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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi... first post here



I've started shopping around for a DVD recorder. I contacted Panasonic and they stated they dropped their product line. I was wondering if any of you knew of mfg's that currently make a model that has dual tuners and an internal hard drive.


Thanks!
 

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The only internal HDD recorders in the US are Philips and Magnavox, but I don't think they have dual tuners..theres a sticky thread for these
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirk1965 /forum/post/15538261


I've started shopping around for a DVD recorder. I contacted Panasonic and they stated they dropped their product line.

In this Christmas Day post I predicted that the end of Panasonic's line of DVD recorders was near:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...3#post15377973


As a Panasonic owner I am disappointed but not surprised. The best Panasonics were the older ES and EH models. While the recent EZ series machines are good products the bugs and design flaws and high rate of customer returns hastened the end. The popularity of cable and satellite time-shifting DVRs has destoyed the market demand for products suitable for archival recording. The economic downturn is the straw that broke the camel's back.
 

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Anyone mentions "dual tuners", I know they're coming off a TiVO or cable-rented PVR. Man, are those folks disappointed when they visit here!



The state of the USA market for standalone video recorders is, in a word, nonexistent. Even when it was in its prime back in 2005-2006, they could not match TiVO boxes or cable/satellite PVRs (which is what finally killed them): no dual-tuner options were ever offered and they don't come anywhere near HDTV image quality. They were/are a compromise solution intended for users who prize making permanent DVD recordings over convenience or HiDef.


The only options still available in US stores are the Phillips/Magnavox units, extensively covered here by wajo in his sticky thread. That's it: there's nothing else. If you're willing to shop eBay you can buy Canadian-market Pioneers, which are excellent but don't have built-in ATSC tuners: they're more suited to cable reception. Pioneers are highly sought after by US hobbyists, which drives the final delivered price to $300-500 depending on the model (Canadian residents or tourists can just walk into a store and pay half that.)


I'm partial to Pioneers but most of the members here on AVS are Panasonic fans. The most popular of these were the EH55 (DVD/HDD) and EH75 (DVD/HDD/VHS). Nice units, but totally pulled from both Canada and US quite awhile ago and scarcer on the secondary market than Pioneers. Prices for "new-old-stock" still hovers around $475-600. People pay these prices largely to get Panasonic's exclusive TVGOS timer system. Broadcast support for this analog system seems to be fading rapidly and may soon be limited to a handful of cable vendors and DiSH, so "classic" Panny prices are starting to drop a bit. If you're patient, you could get an excellent buy after Feb. 17th.


The last of the "big three" quality mfrs of DVD/HDD units was Toshiba. Their 2004-2006 series was arguably the best ever made, but they're flaky as all hell and difficult to repair. Panasonic and Pioneer are a safer bet as discontinued models. Current USA-market Toshibas are disposable non-HDD units: they have nothing in common with the "classic" Toshibas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Citibear... Do you recall which Toshiba model you are referring to?


BTW... thanks everyone for all the great information!
 

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ttwomotor, I'm sure you'll receive your Panasonic EZ18 from Vann's. It is a newer model so there should be plenty in the pipeline, even if it was discontinued in the last month or so. Panasonic is still selling simple DVD-only or DVD/VHS combo decks, and will continue. The models pulled from North America were the more advanced (and expensive) units with built-in HDD.


dirk1965, the "high quality" Toshibas were the XS series, which are covered in several ongoing threads here. They have unbeatable picture quality and unmatched authoring abilities, which is why they are still very popular three years after being discontinued. But that quality comes at a price: their burners were for ****, failed quickly, and are neither cheap or easy to replace with full functionality restored. Hard drive replacement is also a bit tricky but can be accomplished at home by following tips listed on AVS. On the whole, "classic" Toshibas are for truly dedicated hobbyists who live and die by their recorders: realistically you will be sending it in to Toshiba for a burner replacement every 18 months. Worth it for "power users", but a big pain for the less dedicated or those short of repair cash. Toshiba made a handful of non-HDD companion models which were equally good, like the DR-4, but burner replacement on non-HDD units is not cost-effective. Toshiba DVD-only or DVD/VHS combo recorders made after 2005 are not as good, and any current Toshiba with ATSC tuner is all but unusable due to unstable false "copy-inhibit" restrictions (a trait they share with current Sonys).


Panasonic, Pioneer, and Phillips/Magnavox are the only decent choices left in North America.
 

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You didn't say if you were OTA or pay TV. If OTA you might want to look into the DTVPal DVR. It has dual tuners and a HDD but NO DVD burner. You could offload the HDD by using composite to any tunerless DVDR.

The DTVPal DVR records in full HD but anything offloaded would be SD. Here's a link to the thread talking about it. Note it's still very new and many people seem to be having problems with lockups so you may want to wait for a while until they get the kinks worked out of it before thinking about buying it.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1099071
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rec630 /forum/post/15538684


The only internal HDD recorders in the US are Philips and Magnavox, but I don't think they have dual tuners..theres a sticky thread for these


How long will they be available? Walmart websites list them as not sold online or in stores.


If they weren't so expensive, I would buy a second one while a few boxes can be found in stores. I was hoping for a sale when they officially stopped carrying them. Unfortunately they are just letting them fade away instead of clearing them out.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dangerdoc1 /forum/post/15546722


How long will they be available? Walmart websites list them as not sold online or in stores.


