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Hi all, I love to record TV shows and movies to DVD. I have had and still do, a pair of Sonys..RDR VX555 and 655, a Pioneer 231 and a Panasonic ES15.... I had problems with the Sony 655, it stopped recording dvds sometime ago, it would start to record then after 20-23 seconds would just stop. i tried cleaning the laser and spindle but I can only get it to occasional accept a "commercial DVD to play.. The other Sony , the 555 and the Pioneer had both been faithful but about 3 weeks ago they both stopped recording, almost at the same time.. the only thing, which may be a coincidence is that I had been trying Radio Shack brand Gigaware DVD -R.. previously i had been using Sony DVD-R or Memorex . I took the Sony apart and cleaned the lens and spindle and it still wouldn't do much.. although after sitting a few days it will now accept a few CDs and is also occasionally taking a few DVDs to, just to play. The Panasonic, which ironically I found sitting in the trash has worked fine with both DVD + or - ..... So at present I am down to one functioning machine... I have made probably hundreds if not a few thousand or more DVDs on the Sony 555 and had also made several hundred on the Pioneer, which I had picked up secondhand a few years ago.... However right now the most reliable and user friendly unit is the Panasonic... With that in mind What are the major differences if any between the Panasonic E55, EH59 or the EH69? I was looking at the EH 69 which is offered through J&R for $399... I very much like the idea of having a sizable HD to archive and store programming..( i have two DVR cableboxes through Metrocast but both only have 60G HD)... I am wondering if the EH69 for example will work via the Metrocast/Motorola cable box analog or component outs) I realize it is not a US unit etc... anyways I am not adverse to another Sony 555 as I worked that thing to death for about 7 years, the only fault is that so many times it would "think" that certain programs were copy written etc.... I would like to get 2 more units one for the livingroom and one for the bedroom.. the TV 's are both sonys one a 32" 'XBR2 and the other Sony 55" XBR 950...Thanks again for any of your learned insights... Jim B
 

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The EH-55 is a fine machine and very similar to the same year ES-15, if you can find one for a reasonable price I'd suggest it. My only complaint with the EH-55 might be the laser which like the ES-15 doesn't seem to last as long as the older Panasonics. I've had 2 ES-15s die with a bad laser and one EH-55, the EH-55 was writing to a DL blank, something I'll probably never do again to my other EH-55 or EH-59s.

The EH-59/69 are also fine recorders, quite similar to the EH-55 and while I haven't had a laser failure with any of mine I have the gut feeling they may be more like the EH-55/ES-15 than the older Panasonics. The one caveat of a international Panasonic is it's black level is calibrated for the international level which will result in a very slightly elevated black level if you feed it a N. American standard black level. To see just what this may look like you could change the input black level on your EH-15 to LIGHTER and make a recording, this is how recordings on a international Panasonic will look like. If your fine with it(or don't even notice a difference) you'd be a perfect candidate for a international Panasonic. I use mine mainly for copying from another DVD player which has a DARKER or international black level output adjustment, many DVD players do but I've never seen a VCR or things like a cable STB for DVR with such a output adjustment, they would all be the lighter N. American output.

I have all EH-59s which I've never came close to filling and it saves me a bit, if you really want to save a lot on the HDD I guess the EH-69 might be a better option, even the EH-59s HDD is larger than a EH-55(250GB vs 200GB) so keep that in mind if you get a EH-55.
 

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Garloo57, I agree with everything that jjeff has said, but he left a few things out that may be important to you. The EH55 is a 2006 model, so if you DO find one on eBay or Craig's list, it will be old, and maybe well used, maybe not. The EH59/69 machines are either still being manufactured, or their production has very recently shut down.


The EH59/69: MINUSES


Has no US warranty as it's not a US machine. Sellers like B&H, J&R, and World-Import all provide a warranty of their own

Uses European date, and 24 hour time, neither is resettable to what we use here. The date is NOT mm/dd/yy, but dd/mm/yy

Has a black level issue (covered above)

Does not record the closed captioning information imbedded in the video stream

Does NOT have a useable tuner, so only the composite and S-Video inputs can be used


PLUSSES


Works well with the "dash" as well as the "plus" DVD disks, including the DL (dual layer) versions

Has a 44 character phrase-save feature

Will record and playback PAL as well as NTSC, if that's an issue. It will not convert between these formats though

Has a title groupings feature




I'm sure I'm missing some things, but theses have come to mind immediately. I have both an EH59 and an EH69. I like, and use them both a lot.


And one more thing, the only DVD blanks you will likely have anyone recommend here these days are the Verbatim blanks with the AZO dye (there are other lines that use other dyes, so look for the AZO on the spindle), and the Taiyo-Yuden 8x premium line. The Verbatim discs are available from Amazon.com, and the T-Ys are available online from Supermediastore, Rima, and others.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003ZDNZT2/ref=oh_details_o04_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

http://www.supermediastore.com/brand/show/taiyo+yuden
http://www.rima.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=1736-100&Store_Code=R
 
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