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First I'd like to say Hi; I became a big fan of AVS_Forum a couple of years ago when I was researching satellite for my parents & PVR's for myself. Its become a valuable resource for me in researching future purchases & diagnosing problems/problem solving. I'd like to thank all the helpful people who've posted on this forum, and I'd really appreciate your help with my dilemma.


My parents had heard me mention getting a DVD Recorder, but I was gonna wait (6 mo. to a year) till the prices came down further. Anyway low & behold they suprised me for X-mas with the Philips DVDR985 (pretty sweet), but I recall hearing mixed reviews on it. So before I decided to open it (knowing the hassle &/or restocking fees) I figured I'd research it a bit further. Although I read some positive reviews about the model I got [DVDR985(A41)], it seemed my concerns were valid.


But here lies the dilemma, my parents said they bought it at Fry's (for around $349-$399) but still haven't been able "locate" the receipt.


My question is should I keep the Philips & purchase the Extended Warranty (2Year-$49, 3yr-$79, 4yr-$120, 5yr-$169), considering all the problems I've read about the 985 or should I try & exchange it for the Sony RDR-GX7($699)? I'm willing to pay significantly more for a "significantly" better unit.


I primarily plan on using it to archive Home-Movies (from 8mm & Hi8 tapes) & for offloading from my PVR(UltimateTV).[don't laugh I got a smokin' deal on it]


What I'm looking for... (My Priorities)


1. Best Recording Quality (in 2hr mode & 1hr mode)

a. Picture

b. Sound


2. Reliability & Build Quality (Construction)


3. Customizing: "DVD Authoring"

- ability to create Chapter-Stops & Menus (on DVD+R & DVD-R)


4. Compatibility (long-term?): DVD+R vs. DVD-R


5. Ease of Use (operating): Menus, Remote, etc.


Thanks for reading my post look forward to any replies. I'd really like to hear from those of you who've used (especially, if you've owned) both.


AVS_fan



I've read mention of a possible FAQ thread for DVD Recorders, I think that would be great idea considering all the "newbies"(my self included) who are looking into buying their 1st DVD Recorder. IMHO
 

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I own a 985. One trip to Philips for repair. Otherwise works well. I used to archive from utv before switching to directivo. 1 or 2 hr mode recordings look almost identical to the source.


Your unit bought for xmas was relatively cheap because it's now a discontinued model.


If you want Philips I would return it and get the current DVDR75 or 80 model. BTW, if it was purchased at Fry's, the return policy is 30 days no questions asked, no restocking fee, whether opened or not. You will need the receipt. If it was bought before xmas, you might be right at the 30 days now.


Don't have a Sony. A uk based magazine currently on the rack at barnes & noble did a comparison of recorders and rated Sony's PQ as the best out of several models, but at a much higher price. Only your eyes will be able to tell you whether the Sony is worth the extra $$$.
 

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Everyone has an opinion and I'm no fan of Philips or Sony. I try to stay clear of both of the brands from my experiences with poor performance and poor reliability. Others have different opinions and love them(mainly for the Sony brand that I don't like).


Although I don't know anything about performance and reliability, Best Buy has the new RCA DVD+R/W recorder and after rebates, it's $350 but is out of stock right now. For that price, it might be better than the other cheap recorders.


As far as me, I haven't been impressed with any recorder. The worst is the Toshiba D-R1 that has European date and time plus records to the DVD with the wrong black level, making a washed out picture. This seems to be design as I was warned about it after I had bought mine. I had the Panasonic DMR-E80H and the Pioneer DVR-310 both of which had performance issues that may have been defects as many claimed they weren't having the issues I was. Now I've ordered the DVR-510H which I was able to obtain for under $700. If it has the same performance issues, it'll go back as well. I realize nothing is perfect but I do expect equal to better performance than what I have already with my $200 JVC S-VHS VCR. So far no recorder can even equal it's performance, not even at the Fine/XP recording mode.


Here's hoping for a positive turn around with the Pioneer DVR-510H.:)


So as you can see, I don't know if there's any models out there that are good, at least IMO. I know one thing, the Sony is way over priced and doesn't even offer a hard drive.


IMO, a hard drive is essential unless you have a DVD Recorder Drive in your PC or have a Tivo/PVR. The reason is that if you record stuff that you have no idea if you'll like, you could end up wasting a lot of money recording it to the compatible DVD-R/+R format. You may want to play it safe and record on rewritable media as DVD-RW, DVD+RW, or DVD-RAM but this with it's own negatives. If you find you want to keep the recording you now only have it on a format that is vaguely compatible and may not play on many stand alone DVD players. This is even a larger issue because a rewritable format standard does not yet exist. Say you've given up compatibility to gain rewriting ability with DVD+RW. In 2 years that DVD+RW format may lose the battle and then stand alone DVD Players have no reason to seek DVD+RW compatibility. In 5 years there may be no currently made DVD Players that will read all your DVD+RW discs so you've archived and recorded to a format that can't even be used. For that reason I never record to rewritable formats as I can not see the future or do I want to make a wrong guess. I use the hard drive as my rewritable format and then high speed dub the movie I want for permanent archival, to the DVD-R/+R format.


