DVD recorder with HDD for about £400

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by akpak, Aug 24, 2004.

  1. akpak

    akpak
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    I'm new here and would be grateful for any advice. I'm looking to buy a DVD recorder with HDD, which in due course will replace my VCR. My main requirement is that is should be reliable and easy to use. I'm attracted by things like timseslip recording and simultaneous recording and playing, which is why I'm looking at HDDs.

    I have an ordinary CRT TV, and I don't have Sky. The only digital thing I would consider is a Freeview box if I ever live anywhere I can get a signal. I don't have a camcorder, and I don't plan to do any editing on the PC. The most editing that I'm likely to do is a modest amount of tidying things up as I copy them over from VHS to DVD.

    I thought it was going to be a choice between the Panasonic DMR-E85H and the Toshiba RD-XS32, and while the Toshiba is a bit cheaper, I was leaning towards the Panasonic because what I've read seems to suggest that it's easier to use. (I've read lots of posts on this forum, and I know there are some who prefer the Toshiba, but my impression was that a majority would probably go for the Panasonic.)

    However, when I rang Richer Sounds and Sevenoaks Sound & Vision to enquire about prices and availability, both suggested the Pioneer DVR-420H-S. Do they have a point?

    Posts here seem to me to suggest a preference for the Pioneer over the Toshiba, but what about the Pioneer vs the Panasonic? Part of the answer, I know, may come down to DVD-RAM vs DVD-RW, so please could someone explain a couple of things about the Pioneer's VR mode on DVD-RW for me?

    First, the website talks about discs formatted in VR Mode. Is this simply a different setting when you start recording, or does it involve a separate formatting process before you can use the disc? And second, if I record something in VR mode on DVD-RW but then decide I want to keep it, is it possible to copy it to HDD, and then to DVD-R?

    Thanks for any help,
    akpak
     
  2. Bob Todd

    Bob Todd
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    tosh 32 mate
     
  3. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    First and foremost DVD-RW VR mode is basically the same as DVD-RAM features wise with both formats you can dub to and from the HDD so that shouldn't really be an issue. The Pioneer has DVD-RW Video mode as well which is useful if you want to play your daily recordings on other DVD players.

    However the bottom line is, compared to the Pioneer, the Panasonic is the better machine. It has component out, progressive scan (you may not benefit now but you will when you upgrade your TV) and DVD-Audio support. Crucially though it offers 3 hours recording at full resolution whereas the Pioneer can only manage 2hrs 20mins. Thus if you record a film on the Panasonic that is 2hrs 21mins or greater it will look substantially better than on the Pioneer. IMHO ultimate recording quality surely has to be the deciding factor - it is after all what the machines are all about. The Panasonic has the better User Interface (IMHO) as well.

    It's really a balancing act though: the Toshiba RDXS32 comes ladden with features but, because of that, isn't quite so user friendly. The Panasonic is considerably more user friendly but doesn't have such extensive options. The Pioneer sits in the middle but is let down by the fact it is has poor specs compared to the Toshiba/Panasonics.

    Therefore I would suggest Toshiba RDXS32 if you want decent menus and lots of options to tweak, Panasonic if you don't.
     
  4. Roachman

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    I'm in more or less the same situation as akpak and have been reading through this forum for info on what seems to be a good/popular DVD/HDD combo.

    It seems to me that the Tosh is the machine to have at the minute but I hardly see any mention of Sony machines. Why is that ?
    I currently have a Sony TV, VCR and DVD player so was thinking about a Sony DVD/HDD to replace the VCR and DVD.
     
  5. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Sony HDD/DVDR combos are brand new (still unreleased) and thus no-one has them yet! The current Sony models, the GX3 and GX7, are quite expensive for what they are (the GX3 has fallen in price recently so this isn't such as issue now) but there are still quite a few users out there...
     
  6. bobbles

    bobbles
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    it is true that the manual for the tosh is poorly translated/written. However, personally I find it very easy to use. In particular, editing is a incredibly simple; I like how you can place chapter points whilst recording and viewing recordings, which makes it much easier and faster to edit iirc this is something the Panasonic can not do.

    -rw is also very useful if you want to watch recordings on a different player or if you want to lend recordings to a friend.
     
  7. akpak

    akpak
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    Thanks, Ironduke, but could you say why?
     
  8. akpak

    akpak
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    This could be important, as part of the aim is to reduce the space currently taken up by videos, so the more I can squeeze on a DVD the better. But are there any compatibility issues with this, i.e. if the Panasonic can fit more on a disc, is it still perfectly readable in any other machine?
     
