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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm considering buying a DVD recorder to use with my Dish 921 HD satellite receiver, or its SD cousin. Pioneer 533 or 531 have been well reviewed elsewhere, but I'm not finding anything about the Sony RDR-HX900. I'm considering it primarily because it has dual media capability (+/- RW), because it has component inputs, and because of the 12-bit DAC (compared with 10 on the Pioneer).


If anyone has experience using the Sony, I'd appreciate their input, especially regarding PQ and ease-of-use.


Has anyone used the Sony with a satellite receiver? I'm concerned about avoiding the EPG and doing manual recordings.


Any other DVD recorder suggestions would also be welcome.


Thanks,

jc
 

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I don't own the Sony. I have the Sharp 300 which for $279.00 was a steal back in October. Works very well. Contrast(BLB) is lighter and it sometimes fails to record a timer program. But, then again there is no perfect recorder. All have or develop flaws or problems.


Saying that....you'll have to read threads and posts from 6 months back. The Sony was a major disappointment in that it if you have a 2 hour and 10 minute program you'll have to go down to 4 hour mode instead of using a variable rate recording mode of 2 hours and 10 minutes. Most if not all other recorders have that function. I believe it can't record from a playlist and it's editing function is no match for some of the other major manufacturers like Panasonic, Pioneer and Toshiba. Would you believe it's still selling for its' MSRP of $800.00.


Sony is about to release its' next generation of recorders that are supposed to address these shortcomings. It also adds dual layer recording. If so I'll be interested in buying it. You may want to wait for the new models or pick up the 900 when it goes on clearance.


BTW...as to the issue of the EPG...again read current threads and posts...from what I've read you don't want it or need to disable it to keep your sanity.
 

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I've read in this forum that they'l have 1hour, 1.5, 2, 2.5 etc. 2.5 is closer to 2.10 then it is to 4 hour mode. We really won't know for sure until the models actually come out. Not the Japanese version and not the European version either. The good old USA version. It better or else......................
 

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I own the HX900 but I have it hooked to analog cable only; to record from digital cable I use my cable provider supplied Scientific Atlanta 8300HD, then transfer to the Sony. It does come with an IR blaster if your sat box is compatible with those.


I find the machine to be extremely easy to use, actually easier than the Pioneer x20 series (I have a 420 so I know what I'm talking about). The picture quality, both recorded and played back, is superior to the Pioneers and the Panny's. If you are considering recording downconverted HiDef material in its original widescreen format, this is the machine to go with as you can manually set the widescreen flag regardless of whether or not the box is outputting one.


The downsides are the lack of title divide on HDD (you can still do it from DVD-RW VR mode) and the limited bitrate settings. I don't find the lack of title divide to be a real issue as I very rarely do back-to-back recordings; most of the time I record off of Discovery and History Channels, and they usually air their programs twice if not three times per evening. As far as the lack of multiple bitrate settings and the elusive "2 hour and 10 minute program", well I've used that setting on the Pioneer exactly three times. The new Sony x15 series is supposed to add a 2.5 hour/disc mode, and with the 1.5 hour/disc setting already present on their current models, that should make up for the lack of a flexible record mode.


I've successfully downloaded the EPG data on the first try so I don't know how the lack of a working EPG will affect the way it does manual timer recordings.
 

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RonDawg - Thanks. As an actual owner you said it better then I did. I'm aware of the superior PQ of the Sony. Which IMHO overshadows most of it's flaws. I too, have not needed to use the variable recording rate that much on my Sharp. BTW eCost has it on sale for $569.00. But, it should go for less when the next generation of recorders hit the USA market.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the feedback, Ron and Jay. Do either of you know when the next generation of Sony's is slated to appear?


Ron, when you transfer down converted HD material to the HX 900, are you doing so via component or S-video? Have you experimented with both? I'm wondering if there is a marked difference in picture quality.


Also, how do you accomplish the transfer? Using the manual recording function of the HX 900? Do you feed the digital cable material to the Sony hard drive, then burn to DVD? Do you edit out the commercials from Discovery and History channels before burning?


And lastly, how are you manually setting the widescreen flag (another thread discussed Pioneer 531 difficulties receiving flag from dish network receiver)?


Thanks so much, guys, I do appreciate your taking time to respond!


JC
 

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Jake- Supposedly in September. But, don't hold your breath. Wait for more price drop posts in this forum. Or, check prices at J&R, eCost, Newegg, Amazon or Crutchfield.com. When they start clearing them out expect the new models within a couple of weeks.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake Collins
Thanks for the feedback, Ron and Jay. Do either of you know when the next generation of Sony's is slated to appear?
Next month supposedly. However, Sony is very fickle when it comes to product releases. Then again the GX315 is just now starting to appear. so who knows?

Quote:
Ron, when you transfer down converted HD material to the HX 900, are you doing so via component or S-video? Have you experimented with both? I'm wondering if there is a marked difference in picture quality.
I've tried both and personally I feel Component is superior for downconverted HiDef. The picture just appears sharper. For standard definition, the difference isn't as noticeable.


I use Component also in order to preserve the widescreen aspect. With Scientific Atlanta STB's, they will only send out a widescreen signal via Component only.

Quote:
Also, how do you accomplish the transfer? Using the manual recording function of the HX 900? Do you feed the digital cable material to the Sony hard drive, then burn to DVD? Do you edit out the commercials from Discovery and History channels before burning?
For HiDef programs, I just play the program off the SA's HDD, the way I would normally watch TV. I have a Component switcher box that lets me switch from TV to DVD recorder, but the 8300HD also has an HDMI output which I use on my Sony TV.


For standard def programs, I use the 8300HD's "Copy to VCR" program which uses a different set of outputs (s-video in my case). This way I can watch a different program simultaneously.


Yes I do record first to HDD and edit out the commercials. Lately, I've been transferring the programs to DVD-RW(VR), then using the Pioneer to edit as its editing features are superior. I then dub the resulting program back to HDD before transferring to -R.

Quote:
And lastly, how are you manually setting the widescreen flag (another thread discussed Pioneer 531 difficulties receiving flag from dish network receiver)?
There is a setting in the "Tools" menu to let you manually set the 16:9 flag.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks again Jay and Ron for the great feedback!


Jake, read the duel-layer thread last night and appreciated your comments.


Ray, thank you for responding to my questions. I wish the Pioneer 533 had component inputs like the Sony so I could have the best of both worlds (PQ and editing). Oh well.
 

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I just got one and so far I love it. Wish I could control more about the recordings but it is a dream to use. It can't find the TV Guide data from COMCAST

cable. (even though it found the ads to place in the windows !)


Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Do you mind me asking where you got yours, Dave? Online or brick-and-mortar store? It would be nice to find one in a store for a decent price so it could be returned if necessary.


Happy recording,

Jake
 

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Since you have the DVR capability with the 921, I would get the RDR-HX300. It doesnt have the hard drive or component inputs, but has similar PQ. Check out BB or ecost for a Very reasonable price.
 
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