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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need to find another pioneer DVD recorder or two to transfer all my old tapes and came across this site when googling pioneer 560-HK. I saw one listed for 389.99 at 220voltage.com. I couldn't find any info on this company. Has anyone had any experience with them and is this legit?
 

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They're legit, been around a long time, but are considered somewhat below the level of more reputable dealers like B&H, J&R and World Import (there is some debate over whether 220electronics actually IS World Import under another name). Use a credit card like Amex for added protection if you're worried.


The price of $389 for a Pioneer 560HK is reasonable, if its new and sealed box: thats about what the other dealers were selling them for last year while they still had stock, and used ones on eBay fetch at least that much. Be aware the "import" 560 is PAL/NTSC and usually arrives set to PAL, read the instruction book carefully on how to switch it to NTSC for use in North America. All recordings need to be made via line input from an external tuner, except for possibly a handful of cable channels that might be tunable thru the built-in analog tuner (I think it only tunes the vanished off-air spectrum, however). Remember Pioneer has been dead in the water for three years, so parts/service are getting dicey (and pricey) in USA.


If you need more than one recorder, I'd strongly advise also buying the like-new/refurb Magnavox MDR513 currently available from J&R. These are rock-solid, inexpensive DVD/HDD models, the only ones made for the contemporary USA market. They are MUCH MUCH easier and cheaper to self-service than the Pioneers, and have built-in modern DTV tuners which allow simple recording of full 16:9 broadcasts (and some cable channels). The Magnavox has fewer convenience features than the Pioneer, and is clumsier to operate, but beats it in PQ at the XP and SP speeds and is an unbelievable bargain at $169 including shipping. Definitely worth it as a backup recorder: I bought two as fallbacks for my own Pioneers. There is an entire huge "sticky thread" at the top of this recorder forum dedicated to just the Magnavox, with remarkably clear instructions on how to do most anything with it.
 

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World-Import has the pioneer 560-HK listed for $380. I have purchased two DVD recorders form them in the past with no problems, so I can recommend them.


I would seriously take the advice from CitiBear. I can only add one thing. The follow-on to the 513 is the 515, also available from J&R as a referb. It's $210 instead of $170, but I believe it has some improvements which others can describe in great detail if you ask. The 515 is still a current product available new from Walmart for $220 (yes, only ten dollars more then the referb until from J&R).
 

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I purchased a Toshiba Region Free BluRay player from 220 last month and am very happy with the unit. The player plays region A BluRay and all regions for DVD. Very fast shipping with 2 day FedEx.


I ordered the JVC Region Free BluRay player from them yesterday and it will be delivered tomorrow. A few years ago I purchased 2 Pioneer hard drive recorders from World-Import and was very happy with their service.


Both companies are located in Chicago and I am sure they obtain product from the same suppliers in China.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies. That MDR513 looks interesting. The main thing I need to be able to do is transfer the video from the HD to my computer so I can edit it there and copy it onto 2 TB external drives for storage. I've been doing it with the DVD-RAM discs on my pioneer and panasonic units. If it doesn't have a DVD-RAM drive I need another way of getting the video data moved into my PC. (without having to convert it to a playable DVD first) I still have analog cable but the DTV tuner would be nice to record widescreen programs off the air. I'm currently using DTV converter boxes for that and have to keep changing channels or recording from two different boxes. Also does this one record in 720x480 format? I noticed my panasonic does 708x480and I can't combine video from it with the pioneer because the frame size is different.
 

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worley45, you're one of a growing trend of folk that want to rip recorder-burned video files to a PC HDD library- but the DVD/HDD recorders that were amenable to this idea are basically all gone from the market now. I would recommend you forget my suggestion of getting a Magnavox, and concentrate your efforts toward finding another Pioneer in good condition. The Magnavox does not have any DVD-RAM compatibility whatsoever, and uses a funky DVD file format that many "rippers" have trouble understanding. Trying to use a Pioneer and a Magnavox in tandem, when your ultimate goal is not standard DVDs but "carrier" DVDs you can rip to a PC, will be confusing and frustrating given you are already established with a Pioneer>DVD-RAM>PC workflow. The Magnavox workarounds would completely disrupt your system.


