HDD/DVD recorder recommendation please!

sotonjoe

Active Member
I'm aware that this sort of thread crops up again and again so I've had a good look round at the other threads first but I'd still appreciate some specific advice if that's possible.

I'm trying to find a DVD / HD recorder to pair with the samsung LE32R74BDX LCD tv I've just ordered.

I'm not too in the know on what feautures I should be looking for although, from reading this forum, I've gathered that I'd probably want a freeview tuner, a EPG to make recording 'simple and progressive scan / upscaling to make the picture look good on the new tv.

That said, I've got two major questions....
1)Are there any other features I've overlooked.
2)What best foots the bill?

I'd like to buy from John Lewis if possible for reasons that can't be avoided.

Any advice appreciated!
cheers
 

bigmondy

Novice Member
Me too also.

Just ordered the TOSH 42"LCD.

Need one with plenty of storage space around 160 would be nice and an HDMI upscaling ability.

Will be buying a PS3 in the new year so this may be a stop gap.
 

bradavon78

Novice Member
Personally I'd say:

1. HD - 120Gb+
2. DVDr - Which can burn to plus, mins and RAM
3. Freeview tuner

And it would nice:

4. DivX
 

sotonjoe

Active Member
Would I be right in saying that this model doesn't have the ability to upscale dvd images???

Seeing as I'm stuck with john lewis the cheapest model available would appear to be this which obviously isn't cheap!!!

I wonder how cheap I could get a price match for - time to get on price runner I think!

edit*** That appears to be a half decent price though as well - I can't really find anywhere much cheaper. Perhaps I may have to think again about the features.
 
D

dancohen

Guest
And, if this is to be your only DVD player, don't forget

Multi-region

Some machines can be made multi-region easily, with some it can be hard.
 

sotonjoe

Active Member
Surely with all those specs I'm going to be shelling out something like? £400

TBH I don't think I'm fussed about it being multi-region. MY current player wasn't multiregion but I unolcked it just because I could. I've never used any dvds in it that haven't been uk compatible since then!

I'm desperately looking for ways of keeping the price down now so I might just go without the upscaling. Any ideas how 'poor' a non upscaled image is on a new lcd tv???
 

CornChowder

Standard Member
I'd say that you should be looking at either the Panasonic DMR-EX75 or DMR-EX85 or the new Sony RDR-HXD860.

The Panasonic machine have been well reviewed both in these forums and in the usual Home Entertainment magazines. The EX75 is the same as the EX85 but has a 160GB hard disk rather than a 250GB one. I think they have all of the features mentioned earlier in the post, save possibly DivX playback. They also have the ability to view images via an integrated SD slot.

The Sony RDR-HXD860 launches in September and from the specs seems like a direct competitor to the 2 Panny machines. I think it does have DivX playback if that's important to you. One possible improvement (though I'm a bit unsure about the details on this) is that this machine conforms to a new set of specifications laid out by the controlling Freeview body so in theory it may be more futureproof than the Pannys. As this hasn't been released yet I haven't seen any reviews yet. Previous Sony DVD/HDD machines have generally reviewed well.

I own an older Sony anologue model (HX900) and have been very pleased with that over the 2 years that I've had it. Having said that I've been intending to get the EX85 for the last couple of months but it's been in fairly short supply. When I have looked at it in JL though I'm struck by how cheap and flimsy it feels in comparison to something like the Sony HXD710.
 

bigmondy

Novice Member
Assuming I bought a media center - would I really need to buy a DVDr with a hard disk?

The LG RH200 - although I must admit that looks impressive assuming it has DivX, HDMI output and I would assume an RGB scart as an input. I need a new PC - so should i be buying a media centre and forget about the DVDr?

Which would you go for if you had money for both?:lease:
 
J

javaman

Guest
bigmondy said:
Assuming I bought a media center - would I really need to buy a DVDr with a hard disk?

The LG RH200 - although I must admit that looks impressive assuming it has DivX, HDMI output and I would assume an RGB scart as an input. I need a new PC - so should i be buying a media centre and forget about the DVDr?

Which would you go for if you had money for both?:lease:
Personally I would go for home-build HTPC and forget on DVD recorder. Unfortunatelly having two PCs just for HT is too expensive that's why I am using only one HTPC for my projector and I've bought the DVD R. for my plasma (for secondary cinema system ;) ).
 

bigmondy

Novice Member
Thanks for that javaman.

