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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Finally ready to replace the vcr and I'm finding it hard to sort thru the various recorders on the market.What I want is basically good picture quality,a hard drive to ease time shifting,the ability to watch live but skip the commercials, an easy way to edit from HD to DVD on shows I decide to keep.Basically,I guess I want a Tivo without the subscription fee.My wife and I have decided we don't watch enough tv to justify tivo,but what we do watch we want in higher quality than vcr.(she wants Survivor,I want Veronica Mars and Bones)A program guide would bd nice,but from what I've read they sometimes seem more trouble than their worth.Right now,I'm leaning towards either the pioneer 531-33,or the Lite- on 5045.The 5045 has a huge HD and the ability to record on any type of disc,but has no guide and according to S+V can be tricky to edit.Pioneer has the tv guide,but that seems to get mixed reviews.I'm using analog cable without a box,so maybe tvguide will work without problems?Any advice on which way to go?Or are there other brands that would better suit my needs?Thanks for any input in advance,
 

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If you don't need firewire/dv in I would consider either the Pioneer 531 (avail at WalMart only) or the Panny DMR-EH50. Both are HDD units with EPG (not as many complaints with the Pansonic implementation of TVGOS). Either will run you between $325 and $400. Both have a time slip feature that allows you watch anything on the HDD (including the program you are recording at any point in the past) while you are recording. Since you have cable w/o a box, you are probably going to have little or no problems with the EPG (i.e., you have an ideal setup). I would stay away from the lite on 5045 (I have a lite on 5005 w/o HDD). The Pioneer and Panny units are more sophisticated in the way you can dub from HDD to Disc and other features than the Lite-on. Plus the Lite-on cannot do timeslip while recording. They are really a more mature product. The Pioneer can record to DVD-R, DVD-RW, and DVD-R DL. The Panasonic can record to DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, and DVD-RAM but has no Dual Layer recording capability like the Pioneer. You really can't go wrong with either Pioneer or Panny. Stay away from Lite-on...
 

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I agree, Go with the Panasonic or Pioneer & you can't go wrong. If you don't care about the formats then look at the Features, Remote & Etc & go with the one that has the features you like the most but make sure you buy it from a place that you can return it if doesn't live up to your expectations. It maybe just little things in the end that tip the scale like from what I understand the "Shuttle Dial" on the Panny Remote is a pain to use & you just can't stand it so back it goes. Everyone is different when it comes to their likes & dislikes but as above you can't go wrong with the Pioneer or Panasonic. Just my 2 cents :D
 

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You didn't mention it but another one to consider that is top notch is the Toshiba RD-XS34. The TV Guide works flawlessly on mine. The picture is excellent and you can't find one with more features for the money. A few weeks back I think I paid $389 for mine with shipping when OneCall had a special. This is not a commercial but OneCall is one of the nicest places to do business. Located in Seattle if this tells you anything. Google the RD-XS34 and you will find a lot of information.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow,great responses.thanks all.You guys have made me believe in AVS again.So,my search has been narowed to 3 players,just what I wanted..A couple questions...

