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Hdrw720

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by JethroUK, Feb 27, 2005.

  1. JethroUK

    JethroUK
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    I been using Philips HDRW720 for over 4 months now and (despite the machine warning me to put it in stand-by to update, i've totally ignored it) i've kept the machine busy 24/7 for most of that time (archived 100+ DVD's) - so now's good time for 'my' pros & cons

    First i gotta say that whatever machine you buy, recording to HDrive is a world away from VCR & DVD, if merely for convenience. Anyone considering buying stand alone DVDR (prolly the fastest rising market at the mo), i would urge to think again about convenience of HD

    - i nearly threw it outta window on day one because i could not stop it recording without pulling the plug, only to discover it 'always' records everything/all the time by design. Some machines dont record unless you press record, which semi-defeats the object of Rewinding Live TV (which by definition is for the most part a retrospective decision) - something this machine does brilliantly, upto a whooooooping 6 hours (hence my machine is never put in stand-by)

    - With over 50 buttons on the remote it's bit busy (especially because it's small) - when it includes 4 cursors keys, an 'OK' button & 4 option buttons (Red, Yellow, Blue & Green) - any well worked out menu system could be tailored around these buttons alone

    - it's not intuative to use - hence, you wont be able to use it day one - you will have to read the instructions - grrrrr

    + by next day you'll find your way around easily save a few special functions

    PICTURE QUALITY

    + Can encode @ 1, 2, 2.5 (Full Resolution), 3, 4, 6 & 8 + compression quality measured in # hours of footage per DVD

    - HDRW720 can not re-encode to DVD - I was gob-smacked & most other machine can re-encode but in practise it hasn't been an issue for me & you could consider this:

    Why might you want to archive in a lesser quality than the original fly-view? (I could imagine wanting to archive to 'better' quality than fly-view, but never worse - maybe old VHS stuff - but i've scrapped all mine)

    Re-encoding degrades the original (above and beyond the new compression rate)

    Re-encoding has to be done in Real Time (no high-speed dumping to disc)

    + @ 2.5 compression (Full Resolution) the Picture Quality on 720 is Flawless

    Some might doubt my opinion as restricted, since i don't own any competing machines, so I am using LIVE broadcast and a pair of eyes/ears as a benchmark (which is as good-as-it-gets whichever machine you buy) + I watch via 32" Pixel+ from within 2.5 metres & i can not tell the difference between 2.5 compression (@ full resolution) and LIVE TV + Any Film dumps direct to one Disc @ High-Speed, no-loss (no re-encode, just direct digital, bit-by-bit dump of the original recording)

    Encoding per se (on any machine) comes under a lot of pressure when trying to resolve Hi-Speed activity on the screen (Sports and the like), I dont watch sport so i cant honestly say where the HDRW720 might suffer, but I can say Philips have included a sports mode (buried in the settings somewhere) to help the process - dunno how it works, i assume it's uses a slightly different algorithm, never even tried it



    EPG (7 day electronic programming guide)

    + This is a great to program your weeks recordings in advance by simple point & click

    + chops your recordings up into program size bites and 'titles' them for you (does lions share of the editing)

    - Cant resume watching selected channel by pressing 'OK' (without going via spurious 'timer' button route)

    - Key response is very slow

    + Keystrokes are buffered (so it will catch up with you if you know where you're heading :)

    + Can browse by Channel/Day/Time or by Genre

    - No "Search" facility (e.g. search for "Columbo")

    + the automatic program naming is filtered down to LED display, Timeslip buffer, the HD drive of course (no renaming), DVD & DVD library

    + it can be configured to change channels (via I/R sender included) on upto 3 different external tuners (+ internal tuner) simultaniously (Sky, Cable, Freeview, Whatever) - but it only has 2 scarts. I have used it with NTL analogue tuner (which Philips say it doesn't work with) & currently using it with Samsung NTL digital tuner (some of early Pace tuners may need Red-Eye (IR>IRDA) adaptor

    - it can only record from ONE tuner at any one time

    - not all satellite channels have full 7 days, minor channels (by 'Guide+' definition) only have 2 day listing (again defeating the object of Set n forget)

    - doesn't support +1 channels e.g "Discover+1"

    - you cant reorder channels (dunno, so dont ask me)

    + it updates every night (or whenever you're tuned to/recording from ITV)

    + it will warn you of any timer clashes which happens frequently with the trigger happy like me

    + you can add PDC control to any recordings done from built-in tuner channels 1-5 + i have found it very accurate (within few seconds). Played back a recording done with PDC, feature started 6 seconds later with the announcment "...and now showing 20 minutes later than advertised..." - How good is that!

