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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been reading the forum for a while and I see that the majority on this board seems to recommend the E80 or E100. But I was wondering if there were other Recorders that would better suite my needs.


What I am looking for is a DVD recorder that will also double as a player, so I would like its playback quality do at minimum be that of my exsisting Panny rp56.


The hard drive and 4x copying sounds nice, but I don't think I will get that much use out of them. I don't expect that I will edit out commercials, because I don't mind fast forwarding. One thing I expect to record are Football game and the comercials of the day are kind of fun to watch when it is years later. The 4x copying sounds great, but I have a Tivo, so I will still need to transfer the shows at real time, so why not just record them at that point. I also don't like the fact that Panasonics won't copy DVD-R's to its hard drive and that DVD-RAM will likely get as hard to find as S-VHS tapes IMO.


Bottom line is if the E100 was less than $500 it would probably be a no brainer, but I just don't want to spend that much right now. Without the 4x copy, I am not sure if the E80 is what I want. So what are the the other units out there that have decent playback and are relatively inexpensive.


Do people like the LITEON or Phillips units. I read a thread that the Phillips playback is not very good, but maybe I am not as picky. How does it compare to my curent Panny?


I really just want a unit that I can save stuff from my Tivo too...things Like Cowboy Bebop, football games and some history channel stuff. Don't plan on doing all that much editing even if I had the option. Minimal sceen access or chapters is all I would ready need.


Any recommendations? I mean can the E80 really add a ton of menu items to a 2 hour DVD that would make it worth it? Are there things I am not taking into account?
 

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I've had this unit about a week, and I'm going to return it, but it may suit your needs.


It's not entirely intuitive to use, but it didn't take me long to get used to it. I was a programmer/analyst, though, so you can take that for whatever it's worth. Once I got used to it, it wasn't hard.


The picture tends to be a bit dark. There's a setting for black that needs to be changed in the US, that makes it better, but not quite what it should be.


Entering titles is a pain, because letters are entered by scrolling through the alphabet until you get to the one you want. There are numbers too, but very few special characters. Be careful that you don't re-record over something you want to keep, if you're adding more shows to a DVD+RW. (DVD+R can't re-write, so no danger there.)


It has a number of useful recording resolutions. I tried 6 hour (they call it "M6") and felt that it lost too much of the picture quality. (This was copying via S-video from an old model ReplayTV, originally recorded in Replay's "standard" mode from an old model DirecTV box via S-video.) On my 65-inch Toshiba HDTV, I couldn't see any loss in the picture in "M3" (3 hour) mode, so I mostly used that.


If you get one of these, I strongly recommend buying it locally, unless you like shipping things back. A friend bought one as an "open box" special, and found that it had a habit of turning itself off randomly when it was recording. Mine has turned itself off twice, but only when I was editing, so it wasn't a problem. I just turned it back on. I read CNET's review, and all the user reviews at amazon.com. Don't believe everything in the CNET review -- it has mistakes. Many amazon users reported problems, and those who tried calling tech support wished they had never heard of Philips. I didn't agree with amazon users that the manual was horrible; I suspect it has been re-written. It's pretty decent now.


One useful bit of advice I found on CNET -- if you're recording from a cable box, and need an IR blaster that controls the cable box, go up a model to the DVDR80. The 75 can't do this. On the other hand, the IR blaster is used with an onscreen program guide that supposedly doesn't work with satellite systems. Since I use DirecTV, I figured the 80 wasn't worth it for me. Besides, my ReplayTV has a great program guide, and an IR blaster that works fine on the satellite receiver.
 

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I've had the Philips DVDR75 for about a month now and have burned plenty of discs and have been very satisfied. I was having a problem with the picture being too dark when the burned disc was played in my other dvd player. However, I realized that the other player was set to only play in progressive mode, which all of the discs made by current recorders are not. Once I turned off progressive mode, the picture was great.


Although the controls are not greatly intuitive, they are not hard to learn. I had everything mastered in one night. It's very easy to record from a tivo unit (which is what I use it for).


I have seen some negative reviews on various sites for quality control issues, but I"ve also seen a lot of owners post good experiences with them. I think the lower end Philips models, like the 75, are one of the more popular recorders on the market right now (although likely not on this forum, which tends to attract the real a/v enthusiasts who are willing to put more time and money into their equipment), so I expect to hear more about them, good and bad.


It seems like the Panasonic models are popular with many on this forum. My personal preference is for +R discs (to each his own), and as you indicated, I didn't want to go through the hassle of using DVD-ram discs.


