I just want a DVD VCR is that possible?!?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Nick Waite, Mar 14, 2002.

  1. Nick Waite

    Nick Waite
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    I don't know if any of you can help me on this one, I'm new to this site.
    Basically, I need a DVD recorder that is going to enable me to record my digital camera tapes and older VHS camera recordings on to the lovely DVD format.
    What I am worried about is compatibility issues in the future, the quality of the recordings and finally, which one is the best to go for. I have done a lot of fiddling around on my PC in the past with video editing and the like and really don't trust the idea of recording footage onto DVDs through my computer. Simply because it is never as easy as expected. And at the end of the day - life is just too short to sit at a bloody screen tearing my hair out for hours... :eek:
    I would much prefer a box with a record button on it and a firewire input. Nice and easy. Just like my trusty old VHS.
    The Philips DVDR 1000 sounds great and at £750.00 they have become affordable. The +RW format claims to be compatible with 70% of existing DVD players which makes me think there's a good chance that it will play on even more DVD players in the future. I was also pleased to learn that Sony had adopted the same format. What worries me is that am I looking at another V2000/Betamax failure?
    If I bought the Philips DVDR 1000 and it broke in 5 years, would I still be able to play my recorded disks?

    I have also heard rumours that the DVDR 1000 records with a really blocky picture - even in it's highest quality mode!! Could this be true?

    Please guide me - some one! I really want to go and spend my money - but I need some reassurance! Can you suggest a better alternative?

    nick@nickwaite.com
     
  2. DaveP

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    I could have written this myself a couple of weeks ago!

    I finally decided on the Panasonic DMR-20e. I've had this for a little over a week now.

    At the end of the day my decision came down to the cost of the blank disks. I can get DVD-Rs for £1.99 each, I struggled to find DVD+RWs cheaper than £12 each. As I primarily wanted a write once solution, for archiving stuff off my Sky+, converting camcorder tapes and transferring VHS videos the costs would soon stack up.

    Like you I wanted something NOW and not wait and see!

    In the past week however I have had a few things to worry about!

    I bought ten DVD-Rs and four of them failed to work. It looks like I shall have to buy more expensive disks.
    Now that I am used to the quality of my recordings on Sky+ I am only happy with the best quality setting recording on the DVD recorder. This only gives an hours recording time. Not that the second level is poor (two hours), just not as good as the best.

    Having said all that of course, Philips are introducing the DVD+R disks!

    You may also want to look at the Philips DVDR 980 here:
    http://www.robinsonselectric.co.uk/special.htm

    I have great success playing my recorded disks on my nearly new Sony 700 player. A problem arose though when played on an old Pioneer 606. the picture was sqashed vertically like an anamorphic picture but only more so. Very odd!

    I'm sorry to say I can't really help you with your decision. Maybe a Philips owner will provide some feedback to assist in the decision making process!

    You will find the Panasonic manual here:
    http://www.techtronics.com/uk/shop/files/user-manual/panasonic-dmr-e20.pdf

    DaveP
     
  3. Nick Waite

    Nick Waite
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    Many thanks for that Dave.

    Do you experience any strange digital blocks in the picture after recording? It doesnt sound like you do...

    Also, how much did you pay for your recorder? And do you have to close the DVDs after each recording so they can play on other DVD players?

    I'm interested in all of the options at the moment....

    The DVDR 980 sounds interesting but I can't find any detailed information about it (that isn't in german!) I haven't even found a picture - any suggestions?

    Finally, if there is a Philips DVDR 1000 owner out there, I'd love to hear from you!


    Thanks again for the speedy reply Dave - much appreciated!
     
  4. PeteM

    PeteM
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    This is probably not what you want to here, however....

    Please remember we are currently in the middle of a recordable DVD format war, with 3 incompatible formats fighting for supremacy -R/RW, +R/RW and DVD-RAM.

