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I have been a little DVD recorder crazy the last month, I am sure some of you can relate to my sickness, once I decide I want a new electronic, I started reading everything I can find and start the purchase/return game. I had a Philips DVR75 which I sold on ebay, it was by far the worst machine to master and very clunky operation wise. I was anxious to see how far these recorders have come in the last year or so and for the most part, they have gotten a little more user friendly and refined. Here is what I bought and what my opinions are so far, please keep in mind that I am a recorder novice and only am looking to use these machines like someone would use a vcr for casual taping and camcorder transfers.



Sylvania SRDV495 (combo unit)- It all started here, saw this for $160 at Sam's club, I jumped all over it then got home and came to my senses, enough said. Status: returned for full credit.


Pioneer 533- I bought this baby at One Call and I am past the two weeks and there is no turning back. The hard drive concept appealed to me but I didn't bank on this thing being so loud, I like the DVD quality and user interface on Pioneers and believe Pioneer to offer a good value in the DVD player/recorder world. However, this machine has been moved to a spare room, the constant downloading is an annoyance but it may prove worthwhile to pop in the spare room and record an occasional program or use it for a camcorder transfer. Status: currently on ebay with a "buy it now" price of $309, a hell of a deal for someone in the market for one of these.


Toshiba D-R4 (combo)- I got this baby at Sears, all in all I decided that I don't give a crap about owning a VCR and after you strip that feature away, it is just a goofy looking combo unit with an average recorder. When the remote wouldn't correspond with my Toshiba tv, that was the clincher. I just kept thinking that I can do better. Status: Boxed up for ebay or return.


Panasonic ES10- Great reviews in British Hifi magazines, uninspired styling but something drove me to buy one for $179 at BJ's. Nice fit and finish, decent features, semi easy menus, all in all a good basic recorder that probably won't break. My only issue is that if I am stuck with the Pioneer for the spare room, this baby has to go. Status: Boxed in car with receipt, am in holding pattern based on the results of my ebay sale of the Pioneer.


Samsung VR-323- Got this one at Circuit City with a coupon for $350, I wanted to finally cave-in and try the "upscaling" thing on my Toshiba with HDMI. Again, what was I thinking, it is a Samsung. Strip away the vcr and you have another gimmicky DVD player loaded with features but lacking any pedigree. BTW, the HDMi did squat compared to component. Status: Returned to Circuit City.


Sony GX315: Purchased at Circuit City w/a coupon when I returned the Samsung, paid $250. The styling, camcorder input and prior positive reviews of the GX300 appealed to me. Could this be the answer for my main room? Early results are that the remote is decent, it seems very easy to use, yes it is a little slow and loud, DVD playback seems reasonable, features are adequate. Could I spend less for a DVD recorder for my needs and perhaps even use the ES10 in my main room vs the Sony? Sure, but the camcorder input has value to me and the disc position memory is important. Further, I think the Sony is better looking and is a little easier to use so for $80, we will see. Status: front runner to stay in the main room.


Conclusion: No surprise that none of these machines are perfect, there is always some sort of compromise involved. I wouldn't expect the machine to have most of what you need to be seamless operation wise, I am glad as always to stay away from the bottom end cheapies. The Pioneer is great in many respects but a pain in the ass, the Panasonic is solid but omits a worthwile feature, the Sony looks promising. Good luck with your choice.
 

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Be sure and see my thread on the bugs I found with the Sony ... mine's at the Laredo repair facility now and we'll see if they actually solve the issues!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by vanquint
Thanks for the quick reviews. It's like the ES-10 would be great if it had the HDD.
Panasonic does make an ES-10 with a hard drive, it's called the DMR-EH50S.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by soldonandy
I have been a little DVD recorder crazy the last month, I am sure some of you can relate to my sickness, once I decide I want a new electronic, I started reading everything I can find and start the purchase/return game. I had a Philips DVR75 which I sold on ebay, it was by far the worst machine to master and very clunky operation wise. I was anxious to see how far these recorders have come in the last year or so and for the most part, they have gotten a little more user friendly and refined. Here is what I bought and what my opinions are so far, please keep in mind that I am a recorder novice and only am looking to use these machines like someone would use a vcr for casual taping and camcorder transfers.



Sylvania SRDV495 (combo unit)- It all started here, saw this for $160 at Sam's club, I jumped all over it then got home and came to my senses, enough said. Status: returned for full credit.


Pioneer 533- I bought this baby at One Call and I am past the two weeks and there is no turning back. The hard drive concept appealed to me but I didn't bank on this thing being so loud, I like the DVD quality and user interface on Pioneers and believe Pioneer to offer a good value in the DVD player/recorder world. However, this machine has been moved to a spare room, the constant downloading is an annoyance but it may prove worthwhile to pop in the spare room and record an occasional program or use it for a camcorder transfer. Status: currently on ebay with a "buy it now" price of $309, a hell of a deal for someone in the market for one of these.


Toshiba D-R4 (combo)- I got this baby at Sears, all in all I decided that I don't give a crap about owning a VCR and after you strip that feature away, it is just a goofy looking combo unit with an average recorder. When the remote wouldn't correspond with my Toshiba tv, that was the clincher. I just kept thinking that I can do better. Status: Boxed up for ebay or return.


Panasonic ES10- Great reviews in British Hifi magazines, uninspired styling but something drove me to buy one for $179 at BJ's. Nice fit and finish, decent features, semi easy menus, all in all a good basic recorder that probably won't break. My only issue is that if I am stuck with the Pioneer for the spare room, this baby has to go. Status: Boxed in car with receipt, am in holding pattern based on the results of my ebay sale of the Pioneer.


