DVD-RAM vs DVD-RW(VR) - advise please

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GregAspland

Guest
I'm on the verge of entering the DVD recorder world, but don't know which format would best suit my needs. I only want to use the machine for recording analogue TV and playing back at other times - just like a VCR. I've found out that DVD-RAM and DVD-RW(VR) are the only modes that allow the discs to work like computer hard drives where deleting something frees space for new recordings. However, I don't know which of the two is better for me. Should I decide purely on the cost of the blanks, or is there more to it? I don't need to share discs with other people/machines.

A big thankyou in advance to anyone who can offer good advise.

Greg.

P.S. Models I'm considering are Sony RDR-GX210 and Panasonic DMR-ES10.
 
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HelenS

Guest
GregAspland said:
I'm on the verge of entering the DVD recorder world, but don't know which format would best suit my needs. I only want to use the machine for recording analogue TV and playing back at other times - just like a VCR. I've found out that DVD-RAM and DVD-RW(VR) are the only modes that allow the discs to work like computer hard drives where deleting something frees space for new recordings. However, I don't know which of the two is better for me. Should I decide purely on the cost of the blanks, or is there more to it? I don't need to share discs with other people/machines.

A big thankyou in advance to anyone who can offer good advise.

Greg.

P.S. Models I'm considering are Sony RDR-GX210 and Panasonic DMR-ES10.
I'm in the Panasonic camp myself, so used DVD-RAM (until I got a HDD Panasonic, the DMR-EH60D). The specs say that these can be rerecorded on 100,000 times (versus 1,000 times for DVD-RW and DVD+RW) and have better built-in error correction; on the other hand they are a bit dearer (and last year I suspect there was a faulty batch manufactured as I had a few momentary glitches from discs from a multipack of 5). That should no longer be an issue with current stock though.

Certainly DVD-RAM asks like a (very) low capacity HDD, just a bit slower when erasing. One thing I would say: I found I enjoyed using a DVD recorder so much, and settled on LP mode with my DMR-E55 (which meant 4 hours per disc) that I soon realised what I really needed was the full freedom this style of use can offer - an HDD recorder! I was starting to find DVD-only recording frustrating, waiting for the discs to load to check what was on them (I know I could have written it down, but I'm not that organised!), to find out if there was space to record (4 hours fills quickly!) and only being able to play back and record at the same time if the programme I wanted to play back was on the disc with enough space to record onto. So I would caution you to think about your style of use, and consider if pushing the boat out a little further for an HDD recorder may be worthwhile - you'd still have the DVD aspect in it too. Obviously a Panasonic or Sony one would cost more than their DVD-only recorders, but I noticed today that Pioneer's 433 is close to the price of the DVD-only Panny and Sony, and it uses DVD-RW (VR) - and the Toshiba XS34 (which uses DVD-RAM as well as other formats) isn't much more either. Mind you, it's not a huge price difference to the Panasonic EH50 and Sony HX510 either...
 
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1ka

Guest
The main difference between DVD-RAM and DVD-R/W is that when using DVD-RAM you can continually record, play, erase without having to re-format the disc. With DVD-R/W you can continue to record and play (unless you finalise the disc) until the disc is full. If you want to record something else, then you must erase the whole disc.

In essence, DVD-RAM acts like a hard disc, and is probably best if you envisage watching and then erasing stuff. Having said that, the capacity of both formats is relatively limited, your not going to get more than a couple of films on each disc, so the benefits of continually recording/erasing aren't going to be an issue.

Some other points, DVD-RAM cost 2-3x more, won't play in a standard DVD-player (so no recording stuff for your mates), will only play in a few PC DVD drives. They are useful for transferring stuff to a PC then using the PC to create a normal DVD, complete with fancy menus and the like. Some of the newer systems allow you to record to DVD-RAM whilst watching a previously recorded item on the same disc. I fairly certain you can't do this with DVD-R/W.

Finally, unless you are planning on keeping films long term, you may want to consider a plain hard-disc based system, with no DVD facility. There is more capacity (200GB now) which is good for 30+ films and there is no outlay for discs.

Karl.
 