    Some of these formats are suposedly backwards compatible with standard DVD (-R, +R/RW), so theoretically if you use the right format your recordings are future proofed to a degree.

    [Also having different types of blanks that look more or less the same but are incompatible is likely to cause confusion e.g accidently buying a +RW blank when you really meant to buy a -RW blank].

    I would from a historical perspective expect at least one and possibly 2 of these formats to eventually fall by the wayside, which will mean the blank media will get very expensive before completely drying up, whilst the winner will become plentiful.

    Of the 3, I personally concider DVD-RAM to be the outsider, so would avoid a Panasonic player for this reason - but it is early days so far and I would not want to put money on the outcome!!

    However towards the end of this year, Sony are apparently launching a dual format player compatible with +R/RW and -R/RW, this is the player I would choose as it significantly reduces the risk of buying a dud, you would just buy whatever blank media is the cheapest and if the + or - version eventually fails then it doesn't really matter too much!

    Of course this Sony player is an unknown quantity - and may not even ever appear, and its a long time to wait till the end of the year!

    I do not envy your decision!!!
     
  5. DaveP

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    I have not seen any blockiness whilst recording at the best setting.

    At the moment there are very few, if any, DVD players that will play the DVD-RAM disk, as far as I am concerned this is not a problem as I only use the RAM disks like video tapes, ie, use them over and over again to record onto, once I have watched the recording.

    If you wish to use the DVD-R disk on another machine then yes it must be finalised before you can do this. There is little point in not finalising the disk if it is full. You can delete recordings from a DVD-R disk but it does not reclaim the space. If it is not full, you can remove it and then return it later to carry on writing to it. I shall be doing this when I transfer music videos to disk, I won't have the time to do the whole tape in one go and I shall seperate each track into a chapter and then build a menu. Finalising the disk takes about four minutes.

    I bought the machine from PRC Direct for £795 inc VAT but plus carriage. They also have the Philips 1000, slightly cheaper.

    The people who say wait may have a very valid point but, if you are like me, you have already been waiting some time. In my case about six months. I set a threshold on price. Once it got below £700 I was going for it. This is about the price I paid for my first Panasonic S-VHS vide recorder mamny many years ago.

    Newer models may well be more versatile and do more clever things. The Panny does what I want now and at the right price.

    DVD-RAM may die a death but by then I shall no doubt have a collection of them (I have over 200 blank video tapes as it is!)

    If you wait there will always be something better just around the corner!

    DaveP
     
  6. Nick Waite

    Nick Waite
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    Thanks Pete and Thanks again Dave!

    I too have been looking at DVD Recorders for a good few months now and seeing the prices have decided to finally buy within the next few weeks.

    Dave had a highly valid point in writing that there is always something better just around the corner. I suppose it's just a case of diving in when the equipment meets your requirements and budget! A bit like a PC really!

    I was talking to Philips UK today who inform me that they are about to release a new version of the DVDR 1000 and that it will be launched at about £850. When I asked what else it would do, they told me that it would be 3Kg lighter and more compatible.

    The weight of the thing I don't care about - as it only sits on a shelf anyway! But the compatibility point is one which interests me and puts me off buying the current model.

    But on the other hand, could they have made it 3Kg lighter by removing some of the features and replacing metal parts with plastic? At the end of the day it is almost half the original price of the existing model.

    What do I do?!?!

    Can anyone think of where I might find details of this new product? I've tried the philips website with little success.
    :confused: :(
     
  7. DaveP

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    I got the price wrong, should be £695!!!!!


    Sorry,


    The 980 is the only new Philips recorder I know of so maybe that's the one?

    DaveP
     
  8. Tomas L

    Tomas L
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    OK, this is not easy!

    First: I also consider Panasonic:s DVD-RAM as an outsider. DVD+RW claims to be "more compatible" than any other player, but is that really true? ("don't believe the hype!").

    Check vcdhelp.com and their "DVD players compatability list" and you find that just as many players can read DVD-RW (yesterday, 164 players) as DVD+RW (161 players). Best compatability has DVD-R (322 players). Philips recorder can't record on DVD-R.