I just don't think a DVD Recorder without a hard drive is a good decision unless you have a way to screen movies and the ability to burn to DVD-R/+R if you want permanent, compatible disc. IMO, a hard drive is unneeded if you have a PC DVD recorder that's compatible with your rewritable format or if you have a Tivo/PVR. Myself, I have both but I want to do editing and the hard drive DVD recorder is the best solution for editing for "me". I don't have DVD authoring software that authors with Dolby Digital 2.0, and I don't have any VOB to MPEG2 ripping software. Those expenses were better spent on the recorder IMO.


Have a good one.
 

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I used to have a DVDR985. I'm sure you have read in other posts how unreliable they are. Go to the www.dvdplusrw.org forum and check out the experiences some people have had there. I was one of the people who had theirs repaired three times, and finally got an exchange.


Personally, I don't think its worth taking a chance on getting a reliable one. I would exchange it if you can. The newer Phillips models are much more reliable. If you can exchange it for another Phillips, the DVDR80 has the best picture, but is the most expensive. The Sony is supposed to have a very good picture also.


My new machine is a Panasonic E80. Commenting on Mike's post, I would say that a non-hard drive recorders are great, but the hard drive recorders are much more convenient. I you read this forum, you will find a lot of E80 fans. Its because it has the it has good features, good price, good recording quality, and is easy of use. Other recorders may beat it in one area, but the overall package is a winner.
 

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Sony told me recently that they always make sure to have their latest electronics backward compatible so if I were to buy Sony in the future, I would not have to worry about my discs becoming obsolete. Who knows who I was talking to though.
 

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I have both machines and will tell you that 1. You can get the Sony for less ($549 at Mac Mall, PC Mall, B&H, etc, check pricegrabber .com) and, 2 that the SONY is a much better built unit than the Philips.


IF you cannot exchange it definitely buy an extended warranty. When the Philips is working it is an excellent recorder/player. But the 2 that I have had have BOTH gone south and now Philips tells me that they will repair the 985 at no cost to me, but I haven't sent it back yet.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by BASHERS33
Sony told me recently that they always make sure to have their latest electronics backward compatible so if I were to buy Sony in the future, I would not have to worry about my discs becoming obsolete.
And of course you believed them. I guess they somehow forgot about the fact that they dropped +R/RW support from their "future-generation" Blue Ray model/s.
 

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You sure they dropped it from playback too? Maybe they only dropped the recording capability for those modes. Although, I would not be surprised if anyone in customer service form any company would be wrong about something. I have had so many people tell me incorrect things. One example is someone at Best Buy or Circuit City told me you only have to use ONE set of composite cables for the Sony dvd/vcr combo when using s-video for dvd. But in reality, you have to use TWO separate sets PLUS the s-video.


Anyway, I planned all along to use dvd-r discs. So it appears Sony for sure will always support those. In fact almost all current brands support it as far as players go.
 

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I have the 985 A41. Bought in July 2003. It began giving record error messages 2 months later. I took it in to the Houston regional service center. They told me they are now replacing the glass lens laser with a plastic one which is what they did. Evidently that particular glass laser has been a bomb. 985 manufacture was terminated approx. April,2003..You will need this laser mod also. Yours is an identical manufacture as mine,time and date,place. Since the laser was replaced I have had no problems. I also own 2 E-80s which are fantastic.
 

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I also have a 985 and an E80, get this the 985 is an AO2 and haven't had any problems as of yet....I have a circuit city 3yr warranty so I'm not concerned. The thing I wanted to say is that the E80 is a great unit for what it does but my experience with these two units is that the 985 produces a far better picture from commercial dvd's, so good that it compares to my Denon 2800. Another feature with the 985 is, it can modify the DVD+r/rw recordings that were recorded on it to be played on dvd players that normaly would only play DVD-r/rw format.:p
 

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I agree 100% with reo, my experinece is the same. I loved the picture quality of the DVDR985 with commercial DVDs, and liked that I could record a DVD+RW, and keep it if I liked the show, record over it if I did not. I think the E80 is better in this are though, you record onto the hard drivem and if you like the show, you can edit it an burn it to a DVD-R. I have never used the DVD-RAM. The picture quality with commercial DVDs is not in the same league as the DVDR985. Just a pity it was so unreliable.
 

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Why you guys use your Sony or 985 DVD Recorders for playback is beyond me. Why put that many more hours on the laser? The 985 did not do that well in the shootout for DVD playback. There are much better DVD PLAYERS you could buy. I compared my XP-30 player to the 985 and it was a laugher. The Panny killed it. The new Panny DVD players coming out in April sound very good and some have DCDI Faruodja(sic) chip.BTW My 985 does record a very good resolution to the +R or +RW DVDs I might add as an aside. Its HQ the best is comparable to any.
 

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Thanks for throwing caution to the wind HoustonGuy in regards to the 985 being fragile. My problem is I have only 3 component inputs on my Denon 4802 utilizing them all with the E80 the 985 and a SAT HD300, my Denon 2800 is in the box right now. Maybe I should run the E80 trough the 985 via component, I know I wouldn't be able to see progressive scan out of the E80 because the 985 wont take the progessive scan input but then I dont see a great pic coming from the E80 to utilize progressive anyway. Then I could put my Denon 2800 back in the rack and use it for playback.:) :)
 
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