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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have any information on Standalone DVD recorders?


I've look at several sites and have not found much information. There looks to be several models that are coming out in the next few months. The ones that look interesting are the Phillips DVDR75, Phillips DVDR80, Sony RDR-GX7 and the Sony RDR-GX3.


The manufactures WEB sites don't even have these listed yet.


I just want a Standalone DVD recorder that works like a VCR with the ability to record TV shows. It would be nice to be able to play that DVD on a standard player. Is that too much to ask for?


I've seen the Panasonic stand-alone recorders, but they record in a DVD-RAM format that most older players won't read.


Sil
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Silurian


I've seen the Panasonic stand-alone recorders, but they record in a DVD-RAM format that most older players won't read.


Sil
But they also record in DVD-R format, which many older players will read...probably better than the +R/RW format you'll get with the Philips.
 

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The Panasonic DVD-R/DVD-RAM recorders offer a great deal of flexibility for the money. For compatability, the DVD-R format is an excellent choice, equalling or exceeding the compatability of the DVD-R format. For time shifting, DVD-RAM is superior to either DVD-RW or DVD+RW -- the discs can be reused more times, and DVD-RAM is unique in offering the ability to play and record from a disc at the same time.


That the Panasonic DVD-R/DVD-RAM recorders cost less than the units for the other formats is a nice bonus...
 

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I've read in some places that DVD+R is the best choice for optimum compatibility, and other places that DVD-R is the most compatible.


Is there are empiracle evidence to support either claim?


Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I know you can record in the DVD-R format, but I wanted it for recording TV shows which I just record over the media again and again. With DVD+RW, I gain the ability to record several times over yet still be able to use the media in most other DVD Players. With the DVD-RAM format, it can only be played in a small amount of players mostly Panasonic for now.


I've read that DVD+RW can be reused about 1000 times where DVD+RAM can be reused 100,000 times. Well, I will probably never even reuse the DVD more than 50 to 100 times.


Guess I will have to wait until the players come out.
 

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The application you've described makes the case even stronger for DVD-RAM. If recording TV shows for later viewing on rewritable media is your focus, there is no format better than DVD-RAM. You can time slip (playback while background recording), reclaim disc space for erased programs regardless of their "position" on the disc, high level of built-in error correction is also a bonus. DVD-RW or DVD+RW can't offer this kind of flexibility.


Your concerns about compatibility are in conflict with your application. Given that all of Panasonic's 2003 model players will support DVD-RAM playback, you could add a new player for less than $100 that supports virtually all formats.
 

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I'd prefer to use a DVD recorder in just the way Silurian describes. I want to able to record the occasional TV show, maybe lend it out to friends if they also want to watch it, then reuse it by recording another show later. I need a rewriteable format for this (write-once would become very expensive, very quick).


DVD-RAM is ruled out by me immediately because just about nothing can play it. Yes JeffWld, you can buy a DVD-RAM capable player these days for next to nothing, but I'm not going to tell all my friends that they need to buy a new player - I want a format that works most of the existing installed player base.


That leaves me with DVD-RW and DVD+RW.


I've pretty much decided that DVD+RW will provide this ideal VCR replacement. The disks are now pretty cheap. They compatible with most players (all I've actually tried have worked). They have nice menus etc which are missing the compatibility mode of DVD-R/RW discs. I'll probably go with one of the new Sony recorders.
 

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First of all, I would like to say that I am a big fan of the Panny recorder line, and the DVD-RAM format in particular when it comes to time shifting TV programs. The time slip feature is great and the DVD-RAM format is very robust and well suited to basic editing and transferring to my PC for more sophisticated authoring to DVD-R (e.g., for generating custom menus and chapter stops which cannot be presently accomplished on the standalone recorders). The hard drive in the HS2 is a big plus as well allowing flexible on-board editing and dubbing to either DVD-RAM or DVD-R.. The few times that I "share" an off-the-air recorded program with friends or family, I prefer to use a cheap $0.69 DVD-R to ensure compatiblity and to alleviate the risk that my more expensive rewriteable media would get inadvertently damaged or mishandled while on loan. Frankly, I care most about features and compatibility with my equipment, than with my friends, because I'm the one whose going to watch 99% of what I'm going to record. It's also really no accident that the Panasonic DVD-RAM/R recorder line is the hottest selling consumer recorder line because of the features (including logical and useful flexible recording modes that make maximum and efficient use of disk space with minimal sacrifice in quality), reliability, and good playback PQ (with component out and progressive scan mode), all at a very attactive price point.