I don't worry too much about its playback quality since I already had a nice dvd player. However, from what I've seen so far, I think the playback quality is as good as most mid-grade players most people have in their homes. Again, for the real a/v enthusiasts who demand the best, it likely wouldn't be their choice. I believe the next model up has the Farouda(?) chip in it that some consider to offer superior picture.


Concerning Amethyst Dancer's mention of accidently recording over something already recorded on a dvd+rw, I believe there is a setting on the dvdr75 that will prevent this if turned on.


I simply wanted a dvd recorder that allowed me to make quality copies of the movies from my tivo onto dvd's, and I think the DVDR75 does that. The best price I've seen from a reputable online retailer is $350 shipped.
 

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The LiteOn is a great value (I believe it's on sale at CompUSA this week). The interlaced PQ is a little dark, but on progressive scan, it looks great. Records great copies, and very easy to use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I really appreciate the replies. Excellent reviews.


The Phillips and Liteon were the 2 low cost options I was looking at mainly because I can get them locally. At least I believe the DVDR72 is Sam's Club's version of the DVDR75. I like to avoid buying online if at all possible, just don't like RMAing if it can be avoided.


Amethyst Dancer
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It's not entirely intuitive to use, but it didn't take me long to get used to it. I was a programmer/analyst, though, so you can take that for whatever it's worth. Once I got used to it, it wasn't hard.
I am a programmer currently...so interfaces probably won't intimidate me, but I certainly don't mind point and click..lol

Amethyst Dancer
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I've had this unit about a week, and I'm going to return it, but it may suit your needs.
May I ask why you are returning it and what you are getting instead?

Amethyst Dancer
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One useful bit of advice I found on CNET -- if you're recording from a cable box, and need an IR blaster that controls the cable box, go up a model to the DVDR80.
I actually have DirecTivo, so I will only be archiving and playing DVD's with this unit.

stevenrt
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However, from what I've seen so far, I think the playback quality is as good as most mid-grade players most people have in their homes.
That is good to hear. I am a little picky, but I have gotten used to DirecTV MPEG compression, so I am not one of those who cannot settle and be happy. I have come on this board for advice on DVD players in the past, that led me to my current standalone, the Panny RP56. To be honest, I really don't think it does that much better of a job than my Xbox or PS2 as a DVD player and my Xbox will play some DVDR's that my Panny won't. I found that my TV(Toshiba RPHDTV) does almost as good a job upconverting a signal to progressive as my Panny's progressive output. Both could be better on straight lines though(pin stripes, blinds and such) that is the only annoying aspect of digital video IMO.



I appreciate the reviews, I honestly started shying away from the Phillips because of other reviews on this board. I read the entire Liteon thread and while I am not all that into being a Beta tester...at least they are upgrading the firmware to fix the bugs. At its price it may be a nice unit to start with...the Phillips is a nice price too. My choices right now seem to be buy a Liteon or Phillips and maybe regret not having a hard drive. Or wait till the E80 comes under $500 again on the net, and bite the bullet with that one.


Space in my rack is getting tight. With a DTivo, S VHS player, standalone DVD, Reciever, Xbox and PS2 filling up all space, I wanted to replace the standalone DVD player. I could fit a new recorder on top of the RP56...but then inputs on my TV become a premium. I want to do something soon, I don't do video taping anymore because of no menus and rewinding. But the one thing I really want it for is for football season next year...need to archive all games of the return of Joe Gibbs :) So I guess I could wait till the next generation in May...but really have the itch now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by zenith2525
kilmer-

The Pioneer 310 or 510-H would be a good choice for you

I own the 510 (very similiar to the 310 but has an 80GB hard drive) and it's a very nice player as well as recorder
I did not realize the 310 could be had under $400 on the net. Don't know much about it...will need to research.
 

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I'm enjoying the E80...a friend of mine has the Sony RDR...around $700 at local stores...most reviewers say it has the best picture. All of my programs come from Dishnetwork PVR...Dish seems to move bandwidth around some and I notice some digitization in the some original broadcasts. Looking at a motocross race I recorded originally with the DishPVR then using 3 hr FR (flex recording mode) on the E80, the quality is almost as good as the original recording. I did a side by side comparison and there is very little detail loss, however, the E80 playback color was more saturated.


Anyway, the E80 does offer progressive scan playback as well as 2 channel DVD audio. I feel it is a good choice if you do alot of recording and like to strip out commercial and such.


