Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by modeus, Sep 2, 2003.
As per topic title.
The E50 is available for around £260 now and will do what you require as well as any other DVD recorder given it has Variable Bitrate and Flexible Record making it ideal for recording from noisy sources such as VHS.
Debatable. All the new budget models are still looking to be at least £50-£100 more expensive than the E50. Until reviewed we won't know how they compare although I would suggest they will find it hard to better the E50 PQ especially from a composite source. The reason for waiting would be the features of the new machines, e.g. if you want PAL progressive wait for the JVC.
From a features point of view they are all (bar the Philips models) of a muchness, e.g. they all have Timeslip, they all allow partial editting (on RAM disks for Panasonic/Toshiba/JVC or -RW for Pioneer) and all record to the universally compatible DVD-R.
Firewire (if you have a digital camcorder) is on all the models bar the E50 (hence the cheap price). If that is a factor you may want to wait for the JVC or Pioneer models or maybe consider the E60 (essentially the E50 with Firewire).
JVC and Panasonic make by far the best VCRs at the moment. I would go for a JVC as these tend to be a little cheaper. 'Top Notch' is a relative term in that you pay for the features you want but basic playback quality tends to be a bit of muchness between the models in the JVC range. If you try hard enough you can buy a VHS machine that costs more than the E50 DVDR!
I should point out all DVD-RAM and DVD-RW models have VBR and all have some form of Flexible Record - in JVC and Pioneer's case it is around 32 settings and in Toshiba/Panasonic's case it is a case of entering the length of the recording and the bitrate being adapted to suit.
For that last question try this forum TiVo, Sky+ and other video recorders & media
I personally prefer the Panasonic VHS recorders, but JVC seem to get good reviews.
As I understand it from the reviews the playback/recording quality between JVC and Panasonic VCRs are much of a muchness. The only difference it the Panasonics have had some thought put into the design and cost a little bit more whereas the JVC models look like boring boxes but are a little cheaper.
IMHO AV equipment is supposed to look awful...
Sorry this isn't an answer but my interest in buying a DVD recorder is the same as yours, archiving old precious video tapes.
A question I would like to add (if i may) is...
Would you still lose a gen when recording from VHS to DVD, even at it's highest recording quality setting?
In my experience with analogue VHS, SVHS and Hi8 you always lose quality (a generation) when copying from one to the other, even an s-video to s-video signal, you always lose something.
But VHS or SVHS to DVD (via an s-video signal) is new ground for me but I would have thought the analogue 'generation game' still applies?
There is a slight drop in quality but it is nowhere as near as bad as going from (S)VHS to (S)VHS. It's hard to compare like for like when you look at the analogue picture of VHS and then the digital recording (especially as it's different machines) but I have to look very hard to find an appreciable loss of quality.
Use HQ leads, a good VCR and a decent DVDR and you'll get the best copy you can.
I think a good VCR will be important.
The maximum capacity on a recordable DVD is 4.7GB (there are no dual layer disks for example) - that's true for RAM, -RW, -R, +RW and +R. You can get 9.4GB DVD-RAM disks but these are essentially two 4.7GB disks stuck back to back, i.e. to use side 2 you must turn the disk over.
The recording bitrates of the machine are XP mode which uses the maximum allowed bitrate under the DVD-Video specification and fills the disk in 1 hour. SP mode, which is half XP, and fills the disk in 2 hrs and then the lower quality modes which give 4 and 6 hours respectively.
Flexible Recording allows you to enter any time between 60 minutes (up until which the machine is at it's maximum bitrate) and 360 minutes (when the machine is at it's lowest bitrate). The bitrate is then adjusted. So you can enter 3 hours and it will fit to a single DVD.
Personally, as VHS is a noisy source, I tend to archive under 2 hours to each DVD to enable a high bitrate to be used. But this is a matter of personnel choice so you would need to experiment to see what your happy with.
I bought the Panasonic E50 in order to archive old home video footage, and have had various levels of success.
Firstly, I have had a problem with Hi8 transfer to DVD (which I have previously posted). I have had all the equipment I use tested, and none are at fault, so I resigned myself to the fact that Hi8 and DVD do not mix too well - strange I know - but in my case true.
With regards to the drop in quality during transfer, Yes there is.. but its far better than any analogue transfer, and is more than acceptable. I have noticed that, even in XP mode, there is a fair bit of "blocking", especially with things like moving water. This is very annoying, as it is very visible and makes the whole process of archiving your footage onto a sturdy digital media, a bit pointless. VHS transfers fair much better, but considering the resolution is so much lower, this is hardly surprising. I would advise anyone, who is thinking of purchasing a DVD recorder to store home footage, to try before you buy. I should have done this, but did not. The E50 is a great machine at an even greater price, and I would not be without it. But it does not perform the main task that I bought it for without compromise.
Having worked for a major manufacturer of AV, I am still amazed at the second rate standard the UK consumer has to go for. When you see the technology that is available, then look at what we are drip fed - sometimes Ten/Fifteen years after development, it is shamefull. In thirty years of technical advancement the only thing we have really had to improve viewing is a measly 220 lines extra resolution - and 100 of those are not picture!!....but I stray from the point of the first posting. Having used this machine for the point in question......if you dont want tape....then there is no alternative, regardless of its foibles.
