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I have recently been searching for a decent DVD recorder to buy and noticed there don't seem to be as many options as there used to be. I checked walmart.com and bestbuy.com, but their options seem pretty limited and the ones they have didn't get very good reviews. Does anyone know a reliable one? One common complaint I've seen is that some players tend to say everything is copyrighted and won't record. I mainly want to buy it to record sports, so I'm thinking some players won't let me do that. I'm willing to buy online and I don't need one with a tuner since I have a cable box. I'd also prefer it to be able to upscale DVDs so it'll look better on my HDTV. I'm not looking to spend more than about 150 bucks. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Also, if I buy a DVD-RW can I record over it multiple times? That would be convenient for being able to record things I won't be home for, but don't want to watch multiple times. It doesn't seem worth it to me to have to pay about 12 bucks a month for a DVR, which seems more common these days than DVD recorders.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjgator /forum/post/17038526


. . . One common complaint I've seen is that some players tend to say everything is copyrighted and won't record. I mainly want to buy it to record sports, so I'm thinking some players won't let me do that. I'm willing to buy online and I don't need one with a tuner since I have a cable box. I'd also prefer it to be able to upscale DVDs so it'll look better on my HDTV. I'm not looking to spend more than about 150 bucks. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Also, if I buy a DVD-RW can I record over it multiple times? That would be convenient for being able to record things I won't be home for, but don't want to watch multiple times. It doesn't seem worth it to me to have to pay about 12 bucks a month for a DVR, which seems more common these days than DVD recorders.

It seems that you're asking if one piece of equipment will fit your usage profile within the $150 price point. Here are some considerations:


If you only want to time-shift from cable you're best off with the DVR provided by your cable company.


In you're interested in recording sports programming to DVD from a cable company converter box you may run into copy protection with any number of DVD recorders. Some are more sensitive to copy protection than others. With a DVD recorder there are also limitations to disc capacity especially when related to picture quality. Unless you're ready to make frequent disc swappings this should eliminate DVD recorders from your consideration.


In your $150 price range what does that leave? J&R World has been selling two refurbished Magnavox HDD/DVD recorders. The best of the two, the 2160 with a 160 GB hard drive, has been priced at $159.99 but it is currently out of stock. The older 2080 with a 80 GB hard drive is currently in stock and priced at $129.99. With either recorder one may schedule and record many events to the hard drive from the built-in clear QAM tuner (for non-scrambled cable networks) and/or from the composite connection from the cable company converter box (for scrambled cable networks). When recording to hard drive one need not be too concerned about the number or duration of sporting events recorded at the recording mode(s) providing the best picture quality. The better and best recording modes translate into one, two, 2.5 and three hours of programming content per DVD. Among the advantages to hard drive recording are the enhanced recording capacity, the ability to edit out commercials (if you like), divide titles of lengthy events, and use high-speed dubbing to preserve material to DVD.


Wajo's sticky thread provides a wealth of information. The first post in that thread provides a table of contents:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=940657


Twice now I've posted links to J&R World and both times the links have been removed. I've also noticed that Wajo's sticky thread is missing the J&R link.


If you're looking to upscale DVD playback purchase a DVD player for that purpose. It's best not to wear out the laser in a DVD recorder's expensive proprietary DVD Drive by playing DVDs in a DVD recorder. Use a DVD player to play DVDs.
 

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Well, at least you figured out pretty quickly that $150 will not buy you anything worth a damn (except maybe a Magnavox refurb)
. The Magnavox you are looking at is now the default answer to this question: if you are just now deciding you want a recorder, this is the only one that matters. Its the only one that works reliably in timer mode, the only one that doesn't randomly imagine things are copy protected, and the only one that includes a hard drive. The majority view of AVS members is that the hard drive is an absolutely essential feature: a DVD recorder without HDD is a crippled pain in the a** to use, like a car without a trunk would be for a long trip.


