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Buying new DVD Recorder.

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Bullman, Jun 4, 2003.

  1. Bullman

    Bullman
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    Hi everyone,

    As I'm new to the board I was wondering if anyone could give me any info about which DVD Recorder will give to me the best playback picture (most SHARPEST) when I record off the T.V. (I have Telewest cable). I have a Philips DVDR 980 (the old one, as I've been told) and although the playback picture is very reasonable I do feel I could get a better picture. It's really a straight race I think, between a Philips 890 (or 880) or a Panasonic 50/30?. (I don't know any more recordable machines)
    I would appreciate it if anyone could point me in the right direction on this subject.
    Many thanks to you all.
    :confused:
     
  2. Bogside

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    I think the ones in that range are all very similar standards. (I have the Panny E30 and have no complaints at high recording levels).

    The Pioneer models I think have got slightly better picture performance but they're an extra £500.
     
  3. malcom

    malcom
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    Only one choice in my book and that's the Panny......
     
  4. calscot

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    Bullman,

    Prepare for the onslaught of posts from Panasonic owners who'll say the Panny is fantastic and the Philips is rubbish, tell you about FR, VBR, chasing playback etc but won't actually answer your question.

    I think you need a couple of demo machines...

    I have the Philips and have no complaints about recording quality up to SP+ (2.5 hrs) mode.

    Cheers,
    Cal.
     
  5. Bogside

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    I want to defend Panny owners. I'm an owner but answered the question by suggesting that if he wants the best PQ (which is what Bullman is after) he actually consider the Pioneer range.

    You obviously have a large chip on your shoulder over the Philips.
     
  6. captaindobie

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    All of the above was rather entertaining.
    However, back to your original question.
    Answer : Get a Panasonic! Tee Hee...
     
  7. menalaus

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    if your just using it for bog standard tv recording then have you considerd Sky+ or the like? i have an 880 and if it wasnt for the fact i use it to transfer digital video of the kids onto DVD i would have sold it months ago. For £350/400 id like to have better audio and video playback and alot better output options round the back. As for PQ its only going to be as good as the source.

    if i was you i would wait until later in the year. the market will be awash with entry level recorders at better value.
     
  8. bobbles

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    IMO you should wait until the TOSH and other new machines arrive

    the tosh looks fantastic
     
  9. Bullman

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    Many thanks to everyone. I will take the advise of Bobbles and wait (but my son has just rung me and said he's got the Panasonic today and it looks good) All the best, Bullman.
     
  10. Rasczak

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    But the Panasonic IS the best option Calscot. I purchased (and still own) a Philips DVDR 1000 (the original model) which was a faultless, reliable piece of kit that gave top picture quality in XP mode. However for anything longer than one hour the quality difference between the DVD+RW and DVD-RAM players becomes quite noticeable. The simple fact is a 32k buffer does not cut it for variable bitrate buffering which is what the Philips DVDRs offer (as opposed to 2MB on the Panasonics/4MB on the JVC).

    At the moment there is only one set-top Pioneer DVD-RW recorder available in the UK and it is outdated - it's the same generation as the Panasonic E20! You will never get top picture quality with it as it does not have RGB in. I have no doubt however that Pioneer's rumoured upcoming recorders may be top line though.

    It's very true that HDD/DVD Recorder combos are excellent pieces of kit and much more flexible than any standalone recorder. If your prepared to pay that little bit more you will have a MUCH more satisfying machine.
     
  11. calscot

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    It may be. But it seems to me it's advantages are in it's flexibility and perhaps reliability (although mine has a pretty good 5 year warranty and still cost less than it's rival), not outright picture quality which is the crux of the matter here. Why don't the magazines see so clearly that the Panny is so much better?

    In fact the reviews in the magazine gave the Philips FAR better objective measurements for things like video jitter, signal to noise ratio etc, it scored excellent where the Panny scored average. This swung the decision for me in trying vainly to find a reason for choosing which one to buy (where were you when I was agonising over my choice?)

    Not only that but a direct comparison in a magazine put the Philips as having slightly better picture quality. It also comes out top in CD playback.

    The experts pretty much have it as a draw between the two, each having its pros and cons, and usually give both 5 stars out of 5. My point was that a high proportion of Panny owners would give Panny is 5 stars and the Philips one or two if it's lucky -probably less as it's very likely to self destruct within a week... :rolleyes:

    How can I have a chip on my shoulder when I almost had to toss a coin between the two and on hindsight sometimes get worried that I made the wrong choice? You don't need to have a chip to find the silly propaganda war from Panny owners very unhelpful to people trying to make an informed decision.

    Cheers,
    Cal.
     
  12. Bogside

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    Sorry Cal. It was me who said that and I apolgise if I caused offence. It was just that in a thread on picture quality you made an assumption that Panny owners would hijack it by trashing the Philips which I thought was unfair.

    When I made my purchase decision I thought picture quality almost identical between the two so it came down an argument over compatability (Philips) or flexiblity (Panasonic).
     
