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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have some questions regarding recording modes. Usually, I record tv shows to HDD, using SD and by S-video. Im wondering:


1)When copying SD content to a DVD, would it make diference if using XP or SD?


2)What does LPCM stands for?



Any explanation would be welcome!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeandrodaFL /forum/post/20885582


I have some questions regarding recording modes. Usually, I record tv shows to HDD, using SD and by S-video. Im wondering:


1)When copying SD content to a DVD, would it make diference if using XP or SD?

I would recommend you use as high a quality as possible to make your recording, and then use high-speed copy to make your DVDs. Any encoding/reencoding process always has a resulting quality loss, where a high speed dub (copy) does not have any quality loss.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeandrodaFL /forum/post/20885582


2)What does LPCM stands for?



Any explanation would be welcome!

Linear PCM, or Linear pulse-code modulation is a method of digitally encoding audio information. Look it up on wikipedia for the full story.
 

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With most recorders, most of the time, there's no significant advantage to recording at XP/MN32 instead of SP, and a huge disadvantage in halving the recording time available on a DVD-R to just over 1 hour. There are three general situations where you might want to use XP/MN32: if there is a lot of fast movement or scene variations from very dark to very light (such as pop concerts or some sports), if you are "timeshifting" to the HDD section of a DVD/HDD unit and don't plan to keep the recording (but would like your temporary viewing to be best possible quality), or you have a really large screen 42" or bigger and can actually see a notable difference between XP and SP. In that last case, if SP doesn't look good on your huge screen XP will not look dramatically better and you should consider a non-DVD recorder thats capable of full HDTV.


LPCM stands for Linear Pulse Code Modulation, the standard method for encoding digital audio in the music industry for CD mastering, etc. You should normally avoid this option when making DVDs because it is not the "normal" audio system for home-made DVDs: some playback devices get confused or lock up if you load an XP/MN32 disc with LPCM audio. You should generally leave the recorder set to MPEG1 or standard audio, unless you're pretty sure you need the better-quality LPCM system for a music video and you expect to only play the disc in a recorder.


There is no difference between XP and MN32: XP is the fastest standard fixed recording speed on most machines, those few that have optional incremental FR or MN speeds use the label MN32 to indicate you've reached the XP equivalent. A few recorders do not allow LPCM audio at XP, only at the MN32 setting- check your instruction book for restrictions.
 

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For normal recording, the SP data rate (2 hours per disc) is more than sufficient, giving you a balance of reasonable disc capacity and "friendliness" to fast movement. Probably 75% of my recording is done at SP, the other 24.5% at lower data rates to pack more on a given disc (I usually draw the line at 3.5 to 4 hours), and the remaining 1/2% for at XP.


Sometimes, if the recording is very important or the source is an old VHS tape, where I want to make absolutely sure I lose the barest minimum of PQ in the transfer, I'll record at XP. The value (to me) of the material offsets the 1 hour per disc limitation. Oddly enough, a good-quality source like a DTV broadcast is less sensitive and can be recorded at SP (or even a slower rate) without noticeable loss. Keep in mind that my biggest TV has a 32" screen.


The theory behind LPCM is that it's a "lossless" format and the sound quality is, theoretically, better than the standard DVD audio stream. Kind of like the difference between a TIFF file and a JPEG in the digital image world. I use LPCM for time-shifting FM broadcasts on my Panasonic DVDR. I *think* maybe, possibly, I hear a slightly fuller sound--but that might just be because the idea has been put into my head that it's slightly better. But I can't say I've ever heard any degradation of sound between the standard audio track of a DVD I made and the source material.


So as a practical matter, for recording the audio of a video program, just stick with the standard audio.
 

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Here is what I do:


1)) If the program is 64 minutes or less I will archive using XP with PCM sound.


2)) If the program is 65 minutes to 2hrs and 40 minutes I will archive using the appropriate MN settings.


3)) If the program is longer than 160 minutes I will decide either to break the program into 2 discs or use a DL disc.


Along with CitiBear’s three situations were possible bit-rate starvation may become noticeable I can think of one more example. If there’s very heavy forest foliage, even with no motion – the image may exhibit bit-starved artifacts. You can even see this with digital still pictures. Download a very detailed uncompressed still-picture and start compressing it with your computer image software. At some point of (even slight) compression you will start noticing artifacts – even though there is zero motion in the still picture.


Another thing to consider is that MPEG-2 will eventually become obsolete and at one point even the newest versions of Windows and MACs may not support working with it. One day we may be forced to transcode all our MPEG-2 videos to a more efficient codec and this is were the XP recorded videos will suffer the least generation loss when transcoding.