    + you can apply added time +10 +20 +30 minute - although it adds all the time to the end (doesn't pad the front) + you can add padding by default in the main system settings

    - biggest gripe with HDRW720 is measly 12 programming slots - defeats the object of 'set it n forget it' when i can use all 12 slots within 2 days (1 day over xmas) - especially frustrating since it cost nuthin but consideration - whoever decided on 12 slots must've been out to sabotage the machine (i cant imagine any other possible explanation)

    - it doesn't have series link (despite the Philips blurb to the contrary on their website, which is nothing short of criminal, since it is obviously, solely there to deceive)

    + the EPG is updated over the air, so i expect these to be corrected in due course

    TIME-SLIP BUFFER

    + Pause & Rewind live TV

    + This machine really rewinds + It has huuuuge timeslip buffer from 1 thru to a whoooopin 6 hours (most are around 30 mins). Imagine coming home from work at 5:30, flick back to watch a film that was on at lunch time & THEN decide to record it

    + it doesn't ditch the buffer each time you change channels (as per Sky+)

    + every program lurking in the buffer is "Titled" with the name of the program, thanks to EPG

    + has very flexible one-click navigation from +/- titles, +/- chapters +/- 1 min +/- 10 seconds, pause, +/- 3 frames, frame advance, +/- 1/8, 1/4 1/2 speed

    + User Definable FF/RW 'skip'

    HARD DISC DRIVE (80 gig)

    + it's extremely quiet - i cant even hear it with the TV OFF

    + stores 40+ hours std play (or 130+ @ VHS quality)

    + All titles are "Titled" (from EPG)

    + Automatic Chaptering

    + Resume play on aaaaaaall titles (It remembers where you've watched upto on any/all titles, brilliant! - You can even channel surf on your own HD - Press 'Play' to resume, or 'OK' to start over - not documented in the Manual)

    + when full, it automatically deletes titles you have "watched", to make room for new recordings (unless you tell it differently)

    - limited editing compared to other (apparently), but in practise, the EPG does most of the spade work (Title, Cropping & Thumbnail) for you, so you dont need to do nearly as much editing as other machines

    + can edit titles +Add/Remove Chapter markers +Rename +Divide* +Hide sections (Header/Adverts/Footer) +Edit thumbnail pic

    + again very flexible navigation from whole title down to frame advancing

    + Non-destructive Editing basically creates a playlist for the original title, hence it retains the original recording so you can watch either version, or Re-edit as often as you like

    - if you 'Divide' a title, you cannot 'Merge' it again

    Philips mention that it's unwise to divide off small sections, but they dont say why - reason is because of drive fragmentation. HD Recorders have to deal with Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuge files and fragmentation could lead to irratic playback or even failure - because of this, i haven't used Divide function (I use Hide method) since the day i got it - prolly why it still runs silky smooth and silent

    DVD RECORDER (+R)

    Back in the dark ages. Philips released some of their earlier recorders with poorly mounted laser (came loose later, apparently) - some people (those that got bitten) will never forgive them for this & why should they? - despite HDRW720 using the same fundimental drive, i've never had any problems or even heard of any problems with HDRW720 DVDR + maybe they learned a lesson and just tightened up the laser :eek:) + only time will tell, unlike the Tosh 32 which seems to be suffering from even worse teething troubles, namely, a quick look through Avforum shows virtually every other post is about a Tosh 32 owner tryna find a disc that actually works on it (Branding, Format, Dye Colouring have all been discussed), hope they eventually find one that works & hope Tosh have sorted this out on the up and comming Tosh 34


    +R vs -R - You can argue this till the cows come home, but basically, DVD white paper decided on linear recording (beginning to end like a tape) - crap idea but we're all stuck with that now, because that's just the way it is. -R offers better editing but less compatablilty with standard players (the white paper). Tosh seems to struggle to play back it's own recordings let alone any one elses. +R retained linear format for recording, hence is a pig to edit but higher compatability with other DVD players

    - You cannot record direct to DVD (all recordings have to go via HDD) - not a big issue since any editing is best done on the HD & you can quickly dump it to DVD

    - You cannot copy back from the 'integral' DVD > HDD - You can copy back from external DVD > HDD - weird city or what?

