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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
is there reasonable hope to revive it using the hard disk replacement tips on PioneerFaqs? Or I should just can it and look for something like Panasonic?


The symptoms are - "HDD Err" and constant "Wait" message.


Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff /forum/post/15457388


Someone else (citibear
) should be able to answer your first question, but if your Pio is unrepairable and you have anyway to get Canada or have a Canadian friend, I'd strongly suggest going the Canadian Pioneer route. I don't think you'd be satisfied with the current HDD less Pannys.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1103462

Thanks Jeff, I was thinking of the older Panny with HDD. Or maybe the Philips HDD model. The Canadian Pioneer looks appealing, I hope those are more reliable!
 

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If you don't need the digital tuner then if you could find a EH-55 that should work quite nicely. Theirs also the international Panny EH-67 which would be available new from WorldImport.com and probably other places. ChurchAVGuy has posted he really likes his for line input recordings(no NTSC tuner). If you're used to Pios or Pannys then you may or may not be satisfied with the Philips(which is getting harder and harder to find too).

Personally I think the best deal going would be one of those Canadian Pioneers but for people not near the boarder they can be somewhat hard to obtain. I think illegal drugs are probably easier to find in the US than DVDRs w/HDDs
A sad commentary indeed
 

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Do-it-yourself hard drive replacement usually fails on the Pioneer 533 and 633, occasionally it succeeds on the 531. Overall the track record is not encouraging on the 2005 models. There is no harm in at least trying the pioneerfaq tips, you can't damage the unit any further and you might manage to fix it enough to run another few months or a year.


The Canadian Pioneers are superb units, far more reliable than the accursed 531-533-633. If you would rather replace your faulty machine with a new model, do not hesitate to pick up a 450, 550, 460, 560. I don't recommend second-hand USA model 640s, because they sell for insane prices. Any of the newer Canadian models equal or surpass the 640 they are based on, there is nothing specific to the 640 that merits the going used rates on eBay. However, all the newer Pioneers eliminate the TVGOS timer system, which was the achilles heel of the 531-533-633 but also a big selling feature. If you must have TVGOS, the only machines that truly had a good version of it were the Panasonic DMR-EH55, 75 and 85. These are discontinued and very expensive if you can find one. With the phasing out of analog TVGOS this February, they really aren't worth it unless you have DirectTV or another system that converts/passes the TVGOS signal to older recorders.


Avoid so-called "international" models of Panasonic and Pioneer if you can. These are OK but overpriced, and can entail some difficulties in setup and repair (if forced to choose among these, I'd pick the Panasonic EH67). For what they cost, though, importing a Canadian Pioneer is a better deal. Hell, if you live anywhere near the border Canadian Pioneers are a steal right now: all stores are having liquidation sales in anticipation of new spring models, assuming Pioneer actually announces any (Pioneer is the last remaining seller of DVD/HDD recorders in Canada, along with Phillips-Magnavox in the USA they are the only options left in North America). There is also a Pioneer-based Sony RDR-HX780 in Canada, but it is a new model with teething pains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear /forum/post/15458476


Do-it-yourself hard drive replacement usually fails on the Pioneer 533 and 633, occasionally it succeeds on the 531. Overall the track record is not encouraging on the 2005 models. There is no harm in at least trying the pioneerfaq tips, you can't damage the unit any further and you might manage to fix it enough to run another few months or a year.


The Canadian Pioneers are superb units, far more reliable than the accursed 531-533-633. If you would rather replace your faulty machine with a new model, do not hesitate to pick up a 450, 550, 460, 560. I don't recommend second-hand USA model 640s, because they sell for insane prices. Any of the newer Canadian models equal or surpass the 640 they are based on, there is nothing specific to the 640 that merits the going used rates on eBay. However, all the newer Pioneers eliminate the TVGOS timer system, which was the achilles heel of the 531-533-633 but also a big selling feature. If you must have TVGOS, the only machines that truly had a good version of it were the Panasonic DMR-EH55, 75 and 85. These are discontinued and very expensive if you can find one. With the phasing out of analog TVGOS this February, they really aren't worth it unless you have DirectTV or another system that converts/passes the TVGOS signal to older recorders.


Avoid so-called "international" models of Panasonic and Pioneer if you can. These are OK but overpriced, and can entail some difficulties in setup and repair (if forced to choose among these, I'd pick the Panasonic EH67). For what they cost, though, importing a Canadian Pioneer is a better deal. Hell, if you live anywhere near the border Canadian Pioneers are a steal right now: all stores are having liquidation sales in anticipation of new spring models, assuming Pioneer actually announces any (Pioneer is the last remaining seller of DVD/HDD recorders in Canada, along with Phillips-Magnavox in the USA they are the only options left in North America). There is also a Pioneer-based Sony RDR-HX780 in Canada, but it is a new model with teething pains.

Wow, thanks for all the information!


Do you think a "open box" probably used DVR-460H-K would be a good bet for around $250, as opposed to a new Philips?


Thanks
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear /forum/post/15458476


(Pioneer is the last remaining seller of DVD/HDD recorders in Canada, along with Phillips-Magnavox in the USA they are the only options left in North America). There is also a Pioneer-based Sony RDR-HX780 in Canada, but it is a new model with teething pains.

Let's not forget the ugly stepsister, LG. Actually, on second thought, it's probably best to leave her on the shelf, as suitor after suitor has been scared away, according to customer reviews .




