Best TV DVDR to support long term archiving of home video?


Active Member
Like many others on this forum my choice appears to be either the Panasonic E30 or Philips 880/890. However, having read literally hundreds of posts from numerous forums and newgroups it would seem my criteria is a little different to most. I'd appreciate some advice.

My principal reason for wanting a DVD recorder is to simply transfer my DV home video to a durable, reliable random access media. I am not concerned about fancy editing, but do want some control over the final product. I don't want to spend hours doing it via PC. My emphasis here is on "durable" and "reliable". From everything I have read it would seem -RAM best meets these requirements with its disc protecting caddy and error correction encoding. The cost of media is not a big issue as I won't need to buy many discs.

If this were my only consideration then the Panasonic is the obvious choice. However, the E30 does not have an i.LINK input, so I would have to use an analogue input. Also, it would seem that the E30 is harder to hack to support region 1 DVD's. This is not vital but is a nice to have. However I have heard the E30 is better built and more reliable than the Philips.

My question there is, how important is the lack of i.LINK input? I don't have a huge or expensive TV screen at present, but I may in the future. My objective is to have recordings that will look just as good in 30 years as they do now (albeit I will probably have had to transfer them to some new media by then), but I am tolerant of some visual imperfections.

As for the other differences, I have a Tivo so RAM's timeshifting is not that important. However I have also heard that the +RW format is more susceptible to accidental overwriting of previous recordings. Compatibility with other players is not important to me as I only intend to play back on the recorder.

In summary, the obvious choice for me seems to be the Panasonic E30. How significant do you think the lack of i.LINK is? Also are there any other factors I have overlooked?

Thanks in advance

Mark Bennett


Sounds like you want to do something similiar to me. I have litterly crates of VHS tapes of off air TV shows which I have been dillegently recording for 10+ years and I want them onto the DVD format for random access, durability and frankly size.

Having just moved these damned things weigh alot and take up a fair bit of space.

I think the ilink is handy only if you are shooting on DV and want to have raw backups of the tapes you have. Editing and us is still far better to keep them on the tapes themselves and connect to the PC/Mac for editing. Haven't seen any other ilink devices out there.

Which brings up the record mode question. For archiving of valuable footage I'd go to HQ or 1hr tape mode, general recording I'm going to stick to SP for 2hr and for dupe from VHS I'll do EP as that's the closest to the 3hr tape.

I'll do a test overnight with an old VHS to DVD+R and see how it comes out.

Anyone else have a prefered speed/record mode for various items?

I have a Philips 890 here for review and still aiming to get the E30.

Hope this helps.



Active Member
I don't attach any importance what so ever to the ilink isssue.
I have both the E20 and the E30. The E20 has ilink but I just cannot be bothered with it as the analogue route produces result that looks identicle to the original. Ok I use a 32" wide screen tv therfore cannot judge the difference that there might be if a larger screen was used.

Large is not always beautifull and screen sizes that relate to the room size is more important than going for bigger and bigger and bigger. I won't be going for anything larger than 32" so ilink is just not relavent to me and probably won't be any time in the future.

For archiving old VHS I would not consider any other format exept the RAM/DVD-R . The panny machines do a fantastic job of VHS archiving either RAM or DVD-R. Good luck. Malcom.


Active Member
Hi, just a couple of points that you may wish to think about. As you are wishing to keep your recordings for the long term I think that no format present at this time will be the one used in thirty years so I suggest that the firewire/ilink connection is probably the most important connection because if you have to copy again onto another format (e.g. blu-ray) you need the most picture/sound information that you can keep as to offset some of the copying losses. This is not to say wait for the next format because anther one will be along soon after that and nothing goes down hill faster that present day tape formats.

Think of what type of displays you will be using in 20 years almost certainly bigger than now (but much less bulk) which again points to as much information on the disc as possible. Also check each disc periodically for degradation as it does happen I think the British Library check every 3-5 years. This might seem a lot of phaffin about but if you think about it your old home movies will be even more important to you in 30 years time than now.


Active Member
Thanks for the replies so far.

I was given this link on another forum

Armoured standard discs, therefore compatibility and durability. If they support +R/RW then it looks like i'm going the Philips route as they also offer affordable inputs. However I note they only offer +R discs on their site, not +RW.

Apologies - yes they do offer +RW but it is tucked away on the Specs page. I hope they will offer armoured versions of +RW.

Does anyone know of any other quality brands offering armoured discs?

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