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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m a newbie who recently posted about an LG LRA-516 I bought and since returned. S-video input on front was awkward for me. Thanks to all who responded -- very helpful.


I still want to buy a DVD recorder. My needs are pretty basic. I’ll use the unit to watch DVDs on a television (not high definition), transfer VCR tapes to DVD (infrequently), and record TV shows from my Time Warner DVR cable box.


Main features I’m looking for:

* Good picture quality on playback -- can’t purchase separate player

* Ability to play any format of DVD -- recorded either “+†or “-“

* Record DVDs that can be played by people I give them to on the greatest variety of setups: laptop computer, DVD player to television, MacIntosh desktop computer, etc.

* Hookups from cable box (s-video) and VCR in the back


Beyond those features, nice-to-have’s would be DV-in, and a recorder that can easily make multiple duplicates of a completed DVD. I sometimes makes DVDs using the iDVD application on my MacIntosh, and hope to be able to duplicate copies of them.


From what I’ve seen in this forum, the Pioneer 533H sounds like the machine for me. But I have a few questions.


First, the Pioneer is a -R/RW recorder. Since it’s not dual format (doesn’t include +), would that make for situations in which people to whom I give a DVD I’ve recorded can’t watch it at their end? Can some people’s players only read + format?


Second, I’ve read a lot of consternation about the EPG that comes with the Pioneer. Some users feel it gets in the way, and would prefer never to use it and just manually record. That’s probably the direction I’d take, since I already record shows I want to watch onto my Time Warner DVR. But I’ve read how it’s very difficult to turn off the EPG functionality, and that it gets in the way if you don’t really use it. Also, if I do want to use it, is it compatible with Time Warner DVR cable boxes in New York City?


Thanks for any insights.
 

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The Pioneer became your choice when you said you wanted an easy way to duplicate DVDs.


As to your questions:

1. No problem with formats. The -R is the most compatible DVD format. I've never heard of a player that could play +R that can't play -R. The Pioneer plays +R and +RW as well.


2. If you are dubbing recordings from the DVR to the Pioneer, you're not programming any timer recordings on the Pioneer anyway. I suggest going to the Pioneer site and downloading the manual. Here's the link: http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/pn...562239,00.html
 

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No offense,but I think its been explained to you about 3 times now the difference between + and = R.Kinda insulting to those who already gave you a thoughtful reply to ask the same question again,don't you think?Again,no offense intended,but there is a lot of great info in this forum-people here really try to be helpful.

And I've been going thru what you are myself,helped greatly by this forum.Really,its almost down toi a coin flip between the 533 and the toshiba XS34.I'm leaning towards the toshiba because it seems to be a little easier to edit on the HD and its got a a larger HD.But the 533 is supposed to be easier ro operate,Anyways,if you get it,please post your impressions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Lonwolf -- Yes, I was aware I was asking again about the + and - recording thing. Sorry, but being so new to all this it was a bit overwhelming to me, and I just couldn't grasp it in my brain. Now I understand it. Please, anyone who explained it to me earlier, don't be insulted by my asking again. I am very grateful for all the replies I've gotten -- they have made me much clearer.
 

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Has anyone tested the 533 (or similar models) to see if at least PLAYS +R(W)?

The plus format is oficially unsupported in the manual, but that doesn't mean it unoffically works.

I can understand not RECORDING in + format, but a machine of this price should play them (IMHO)


Brian
 

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I spoke to support and tested the unit. Pioneer states that they don't want to say they support it even though they have put the capability in the machine to support it. I have tested some DVD+R media and it worked. It is understandable that it does not record to such media (although I have a stack of 140 blanks) and that's fine.


I've noticed that you want to transfer your VCR tape collection. What's more disturbing to me is the removal of the chapter mark feature and if you're considering the 533 and do a lot of DVD burning, you can read why I'm not keeping the 633. It may not be an issue for you but I've found it infuriating being unable to enjoy watching my old tapes in full screen during transfer/record/playback but being unable to simply punch in chapter points while I am. You must manually review the entire video in a small window in the upper left corner and find the index points.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks slinky and Oldmanphil. Sounds like it's promising that the 533 will play media recorded in + mode. And now I understand what that means, thanks to RonDawg and many others I'm thankful to.


The question about inserting chapters I don't really understand. What is a chapter marker and why would one want to insert it while recording?
 

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Well,the biggest help for me would be in removing commercials.If I recorded a show to the HD,it would be nice to mark the commercial breaks as chapters,and then skip those chapters when copying to dvd.The way I understand it I could view the show and mark the commercials at the same time with a XS34,for example.The pioneer I couldn't..

