Best DVD recorder (with or without HDD) for £350- £400

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Chandy, Oct 13, 2004.

  1. Chandy

    Chandy
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    as title,

    I am after my first dvdrecorder to back up vhs, tape from cable and terrestial - i am not fussy about + or - but not too sure about ram due to cost(so this may rule out panny - unless people can persuade me it is worth it!).

    want recorder to be multi region and a HDD would be a bonus but editing although nice is not essential (prob just use chapters and divide titles!) - dv in not needed

    main selling points will be reliability (dont want to waste money on ruined disks or player malfunctions!) and Picture quality

    ones I am considering are

    Toshiba RD-XS32
    Pioneer 420/220
    Panny E55/E85 (if go for RAM!)
    Sony (due to + and - formats)

    :thumbsup:
     
  2. kenfowler3966

    kenfowler3966
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    If you go for a hdd machine, itis irrelevant whether it uses ram or rw discs as you will never use them. -r is so cheap and compatible that anything you want to archive or lend to others may as well use it. Any temporary stuff will stay on the hdd until yoy have viewed it and deleted them. I have only ever used ram to store a few episodes of a series until I had the whole thing to burn to a -r and the hdd was getting too full to leave them on it for several weeks. I have never bought any more -ram than the 3 that came free with the machine when it was new, but have now used a large number of -r media. However at least 90% of the stuff that goes onto the hdd is for time shift purposes, mainly so I can start watching the program some time after it starts and hence whizz through all the ads, and then delete once viewed.
     
  3. eddyad

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    Read comments on this newsgroup about performance, plus and minus points and ease of use. Then download as many of the manuals as you can find and read them reasonably thoroughly. Then you'll know exaclty what you're going to have to deal with.

    I use a Pioneer 420 mainly as a VCR timeshift replacement. I may keep an occasional program on DVD. The 420 is easy to set up and use, and for one program I put on DVD it had nice editing facilities to 'top and tail' and delete commercial breaks.
     
  4. Chandy

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    good point about ram/-rw on HDD machines.

    about the panny, i have a panny tv and i have read some reviews/posts about how the q-link between panny tv and panny dvd player sometimes switches onto another channel for ten seconds when you end the recording (apparently you can get around this by putting scart in non rgb scocket)

    is this true and if so is it really that bad, as would def want to use rgb scart

    also another silly question - can you play -r on PS2?

    lastly, is the fan on the panny louder than the fan on a ps2?

    :lease:
     
  5. bobbles

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    I disagree with the RAM / RW point.

    I rarely use RAM. I have only really used it to high speed dub so I can watch something on my player in the gym (only very slightly quicker than -rw due to the finalising / unfinalising process). I also used it to store a few episodes of a tv series I was archiving when I missed an episode that wouldn't be repeated for ages (west wing)

    However, I have used -RW quite a lot when loaning recordings to friends. Saves wasting a -r, ok -r are relatively cheap but it is wasteful. I don't buy the cheapest around as I would like my recordings to play in a few years mind you.

    Without question go for a HDD you will regret it if you do not.

    I would recommend the XS32 it is a fantastic piece of kit.
     
  6. markie

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    Go for the pioneer 420 - great, easy to use machine. You won't regret it !
     
  7. Bob Todd

    Bob Todd
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    nah get the XS32 you get far more bang for your buck
     
  8. alicat

    alicat
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    I am in the same position. It is a toss up between:

    Toshiba XS 32 £399 (naff styling and media incompatability issues)
    Panasonic 85 £399 (nicest looking but no -RW)
    Pioneer 520 £419 (slim nice looking with DV output too)

    At the moment the Pioneer is winning
     
  9. bobbles

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    You can get them all for cheaper than that.

    I don't see what is wrong with the styling on the Tosh and I haven't had a single issue with media. In terms of what it can do the Tosh wins hands down.
     
  10. Ekko Star

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    :eek: You got a specsavers near where you live ???
     
  11. alicat

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    Yeah but when you see them all together on display the Tosh just don't do it for me (plus the remote is weird, semi circle rocker buttons??????.

    Granted the Tosh has optical and coaxial (which will mess me about with Sky+ and my JBL DD setup

    I have a 2 year old Philips 890 which I am upgrading, (and has bombed only once)

    I don't need RAM

    Where could I get a Pioneer 520 for less than £419?
     
  12. alicat

    alicat
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    Please enlighten me
     
  13. Ekko Star

    Ekko Star
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    Fair enough, beauty is in the eye of the beholder :thumbsup:

    But the range of current Panasonics has got to be the UGLIEST bits of equipment they have ever produced :eek:

    Out of those 3 I would say the best machine is the Tosh, but as they say the choice is yours.
     
  14. alicat

    alicat
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    Fair enough.
    Looks aren't the most important thing, but when you have had a Philips "Matchline" machine in your AV setup for 2 years it does make you think!

    The Panasonic 85 looks a sturdy, reliable and professional machine.

    Most important thing to me is picture & sound quality coupled with reliability. next comes the look.

