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Discussion Starter #1
Hello:


I am looking for a DVD recorder for use with a 1080i/720p LCD tv.


I know these questions are sometimes a bit of a pain (you want somebody else to do the research for you it seems). Well, I have been trying to read up; but, there is just a lot to take in, the more I learn it seems like the more confusing it gets. People on this forum seem to have a lot of knowledge and experience with these things, so I was hoping a kind soul or two might give me some of their thoughts for my situation.


I would like to be able to record programs from digital cable with a comcast box. I am one of those who tries to avoid paying monthly charges; and, when I have enough put aside, buy something that will work, and pay it off up front.


I have the opportunity to choose from two models, both either new in box or in new condition. The Philips DVDR3575H/37 which I can get for about $150 or the Toshiba RDXS-55 for about $200.


I probably will be recording mostly sporting events and hour tv programs from cable channels - and sometimes recording the end of a program that I can't finish watching. I also NEED to be able to record one show while watching another - very important (I want to be able to record football games during the season over the weekend while I am at work while the family is at home watching regular tv while the recording is going on).


One question I have not been able to get answered is if you hook up a DVD recorder to digital cable, do you need to have a recorder with a digital tuner to record one channel while watching another?


Also, I have picture-in-picture capabilities; but, it requires a separate tuner to use. If you hook up a DVD recorder with a digital tuner to use the picture-in-picture? Or will the tvs picture-in-picture work with just the tv and the recorder?


I may also do a bit of DVD burning from a camcorder; but, I think both of these players are capable of doing that.


About the recorders, the Toshiba RDXS-55 I understand was a $500 product when available. It offers a 250 GB hard drive, which is nice; but, I have been unable to determine if it has a digital tuner. And since I have a comcast box, do I really need a digital tuner to do what I mostly want to do?


The Toshiba also offers the TV Guide recording format, which I understand is a bit easier to use than the Philips's method (Comcast uses TV Guide); but, that isn't a deal breaker against the Philips.


Both offer HDMI upconversion, which is nice; but, again, I am more concerned about just being able to get what I want recorded rather than differences in recording quality - though certainly all things equal I'd take better recording/playback quality.


Any thoughts on the two? Thank you in advance to anyone who is able to take the time to help.
 

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The Toshiba doesn't have a digital tuner. But you don't need one if you're always planning on using an external one. The only digital channels you're likely to pick up with the Philips' tuner are the locals anyway.


And if the TVGOS of the Toshiba doesn't work with the digital cable box, you can just bypass it and set manual timers.


If it really is new or like new, for $200.00 the Toshiba is generally the better of the two recorders and a steal, really.


But - unless those football games are on an analog channel, and they are still giving you those on the line, you won't be able to watch one game and record another off of the non-local digital channels.


You'd need something like TiVo for that. Or maybe you could rent 2 digital cable boxes and split the incoming signal to them.
 

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Hello. Thank you for the quick reply. I have been shopping for a couple months now and it doesn't seem like there are too many options for DVD recorders now. I imagine cable companies with their DVR add-ons must be cornering the market. It seems like there have been more than a few people selling their old DRD recorders now they have opted to rent DVRs. I really see the advantage of getting a hard drive DVD recorder.


The Toshiba sounded like a pretty good deal; but, people seem to really like the DVDR3575H/37.


With the Toshiba I would still be able to record one program while watching another? That is very important. Also, am I to understand there are few benefits to having a digital tuner if your recorder is always going to be hooked up to a source with its own tuner?


Finally, with a picture-in-picture set-up with a tv with one tuner, does your picture-in-picture source require its own tuner, or will the recorder still be able to used for pulling in the second signal for its use (I'll not that big on picture-in-picture but the girlfriend swears it will be of use to her and is part of my selling point on purchasing a DVD recorder)?


Thank you again for the help and anyone else who has thoughts!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nobody1627 /forum/post/14223747


One question I have not been able to get answered is if you hook up a DVD recorder to digital cable, do you need to have a recorder with a digital tuner to record one channel while watching another?

Like I said, it depends on which two channels you want to watch and record while doing it.


The only digital channels the Philips' digital QAM (cable) tuner is going to pick up are the locals.


But either recorder will still pick up any analog channels that you may be getting (which would only be the extended basic analog tier channels, if anything). If both channels you want to record and watch are normally-encrypted digital channels which can only be received by the box, then neither recorder will do what you want.


Exactly what level (tier) of digital service do you have? And what premiums or premium packages (you mentioned something about Football)?
 

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I was afraid of that. So the digital tuner in a DVD recorder is not the same as the tuner in a tivo type arrangement I am guessing.


How about this. I have a separate LCD tv with a built in DVD player in a separate room that is getting digital cable from a splitter in the digital cable (I was promised free hook-up for the second bedroom but when the cable installer came out I was told they shouldn't have promised me that and I would have to order and pay for a second box, when I said I didn't want to do that, he went ahead and split it for free - nice guy).


So, separate channels can be watched in different rooms. Can a DVD recorder be hooked up to a LCD tv with a built in DVD player to record the channels? I only ask because I understand the copy protection in tv/dvd players sometimes makes such set-ups more difficult.