That's not to say you can't do it, just that it won't be as simple as what you're doing with the Pio/RAM/PC setup. First, you would need to use DVD-RW or DVD+RW instead of RAM. Second, the Magnavox +VR file format does not always rip without problems to a PC: you would likely need to "finalize" the RW disc first, and may need to use alternative ripping software that recognizes and copies the +VR files correctly. Really useful and updated info on Magnavox DVD ripping is hard to come by, the best suggestions I have bookmarked are in this AVS thread : scroll to post #4 by tonypeter and follow his tips re media, format burning, and ripping software.


Regarding model selection, the 513 refurb vs new 515 is an ongoing question no one has the definitive answer to. The 513 refurbs are the best value and are mostly "known good": not too many reports of problems with the 513. OTOH, wajo is quite right to point out the 515 has an immensely more convenient timer system and more ergonomic remote. The trouble with the 515 is WAY too many owners ***** and moan about it compared the otherwise-identical 513: while its true much of this whining stems from unrealistic expectations that a Magnavox can substitute for a cable decoder box (it cannot), enough people complain about poor initial quality control of the 515 to make me hesitate recommending it over a 513 refurb. The 515 is very nifty recorder at a great price, I would just advise testing one thoroughly immediately after purchase to make sure its free of defects (and don't buy the 515 anywhere but Wal*Mart, since they will exchange/refund several months later if a problem arises).


AFAIK the Magnavox records in 720 x 480 like the Pioneers at XP and SP. The weird 708 x 480 frame size was unique to certain Panasonic models, not commonly found in any other brand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I checked that 220voltage site and the whole section on DVD recorders seems to have disappeared. Since I may have little chance of finding more pioneers, My next question is this: Is there any way of transferring the video files from the HD of a CURRENTLY AVAILABLE DVD recorder or even a DVR (without a DVD burner) directly to a computer HD with a USB cable? I wouldn't mind modifying existing units if someone has figured out how. I also have a 10 year collection of VHS tapes that I really need to get transferred, so I need a way to get them onto external hard drives. My current method of DVD-RAMS is too slow anyway, it takes over an hour just to get 4GB of data from my DVD HD onto a RAM disc and then read and formatted onto a PC external drive. I would like a way to go from a recorder HD directly to computer HD (bit for bit copy) without real-time re-encoding.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by worley45 /forum/post/20885837


My next question is this: Is there any way of transferring the video files from the HD of a CURRENTLY AVAILABLE DVD recorder or even a DVR (without a DVD burner) directly to a computer HD with a USB cable? I wouldn't mind modifying existing units if someone has figured out how.

No on both counts: nothing currently available, and no home-brew modifications you can make. The HDD file system used by recorders is a proprietary Linux variant specifically designed to be as hostile as possible to computer access: it all but requires the OS hard-wired in the recorder to make sense or use of it. Don't waste any time looking for a one-off model or a hack: its the holy grail half the people here have been searching for since 2002 and it doesn't exist. The closest things were a couple of LG/MicroSoft DVD/HDD/"TiVO" knockoffs a few years back, but they're discontinued and reliable as the weather. Ditto a couple of old Toshiba models that could be hooked into a SlingBox system: breakdown city. There's really nothing out there thats both dependable and readable by a PC.


If you're absolutely determined, and can tolerate real-time file transfer (not immediate like with PC files), you might look into a used Pioneer DVR-510 DVD/HDD recorder from 2003. This model was stone reliable, and had an undocumented ability to play its HDD recordings back out thru its rare bi-directional camera DV/FireWire port. Connected to a computer running software that could latch on to the DV stream, you could capture the Pioneer HDD reading itself out into your PC HDD, then edit the resulting DV video files to your hearts content. Two major drawbacks: it must be done in realtime (so 20 hours of video takes 20 hours to transfer) and the Pioneer 510 is pretty bad at encoding VHS sources unless they're absolutely pristine (no second generation copies, no MacroVision involved). The later Pioneers in the 530, 40, 50 and 60 series are much MUCH better than the 510 and 520 for VHS capture, but don't have the bi-directional DV stream feature.

Quote:
I also have a 10 year collection of VHS tapes that I really need to get transferred, so I need a way to get them onto external hard drives. I would like a way to go from a recorder HD directly to computer HD (bit for bit copy) without real-time re-encoding.

