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Discussion Starter #1
This is a follow-on to my earlier post: Advice on VHS to DVD dubbing: dual deck or separate VCR and DVD Recorder? .


I have decided after all not to get a VCR/DVDR combo to facilitate dubbing from my existing VHS tapes. Most of my tapes are in EP, and therefor when dubbing I should play them back on the machine they were recorded on, if possible, to avoid tracking issues. Plus, once I've finished archiving old VHS tapes (which I intend to do merely to be able to get rid of the old tapes to save on storage space), I don't really anticipate needing to make new VHS recordings, so getting a combo deck just seems silly. I had originally thought it would be better to get a combo deck in order to be able to do "one touch dubbing" and I thought that this would be easier with a combo deck: just stick both the VHS tape and the DVD blank in, and forget it. But now I realize I'm going to need to be involved to decide where titles begin and end when dubbing from tapes that have multiple titles, so I might as well dub from my existing Mitsubishi VCR.


Now my big question is whether to get a recorder that has a built-in hard drive.


Now, I know what I don't need a HD for: given that I plan to use a DVD recorder ONLY to archive pre-existing recordings (either recordings I have already made on my TiVo or dubs from VHS tape), I will NOT not be recording onto DVD directly off the air (like a VCR): that's what I have my TiVo for. Nor do I want to use a DVD recorder as a DVR; in fact, I will probably not hook the thing up to RF in or to my cable box at all. I don't care about having any EPG or to be able to do timed recordings. The only EPG I want to use is the one that my TiVo has. :) .


So then the question is whether having a Hard Drive is worthwhile if I'm only using this recorder to dub from existing recordings. I gather that it will certainly be more *flexible* to be able to record onto the hard drive and then archive those recordings to blank disc. I don't anticipate doing any major editing: for instance editing out commercials or anything like that.


I guess I just want a better idea of what the disadvantages would be of not having a hard drive.


Thanks in advance for any advice!
 

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If you really only want to do direct dubbing (no editing) you don't need it, however if in the future you want to edit you cant. So if you are sure about your needs present and future I would decide based on those needs.
 

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Given your situation, I'd get a non-HDD DVD recorder to save a little money. I doubt you would get the value out of a HDD model being that you don't need to do any editing beyond finding which part of which tapes you want to record.


If you think you might want to re-arrange your DVD contents after the fact, you may find it valuable to have the ability to dub it to a HDD and back again in its new configuration.


In the future your needs probably will change, but by then newer technologies will be available and existing tech will be priced even lower.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So, without an HDD, is it possible to dub on to a non-rewritable disc (DVD-R or DVD+R) in separate recording sessions and then not finalize it until it's full? Or do you only get one chance to write to a DVD-/+R disc?


This is one of the reasons I thought an HDD might be useful: not in order to edit something before dubbing, but in order to "gather up enough content to fill a disc" on the HDD first and then dub it onto a DVD+/-R and finalize it all in one fell swoop. I'm still a total newbie to this ...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJMG
So, without an HDD, is it possible to dub on to a non-rewritable disc (DVD-R or DVD+R) in separate recording sessions and then not finalize it until it's full?
Yes, this is how it works.


But I believe it is better to wait until you get enough recorded to fill up the disk and finalize it before deleting the sources off of the hard drive. That way if something goes wrong with the last couple of titles that you are dubbing to disk and the disk gets corrupted or something, you still have copies on the hard drive. This is reason enough to have a HDD model.
 

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To answer your original question, what you are specifically buying the recorder for may not require a hard drive, but you will soon want to expand what you are going to be doing with it. This has been the repeated story in this forum over and over again. When you decide to do something beyond that original task, suddenly you need the hard drive, for several reasons.


What I am suggesting here is, get a unit with a hard drive. The odds clearly favor you wanting to do something that will require it fairly soon after the purchase. You will find that even for the task you describe, having a unit with a hard drive will make the process easier and more flexible.
 

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JJMG, did you ever go on a vacation, lets say to Disneyworld, and you looked at the brochures and planned ahead, and you decided, I will only buy tickets to Attractions A,B,C, D and E. Then, when you get there, you realize, wow, I want to see F, G, H and I also, but, too late, you didn't plan ahead and now they are all sold out. Same principle. Look beyond the immediate task at hand and see the big picture. You will never regret having a hard drive, if only for the added storage. I have a 120 gb Directivo, but I also fill up my 80 gb Pioneer 520 very quickly with content I directly recorded or transferred from Tivo for archiving. Remember, an 80 gb hard drive only gives you 17 hours of storage at the best speed. It fills up fast.