But I'm not here trying to "sell" the Panny line of recorders and the DVD-RAM format to those who plan to take the stand alone recorder plunge. In monitoring these discussions it has become apparent that many people unfamiliar with standalone DVD recording are making a mistake by giving short shrift to features and functionality and are instead disproportionately focusing on the DVD media type (+R, -R, +RW, -RW, -RAM) and judging compatiblity solely by their experience with burning such disks on a PC drive in the DVD-Video format. You guys really need to do your homework on this one. Note that from what I've read, it is not entirely clear what mode (i.e., DVD-Video or DVD-VR mode) the non-DVD-RAM set top recorders are using when burning to rewriteable -RW/+RW media. In order to facilitate non-linear editing features and time slip type recording modes, these recorders appear to be using DVD-VR mode when burning to rewriteable media (just like the Panasonics do today when writing to DVD-RAM). If this is the case, and the mode is not user selectable to DVD-Video mode instead of DVD-VR mode when writing to rewriteable media, it doesn't matter what rewriteable media format you use (-rw, +rw, -ram), because most standalone DVD players are not compatible with DVD-VR mode. Bottom line is you are likely left with the same compatibility issue with -RW and +RW that you are afraid of having with DVD-RAM. Besides -RW,+RW is significantly less compatible with standalone players than the less expensive DVD-R and DVD+R media.


Finally, the Panasonics are out there now on their fifth generation and they've pretty much worked the bugs out with their 2003 line of recorders, including a black level calibration issue. Let us know when you can get your hands on the 2003 Sony and Pioneer models - so far they are just vaporware. I'm stearing clear of Philips, because of quality control and reliability issues well documented on this and other forums. I also find it curious that Sony's offering will record to DVD+RW (in addition to DVD-R and DVD-RW) but not to DVD+R, hmmm, whats that all about?


Just wanted to let you know that there's more to think about when considering standalone DVD recorders than media format. Make sure you do your homework and keep asking questions. Good luck.


Vic
 

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You indicate that you'd use DVD-R if you were going to loan the disc to friends. I'd like to be able to record all sorts of stuff, and not have to plan up front that 'this will be a disc I will loan out - therfore it must be on DVD-R'.


DVD+RW use the +VR format for writing to disc. This format is always compatible with (most) set top players. With DVD+RW you dont need to decide up front whether you're writing a "compatible" disc. As far as I know, its the only format that also gives you the cool disc menus whilst still being compatible.


Dont get me wrong I think the Panasonic recorders are also great, but I want a rewritable format that is compatible with the large installed based of DVD players. I want to use it like my VCR. Iwant to record lots of programs, and maybe lend the occasional disc out to friends if they missed a show.
 

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I have the HS2 and love it. I would strongly consider a recorder with a hard drive in it to facilitate use as a vcr - which is my primarly use.
 

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Quote:
This format [+VR] is always compatible with (most) set top players.
Huh? You seem to be contradicting yourself within the same sentence. Anyway, I may be wrong, but I thought DVD-Video format was compatible with most set top players, but certainly not DVD-VR or DVD+VR format. What players (other than your recorder) have you found that support the DVD+VR format?


Vic
 

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Every recorder I've tried supports +VR. The +VR lays data out on disc in exactly the same way as the DVD-Video format, so in effect its supposed to always be compatible. The four DVD players I have in the house all work with +VR, as do every friend I've tried. The players I have in my house are - xbox, old old Panasonic A350, laptop with toshiba dvd drive and lastly a Pioneer DV525.


In practice, other things such as difference in surface reflectivity can cause a player to not be able to physically read the data off the disc. This is why I bracketed "most" in my previous post.
 

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> You indicate that you'd use DVD-R if you were going to loan the disc to friends. I'd like to be able to record all sorts of stuff, and not have to plan up front that 'this will be a disc I will loan out - therfore it must be on DVD-R'.


My solution for this is to buy a Panasonic DVD-RAM *player* for $85 (on sale) at Best Buy -- if I have something recorded onto DVD-RAM that I want to save or loan out, I'll simply use that player to dub the program onto a DVD-R disk.


As for using either the DVD-RW or DVD+RW format for loaning out programs to friends -- that remains pretty iffy. A test last year showed somewhere around 50% compatability of rewriteable media (either +RW or -RW) with existing players. Older players tended to be the least compatible, newer players the most. In other words -- if the recipient has an older player, they will probably not be able to play a +/-RW disc.
 

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I could just have been lucky, but DVD+RW has worked in every player I've tried. A quick seach of the dvdrhelp database shows that 72% of players will play DVD+RW discs (sample size 742 models). Thats pretty good odds for rewriteable media.


I still think DVD+RW seems to most closely match my described use. Yes, I could dub the DVD-RAM recording off to a DVD-R disc, but I've then wasted both my time doing it and the cost of another disc.