Note you recomend I build an HTPC - do you have any links to How to articles?

Cheers

PS: Are they still good for web surfing as well?
 
J

javaman

Guest
frank-g said:
Yes please javaman. I'd be interested in any info you may have as well.
It's not a big deal.

Pics are here (second pic below hi-fi).

What I did is I used my 4 years old PC (P4-1.6GHz, microATX motherboard, 256MB RAM, on-board video, 40GB disk, DVD/CD writter) and put it into HTPC case (Antec Aria). Added USB WLAN, wireless keyboard and mouse. And that's it.

In the future I will replace it with AMD Athlon64 (less freq, less power consuption) AM2, AM2 microATX motherboard with DDR2 and HDTV on-board video support (HDMI/component output) and at least 512MB of RAM. Just to watch HD material. :D

Now I can watch movies, surf the web, use office software...whatever I want. If you want to use teh HTPC also as MP3/DVD player when PC is off, then I suggest to purchase HTPC solution with case and motherboard inside and with remote control.
 

bigmondy

Novice Member
Wow - that unit casing looks impressive - thanks for the tips.

Did you go for the glow in the dark HDMI cables with the lights on the ends?

:clap:
 
J

javaman

Guest
bigmondy said:
Did you go for the glow in the dark HDMI cables with the lights on the ends?

:clap:
No, the case itself is glowing. The projector is too old to have HDMI but I'll need it for my plasma and for next PJ.
 

Aitch_Kay

Standard Member
CornChowder said:
I'd say that you should be looking at either the Panasonic DMR-EX75 or DMR-EX85 or the new Sony RDR-HXD860.

The Panasonic machine have been well reviewed both in these forums and in the usual Home Entertainment magazines. The EX75 is the same as the EX85 but has a 160GB hard disk rather than a 250GB one. I think they have all of the features mentioned earlier in the post, save possibly DivX playback. They also have the ability to view images via an integrated SD slot.

The Sony RDR-HXD860 launches in September and from the specs seems like a direct competitor to the 2 Panny machines. I think it does have DivX playback if that's important to you. One possible improvement (though I'm a bit unsure about the details on this) is that this machine conforms to a new set of specifications laid out by the controlling Freeview body so in theory it may be more futureproof than the Pannys. As this hasn't been released yet I haven't seen any reviews yet. Previous Sony DVD/HDD machines have generally reviewed well.

I own an older Sony anologue model (HX900) and have been very pleased with that over the 2 years that I've had it. Having said that I've been intending to get the EX85 for the last couple of months but it's been in fairly short supply. When I have looked at it in JL though I'm struck by how cheap and flimsy it feels in comparison to something like the Sony HXD710.

Thanks for the info on the Sony 860 ..... was gonna go for a Panny too :)
 

sotonjoe

Active Member
yeh, after reading all the helpful advice the panasonic machine (the 75) looks to have all the features.

It's £399 at JL but Empire Direct seem to be charging £335 + £5 delivery so a price match may be in order.

I'm going to wait until I get the TV and see what I can do about prices then.

Must admit, I don't think the panasonic machine looks very nice but it'll be shut away in my cabinet anyway I guess!
 

zappo

Novice Member
bigmondy said:
Assuming I bought a media center - would I really need to buy a DVDr with a hard disk?

The LG RH200 - although I must admit that looks impressive assuming it has DivX, HDMI output and I would assume an RGB scart as an input. I need a new PC - so should i be buying a media centre and forget about the DVDr?

Which would you go for if you had money for both?:lease:
Well I have been looking around for a while with the same requirement. I considered a media centre which was interesting as I have a terabytes of standalone NAS units upstairs that support streaming etc.

I also considered a Myth based system based on linux, this is a very capable system.

Ultimately I considered my needs which are really for a consumer unit for archiving Sky+, old VCR tapes and photo libraries of my digital photos.

I am buying the Samsung you have soon and had already shortlisted the RH200MH but was put off by the price which was around £499 around the time of the world cup. I heard that a lot of prices were held high during that period so I decided to wait until September.

Then yesterday something happened, I checked the prices and the RH200MH was reduced to £350 at Comet. I did some investigating and found that Comet are ceasing to supply this model as the new Freeview based LG DBRH198 is out in September.

