What are the best video quality DVD Recorders in Europe? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 13 Old 04-04-2019, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Question What are the best video quality DVD Recorders in Europe?

Hi guys,
I recently bought a Digital 8 camera, to digitize both hi8 and digital8 tapes (PAL format) using i.link but I'm not that impressed by the video quality.

Comparing the quality and detail on my PC to my Sony BVM (via S-video) is like night and day.
I would like to give a DVD recorder a go, and it must have an S-Video Input.

Just looking for an improvement over i.link really. HDD recording would be an added bonus as it speeds up the process.

After some research it appears that the JVC models with LSI encoding chip are all the rage - DR-M10, DR-M100, DR-M30, DR-M300 but not so easy to find on ebay.

And not far behind is the Toshiba RD-XS34 and RD-XS35 which have the added benefit of HDD recording.
I found one of those models on ebay and I'm tempted to order it.

Also I think I found a Panasonic DMR-ES20 locally - the US model has the LSI chip, not sure about European models, but I've read that the video quality is not so great due to Panasonic's implementation.

If there any other models I should be aware of, or you have any other info or advice, I would really appreciate it.

Thanks for your time,
waveform
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post #2 of 13 Old 04-04-2019, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Also just wanted to rant about both my Hauppage HD PVR 2.
Besides poor colour and video quality when recording analog sources like S-video or composite,
its almost impossible to get it to show a stable S-video signal in both the Hauppage Capture and 3rd party software.

It says no S-video signal detected while playing back a video, and to get it to pick up the signal I have to switch between HDMI and S-video multiple times!

And even then the video can be extremely glitchy only showing scattered frames in the preview.

Surely I'm not the only one to have that issue!
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post #3 of 13 Old 04-04-2019, 04:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Apologies for the 3rd post but it appears I can't edit my OP on this forum,
Another plus would be the ability to upgrade the HDD in the recorders with SD cards or compact flash to future proof them.
Thanks again,
waveform.
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post #4 of 13 Old 04-04-2019, 05:55 PM
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I'm partial to Panasonics and S-video is the only way to go for high quality. AFAIK only the later N. American Panasonics had LSI chips but personally I'm not set on or the other LSI or Panasonic silicon, they both have their advantages but they are both good. I've noticed the LSI might be a tad sharper but tends to macroblock more, or at least makes it more visible because of the slight increase in sharpness. I mostly use Panasonic silicon because they are less quirky and more reliable but I do have a couple of EZ-28s(used to have more but they all quit one after another) but my mainstays are '05 and '06 full LP resolution Panasonics and I prefer the HDD versions.
AFA Pal Panasonics, I have several EH-59s and a EH-69 and they make excellent recordings(and don't have quirks and are very reliable) and picture quality is basically on par with the LSI EZ-28 I have but again I'm pretty sure all European Panasonics use Panasonic for their silicon.
As you've found S-video is the way to go, composite pales in comparison to quality S-video!
Oh the Toshiba XS models make EXCELLENT recordings, unfortunately they have crap burners(unreliable) but a forum member on AVS has recently discovered how to use a SD card with the Toshibas, you might want to check out his recent postings.
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/106-d...ement-hdd.html
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post #5 of 13 Old 04-04-2019, 11:21 PM
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I would consider looking into some of the (gently used) Sony RDR-HXooo DVD/HDD models. They share a lot of the OS and some hardware with the Pioneer models. I have a RDR-HX780 Canadian model with the last North American firmware dated April 2008. But for the UK market they kept updating the models and the firmware for a few more years.

https://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/s...?models-num=20

I had my recorder for well over a decade now and still functioning like a brand new machine. It does a pretty decent job converting analog consumer tape formats like SuperBeta, SVHS and Hi8. Mind you I’m in NTSC land. Maybe they aren't the "best" quality but if you get an almost new one it may be just what you need and may last long enough for your needs.

Last edited by Super Eye; 04-04-2019 at 11:30 PM.
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post #6 of 13 Old 04-05-2019, 12:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies guys.
One oversight I made is transferring the recordings to my PC.
It seems the Panasonic EH series lack a USB port so the only way would be to write to a DVD which sort of defeats the purpose of having a HDD?
I would prefer not to remove the HDD each time to transfer also.
The EH-50 model has an SD slot, is it possible to transfer the recording from the HDD to an SD card?

I guess I could always do the SD card mod to replace thee HDD and use an extension cable and Dremel to panel mount it, that's provided it the video files can be read on the PC.

Are the eh-50 models any good? I can't seem to find any listings with the EH-59 and EH-69.