The reason this feature disappeared from American recorders three years ago is consumers here just could not comprehend the value, thought it was too expensive, and didn't realize they needed it until after they wasted their money on a "more affordable" DVD-only or DVD/VHS combo. By that time they were so disgusted with DVD recording they never bothered again, turning instead to TiVOS and cable/satellite PVRs that record only to HDD. (Ironic.) The HDD is much MUCH easier to use for temporary timeshifting than DVD/RW: it can hold 80 hours of high quality video, enough to cover a long absence from home, and its a snap to delete recordings and reuse the space. No need to format or erase RW discs, no chance of running out of recording room, no worries if you run out of blank discs. The HDD also allows editing out commercials before making a quick copy onto a permanent DVD-R: a crucial feature (deleting commercials without an HDD is all but impossible).


The Magnavox is not perfect. It is built to hit a price point, so it isn't as luxurious as some older models were. It has a truly annoying and sloppy bug which requires you to clear all timer entries before it will let you finalize a DVD+R or DVD-R disc. But its the best price/performance unit ever offered in the USA and the only current model with ATSC/QAM tuner that can actually be relied on for unattended recording: that earns it top honors. The only real difficulty is coordinating it with cable: it can tune some channels directly off the cable wire, but lately more and more cable companies are shutting down that option and requiring a decoder box for everything but the local broadcast stations. Odds are you will need to set two timers for each recording: the one in the Magnavox, and the one in your cable box. This cable integration issue applies to every recorder, not just the Mag, and explains why people have signed up in droves for decoder boxes with built-in PVRs: if you don't want to make DVDs (most Americans don't), the rental PVR is much simpler to timeshift with.


More elegant, refined DVD/HDD recorders like Panasonics and Pioneers are still available from import dealers, but they're double the price of the Magnavox and don't have ATSC tuners. They are worth it for those with specialized needs or who are replacing similar older machines they already own, but most newcomers should be more than happy with the Magnavox. Especially if you can nail one of the incredibly cheap refurbs mentioned by DigaDo (don't be afraid of these: 90% of recorder refurbs are brand new "buyers remorse" returns from consumers who found the machines "too complicated compared to a VCR").
 

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You might also check your local Target for any clearanced EA-18 's. IMO it's a decent HDD and Tuner-less DVDR. As has been mentioned for sports a DVDR w/HDD is best because with any DVDR when you exceed 2hrs/disc macroblocking becomes a issue. IMO for most things except fast action sports you should be able to get 3hrs of pretty decent quality(full D1 resolution) from the EA-18. Oh the clearance price for the EA-18 was $125 (under your request by $25
)
 

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Mfrs have discovered sales in Canada are no better than they were in the USA, so they have pulled out. Once Pioneer tanked this spring, the remaining mfrs saw no incentive to stay in Canada. The Sony 780 was a trouble-plagued unpopular machine which Sony (and its dealers) was only too happy to liquidate once Pioneer folded. The sole remaining active supplier is LG, a not very reliable brand for DVD/HDD. Apparently these are also sold out and it doesn't look like LG will be introducing replacements for Canada.


So if you're Canadian, your options have recently narrowed to the same few choices we have in the USA. You can buy a refurb Magnavox H2160 from US online dealers, or ask an American friend to buy a new one from Wal*Mart and re-ship to you in Canada. You can monitor eBay for dealers in Montreal who sometimes release like-new open-box Pioneer 460s. Or you can shop online for new multi-region "global market" Pioneer 560, Pioneer 660, Panasonic EH-57 or Panasonic EH-67 models. The Pioneers have analog NTSC tuners, the Panasonics don't so would require cable/satellite to record TV in Canada. If you live near the US border and can receive our digital ATSC broadcasts, the Magnavox is the best choice for off-air recording and is futureproof for wneh Canada migrates to ATSC. The Pioneer and Panasonic models would need accessory ATSC tuners to record off-air digital broadcasts: workable, but not as simple for multi-event timeshifting as the Magnavox.
 
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