    Both Pioneers and Philips DVD-recorders can use the same recording format DVD-V, so if i'm not mistaken, the compatability is equally good on both recorders? (BIG questionmark!!!)

    Pioneer can also record in a format that is called DVD-VR and that makes it possible to choose compression in 32 levels and a recording time from one to six hours. DVD-VR is not very compatible with older players, but it is standardized by DVD Forum, so all new players will most likely be able to read DVD-VR. Pioneer 444 can do that (of course) and the new Sony models (I believe). DVD-VR recordings can be "finalized" by the player to be compatible with older players. That can take some time, up to an hour, but the possibility is there. The recording quality is better with DVD-VR if the recording time is longer than two hours. You do want the best quality when recording the World Cup final, don't you?

    What really bothers me is that Philips seems to be the only manufacturer of DVD+RW recorders...? Pioneer, Sony (only in Japan so far) has launched DVD-RW recorders. Yamaha has shown a protoype, i don't know what format they will use, but my bet is on DVD-RW. This is really starting to look like Philips "Video 2000" battle against VHS and the rest of the world.....

    But this time Philips can incorporate the ability to use DVD-RW discs in future recorders without abandoning thier old customers who have stacked up on DVD+RW media.

    By the way, Philips new recorders are called 980 and 985, use google.com to find more information.

    Review of Pioneer, Panasonic and Philips:http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/buying_tips/PrintArticle.asp?ArticleID=85
     
  9. PhilipL

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    Hi

    I have had all these same thoughts and after research have settled on the Pioneer 7000.

    These are some facts as I see them:

    The Philips 1000 was well received, however people soon complained of "disc errors" causing skips and freezes. Many people have returned machines for repair or refund. The 1000 also has problems with VHS signals, in that it drops the signal or distorts the sound. People have bought Time Base Correctors to try and correct the problem. The Philips 1000 is supposed to have a TBC built in, but there you go. It is likely the 985 or 980 (980 has no firewire) will resolve these issues.

    No support for +R on the 1000, but a firmware update is promised. However the manufacturers have already broken their promise of updating PC Drives to +R (could be some class action lawsuit going on), and the date for the 1000 firmware has slipped, so no guarantees there. So better waiting for the 985 if you going this route.

    Compatibility: The Philips has only one mode for recording and that is DVD-Video. This means the discs are always compatible with existing DVD players, *IF* the player reads the disc. Compatibility is anywhere around 30-80% depending on who you believe. Because of its compatibility with DVD-Video it has to miss out some functions you might expect of a non-linear disc. For example, you can erase a recording, but that space is not automatically used later. The only way to re-use the space is to cue to it, and record exactly the correct amount of time to fill it up, or risk overwriting what comes next! So you get the same sort of problems as you had with VHS tape. Something smack bang in the middle of a disc, even with the sum of the space before and after being enough time for a program, you can not use it, just like tape. This is even more a problem with DVD as it has less recording time in its higher quality modes. Also even though the write speed of +RW can cope with it, time-slip functions are not possible when writing a disc compatible with DVD Video players.

    The compatibility of DVD+R is yet unknown.

    The Panasonic and Pioneer default recording modes on re-writable media is DVD Video Recording. This is a new format, approved by the DVD Forum for real-time video recording. You get all the benefits of disc-based recording, including erasing titles and having that space transparently added to the remaining time, just like Mini-Disc. The downside, being a new format existing players will not work with it. It is only really a firmware issue, however manufacturers are guilty of only adding support for it on their more expensive players as an added feature. Pioneer certainly does this at the moment. Manufacturers could have updated the firmware on all currently shipping models to support the new recording format to help its acceptance but they haven't. (Although it is likely a memory buffer is needed to cope with the laser having to move to different parts of the discs as will happen with the random access seen on RAM and RW discs, but what does memory cost these days? Plus this would help rid a layer change freeze and is on some players anyway.)

