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Current "best buys" DVD/HDD/Freeview (pref with Guideplus)

hiwakey

Established Member
I've been looking at getting one of these machines but as there seem to be so many new'uns in the pipeline it's difficult to keep up.

I'm saying I want Guideplus (I have used it on other peoples machines) as an easy way of controlling the Sky Box but if there are other relatively easy ways of getting recordings without faffing about with 2 or 3 remote controls I will consider alternatives.

Panasonic EX75 seems to be very well regarded - at a price (£399 AVLand?) but doesn't (I think) have the Guideplus.
Tosh rd-85dt looks quite promising too.
Pioneers seem well regarded and do have all these features.

Just bought Hitachi 42PD7200 so need as good a PQ as I can get on such a big screen!!

Any suggestions or guidance through the minefield?
 
D

dancohen

Guest
I wonder what people think about the picture (and sound) quality of the Pioneer 540?

I was planning on buying one rather than the Panasonic (there is a slight difference in features) until I saw the recent review in What HiFi. They gave five stars to the Panasonic, but only three to the Pioneer. The reason was that they felt that on commercial DVDs, the image was rather soft and lacking in crispness. What Video, which gave the Pioneeer five stars, did mention the same issue but evidently did not regard it as of major importance.

At the moment I am dithering between the two.
 

nialli

Established Member
I've had my Panasonic EX-75 just a few days, but already it's blown me away with the picture quality and flexibility. Vastly superior to my retired Panny E-85.

You don't need Guide+ if you're recording from Freeview: the EX-75 has a good EPG that you can scroll through quickly either by timeslot or by channel, and simply select the prog you want to record. The problems I see with Guide+ are that (a) it picks its info from an analogue terrestrial signal, and they're turning those off in the next five years, and (b) when I used it on Comcast cable in the US it was awful - jittery, slow, and no options for quickly getting to a channel down the far end of the list. It may be better implemented over here, but given that the software is owned by a Murdoch company and they're hardly likely to develop it in competition to the likes of Sky+, I think it's a bit of a turkey.
 

HMHB

Distinguished Member
Does your EX-75 give a noticably better picture when recording from Sky ? I currently have the E85 and was wondering how they have progressed after this model.
 

nialli

Established Member
John

I don't have Sky, I have NTL cable.

Over the weekend I'm going to write a long-ish post on the improvements on the EX-75 over the E-85. First impressions are that they've changed a lot of the niggly things (eg you can now scroll down the Table view rather than having to flip through pages), have improved the PQ considerably (and I'm still using SCART rather than the HDMI) and start up is literally instant. Haven't burned any discs yet, but it appears that when you do, they give an estimate of the time to complete. On the downside, the remote looks a little cheaper (bigger, square buttons).

Look out for me full week one review next week.
 

hiwakey

Established Member
nialli said:
I've had my Panasonic EX-75 just a few days, but already it's blown me away with the picture quality and flexibility. Vastly superior to my retired Panny E-85.

You don't need Guide+ if you're recording from Freeview: the EX-75 has a good EPG that you can scroll through quickly either by timeslot or by channel, and simply select the prog you want to record. The problems I see with Guide+ are that (a) it picks its info from an analogue terrestrial signal, and they're turning those off in the next five years, and (b) when I used it on Comcast cable in the US it was awful - jittery, slow, and no options for quickly getting to a channel down the far end of the list. It may be better implemented over here, but given that the software is owned by a Murdoch company and they're hardly likely to develop it in competition to the likes of Sky+, I think it's a bit of a turkey.

Well Guideplus downloads from Eurosport also and, whilst I know you don't need G+ for the internal Freeviewtuner, it cuts out a heap of button shifting if the proggy I want to record is on Sky but not Freeview. I've tried it, it works, but there are some issues that other posts have covered. I needed to know whether there was another
 

nialli

Established Member
The EX-75's EPG lists Eurosport as it's one of the TopUp TV options. Given that the Panny doesn't have a CAD slot for TopUp, I'm not sure what happens if you set it to record a Eurosport programme.

The new Sony recorders have Guide+...but don't have Freeview tuners.
 

Dazzle

Standard Member
Like nialli - I've just got a EX75 and also have NTL Cable. I'm hoping to hook it up tomorrow, when I have some time off work.

I did have Guide Plus with my old (now kaput) Philips DVDR80 and it was a nightmare to use. The Guide wouldn't update frequently, and then all the channels would be lost. I had missed recordings using it also.

I'm looking forward the ease of use with my new Panasonic. :)
 

nialli

Established Member
I think you'll like the EX-75: I'm very impressed. The EPG's surprisingly fast, and it's a two-button process to 'book' a timer recording off the Freeview tuner. Very close to Sky+.

One concern I have is that the XP recording I made of this week's E4 Lost episode looked a bit dark. I think this was the episode itself (mostly shot at night with a handheld camera) but it could have been the Freeview tuner. I'll be watching it carefully with the Freeview recordings over the coming week to see if there's a quality difference between the Freeview feed and that from NTL. Mind you, NTL's E4 picture can be dodgy.

(Obviously I'm in New Toy Nirvana at the moment and I'll find something I hate about the box any second now...)
 

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