Again, no go, for the reasons above. There is no ideal solution for VHS capture: you either tolerate the tedium of VHS>DVD/HDD recorder>Rip DVD to PC HDD, or you deal with the unholy horrors involved in VHS>PC direct capture. Two out of three people are sorry they ever thought of using PC capture, the third is an urban legend I've never met (although a few live here on AVS). Those with a few dozen camcorder family tapes seem to thrive on direct PC capture, those with humongous VHS collections of TV shows and miscellany usually find recorder capture less stressful (aside from the need to re-rip DVDs to the PC HDD if thats their final goal).
 

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Quote:
Is there any way of transferring the video files from the HD of a CURRENTLY AVAILABLE DVD recorder or even a DVR (without a DVD burner) directly to a computer HD with a USB cable?

Many people, a lot of them on this forum, would wish that this were possible. As has been said already, the real answer is "NO". If you find such a solution, please share it with us, but none here will be expecting success on your part.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by worley45 /forum/post/20885837


My next question is this: Is there any way of transferring the video files from the HD of a CURRENTLY AVAILABLE DVD recorder or even a DVR (without a DVD burner) directly to a computer HD with a USB cable? I wouldn't mind modifying existing units if someone has figured out how. I also have a 10 year collection of VHS tapes that I really need to get transferred, so I need a way to get them onto external hard drives. My current method of DVD-RAMS is too slow anyway, it takes over an hour just to get 4GB of data from my DVD HD onto a RAM disc and then read and formatted onto a PC external drive. I would like a way to go from a recorder HD directly to computer HD (bit for bit copy) without real-time re-encoding.

After reading your whole post, I guess you won't lose anything if you consider one of these machines:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...2#post20877382


But if you're on a hurry, maybe you will need to build a good HTPC.


BTW here's the post with all that we know about transferring RAW video files from the HDD of a Maggy directly to a PC, the task is still half way.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1277209
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear /forum/post/20886162


No on both counts: nothing currently available, and no home-brew modifications you can make. The HDD file system used by recorders is a proprietary Linux variant specifically designed to be as hostile as possible to computer access: it all but requires the OS hard-wired in the recorder to make sense or use of it. Don't waste any time looking for a one-off model or a hack: its the holy grail half the people here have been searching for since 2002 and it doesn't exist.

It can't be that complex. I was the one who figured out a couple of years ago how to get all my recordings off of my Panasonic DMR HD with a hex editor on my PC when a divide-title operation corrupted my DVD recorder. I posted it here: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1010518

Don't know about pioneer and magnavox, but on the panasonic the data on the HD looked like any other mpg or vob file in hex.


Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear /forum/post/20886162


Again, no go, for the reasons above. There is no ideal solution for VHS capture: you either tolerate the tedium of VHS>DVD/HDD recorder>Rip DVD to PC HDD, or you deal with the unholy horrors involved in VHS>PC direct capture. Two out of three people are sorry they ever thought of using PC capture, the third is an urban legend I've never met (although a few live here on AVS).

I did buy a Pinnacle-Dazzle capture device last year but found it's software would create complete DVD files rather than mpg files for every recording session. Looks like a nice device if some hacker could write good software for it!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by worley45 /forum/post/20887155


It can't be that complex. I was the one who figured out a couple of years ago how to get all my recordings off of my Panasonic DMR HD with a hex editor on my PC when a divide-title operation corrupted my DVD recorder. [...] Don't know about pioneer and magnavox, but on the panasonic the data on the HD looked like any other mpg or vob file in hex.

I really need to start looking up the post history of members initiating these kinds of threads, so I can stop making an ass of myself trying to give general-purpose normal-consumer advice to people who later reveal themselves to be uber-geeks in sheep's clothing.
If you're such an utter gearhead that you've actually mastered the heinous process of "oh, just drop into a hex editor and spend the rest of your life piecing together little bits of unidentifiable video until you salvage something," then you already knew the answers to your PC-HDD transfer questions. All DVD/HDD recorders work the same way as your Panasonic, with similar asinine filesystems and hex-readable fragments. Thats where the story ends: little details like file headers may vary, but all recorder HDDs operate on a similar philosophy.


The hexadecimal backdoor is nice to have for cases of emergency salvage, if you've got the chops and you're up for the challenge. But its misleading to claim recorder HDD files are "not complex," simply because you can see them in a hex editor. Your typical AVS member would say, "who cares, if I can't manipulate them like normal files in Windows Explorer or Mac Finder?" There is no software you can run on your PC that will pull the peculiar files off the recorder HDD coherently and quickly, as if they were just intact ordinary MPG files stored on a second ordinary HDD. There was one guy who came here awhile back, boasting he was a professional software developer who had whipped up a utility that does what you want, but thats all he did: boast. No link to a shareware site, no offer to distribute the utility, nada: either he's a sadist, or it was a BS claim, or both. You have a few obsessive types here who knock themselves out with the hex editor, and try to simplify things by wiping the recorder drive and never letting it fragment (they use the hex editor to pull recordings off in one piece, then edit them on the PC).


