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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have read and read through this forum, and now have a headache trying to figure out which HDD DVR I should get. I know every situation is different and will try to explain my wants and needs. I also recognize that people have different experiences and opinions so I am asking the very knowledgable here what they would get and why.


Here is my personal situation/need. Wife (I really do love her!) said "I want... nag, nag, etc." and, "I want it NOW... nag, nag, etc." And NO; getting rid of the wife is not an option.



No, seriously, we want a HDD DVR w/DVD burner that also has a tuner. We will mainly use as a time shift (VCR) for shows and occasional movies. Also want it as a DVD player for rented movies. We currently have cable, and I refuse to pay the cable co $144.00/yr to be able to record a program that I already pay them to receive. We are also considering a move from cable to satellite so we would prefer this DVR be able to easily transition between the two without losing it's ability to have easy programming and tuning. (I'm not sure if this is even possible).


I prefer this device have the ability for me to do fairly easy HDD swaps in case (when) the factory drive fails. I liked the Pioneer DVR-460H-K until I read how the drive swaps were not as simple as they should be and that someone shelled their unit in the process. I also want a very reliable unit as far as DVD goes. Finally, I've limited myself to under $500.00 because this new toy could run up some money in a hurry if I don't place some reasonable limitations on it. BTW, I live in the U.S. but am willing to order a grey box from a Canadian outfit as long as it meets my wants and needs.


Something I might also be open to is buying a dedicated computer with a couple DVDs to record/play etc. and using Media Center and a digital tv tuner and possibly even a (very expensive) Digital Cable Card tuner for the system.


See the AVS "Home Theater Computers" forum under the title "Cablecard for the Masses" for info on the Digital Cable Card tuner. I would post a link but am unable due to having less than 3 posts.



My question to the group:

If you were getting into DVR DVD with the needs described above, knowing what you know now, what would you get and why?


I'm not after a Ford vs Chevy brand war. I know some prefer one brand over another, and no matter what anyone says, they will never go to another. That type of response does not interest me. I just want the best bang for my buck while still having some of the new features plus being able to discriminately burn to DVD.


Your opinion is greatly appreciated.


Ref
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by KS_Referee /forum/post/16988388


I have read and read through this forum, and now have a headache trying to figure out which HDD DVR I should get. I know every situation is different and will try to explain my wants and needs. I also recognize that people have different experiences and opinions so I am asking the very knowledgable here what they would get and why.


Here is my personal situation/need. Wife (I really do love her!) said "I want... nag, nag, etc." and, "I want it NOW... nag, nag, etc." And NO; getting rid of the wife is not an option.



No, seriously, we want a HDD DVR w/DVD burner that also has a tuner. We will mainly use as a time shift (VCR) for shows and occasional movies. Also want it as a DVD player for rented movies. We currently have cable, and I refuse to pay the cable co $144.00/yr to be able to record a program that I already pay them to receive. We are also considering a move from cable to satellite so we would prefer this DVR be able to easily transition between the two without losing it's ability to have easy programming and tuning. (I'm not sure if this is even possible).


I prefer this device have the ability for me to do fairly easy HDD swaps in case (when) the factory drive fails. I liked the Pioneer DVR-460H-K until I read how the drive swaps were not as simple as they should be and that someone shelled their unit in the process. I also want a very reliable unit as far as DVD goes. Finally, I've limited myself to under $500.00 because this new toy could run up some money in a hurry if I don't place some reasonable limitations on it. BTW, I live in the U.S. but am willing to order a grey box from a Canadian outfit as long as it meets my wants and needs.


Something I might also be open to is buying a dedicated computer with a couple DVDs to record/play etc. and using Media Center and a digital tv tuner and possibly even a (very expensive) Digital Cable Card tuner for the system.


See the AVS "Home Theater Computers" forum under the title "Cablecard for the Masses" for info on the Digital Cable Card tuner. I would post a link but am unable due to having less than 3 posts.



My question to the group:

If you were getting into DVR DVD with the needs described above, knowing what you know now, what would you get and why?


I'm not after a Ford vs Chevy brand war. I know some prefer one brand over another, and no matter what anyone says, they will never go to another. That type of response does not interest me. I just want the best bang for my buck while still having some of the new features plus being able to discriminately burn to DVD.


Your opinion is greatly appreciated.