    As the DVD Forum approves the DVD-RAM and DVD-RW, full support for them should appear under the guise of DVD Multi, a new logo that tells you that any player or recorder will accept DVD-RAM/RW/R and play or record to them. This new logo was finalised late last year however products are yet to be seen though. The first product is likely to be the PC Drive from LG-Hitachi.

    However the DVD Forum states they are committed to providing forward compatibility, so new products should support RAM/RW/R, only time will tell.

    In the meantime both the Pioneer and Panasonic have an option to write to DVD-R in a way that is compatible with existing players. Being write-once, editing is not really possible (you can erase but do not get the space back of course), and features are limited. However DVD-R gives the best compatibility at the moment. The Pioneer will also write to DVD-RW in this compatibility mode but as if it was a write once disc. (You can of course reformat and erase a RW disc and reuse it again.) No effort or expense has been made with DVD-RW to allow it to work in the way the Philips machine does, as they are expecting you to use the Video Recording format, with forward compatibility only.

    Also when the Pioneer records to DVD-R it uses a constant bit rate, this makes no difference in the 1 hour mode, however there may be more artefacts in the 2 hour mode on fast moving scenes. In practice some notice a difference some do not. The difference is not as bad as might be imagined, as when compared to real-time VBR, which does not vary the data-rate much anyway on any of these recorders due to trying to ensure a fairly constant recording time, the differences are small.

    Politics:

    We have the competing formats for one reason only. Philips and Sony (they promote +RW) lobbied the DVD Forum to accept DVD-RAM, DVD+RW, and DVD-R as the de-facto standards. However for whatever reasons, the 13 or so companies making up the committee voted for DVD-RW (by Pioneer) in place of +RW. Philips and Sony were not happy at losing out on royalties and patents so went off and did their own thing. Ironically Philips and Sony were the founding members of this DVD Forum and always promoted the importance of everyone going with their decisions at the beginning, of course it was in their interest then. So they have been somewhat hypocritical over this.

    Sony appears still somewhat loyal to the DVD Forum, or protecting their interests both ways, and support both DVD-RW and +RW. They have stated they will produce equipment that will record to both the formats, but these dates have slipped and slipped, and now they state the end of 2002. It is likely by then they will only go with one or the other, and in the meantime are just trying to remain neutral. In Japan, Sony were very quick to assert their name with DVD-RW with the release of a recorder their.

    In the meantime DVD-RAM with its time-slip features and child proof caddy is gaining popularity. I have seen no figures but expect the Panasonic E20 to have out-sold all the others, at least in the UK, with new models from Panasonic and JVC soon to appear! It is the most robust format, and is likely to be the best replacement in the home for video tape and archiving precious recordings.

    So there you have it.

    Regards

    Philip
     
  10. DaveP

    DaveP
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    Thank you PhilipL for taking the time and effort to put together that informative and helpful reply!

    DaveP
     
  11. Nick Waite

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    Wow! Thanks Philip - I can certainly see you have been doing your research! Very Helpful.

    I have found some great info on the new philips DVDRs at:

    www.press.ce.philips.com/view.pl?id=210

    The press release, dated 12 March 02 promises the new DVD+R format is 'virtually 100% compatibility with existing and future DVD players'. We are also promised that the disks will be available to buy at the beginning of April.....

    The firmware is also currently available for the DVDR 1000 and I am assured (by two separate technical support bods at Philips UK) that there is no difference between the newer and older models of the DVDR other than the Firmware being pre-installed. They have also removed the aluminium panel at the front and used a lot more plastic! So the DVDR 1000 would appear to be the better choice of the two.

    Philips have also just released a ROM drive that can record both DVD-R and +R!! This press release can be found on the same site as above.

    My main concerns with the DVDR 1000 are the 'Disk Error' stories I keep hearing and the possibility of a blocky picture during0 playback.