    + the 720 remembers where you watched upto on all DVDs (even when they're back on your shelf) via resume play

    + You can dump (copy at hi speed) titles to dvd

    + You can dump multiple Titles to DVD in one shot

    + You can choose which order they appear on the Disc + It dumps in the same order you select the titles

    + If you dump an edited version, it just dumps the edit (some people "guessed" it dumps the original, but it doesn't)

    + Can edit direct on DVD, but it's positively clumbsy (navigation wise) compared to editing on HD - so i dont bother

    + you can buy discs (+R) for less than 20p each. i've burned over 100 with very high success (re longevity + some of these are now over a year old & still play fine)

    DVD MANAGER

    + keeps a library of what's on all your DVD's (upto 1000 Discs, or 10,000 Titles)

    - Unlike the other menus, the Manager menu doesn't support Page scrolling (You have to scroll Title-by-Title) - I wouldn't like to do this with 10,000 Titles in the menu

    + you can throw away all those newspaper clippings & browse your collection on HDRW720

    + you can browse by Title, or by DVD, click on the one you want to watch & it tells you which Disc to slip in and plays it

    + It doesn't get better than that

    + i didn't even know it had this feature, so a great bonus

    Connectivity

    - No progressive scan on UK model

    + I-Link (camcorder connection)

    + RGB In/Out

    + S-Video & Component & Composite

    + well socketed for audio out

    + All external sockets are added as 'channels' (on channel rocker) - since HDRW720 records from 'a' channel at all times, it's tediously easy to record from external devices


    Despite the negative press + I would've still bought this machine (knowing what i know), had I not already got one - However the thing that would stop me buying this machine again, is the lack of support from Philips UK - This machine has got bugs (I've mentioned) like any other, difference is, impressions from PhilipsUK (email responses) are that this machine wont be supported - So for all intent and purpose it's already obsolete (maybe not the case, but certainly the impression I have been given)

    - I specified Philips'UK' for a reason - Only dealings I had with them have been unknowledgable, unhelpful. I dont think this typifies the company as a whole since A/ German representatives seem to 'bend over backward' to help customers B/ Philips wouldn't be around if it was typical of the company
     
  2. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    ...but ultimately there is much better out there - so why buy a second rate performer? :thumbsdow
     
  3. musukebba

    musukebba
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    C'mon Rasczak - that's a pretty comprehensive user review with some objective points being made. If one forgives the occasional lapses into the vernacular, I haven't seen a better one, to be honest, of the HDRW720...
     
  4. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    I might have agreed - but Jethro only serious contribution on this forum (and Digital Spy) is to promote Philips machines - you can do a search on his user name for that. I understand (from Phelings) that you too are a vocal Philips supporter on that forum :rolleyes: Regardless Jethro's previous posts show a lack of understanding/knowledge about his own machine, let alone it relative to others - indeed he has been caught out several times giving duff info (e.g.) to Toshiba users as well as trolling numerous threads. If people are seriously considering a Philips machine then I strongly recommend they do a search both of the forum and the internet. Likewise before following Jethro's advice I would do a search of the forum - be very wary of a user who only ever promotes a single brand....
     
  5. musukebba

    musukebba
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    I see.