But this begs the question: why the hell bother? If you're going to spend THAT much time screwing with the PC and hex and swapping HDDs in and out of the recorder, then you actually don't give a rats ass for convenience at all. You may as well just record directly to the PC, and avoid the tedium and headaches of the hex process. Recording VHS direct to PC is a PITA, because the video cards are optimized for tuner input and make a mess of VHS signals unless you ride the system and add supplementary external processors. Its a lot of trouble for those of us with thousands of VHS to digitize, which is why we usually opt for multiple standalone DVD/HDD units and satisfy ourselves with DVD archives. But if you're hell bent on an HDD archive instead, and want the files/HDDs to be generic PC compliant right off the bat, then going from VCR to PC is a necessary evil.


Its way to much work in my case: I have a huge variety and number of VHS which requires an insane amount of fussing and extra hardware if going direct to PC. When I calculate the time wasted, its actually easier and quicker to dub to multiple Pioneer and Magnavox recorders, burn the stupid DVDs from their HDDs, then at my leisure rip the DVDs to a generic PC format. Not only do I save aggravation and time, I get uniform results (and a standard archive of DVDs to fall back on in case the subsequent HDD rips fail down the road). Others will have different priorities and opt for different compromises.

Quote:
Originally Posted by profhat /forum/post/20886971


BTW here's the post with all that we know about transferring RAW video files from the HDD of a Maggy directly to a PC, the task is still half way.[...]

Same confusion: why on earth would you bother, except in an emergency to rescue the Magnavox HDD? If you want generic PC files, record generic files on the PC. Why clog the workflow with the Magnavox and hex parsing? Hook your cable or satellite box to the PC inputs, and be done with it (or use the PC tuner card). DVD/HDD recorders don't integrate well with PCs: a handful of discontinued models could, once upon a time, but they didn't sell worth a damn and were discontinued years ago. They're the missing link of A/V history, today you get better results networking a TiVO to your PC, or recording direct to PC, if PC is your end goal. Standalone recorders just get in your way, if you have no use for their internal DVD burning feature.


With that I exit this discussion, since it is not grounded in the "average Joe" universe. If you even know what a hex editor is, never mind how to use it on an HDD you removed from a recorder, you're not playing in the same league as typical recorder owners or folks with huge VHS libraries to digitize. You're an advanced user with a lot more time, skill and patience. I wish you good luck in your efforts, and that one of you gets inspired to develop the long-awaited PC utility that can finally read recorder HDDs like a normal file browser.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear /forum/post/20887565


Same confusion: why on earth would you bother, except in an emergency to rescue the Magnavox HDD? If you want generic PC files, record generic files on the PC. Why clog the workflow with the Magnavox and hex parsing?

I put that link because worley45 was the the one who some time ago figured out how to get recordings off from a Panasonic DMR HD, so maybe he will buy a Maganavox 515 and try to do the same thing.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by worley45
I did buy a Pinnacle-Dazzle capture device last year but found it's software would create complete DVD files rather than mpg files for every recording session. Looks like a nice device if some hacker could write good software for it!
In the past I tried one of those Pinnacle-Dazzle capture devices. I thought the hardware quality was just as horrid as the software. Very jittery motion and jagged edges in most frames even when encoded from my 1st generation SP videotapes which don't really need time base correction or any major external processing. My Sony RDR-HX780 stand-alone decoder does a 100 times better job and it's only a 10-bit encoder.


Don't get me wrong, there are some decent PC based video encoders out there but if going that route in my opinion one should use a fairly hi-end PCIe capture card coupled with decent software and an appropriate PC. I prefer to use a HDD based stand-alone DVDr for simple SDTV and tape archiving. The way things have gone though, HDD based stand-alone DVD recorders are a dying breed and sooner or later I will purchase a HD capture device for archiving TV programs. Maybe today's USB 2.0 external devises are good enough, almost as good as an internal PCIe device but I would stay away from the Pinnacle-Dazzle which I think is a POS.
 
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