I have Comcast's digital tv (without the high definition package) running through a cable box in the main room and going directly into the tv via the cable in the second room. You get all the channels that were in the old basic in digital plus the on demand set-up, music channels, etc. The games I would like to get (but the rest of the family aren't as crazy about) are about half on the old broadcast networks (ABC, NBC, CBS); and, half on stations like ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, the local comcast sports channel (37 out here), and other similar channels.
 

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OK then. It sounds like you're getting Digital Starter, and that's basically the same as extended basic analog, plus On Demand, the Music Choice channels, and maybe a few extra other channels.


I suppose the Philips would give you more options as far as how you'd want to set up, now and in the future. Since you'd have three tuners between the cable box, recorder and TV, there are various ways you could do it.


But you really should be using a direct connection to the TV in whatever setup you choose (using a splitter or whatever), because then you'd be able to watch the locals in HD through the TV's tuner. They'll look a lot better than the locals in SD from the box or a 480i recorder. You get them free on the line - only your SD-only box in between is stopping you from seeing them.


Is what you get on the 2nd TV's tuner acceptable to you and the others as far as channels received and PQ? If so, could you live with that on the main set? I ask because losing the cable box on the main set would make things much less complicated for you and the family when using a recorder.


It's a lot easier just running the coax into the recorder and setting recordings from it's internal tuners than it is to have to program both the recorder and the cable box to synchronize to record (that's assuming your cable box can even do that).


But then it's just a matter of if you can accept the analog channel's PQ over the same channels from the digital cable box.
 

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Either unit will do what you want for analog channels since you're on cable and always hooked to that cable. The Philips would add digital-QAM channels that are in the clear (not scrambled). How many and what digital-QAM channels you'd be able to tune with the Philips depends on what the cableco sends in the clear.

You'd connect either unit as shown in the 1st sketch here, 1st on the coax . With my Philips 3575, I get 47 analog and 14 digital-QAM channels in-the-clear in my basic ANALOG cable feed, incl. 3 ESPN channels.


Setting up as shown in the sketch would allow you to record one unscrambled channel while watching another normally, in either location in your setup.


For scrambled channels in the room with the STB, the line connection shown in the sketch from the cable STB back to the DVDR will record those.


At the prices you mentioned, I'd get both units since you can use either or both,


Click my signature for more info on the Philips.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you very much for the information. Answered a lot of questions and gives me some input to chew on. When I first decided to look into a DVD recorder, I thought it would be pretty straightforward. Little did I know!
 

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Actually, now that we know you're getting the analogs, the TVGOS on the Toshiba should function OK - as long as you're running the cable directly into it, that is.


But the digital tuner of the Philips, if you use it, will give you a bit better PQ on the locals than the Toshiba's analog one.


Like Wajo said, for those prices I would just get both. They're both great deals, but something like that Toshiba is like gold nowadays. You could easily turn around and sell it for twice the amount or more.
 

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Good points by all but let me try and clarify one thing about recording one channel and watching another.

Think of the Philips 3575 as the TV in your other room. It should be able to recieve all the channels(analog and x.x digital) as that TV. If you're currently OK with this setup the Philips should be able to record whatever that TV is capable of tuning. The Toshiba with its analog tuner would be similar except it would not tune the x.x channels. That is the digital channels that have a point after the number.

Your STB will still be capable of receiving channels that are scrambled that neither your TV in the other room or the Philips will be able to receive. So what you cannot do(without another STB) would be to: watch one scrambled channel only tunable on your STB, while recording another scrambled channel tunable only on your STB. Other than that scenario you should be OK. If you don't feel the digital channels add anything to your second TV then the Toshiba would probably be fine. Although note most cable cos are switching many analog channels to the digital tier and most of those are probably going to be scrambled. So what I'm saying is What is now may not be that way for long. I think the future for cable will basically be a STB for each TV/device. In that scenario either DVDR would record fine from it's line input. Many like the editing features of the Toshiba although the Philips is the newest of the 2.
 

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He said they were both either new or like new. If that's true, the Toshiba's normally the "better" unit new, but it's good to have that digital QAM tuner (built-in) anyways.


Definitely buy both is my advice. Damn - if I could find one of those Toshiba's like new for that price I'd snatch it up in a second.


As far as the Philips, that's a great price too, but something similar but even better might be just down the road. Like the same model with TVGOS or some other potentially, very useful feature. I'd still buy it, though. For $150.00 I'm sure I could find some really good uses for it, and either one could really be used for what he wants right now. So he can even choose which one he likes best and sell the other for a profit, I'm pretty confident of that.


Or he could even just use the other on that second TV.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I've mostly just been watching Craigslist locally. Since I haven't been in a real rush, I've been able to wait on price. The first guy had the Philips new in box listed at $200 for about 3 weeks apparently with no serious bites. It goes for about $230-$250 at circuit city with free shipping (depending if it is on a deal or not), so it was a fair deal; but, just the other day I saw it relisted at $150. The same day, the Toshiba was listed, as in nearly new condition and not used much (replaced by a cable DVR). Obviously, one would make sure the Toshiba was in fine working order; but, from the bit written and the picture, it appears to be near mint condition. It was listed at $250; but, put in an offer of $200 cash (which if it doesn't go soon probably will work).


Thank you all again. Still chewing a bit on the details; but, the information has been excellent!
 
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