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Panasonic HD1000 questions

631 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Chris Gerhard
Have an opportunity to pick up a cheap HD1000. Couple of questions though ;). First, I understand that there are some HD1000 machines that were demo units and as such only can play back, not record. Is this true? There's no demo sticker on the unit, but a large area of the cover is vented which I guess was another sign. Basically there's just a square in the front middle that doesn't appear vented. Second, does it comply with 5c flagging so that I can use it with my cable tuner?

For reference, it looks like item #5752543383 on everyone's favorite auction site. This isn't the unit I'm looking to buy, I just wanted to show a picture for comaprison! :)


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The demo only units had heads that were optimal for playback but not good at all for recording is my understanding. I have considered buying a Panasonic PV-HD1000 a couple of times but can never find one cheap enough to buy. If you want a D-VHS VCR without MPEG decoder (any model not built my JVC), my recommendation is to buy a Mitsubishi D-VHS VCR which is compatible with more firewire sources, newer and better built in my opinion.

The one with mostly vents top is the demo unit. Great for playback, but not for recording. By now most of those units have so many thousands of hours on them (and have traded so many hands) they are not worth buying. Too risky when you can get the Mits decks, which are just as good.
I've had my DST50/PV-HD1000 Panny combo for about 4 years now. The VCR was (unbeknownst to me when I bought the pair of boxes on eBay for much money) a demo unit. I sent it to Panasonic for an upgrade of the heads (which cost me yet another $600) and its been working flawlessly for me ever since. No problems whatsoever since the upgrade.

The only thing that can feed it for D-VHS recording via firewire is (1) the DST50/51 OTA receiver, and also (2) the Samsung T-165 OTA receiver. D-VHS playback would normally be back through the DST50/51 or T-165. As I recall, the T165 has a terrible design defect where the clock is set from the PSIP data of the channel it's tuned to (assuming it's present), which opens up awful timer recording problems as these clocks from individual stations are (or were) frequently way out of whack. The DST50/51 had clocks which were set manually, and therefore are reliable for OTA timer recording.

However the PV-HD1000 is also an acceptable 1394 device for playback (or dubbing) to/through the JVC 40K (which has its own MPEG decoder, like the DST50/51 receiver). So you can copy and/or playback D-VHS tapes from PV-HD1000 to/through the 40K, and on to the HDTV via the MPEG decoder and component video outputs of the 40K. Incidentally, D-VHS tapes recorded on the PV-HD1000 are playable directly on the JVC 40K, but the reverse is not true.

However the PV-HD1000 is not an acceptable 1394 recording device for the Motorola 6200/6412, as it apparently does not live up to 5C standards. So it is not an option as an outboard D-VHS recorder if you have Comcast.

In otherwords, the usability of the PV-HD1000 is limited. But if you have the right additional hardware it is a dependable workhorse.

My DST50 receiver was an early unit, which means it exhibited the well known "blue sparkles" symptom (blue sparkly visual artifacts on the screen after the unit was in use for a while and heated up significantly). There was no problem on the D-VHS recordings, but this visual artifact symptom occurred either during D-VHS playback or even live viewing once the box heated up after an hour or so of use.

In the case of this DST50 "blue sparkles" problem, I sent the box to Panasonic who repaired it for free. They even shipped it back to me cost-free. I believe they replaced the MPEG decoder chipset and perhaps some other things which were responsible for the overheating issue, and ever since the repair the receiver has been totally reliable and problem free.

I used to use this Panny combo as the outboard D-VHS recorder when I had Dish 5000+HDTV modulator. But when that hardware was discontinued by E* in Feb 2004 I threw out the Dish hardware and relegated the Panny combo to genuine OTA recording. This gave me an additional D-VHS recording solution (for OTA channels) along with my JVC 40K fed originally from my Comcast-provided Motorola 6200 and now from my 6412.

I'm still using the Panny combo for OTA recording work, and it still performs flawlessly. I have my 40K connected to my 6412, to support archiving to D-VHS when I want or need to. The nice thing about the DST50 is that it auto-switches output to my HDTV between 480p/720p/1080i, depending on the source content format. This is also how D-VHS recordings are made on the PV-HD1000 so that playback is also in the correct native resolution. My Sampo HDTV supports all three native resolutions, which is a perfect match for the DST50.

Bottom line: PV-HD1000 is a fine VCR, but without a matching DST50/51 or T165 to support exclusively OTA recording use it will be of almost no value to you. And the DST50/51 represent fine but first-generation HDTV OTA receivers. Newer OTA receivers are more sensitive, have signal strength meters built in, and have more elegant and powerful user interfaces.

That having been said, I still use my Panny combo whenever my 6412 DVR by itself can't solve all of my needs, such as this coming Sunday when I will use the DST50/PV-HD1000 to record the Oscars to D-VHS directly OTA in 720P native.
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I've confirmed the PV-HD1000 works with the following devices:

Panasonic TU-DST50 tuner (naturally)

Windows XP (XP comes with a driver specific to Panasonic AV/C tape devices).

JVC 30k D-VHS deck (although with audio dropouts from TU-DST50 recordings)

Mits. 1100U/2000U D-VHS decks

Samsung SIR-T165 tuner

LG LST-3410A tuner/PVR

Mac G4 running VirtualDVHS

The PV-HD1000 does not work with the Scientific Atlanta SA3250HDF cable box. It also cannot reliably play back copy protected streams which are variable bit rate.

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Thanks guys, good info. If it is not 5c compliant I can't use it.
I picked up a used PV-HD1000/TU-DST51A combo and it works surprisingly well, although with the compatibility limitations DSperber has described. My recommendation to stick with a Mitsubishi D-VHS stands but the PV-HD1000 is a well built VCR. Mine apparently has low hours and works great for what it is and makes me think it was too bad Panasonic didn't offer future D-VHS models and firewire STBs as this was a good first attempt.

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