If you use LPCM – well since its lossless there will be ZERO generation loss in the audio when you transcode MPEG-2 with LPCM to MPEG-4 with LPCM. I have already experimented with trancoding my MPEG-2 files to MPEG-4. While a first generation recording using Dolby-Digital-2.0 may sound virtually as good as LPCM - once you trancode it you do notice a generation loss in the sound but with LPCM you virtually don’t notice any loss.


As for LPCM choking when using different DVD players for playback – this may have been true in the 1990s but I yet to see one DVD player worth over $40 and built after the year 2000 that chokes on LPCM or XP recordings.


I always try to future proof myself as much as possible (did it using SP with VHS) and in my opinion LPCM sound is a lossless future-proof format good for the next 50 years and when using a stand-alone DVDr recording my 60 minute DVD-Video recordings in XP guarantees the best possible recording with the least generation loss when the time comes to transcode all my recordings once again.


That’s my story.
Now if I could only transcode my grammar without generation loss.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
(original poster here)


Yeah, I did some testings and it looks like there is no visual diference when recording in XP or SP. However it was visible for anything less then SP. My Hard Drive is only 160GB, so XP would leave me with not many hours to record. Because of that, Ive been using SP, but kinda sad my hard drive is not 3TB, lol


And apparently MN are for qualitiy settings between the most common/standart settings (like XP, SP, LP etc), correct me if Im wrong.


Im using a 32" widescreen tough, nothing 60" like some users. Besides, my recorder has s-video inputs only, not component or HDMI.


One of the replies mentioned high-speed recording. As I edit the programs I watch, I have to choose XP or SP. The high-speed recording would result in change of the cut points I set when editing. Im not sure if there is loss of quality in the process, but Im dont think it would be diferent from high-speed recording.


My model is a Pioneer DVR-640H-S, I have some questions:


1) Is it possible to upgrade the hard drive? If so, wich model is popular? 5400RPM drives?


2) Im thinking about building a HTPC for High-definition recording, but Im not sure it will satisfy me as much as a HDD Recorder does. Can a HTPC have the easy editing from HDD Recorders without loss of qualitiy?


3) Lets say I recorded a program on the HDD, and then transfered it to the DVD. Then, I decided that I need to change the title name of a chapter. If I copy back the DVD to the HDD, and then copy once more the program to DVD, using XP settings, will I lose any quality?


4) My model has s-video inputs and component outputs, I believe its maximum output is 480P. Magnavox 500GB has HDMI output with 1080P upconversion, however, the same s-video input...if I upgrade, will I get a better quality when playing content? Is the magnavox good at editing and copying to DVD with quality?
 

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Quote:
...MN are for qualitiy settings between the most common/standart settings (like XP, SP, LP etc), correct me if Im wrong.
You are correct.
Quote:
...my recorder has s-video inputs only, not component or HDMI.
No recorder made for the U. S. Market has any inputs other than RF (antenna and cable) composite and S-Video. There is a thread on this forum about a DVD recorder from Hong Kong with HDMI inputs, but no one has purchased it so we only know what the advertisments say.
Quote:
One of the replies mentioned high-speed recording.
If you are talking about my post above, I said to use the highest quality you could when recording to the hard drive, and then use lossless high speed dubbing (copying) when making a DVD from the copy on the HDD.
Quote:
1) Is it possible to upgrade the hard drive?
This I don' tknow, but I'm sure others here DO know.
Quote:
2) Im thinking about building a HTPC for High-definition recording, but Im not sure it will satisfy me as much as a HDD Recorder does. Can a HTPC have the easy editing from HDD Recorders without loss of qualitiy?
Again, not an area that I have any experience with. Home Theatre Personal Computing seems like a "personality" type of thing. Some, like me, prefer the stand-alone box of a DVD recorder, others like the much mosre flexable options provided by the PC environment. What is your temperament? HTPC has many more options, but is it easier? That's difficult to answer, probably not. Is it lossless, probably yes.
Quote:
3) Lets say I recorded a program on the HDD, and then transfered it to the DVD. Then, I decided that I need to change the title name of a chapter. If I copy back the DVD to the HDD, and then copy once more the program to DVD, using XP settings, will I lose any quality?
Yes, the copying process will involve a decode, and reencode. You can do this losslessly on a PC however, by copying the files off the DVD to the computer, and then back to a new DVD with the changes.
Quote:
4) My model has s-video inputs and component outputs, I believe its maximum output is 480P. Magnavox 500GB has HDMI output with 1080P upconversion, however, the same s-video input...if I upgrade, will I get a better quality when playing content? Is the magnavox good at editing and copying to DVD with quality?
You might see an improvement in playback, but remember that upconversion does not add any additional information to the picture, it uses iterpolation tricks to make the picture appear better. As far as the Magnavox being good at editing and making quality DVDs, yes.
 