  13. Rasczak

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    Certainly between the original Philips DVDR1000 and the, slightly later, Panasonic E20 there was little argument that the E20 held the upper hand (which is why I purchased one after having already 'invested' in the Philips). Likewise when the Pioneer came alone. However the DVD+RW machines have one, great, redeeming feature - Price. Philips drove down the price (for which we should all be greatful). Even now Philips have the cheapest DVD Recorders on the UK market which is what drags there score up. The 880 and 890 for instance were both rated 5/5 although they bore the same features as the other models which weren't rated quite so highly. Compatibility was also a key point in favour of DVD+RW - originally it was supposed to triumph over DVD-RW because of that. It is only now that we are realising that isn't upto what was promised (who remembers Philips claiming it would work with 90% of existing players!).

    Additionally ANY DVD Recorder is a serious step up from VHS so ALL score 4.5-5 out of 5 which doesn't leave much scope for a 'better' format to become evident! When I got my original Philips DVD Recorder I couldn't believe how fantastic it was compared to SVHS - it was real revelation. Upgrading to the E20 when that came along wasn't such a leap but still was significantly better simply because of using the optimium bitrate when using FR. Even in XP mode (where the PQ is, unsurprisingly, identical the RAM as the advantage as it uses PCM audio (also used in FR recordings upto around 90 minutes).

    For your average non-home cinema type, DVD+RW is a reasonable choice provided they are not worried about arching and who doesn't want timeslip/chasing playback the going for a cheap Philips is quite a good idea.

    This data is somewhat irrelevant for budget machines like the 890/E50. The Lab Reports are just that - set in a Lab and not 'real world'. The machines do not have the build quality, i.e. in metal with high quality components, to really make a difference. You would notice a difference with machines like the Philips DVDR1000, Panasonic E20, Philips DVDR1000 MkII, JVC HMVDR10 and original Pioneer machines as these were built like a tank.

    In addition the quality of the cabling between the player and the TV as well as the build quality and video processing of the TV. For instance an extremely high quality DVD player will suffer if connected to a 'high processing' TV such as Philips whereas that set will work wonders on an 'average' set. A high quality DVD player on the other hand will look best when connected to a Projector or a high end set from say Toshiba (who tend to go for the 'as is' look). Thats not to say an 'excellent' is the best - it clearly is. But just be aware the issue isn't that clear cut.
     
  14. calscot

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    I agree, that pure spec numbers are not always vindicated in subjective usage but you do tend to subconsciously detect when something is lacking in quality, especially over a long period of time. You might initially think that your budget DVD is great but after a year or so you might want to think about upgrading to something with say a better DAC as you instinctively know the picture could be better...

    The relevance to me is that I had to build a big pros and cons list for the 880 and E30 as I was so confused about what to buy. So I used every bit of information I could find.

    Here's a couple of reviews from What Video that held great sway in my decision. philips panny


    And here's some quotes from the test data:

    test - phillips - panny
    video jitter - excellent - v. good
    signal to noise - v. good - average
    Chroma am/pm - ex/ex - ex/vg
    Digital deviation - vg - ave

    The rest were even steven.

    Here's some quotes:

    Philips:
    "First off, RGB recordings made from a digital set-top box in HQ mode are phenomenal. In SP (and SP+), the increase in MPEG artefacts is so slight you need to really concentrate to see them."

    Panny:
    Picture quality is superb. In XP mode you get a stunningly detailed and rock-steady picture - especially through the RGB input. In SP, the quality drop is imperceptible. "

    I'd say a draw there.

    Philips:
    "Prerecorded DVD playback is also exemplary, allaying any fears that the quality of decoding doesn't match the encoding. ...expensive-looking sheen...avoids nasties of any kind."

    Panny:
    "As a DVD player, the DMR-E30 gives similar results to a decent midrange player. ...shade and hue handled well...Finer picture detail conveyed well"

    Another draw.

    Philips:
    "CD playback and two-channel movie output is excellent"

    Panny:
    "Audio CDs and two-channel DVDs also sound reasonable"

    Clear plus for Philips.

    Both:
    "The main difference between these Philips machines and the £550 Panasonic is that ...(skip eroneous media pricing bit)... DVD+RW discs are compatible with most DVD-Video players. Finally, initialising and recording is a much quicker process with +RW than RAM."

    Other big pluses for philips were:
    price: cheaper to start with and I got mine from richer sounds who beat the cheapest internet price by a tenner.

    warranty: I took out a 5 year swap out warranty for £60 which is refunded at the end if you don't use it. The total was still about £40 less than the cheapest panny price.

    Free multi region:
    Mine was mr out of the box, at the time you had to get the Panny chipped at about £50 making the Philips much cheaper.

    Compatability.

    Price of rewritable media.

    The pluses for the Panny were MD like flexibility, chasing playback, record and play simultaneously, FR mode, editing features.

    So basically both have strengths and weaknesses which makes it a close run thing. I think you have to decide what is more important to you. You pays your money and takes your choice...

    In the last six months the playing field has changed a bit:
    Price with MR is closer now, RAM disks are a bit cheaper, +RW isn't as compatible as first thought and Philips reliability teething troubles came to light.