My least favorite item is the CPRM (copy protection) on disks you create yourself. This is a nuisance issue though. The interface is pretty ez once you get it dialed in--sounds similar to the Phillips.


I am copying over VHS tapes to DVD and I limit that to 2 hours recording. The VHS tapes are poor enough, I don't want to lose any more clarity.


Happy hunting.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by stevenrt:
Concerning Amethyst Dancer's mention of accidently recording over something already recorded on a dvd+rw, I believe there is a setting on the dvdr75 that will prevent this if turned on.
I noticed that in the manual. I had the impression that it was a setting for each disc, not a universal setting for the recorder, but I didn't read it that carefully, since I don't intend to use it. I don't think it's a big deal for me, because I've been recording on videotape for years, and I'm used to being careful. Good point, Steven!


Quote:
Originally posted by kilmer:
Sam's Club's version of the DVDR75. I like to avoid buying online if at all possible, just don't like RMAing if it can be avoided.
My point exactly, especially if I'm buying something that has an unusually high number of DOA units reported. I didn't get mine at Sam's, because I'm now in a fairly remote area and Sam's is too far. Best Buy had a pretty good deal on them, though, and is close.


Quote:
Originally posted by kilmer:
I am a programmer currently...so interfaces probably won't intimidate me, but I certainly don't mind point and click..lol
You'll pick it up in no time, then. Since it's not very intuitive, I kept the manual nearby for reference for the first few days, when I needed to figure out something I hadn't done already. I did skim through the manual online before I bought it, though.


Quote:
Originally posted by kilmer:
May I ask why you are returning it and what you are getting instead?
I am not happy with its editing capabilities. I've been terribly spoiled by my primary VCR -- I can cut out commercials, position (or re-position without stopping the "record" function) the tape to a specific frame for recording, and overwrite anything I don't want with perfect transition back to the material that follows the section I'm overwriting. It also uses VISS marks, so I can make sure there's one at the beginning of each show on the tape, and can tell it to fast forward or rewind through any number of marks, and position itself. It rewinds and fast forwards extremely fast, although it's the noisiest machine I've ever heard when it does. (I also have a tape of just commercials; the really good ones I archive on a tape of their own. That requires some tricky editing, too.)


I had hoped to record and edit on DVD+RW, then burn a DVD+R using my Samsung player to play the +RW -- one of the neat things about the Philips that not all recorders have, is component video input. (My player doesn't have digital video output, so component is the best I can get.) But edits just aren't as smooth as I'm used to. From what I've been reading here, the only way to accomplish what I want, is to go to a computer-based system instead of a standalone. Each of those has its advantages and disadvantages, but if standalones can't do what I want, then my choice is clear. The details remain fuzzy, though -- a computer-based system means a LOT more research.


One more thing I forgot to mention -- most of the amazon.com users who had gotten one that worked, liked it. User reviews there were either "this is great!" or "this thing doesn't work and customer service is non-existent." Very little in between. Since you don't care about editing like I do, I thought it might work well for you. Good luck with whatever you try!
 

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The more I look into buying a DVD Recorder, the more discouraged I get. You've got the -R, +R, Ram, Rom, with and without Hard Drives. You have macrovision to contend with. You can't get one with DVI, Digital Optical, coaxial input (no multi channel sound recording), no Hi Def Recording, incompatibility between brands, etc. Writeable, non- Writable Discs. Forget it; I'll look in again in a year and see whats up then. To many negatives.
 

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Another plus for the Panasonic E80/E100 is the FR recording mode. I just completely filled a disc with something that was 2 hrs. 20 minutes in length. If it were another brand I might of had to use a 4 hr. mode, with a crappier picture and wasted disc space as a result.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Hookup

The more I look into buying a DVD Recorder, the more discouraged I get. You've got the -R, +R, Ram, Rom, with and without Hard Drives.

Ignore DVD-RAM for the moment (it's a niche format that is handy only for certain cases, like dubbing back to hard drive on a Panasonic recorder), just pick DVD+R or DVD-R.

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You have macrovision to contend with.
And so will any set-top recorder that you will ever purchase - it's not going to go away.

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You can't get one with DVI, Digital Optical, coaxial input (no multi channel sound recording), no Hi Def Recording
Until the per-disc capacity is increased in a new generation of recording technology, you won't see them either. And brace yourself- they will likely be competing standards in that arena as well, so look for a repeat of compatibility issues you cited.