If they weren't so expensive, I would buy a second one while a few boxes can be found in stores. I was hoping for a sale when they officially stopped carrying them. Unfortunately they are just letting them fade away instead of clearing them out.
Here's a site with lots of NEW 3576's

and a popular/respected site with refurb'd 3575's for $230.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dangerdoc1 /forum/post/15546722


How long will they be available? Walmart websites list them as not sold online or in stores.


If they weren't so expensive, I would buy a second one while a few boxes can be found in stores. I was hoping for a sale when they officially stopped carrying them. Unfortunately they are just letting them fade away instead of clearing them out.

The Magnavox are only sold online. Last I checked, the Walmart site showed out of stock, although I read posts expecting they would be getting more as these cycles have been seen before. http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...ct_id=10104532


Walmart stores do have the Philips on the shelf...saw one near me for $298 last week. There's a link somewhere in Wajo's sticky thread that let me into the Walmart site and do a stock inventory in my zipcode. Edit to add: http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...ct_id=10059151
 

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You may be seeing a lot of "out of stock" notices simply because its now well into January and we're on the cusp of a new model cycle. Last year Phillips announced 2009 would be their final year of offering DVD/HDD recorders in North America, which implies there will be one final new model for 2009 coming. What isn't clear is if that model will be a warmed-over version of the 2008 model 3576, which was identical to the 2007 model 3575 except for the cabinet color and some tuner improvements. Since Phillips does business worldwide, and DVD/HDD actually *sells* in countries outside North America, we may be getting an all-new global-market model customized with an ATSC tuner. Could be good news, could be bad- we'll have to wait and see.


It is disappointing to see prices have crept back up on these Phillips/Magnavox machines- a few months ago they stabilized around $250 on sale days, which was fantastic. They are still a good buy at $298, but $50 off that is nicer
. The point I'm trying to make, which I've repeated here countless times, is if you *want* one of these recorders, don't procrastinate: this is the one consumer product for which waiting only makes matters worse. Prices go higher and model selection diminishes the longer you wait. Once the Phillips/Magnavox models are pulled off the shelf in spring/summer 2009, that's the end of the line. DVD/HDD recorders will no longer be available new in the USA. None. Whatsoever. And don't hold your breath for BluRay/HDD.


Buy now. Hock your grandmothers wedding ring if you have to.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear /forum/post/15552256


It is disappointing to see prices have crept back up on these Phillips/Magnavox machines- a few months ago they stabilized around $250 on sale days, which was fantastic. . . . Once the Phillips/Magnavox models are pulled off the shelf in spring/summer 2009, that's the end of the line.

Prices reflect supply and demand, just like they did for the final Panasonic models when their run ended. Supply dwindled and all the procrastinators realized they may have waited too long, then rushed out to buy wherever they could at whatever price.


I think you are being too optimistic in thinking by spring/summer. Supply has already dwindled to the point of buying clearance and refurbs off of ebay at elevated prices. It will be funny to see these units selling for $400 on-line a year from now. The 3576 was introduced while 3575 units were still readily available, the 2160 was introduced in the middle of the 3576 run. Their runs are clearly over, yet nothing new has been introduced. Perhaps when the digital transition finally happens sometime off in the future and all those analog VCR's finally bite the dust. Until then, this looks like the last hurrah for HDD units.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff /forum/post/15545113


You didn't say if you were OTA or pay TV. If OTA you might want to look into the DTVPal DVR.

I'm going totally OTA. I'm done with Directv ripping me off everymonth. I figure I can get what I can OTA and watch the rest over Hulu or some other site. I cancelled Tivo as well. I'm still undecided. I'll either find one of these units or build my own PVR running MythTV with dual tuners.


Thanks
 

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At a certain point nearly everyone here has tried the "roll your own PVR" road, only to discover it blows. Nice to have as a backup option, and pretty much necessary if you're gonna insist on full HDTV recording to discs, but not the most convenient or reliable timeshift device or archiving system. If you can possibly afford (and find) a Phillips/Magnavox with ATSC tuner before they get totally discontinued, you will be VERY happy to have it as your fallback unit- especially since you're going "off the grid" into OTA-only. Having a single dedicated box with hard drive, DVD burner, and multi-event ATSC tuner-timer will save you a lot of aggravation long term. And you can always rip the discs it makes to your PC for more elaborate authoring.


The dividing line between putting up with a PC-managed PVR or going with a DVD/HDD recorder is whether your priority is timeshifting in full HiDef or archiving hard copies on standard DVDs at "good enough" quality. Convenient, quick DVD-from-TV creation requires a DVD/HDD recorder. Any serious use of HiDef requires a PVR, and like it or not the only ones that really work right come with cable, satellite or TiVO subscriptions. You can "roll your own" with a PC, sure, but that only flies if you live alone or your wife/girlfriend is an engineer. The typical average family will rip your head off when confronted with a PC solution: remember, half of them have already rejected DVD recorders as "too complicated" which why that market has dried up.
 

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dirk1965-In your case then don't write off the DTVPal DVR just yet. If they get the bugs worked out and in my case add a + type model with more advanced features, it promises to be a nice little box. And for the price $250-$300 with no subscription, I don't think it can be beat. As Citibear said PC solutions seem to have it all but many people end up coming back to a more dedicated type of recorder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff /forum/post/15555907


dirk1965-In your case then don't write off the DTVPal DVR just yet.

jjeff... I wasn't aware that the DTVPal DVR also receives OTA channels. I figured it was strictly satellite. What bugs are you speaking of? This actually interests me now.


Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for the insight citibear. I still have a lot to consider, but I do live by myself, so I'm the only one in control
 
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