Using This DVDR as a Tuner for Other Devices (e.g., Analog DVDRs)
There's no problem using this DVDR as an extremely capable digital converter box for analog TVs... that's a "no-brainer."
However, I wondered if I could RECORD digital widescreen (WS) programs on my analog-tunered Pio 640 DVDR via a line output from my digital-tunered Philips 3575. If it worked, that might be a way to extend the life of my Pio 640 throughout the digital age starting in 2007.
Note: It should be obvious that this method of recording digital WS programs to an analog DVDR would only be useful for people WHO DON'T ALREADY HAVE AN STB OR DVR THAT OUTPUTS WS THRU ONE OF ITS LINE OUTPUTS, and those averse to renting such equipment... double duh!
I connected a composite output from my 3575 to a composite input (L1) on my Pio 640 and recorded a digital WS program at high and low rez rec modes. The Pio 640 recorded the WS programs in natural WS and had all normal playback controls for aspect ratio (4:3 LB, 4:3 P&S and 16:9 Wide).
There are several good reasons for doing this:
- In an all-16:9 WS household with a Pio 640, being able to rec digital WS programs to the 640's HDD allows the use of the Pio 640's VR-mode. In VR-mode, you can offload HDD recordings to DVDs in high-speed, then later copy them back to the HDD in high-speed for editing and assembly... a totally lossless process, as described in more detail here.
- To use the unique editing features of the Pio, Tosh, Panny... see this post for a detailed user example.
- MN or FR rec modes.
- S-Video (since most converter boxes won't have this).
- Analog passthru (since most converter boxes won't have this).
- Amplified signal thru 3575 or 3576 to get ~20% better pic.
Test #1 - PASSTHRU RECORDING of WS on Pio 640 at FULL SDTV Res (2-hr-SP, 720x480) - I connected my Philips 3575 to my Pio 640 via Line 1 Composite, set the 3575 for 16:9 Widescreen in the Video menu*, and fed the Pio a LIVE WS program from my 3575's TNT HD digital channel... my favorite cuz it has a perfect-circle logo for seeing aspect changes. I recorded two short segments on the Pio at 2-hr-SP.
Both segments recorded as natural 16:9 WS. Also, the Pio's TV Aspect had its expected effect on playback... each segment played back based on its PLAYBACK aspect setting.
Test #2 - PASSTHRU RECORDING of WS on Pio 640 at LOW SDTV Res (6-hr-EP, 352x240) - Next, I wanted to see what effect a direct recording of the live pic to the Pio would be when the Pio 640's rec mode was low res. I tuned my 3575 to a WS TNT movie, set it to 16:9 Widescreen in the Video menu*, and recorded the tuned digital channel directly on the Pio 640 at 6-hr-EP mode, 352x240 res.
The Pio 640 recorded the low-res pic in full 16:9 WS aspect and, again, played back with all three PLAYBACK Aspect settings in the Pio's Playback menu.
These tests show that a DIRECT, LIVE recording to another DVDR (Pio 640 for sure) AT *ANY* RESOLUTION should be recorded in full WS and have all playback controls as well. On a WS TV, these recordings looked natural WS all the way. Obviously, this also means that a digital-tunered DVDR can be used as a digital converter for tuning OTA digital channels for analog TVs.
Since neither the Pio 640 nor the 3575/76 sets the WS flag required for an "anamorphic" recording, I assumed they couldn't be set for 4:3 LB on a different player connected to a 4:3 TV. To tests this, I dubbed the Pio WS recordings to a DVD and played them on on my Panny combo player connected to a 4:3 TV with these results:
- With the Panny player set for 16:9 playback: played full-screen with VERY slight vertical oval circle around the TNT logo on the 4:3 TV, barely noticeable. Could not tell by the pic/people alone.
- With the Panny player set for 4:3 Letterbox: played full-screen with slightly squished circle on TNT logo, more obvious than the 16:9 setting/
Without the circle on screen, your non-tech relatives might never notice anything different with these recordings when played on their ancient 4:3 TVs.
*This DVDR is WYSIWYG when setting its TV Aspect in the Video menu to 16:9 WS or 4:3 Letter Box. That setting determines what you'll see in the live pic thru this DVDR's tuner and what it'll record.
Note to Pio DVDR Users: Found out later the Pio 640's "TV Screen Size" setting in the Playback menu DOES affect Copying a WS program from HDD to DVD! So, when you get your converter boxes or use a digital-tunered DVDR to record WS programs on your Pio, make sure your Playback > TV Screen Size is set to "16:9" before starting the Copy to DVD.