    If you believe phelings's advice, of all people, from a single post, then your own objectivity is under serious question. You are well aware that he almost got deleted from these forums the other day, on a thread to which you were an antagonist, so with his general standard in mind I would much appreciate it if you stop the childish playground crap. I am NOT a supporter of Philips, being the owner of a DVDR880 which has been replaced once and repaired twice. Their customer support is abysmal and the only people who know what is going on are their service agents in Manchester. With the current debacle going on with the DVDR610/615, history is repeating itself and I have NEVER recommended a Philips unit to ANYONE. When my 880 finally bites the dust the replacement will probably be a MINUS format recorder, whichever basic unit fits the bill for archiving. I have other sources of recording: a Thomson DHD4000 and Nova-T DVB card and I edit on PC (Pioneer and NEC writers). When I write to DVD, I use MINUS format discs for compatiblity.

    If you consider helping people get their ailing Philips machines repaired free of charge, based on my own experience, or advising them not to buy the HDRW720 because it's a badly thought-out machine, as the actions of a "vocal Philips supporter", then I suggest you take a look for yourself on Digital Spy, or else ask yourself whether taking the advice of the likes of phelings's 'tell-tale' behaviour is likely to do your own credibility any good. Someone in your position obviously hasn't the time to do that, so I would understand if you would consider the record set straight.

    On Jethro's review of the HDRW720, 20 negative points and 45 positive points seems like a good beginning to me in the objectivity stakes. People can learn, you know. Objectivity starts with giving credit where it's due, no matter what your prejudices may be. After all, phelings is now editing on PC, mentioning the <plus> format where advantages are apparent, and "pleasantly surprised" by the quality of editing on his 880. Now I wonder who gave him some advice with that?
     
  6. JamesL

    JamesL
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    Have to agree with Rasczak. I originally got the HDRW725 as a DMRHS2 replacement. The first one had a slight lip-sync issue so I exchanged for another model which was worked. I had this one for several weeks but eventually took it back for a number of reasons:-

    1) Editting was very poor compared to the Panasonic and even the Sony GX500 I am now using.

    2) PQ at M2 wasn't good enough. Not for a 37" PW7 plasma.

    3) User-interface was appalling. You could argue I went from the best (?) UI to the worst and so my opinion is coloured. But nobody should have to put up with that!

    As a DS regular I would also like to add that muskeba IS a Philips fan. He may be 'covert' in his praise here but that is because he probably knows his argument will be constructively dismissed. Expectations here are significantly higher than DS.
     
  7. musukebba

    musukebba
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    1) Fair enough.

    2) And the optical nightmare of a plasma screen is the best way to assess PQ, right?

    3) I agree, the UI of the HDRW720 is a mess. I said the same thing months ago on DS.

    4) Some substantiation would be useful to assess the credibility of that statement. DS thread references or something like that...

    Someone's missed the point. I said Jethro's piece was a comprehensive review with some objective points being made. Nothing to do with "praising" a machine...

    Unfortunately, unless you read properly, these heightened expectations of AV Forums will not be demonstrated.
     
  8. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Actually I don't base my info on anything Phelings writes/says. He does, after all, get rather emotional over the most irrelevant points :) But a number of people have made the point now - and your defence of Jethro here given that you have first hand experience of his pro-Philips stance on Digital Spy is hardly suggestive of an objective stance. And it's not subtle - you describe it as the "best" review of the HDRW720! By this own admission Jethro doesn't have the kit or the experience to match the reviews of the likes of HCC or WVWE - both of which were somewhat more comprehensive and slightly less likely to be subject to a rather pro-Philips bias.

    Frankly though whether your Mr Philips yourself or not is utterly irrelevant to this thread/forum - nothing changes the nature of Jethro's contribution on this forum as little more than a Philips salesman. As I say a simple search of his username reveals that. His "review" must always be read with that history in mind - with rather negates it's usefulness or worth.

    Bottomline though - there are much better HDD/DVDR combis available from reliable producers - so why bother with second best?
     
  9. JethroUK

    JethroUK
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    Which machine are you currently using that is good enough to record at M2 on your 37" plasma?


    Rasczak: I'm not Pro-Phillips, a Phillips Fanatic, Salesman - I'm a Phillips owner (there is a difference) and will give credit where it is due - I can't help it if a working Phillips machine rubs you up the wrong way & frankly i dont care - You've been bitten, and it doesn't suprise me that the very word Phillips leaves a bad taste in your mouth, but each time you tar everything they've ever done with the same brush, then it's 'you' that's exhibiting bias - My review was never intended to sell machines, just passing on information - Maybe you should just ignore this thread if it offends you, I'd like it to be more constructive
     
  10. musukebba

    musukebba
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    Thank you. Maybe next time you won't bring it up.