The more I think about it though,it really doesn't seem that big of deal..at least not compared to random missing of recordings,which more and more XS34 owners seem to be complaining of...sigh.I really thought I had my DVR picked out.Now I'm back to square one...
 

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Thanks for the info! I was hesitant to get it if it didn't support +. Not beacsue I have any disks in that format, but I like having the flexibility.(in case I inherit someone's collection or something)


Brian
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcooper
The question about inserting chapters I don't really understand. What is a chapter marker and why would one want to insert it while recording?
A chapter marker is just like a bookmark. You place it where you feel it's convenient. For example, if there's a scene that you feel is a convenient "break", you may want to put a chapter marker there. If there's a scene that you feel you may want to automatically fast forward to, you may want to place a chapter marker there.


Electronically speaking, how a chapter marker works is that when you press the next chapter button -> or previous chapter button
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the info RonDawg. It's certainly a complicated world I'm discovering. And this forum is a terrific resource.


I don't think the lack of ability to insert chapters would be a big one for me with the Pioneer 533. From what I can see, I won't be using the recorder to do a lot of editing. Of course, that may be easy to say now, and it will all seem different in hindsight...


I haven't decided for sure on a model yet. I like the Pioneer's ability to easily duplicate multiple copies of a completed DVD -- something I'll need to do.


Yet I was taken by what you said about picture quality of the Sony's being better on playback -- can't remember the configuration specs you mentioned, but sounded like a higher "resolution" than the Pioneer, for lack of a better word. Is that true? And pardon me if you saw my asking the same question of you on that other post -- I think I messed things up by keeping two posts going rather than one.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcooper
Thanks slinky and Oldmanphil. Sounds like it's promising that the 533 will play media recorded in + mode. And now I understand what that means, thanks to RonDawg and many others I'm thankful to.


The question about inserting chapters I don't really understand. What is a chapter marker and why would one want to insert it while recording?
I'll give you a very practical real world example why you want to have the ability to do chapter markers. I am transferring a bunch of concert recordings from laserdisc to DVD. I want to be able to skip to any song I want on the DVD. I may play the whole concert, but its nice to have each song chapter marked so I can easily skip forward or back to a particular song. On my Pio 520H, I edit on the hard drive by adding chapter marks before each song, then high speed dub to DVD where the chapters are retained within a frame or 2. Its invaluable.


Also will come in very handy if you want to make transferred home movies easy to locate scenes and events, instead of making separate titles for everything.
 

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bcooper - it's a real crapshoot right now and all have inexcusable deficiencies. At least the 533 works but I'd really want to hold off if you can, despite how much you want a DVR like we all do. You may also kick yourself when pioneer fixes their own stupid omission as explained below.


The Toshiba XS34's seeming inconsistency in properly recording programs that were properly set up in the EPG or manual timer is unacceptable and the alarming number of people reporting this issue is enough to take it out of my list.


Pioneer has always had "chapter marks" in their recorders, even the 520 model, the predecessor to the 533/633 but without the TVGOS. Squonk explains the importance of chapter marks very well, e.g. a concert you may have recorded with 26 songs. You'll want to be able to mark each song so that you can easily get there instantly, e.g. go to song 13 immediately using the remote to go to chapter 13 as opposed to hitting the fast forward button, waiting for several minutes as it scrolls throught he video and then several more minutes slowing down and trying to find out where the song starts.


Why is the chapter mark button so valuable? I recently recorded the Chicago/EWF concert and wanted to view it (I''ll probably by the DVD too.) I noticed during playback that there were small silence points during the concert and that the recording ultimately was significantly flawed. Thus my remedy was simply recording the concert again while it was still being played this month. You'll probably view your video before you'd ever do any editing and as I was enjoying watching the concert in full screen, I could just hit "chapter mark" at the beginning of each song to create an index for the song.


Without the chapter mark you have to go into an "edit mode" where the video is put into a box 1/8 the size of your screen and that's where you perform your edits. You will need to spend some serious time hunting and pecking for the start of each song and manually setting edit points. If you have 26 songs or points as easily would be the case here, be ready for it to take you AT LEAST an extra HOUR to find those edit points you could have marked quckly while enjoying the recording.


If you want to think about commercials, in an hour long TV show you would likely have around 5-6 commercial breaks. If you have indexed these points during playback you could just fast forward to them to ensure they are in the right spot and burn. Otherwise you have to go to edit mode, view the show again in 1/8 sized window, and fast forward to find all the edit points and then try to set precision. This will easily result in an addition 15 minutes of wasted life at a minimum. This is why I said that if you plan to use the DVD writer portion of the recorder then you should be very aware of this omission. If all you want to do is time shift and watch a program and later remove it from the HD, then it may work for you well and don't need the editing features.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks everyone for all the info.