The whole HD TV interface system itself is an ever-changing landscape too - ask anyone that bought an HDTV several years ago. If you were a DVD recorder manufacturer would you want to have to have a plethora of input interfaces?

Quote:
incompatibility between brands, etc.
Could you elaborate on that a bit? If you mean DVD-R can't be read on a DVD player that will only handle DVD+R burned media, then you're right - but many new DVD players are coming out with dual DVD+ and - capability, so compatiblity issues will grow less over time.

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Writeable, non- Writable Discs.
What's a non-writeable disc? You mean a pre-recorded DVD?

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Forget it; I'll look in again in a year and see whats up then. To many negatives.
Any recorder selection you make these days is a compromise - the whole DVD home recording technology is still in its infancy. Some people choose the set-top recorders currently offered knowing their limitations and end up very satisfied (I have).


Yep, you'll need to wait at least a year... and things will be even more muddy than they are now, so you'll probably have even more reasons to wait for "the perfect machine". If it ever comes it will probably cost way too much due to its being built from scarce materials such as unobtanium.
 

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I have a Panasonic e60, e80h, and a Sansui VRDVD4005. I feel that the PQ of the Panasonic units are the best but for a quickie the Sansui is decent and it utilizes DVD-RW. Also the Sansui has a VCR built in and costs $399 at Sears. Since DVD-RW works on more DVD players than DVD-RAM (only on select Panasonic models) it is perfect for a fast capture that I do not want to edit by PC but I want to play on current DVD players and then erase. DVD-RAM from the Panasonics and DVD-RW/DVD-VR from the Sansui are directly and easily editable with Tmpgenc DVD Author AC3 version.
 

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I don't know if I should post in this thread or the Tivo vs. Replay debate, but here it is: I have a Panny Showstopper, and would like to know if I can record dvds just by cabling out to a dvd recorder? I'm a hopeless newbie to all of this...


Thanks-
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Amethyst Dancer
... I've been terribly spoiled by my primary VCR -- I can cut out commercials, position (or re-position without stopping the "record" function) the tape to a specific frame for recording, and overwrite anything I don't want with perfect transition back to the material that follows the section I'm overwriting. It also uses VISS marks, so I can make sure there's one at the beginning of each show on the tape, and can tell it to fast forward or rewind through any number of marks, and position itself. It rewinds and fast forwards extremely fast, although it's the noisiest machine I've ever heard when it does....
A little OT, but what model VHS is that? I had a JVC SVHS circa 1995 that would do that also, and I loved it for that reason. A newer JVC bought a few years later didn't have those "shuttle in record" features. Of course as a DVDR and PVR owner buying a VHS now would be like trading my PowerBook for an IBM Selectric typewriter, but I'm still curious.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by JiveBot
I don't know if I should post in this thread or the Tivo vs. Replay debate, but here it is: I have a Panny Showstopper, and would like to know if I can record dvds just by cabling out to a dvd recorder? I'm a hopeless newbie to all of this...
If you can do a record to a VCR fine you should be able to substitute a set-top DVD recorder via composite or S-Video cabling (and, of course, the audio too).
 

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Thanks for the insight. Now to start bargain-hunting
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by TomCat
A little OT, but what model VHS is that? I had a JVC SVHS circa 1995 that would do that also, and I loved it for that reason. A newer JVC bought a few years later didn't have those "shuttle in record" features. Of course as a DVDR and PVR owner buying a VHS now would be like trading my PowerBook for an IBM Selectric typewriter, but I'm still curious.
Quite likely the same model, Tom! It's a JVC HR-S7100U, probably from around 1995. Big old clunky thing with fake wood panelling on the sides, but it does everything I want from it so well it's unbelievable. I was very, very lucky; picked it up via eBay three years ago for $200. I was so impressed by it that, when I needed to replace an older VCR, I decided to go with the JVC name again. I got a 7800 model. I can reposition the tape while it's in record mode, but without an actual dial on the remote, it's not as easy. I hate the newer one. It was never quite right, yet not bad enough for me to return it immediately, and its tracking gradually went from bad to worse to unusable. I don't bother with it at all anymore, and the older JVC is the only VCR I use now.


The old one has developed a problem recently -- it won't output sound on the right channel any more. I know it still records both channels because of the individual sound level meters, and from testing tapes by playing them back in a different machine. I'm not good enough to fix it myself and I'm afraid to trust anyone else with it; it's not really replacable. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. E-mail would be fine; I doubt anyone else cares about this. csb2 at twcny.rr.com
 
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