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Super Eye makes some excellent points about XP and LPCM, but be aware he is coming from the perspective of someone who is a perfectionist above all else. He is willing to tolerate a limit of one hour per DVD to achieve his goals: most of us do not find the tradeoff to be worth the usually small increase in quality. MPEG2 (DVD audio/video standard) will be with us for a very VERY long time yet: they are as well-established (if not more so nowadays) as LPCM. Worrying about converting DVD-standard MPEG2 video to another future format is a needless concern: you will always be able to play back the files from either the DVDs themselves or from HDD file copys. Anyone whose primary concern is the ultimate last speck of quality and ability to transcode to other formats should not be using a DVD/HDD recorder as their archiving device: they should be using a PC and recording AVI files. The DVD XP speed is far too inefficient to be used as an everyday default, and doesn't save you from the basic "lossy" nature of DVD encoding: if you want ultimate video quality and file versatility, move to an HTPC.


You can upgrade the HDD in a Pioneer 640, but it is tricky because you need a special service remote and service DVD, also you would need to find a larger EIDE hard disk which is difficult now that SATA has taken over as the standard computer drive. The service remote can be bought here , the service disc GGV1321 Type 2 can be found with assistance from the Pioneer fan site www.pioneerfaq.info .


Yes, the MN speeds are for "in between" standard speeds. I often use MN 20 on Pioneers, useful for fitting 134 mins on a DVD without much loss of SP quality.


You can't copy a DVD back to the HDD and make changes without losing quality and needing to redo all your chapter edits, menus and thumbnails. It is better make such changes with a computer, or just try not to erase things from the Pioneer HDD until you're absolutely sure the DVD copy is exactly how you want it.


High speed copy from HDD to DVD using "video mode editing" is the preferred way to go, it preserves the same quality from HDD on DVD. "Frame accurate" edits come at the cost of painful real-time DVD burning, which is not only tedious but damages the life expectancy of the Pioneer burner. The 640 burners are old enough now that you really should stop real-time frame-accurate burning: flawless edits of commercials from TV shows are not important enough to be worth damaging the recorder and losing video quality. If you can't live without frame-accurate edits then you should move to an HTPC system. No recorders can make frame accurate edits without losing quality and killing their burners via real-time re-encode: recorders are designed for high-speed lossless copy from HDD to DVD with reasonably accurate edits. The Pioneer 640 gives a pretty accurate preview of where the edits will roll over to when you hit the "Video Accuracy" button before a session.


If you are very used to the way your Pioneer 640 works, you may not like the Magnavox. It makes very high quality recordings at XP and SP but noticeably poorer at slower speeds. It does not have the MN speed option, so it jumps directly from excellent SP quality to not-great "SPP" (150mins), then three hours and so on. In some cases this is compensated by its excellent full 16:9 ATSC tuner for off-air DTV broadcasts. The signal quality of the Magnavox tuner off-air can be twice as good as the Pioneer, since the Pioneer is only analog 4:3. However, when using a cable or satellite decoder box or line inputs the Magnavox and Pioneer pull closer in performance. The Magnavox does have a much-improved video encoder which is newer and notably sharper than the Pioneer 640 encoder, so the Magnavox can outperform the Pioneer at XP and SP (its encoder is similar to the upgraded encoder of the later Pioneer 550 and 560).


The only big drawback of the Magnavox is its poor user interface and displays, which are not nearly as elegant as Pioneers and take a lot of time to become comfortable with (our esteemed Magnavox expert "wajo" severely disagrees with me on that point, but most Pioneer and Panasonic owners are not thrilled with the Magnavox interface).. There is only one choice of DVD menu design, which is similar to the Pioneer "3 stacked titles on blue background" option. Title name entry is more difficult and the process to select DVD thumbnails is totally ass backwards. You cannot choose custom thumbnails on the HDD, it defaults to the first frame of each recording. HDD navigation is not as streamlined as the Pio 640: again, it takes some getting used to. The Magnavox is a very fine, very reliable unit but it is built to offer the best possible quality at lowest possible price: it sacrifices convenience and ease of use to meet those goals (kind of like those sports cars where they strip out the air conditioning, radio and most of the seat to save weight and increase performance). I use both Magnavox and Pioneer recorders, each has its advantages over the other (and Magnavox is so affordable its easy to add to your system).