PS. Thanks to all members for advice given to my first posting.
If your running into problems have you tried a CopyMate? In instances where the recording does not transfer clearly you can use such a device to sit between the VCR and DVDR to provide stabilisation and colour control which ensures the recorder gets a good clear picture.
I have only found one necessary in a few instances but it will assist with SVHS and VHS transfers (especially if they are in poor condition):
It will certainly help if you want to back up commercial VHS releases.
A variety of cheaper devices (without S-Video input/output) are available at:
If you telephone either Keene or Lektropacks they will be able to provide advice on the best device for your needs.
Kevo. Transfering from VHS to DVD is a whole lot different to transfering from VHS to VHS. I have done loads in the past 18 months and quite frankly I prefer the copy to the original.
You will need extra ordinary eyesight to see a quality drop or deliberitly be looking for this and that instead of enjoying your recordings.
The DVD copies you make not only are fine resolution wise (VHS style ) But are rock solid when replayed. Unlike VHS. It is much more pleasurable to watch the copies than the originals so have no fear on that part.........What more can i say.Select a machine and enjoy the fruits...
There is a cheaper alternative you could buy a tv tuner card and a DVD writer total cost about £180 if you shop around
...and have the associated problems of dropped frame rates etc due to the fairly dire capture devices that are available. I have only seen one or two devices that are any good such as the upper end Happauge WinTV PVR 350 (RRP £100). Once you add the price of a DVD burner (£100) and any software to improve the dire 'boxed' versions (say £20) your only a couple of quid less than a standalone DVD recorder.
I used to use the PC capture process extensively and whilst I admit it's not as bad as it was one or two years back (when you had to design your PC ensuring ALL specifications from motherboard upwards were within parameters) it is still a hit or miss affair.
Now I find a set top DVD recorder is the ideal machine to do the analogue to digital conversion (which is where all the 'problems' can occur) and then author on the PC once the material is already in the digital domain.
Well I dunno I've had some great results with an avertv capture card for about £60 recording in mpeg 1 and 2 also WMV and AVI with no dropped frames at all . Picture quality is good 25 frames a second for UK pal standard
The TV tuner card option has its merits.
All the current ones do - the E50, E60, E70 and E100. I'm not sure about the HS2 - although the - picture quality is indistinguishable from E50 which would suggest that this too shares the same chip.
Can't answer this until we get reviews of the new Pioneers, JVC and Toshiba models. As things stand here and now though the answer to this is no.
Yep, I agree with you there.
if you are talking about transfering vhs to dvd then it is not going to make an awful lot of difference tbh because the vhs were recorded via a composite signal
I have no idea if transfering from a s-vhs will produce a better transfer mind you
as people have posted you could have transfered them all 4 months ago on an e50 with only a tiny drop in quality. It is not possible to improve on the pq of the vhs using any dvdr
can i ask why you bought a s-vhs when you were going to buy a dvdr
if you do not have sky+ i would recommend you go for the hs2 (or for an extra 200 the E100 with double the HD size) a HD is the perfect way to timeshift the hs2 will allow you to archive to -r
Now I'm confused....
You are now recommending the Pan E100 (and paying for a bigger HD!) as opposed the Pioneer/Tosh which you support in another post as well as questioning the extra 200 for the bigger HD!
FWIW, I have transferred several VHS tapes via s-video from a SVHS VCR to HDD to RAM (High Speed) to DVDR (via PC) and the finished DVDr looks identical to the original tape. The most I have ever recorded onto one DVDR is 95 mins using FR mode.
I have since cut out the HD and go straight from tape to RAM since my 'newbie' days!
sorry kevo my point was that from his post i was guessing he didn't have sky+
IMHO i think you should go for the panny unless your device can output s-video. I think the Pioneer and Tosh are much better machines if this is the case
I'm not anti panny i own an e30 which is a great player
EDIT - and I use an S35 as my main player which is a great stand alone dvd player
oh and the 200 for an extra 40Gb seems way OTT to me but he did say money was the least important criteria when choosing
yes but lets be honest this little extra on the bit rate isn't going to make any noticeable difference to the pq
you will probably find at a certain bit rate recording at a higher rate makes no difference when transfering vhs to dvd
fair point about the s-vhs I suppose you can sell on once you have transfered the vhs
have you decided on the dvdr yet? as you do not need the HD the 3100 make suit your needs
I've read elsewhere on this forum that a higher bit rate is needed for lower quality recordings like VHS.
yes that is true but there will a bit rate that produces a vhs transfer that the drop in quality is so negligible any higher bit rate is pointless. In paticular the difference between the highest possible bit rate on the HS2 to that of the Poineer would make no difference
transfering vhs to -r is not something I have done very often. I replaced any films I was bothered about with the dvd
as someone said it would be best to play around on RAM first to find the right bit rate
Using up to 2.25 hours on a dvd-r ,you would be very lucky to spot the difference in quality betweent the dvdr and your original tape.
2.25 hours is around about a bit rate of 5. So recording at 8 is pretty pointless
Although I'm not really that picky on quality i.e. so long as I can still watch it I'm happy, I am with Malcom on this one. I have archived just about all my old VHS material, some very precious to me, and without exception the copies onto -R discs are all first class recordings - better I think than the originals. I have the E30 and would recommend the Panasonic family of DVDR's to anyone.
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