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Chosing a HDR just to replace VCR! Difficult to choose

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by LaTiNo, Aug 19, 2004.

  1. LaTiNo

    LaTiNo
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    Hi all! I've been reading your reviews and threads and altough I encountered a LOT of interesting and important information (DON'T BUY THE PHILIPS! :D ) I still can't find a few bits of information that I need to finally make a decision.

    I'm planning on buying a Harddiskrecorder to replace my current VCR. The primary use will be recording tv-shows. I record approximately 2 shows a day (sometimes more!!) and I'm fed up with looking for free space on videotapes and finding them back (I try to write everything down on paper).

    The DVDR use will be only to directly backup some movie from the DV or maybe record something IF the harddisk is full.
    I don't have satellite television, I don't have HDTV and don't have a progressive scan TV (although I want one soon! :)

    So the most important features for me would be (in order of importance):

    - an easy and FAST User-interface for programming the timer and to find your recorded shows back

    - being able to choose your own title/thumbnail for the recorded programs on Harddisk.
    I don't want the FIRST frame to be used as this will mostly be a commercial

    - A quick startup

    - a good, not to heavy and sturdy remote-control (I prefer Philips-RC's to Sony RC's)

    - playing JPG's and MP3's from DVD

    - low noise

    - being able to PLAY all DVD-formats

    I'm trying to choose between the Toshiba XS-32, the Pioneer 520 and the Panasonic E-85.
    Could somebody give me advice purely based on my expectations?
    At this moment I would like to go for the Toshiba because of the Progressive scan (for the future), the I-Link and the custom made thumbnails for the recorded programs. But the menu-speed and ease of use is lower than the other two. Or am I wrong? Also I couldn't find back if the Toshiba and the Panasonic support MP3/JPG. Does anybody also know what the startup times
    are for the Toshiba and the Pioneer. Any experiences with the remotes will be appreciated too! :)

    Thanks in Advance

    LaTiNo

    I've made a comparison table to compare the features, could somebody fill in the gaps for me?

    Pioneer 520 Toshiba XS-32 Panasonic DMRE-85
    Column 1 Column 2 Column 3 Column 4 Column 5 Column 6 Column 7
    0 [TR]
    1 Progressive Scan - + -
    2 [/TR]
    3 [TR]
    4 HD 80GB 80GB 80GB
    5 [/TR]
    6 [TR]
    7 I-link + + -
    8 [/TR]
    9 [TR]-R + + ??
    10 [/TR]
    11 [TR]+R - + ??
    12 [/TR]

    startuptime ?? ?? 20sec
    JPEG + ?? ??
    MP3 + ?? ??
    User Interface ***** *** *****
    Remote ***** ?? ??
    Component video - + -
    Timer ease-of-use ***** ?? ??
    fan noise low low low
    menu speed **** ?? **
    custom thumbnails - + +
    quickrec END TIME - + ??
    AUTO Power off - + ??
     
  2. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    :smashin: Your 90% of the way there to buying a Digital Recorder you'll be very happy with!

    HDD/DVDRs can take a while to startup: the workaround most people use for this is by leaving it on all the time. This has the benefit if you want to pause live TV etc.

    Generally speaking this shouldn't be a problem most will play most formats. The Toshiba RDXS32 will not read DVD+RW though. The Pioneer will not read DVD-RAM. How much of an 'issue' is either of these omissions? Probably not that significant unless you have lots of friends with DVD+RW or DVD-RAM recorders.

    Your going to be disappointed here: none will do that AFAIK.

    Your going to be disappointed there as well: IMHO they all come with cheap tacky remotes. Your best bet is to buy a new programmable model.

    This is highly subjective and you'll find two people with the same model where one says the fan sounds like a Hoover and the other who says he can't hear it.


    Having looked through your requirements perhaps something such as a Freeview PVR would suit you better with maybe a standalone DVDR for archiving? If you agree look at:
    - Panasonic TUCTH100
    - Pace Twin
    - Humax 8000
    You could couple this with a DVDR for archiving such as:
    - JVC DMR10
    - Panasonic E55
    - Pioneer 220
    We can look further at this route if you decide that it is an option for you.
     
  3. LaTiNo

    LaTiNo
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    Ummm, anybody know how to make a TABLE in a message? :blush:
     
  4. Dark Eyes

    Dark Eyes
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    I think the XS32 meets most of your criteria, although it doesn't seem to playback +RW or +R discs.

    I have found the start-up time to be very quick, probably about the same it takes my 29" TV to run up from power off.
    I have had no issue with fan noise and mine is just on a shelf below the TV, even the missus hasn't said anything.