Thanks!
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post #7 of 13 Old 04-05-2019, 03:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waveformIRL View Post
... that's provided it the video files can be read on the PC.
Sorry not from our corner yet.. this week has been devoted entirely to adding Pioneer DVR support, last month was Toshiba, Philips, Magnavox, RCA
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post #8 of 13 Old 04-05-2019, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waveformIRL View Post
Thanks for the replies guys.
One oversight I made is transferring the recordings to my PC.
It seems the Panasonic EH series lack a USB port so the only way would be to write to a DVD which sort of defeats the purpose of having a HDD?
I would prefer not to remove the HDD each time to transfer also.
The EH-50 model has an SD slot, is it possible to transfer the recording from the HDD to an SD card?

I guess I could always do the SD card mod to replace thee HDD and use an extension cable and Dremel to panel mount it, that's provided it the video files can be read on the PC.

Are the eh-50 models any good? I can't seem to find any listings with the EH-59 and EH-69.

Thanks!
You need to adjust your expectations for this equipment a little.

In 2005 USB flash and memory cards were too expensive and rare, so they were not supported for offloading video. They were also generally too small to hold video when you could get them. Hard drives were not portable. Laptop hard drives were small and hugely expensive at common 40GB sizes. A laptop hard drive for this time would only hold 8 feature length videos. The next rung down was 4.7 GB DVD video discs.. which were a large jump up from a 600 MB CD. DVD-R was cheaper than DVD-RAM.. so that was what everyone was using to offload video. The DVD recorders were simply not made with the idea of using anything else to get video from the recorder to the PC. USB 1.1 was king and was only 12 Mbps, even USB 2.0 at 40 MBs was agonizingly slow. Ethernet was also only 10 MBs on most networks.. so it was too slow to transfer large video files. The practicality of it all led to the appearance that video was limited to 4.7 GB and locked up in the recorder on its hard drive in a proprietary format. These were the years of the MP3 file and the iPhone was in the distant future. Transfering Big video files over a familiar port just wasn't built-in. Camcorder video used DV or firewire at most.

SD video is captured "best" on this equipment, it had all sort of stablizers and filters to manage difficult and unstable tape playback.. but once the video is on the recorder hard drive your on your own as to how to get it off.

The fastest way to get the largest video files off the hard drive is remove it from the recorder and attach to a PC.. but the format of the drive is unreadable by any PC operating system.

Fast forward to Feb 2019.. a small discovery led to adding the ability to read and copy files off any Toshiba RD-XS model hard drive video on to a PC.. the next month Philips, Magnavox, RCA.. the next month most if not all Pioneer DVRs (using an 'alpha' release of IsoBuster).

While waiting on a meetup I discovered Photographer CompactFlash cards could be put into a CF to IDE adapter into a Toshiba RD-XS35 and used to completely replace its hard drive. the CF cards could then be ejected and connected to a USB 3.0 CF card reader on a PC to streamline and make even easier the process of moving vast amounts of larger than 4.7 GB video files from a recorder to a PC.. or between recorders since the Toshiba format is readable by different Toshiba recorders.

That led to trying the same thing on a Pioneer 633 (worst of the Pioneer models due to the TVGOS support).. it failed with Compact Flash.. but led to trying a microSD card to ID adapter and that worked.

All of this preliminary and premature "hardware hacking" has come as something of a shock.. but makes sense crossing the timelines from 2005 to 2019 given what occurred in the intervening technological years. Flash card prices fell.. and in 2010 card to IDE adapters became available.. but this is an interesting time.. its a sweet spot in history.

Card to IDE adapters are rapidly disappearing.. Compact Flash is rapidly being replaced by microSD cards.. so this solution will not last for long.. Card to SATA adapters came about in 2012.. but are untested so far and also rapidly disappearing.

I'm working with a fellow who developed IsoBuster to add support for more DVRs but its only two people and there are (a lot) of DVR models.. and not many people showing too much interest.. so I'm focused on getting as many brands and models as we can supported before we call it quits.

I complain constantly I do not have any Euro or UK models to test with.. and lament we won't be supporting them officially because.. well we can't test with them.. so your mileage with PAL may vary a lot.. this may be the last time anyone ever looks at enabling offloading recorder video direct to PC. (I mean) there are scripts and things out there.. but IsoBuster is a windows gui anyone could use with next to zero experience.. its smart and makes doing this easy.

So .. there is my excuse for not pursuing hardware upgrades to replace IDE and SATA hard drives in the recorders.. for now.. maybe later.. but not now.

Ultimately I have (ideas) on how to avoid hacking a chunk of metal out of the back of your DVR recorder to support a hard drive dock.. (ugh).. even ways maybe to go Wireless AC.. but not looking deeply in those directions for now.

