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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As with many people, I'm searching for the best DVDR/VCR combo for the future. I have it narrowed down to three units now, Sony RDR-VXD655, JVC DR-MV100B and Panasonic DMR-EZ48K. I plan to mainly use this device for recording tv broadcasts on both DVD and VHS and watching movies. I have standard cable (Comcast non-digital package, no cable box) right now, but want to be able to record televison onto VHS after Feb. 2009.

The Panny was my first choice until I read on several reviews that it doesn't record digital tv broadcasts onto VHS. Is this true or another misleading bit of user misinformation?

Next choice was the JVC, but reading about inferior build quality and recording shortfalls, made me push this to the bottom of the list. I did like the permanent program memory for your recording schedule. I own a JVC 36 inch tv and JVC DVD player that haven't given me any trouble at all.

Last but not least the Sony unit. I've read mainly favorable reviews about this unit. Also read that it does record digital tv onto VHS with no problems. I don't want to buy something and find out that the VHS half is useless. I'm leaning toward this unit and would appreciate any added info or advice about these three.

Does the Sony or Panny have permanent program memory? If they do, I can't find it on the online user manuals. I know they are doing away with VHS movies. Will they always have blank VHS tapes available? Thank you in advance for reading my post.
 

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While many of us quibble over exact details of various models, when you boil it down there are really only two recorder series left on the USA market that are not trouble-plagued: the Panasonics (DVD-only and DVD/VHS combos) and the Phillips 3576/Magnavox H2160 DVD/PVR combos. Everything else is a much bigger gamble: current Toshibas and Sonys refuse to record altogether because they keep picking up false "do not record" signals, the JVCs would be used to line birdcages if the birds hadn't been offended, and the assorted off-brands are exactly that: "off".


Since you prefer a VHS/DVD combo, your only option is the Panasonic: go with that. In the USA, at least, integrated recorders built into cable/satellite decoders have destroyed the DVD recorder market, all the interesting good models were dropped in 2006. Between lack of consumer interest and the ever-deadly ATSC transition, you cannot now always get every feature you want in a single recorder. I do not know if the Panasonic combos allow digital ATSC to be recorded on the VHS section: if it does, great. If it doesn't, you're stuck and will have to keep pace with what everyone else is doing: abandoning VHS. Unless you're making tapes for older relatives who can't handle a DVD, recording to VHS is no longer a sensible option anyway. Panasonics are among the few machines that can use the DVD-RAM discs: these are extremely reliable and work nearly as easily as VHS (compared to standard "eraseable DVD" which is a little tricky). DVD-RAM is perfect for time-shifting and repeated re-use.


Do not be tempted away from Panasonic by another brand solely because that other brand might offer "digital on VHS". Please understand I'm no great fan of Panasonics, I use older Pioneer recorders because I prefer them, so I'm not a "fanboy" pushing Panasonic just for the hell of it. The entire DVD recorder industry is in free-fall because no one wants to pay the cost of quality hardware. Panasonic now wins by default from the simple fact they're the last company standing that hasn't resorted to selling prefab crap made for them by a tenth-rate Chinese conglomerate. Given the current market, they may well follow the herd and start doing this next year, so if you want the "best" thing still available, get a Panny while you can.


(Anyone with a pressing need to record digital ATSC onto VHS should keep an open mind and be flexible. You can always attach a cheap ATSC tuner box to any random VCR you might have and do it that way. The overall nicest ATSC tuner is the Zenith DTT901, available in many chain stores for $49.95-59.95 [your gov't coupon can knock $40 off that]. My sources at Radio Shack claim this model has discontinued production: get one now if you need one.)
 

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Probably the best ATSC tuner to use with a VCR without an "IR blaster" or "cable eye", is the Zinwell ZAT-970A or 950A. It has 8 (dependable - key word here - unlike the DTVPal/TR-40) event timers which can be set, so the box can change channels on it's own.