    On the other hand I have read reports that cheaper DVD-r disks often fail. One guy mentioned that 4 out of the ten pack he bought failed! So perhaps the media will end up just as expensive?!?

    I really cannot decide between the formats and am told that new technology known as 'Blue Ray' is already lined up for release this summer. 'Blue Ray' disks can hold a rumoured 5GB!!! AND play on all DVD players? That said, I'm an IT Account Manager and often hear such rumours - sometimes they come through but often these products don't even get close to Europe!

    Phil, are you entirely happy with your 7000? Have you come across any problems and do the DVD-r disks play in other DVD players? I'm specifically interested whether this format would play in a Playststion 2 (as this is my only DVD player at present).

    Finally - are there any DVDR 1000 owners out there who can help me?




    :rolleyes:
     
  12. PhilipL

    PhilipL
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    Hi Nick

    A criticism of the 1000 was poorer MPEG encoding than the other machines, and Philips have said in various statements that the 985/980 has different hardware. So I do not understand why the engineers are saying different. If I was going with a Philips recorder I would wait and see what the 985 or 980 is like, and they will arrive with +R support out the box. For some more information see: http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/equipment/articledisplay.asp?ArticleID=85&page=1 Also in Aprils What Video and TV edition is a review of the Pioneer with some comparisons made to the other options out there.

    I did not see any reference to DVD-R and +R recordable ROM drives, only a reference that the players will play DVD-R.

    Yes there are issues with cheap DVD-R discs, and the saying "You get what you pay for" applies here. They are cheap for a reason. DVD recording is a new format and there are always incompatibilities, and those show up more in the cheaper media. Things will get better as they did in the days of CD-R/RW.

    Personally I have used cheap DVD-RW Princo discs with no problems and they even play back on DVD Players (when recorded in compatible mode) but not yet used any cheap DVD-R.

    As for the Philips machines you will not get cheap media for a while, it will all be branded. When cheap media does filter through for the + formats the same problems are bound to arise.

    The Philips is better if you want to be able to do some "limited" editing and then send those discs to friends and family which will still be hit and miss compatibility wise. Using DVD+R will give you greater compatibility (remember this is still an unknown) according to Philips upto 100% in their press release, well anything is upto 100% isn't it? If you go for DVD+R you are not able to edit much anyway. So you could just go with a machine that does DVD-R anyway as there is not much difference. Note that on the Philips machines DVD+R discs can have a menu with thumb nail pictures for navigation, but with DVD-R on the Panasonic and Pioneer you are just stuck with a text menu.

    If you want a VCR replacement your best bet has to be either Panasonic or Pioneer, and then but faith in the DVD Forum that forward compatibility will happen so you assured they will play in all future equipment. Either way it is leap of faith. However Pioneer DVD Players models 545 upwards support DVD-RW in the Video Recording format. DVD-RAM players are thin on the ground at the moment.

    Blu-Ray is unlikely to reach the UK for many years, as our government has opted for quantity of channels and not for quality. Blu-Ray is better suited for HDTV that will happen everywhere else first other than here. Blu-Ray should hold around 13 hours of normal DVD quality and 2 hours of HDTV.

    Yes disc errors have been an issue, and even with DVD+RW PC Drives people have reported suddenly lossing all the data! This could be as simple as user error in some cases. I can say I have heard of no similar issues with the Panasonic or Pioneer units, and have experience no such problems myself. If reliability is a concern then DVD-RAM formats have the same defect management you find on hard drives, and housed safely in a caddy. Also DVD-RAM is rated for 100,000 rewrites with the RW formats rated at 1000, so RAM is able to take the most abuse and so live longer.

    I can say I am completely happy with the Pioneer, and the build quality will blow you away, you do feel as though you are getting your moneys worth at 7kg! Yes DVD-R (branded) has played in all players I have tried as expected. DVD-RW I haven't really tried many but it has been recognised in my Pioneer player and 2 DVD-ROM drives.

