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advice for DVD recorder to archive stuff from my DirecTivo?

1167 Views 12 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  cwerdna
I've been thinking of buying a standalone DVD recorder for awhile to archive stuff from my DirecTivo (formerly wanted to archive from SA Tivo) instead of using VHS.

I was tempted by the Lite-On 5005 I saw at Costco for so cheap but after seeing various posts by people like davehancock (on the white and black levels), I'm a little concerned.

For me, I'd like

- ability to record to virtually all DVD+/- formats (sorry Panasonics w/DVD-RAM and DVD-R only don't cut it)

- low price (I don't think I want to spend >$300)

- good picture quality

- good sound quality

I don't care much about editing, don't need a hard drive, don't care about the internal tuner (it's useless for me), EPG or timeshifting.

Any suggestions? I figured I'd start a new thread since my requirements are differrent than in some of the other queries.
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I'm archiving SD DirecTivo to a Pioneer 420, which I recently purchased to replace my VCR. It only utilizes -R and -RW formats (not also +R as you said you wanted) but the discs have been playable on every player I have experimented on except on a friend's Panasonic HTIB setup with a 5-disc carrousel. The DVD players I have experimented with playback on have run from high-end Denon's to Wal*Mart $39.95 "specials". The PQ is very, very good.

The 420 has a HDD which I find is invaluable for editing out commercials on regular broadcast programming but also for editing out the excess "fudge-factor" that Tivo records at the beginning and end of each recording. Like you, I originally did not feel that I needed a HDD and had already ordered a Pioneer 320H which was delivered the same day that I found this incredible deal through Costco (reported here on this forum) and ordered a 420H as well---for less than I paid for the 320. Needless to say, I returned the 320 when my 420 arrived. Great decision on my part to go with the HDD. Something for you to very seriously consider.

Transferring from Tvo to the DVD recorder is painless--"Record To VCR" option. The only painful part is that it must be done in real time.

Good luck with your decision.
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It looks like a lot of new models are now available including some new Panasonics w/support for more formats. Any new recommendations or ones to avoid?
The new Panasonics will record to +R as well, but oddly enough not +R/W. Also, while it will record to -RW, it's Video mode only and not VR mode.

Right now, the only true dual-format machines are the Sony's and the LG's, with the LG's also supporting +R double-layer.

I own a Sony RDR-HX900 to archive off my Scientific Atlanta HiDef STB/DVR unit. It's an excellent machine in both recording and playback, but its major achilles heel is in the editing. You can still edit out commercials as normal, but you cannot divide titles on the HDD, and you cannot make playlists on HDD; these features are available on -RW(VR). Also, it lacks the multiple bitrates of the Pioneer and Panasonic, but it does have a HSP (1.5 hr/disc) mode which works well for most of my recordings.

While the HX900 is above your price point, Sony has recently dropped the price of the GX300 to $300, with some stores selling it for less. The GX300 lacks the HDD and the Component INputs (still has the OUTputs) of the HX900, but is otherwise identical in performance.

I also own a Pioneer 420 like Mishu. It has all those wonderful editing features, but it won't record to +R or +R/W; however, it plays those formats just fine. It records and plays back pretty well, but not quite as sharp IMHO as the Sony. The 420's that Costco sold for $249 are long gone, but if you hurry Walmart.com (not the stores) might still have the HDD-less 220's for under $200. The current base model recorder from Pioneer is the 231, and it lacks many of the features of the 220, but costs the same.
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don't know if there are any left, but at least two people here were able to get the Pioneer 520 at Good Guys this week for $249.
Good Guy's current price for the Pioneer 520 (according to their website) is $349.99. Still a good buy though.
Originally Posted by RonDawg
Good Guy's current price for the Pioneer 520 (according to their website) is $349.99. Still a good buy though.
$349 is a lot more than I want to spend. If I'm not mistakened, the 520 has a hard drive which as I mentioned is of no use to me and I don't care to pay for it. I just want to dump shows off from my DirecTivo to DVD instead of VHS. I don't care for any editing.

It would be also nice if the DVD recorders had very good picture quality in SP (2 hour mode) and decent to good picture quality (w/o too much artifacting) in LP (4 hour mode).
If you really think you won't need HDD, then I recommend going to Walmart.com and picking up a Pioneer 220-S for under $200. While some stores have the newer 231, it doesn't have as many features as the 220.

Walmart also has the Panasonic ES-10 for the same price but it suffers from certain limitations as noted above.

If picture quality and especially playback quality is a higher priority than editing features, then I would recommend the Sony GX300 at $299.99. Extremely good quality at HQ (1hr), HSP (1.5 hr), and SP (2 hr) modes, and still pretty good quality at LP (IMHO better than the Pioneer's). Where the Pioneer does trump the Sony, other than editing, is the fact that if you had a program that was more than 2 hours, but less than 2 hours and 15 (or so) minutes, the Pioneer will let you record at the same resolution as SP, whereas the Sony will make you drop down to LP.
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Sigh... thanks for the recommendations.

Hmm, the Pioneer 220 and 520 only seem to support DVD-R and -RW. The Panasonic ES-10 seems too quirky (seems to have very limited options when recording to non-DVD-RAM discs, and I don't want DVD-RAM).

I think I'm going to call the Good Guy's Superstores in my area to see if they have any 520s left at $249. Even though I don't want the hard drive, I'd be willing to pay $50 extra for it, just not $150.
The Good Guys price I saw quoted here was $349, not $249. I think the above price quote was wrong.
Originally Posted by squonk
The Good Guys price I saw quoted here was $349, not $249. I think the above price quote was wrong.
The price I quoted came straight off the Good Guys website, and as of right now is still the correct price.

If you can get a lower price from the actual retail store that's great. But unlike Best Buy or Circuit City, Good Guys isn't found all over the US yet (that may change with the CompUSA merger), so not all AVS Forum members can take advantage of the $249 price.
I've got a Sony HX900, which I use to record shows off of my HD Tivo. I didn't think I would need a hard-drive at first, but have found the editing ability to be very worthwhile. The Sony doesn't have chapter divide, but I can always record off the Tivo twice.

Curiously, I find that the recorded quality is much higher if the source is HD. I've been collecting the Rudy Maxa travel shows, and find the HD Net version is much clearer than the Fine Living channel versions of the same show. I presume that this is because the latter is less than SD quality due to compression, while the former is exactly SD quality as downrezed from the Tivo.

I'm sure there are better recorders out there now, as a whole six months have gone by since I purchased mine. That's life in the high-tech world...

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I called every Good Guy's megastore in the SF Bay Area and none had the 520 in stock except for one which had it for $349. :( I ended up picking up the Pioneer 220 from a Walmart in Milpitas. They had 2 or 3 more left. I haven't opened the box yet, but I'll probably keep it unless I find some killer deal over the weekend.

This might seem like a newbie FAQ, but is there a good list of DVD-R and -RW brands to use/avoid w/the 220? http://www.videohelp.com/dvdmedia.ph...+or+List+Media returns only 1 hit.
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