Your Pioneer 640 was one of the last recorders to be sold without HDMI connection for newer TV sets. HDMI allows "upconversion" to 1080p, but it is a small improvement that primarily helps eliminate motion artifacts some models of TV have when connected by analog video or S-video. The recording quality is not improved, since all DVD/HDD recorders can only record in 480i. The Magnavox has HDMI, so can play to a TV in upconversion. If you record off-air with the Magnavox tuner, the upconverted playback can come very close to HDTV (recording from cable box via line inputs is not as impressive: the 16:9 tuner is really stunning).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
CitiBear, thanks a lot for your insight. Yeah, upgrading the HD is tricky, so I bought yesterday a Magnavox 500GB, which will possibly be my last hdd recorder. Im now focusing on building a HTPC, as I want to achieve best picture quality. Im ok with not having best audio, so XP is fine regarding audio, and as a matter of fact, I cant live without frame accurate editing.


Since in my country, 80% of transmissions are still analog, Ive been somewhat satisfied with DVD Recording, but now I want to get that High-Definition shows, as well as improve the analog recordings. I believe that Component inputs/HDMI inputs will give me a better recording for analog, hopefully Im right.


1) Nevertheless, Im a little worried about the "ease of use" with a HTPC. I love the editing software from the Pioneer, which I believe its similar among HDD Recorders. I just need to cut some commercials and "lame parts" from tv shows. Wich software should I use with a HTPC? And as a matter of fact, could Linux give me the best experience, or am I obligated to go with Windows?


2) Btw, how does the USB tuners compare in terms of quality to HTPCs and HDD recorders, both for analog and digital?


3)And since Im asking questions, whats the difference between VR mode and video mode?


Regarding the magnavox drawbacks, dude, I tough by now things would have improved since late 2006. Only 1 DVD menu option? Not to mention all the beauty of the Pionner chassis. I guess I was lucky with my purchase back then, If only my Pioneer had a bigger hard drive and a HDMI output…
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear /forum/post/20891599


Super Eye makes some excellent points about XP and LPCM, but be aware he is coming from the perspective of someone who is a perfectionist above all else.

Ha CitiBear I'm not as much of a perfectionist as you say I am.

Just two examples:


- If I was a perfectionist I would of used real SVHS tapes instead of recording an SVHS signal on VHS tapes.



- If I were a perfectionist I would be archiving with MPEG-4 in HD by now.


Although I must say that the time to start archiving in HD will come.


I can think of many other examples that real perfectionists would laugh at me for doing things not so perfect but I don't want to bore you.


I can tell you one thing CitiBear.

Throughout the life of the Panasonic, Pioneer, Sony and probably most other HDD-DVD recorders - each and every model I'm aware of had an option for XP with LPCM recording. That tells me that there were enough people like myself using the option.
That tells me that keeping the option must of cost very little for the manufactures.


I'm not telling others to do what I do, just sayin' what I like to do and only with programs that run under 65 minutes.


More reasons why I record in XP when program time permits.


1)) Concert disc traders, most like having one program on one disc.


2)) Disc going bad. Hey if I only have one show on disc and the disc goes bad I only lost one show. After all discs cost under 30 cents each.


3) If only a tiny spot goes bad on a disc.

The higher the bit rate the faster the bad spot will go through and the less program content you lose. This principal goes back to the linear tape days If you record using VHS SP and you have a section of tape that glitches or drops out for three seconds you would have had a nine second glitch if you used EP instead of SP. Same principle with DVD - in XP you lose have the data you would of lost in SP.


Hey, I'm not trying to convince others to do what I do - just sayin' why I do things my way.


Maybe me saying that MPEG-2 will be obsolete is a little over the edge but I remember saying the same thing about VHS back in 1985. I bought my first VCR, a SuperBeta Hi Fi, knowing that Beta is on its way out I still bought it for its superior quality over VHS and I remember some of my buddies telling me that VHS will NEVER become obsolete and I remember telling them YES IT WILL. Never say never.


============================================


On an unrelated note:


CitiBear, a while ago you (I think it was you) brought to my attention that the Pioneer 640 encoder does a digital to analog to digital conversion when you do a real-time dub (transcode) from the HDD to a DVDr. You said (I think it was you) that my Sony RDR-HX780 does a digital to digital conversion only - just as the newer Pioneers do, eliminating the analog in-between step.


Yesterday I was doing some unrelated research regarding my 780 and by fluke I stumbled upon a site that had the specs for both the Pio 640 and the Sony 780 and from reading the specs, although both decks use a 10-bit encoder I believe that the two units use completely different encoders because the specs:


Pioneer DVD-640H 54MHz/10-bit video DAC

Sony RDR-HX780 108MHz/10-bit video DAC


Seems that the Sony deck doubled the frequency, although it's still only 10-bit.

Do you have any further info on this?


Speaking of 10-bit decoders I thought that the Magnavox 515 had a 12-bit encoder but this brochure claims it's only a 108MHz/10-bit video DAC like in my Sony.
 
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