I know that you don't think you will want to archive TV shows to DVD right now, but believe me, it will be nice to have the flexibility if you ever decide you want to.
 

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The HDD model offers more flexibility in recording, but of course it is also a financial decision. I wanted to stay under $200 until I become more familiar with DVD-recorders/features/etc, so I got a sub-$200 recorder and rented a DVR from the cable company.


Even for the things you are doing, the HDD would offer you more flexibility, especially if you don't want to do any computer copying/editing. For example:

* archiving something to DVD but the DVD media fails. With a HDD, you can high speed burn it again. Without a HDD, you have to make a real time copy again.

* Sharing a home movie, vacation movie or DV recording with multiple people. With a HDD, you can high-speed burn multiple copies, without a HDD, you have to burn each in real-time.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the advice, everybody. HDD it is, then, I guess :).


Now I just have to decide on make and model. I gather that Panasonic is the favorite on this forum, though Pioneer seems popular too. Not sure what people think of the Sony's, Toshibas, or the LG models. LiteOn seems to be totally trashed in every posting that mentions it.
 

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See what people have to say against the Panasonic EH50, price should be close to $300. Watch resellerratings.com. It doesn't have dv input, but offers multi-format, dvd-r/rw, -ram, even some + stuff. The Toshiba xs34 also offers -r/rw/ram support and dv input, but seems to have generated considerable dissatisfaction.


I have a Pan E100 and E85, am looking for the nearest to ideal for church recording and for a portable production unit.


HDD should be a given; glad you had your arm twisted enough. You won't regret getting hdd. Something you may watch for is the ability to dub dvd to hdd and be able to edit afterwards.


Richard
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJMG
Thanks for the advice, everybody. HDD it is, then, I guess :).


Now I just have to decide on make and model. I gather that Panasonic is the favorite on this forum, though Pioneer seems popular too. Not sure what people think of the Sony's, Toshibas, or the LG models. LiteOn seems to be totally trashed in every posting that mentions it.
Depends on what's most important to you, convenience features or PQ. If PQ is more important to you than popularity and a nice owner's manual, you might be very interested in some discussions on the DVD recorders forum at videohelp.com ( http://www.videohelp.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=28 ). Linked from the IRE settings thread is a thread that has a lot of reference images for comparison ( http://www.videohelp.com/forum/viewt...237115#1237115 ).


I've looked around a lot and haven't seen the LiteOn LVW-5045 trashed any more than any other recorder. In fact, I'm trying to find a reason NOT to buy one, being that it's only $300, has a 160GB drive, and has a firmware mod to enable 3-hour mode, disable macrovision, and set the recorder to region free.


Tim
 

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Also for hard drives, if you don't have a Tivo or DVR from your cable company and you do any type of timeshifting of TV programs or timer recordings, having a hard drive is the perfect option, irregardless of if you go on and dub the program to a DVD. I use the hard drive more than the DVD burner. (I have an older Panasonic but there are many good choices.)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJMG
So, without an HDD, is it possible to dub on to a non-rewritable disc (DVD-R or DVD+R) in separate recording sessions and then not finalize it until it's full? Or do you only get one chance to write to a DVD-/+R disc?

...
Yes it is, and on most you can give a name to each session.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by tluxon
've looked around a lot and haven't seen the LiteOn LVW-5045 trashed any more than any other recorder.
I think I read somewhere that it only has a Mono tuner. Come to think of it, that wouldn't matter much to me as I don't plan on using the tuner on my recorder anyway ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by gigaguy
Also for hard drives, if you don't have a Tivo or DVR from your cable company and you do any type of timeshifting of TV programs or timer recordings, having a hard drive is the perfect option, irregardless of if you go on and dub the program to a DVD. I use the hard drive more than the DVD burner. (I have an older Panasonic but there are many good choices.)
Well, I have a TiVo and a DVR from my cable company. The latter for HD recordings (which I know I can't archive to DVD) -- though I watch considerably more SD than HD programming, as 90% of what I watch is not yet available on HD. I certainly don't plan on filling up yet *another* hard drive with timeshifted programming. I watch more than enough TV already as it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardT
See what people have to say against the Panasonic EH50, price should be close to $300.
From my searches in this forum that unit seems to be the most popular; on the other hand, do there seem to be a fair number of people complaining about hard drives dying on the Panasonics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tluxon
Depends on what's most important to you, convenience features or PQ.
Oh, convenience features hands down. We're talking about dubbing stuff recorded in EP on VHS onto DVD (to cut down on physical storage space), and dubbing stuff mostly recorded at "Basic" quality on TiVo (there are a few shows I record on the TiVo at Best quality, but not most).
 
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