What I've read here, and also in the post titled "Choosing Recorder for the Simple People," leaves me with a question. Which would be better for me: the Pioneer 533H, or its predecessor, the Pioneer 520H?


It seems the Pioneer 533 is great, but has two flaws (for my use) that should be taken seriously: 1) no chapter marker function; 2) EPG TV Guide function getting in the way, when I will mostly use the unit for manual recording.


The 520H doesn't have either of these problems -- has the chapter marker capability, and doesn't have EPG TV Guide business.


So beyond these two differences, does anyone know of other differences between the two units? Does the 533 improve, even incrementally, on the 520H as to picture quality, or other advancements in technology since the 520H was produced?


Two other questions: Does the 520 have DV-in? And does it have a neat feature that I know the 533 has -- the ability easily to make multiple duplicates of a completed DVD?


Thanks for any answers.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcooper
Thanks everyone for all the info.


What I've read here, and also in the post titled "Choosing Recorder for the Simple People," leaves me with a question. Which would be better for me: the Pioneer 533H, or its predecessor, the Pioneer 520H?


It seems the Pioneer 533 is great, but has two flaws (for my use) that should be taken seriously: 1) no chapter marker function; 2) EPG TV Guide function getting in the way, when I will mostly use the unit for manual recording.


The 520H doesn't have either of these problems -- has the chapter marker capability, and doesn't have EPG TV Guide business.


So beyond these two differences, does anyone know of other differences between the two units? Does the 533 improve, even incrementally, on the 520H as to picture quality, or other advancements in technology since the 520H was produced?


Two other questions: Does the 520 have DV-in? And does it have a neat feature that I know the 533 has -- the ability easily to make multiple duplicates of a completed DVD?


Thanks for any answers.
The EPG does not get in the way, and it is a valuable feature for many, but you can turn if off permanently if you want to. I didn't own at 520, so I cannot say for sure how valuable a chapter mark button on the remote would be, but I have no problems with out it. Also, everyone agrees the PQ is a notch better on the 533HS. Hope this helps.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by probepro
The EPG does not get in the way, and it is a valuable feature for many, but you can turn if off permanently if you want to. I didn't own at 520, so I cannot say for sure how valuable a chapter mark button on the remote would be, but I have no problems with out it. Also, everyone agrees the PQ is a notch better on the 533HS. Hope this helps.
Everyone has been asking of a way to turn off the EPG and if you have an answer, then definitely let us all know. It wasn't made to be turned off and that is the beef of the complaints with all the DVRs that include the TVGOS. People have tried in every conceivable way. I honestly don't know what happens if the EPG doesn't work for you and how it affects manual recordings but people have complained that the EPG still comes back, searches for channels, spins the HD, etc. If you have satellite or thinking of going to satellite, I would probably lean towards the 520. The 533/633 was built to continuously use and download the EPG and when it works well.... great but that doesn't mean that everyone will see the same results if they just try hard enough. Every day I had the 633 I wondered when the EPG would screw up and whether I should have just set the manual recording...


It's not an easy choice. I'm not sure that the PQ is perceptably any better or worse on either unit from what I've read. Each has its own advantages and the real questions seem to be whether (1) you use satellite or you use cable in an area/service that might not be one Pioneer has prioritized (2) you have lots of cable channels and intend on using the EPG considerably thinking it's really going to be a practical, easy to use and semi-responsive TV Guide (it isn't), (3) you intend to do more than just basic time shifting but also want to do some basic video editing of recorded programs and transfer VHS tapes, insert chapter marks/edits and burning DVDs (which will be made more difficult without the chapter mark button). If you are answering "yes" to any of the above, then you may want to consider the 520 which I am pretty sure has a DV input but you will need to find this model.


Last bit - If you are impatient, don't get a 533/633. You will learn to appreciate the WAIT indicator, lol. There's no easy choice and I'm in the same place you are. While I really like the 633 and got it at an apparently insanely good price, not being able to mark chapters/index points while viewing is an incredible pain. Since I'm moving, I'm also worried about what will happen to the unit should EPG not work in my new zip code... you just can't turn the darn thing off.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcooper
Two other questions: Does the 520 have DV-in? And does it have a neat feature that I know the 533 has -- the ability easily to make multiple duplicates of a completed DVD?
Yes and yes.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by slinky
It's not an easy choice. I'm not sure that the PQ is perceptably any better or worse on either unit from what I've read. Each has its own advantages and the real questions seem to be whether (1) you use satellite or you use cable in an area/service that might not be one Pioneer has prioritized (2) you have lots of cable channels and intend on using the EPG considerably thinking it's really going to be a practical, easy to use and semi-responsive TV Guide (it isn't)
Pioneer has nothing to do with "prioritizing" the TV Guide EPG. Gemstar is responsible for providing the EPG data to the stations that broadcast it. See the website below:

http://www.dvdplusrw.org/Article.asp...&sid=-1&aid=79


When the TV Guide EPG works (as in my case with analog RF cable input), it works very well. It is practical (use it exclusively), easy to use (finding programs and setting for recording is very simple), very responsive (system responds very quickly to remote), and reliable (have NOT missed a recording in over 100 programs).