Samsung VR-323- Got this one at Circuit City with a coupon for $350, I wanted to finally cave-in and try the "upscaling" thing on my Toshiba with HDMI. Again, what was I thinking, it is a Samsung. Strip away the vcr and you have another gimmicky DVD player loaded with features but lacking any pedigree. BTW, the HDMi did squat compared to component. Status: Returned to Circuit City.


Sony GX315: Purchased at Circuit City w/a coupon when I returned the Samsung, paid $250. The styling, camcorder input and prior positive reviews of the GX300 appealed to me. Could this be the answer for my main room? Early results are that the remote is decent, it seems very easy to use, yes it is a little slow and loud, DVD playback seems reasonable, features are adequate. Could I spend less for a DVD recorder for my needs and perhaps even use the ES10 in my main room vs the Sony? Sure, but the camcorder input has value to me and the disc position memory is important. Further, I think the Sony is better looking and is a little easier to use so for $80, we will see. Status: front runner to stay in the main room.


Conclusion: No surprise that none of these machines are perfect, there is always some sort of compromise involved. I wouldn't expect the machine to have most of what you need to be seamless operation wise, I am glad as always to stay away from the bottom end cheapies. The Pioneer is great in many respects but a pain in the ass, the Panasonic is solid but omits a worthwile feature, the Sony looks promising. Good luck with your choice.
This looks like a serious case of DVD recorder sickness with a touch of impulse buying thrown in. Why don't you gather all your research, write down on a piece of paper what features you want/need, do a table of recorders you are interested in, write down their features and pros and cons for easy comparison sake, and then decide on a recorder? It might save you tons of time, multiple trips for returns, Ebay sales, and return hassles. It sounds like you don't really know what you want at this point. You might want to start with the most basic decisions:


1. Do I want a hard drive? You are all over the map with this, since you bought hard drive and non hard drive recorders.


2. Do I want to combo VCR/DVD recorder unit, or do I have a separate VCR that I can use to archive into a standalone DVD recorder?


3. Do I have sat, cable? Do I need/want a TV guide EPG?


4. Do I want to record in - format, + format, RAM?


I would highly recommend a hard drive unit. Makes transferring and editing material so much easier and you won't regret having a hard drive. That is the big advantage over VCR. Why not advance instead of just replacing?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ace of Space
Panasonic does make an ES-10 with a hard drive, it's called the DMR-EH50S.
Yeah I know. I was referring to the price. Hopefully we should hit the
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by squonk
This looks like a serious case of DVD recorder sickness with a touch of impulse buying thrown in.
LOL. More than a touch, I'd say.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by squonk
This looks like a serious case of DVD recorder sickness with a touch of impulse buying thrown in.


Yes indeed, and the antidote for this is the AVS board.
 

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First, I need to say thanks for the time everyone puts into posting here and giving advice and real world experiences. I, like many others, am trying to decide which DVD Recorder is right for me. My VCR went about two weeks ago and I have been reading and reading and reading all the reviews and comments at this board and other places. I have decided I want one with a HD, so that leaves me deciding between the Pioneer 531 and the Panasonic EH50 at this point. I am on satellite so the entire TV Guide thing is a mute point for me, but I would prefer to not hear the hard drive running all the time. It is my understanding that if I do not intall the TV Guide, I will avoid many of the issues that are being seen on the Pioneer 531. My satellite receiver does have a hookup which allows me to turn on a VCR from the STB and choose the recording from satellite menu. I would most likely use this feature to setup recordings since it was so easy on the former VCR. I am assuming both the Panny and Pioneer would allow this to work, right? I do not have many VCR tapes that need copied over to DVD (10 at the most) and this is where it seems the Panny really shines. Currently, I am leaning slightly towards the Pioneer since it can be purchased at Walmart and can be returned easily if there are issues.


My question is whether the experts on here feel new models will be coming out before Xmas or will there be a significant price drop in either of these models in that same timeframe? Any comments or advice are welcome.
 

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You May Not Be Familar With This Unit. Some Love It Some Hate It. There Is A Thread That Discusses This Unit In Detail.


Check It Out.


What Is Your Auction #. I Want To Check It Out.


Peace
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by scarzy
My question is whether the experts on here feel new models will be coming out before Xmas or will there be a significant price drop in either of these models in that same timeframe? Any comments or advice are welcome.
The only new models expected between now and New Year's are the Sony HX715 and possibly a 915 model. Pioneer's x31/x33 series were only released within the last few months, and the latest Panasonics were from last Spring.


I don't expect any permanent price drops but there will probably be some good sales for Labor Day Weekend and of course "Black Friday" right after Thanksgiving.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by soldonandy
Sony GX315: Purchased at Circuit City w/a coupon when I returned the Samsung, paid $250. The styling, camcorder input and prior positive reviews of the GX300 appealed to me. Could this be the answer for my main room? Early results are that the remote is decent, it seems very easy to use, yes it is a little slow and loud, DVD playback seems reasonable, features are adequate. Could I spend less for a DVD recorder for my needs and perhaps even use the ES10 in my main room vs the Sony? Sure, but the camcorder input has value to me and the disc position memory is important. Further, I think the Sony is better looking and is a little easier to use so for $80, we will see. Status: front runner to stay in the main room.
If you need DV-in, search out the discontinued GX-7, Sony's first consumer-grade DVD recorder for the US market. While it lacks +DL capability and doesn't have the 2.5 hour/disc recording speed of the x15 series, it does have DV-in. It also seems to be better built than the GX315, which feels (and looks) cheap IMHO. Another bonus: rear s-video input, which for some stupid reason Sony felt necessary to leave off with the 315.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I thank everyone for the comments so far...my opinion is that the GX315 doesn't look cheap, in fact, it looks less gimmicky then most of the others in my opinion. The "S" video omission has no bearing to me, the "buid" seems in the same ballpark as anything else I have handled.
 
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