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Discussion Starter #1
I've got a Pioneer 531 unit from years ago,80g hdd recorder unit that has a IR blaster on it that has gone caput on me and I'm looking for a new or newer unit that has a larger HDD on it, is preferably digital tuner based and has a IR blaster. I've got Comcast with a box inline,a HD one, so I kinda need the IR blaster as it's very convenient to control the cable box. I was looking at the Magnavox 515 but I don't believe that has the IR blaster,correct? I use my unit to make recordings and put two/three or more shows on a recordable DVD-RW disc,watch it,clear out the shows on disc and the units navigator,rerecord new wash rinse repeat. The Pioneer stopped recognizing the DVD-RW as recordable, even new discs so either the DVD unit is dead or something else internal. If I have to I'll have to try to replace the DVD unit internal or somehow get it repaired but I'd really like to upgrade the HDD size and get a digital tuner, hence wanting a new(er) model. Is there a beast out there that doesn't cost a months wages that will do the trick? Like the IR blaster as it allows me to schedule show(s) on the recorder and it will turn on the cable box,tune it for me and record so I can get the scrambled shows recorded. BTW, I'm new here so go easy.
 

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Nope, no IR blaster on the Magnavox, and it's also the only HDD based DVD recorder currently (and probably the last) on the domestic (US) market. Everything else went bye-bye a few years back.


Maybe one of the Panasonic international models might have an IR blaster, but you'd have to ask one of the Panny fanatics.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa /forum/post/20624809



Maybe one of the Panasonic international models might have an IR blaster, but you'd have to ask one of the Panny fanatics.

Nope, the only Pannys with a IR blaster were the domestic ones. The EH-55 or earlier EH-50 were the best models with a IR blaster. The EH-55 is quite hard to find and way overpriced, the EH-50 can occasionally be found for a decent price but has a smaller HDD. Click my signature to see the various Panasonic models and features.
 

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Well, that answers that. Sportster, if you must have an IR blaster, look to the used market.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff /forum/post/20625015


Nope, the only Pannys with a IR blaster were the domestic ones. Click my signature to see the various Panasonic models and features.

jjeff, you may wish to update that list with the models that have the IR blaster. I believe the DMR-E65, DMR-E85H, and DMR-E95H comes with the blaster.
 

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Increasing the HDD size of the Pioneer 2005 models 531-533-633 with IR blaster is unfortunately very very difficult due to the fragile TVGOS software loaded on the HDD. This model series is a total PITA to upgrade or service. Your burner is dead for sure: repeated use of RW discs on pre-2006 Pioneers is a guaranteed burner-killer. It is sometimes possible to replace a dead burner with a new one by switching the special internal controller board from the old burner to a new burner, this requires you find a functioning DVR-109 or AVR-A09 "generic" Pioneer PC burner, perhaps on eBay. Instructions for doing the swap can be found at this link . If you find such a repair unappealing, the only alternative is buying the Magnavox and setting the timer on both the Pioneer 531 and the Magnavox.


This workaround involves connecting the Pioneer line outputs to the Magnavox line inputs. You would set timers on your Pioneer as usual, so it controls the cable box and records shows to its HDD. But in addition, you would set the manual timers in the Magnavox for the same shows: the Magnavox will then simultaneously record to its own HDD whatever the Pioneer is recording. When done, simply delete the recordings immediately from the Pioneer HDD but leave them on the Magnavox HDD until you have time to watch them. The Magnavox 513 has a 320GB HDD, the Mag 515 has a 500GB HDD: either is 4-6 times the capacity of your Pioneer 531. This should give you plenty of room and time to catch up with viewing backed up shows on the Magnavox: no need to make DVDs unless you want to keep something permanently. The Pioneer DVD burner is not used at all in this setup, only the Magnavox.


Even though this workaround is less convenient than using a second-hand Panasonic with IR blaster, in the long run its more reliable and economical. Used Panasonics tend to cost double the price of a new Magnavox, and their burner/HDDs could go dead at any minute. The Magnavox 513 with 320GB is available for as little as $169 including free shipping . BTW there is no real advantage to the Magnavox digital tuner unless you get rid of cable and return to off-air broadcasts: many people think they can ditch their cable box and use the Magnavox to tune channels from the cable wire, but most of them come crying here to say it doesn't work (because digital tuners are easily confused by cable company nonsense tricks). Keep your decoder box for maximum flexibility.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomwil /forum/post/20625328


jjeff, you may wish to update that list with the models that have the IR blaster. I believe the DMR-E65, DMR-E85H, and DMR-E95H comes with the blaster.

Near the very end of my list I have a note that All Pannys w/TVGOS include a IR blaster and I do have the models you noted as having TVGOS. If the model lacks the TVGOS notation(as all the international models do) they also lacks a IR blaster.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff /forum/post/20626020


Near the very end of my list I have a note that All Pannys w/TVGOS include a IR blaster and I do have the models you noted as having TVGOS. If the model lacks the TVGOS notation(as all the international models do) they also lacks a IR blaster.

