, it initially scanned the QAM channels fine but slow to tune and change channels. Have to say that the TV Aspect works GREAT-- Panny EZ17 sucked in this regard and so does my Samsung AR650 - which I may keep. Dunno yet.
No clock display? NADA seen on front of this unit?? time??

The tuner looks fine-- however sloooooowwwwwwwwww as stated above
but

Now- it is not holding the channels any longer....just says "now scanning" and then goes all light grey. All are gone-- just the 4.1 etc is left.

So did a auto search again and they are back and now its starting over again.
Sounds like similar issue with Philips 3575 HDD unit-- I think I read the earlier ones did this.
I actually have a 3575 too but I cannot get ANY QAM channels with it and with the Magnavox-- I can. hmmm.

Holds them a bit then they are gone and thats what this unit will be doing tommorow. Too bad. I kinda liked the tuner for the 2.5 minutes it worked

So far I have tryed this week:

Lg787T-- too hot hot (tried 2 from BB)but liked the RAM chasing playback
Panny EZ17/27-- Like the RAM DVR use with these but the pan and scan didnt work nor any TV aspects
Magnavox ZC352MW8-- as above
RCA 8030-- as above
Samsung AR650-- seems like a keeper though I have lotsa +RWs and cant use them but I have RAMs and use them in it-- Its very quiet and fast exc. for the TV aspect thing--- I cant get it to work correctly.

In Wally World today -- I saw many Philips 3505s with the "LN2" serials--- I think this AM I read that was the one to get on another posting.

Guess tommorow I will try it but it seems like a more $$ version of this same Magnavox though with some more features obviously.
post #29 of 45
and just a heads up about 3 things that will drive you crazy (or maybe its just mine). As a previous poster mentioned, it does forget its programming. Most irritating: a few times a week when you turn it on, the screen will begin with the setup menu and you'll have to go through the whole process all over again, from language to auto channel preset, a process that takes about 4 minutes. (How this machine knows I'm late to turn on a show I want to watch, I'll never know). If you bypass it, you won't get any channels. Sometimes its every third time its turned on! Second, you'll have to look close and be under a very good light to use the remote: tiny buttons that all feel the same with tiny labels all crammed together...you will hit the wrong button frequently. Finally, it does not adjust going from an HD letterbox to a 4 X 3 show...the picture is very small with big borders, unless you go to the menu and select "pan and scan." Then going back to a letterbox show means going to the menu again...a pain.
post #30 of 45
Overstock has the ZC352MW8 for $85 any new updates as to how yours are performing, any problems?
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