Ref


Uh, You did not see thread on the front page of AVS with like 150,000 hits?????:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1054933

Me thinks the Ref needs to read this thread and then plunk down some dinero on a Magnavox H2160MW9....
(or maybe 4?? LOL!!!)


Good Luck!!

Gerry
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by KS_Referee /forum/post/16988388


I have read and read through this forum, and now have a headache trying to figure out which HDD DVR I should get . . .


Your opinion is greatly appreciated.


Ref

Ref,


Another place to start your inquiry is the first post in Wajo's sticky thread, a thread now approaching 500,000 views:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=940657
 

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The Magnavox 2160 would be your best bang for the buck. You could go the international route (Panny or Pioneer) but since you're not use to any particular brands feature set you might as well stick to a more mainstream product like the Maggy.

With cable you'll be able to directly tune in the clear QAM channels, for non clear QAM channels and satellite TV you'll need to record from a provider supplied STB(and hope or insist on getting one with Wide Screen output over S-video). A STB with a event timer(to automatically change channels) would be nice too for unattended recording from multiple channels.

Personally I'd still use a standalone DVD player instead of your DVDR. They're much cheaper and generally have a better feature set. HDDs are user replaceable but DVD burners are generally proprietary and much more expensive than a standalone DVD player. Some of the older no name DVDRs used PC DVD burners but I believe all current ones use a proprietary burner
and for that reason alone I'd suggest limiting the DVD drive use if possible.
 

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Two of your primary factors make the Magnavox a poor choice for you:


A) you have a wife with apparently little to no patience


B) you plan to do a lot of timeshifting and are likely to switch from your existing cable to satellite.


The Magnavox is an excellent choice for some people, and a giant pain for others: it depends on what you do most with a recorder, how you get your TV signals, and your budget. For users who rely strictly on off-air "free" TV, the Magnavox is the only sensible choice: its ultra-reliable ATSC tuner/timer trumps any other inconveniences or bugs of the unit. Its also a good choice if you're one of those delusional people who actually believes "boxless" cable will not be completely phased out within the next 18 months (the Magnavox QAM tuner is pretty good with direct-off the-cable-wire stations- while they last). The Magnavox is also the cheapest ($250) DVD/HDD machine and arguably the easiest one to buy, although its only available via Wal*Mart online. The Magnavox HDD is easily replaced but you do need to take care and choose one that does not overtax the power supply: don't assume you can just throw any random 500GB drive in there. Follow the recommendations in wajo's sticky thread if you choose a Magnavox.


The heart and soul of the Magnavox is its exceptionally reliable ATSC tuner-timer: the entire point of this recorder is its optimization for off-air DTV recording. If you don't need that feature, what you're left with is a fairly pedestrian recorder with an extremely annoying bug that requires you to clear all its timer settings before finalizing a DVD. This is irritating enough for someone who only has access to a handful of off-air stations: if you have cable/satellite and are in the habit of doing much more frequent timeshifting the Magnavox finalization/timer bug will drive you bananas. That is, assuming you save a lot of your recordings to DVD: if your habits run more toward 90% timeshift-and-erase, and 10% burn a library copy to DVD, then you could certainly do fine with the Magnavox. Most cable and satellite users would be happier with the more-expensive Pioneer Canada models or an international import-model Panasonic.


The Canadian Pioneer 460 runs anywhere from $269-369 on eBay, prices rise and fall with demand each week. When introduced a year ago the 460 sold for $429, so anything below that is a good deal. The 460 is a phenomenal machine, very logical and easy to use. If tracking a Canadian 460 on eBay is not your cup of tea, you could also consider a Pioneer international import-version 660 from USA import dealers like B&H or J&R in New York. The 660 is a 460 with a larger hard drive, it runs about $439. Older import Pioneers like the 550 and 650 are still available, these should be avoided due to more difficult setup for USA (this was fixed in the current 660). It is true Pioneers require a service remote and service DVD in order to replace their hard drives, but the remote can be faked and the service disc is available from various AVS members or thru referrals at the pioneerfaq website. The actual replacement process takes two minutes, as long as you don't go into any other service menus you can't screw up the recorder (I've done the HDD upgrade dozens of times).