The main difference is that the DBRH198 has a 160gb disk instead of a 250gb, the 198 also does not support DVD Ram and a few other features of the 200.

The main features of the 200 are that is supports WRITING to ALL formats, can offload media cards, supports DIVX, has an HDMI port as well as component and of course the large disk size.

I knew that the 198 would be probably be priced at about £500 and it would take months for the price to fall. So I decided to go and buy a RH200MH, I was not disappointed.

I do not care much about a freeview tuner as most of my view comes form my Sky Plus box and would rather have the extra features of the RH200MH.

Installation was very easy, I stuck it between my TV and the Sky box. I did some initial recording and found the menu system a doddle to use.

Overnight I archived a load of programs off my Sky+ using the Sky COPY facility. Then this morning I used the Divide facility to split it into the 8 programs I archived. I then used the facility to remove adverts by marking begining and end points, this was very easy, after marking and end point you simply select next to remove another break or Done to make the edits final. It then writes the changes instantly, this differs over a PC system which may require a graphics card to reprocess the video.

Finding the ads was easy, you can either use the various speeds of fast forward or jump in 5 minute intervals, I used the 5 minute one and then the rewind or forward to get to the exact spot. I don't know if this box has an automatic feature to do this, I never found them much good anyway.

The 200 also has the ability to undo splits although it is just as easy to combone two titles anyway.

As a final test I played an old VCR tape which was recorded in yukky LP mode. This recorded in a very acceptable quality considering the source was so bad.

The best news is that I managed to talk the guy at Comet into selling me the box for £310 if I took out a 4+1 warranty for £129. Approx £30 a year for the 4 extra years.

I am keen to put this thing through it's paces so if anyone has a test they want me to carry out, let me know.

I really think this is better than a media centre solution, I have loads of computer gear in my office and a portable with wireless. The last thing I needed was more power being consumed, slow startup times and all the other grief you get with a PC. Regardless of brand the DVD recorder with hard disk wins every time. With the money you save you could buy an Xbox 360 for games if that suits or update your main PC.
 

zappo

Novice Member
sotonjoe said:
yeh, the panasonic machine (the 75) looks to have all the features.

I'm going to wait until I get the TV and see what I can do about prices then.

Must admit, I don't think the panasonic machine looks very nice but it'll be shut away in my cabinet anyway I guess!
I thought the Panasonic did not support DIVX.

I bought the LG DVD Recorder yesterday and am waiting for the 37inch samsung to come down a bit.

Think twice about shutting things in cabinets unless you want them to overheat. I solved this by taking the back off mine.
 

bigmondy

Novice Member
zappo said:
Regardless of brand the DVD recorder with hard disk wins every time. With the money you save you could buy an Xbox 360 for games if that suits or update your main PC.
Enjoyed reading your post - good food for thought. However - you should try making that statement in the HTPC forum! :eek:

You may get a few tasty responses.

Cant argue about the convenience aspect - however - if you are in the market for a new PC and a DVDr with HDMI - then your argument re price falls apart - I think.:confused:

Hmmmmm?
 

sotonjoe

Active Member
zappo said:
I thought the Panasonic did not support DIVX.

I bought the LG DVD Recorder yesterday and am waiting for the 37inch samsung to come down a bit.

Think twice about shutting things in cabinets unless you want them to overheat. I solved this by taking the back off mine.
You may be right about the DIVX, I'm not looking for that despite it being kindly mentioned by another poster. It's not something I would use.

I'm a minimalist junky I'm afraid so all units will have to be 'hidden' from view unless I need to be using the remote etc!!! I can't stand all these boxes n display.
 

zappo

Novice Member
Well despite my post about the LG RH200MH above it seems I spoke to soon, what I have subsequently discovered is that when you burn to DVD it crashes and freezes. The only way to recover is to hold down the off switch for 5 seconds.

You power it back up to find the recording to DVD did not happen and when you try again it is the same.

In addition to this another major failing is that once you edit a recording you can't fast dub it to disk. This loses the major benefit of DVD recording which is to archive stuff at high speed. I can't imagine anyone being prepared be happy to only be able to high speed dub if the ads were included.

It has failed on several disks, I have tried different media and different types. The recording on the hard disk is also faulty in that if you watch the recording it pauses on the same place and then jumps an hour or more.

This is not just one recording It has happened on 3 different recordings out of 5.

That is enough for me, I am off to take it back.
 

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