The Zenith is generally regarded as the "best, all-around box" on this forum, but it has no way to change the channels on it's own. If you don't need that feature, though, you'll never go wrong with the Zenith.


Check the CECB sub-forum here for more information on all the available CECB's.


CitiBear's right about the Panasonic being the best choice. If you really have to record to the VCR side from a digital tuner, just use an external CECB with a government coupon (that's if you can even get any coupons now).


Really, if you have a DVD recorder in the unit, there's no reason to ever be recording from a tuner to the VCR side anyway, but it's your life - and your clutter.
 

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I am glad to see magnavox was not in your selection. Mine is a piece of you know what. I have not been successful yet at recording or copying anything onto dvd with it.
 

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If you're talking about copying pre-recorded, commercial VHS tapes to a DVD recorder, no model will let you do that without a "video stabilizer" put in between the units -whether the VCR is built into the unit or separate.


Read here for more information on these "filters": http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...highlight=grex


If you're talking about personal, home-recorded tapes, then something might be wrong with the unit.
 

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I was trying to transfer some home video footage. After it was done I tried playing in dvd player. Would not work. Tried setting up to record a tv show and it never turned on to record. I don't know if it is user error or something is broken. I just bought it in December mainly so my proctor had a tv tuner to watch a show once in a blue moon. Any case it is not user friendly. I will only use it for the tv tuner because I do not have the time to spend more hours trying to make it work.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kciaccio /forum/post/15518197


I was trying to transfer some home video footage. After it was done I tried playing in dvd player. Would not work. Tried setting up to record a tv show and it never turned on to record. I don't know if it is user error or something is broken. I just bought it in December mainly so my proctor had a tv tuner to watch a show once in a blue moon. Any case it is not user friendly. I will only use it for the tv tuner because I do not have the time to spend more hours trying to make it work.

DVDs have to be Finalized to play in other machines. The Finalize option is in the Disc Edit menu.


Not turning on for a timer rec could be many things: clock set wrong time, program entries wrong, recordable disc not in place (if it's a single-disc recorder), disc too full already, prob. many more.... ?


Which DVDR model do you have?
 

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Note it would be rather hokey but the OP could just hook up a CECB to the Pannys VCR line in. I don't know why that wouldn't work...

Another option, that may not work(I would think a EZ-48 owner would have already tried it) would be to select (for the VHS input) the DVD side and the DVD side would be setup to receive it's input from the tuner....This configuration was possible with my old Panny ES-30v but maybe not with the EZs.

The ES-30v was basically like 2 machines(only one tuner though) sharing one common case, a very handy machine indeed. Too bad it didn't have the digital tuner
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski /forum/post/15517935


Probably the best ATSC tuner to use with a VCR without an "IR blaster" or "cable eye", is the Zinwell ZAT-970A or 950A. It has 8 (dependable - key word here - unlike the DTVPal/TR-40) event timers which can be set, so the box can change channels on it's own.

I know you have been pretty exhaustive testing these, so this is interesting news
. Last time I looked a few weeks ago, people were still saying the Zinwell was not all that more useful than the awful DTVpal. What have you learned that makes it a good bet? Which thread should we follow? Thx!


(Not hijacking this thread, I hope: but this info seems relevant to the OPs interest in recording ATSC to VHS.)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear /forum/post/15519099


I know you have been pretty exhaustive testing these, so this is interesting news
. Last time I looked a few weeks ago, people were still saying the Zinwell was not all that more useful than the awful DTVpal. What have you learned that makes it a good bet? Which thread should we follow? Thx!

I don't have the Zinwell, but from following the whole CECB forum closely, it sounds pretty dependable.


The older models had a world (military) time clock, but the newer models now have the N. American, AM/PM version.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the great info. I guess I'm showing that I'm not really up on the new technology with the following question. Aren't the cable companies (Comcast, etc.) converting tv signals to analog for older tvs after Feb. '09? I know it's been mentioned that if you have cable tv or satellite you don't need a converter box. So, if this is the case, why would any DVDR/VHS combo have trouble recording normal tv broadcast onto the VHS side? Am I missing something here?