The international/global Panasonic models EH-57 and -67, or EH-58 and -68, are very similar to the Pioneers and cost about the same. There is no particular reason to choose one brand over the other unless you already own one and are more comfortable with it. The Pioneer offers the advantage of complete manual control over flexible record speeds, which is very useful. The Panasonic has an automated flex record system which gives similar results but requires more screwing around to "out-think" it sometimes. The Panasonic HDD can be replaced without any service tools, but its burner is a dust and gunk magnet that requires periodic disassembly and maintainence to keep the machine in good working order. If you are not comfortable with taking apart your recorder once or twice a year, a Panasonic will frustrate you. On the plus side, the Panasonic burner can keep going nearly forever as long as you clean it now and then, while the Magnavox and Pioneer burners will start wearing down within three-four years and are not user replaceable or user serviceable.


Both the Pioneer and Panasonic models are in their fourth evolution of the same basic solid chassis, both are reliable, either is an excellent long-term recorder choice for someone with cable or satellite. Neither is a good choice for "free" off-air timeshifting, because neither has an internal ATSC tuner. You could always add an external ATSC tuner box, many of us do this, but it isn't nearly as convenient as using the Magnavox. If you don't have cable/satellite, get the Magnavox. In any case, heed jjeffs advice and keep a separate dedicated DVD player for playback purposes, especially of rental or NetFlix discs. The burners in DVD/HDD recorders are proprietary, hideously expensive to replace, and wear down as much from playing as recording. Using them only for quick, high-speed copying from the hard drive will extend your recorder life noticeably.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you gentlemen for your quick, well thought out responses. I imagined these to be the recommendations you would make based on what I did read, but after reading about 1000 posts in one thread, plus all the other posts I read in many of the other threads, I was going cross-eyed.


I would also like to add a special thank you to CitiBear for explaining the specific difference for choosing either the Pioneer and Panasonic models vs choosing the Magnavox. This is exactly the type of information I needed yet felt overwhelmed when reading so many posts, many of which had far more technical information for someone who has used his dual deck GO-Video VCR since 1993.


As far as the wife goes, she really is extremely patient. She just has a jerk of a husband that likes to try to be funny by seriously exaggerating and adding sexist guy humor when referring to his wonderful bride. And no she isn't standing over me with a rolling pin to make sure I correct the record. On a semi related note; guys, never take the advice of your couples therapist by purchasing your wife a firearm and teaching her how to shoot. I takes some of the fun away. Although the therapist is very pleased at how rapidly I seem to be improving. Ok, once again, I'm just kidding!


Seriously... thank you for the model overview and recommendations. That was exactly what I was after. I expect it will make my journey into DVR much less painless.


Ref
 

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Okay, I am a real crazy person for thinking this "solutuion" to a problem, but I think outside the box sometimes. Occasionally, I am SO outside, it defies practicality, but it seems like an expensive, but possible solution to the Magnavox 2160 problem is to get two of them. I know that $500 is out of most people's range, but if you had the timers in one, and used the second for finalizing it would solve the problem. come to think if it, maybe a much cheaper machine is around that could be used to finalize disks written with the Magnavox 2160. I haven't actually done any serious research, but I do know that disks I have written on one of my Panasonic DVD recorders has had no problem being finalized on another. Someone with a more extensive knowledge of compatable machines should look into this.


The tuner make it a valuable machine, the timer entry bug makes it very frustrating to use. Maybe some cheap thing off ebay could be used as a finalizing engine.


...or I could be just crazy!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy /forum/post/16994268


Okay, I am a real crazy person for thinking this "solutuion" to a problem, but I think outside the box sometimes. Occasionally, I am SO outside, it defies practicality, but it seems like an expensive, but possible solution to the Magnavox 2160 problem is to get two of them. I know that $500 is out of most people's range, but if you had the timers in one, and used the second for finalizing it would solve the problem. come to think if it, maybe a much cheaper machine is around that could be used to finalize disks written with the Magnavox 2160. I haven't actually done any serious research, but I do know that disks I have written on one of my Panasonic DVD recorders has had no problem being finalized on another. Someone with a more extensive knowledge of compatable machines should look into this.


The tuner make it a valuable machine, the timer entry bug makes it very frustrating to use. Maybe some cheap thing off ebay could be used as a finalizing engine.