If someone really wants one of my recordings that doesn't work on their player, I still have the option of dubbing a DVD+RW disc off to DVD+R for extra compatibiliy. At least I wont need to do this every time a friend wants to borrow a recording.
 

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You might want to wait a little bit longer. In a couple of months Pioneer has two new recorders coming out, one with a builtin hard drive. The SRPs are about what current units are streeting at.


This fall Philips is supposed to have a recorder that will record 5.1 audio.
 

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I'll give you a couple of reasons I just converted to Pannys:

DVD-R/RW is less expensive than +R/RW

DVD-R/RW is more compatible than +R/RW (CPU Magazine just showed the stats on this and the -R format is the most compatible)

How can you argue with cheaper and more compatible?


The bonus of DVD-RAM ability on the Panny lets me use the disks as a perfect backup medium. DVD-RAM is far superior on a PC for backups and other repetitive uses.


The user ratings of the Panny recorders are much, much better than the Pioneer and Philips recorders. To top that off, the brand new Panasonic DMR-E50 recorder is only $399 at Etronics. No contest.
 

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graemeb,


Can you clear something up for me? Your previous posts indicate that you do not yet have a DVD+RW stand alone recorder (you said you were considering getting the sony). Yet you say you have found that the DVD+VR format recorded to DVD+RW has been compatible with all your players. Do you have any experience burning DVD+RW to the +VR format using a stand alone recorder or are you doing this on your PC using a Sony or other PC DVD+VR burner? If it's the latter, what software are you using? You may want to make sure you test your theory on an actual stand alone recorder before you buy to make sure that a standalone DVD+VR recorded disk is as compatible as the disks you've been making using your PC burner.
 

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johncihak, do the panasonic recorders do -RW aswell as -R/RAM?


I think this is very little in the price and compatibility arguments these days. DVD+R/RW media actually seems cheaper in my part of the world. DVD-RAM is certainly the most expensive media.


I've forever seeing conflicting reports on which is the most compatible format. Even Pioneer's report on compatibility claims DVD+R and DVD-R are equal with DVD+RW being slightly more compatible that DVD-RW (see http://www.extremetech.com/article2/...,559145,00.asp ).


Personally, I think DVD-R and DVD+R are about equal, with maybe a 1 - 2% advantage to DVD-R. I also think DVD+RW is a few percent ahead of DVD-RW. I think both are good formats.


I also think DVD-RAM is a good format, based on a design that didn't attempt to be compatible with existing players. Unfortunately this rules it out in my book.
 

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The Panny's don't do RW, just -R and -RAM.


In time all of these differences won't be such an issue.


I've never heard of +VR. Is this a new Philips marketing phrase for +RW? Its very misleading. +RW is nothing more than the +R file format on an erasable disc, with all the benefits rewriting gives it. Thats why +RW is more compatible than -RW.


Also keep in mind that only Philips is really support +R/+RW and it isn't recognized by the DVD Forum. Sony can't make up their mind what they want to use. They started out with -RW, went to +RW, and are now back to -RW. I'd give them some time to figure out what they really want.


DVD-RAM and DVD-RW use the same file format, DVD-VR, but different physical (disc) formats. In my experience, any of the Panny players/recorders that will read DVD-RAM discs will also read DVD-RW discs. I've taken that a bit farther by copying -RAM and -RW contents to -R media and they all playback in Panasonic players (RP91, LA95, etc) but not on their recorders. For some reason the recorders look at the disc to determine play type and their players look at the file type.
 

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mrwilson,


Thanks for chiming in. I know you have experience with both Pioneer and Panasonic and know first-hand how the DVD-VR format behaves with both DVD-RAM and DVD-RW formats. I was definitely confused by graemeb's descriptions of the +VR format, plus it is not entirely clear he even owns a stand alone DVD recorder.


Hopefully, Pioneer can get its act together and get those hard drive/DVD Recorder combos we've been hearing about out on the shelves. And since they appear to have a superior hardware mpeg2 encoder, even compared to the Panasonics, they could really turn out to be a force provided they figure out a competitive price point. Sony is not far behind and with its willingness to straddle the fence +/-RW fence (but not DVD-RAM) and announcement of a Blue Ray prototype, my cause Pioneer and Philips to be left behind in the dust of the burgeoning stand alone DVD recorder market. Panasonic appears to be the only guy that is getting a variety of DVD recorders on the shelves at decent prices and this, along with their sub $90 DVD players (S31) that support DVD-RAM, may allow DVD-RAM to get a foothold for time shifters. Personally, I think Panasonic blew it when they did not mandate that 100% of their consumer Panasonic DVD players should support DVD-RAM playback way back in 2001 when they released the DMR-E10 recorder.


Vic
 
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