I see that now, thanks! You made so much clearer on the '05 models by actually listing it, that I thought you had missed the '04 models. Sorry!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomwil
I see that now, thanks! You made so much clearer on the '05 models by actually listing it, that I thought you had missed the '04 models. Sorry!
So I had
to retain consistency I've also added "IR blaster" directly to the '04 models, thanks for the heads up
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hmm...trying to consider options. Are there any PC or hard drive based deals that would work? Hook up a small portable hd to take instead of a DVD? Or somehow connecting a PC up to record to DVD/HDD to make portable? There's so much change happening I can't keep up with what's what anymore. I just want to be able to record a show(s) and take that with me to play elsewhere, however it gets done.
 

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When you say "take with you", what are you going to view it on?


You could replace your cable box with a TiVo (and a cableCARD from Comcast) and record shows there (with great flexibility as it has two tuners and an extensive guide) and then transfer the recordings to a PC. Strip off the .tivo wrappers and the files left are MPEGs that you can view or burn to disc or do whatever you want (watch on cellphone, etc.) It's not a cheap option, but it's probably the most effective.


You could also build a HTPC with a cableCARD and record that way. It's not cheap, either.


Otherwise, scour eBay for a Panasonic with an IR blaster (or whatever model you know comes with one.)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
With the Tivo option,it's what, $600 lifetime plus the unit. Do they have wireless network connections?


Hmm,HTPC. Could buy a cheap PC,and do that...interesting.


The main reason I wanted a recorder with the IR blaster is that our HD comcast cable box doesn't work right when trying to set it to remember to "record" or "time' set a recording/show. Half the time the stupid thing will switch to channel 1 and I'll record a entire hour of 'on demand' previews. It used to work fine then Comcast 'updated' the box and now it's loopy. I could possibly call Comcast and tell them I need a new HD box that actually works when the timer for a show is set. That would help and I wouldn't need a IR blaster,just set the cable box to the show I want and match that with the recorders timer......decisions decisions....what to do....
 

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TiVo has a wireless adapter, yes. It's purchased separately.


The HTPC route would need a cableCARD compatible tuner. It's also not the easiest route. Not discouraging you from it if you want to go that route. Just be aware.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sportster /forum/post/20631070


With the Tivo option,it's what, $600 lifetime plus the unit.

$600 for both ($99 for the TiVo, $499 for the lifetime - the unit can be found for under $88 online, though. Wireless N adapter is about $60, G about $33).
 

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Getting a newer decoder box may not help, although its worth a try. If your old box is not HDTV-capable, its memory may be too low to handle the new software and remember timer settings. Upgrading to an HDTV box will likely give more cache memory to reliably retain the guide listings and timers (this has helped on other systems like Time Warner). If you already have an HDTV decoder box, the unreliable timers are the result of ComCast software screwups so getting another box probably won't help. ComCast is now considered the most recorder-hostile system out there, doing everything they can to discourage use of anything but their own PVRs.


The TiVO is nifty and can do many tricks (like record in true HD and transfer it to your PC to make AVCHD high def DVDs). If you can afford the $600 upfront cost, or don't mind a $20/mo subscription, its the coolest recorder out there. You would not need a blaster with the TiVO, ComCast would come out and install a cablecard in it which taps directly into ComCasts system. There is a $2/mo fee for the cablecard, and installation is typically a pain: cable companies hate TiVO and usually screw up the first couple of installation attempts hoping you'll get discouraged and return it. Be persistent and they'll make it work. Visit TiVO forums for tips on technical issues you can mention to the installer to clue him in that you mean business, and he won't play those games.
 

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Be aware, the TiVo solution using a cable-card will deny you the ability to make a portable copy of your recording (aka. TiVo-to-go) if the cable company has set the copy-once flag. I don't know for sure about a HTPC+cable-card, but I do know MS Windows is pretty adamant about honoring any and all DRM restrictions it runs across.


Also be cautious about purchasing an old model Panasonic DVDR with IR blaster. These models are several years old and may not contain the IR codes to control a more modern STB.
 

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I have to agree with CitiBear and Kelson. Not just Comcast, though they might just be the worst, but all cable companies want you to use THEIR PVRs, and will do everything possible to discourage you from using any other recorder. No one, espically Hollywood, wants us to make libraries of movies, because they want us to pay for each viewing of their intellectual property.


The most recent Panasonic DVD recorders with an IR blaster are the EH55 and EH75. They are both from 2006, so be aware that newer STBs might use codes that these machines don't know. On the other hand, I have a CD player from 1984 and it uses some of the same basic IR codes that my EH69 uses.
 

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I keep an old POS LG DVD/VHS combo recorder rc797t [the DVDrec side never worked right] specifically as a cable box changer to record onto my Maggy513 ...

i just set it to record a minute on a vhs and it changes the cable box when I'm a away... pathetic but it works
 
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