...or I could be just crazy!
The refurb'd Mag 2080 at J&R for $129 would be compatible.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy /forum/post/16994268


Okay, I am a real crazy person for thinking this "solutuion" to a problem, but I think outside the box sometimes. Occasionally, I am SO outside, it defies practicality, but it seems like an expensive, but possible solution to the Magnavox 2160 problem is to get two of them. I know that $500 is out of most people's range, but if you had the timers in one, and used the second for finalizing it would solve the problem. come to think if it, maybe a much cheaper machine is around that could be used to finalize disks written with the Magnavox 2160. I haven't actually done any serious research, but I do know that disks I have written on one of my Panasonic DVD recorders has had no problem being finalized on another. Someone with a more extensive knowledge of compatable machines should look into this.


The tuner make it a valuable machine, the timer entry bug makes it very frustrating to use. Maybe some cheap thing off ebay could be used as a finalizing engine.


...or I could be just crazy!

I've frequently swapped discs between my Panasonics to add recordings and finalize discs on whatever machine "filled-up" the disc.


I've done the same between Funai-built recorders. This is conditioned upon the recorder having the "Make Recordings Compatible" feature set to "on."


I'm attaching two photos showing examples of discs where the initial recordings were made on a Magnavox ZV450MW8A combo recorder, as indicated to the left of the center hole as "M450," additional “filler” recordings were made on a second recorder, either a Magnavox 2160 indicated as "M" or a Philips 3575 indicated as "P" or a Philips 3576 indicated as "P76," and then the disc was finalized on the recorder that made the last recording.


One of the example discs (a closer view is seen in photo two) had its initial recordings made on "M450," an additional recording was made on "P76," a final recording was made on ""M" and the disc was finalized on that recorder.


If there are no horizontal lines between titles those appearing above the center hole were recorded on the first recorder and the titles appearing below the center hole were recorded on the second recorder as indicated to the left of the center hole. Where there are horizontal lines placed between titles this indicates which recorder made the recording as indicated to the left of the center hole.


While none of these discs was finalized on "M450" there would be nothing to prevent this recorder from finalizing "compatible" recorders' discs.


Note: As seen in the photos I’m still “using-up” Maxell discs for recordings of secondary importance. Taiyo Yuden discs are my main-use discs.

 

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Re photo #2, hey I'm just finishing copying season 2 of The outer limits


Sams had a nice boxed set collection but they're on those damn DS DL discs
I didn't use to have problems reading them but lately I find it nearly impossible to decipher the cryptic tiny lettering only on the spindle of the DS discs.

Copy the 3 DS discs to 6 SS discs and I'm good to go


I still haven't finished watching Season 1 (which includes your 1964 "Mutant") but I guess that's what retirement will be for


Like most archivers I haven't watched 1/2(or more) of what I've recorded or own
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff /forum/post/16995232


Re photo #2, hey I'm just finishing copying season 2 of The outer limits


Sams had a nice boxed set collection but they're on those damn DS DL discs
I didn't use to have problems reading them but lately I find it nearly impossible to decipher the cryptic tiny lettering only on the spindle of the DS discs.

Copy the 3 DS discs to 6 SS discs and I'm good to go


I still haven't finished watching Season 1 (which includes your 1964 "Mutant") but I guess that's what retirement will be for


Like most archivers I haven't watched 1/2(or more) of what I've recorded or own

I've also got the boxed DS set for the first season of Outer Limits. I record OL from THIS in order to complete the second season.


Someone may ask if I photographed any TY discs for inclusion in my earlier post. Yes, I did, but TY discs are so mirror-like that they're hard to photograph. I selected disc 090630G as an example of a "P" and "M" disc and I photographed it twelve times. Of the twelve photos, this is the best I could do:
 

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I must be slipping. No one yet has called my idea of a separate machine only for finalizing, crazy.
I am very disappointed in the group
!
 

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KS Refferee,


Whatever machine you decide on the two important factors you should also consider are:

1) Use of the DVD drive which has already been covered. (Yes, use it just to burn DVDs and not to play them. I made that mistake with my panny and lived to regret it).

2) Use premium TY discs for recording. They cost a bit more, but not much when you consider longer data life and easier on your burner. (Something in the way they are made that makes them more friendly to DVD recorders). I'm sure Citibear (he saved me from terrible mistakes as well) or a few others can explain the TY thing better than me.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff /forum/post/16995232


Re photo #2, hey I'm just finishing copying season 2 of The outer limits


Sams had a nice boxed set collection but they're on those damn DS DL discs
I didn't use to have problems reading them but lately I find it nearly impossible to decipher the cryptic tiny lettering only on the spindle of the DS discs.