    Other things that came to light like variable bit rate and longevity of media which may give the Panny a very slight lead now and if I was buying today, my decision may have been different. I'd still be agonising though...

    Cheers,
    Cal.
     
  15. thfccambs

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    After owning my philips since january its now of to belguim to get repaired.Just came up with NO DISK,so will be without it for about 6 weeks.Avoid philips and bo for a Panny i wish i had.
     
  16. ilscuro

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    The belief that +r is more compatible with standalone dvd players is a myth.
    I used to own a Sony +r Recorder and the films i did would not work on 50 percent of my friends standalones!
    I switched to a Pioneer -r writer and ive not had 1 film returned.

    Also if +r is the way forward why is it that at my local computer fair 99 percent of blank dvd recorders and disks are -r format?

    I dont have any axe to grind but in the real world -r is king:p
     
  17. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    so how do people rate the Philips 1000 nowdays, when I first saw it I thought it was excellent
     
  18. PhilipL

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    Not a belief or myth, just very dubious marketing! Lets face it, even the term "plus" is a marketing word. People who believe this sort of marketing are the same people that really think DFS have a special sale on ending this weekend and want to sell you sofa's and not credit agreements :)

    Regards

    Philip
     
  19. Chrissywis

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    My understanding is that + rw is more compatible than -rw, but +r is less compatible than -r. I think Philips originally hoped to make their +rw recorders write to -r, but when they couldn't they had to come up with a new write once standard fairly quickly, and it shows.
     
  20. PhilipL

    PhilipL
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    Depends, recording like for like, +RW and DVD-RW are as good as the same. DVD-RW recorded in a set-top recorder isn't very compatible as it uses a newer real-time recording system to provide realibility and features over compatibility. This has nothing to do with the type of format, just how each manufacturer has decided to use it.

    Again recorded like for like they are the same. Yes some find one doesn't work and the other does, but overall the percentages for compatibility are not different enough to warrant making a decision to buy one over the other, unless you already know only one format works in your player.

    They never actually imagined people would ever want a write-once DVD disc. It was never originally in their plan to offer a write-once disc at all. It was only by the time +RW was ready for the market (after around 2 years of product announcments!) that they realised they had it wrong due to DVD-R and Pioneer writers flying of the shelves.

    So to encourage sales of their +RW only PC writers the RW Alliance (Philips) told people they could upgrade by firmware to write to +R discs once the spec was finished. This was a big lie and never happened, and a class action lawsuit was taken out against HP due to this.

    Philips wouldn't support DVD-R as it was too popular. If people only bought one or two +RW discs then used DVD-R all the time in their writers it would defeat the point of launching a competing format, i.e. a format they owned the patents in and could get royalities for. DVD-R (like DVD-RW) would see the money going mainly to Pioneer and Sharp, so they had to use the same patents in the a write-once disc and called it +R.

    Regards

    Philip
     
  21. calscot

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    Sounds to me like Philips are trouncing everone with their marketing team. Panasonic seem to have been incredibly complacent in that department.

    All the latter needed to do was price match the Philips, make it multi region hackable by remote, make it easily available eg selling shedloads to Richer Sounds, sold much cheaper RAM discs and properly educated people as to it's advantages. They could also have given it progressive scan which for me would have made it a no brainer.

    (I almost went straight out and bought one as I read it was progressive scan despite the price difference. I was pretty annoyed when I found out it was only the american version, why sell us short here?)

    If Panasonic had done the above, the Philips would probably have been a dead duck.

    As to write once media, I think Philips have got it right again, why would your average Joe Public want anything other than reasonably cheap rewritable media? People are used to having that on their VCR and recycling is very definitely in fashion. Also psychologically most people don't like having just one shot at something and most people want to time shift, not archive.

    Philips have pretty much given the market what it wanted - a reasonably priced, easy to use, next generation (digital) video recorder/player for the masses that's a vast step up from VHS but mimics it in many ways which makes it easy to understand.

    Panasonic have instead, naively gone for the niche market of technophiles and computer geeks (who else would understand things like VBR, FR, write once discs etc?). Then there's Pioneer and Sony, who seem to be targeting rich videophiles.

    I think there are two golden rules to be learned:

    1. Never underestimate the importance of price to consumers.
    2. Never overestimate the average consumers ability/motivation to understand the technical stuff.

    Cheers,
    Cal.
     
  22. aaronjon

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    i`ve read this thread with pleasure, but i think a major point has been missed, if anyone believes for one moment that philips produced a cheap recorder for the masses is not living in the real world.
    competition alone has forced thier prices down, and competing with a superior m/c has forced them down even more.
    this year is an exiting time for recorders, philips won the audio recording war, where every blank disc manufacturer has to pay them royalties for each disc they make/sell (because they have the patent). now they dont have the patent on minus write once or ram discs, so they will have to compete with m/c`s, and if thier tv track record is anything to go by then it will place them mid to low range (imho).
    but the consumer should benefit with a decent recorder ~£200 before chrimbo. (what ever brand).
     

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