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DVD-RAM or DVD-RW...choices...which is recommended?

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

  1. antz

    antz
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    Hi
    I'm planning on buying a HDD/DVD recorder.

    Which format would you recommend? DVD-RAM/-R or DVD-RW/ -R.

    Reliability is absolutely key! I've been down the Philips DVD + RW/+R route and was lucky enough to get a full refund on my 880 after countless problems.

    If the consensus is to follow the DVD RAM route then I have a choice between the Panasonic DMR-E100 (£750-£799) and the Toshiba RD-XS30 (£530-£599)....can anybody vouch for either model? The advantage here is that these are both readilly available.

    If however, the choice is DVD-RW, then I will have to wait for the Pioneer DVR-5100 at around the £700 mark...probably not available till late October / early November.

    Is it correct that the Pioneer and Toshiba do not have RGB In? Does this really matter.

    Finally, which is better....optical / co-axial digital audio outputs? The Panasonic and the Pioneer only have optical outputs.

    Any help is appreciated.

    Antz
     
  2. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Depends on you. To be honest with a HDD (and the cheap price of DVD-R media) it doesn't matter that much. You'll record everything onto the HDD initially and then copy to media for stuff you want to lend/archive.

    If you want to play timeshifted DVDs in an upstairs DVD player for example DVD-RW would be (alot) more likely to play than DVD-RAM (which only plays on brand new players from Panasonic, Toshiba, JVC etc). So that may be a factor for you. For lending stuff to your mates or archiving then you would want to use DVD-R anyway which will play almost anywhere.

    With regard to HDD/DVDR combos you have the choice of:
    - Panasonic HS2 (around £550) DVD-RAM/-R
    - Panasonic E100 (around £800) DVD-RAM/-R
    - Pioneer 5100 (around £700) DVD-RW/-R
    - Toshiba RX3 (around £530) DVD-RAM/-R

    Only the Panasonic models have RGB in - this is an issue if you record from Sky. But that said Sky+ (and several other boxes) have S-Video out and you can always get an RGB to S-Video converter. That said the RGB picture from Sky/Freeview is better than the S-Video one. You'll have to judge this one for yourself by comparing the pictures! But do note if you want a cheap RGB in HDD/DVDR combo the HS2 is still available.

    Co-axial is better - but again it is somewhat subjective.

    Sorry I can't be more definitive - to be honest if you go for anyone of these machines you'll be getting an excellent piece of kit and won't be disappointed.
     
  3. antz

    antz
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    Hi
    Have you any experience on reliability of the Panasonic models....I reallise it is probably too early to comment on the Toshiba and Pioneer.

    Is the lack of a co-axial digital audio a reason NOT to go with the Panny.

    I don't have Sky+, and have just cancelled my sky subscription to try cable out, so I suppose the lack of RGB in is not really an issue.

    Thanks again

    Antz
     
  4. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    All the firms listed have a track record of being reliable - so you shouldn't let this concern you. The Panasonic HS2/Toshiba RX3 have been around long enough to know if any defects exist. Pioneer is an excellent company and I have no doubt there products will be top notch. Philips has frequently had reliablity problems on products (have a look how many people have had problems with their TVs).

    I would say not - some people may disagree. I struggle to tell the difference personally but other swear it's a clear difference.

    Most cable boxes offer RGB out now and Freeview boxes certainly do should you go down that route. But as I say it all depends on what you want. Some people prefer the S-Video image to the RGB one. I would get you cable box installed, check out the picture based on various settings and then decide if RGB in is a factor for you.
     
  5. kenfowler3966

    kenfowler3966
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    There have been very few complaints of failure with the HS2, mine is nearly 11 months old and I am still amazed at its usefullness.

    Personally I use mine for time shifting and watch and delete programme storage, with archiving to -R I bought 3 -ram with the unit, one is still wrapped and the others are holding programmes I want to watch, never got around to, and not important to archive, so the -ram/-rw is a dead issue to me as I dont need to play temporary stored programs in other machines.

    I would recommend you retain a playback unit as well and allow the recorder to geton with recording, and leave the playback to a unit set up to suit your system. I use a toshiba with component out and optical link and even play back the archived -r's on it. This also allows the technically challenged and kids access to their dvd's when you are out. Indeed I don't allow my kids to use the hs2 at all.
     
  6. Rasczak

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    Yeah that's true. I think it's fair to say though that most of these (at least the ones reported on this forum) were damaged/faulty when purchased rather than flaked out into use. And we need to get things in proportion here; there have been a handful of reports of faulty HS2s, there have been thousands of reports of faulty Philips models.

    As an interesting aside Philip's last home grown video recording system, V2000, largely failed to get any market share over Beta or VHS due to reliability issues:
    http://www.staddiscombe.freeserve.co.uk/beta.html
    (scroll down to V2000 heading).
     
  7. phelings

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    Is the Pioneer HDD fully editable as the HS2,or is it like Sky+?Personally,I could not be without Sky+ .The HS2 is always busy recording and the Sky+ twin tuner is a real advantage that none of the listed recorders have.
    It's a real shame that the HS2 cannot record independently from different sources on HDD and DVD at the same time.Can any of them?
    I think the Pioneer -RW is best to go for when its out(if the HDD is up to Panny's standards).RAM will not play on other decks,and all its excellent editing features are catered for on the HDD.
     