Yup, a Canadian Pioneer is the way to go these days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok - I ordered the 460 from Canada. Thanks for all the help!


BTW, does anyone know if the 533 has any residual value? Is anyone able to revive them?
 

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The 533 has a residual value of approx $100-160 if listed on eBay. Be sure to mention that the hard drive is out of commission so prospective buyers understand what they're bidding on. For someone with extraordinary patience and determination, the funky 531-533-633 are repairable and those people will buy a broken one if they can get it cheap enough. I am not one of them
, I've been thru the mill a dozen times with those models and really can't be bothered anymore. The hard drive repair either "takes" immediately, or it requires numerous failed attempts over a period of several days before it clicks. And even after a "success", the repair is short-lived, never lasting more than a few weeks/months before another replacement becomes necessary. These machines require a degree in voodoo, and perhaps complete new motherboards, to regain functionality after an HDD breakdown. Very strangely-engineered machines.


Luckily these 2005 models with TVGOS are the only "bad" Pioneers. The earlier 510 and 520 models are still repairable and have a cult following for their unique chapter-marking system. The 2006 and later models (640, 550, 460, etc) are rock-solid and dependable. The "open box" 460 units frequently for sale on eBay from a couple of Canadian liquidators are an excellent buy, I own three of these and friends/family bought several more after seeing mine. Just be aware of the slight difference between the 2007 DVR-450 and 2008 DVR-460: the 450 is silver and has no USB or DV connections, the 460 is black and does have USB and DV inputs. If those features matter, be sure you look for the appropriate model. Unless you plan on downloading home videos from a camcorder, the cheaper 450 is the best buy of them all.


Finally, if you luck out and see one of the other models at an affordable price, you should know there is barely any difference in Pioneers built between 2006-2008. After being burned severely by heavy repairs/returns on the misconceived 2005 units, Pioneer resolved to create a bulletproof chassis design and stick with it indefinitely. This was the 640, and every Pioneer since has been a slight variation on the 640. The 450-550-650 changed from IDE to SATA hard drives (meaningless) and have a slight upgrade in the video encoder (barely noticeable). The 460-560-660 repeat this design with very minor changes. Any of them are an excellent deal for USA customers if found under $350.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks again Citibear.


The one I ordered was the black 460 with the USB jack. I am anxious to try it. Any pointers on where to learn the best way to intgrate with my Comcast STB for scheduling recording? When my TVGoS was working on the old one it was great - I don't think I will be able to recreate that, but is there some level of integration?
 

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There are a couple of timer options you can use, though none is as convenient as the TVGOS system you had with the 533. The level of automation you can achieve depends on the capabilities of your STB. If it has its own program timer system, you can connect it to the "auto-start" line inputs in back of the Pio 460. After setting the STB timers, turn the box off. When it powers on to show the timed program, the 460 will sense the active input and start recording, then stop when the STB turns itself off. If your STB has a multi-event timer, and you have the digital cable tier or satellite service, this functions similar to TVGOS: press the guide button on your STB remote, select a show to record from the grid display, and that selection will turn the STB and your 460 on and off accordingly. See page 47 of the instruction manual for complete details.


As with anything involving a matchup between cable/sat service and a separate recorder, this does not always work perfectly in practice. Some STBs fail to activate the auto-sense jacks on the recorder. Some STBs have manual timers instead of a scheduled program grid. And some STBs have no timer at all. You'll need to adjust your habits accordingly, and may end up setting timers on both STB and recorder (this is what I do). You'll have to run some tests.


Ordinarily, for someone used to TVGOS, I would say switch to a Panasonic recorder. Unfortunately, that option is now off the table, with those Panny DVD/HDD machines discontinued and fetching quite ludicrous prices. Given the uncertain future of analog TVGOS pilot signals after February, and the many TVGOS dropouts people are already complaining about, those Pannys lose their primary advantage of reliable TVGOS and become just another DVD/HDD recorder, albeit a nice one. Unless your cable/satellite vendor has issued a guarantee they will convert the new digital TVGOS to analog for older recorders, the Pioneer 460 remains the best deal in a recorder right now. At least until February knocks those Pannys out of the stratosphere and makes them affordable again.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by asunc /forum/post/15468484


Any pointers on where to learn the best way to intgrate with my Comcast STB for scheduling recording?

What sort of Comcast STB do you have? CitiBear seems to be assuming you don't have a Comcast DVR. If you do, you have other options.


First, regardless of what STB you have, if Comcast still has analog channels on your system, run the incoming RF/Coax cable to your Pio first, then to your STB. That way, you can use the tuner and timer in the Pio to record all those analog channels, and the RF/Coax out will not be affected, because it is pass-through only. On my Comacst system, TCM is analog, and I record a lot from that, plus The Daily Show, and local and CNN news.


If your Comcast STB is a DVR, it probably has two tuners, so if you program it for a digital channel, that will come up on the tuner that is NOT output from the box, so simultaneous recording to your Pio won't work. No Problem at all. Just record what you want on the DVR, and transfer it to the Pio later, using S-Vid and R/L audio connections.


Doing it this way, you can see exactly how long the program is in the DVR, and pick the precise speed/bitrate/MN number to record it to the Pio's HDD, to make maximum use of a disc. You can set up a program/movie to transfer when you go to bed, go to work, go out, etc., use the Pio's quick timer to stop it, and have the transfer done when you get back. Then, just edit the beginning and end non-program materials, and burn to disc.
 
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