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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I having a heckuva time figuring out which DVD recorder to buy. Mostly because I don't really understand how they work.


While researching the Phillips unit, I noticed that they break the speed down into categories that are tagged by more than just time. They're tagged by type. They are:
  • DV quality (1hr )
  • DVD (2hr)
  • S-Video (3hr)
  • VHS (4hr)


Everything I plan to record will be first recorded to a DirecTV/TiVo combo unit that's connected to the DVD recorder via an S-Video cable. I want the best possible quality, but the problem is the vast majority of what I want to record will be just a hair over 2 hours. I hate to jump down to the 3 hour setting just get a few extra minutes. I also don't want to have to flip a DVD over in the middle, so I guess I'll be stuck with the 3 hours.


Then I got to thinking about it and noticed that it said "S-Video" next to the 3 hour setting. Since I'm recording through an S-Video connection, isn't that the best I can anyway? Setting it higher isn't going to actually imrpove the quality over the original, is my thinking. So wouldn't it be a waste to record in a higher-quality setting than S-Video, since what I am recording is traveling through an S-Video connection? Do you think there'd be any quality loss while recording from the TiVo to the S-Video setting?


OR...


Will that recording setting reduce the quality the same amount that an S-Video VCR would, resulting in some quality loss?


Thanks.
 

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If I recall, the resolution of recordings made on the Philips in the 3-hour mode is far lower than S-VHS quality, so I suspect that you will find that the 2-hour mode is the way to go for the best tradeoff of quality/time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks.


I'm curious to know what most people who buy these records are doing. It seems to me that most movies are slightly longer than 2 hours. Do you record on the 3-hour setting? Or are you content flipping the disk over halfway through watching a movie?


Any idea when dual-layer recorders might be out?


Thanks again.
 

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The Panasonic DMR series of DVD recorders have the following record modes:


XP: 704x480 at ~6 MB/sec avg Variable Bit Rate (VBR) for 1 Hour per disk


SP: 704x480 at ~3 MB/sec avg VBR for 2 Hours per disk


LP: 352x480 VBR for 4 Hours per disk


EP: 352X240 VBR for 6 Hours per disk


So XP and SP give you the best quality.


Panasonic also has an excellent Flex Record mode that automatically adjusts resolution and bit rate based on the length of the recording and the space available on the DVD disk. I use this mode for most recordings. This mode adjusts avg bitrate down slightly from SP mode to allow up to about 2 hour and 15 minutes to be recorded to a single disk while retaining max SP 704x480 resolution. This mode avoids the quality/resolution hit you get by just invoking LP mode for recordings longer than 2 hours in length. For movies beyond 2 hour 15 min, I still use FR mode because even though you get LP resolution (352x480) the bitrate will always be higher than LP if your recording is anything less than 4 hours in length, giving you a slight quality improvement.


I can't say enough about the quality and features (including on-deck editing) of the Pansonic stand alone DVD recorders (I own a DMR-E20 and DMR-HS2), not to mention the reasonable price points.


You won't see dual layer burning in consumer gear probably ever. See this thread for the explanation as to why its impractical.


Vic
 

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Is there some place you input the lenght of the recording when you are using flex time?
 

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Vic,


Yes you were right all along about the HS2! I shouldn't have made the giant hesitation. A most exciting purchase.


Was it you or somebody else who said that the 704x480 resolution will hold for a little over the 2 hrs when using Flexible Recording Mode? I seem to remember if one is recording a 2:10 or 2:15 movie it still might fit it to the 4.7MB space and hold the higher resolution...save me searching if you know! And what is the exact maximum time before kicking down to the lower resolution if the aforementioned is true.


Thanks!

Robin
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by chap
Is there some place you input the lenght of the recording when you are using flex time?
As soon as you select flex recording, you are presented with a screen where you enter the length to record...Simple to use...
 

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Quote:
Was it you or somebody else who said that the 704x480 resolution will hold for a little over the 2 hrs when using Flexible Recording Mode?
I've posted it before as well as in the post above.


Not sure exactly at what point resolution lowers, but if you keep it at 2:15 or under you should be safe.



Vic
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The flex recording sounds great. Since it seems to be kind of an in-between speed, does using flex recording make disks that are less-compatible with other players than using a standard speed?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by vferrari
I've posted it before as well as in the post above.


Not sure exactly at what point resolution lowers, but if you keep it at 2:15 or under you should be safe.
Like duh...guess I'll read more carefully in future!
Quote:
Originally posted by vferrari
I've posted it before as well as in the post above.


Not sure exactly at what point resolution lowers, but if you keep it at 2:15 or under you should be safe.
I'll try to determine exact point and post what I find.
 

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Don't be confused by the terminology. What the recorder manufacturer designates as discrete record speeds (e.g., XP, SP, LP, EP), are just for user convenience not compatibility. The DVD-Video spec doesn't care what the bitrate is as long as its less than about 9.5 MB/sec since it accommodates variable bit rate encoding. Threrefore, the fact that the FR avg bitrate falls between these discrete record mode settings is irrelevant as far as compatibility is concerned. In the case of the Panasonic, the bitrates specified for each mode are average bitrates because all recordings are variable bit rate regardless of the record mode. All the record mode resolutions (i.e., 704X480, 352X480, 352X240) are DVD-Video compliant as well.


Bottom line is that all the record modes, including FR will result in DVD-Video spec compliant disks. Compatibility of Panasonic recorded DVD-R's with other stand alone decks will be primarily a function of the specific player and the DVD-R media brand used.


HTH,

Vic
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks vferrari. That's what I was hoping (and expecting) to hear. Just wanted to make sure it wasn't the same as recording on different speeds on a VCR. Looks like I'll get the Panasonic DMR-E30.
 

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Quote:
I'll try to determine exact point and post what I find.
Robin,


As I think about it a little more, there may be a simple way to figure this out without making a series of 2 hour plus recordings. Since the recorder must calculate the appropriate resolution based on record time and disk space in advance of the actual recording. All you need to do is set the FR timer to a series of times (i.e., 2:15, 2:16, 2:17, etc.) then record about 30 seconds of video to DVD-RAM and stop the recorder prematurely. You can then use the appropriate PC software to determine the resolution of the resultant vro clips to see when the crossover point occurs.

Quote:
Like duh...guess I'll read more carefully in future!
Yeah, I was trying to be nice. ;)


Let me know what you find out with the experiment. I'm not sure when I'll be able to get around to doing it.


Vic
 

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I've found I can usually get about 2 hours and 10 minutes of SP-recorded material onto a single DVD-RAM with HS dubbing, which is far more convenient than even FR.


With most one hour TV shows these days, I find I can record in SP and still get 3 episodes on a DVD-RAM if I take out the commercials.
 

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Out of curiosity, does anyone know the exact resolution of SVHS on SP and VHS on SP for the purposes of comparing the HS2 modes with older technology. People ask how good the LP mode looks for instance, and it's kind of hard to say definitely. Knowing the resolutions might provide a more concrete decision basis.
 

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Nominal specs for VHS and SVHS are 240 and 400 lines of horizontal resolution, respectively. How that translates into pixels, I'm not 100% sure. I used to think I understood that, i.e. that X lines of resolution required 2X pixels to display, but I've seen some stuff in this forum that makes me question that "wisdom", so perhaps others can clarify that.
 

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Scott I feel that the hourly comparisons to a vcr are an underestamation for the 985. I feel the 3 hour mode is far superior then my jvc svhs vcr with a much cleaner picture. I also have no problems playing dvd+rw in all current dvd players. Hope this input helps. Frank
 
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