A (few) panasonic models should be included perhaps this month.. maybe next week after we release the alpha version with Pioneer support. I only have the EH75V, EH55 and EH69 models to test with at this moment.. so those will likely be the only supported models in the near future. And it is speculation that we can support them.. we tried valantly to add support for the Polaroid 2001g and JVC MX and DVM models.. and failed.. (so far) sometimes we just don't have enough information and the formats are too wild and strange.

Last edited by jwillis84; 04-05-2019 at 01:37 PM.
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post #9 of 13 Old 04-05-2019, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waveformIRL View Post
Thanks for the replies guys.
One oversight I made is transferring the recordings to my PC.
It seems the Panasonic EH series lack a USB port so the only way would be to write to a DVD which sort of defeats the purpose of having a HDD?
I would prefer not to remove the HDD each time to transfer also.
The EH-50 model has an SD slot, is it possible to transfer the recording from the HDD to an SD card?

I guess I could always do the SD card mod to replace thee HDD and use an extension cable and Dremel to panel mount it, that's provided it the video files can be read on the PC.

Are the eh-50 models any good? I can't seem to find any listings with the EH-59 and EH-69.

Thanks!
AFAIK no DVDRs have USB recording support, while some DVDRs include a USB port, it's basically worthless, not for transferring things(at least in N. America) it's just for playing things like photos to the DVDR. The advantage of an HDD is you can record long programs to it in speeds that would easily fill up a DVD and then easily edit things before burning to a DVD.
IMO the EH-50 is one of if not best DVDR Panasonic made. It not only makes full resolution recordings(all speeds through 4hrs/DVD) but also has a more reliable burner than the often sited best Panasonic models, the EH-55 and EH-75v combo. The one downside of the EH-50 is a very dim display oh and they are starting to exhibit line input noise where recordings made from the line inputs(the only way to record anymore) have fine hash lines, IMO making it useless for recording.
The EH-59 and very similar but larger HDD and SD card reader EH-69 were the last international Panasonics sold in N. America and other areas of the world. They made excellent recordings but did have a bug(issue) for NTSC or N. American use where the black level is calibrated for 0 IRE or the international level, fine for a PAL country like yours but unless the line output feeding the recorder is calibrated for 0 IRE the recordings will look washed out, N. America uses +7.5 IRE for our SD black level.
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post #10 of 13 Old 04-08-2019, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry for the delay in my reply, had a busy week but just wanted to say thanks a lot for all the help, this is an awesome community especially with the Firmware and Hardware hacking effort going on.


The local DVDR turns out to be a Panasonic DMR-ES10.

There is also a Panasonic DMR-ES20DEBS on ebay that is much cheaper.

Which of the 2 would you suggest?

I'm going to compare the specs in the manuals now.
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post #11 of 13 Old 04-08-2019, 04:29 PM
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The ES-10 is a workhouse Panasonic but getting quite old, it's a '05 model. The ES-20(at least in N. America) is kind of an orphan DVDR, it also came out in '05 but later than the ES-10 and it was the first Panasonic to have LSI silicon. It's proven to be kind of buggy and has it's quirks and limitations, like for one when using FR you cannot pause the recording, worthless for me who uses FR almost exclusively. It(along with it's combo twin the ES-40v combo) hasn't been all that reliable, I'd stay clear but thats just me.
Here's a link to a thread I started many years ago comparing the various model year Panasonics(mostly N. American but I've also included some international Panasonics that record in NTSC as well as PAL). The ES-10 has kind of a cult following for people doing VHS(or analog) to digital conversions as it's suppose to have good passthru qualities, that is using it between your source and a digital recorder or PC capture card. In this case you don't really use the ES-10 to burn DVD but just feed your source to it's line input and then run the line output to another recorder. I've not done this but I know the ES-10 is somewhat popular for that use.
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/106-d...-features.html
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post #12 of 13 Old 04-16-2019, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi guys,
so today I finally got my hands on a Panasonic DMR-ES10.

Heres how it looks with the DVD-RAM capture on the left, and the i.link capture straight into my PC from the camcorder on the right:





Does not look as washed out as the ilink capture but i was wondering if i could improve upon it more?

i recorded it in XP mode, which is the quality with 1 hour recording time.

i had comb filter enabled but according to a quick google it only affects composite signals and not S-video.

i have yet to update the firmware to see if it unlocks more options.

Thanks,
waveform
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post #13 of 13 Old 04-16-2019, 11:41 AM
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XP is about it, unless you can tweak the Input filters a bit, perhaps the Black level

To get any better.. which is doubtful.. based on the absolute limits of VHS, you would have to capture (raw) uncompressed video to a PC and then use something like AVISynth.

But that would be reduced returns for a lot more effort.. and you would have to acquire the skill set to manipulate video under AVISynth or some other video tool.. its not a general purpose gui video editor.. it deals with signals and properties of video in absolute terms... Let's just say for most people (its not a 'Fun' tool) to use.
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