    Subtle enough for some to miss the point that "best review" doesn't necessarily mean advocating a purchase. I used it in the sense of being comprehensive, and there is far more detail in Jethro's contribution than I have seen in other assessments.
     
  11. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    How have I been bitten? My Philips DVD recorder lasted a good 30 months - which at £1300 is longer than I would regard as a worthwhile lifespan for new technology - I only 'binned' it (after four weeks) because it lack the features and performance of other models. Even now I always give a full test to each and every Philips DVD recorder to assess whether the critical short-comings have been addressed. To date all Philips have managed is to fall further and further behind.... Panasonic, Pioneer, JVC, Samsung, Toshiba, Thompson, LG, Sony, Hitachi - there performance is all light-years ahead of the current batch of Philips DVD recorders. Sorry.
     
  12. JethroUK

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    New firmware update (V 3.0) now available on Philips site (1st spotted by 'jong' on D/Spy)

    Have installed the new firmware - Cant tell any difference (there's no notes yet) except to say - you can no longer change channels in the guide - it has UNDONE the Timer/Home workaround I mentioned earlier (obviously dont install it, if you rely on this)

    New Guideplus update only effects NTL users (of which i'm one) - This namely splits NTL users into local regions - trouble is, they've also deleted all NTL tuners except PACE RED-EYE - they obviously haven't spoke to NTL and chose to 'guess', otherwise they'd know that the PACE boxes are now obsolete (of which there's 2 models in service anyhow) & NTL are now fitting Samsung boxes (as per mine)

    As a consequence I have to set up as "other service" to choose my Samsung tuner & reset alllllllllllllllll the channel numbers grrrrrrrrrrrr

    2 updates & 2 backward steps for me

    Please post if you've discovered any positive news in the new V.3.0 update
     
  13. JethroUK

    JethroUK
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    P.S.

    I notice JamesL has not found a machine that has "PQ at M2 - good enough - for a 37" PW7 plasma"

    So it's obviously not a problem with HDRW720 PQ - so you can ignore that comment
     
  14. robert.hunter

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    I have a Philips DVDR725H. I agree with almost all of the HDRW720 review.

    Previously I had two Philips machines which had failed after relatively short periods so I was wary of buying another Philips. I tried the Toshiba XS30 but was unhappy with it for a number of reasons. I did consider other machines but I chose the Philips because it was the only HDD/DVD Recorder which had the single feature which is, in my opinion, absolutely essential for a HD recorder - an EPG.

    Given Philips history I am, of course, concerned about the longevity of their machines but to date, this machine has performed faultlessly.
     
  15. joolze

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    I have upgraded to 3.0 and I recorded The Italian Job via Sky last Night.

    In the HDD browser, under the still image and date there is now info about the film (director, actors, etc).

    Don't know yet if that appears on all recordings or just films.


    Joolze
     
  16. joolze

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    Just checked with The Simpsons and the HDD displays all the info that is shown for the program within Guideplus.


    Joolze
     
  17. ibrox50

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    jethroUK ....thanks for that,interesting read :)
     
  18. PARISIEN

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    Please also note that Upgrade with CF 3.0 is also erasing all data regarding disc manager, for me it means 40 DVDs to reenter.

    I did not see yet any other improvment than the one you described regarding HDD display.
    I also sent an E-mail to Philips asking why they make the software available without providing at the same time what are the improvments.

    Best regards from France
     
  19. PARISIEN

    PARISIEN
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    To be more precise on my last comment, it is not the upgrade software that clears all disc manager data, but the re-install step suggested in the upgrade procedure ( HDD data are not erased).

    Sorry about that.
     
  20. hector

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    I totally agree so is it fact that the only HDD recorders with EPG are the Phillips offerings and if so why?

    Is there another way, without SKY (don't want) or Freeview (can't get) of having an EPG service?

    Finally apart from the bigger HDD does the 725 have any significant advantage over the 720?
     
