How are you going to use your DVDs ? To utilize DVD-RAM properly you'll have to have a DVD-RAM compatible player. (If you're not going to use the Panasonic only) Most "regular" DVD players won't handle it.
"Better", in my opinion, means that you can delete a single show or portions of a recording without erasing the whole disc. At least some of the other rewritable formats do NOT allow you to use it simply as a random-access rewritable media.
Also, the Panasonic recorders allow you to record to DVD-RAM while watching something else on the DVD-RAM at the same time. While this probably isn't quite as useful as it is when recording to the hard drive (on this recorder or on other PVRs), it is still useful.
Also, DVD-RAM has a much higher theoretical maximum number of rewrites than the other formats. This may not be of much practical use, but it's still good to know.
DVD-RAM minus -- it doesn't work in very many other DVD *players*. There are some Panasonics, I don' t know about others. But I saw the lowest end Panasonic one that supported DVD-RAM go for about $60 (including rebate) at some point.
Personally, as long as I can also write to DVD-R as the interchangeable format, I don't care if the rewritable format isn't "the popular format" as long as I can get enough media to last me a while (and rewritable isn't what I'd be using most of the time anyway).
I have a Toshiba D-R1 recorder and just burned an episode of a TV show onto DVD-RAM. I then quite quickly created chapters (under 10 minutes), deleted chapters that were set as ads and now is playable in the D-R1 or in the Panasonic S35 I just picked up (my SONY DVPNS325 won't play them - it does however like DVD-RW's from the D-R1).
What a terrific way to edit commercials; I was otherwise recodring to DVD-RW then ripping to PC then editing, re-authoring, and re-burning (Yikes!).
The Panasonic S35 plays DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, DVD-RAM, VCD, and SVCD. A very impressive unit, (it replaces an Apex 1200 which wouldn't play DVD-RW's or DVD-RAM's from the D-R1), with the only disadvantage I've seen is disc loading time is fairly long.
DVD-RW's are good for about 1000 writes, DVD-RAM's are good for
100 000 writes. In other words with a DVD-RW you could record a show a week for the next 19 years or a show a day for about 3 years . You could record to a DVD-RAM everyday for the next 274 years! If well kept either will last anyone long past the next best thing comes along.
I have a Pan e60, Pan e80h and a Sansui 4005. I use the e60 and e80h with DVD-RAM for transfer use to quickly edit with Ulead DVD Workshop 2 or TmpGenc DVD Author and burn to DVD-R. I use the Sansui 4005 with DVD-RW for stuff I'll view only once and erase. For compatibility, the perfect recorder would handle DVD-RAM, DVD+/-R, DVD+/-RW and also have a hard drive.
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