  9. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    No - it is still within the DVD-Video specified resolutions - it's just the Panasonic MPEG encoders are slightly more refined than the Toshiba/Pioneer.

    I should point out that LG recorders can record upto FOUR HOURS in full resolution (shame that their current recorder is so poor in other respects :rolleyes: ) and JVC models use 'intrim resolutions' to maximise quality which CAN affect compatibility.

    The recording length at full resolution is something of a moot point: personnally I try very hard not to put more than 90mins on a DVD-R but sometimes more is unavoidable and if you do have a 2hr 21min+ film there is that difference. But only you can make the decision.
     
  10. Roachman

    Roachman
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    Any idea how the unreleased Sony models will compare to the Tosh/best of the rest? Is it worth hanging on until they are available?

    How do the GX3/GX7 compare to the Tosh ?

    akpak, sorry for hijacking your thread :blush:
     
  11. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Can't really comment until I've seen it. They lack a Flexible Record/Fit To Disk function (a major omission) but then they have 15MBits/S recording and 2pass re-encoding so it will require careful tests to decide which is best.
     
  12. akpak

    akpak
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    Thanks for help so far.
    One further question - what kind of event timer does the Panasonic have? I've found info on the Tosh & Pioneer in their literature, but nothing on the Panny.
     
  13. Bob Todd

    Bob Todd
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    over the last 4 or so years the toshiba models have been the daddy for dvd playback, on top of that it has more recording features available.

    people say its hard to operate, understand, yet there is an easy nav button and a quick menu button that give u access to the things you wish to do, simply highlight, select and go
    :clap:
     
  14. akpak

    akpak
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    That's OK - I'm going to muddy the waters a bit more myself now...

    Stretches the budget a bit, but does anyone know anything about the Philips HDRW720? Pros/Cons? Reliability? Ease of use? etc etc
     
  15. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    The Philips model is designed as a Sky+ alternative: it has no flexible record, no accurate editting, no re-encoding from HDD-DVD(!) and no non-linear functions such as Playlists. I don't think anyone will seriously argue Philips DVD recorders are reliable either...

    CLH recently switched from a GX7 to the Toshiba. He mentioned it in the Toshiba Review thread - so why not check that out?
     
  16. nunew33

    nunew33
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    Rasczak, I know its an opinion when you say the panny has a better interface but i cant seehow the tosh could be any easier with the easy nav menu. It highlights only the things you can do: ie if theres a dv source it offers a DVedit option, if theres a blank disc in it offers DVD burn.

    At the risk of sounding like a tosh fanboy......
    Also its main three menus, edit/content and record are all accessible from the remote direct. All tweaking is kept in the set up menu or the quick menus. So if you are not a tweaker and simply use either easy nav or the normal menus everything you need is easily available and on top of that the bar at the bottom tells you what remote keys to use for which action. Id go as far to say that simply playing with the three main menus and looking at the options/key instructions at the bottom will have people DVD authoring without looking at the manual. I havent used the panny so cant offer an opinion and a read of the manual wouldnt do it justice. But after 2 months of the Tosh all my gripes about where options re have faded away. I dont have to remember anything or tweak anything, each menu tells me what i can or cant do.
     
  17. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Obvious ease of use is entirely subjective - and as we are all used to our own machines and will always find them easy to use. However I feel perfectly justified in saying this though as I have only rarely been asked how to do A, B and C on the Panasonic range whereas I have a whole collection of PMs/E-mails and website comments on how do I do A, B and C on the Toshiba.

    Obviously the more features any machine has the more complex it has the potential of being - and, I think it is fair to say, the Toshiba has lots of features.
     
  18. phelings

    phelings
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    I think one thing is for sure regarding the upcoming Sony machines.They will be at least £150 dearer than their Toshiba/Pioneer/Panasonic alternative.There must be lots of Sony fanboys around because Sony keep doing this,and I don't think many on here would say their machines are any better
     
  19. CLH

    CLH
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    Yep I changed from a GX7 to the Tosh, it's far far better. And I sold the GX7 for more than the Tosh cost which is just crazy.

    I have the press release for all the Sony machines and the prices are up at AVland.

    For me all the models lack something and are overpriced. Flexible recording missing is dreadful.

    I've asked Sony if I can review one for a nearby DVD site, still waiting........
     
  20. akpak

    akpak
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    Noted - though as I don't have Sky+ I'm not 100% sure what you mean by this.
    This was my next question... any views on LG RH4820? Or JVC DRMH20? - I've seen other thread on JVC DRMH30, which wasn't very complimentary.

    Meanwhile, I haven't spotted a reply to my question re event timer on Panasonic E85. How many programmes/months etc?
     

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