The only reason I'm worried about the VHS side of things is I want to double my possible recording space. Sometimes I would like to record about 10-12 hours of tv broadcasts a week. By combining the DVD and VHS into my weekly program schedule, I can achieve this extra space.

Maybe I should grab a Philips 3576H from Newegg.com before they're all sold out. I tried a Philips 3575 last summer and returned it to Walmart after 3 days. After reading the very informative features, setup and operation thread, maybe I should give it another shot.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 03CherryZR2 /forum/post/15521472


Thanks for all the great info. I guess I'm showing that I'm not really up on the new technology with the following question. Aren't the cable companies (Comcast, etc.) converting tv signals to analog for older tvs after Feb. '09? I know it's been mentioned that if you have cable tv or satellite you don't need a converter box. So, if this is the case, why would any DVDR/VHS combo have trouble recording normal tv broadcast onto the VHS side? Am I missing something here?

The only reason I'm worried about the VHS side of things is I want to double my possible recording space. Sometimes I would like to record about 10-12 hours of tv broadcasts a week. By combining the DVD and VHS into my weekly program schedule, I can achieve this extra space.

Maybe I should grab a Philips 3576H from Newegg.com before they're all sold out. I tried a Philips 3575 last summer and returned it to Walmart after 3 days. After reading the very informative features, setup and operation thread, maybe I should give it another shot.

Since VHS sections of combo recorders are "old technology" the decoder is dedicated to the the DVD recorder section. A separate decoder for the VHS section would add needless expense for a seldom used feature.


Once in a while Turner Classic Movies programs my favorite early talkies through the film noir era around the clock. Prior to adding the Philips and Magnavox HDD/DVD recorders to my stable of ES and EZ series Panasonics my practice was to schedule my Panasonics to record in tandem, initially with two, and later with three machines dedicated to TCM. I still schedule the Panasonics with programming limited to around four hours per machine. With three machines recording in tandem or with back-to-back blocks for round the clock recording, swapping out discs might be extended out to intervals around twelve hours per machine.


In April 2008 I incorporated a Philips 3575 HDD/DVD recorder into the mix as the fourth machine dedicated to TCM. That Philips, with its hard drive, added round the clock recording capability just by itself. I have utilized the 3575 for round the clock recording several times now. The Philips was more often integrated into the rotation when four machines were dedicated to TCM.


Recently a Magnavox H2160 HDD/DVD recorder was added to the rotation. Now there are five machines dedicated to TCM. Both HDD/DVD recorders have round the clock recording capabilities of their own.


I schedule/program all the HDD/DVD recorder blocks with a view to editing and later high speed dubbing to DVDs. In order to maintain picture quality these Philips and Magnavox HDD/DVD recorders are usually programmed for the SP (two hour) or SPP (2.5 hour) speeds, and only occasionally for the LP (three hour) speed.


With Panasonics the picture quality is maintained for most TCM programming out to the LP (four hour) speed.


My scheduling/recording procedures often allow programming out a week or more in advance. Panasonic disc swaps may now be extended out to much longer intervals. This allows for frequent idle periods for all the machines and conveniently spaced out sessions for editing/high speed dubbing with the Philips and Magnavox HDD/DVD recorders.


I recently set up a Magnavox H2080 HDD/DVD recorder cable-ready for tandem recording with a Panasonic also set up cable-ready. Two other Panasonics are currently set up OTA, one EZ model with digital and analog tuners, the other an ES series analog tuner model currently connected to the analog output technology of a Zenith DTT901 CECB with a Zinwell ZAT-970A as the standby CECB.


The Philips and Magnavox HDD/DVD recorders add a great deal of flexibility and capacity for serious time-shifting.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski /forum/post/15519236


I don't have the Zinwell, but from following the whole CECB forum closely, it sounds pretty dependable.

I think I may have to retract that statement.


After reading the Zinwell threads recently, it seems there's been a spate of problems reported lately.
 
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