  21. hector

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  22. JethroUK

    JethroUK
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    Panasonic new flagship model has EPG, but it costs a grand

    Only the HD size seperates the 720 & 725

    PARISIEN:

    the new upgrade doesn't wipe out disc manager i'm glad to say (i have well over 150 titles in it) - you must have had some specific installation problems
     
  23. PARISIEN

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    JethroUK,

    I had no problem with the software installation but as I said it is the HDRW720 re-initialisation suggested in the upgrade procedure that erased all my disc manager data. Did you re-initialize after your upgrade ? if not, do not try, otherwise goodbye to your 150 titles.

    I have another question on which your experience may help me.

    TNT (free terrestrial digital TV) is starting this month in France and I am having difficulties with additional plugging required.
    My HDRW720 is already linked to a canalsatellite decoder ( handled with G-link) on Ext2 and to TV on Ext 1
    Do you have any suggestion about how I should link the TNT receiver I just bought in order to have the new TNT channels appear in HDRW720 guideplus channels and be able to use it also with G-link together with the canalsatellite decoder.

    You may have had a similar problem to solve in UK and I would enjoy your help very much.

    Best regards.
     
  24. JethroUK

    JethroUK
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    i didn't reset my machine - but maybe i'm not getting full benefit of the upgrade - anyone tried playing jpegs since the new software?

    the g-link should operate both boxes if it can see both - i dont see a problem with the guide either - but you only have 2 scarts - i might be inclined to put a box on each scart and plug TV via S-video connection (or maybe try component) - i understand there's not much difference between S-Video and RGB - bearing in mind that only one box would be RGB anyhow
     
  25. hector

    hector
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    Thanks for your quick response - 725 ordered.
     
  26. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Oh dear! Unfortunately if your planning to get a HDRW725 you will find that, as a PVR, if fails to conduct 'Red Dot' removal (as well as other interactive programming). With this this becoming ever more frequent on all channels (inlcuding the BBC!) this should be a substantial issue for anyone considering buying an archival machine!

    This issue has been well discussed on the forum - as have the machines you should look at: Sky+, lossless HDD recorders, Sony GXD500 or the new Telewest recorder. Thus I don't feel particularly 'bad' about you getting misled on this point.

    I'd be interested to know what EPG you think the "Panasonic flagship model" has Jethro!
     
  27. JethroUK

    JethroUK
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    Yeah i forgot that, of course i assumed most people would be happy to capture what-they-see-on-their-TV - ohhhhhhhhhh the deceit, how do i ever get to sleep at night - also forgot to mention the 725 doesn't have ejector seat or built-in microwave (essential for those TV dinner movies or guests that over stay their welcome) - alas (if only to appease my conscience) this equally applies to Panasonics, Pioneers & Toshibas, which i of course i'll expect Rasczak to mention this diffieciency of red-dot removal on any/all reviews he does

    Just to reiterate - I'm not recommending any of the Philips machines - i just giving an owners eye-view of it - something the machines wont get here else wise

    I should've really said the 'Pioneer' flagship has EPG (which incidently uses the same Guide+ EPG as Philips) - but since i know Jack about it, i was only really saying Philips are not the only ones including an EPG, and at £1000 he showed as much interest as i did
     
  28. Rasczak

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    But of course the Panasonic, Sony, Pioneer etc etc are not PVRs - and they are not pretending to be PVRs - which is what the Philips is trying to be. The ideal combination is to combine a PVR with a DVD recorder. Trying to get a Philips to do both means you get a sub-standard result on both. Sorry!
     
  29. PARISIEN

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    from french forum, improvments of CF3.0 for hdrw720:


    *************************************************
    new features

    EPG program information available (when broadcasted) within Guide or Browser
    The following Harddisc navigation speeds were added: 64x, 128x and 256x
    Exit CAM mode also via tuner button possible
    Playback of dual layer DVD+R discs possible

    bugs solved
    Sometimes many empty titles in Browser (Harddisc) after timer recording.
    Sometimes no sound on timer recording from external input.
    ************************************************

    hope it will help you.
     
  30. JethroUK

    JethroUK
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    nice one
     

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