    As for PS2 playing discs, I have heard conflicting reports and it would seem there are several revisions of the Playstation, some recognising DVD-R others not. If you can find a friendly dealer see if you can have some test discs made.

    Regards

    Philip
     
  13. Nick Waite

    Nick Waite
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    Thanks again Philip!

    Sorry it's taken me a while to reply.

    Following further research over the weekend (triggered by the link to sound and vision in your previous entry to this forum). I have pretty much decided against the DVDR1000.

    I do have one question to Philip though..where did you buy your Pioneer 7000 and how much did you have to pay? It appears to be considerably more expensive than the competition.

    I would be interested in looking into this model, especially considering your success with the unit and the fact that it has a bi-directional Firewire port. I like the sound of its VHS copies too.

    At the end of the day, as mentioned before, all I want is a reliable DVD VCR essentially. As long as it works and the DVD-Rs will play in the majority of existing DVD players, I will be a happy man.

    I dont want to fork out nearly a grand for a recorder that will make my VHS copies look worse and my recordings blocky with Mpeg artifacts.

    The Pioneer 7000 sound the best by far (considering the firewire port) and I just hope I can afford it!!

    Looking forward to hearing back...
     
  14. DaveP

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    Nick, the Panny has an IEEE1394 DV input, is this the same as Firewire?

    cheers

    Dave
     
  15. Nick Waite

    Nick Waite
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    Yes, an IEEE 1394 or i.Link connection is the same thing.

    How are you getting on with the panasonic? Any horror stories or are you really happy? What's the VHS transfer like?

    I've really gone off the Philips because I have heard too much bad news about it.
     
  16. DaveP

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    Well, being a cheapskate I bought those cheap DVD-R disks and so rapidly ran out! I've only transferred one tape so far and it is identical to the original. Obviously there is no way it can improve upon it.

    I just received another batch of blank disks (Princo branded this time) and I shall me moving more tapes over in the next few days/weeks time permitting.

    I've mainly used it for transferring stuff from the Sky+ box and as a video recorder. I watched South Park today, recorded from my old Digibox, and the picture quality (at its best setting) was superb but there was an audio drop-out for a second at one point, of course I've no way of knowing if this was broadcast, interference of some sort or drop out from the DVD.

    Another thing I like is that there are four inputs plus the firewire. One on the front for Camcorder etc, two scarts and an S-Video, Video and L/R audio in and out.

    I'm really happy with it. I think the price I payed is reasonable, if you can get it for less it's a bargain!

    DaveP
     
  17. PhilipL

    PhilipL
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    Hi Nick

    I bought the Pioneer from www.avland.co.uk.

    I am not sure we will see much movement in the price, for a while anyway, not in the same way as the Philips. The Pioneer was the last to see the shops in the UK out of the others and so the price is already reflecting the market place. The Philips arrived at £1300 in the UK as it had no competition at that time and cashed in on that, but quickly dropped in price.

    'What TV and Video' have a review of the Pioneer in April's edition and they quote the price at £1300 both for the Philips and Pioneer. Of course the street price is always less and the Pioneer has never sold for £1300 in the UK as far as I am aware.

    I guess it is more expensive than the competition as it is aiming itself at the top end.

    VHS copies clean up quite nicely but you do really need to go for high bit rates to avoid artefacts, so this means 1 hour for a DVD. This isn't a limitation of any particular machine just the way MPEG works and the fact VHS footage is often noisy and so difficult to compress, although the noise reduction of the Pioneer of course does help. It is a question of try and see what works best for you.

    Regards

    Philip
     
  18. Nick Waite

    Nick Waite
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    I think that the Pioneer is a bit too much above budget at the moment, despite the fabulous features.

    I think I might well settle on the Panasonic - especially considering Dave's happiness with the machine and the surprise firewire input!

    I'm going to the Panasonic website right now to find out more!

    Many thanks to you both for the informative replies....
     