    Although the Tosh has lots of options and menus, I have found you don't have to know about them to operate it as a basic HDD recorder and DVD player - I have even taught the missus how to use it and she is a real technophobe !

    Neither of us has found the Remote uncomfortable to use, although we haven't authored many discs yet.

    It does play JPEGs and MP3s although I find that part quite 'clunky' compared to DVD / DVDR playback.
     
  5. LaTiNo

    LaTiNo
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    Thanks for your quick reply! (I haven't even fixed my original message :cool: )

    This is not VERY important :)

    So none of the three is a bit 'less worse' than the others? :)

     
  6. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    I think we got it anyway ;) Just to point out though the Panasonic E85 does have component and progressive scan and plays/records to DVD-R (and plays most DVD+Rs).
     
  7. LaTiNo

    LaTiNo
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    Ah! That's great news. Was a major drawback compared to the toshiba!
    Could you confirm the possibility to choose your own frame for thumbnails?
     
  8. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    A fair point but with a HDD PVR timeshifter 99% of your recording would be done on that so you would hardly use the DVDR. Nevertheless point taken, I'll get back in my box and we'll discuss the three HDD/DVDRs you mentioned :)

    Out of the three Dark Eyes is correct to point out the benefits of the Toshiba RDXS32 - it's the all round best machine IMHO. The Panasonic has a slightly higher recording quality (plus DVD-Audio support and is more user friendly IMHO) but has significantly less authoring options when it comes to 'designing' the menus for your DVD-Rs. The Pioneer falls between the Panasonic and Toshiba failing to match the recording quality of the former or the features of the latter.
     
  9. OARDVD

    OARDVD
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    Yes the E85 will allow you to select a particular frame for a thumbnail image.
     
  10. LaTiNo

    LaTiNo
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    And how about the menu-speeds and the timer-abilities? Are there no lags of 1 or 2 seconds when walking through the recorded program-list? Can I program a show in under 1 minute on both the Toshiba and the Panasonic?

    I'm going for the Toshiba at this moment. Only problem is that it's difficult to find in Holland!
     
  11. liteswap

    liteswap
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    Have to say that after half and hour playing with the Toshiba, I found the user interface the easiest consumer electronics device to navigate that I've ever used (and I've been buying the things for the last 25 years!).
     
  12. LaTiNo

    LaTiNo
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  13. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Just note that is for European and not UK models. That said if your in Holland it is probably more useful ;) Menu speeds on the Panasonic and Toshiba are comparible in my experience. As for the Timer the Panasonic uses the same timer as on their VCRs.
     
  14. LaTiNo

    LaTiNo
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    And how are those? :D
    What's the big difference between the UK-models and the European models? Does the UK have Secam or NTSC or something like that?
     
  15. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    No big difference - minor differences here and there such as EPG support, models coming with HDMI, tuner types etc
     
  16. LaTiNo

    LaTiNo
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    HDMI??

    EPG rulez, The Philips has one. I just read a dutch personal review of the 720 and he is very happy with it. It almost makes me doubt about it. Is it really, REALLY that bad?

    I also found a Kiss Player, the DP-558, which is just to hit the market. It has a 80GB harddisk, progressive scan, plays EVERYTHING but has no DVD-recorder, it's a player only. It has a ETHERNET-connection though and you can play all your media-files (mp3's, wma, jpg, Divx etc) from another pc on your network.
    The TOP-feature is that it has support for a FREE internet-based EPG-service, even in Holland!
    More info: http://www.kiss-technology.com/files/brochures/DP-558.pdf
    It cost 649 euro's in Holland

    Anybody ever owned a Kiss? What do you guys thinks about this option? Could a B-brand be reliable?
     
  17. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    When have I ever said the Pioneer's were "bad" recorders - they are not - actually they are excellent. I merely commented that features-wise it doesn't shape up to the Toshiba and quality-wise it doesn't match up to the Panasonic. In Olympic terms it's a Bronze not a Gold but that doesn't mean it's not great.
     
  18. LaTiNo

    LaTiNo
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    Sorry, I was talking about the Philips 720 :blush: (which was getting a lot of bad reviews on a dutch consumersite)
     
  19. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Yes the Philips are that bad. Serious reliability issues aside they have no Flexible Record/Fit to Disk option, no Time Base Corrector, no timeslip/chasing playback, no playlists and very poor editting. Several members on this forum are ex-Philips owners (me and Phelings for example) and haven't really looked back. Indeed several current threads are from people discussing what recorder they want now they have dumped Philips - have a look here or here for current examples on the first page of this forum alone!
     

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