    It has to be the Pioneer 520 :clap:
     
  15. Ekko Star

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    Panny is reliable and professional but maybe not as sturdy as it's predecessors. I feel it actually exudes 'cheap' build quality all round for what it is, though it has few reported problems. :)

    If picture quality is one of your criteria then the Pioneer is NOT a Progressive Scan player.

    Toss up between Panny and Tosh, with the Panny being the marginally better quality at recording due to superior mpeg encoders and the Tosh with the better playback.

    You pays your money and you takes your choice :thumbsup:
     
  16. alicat

    alicat
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    "the Pioneer is NOT a Progressive Scan player".

    Not a massive problem. only using it on a 28" Toshiba 50 Hz widescreen via RGB scart and am a long way off a Plasma or Projector
     
  17. bobbles

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    here for one

    520
     
  18. alicat

    alicat
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    Thanx.
     
  19. markie

    markie
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    I swapped the tosh for the pioneer - pioneer, in my opinion, wins hands down for ease of use, better remote, etc. Tosh is better if u like to tweak settings, but pioneer for everyday stuff is much easier.
     
  20. Ekko Star

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    Ease of use has to be Panasonic's, they really have got the system cornered.

    However, even coming from a Panasonic background I have found the Tosh interface to be a non issue.
     
  21. bobbles

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    there you go, the Pioneer is ideal for your mom or women in general. The tosh is better for people who understand how to use a remote :)
     
  22. eddyad

    eddyad
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    All remotes and on-screen systems should be designed with clarity and ease of use the primary factors - moms and women included! Human Factors are not always at the forefront of design, and not too much modern electronic gear does well. The Nokia 221 STB is, for me, an example of poor design.

    The Pioneer 420/520/720 interfaces are OK. A strong point of the on-screen menu displays is that almost every screen tells you what to do next and how to do it without having to go back to the manual. You sometimes get a little 'help' text as well. The handset is pretty good - somewhwere between the Toshiba and the Panasonic - no flaps and only a few dual purpose keys. Manual is reasonably good but its index is a bit weak. It's a good idea to get a download PDF which makes searching easy.

    The Toshiba has hordes of features and the manual and handset reflect this. Could be that all this makes it tricky to use for some people. On-screen displays sometimes look a bit busy. Remote has a fold-down flap and two rings of concentric contols. Manual comes in 3 sections - Install, Operate and Quick Reference. 'Operate' manual layout is good but rather heavy going. The manuals have no indexes at all (not in the downloads anyway).

    Panasonic manual not available online yet but handset looks commendably simple.
     
  23. bobbles

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    The toshiba manual isn't too bad. The Tosh takes a while to get used to it but I find it very easy to use.

    I would rather have the additional features than not because some people with less patience can not be bothered to learn how to use them.

    This is the reason the main sky+ interface is kept so incredibly simple.
     
  24. Ekko Star

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    Exactly, if you are paying the money anyway why not get the best spec'd kit for the price ?

    These are all highly technical bit of kit and are an age on from VCR's. However it's all common sense, the Tosh gives you on screen prompts anyway. I have hardly needed to refer to the manual since I've had it. You may later wish you had all the features this machine offers and the flexibility as well ;)

    Out of the 3 machines here the Pioneer is defo 3rd place. However, if it does what you want then fair enough, it's still a good machine but not as good as the other two that's all. :)
     
  25. Chandy

    Chandy
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    almost convinced myself to go for tosh mainly due to -rw and recommnedations (don't think I will use the editing too much but might surprise myself!)

    - but after reading some reviews on another site some people have said they have had trouble copying from HDD to DVD (didnt state if it was -r, -rw or ram of of it was at normal speed or high speed dub though) and that when they phoned toshiba they were told to buy very specific discs (which aren't cheap supposedly)

    can anyone confirm or deny this as I will copy to HDD 90% of time (when doing tv series) and then move to DVD so I need a player that will let me do that (even if can't high speed dub it and have to do it at normal speed)

    otherwise it will be panny for superior editing or pioneer for -rw

    sorry for long post!
     
  26. bobbles

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    yes of course the tosh can do that, that must be why 99% of people buy dvd recorders

    I have not had a single failed disc since I have had the XS32. My old panasonic was far more fussy.

    The majority of the problem stems from people buying an dvd recorder then buying the absolute cheapest -r available, which are crap and produce failures. The argument is if in a batch of 100 discs 10% fail they are still cheaper, however, for long time storage it is not a wise trade off.

    I buy mid range priced -r, if you do that you will not have any problems.

    With the discs I use it takes around 30-40 minutes to burn a full -r. The length of recording makes absolutely no difference it is how much space on the dvd you are taking up. 99% of recordings will obviously use up the whole space available.

    Edit - I bought 200 of the discs I am currently using, late Easter time. I have not had a single failure and only have 1 tub of 25 left. They cost around £18 per tub of 25 iirc. Since then the price of -r has dropped dramatically.
     

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