  19. Tomas L

    Tomas L
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    BTW: Philips recorders have a firewire input too. (1000 and 985)

    But everybody interested in DVD-recorders should read this:
    http://www.dvdforum.com/tech-dvdmulti.htm

    The DVD Multi specification covers:

    "DVD-Video
    DVD-ROM
    DVD-Audio
    DVD-R
    DVD-RW
    DVD-RAM
    DVD-Video Recording"

    "DVD Audio Recording format, currently under development, will be added to the DVD Multi specification upon completion."

    DVD-A recordable...! :D

    I have read somewhere that Samsung is releasing a DVD-Multi recorder sometime this year.

    Sony can't make up their mind and are releasing a player that can record on both DVD+RW and DVD-RW. (DVD-Multi?)

    I'm waiting for the first recorder that will be DVD-Multi and has a big HD too...300 GB? :)
     
  20. PhilipL

    PhilipL
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    Hi Nick

    Nick said:
    I think I might well settle on the Panasonic - especially considering Dave's happiness with the machine and the surprise firewire input!

    I think that is a good choice too. For all the Panasonics that have been sold I have never heard anyone that owns one say a bad word against it.

    Regards

    Philip
     
  21. encaser

    encaser
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    You dvdr guys/gals may care to know that http://www.bigpockets.co.uk/ have a special of the week for Vivastar unbranded dvd-r's for 10 for 20.65 inc p&p. They 'should' be alright cause Vivastar are a highly regarded Swiss cd maker who said some time back they were heading into dvd country with machines of their own being drawn up for pc and home.
     
  22. DaveP

    DaveP
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    If anybody takes advantage of this offer I'd like some feedback please!

    My first excursion into un-branded disks was a major disappointment with four out of ten failing.:( They were subsequently replaced though, I opted for three branded disks to replace the four un-branded ones, excellent service from http://www.blankdiscshop.co.uk/acatalog/index.html.

    I just stocked up for a while with Princo Branded this time, the first one out the box worked fine. I'll keep you posted as I use more of them.

    DaveP
     
  23. PhilipL

    PhilipL
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    Hi

    I have just ordered 10 DiscPlanet DVD-Rs. I have used Princo DVD-RWs and these worked perfectly, but after hearing several reports of un-reliable Princo DVD-Rs and a few saying they had better luck with DiscPlanet, I opted for DiscPlanet.

    I must admit you get what you pay for. Looking at the Princo DVD-RWs, on the data side the surface isn't particularly clean with the faint remains of some wash or chemical used during manufacture. The centre hole has some flaky remnants of glue from the bonding process that thankfully is easily removed by a finger!

    Look at a Pioneer DVD-RW, and these are spotless in everyway, and also several times the price!

    I will post back how I get on with the DiscPlanets.

    Regards

    Philip
     
  24. DaveP

    DaveP
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  25. Nick Waite

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    Sorry to keep on about this!

    Ok, I'm about to order the Panasonic DMR-E20. But before I do, please could somebody answer the following questions to put my mind at rest...

    All of the below questions relate to the DMR-E20

    1) Can you write onto a DVD-R more than once before finalisation? ie: if I make a mistake during recording, can I go back and start again?

    2) If I were to record 3 programmes in a row, but decided that I only wanted to keep programme 2. Could I delete 1 and 3 and have the extra space created added to the end of the disk (like a mini-disk) rather than having a programme left right in the middle of the disc with a relatively useless gap for recording before it?

    3) Can you create and name your own tracks on the DVD-R and RAM or is this automatically done by scene/new recording?
    I understand from reviews that DVD-Rs get tracks automatically inserted every 5 mins or so throughout the recording so it is easy to skip through. But I want to be able to add tracks at specific points of my recordings.

    4) What's the cheapest anyone has seen DVD-Rams for?

    These are my last questions. I know I'm fussy, but I just want to make the right choice. any thanks to you all for your continued tolerance and advice!!


