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Has anybody bought a Modified DVD recorder, like a panasonic eh-67e or some pioneer model? If I bought one from world-import would it work in recording and playback? What are the issues in buying a Modified DVD Recorder? It looks like it would be better alternative than my current Philips 160gb hard disk drive Recorder. Thanks for any information.
 

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My answer would be, if you're basically happy with your Phillips, keep your money in your pocket and enjoy what you have. Another recorder will not provide stunningly better results.


The "international" model Pioneer and Panasonic recorders are perfectly OK. Of the two, for USA purposes I would choose the Panasonic because it tends to come preset more clearly for American use and is fairly easy to set up. The Pioneers are far more complex and come in way too many regional model versions. Nothing wrong with Pioneers as recorders, they're my favorites, but if you want a Pioneer the Canada-market models are already designed for Americans and are also cheaper than Pioneer multi-national versions. Get one from Canada. (Panasonic no longer sells Canadian DVD/HDD units, only Pioneer).


Since you already have a Phillips with 160GB HDD, the question of whether a Panasonic or Pioneer would be "better" for you is highly subjective. For one thing, neither the Panasonic or Pioneer has or will have an ATSC digital tuner. Your Phillips probably already has that built in. If you depend on off-the-air "free" TV reception, your Phillips would be much more suitable. The scales shift differently if you use cable or satellite: in that case, a tuner is redundant and you would likely be using the line inputs being fed by your decoder box. In that situation any recorder would be equally convenient (or not). If you depend on cable/satellite, distinctions between recorders come down to operational "feel", editing capabilities, and media flexibility.


Your Phillips is designed to offer the most bang for the buck, it is an excellent value combining a decent level of quality, reliability and features. For the price, nothing can touch it and it remains the only DVD/HDD recorder in the US with an ATSC tuner. A Canadian Pioneer or international Panasonic would cost you 50-60% more money. In exchange for this outlay, you get more reliable and intuitive editing features, a slightly ruggeder overall build and burner, and the ability to use DVD-RAM discs which is a very handy option for some people. Only you can decide whether these subtle differences from your Phillips would be worth the money.


Depending on your signal source, all three brands are roughly equal in typical picture quality. Some are better than others on certain points, but none are perfect: this is consumer gear we're talking about. This forum tends to be very Panasonic-oriented and members here seem to feel the Pannys have the edge in image quality. But this is very subjective: I prefer Pioneers myself, everyone "sees" in a different way and makes different types of recordings. Given the heavy compression used in many cable/satellite systems and local ATSC broadcasts, there's only so much any recorder can make out of these flawed signals.
 
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