I'll be the first to agree that the TV Guide EPG has problems, but I would also say that if you have analog cable RF without a STB, you have a very good chance of getting the EPG system to work. If you have another source of TV programming, then you MAY be in for some scrambling to either get it to work, or devise a work around. But face it, the TV Guide EPG is here to stay (at least for a while).


Just my thoughts on the matter...


RG
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgazzara
Pioneer has nothing to do with "prioritizing" the TV Guide EPG. Gemstar is responsible for providing the EPG data to the stations that broadcast it. See the website below:
http://www.dvdplusrw.org/Article.asp...&sid=-1&aid=79
Technically that is true but it makes no difference. If you are in an area that will potentially affect a huge market I'm taking an educated guess that chances are better that it may work for you. Satellite systems are known to cause challenges and it seems the EPG doesn't work with all cable systems... and see below.

Quote:
When the TV Guide EPG works (as in my case with analog RF cable input), it works very well. It is practical (use it exclusively), easy to use (finding programs and setting for recording is very simple), very responsive (system responds very quickly to remote), and reliable (have NOT missed a recording in over 100 programs).
I don't want to sound like I'm saying the EPG/TVGOS is totally worthless but managing your expectations BEFORE you buy will help you be satisfied with your purchase. I think the key word in your response though is *when*. It worked for me but I'll explain for the benefit of the purchaser since I had a difficult time managing expectations reading posts here without being able to do a demo of what the experience is like.


Missing broadcasts seems to be more of a problem with the Toshiba XS34 and I haven't read much about that with the Pioneers. But the EPG was not built to properly retain the data and I think this was a serious flaw and the product was rushed to market. So far it has worked for me too but my channels were all mislabeled, in an order that was not correct and with some channels that had the wrong channel attributed to the station identifier. There are no manual icons to use in case the EPG didn't get all your stations or if they got them wrong. It took several *hours* to fix the channels and reorder them and turn off channels I'll never watch so the EPG doesn't spend hours downloading them. Turning off one channel requires at least 5 keypresses at minimum for EACH channel (imagine going through 100+ of them) and there is no simple "on-off" button for the numerous options that TV Guide and other areas present. If I lose power to the 633 *just once* then ALL my work is gone. I cringe at the thought.


Regarding the remote, if your system responds quickly then maybe I'm missing something. The unit does require wait periods at various intervals and I'm not sure why. A small nuisance but the following is more painful. A stupid design in the EPG is that it doesn't allow you to set a little preview window on the upper left corner that tunes in to each channel you have the cursor on in the TVGOS to just stay with one preview channel while you surf. If you don't shoot that cursor through the channels very quickly then it will try to tune to EACH channel you move to. Try doing that with 40 channels to get through. Paging buttons are not on the Pioneer remote although rumor has it that you can do so using both hands.


Let's get to viewing the TVGOS. You get only ONE hour worth of TV Guide data on the screen to view at a time because TV Guide wanted to prominently place its logos as large and as often as possible so two huge "using" and "welcome" boxes take up the extra hour that could easily have been squeezed in. Get ready for some serious button pressing. Of the features that are good is the ability to do the same like you do at Yahoo, see what sports events are on for the next week, etc. But again, get used to some real button pressing to scroll.

Quote:
I'll be the first to agree that the TV Guide EPG has problems, but I would also say that if you have analog cable RF without a STB, you have a very good chance of getting the EPG system to work. If you have another source of TV programming, then you MAY be in for some scrambling to either get it to work, or devise a work around. But face it, the TV Guide EPG is here to stay (at least for a while). Just my thoughts on the matter... RG
Thanks for your thoughts and the correction for accuracy. Yes, it seems the TV Guide is here, at least for a while. This implementation leaves a large margin for improvement and the best question is whether you really want to spend $400 on a system that should change significantly in the next version. Not only should working with it be much easier but I'm guessing that there will be some type of backup built in as well. Insane that there is no flash to save to or even backing up the settings to the massive internal hard disk.
 
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