    Regards,

    Nick
    :)
     
  26. PhilipL

    PhilipL
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    Hi Nick

    1) Can you write onto a DVD-R more than once before finalisation? ie: if I make a mistake during recording, can I go back and start again?

    Yes you can keep adding to the disc. For example, you could half fill it, remove the disc and do something else, put the disc back in and continue filling it up. It will even play on the Panasonic before it is finalised. If you make a mistake you can erase the title, but this is write once media, there is no way of using that same bit of disc again. So although it is deleted and will not be seen, the space is not given back. This is the same with all write once discs.

    2) If I were to record 3 programmes in a row, but decided that I only wanted to keep programme 2. Could I delete 1 and 3 and have the extra space created added to the end of the disk (like a mini-disk) rather than having a programme left right in the middle of the disc with a relatively useless gap for recording before it?

    Answered above regarding DVD-R, you can not use the space again. DVD-RAM, being re-writeable will of course give the space back, just like Mini-Disc.

    3) Can you create and name your own tracks on the DVD-R and RAM or is this automatically done by scene/new recording?
    I understand from reviews that DVD-Rs get tracks automatically inserted every 5 mins or so throughout the recording so it is easy to skip through. But I want to be able to add tracks at specific points of my recordings.


    You can name recordings and the disc, and when finalised you get a menu on normal DVD players with these titles. With DVD-RAM you can create chapters etc at will, no restrictions. With DVD-R chapters normally get written at a set time, or when you pause or stop and start a recording. The Philips DVD+R will allow you to add chapter marks where you like afterwards, but these are only recognised on the recorder and not normal DVD Players.

    DVD-R or +R are limited due to them being write once.

    For DVD-RAM prices see: http://www.digiverse.co.uk/ or http://www.valuemedia.co.uk or www.panasonic.co.uk online shop.

    Regards

    Philip
     
  27. Nick Waite

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    Many thanks for that Philip,

    With regards to your answer to Q2:

    Answered above regarding DVD-R, you can not use the space again. DVD-RAM, being re-writeable will of course give the space back, just like Mini-Disc.

    So all spare space on the disk gets moved to the end of the disk and shunts all of the recordings back to the beginning of the disk right? The programmes are not left in the same place leaving blank spaces in-between recordings that are effectively useless unless you need to make a recording of the same length or less.

    I know that this is the case on the Philips, and that's why I'm worried..

    I know I probably sound thick, but I need to be sure...

    Regards,

    Nick:confused:
     
  28. DaveP

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    Nick, I dont have a mini disc to compare it with but, as far as I know, it works in a similar way to a PC. If you delete tracks from the beginning and end of the DVD-RAM disk it will start recording at the first occurence of free space, it will then fill that and then start at the next occurence of free space. All this is transparent to the user.

    To put it in english, so long as you have say thirty minutes of space left you can record thirty minutes. It does not matter if this is made up of ten and twenty!

    DaveP
     
  29. PhilipL

    PhilipL
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    Hi

    Dave is correct. With DVD-RAM (and DVD-RW) do not think like tape, think like hard disk. When you delete something, the space is just marked as free and added to the remaining time. Nothing gets moved on the disk, it remains where it is. When you next record something the laser my skip to a bit of spare space at the beginning of the disc, then when filled skips to the end and continues recording. This is transparent to you, there are no freezes or skips in the playback even when the laser moves between blank bits. In this respect it works exactly like Mini-Disc.

    The Philips machines can not do the same as DVD-RAM or DVD-RW and so free space has to be reclaimed manually, and recorded to the same time or else it overwrites what ever is next. For a possible future replacement to the VCR this is not very user friendly in my opinion.

    Regards

    Philip
     
  30. Nick Waite

    Nick Waite
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    Many thanks to you all!

    I have finally made my mind up on the Panasonic DMR-E20.

    I couldn't have done it without all of your guidance and I'm truly very grateful!

    All the best,

    Nick
     

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