First,my general impression of toshiba players hasn't been favorable from browsing posts on them here.Am I mistaken in that? 2nd,I don't see no mention of the double layer recording capability of the pioneer on their website.Does double layer recording mean with the proper disc I could record a two hour film in highest quality.i.e. being able to get twice as much on the disc compared to a single layer disc at the same speed?Finally,the tvguide-are they all basically the same from different brands,or does one of these three do a better job at it? The kind of question never answered in a review-it takes longterm use I think.The only thing holding me back on the 531 is the HD-does it have enough for recording several shows in "fine" setting?All I can find is max.times in lowest grade speed,which if I was going to use I might as well stick to my vcr..
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well,been searching heavily,and the dark horse has moved to the top of my list.I'm leaning towards the XP34 now.Here's my reasoning..First off, the comments on panasonic are so varied they pretty much cancel each other out and I'm left with no sense of the player.There just seems to be no consensus on any part of the pan.product,unlike pio or toshiba where everyone pretty much agrees on the good and bad points.The toshiba seems to have the most options,the tradeoff being its more complex to operate.PQ is at least equal to the 533,with several saying its much better.Plus it has the 160 HD.80 might be good enough for my needs but if I can get more...Again,I see this as more as a time shifting convenience,with only occasional archiving,and on that basis the toshiba seems to do everything the pio can plus a lot more.I like the DL on the pio,but if the 34 can record 2 1/2 hours in acceptable quality that is enough for the occasional movie off TCM I'd want to save.Am I missing something?If anyone sees an error in my thinking,please feel free to point it out.I'll probably be contacting one call today=I agree they are a great company,having dealt with them before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Got to add a couple impressions on this forum.First,its amazing how many threads are almost identical to mine-everybody seems to be searching for a recorder as painless to operate as a vcr.If a forum ever needed a FAQS thread,this is the one.(hint,hint).Secondly,the patience and helpfullness of those on this forum is astounding.Almost all of you with more knowledge than us newbies seem to be guided by an earnest urge to help,giving clearly well thoughtout replies to the most basic questions even though by now you must be awfully tired of reading them over and over.Its a humbling experience seeing how freely you share your expertise and I want to offer my heartfelt thanks.If only the sub or speaker forums could be as civil...
 

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lonwolf615--


Your thinking is similar to mine. The xs34 is feature packed and seems to represent a good value. I think I'll be pulling the trigger soon on one (can you say labor day sales??).


With only a few exceptions, it seems that Toshiba's implementation of the EPG is better and perhaps a bit more reliable than others. However, it seems that across brands, you are less likely to have problems if you are connecting analog cable directly from the wall into the recorder. When you add the cable box, EPG implementation can become less reliable.


Interestingly, there is generally less discussion about the Toshiba unit compared, especially, to the Pio line. But on this forum, that can sometimes be a good thing. Often, discussions are initiated because there is either a problem or some confusion.


It seems dual layer capability is the wave of the (near?) future, but for now many complain that the cost and availability of the media are prohibitive.


I would suggest you add 6th Avenue Electronics to your short list of possible stores, especially if purchasing over the internet. Several members have reported good experiences with them (fast shipping, double-boxed), and for an e-tailer, their return policy seems fair (they'll pay for return shipping if the unit is defective and replace it with a new one). They are currently selling the xs-34 for $369.08 including shipping. Make sure you check return policies, restocking fees, etc. for anyone you consider purchasing from.


Good luck! And if you purchase the xs-34 (or any other recorder), please let us know what you like as well as dislike about it.
 

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There are a lot of us XS34 owners. You are correct, sometimes what you don't read (complaints) can be as much of an indicator of satisfaction with a product as a lot of posts about the product.


As far as time shifting goes the XS34 can't be much simpler. Select the program that you want to watch later from the TV Guide listing or set it up manually and enter it into the schedule. Later press the content button and play it back.


What some people see as complicated I see as very user friendly with a lot of options. The manual is very well written with step by step guides. You will find that you will get into a groove (no, not a rut) with what you like to do and you will not use nearly all of the options that are available but they will still be there if you need them.


Some people have complained that with other brands that they have to burrow so deep to find the right menu tree. Also I've read that the XS34 has way too many buttons on the remote. Well, a lot of these buttons will take you straight to the menu tree that you are interested in without having to burrow there.


One button that is probably the most used button is the Quick Menu. Depending on what you are doing the button brings up the appropriate menu for the desired operation.


The XS34 can be as simple to operate as the common VCR providing that you only want to do the same operations such as record, rewind, and play. However, that no longer satisfies my needs.


lonwolf615, how many other DVD recorders have you found that will let you edit on the HDD and copy back to the HDD as a brand new original title without having to copy to DVD-RAM or R/RW first? The XS34 does it.


Ken
 
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