  8. Rasczak

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    Yes - the units are very similar with regard functionality - which is hardly surprising as they both use VRO file format on the HDD (with a number of small, non-significant, protection measures).

    Not yet - this would obviously require two MPEG compression modules which would make everything more expensive. It's likely to be a feature when we start seeing DVI connections - how soon that will be is anyone's guess :rolleyes:

    It's not that clear cut! RGB in is obviously a factor for many but there are other little issues: MPEG4 record/playback, DVD-Audio playback, PC/SD Card readers on the Panny side versus highly compatible re-writeable media, DV Out on the Pioneer.
     
  9. nwgarratt

    nwgarratt
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    I have a question about the Panasonic HD recorders.

    If you have a recording on the hard disc can you copy the recording to the RAM or -R, and not move it.

    I have a friend who said it it always moves the recording to stop digital copies being made. I disagreed with him.
     
  10. phelings

    phelings
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    Not sure what you mean.Any recording on the HDD can be transferred to RAM or -R.
     
  11. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    If you make a recording to the HDD you can dub it to DVD-R or DVD-RAM as many times as you like, i.e. it COPIES the programme to the disk and the 'original' stays on the HDD until you delete it.

    The same applies to DVD-RAM recordings (which work in exactly the same way as the HDD). You dub to the HDD and the 'original' remains on the disk. You can thus dub backwards and forwards to and from the HDD and DVD-RAM disk. A high speed mode is included on all models for this purpose. This is useful if your not sure if you want to archive something - stick it on a RAM disk until you've decided.

    You CANNOT dub a recording on DVD-R back to the HDD for obvious copy protection reasons.
     
  12. phelings

    phelings
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    I see now.He thought it actually MOVED from HDD to DVD,rather than actually doing just a copy from the HDD
     
  13. nwgarratt

    nwgarratt
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    I was right, and my friend was wrong :D
     
  14. antz

    antz
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    Hi
    Thanks for the responses...I think I've narrowed my choice down to the Panny E-100 and the Toshiba.

    I favour the E-100 over the HS2 purely because of the extra storage. (question to self...is an extra 40GB storeage worth £200?)

    However, what will probably be my deciding factor is ease of use. I've read that the Panasonic menu system can be quite complex and take time to learn; whereas the Toshiba is user friendly and immensely simple.

    Don't mis-understand me....I'm no technophobe.....but is the Panny really that difficult to use? Is it true that my Grandmother would have mastered the Tosh?

    Thanks again

    Antz
     
  15. phelings

    phelings
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    I must admit the HS2 manual was a daunting read-I have not seen the Tosh.However,extra storage is not the only + of the E100.Fast copy to DVD-R,MPEG 4,and more.
    The Tosh has no RGB input-essential for Sky+,and it does not allow direct recording to DVD-R.Everything has to go to HDD first.Dependant on your use ,this could cost a lot of time
     
  16. Rasczak

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    It's not difficult to understand at all. I work away from home - sometimes for long periods - which means I rely on my Uncle to make recordings. Now he isn't the most technical person in the world - far from it - yet he learnt how to use it in just a couple of leasons. It's easy.

    As for the Toshiba I've only used it once or twice but from memory it was much of a muchness with the Panny. As Phelings points out you can't record directly to DVD-R on it (but you would rarely do this anyway on the Panny).

    Only you can answer that! 40GB gives around 7hrs at top qulaity mode (two nights viewing?) and can be supplemented by RAM disks for programmes which your are undecided if you want to archive or not. The Toshiba has a 60GB drive so can fit half as much again on the HDD.

    As you say the E100 has 80GB and, as Phelings points out, has several other bells and whistles that may, or may not, be of use to you now or in the future. If I was buying now, and money was no object, I'd buy the E100. If money was an object I'd consider the HS2 or the Toshiba if I was convinced I didn't need RGB in.
     
  17. phelings

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    All depends whether he has Sky+.If he has,then it has to be Panasonic.Movies from Sky+ would not need editing,so the need to transfer to HDD first(assuming the movie was to be archived)on the Toshiba,is simply wasting time doing something thats not needed on the Panny.And Sky+ benefits from RGB.Tosh advantages.I think its possible to thumbnail on a DVD-R menu.Rasczak,I cannot remember if the Tosh has any high speed HDD-DVD-R facilities.If it has,then with no Sky+ it could be a good bet
     
  18. Ishlin

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    It seems to me that with a HDD, -RW would be better than RAM. All editing can be done on the HDD anyway, so the greater functionality of RAM isn't needed. -RW is of course more compatible, and at least if you do as much time-shifting as I do (I've got VHS recordings meant for future viewing that are more than 10 years old now... :eek: ) the lower cost of -RW media is a real factor.

    The Pioneer 5100 looks perfect to me... or at least it would if it had RGB in. Sigh.
     
  19. antz

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    Thanks for the help and advice....I've opted for the Panny E-100.

    Last post before I buy one....can anybody recommend the best place on-line to buy from....I don't necessarily mean the cheapest either....value for money combined with excellent customer service...both pre and post purchase.

    If responses here are against forum rules please drop me a mail.

    Thank you all....once I've got it I'll try and post some form of layman's review.

    Antz
     
  20. phelings

    phelings
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    You are right.With the HDD,there is no need for RAM.The upcoming Pioneer should be very good.RAM is ok if you want to use a PC to do any editing or customising menus
     

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