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HelenS

Guest
What Karl says above about DVD-RW is correct for the "straight" version (well, linear, actually I suppose!) but DVD-RW (VR) which the original poster mentioned is a special mode specifically intended to offer similar functionality to DVD-RAM, subject to the slight differences I mentioned in my previous post. The downside is that it is less universally-compatible amongst other machines than the one it was recorded on, as not all players/recorders understand VR mode (though quite a few recent ones do). Mind you, I've never used it personally because my own recorder doesn't offer DVD-RW VR recording (being a DVD-RAM using Panasonic). However it CAN play VR mode DVD-RW discs, it says in the manual, if I remember correctly.
 

Rasczak

Distinguished Member
Models I'm considering are Sony RDR-GX210 and Panasonic DMR-ES10
Between these two models the Panasonic is by far the superior choice - not least as the Sony has an RGB problem on some models.

As for DVD-RAM v DVD-RW (VR Mode) there is minimal difference other than the fact that DVD-RAMs will potentially last approximately 100 times longer than DVD-RWs. DVD-RW (VR Mode) is readable in more PC drives (provided you acquire suitable software as Windows doesn't natively support it) but as DVD-RAM support is now increasing this is becoming more and more of a non-issue.

For your information the guide in my signature works for DVD-RAM or DVD-RW (VR Mode) although for the latter you will, as I say, need extra software.
 
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Scotty Lang

Guest
Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't DVD-RAM capable of a higher bit rate than any other DVD recording medium.
I remember on my old Panasonic, if you recorded to the hard drive, it recorded in a higher bit rate than standard DVD and this could be copied directly to a DVD-RAM.
I understood it was like recording in HQ+ on a Sony and the picture quaility certainly looked better than the highest quality setting on DVD-RW or DVD-R.
 

mobilenvidia

Standard Member
With DVD-RAM you can copy Wide screen recordings.
Any other DVD format will be Pan-scanned (the ends chopped off)

Panasonic are the only machines that can squeeze 4 hours full resolution video on to a DVD.
A big plus for me.
 

mtkite

Standard Member
mobilenvidia said:
With DVD-RAM you can copy Wide screen recordings.
Any other DVD format will be Pan-scanned (the ends chopped off)
Not true on most recorders that don't use DVD-RAM. The ES10 I had did this by design though, but the Sony I replaced it with does 16:9 or 4:3 on DVD-R/RW just fine. The features of the Sony when using VR mode match what the ES10 could do on RAM, it's just Panasonic's support of -R/-RW that is poor.

That said, I wouldn't go for the 210 unless you have SCART splitters or don't use RGB - the RGB from the input SCART is only passed through to the RGB of the TV SCART when the unit is on, not in standby.

mobilenvidia said:
Panasonic are the only machines that can squeeze 4 hours full resolution video on to a DVD.
A big plus for me.
That is true - another reason I went for a hard disk based recorder in the end ... That said, I found I didn't want to drop below SP on the Panasonic though, even on a 28" CRT TV ...

Martin
 
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illustrator

Guest
Nobody has mentioned that the "Timeslip" function only works with DVD-RAM & HDD. This is something I use daily so DVD-RW would be very frustrating.

I only have experience with Panasonic recorders so feel free to correct me on this
 

anna the dub

Active Member
illustrator said:
Nobody has mentioned that the "Timeslip" function only works with DVD-RAM & HDD. This is something I use daily so DVD-RW would be very frustrating.

I only have experience with Panasonic recorders so feel free to correct me on this
Afraid you are incorrect there. The Pioneer machines will allow you to timeslip on DVD-RW with the proviso that you use 2x discs (or 2x and 4x on the more recent machines). Discs are very cheap too. Saw a pack of 10 -RW 2x discs in Tesco recently for £2.99. Had to buy them (eventhough didn't need them) and they worked perfectly.

However, I agree with an earlier poster: if you can, get a HDD. They are a huge leap forward from just a recorder.
 
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GregAspland

Guest
Thanks to all who've contributed. I think I'll go with the Panasonic, then see how I end up using it. Maybe by the time the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD war has been fought, I'll go for an HDD/DVD recorder.

Note to manufacturers: All these formats make my brain hurt.
 

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