Copy the 3 DS discs to 6 SS discs and I'm good to go


I still haven't finished watching Season 1 (which includes your 1964 "Mutant") but I guess that's what retirement will be for


Like most archivers I haven't watched 1/2(or more) of what I've recorded or own

I had the same thoughts/issues when I bought the other limits collection. DL-DS disks are a real good idea on paper, but in reality, they are terrible.


The ones I bought have the chapter marks all over the place, not at all where the actual commercial breaks were originally. The location of the actual commercial breaks was pretty easy to find, so I don't get why they didn't put them in the right places.


Since I have hijacked this thread, I have a question. On most reviews of The Outer Limits, the original series, they mention "cry of Silence" as a terrible/laughable episode that should never have been done. I really liked it, and thought it was wonderfully creepy. Ascribing motives to aliens (they would never have done that!) seems arrogant to me. Who knows what aliens would have done. Anyway, what was YOUR opinion of that episode. It SURE wasn't green acres!


[I now return you to your regular thread...]
 

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I don't know if that's the best analogy, though - except for the completely sappy, Oliver/Lisa "lovey-dovey, remember-when-we-first-met?" episodes, Green Acres was really a pretty darned surreal show.


It was like being stuck in a bad nightmare that you couldn't wake up from. Can you imagine what it would be like to live in that place with those people (Lisa, Kimball, Haney, Eb, the Ziffels, Ralph and Alf, Uncle Joe - even Drucker sometimes - and worst of all - Arnold)? Talk about an alien experience.


It even totally fried Mr. Douglas' brain after awhile (actually, he was the craziest of them all - you'd have to be for staying there).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy /forum/post/17000015



On most reviews of The Outer Limits, the original series, they mention "cry of Silence" as a terrible/laughable episode that should never have been done. I really liked it, and thought it was wonderfully creepy.

Cry of silence, o.a.d. 10/24/64, since that episode is roughly in the middle of season 2 I'll let you know later this year, like I said it's much easier to copy(and let the DVDR do the watching
) than actually watching it myself
When I do the copying I generally don't watch but rather use a timer and turn the screen off on my TV and have the audio on low. I turn the screen back on when I change episodes.

I've got season 1 and 2 of Green Acres too. Gave them to my FIL for presents and got them back when he passed. Oh and Mr. Ed too


Today I'm duping All in the Family seasons 3-6. 40
hours of viewing pleasure borrowed from a coworker. I wonder why it's PQ is so much worse than the older shows like the OL or TWZ? True they're only B&W but the picture is razor sharp compared to the fuzzy transfers on All in the Family. I might even guess anyone with a $500 HD camcorder could have made a better print than what I see on AitF. Maybe it has to due with the fact that it was "recorded on tape in front of a live audience" compared to the older shows that might have actually been shot on film...or maybe the print they used for the tape to DVD conversion was intended for the VHS market and wasn't made from the master tapes, either way it's VHS quality instead of DVD quality
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy /forum/post/16996136


I must be slipping. No one yet has called my idea of a separate machine only for finalizing, crazy.
I am very disappointed in the group
!

It would have to be tunerless, hard drive less, otherwise it would sit there useless.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski /forum/post/17000345


I don't know if that's the best analogy, though - except for the completely sappy, Oliver/Lisa "lovey-dovey, remember-when-we-first-met?" episodes, Green Acres was really a pretty darned surreal show.

Well, from your reply, I'm not sure you realize that the main character on Green Acres was Arnold the pig, ooops, I mean Oliver Wendell Douglas, who was played by Eddie Albert, and "The Outer Limits" Cry of Silence main characer was Andy Thorne, also played by Eddie Albert. That was the basis for the comparison. If you knew that, sorry for being so pedantic.


Comments about that episode go like this, "Cry of Silence has to rank as one of the worst episodes in the two-year history of the landmark series." "It is hard to find an OL episode that isn't better than Cry of Silence." "Eddie Albert and June Havoc do what they can do to bring credibility to an EXTREMELY silly story premise... CRY OF SILENCE may be slightly watchable ... Cry of Silence is the sound of one hand clapping."
 
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