New Panansonic DMREX85 DVD HDD Recorder - Help Needed

O

Onion Bag

Guest
Hi everyone

Just purchased my first DVD HDD recorder, a Panasonic DMR EX85 connected to a Sony KLVL23 LCD TV with a Scart lead to AV2 and connected back to my Sky box with a Scart. There is also a Scart connecting my Sky box ro the AV1 input on the TV.

Well pleased with the DVD playback but I'm now trying work my through how to record from my standard Sky Receiver so I can play about with the editing functions but I'm not sure about the best way to go forward and I have a couple of questions:

Does the receiver have to be tuned to the correct digital channel in order to record the programme I want. This would mean that if I wanted to record two programmes on different channels at different times I would have to manually change the channel myself between recordings. Is this correct as it looks like the recorder can only be set to record whatever happens to be on AV2 (used videoplus code to set the timer)

Does the TV Guide on the Recorder only show channels picked up through an aerial and decoded by the Panasonics own digital tuner. Not clearly indicated in the manual so I don't want to waste time trying to understand that bit if I can't use it

Its been a very long time since I recorded anything from TV (with a VCR) so I'm about 6 years behind the times so anyone who can help me get the best out of my new toy would be welcome.

Cheers

Onion Bag
 

Gavtech

Administrator
Hi everyone

Just purchased my first DVD HDD recorder, a Panasonic DMR EX85 connected to a Sony KLVL23 LCD TV with a Scart lead to AV2 and connected back to my Sky box with a Scart. There is also a Scart connecting my Sky box ro the AV1 input on the TV.

There are better ways to connect than this that will give you the ability to watch and record in RGB quality.
I will post detail later.
Well pleased with the DVD playback but I'm now trying work my through how to record from my standard Sky Receiver so I can play about with the editing functions but I'm not sure about the best way to go forward and I have a couple of questions:

Does the receiver have to be tuned to the correct digital channel in order to record the programme I want. This would mean that if I wanted to record two programmes on different channels at different times I would have to manually change the channel myself between recordings. Is this correct as it looks like the recorder can only be set to record whatever happens to be on AV2 (used videoplus code to set the timer)

There is a facilty on the EX85 called 'External Link'. This feature allows you to use the Skybox to control recording on the EX85,
To use it, you would set the programmes you wish to record using the Skybox EPG/ timer and then set the EX85 to Ext Link mode. When the sky box starts up the EX85 will record, then cease when the programme ends and the Skybox turns off.
The next time the skybox turns on to a differently timed , perhaps different channnelled programme, the EX85 will start recording again.
Does the TV Guide on the Recorder only show channels picked up through an aerial and decoded by the Panasonics own digital tuner. Not clearly indicated in the manual so I don't want to waste time trying to understand that bit if I can't use it
Yes. You would use that to set timer programmes you wish to record from the Freeview channels.

To realise these facilities you will first have to reconfigure your connections and change a few settings.

I'll post back about that.
 

Gavtech

Administrator
To get the best out of your system it is necessary to connect everything by RGB which will give you the better recording quality and also better viewing quality.

The EX85 is equipped with RGB Pass-through which makes this all possible. It will allow you to watch a different channnel from the Skybox whilst the EX85 is recording from it's internal tuner.


Sky boxes have two scarts but it only outputs RGB on the 'TV' scart outlet.

So your connection route should be:

Skybox TV scart to EX85 AV2

EX85 AV1 to the AV1 scart on the TV [ RGB in]

On the EX85 Goto : Functions / To others / Setup / Connections:

Set AV1 to output RGB1

Set AV2 to intake RGB


The EX85 will pass through RGB when it is off, when in timer standby, ordinary standby and when doing a timed recording from it's internal tuner.... and when the EX85 is on , it will pass it through when AV2 is selected on the device itself..

Note that if you do manual recordings, the EX85 does not pass through RGB [ unless AV2 is selected] because it is effectively 'ON' in this mode, and you will not be able to see sky in this mode.

To make Ext Link recordings, as mentioned in the previous post, you will need to change the setting to Ext Link 2 Mode.

Once that is done, the EX85, when set to Ext link mode, will record whenever the Skybox turns on.
 
O

Onion Bag

Guest
Hi Gavtech

Many thanks for all the information - everything connected, massively improved picture quality. After my intial concerns I can't believe how easy it is to record from the Sky Box. I presume I can't watch another channel while its recording but not really a problem as this is my second Sky box that I use as my "sanctuary" from the kids to watch the stuff I record while I'm elsewhere.

Time to start playing with all the editing functions and getting a ear-bashing from the missus for always watchning TV!

Cheers and Thanks again
 

Gavtech

Administrator
Hi Gavtech

Many thanks for all the information - everything connected, massively improved picture quality. After my intial concerns I can't believe how easy it is to record from the Sky Box. I presume I can't watch another channel while its recording

Not if it is a sky channel you were recording - No .. ... But if you were doing a timer recording from freeview using the EX85's tuner then it is possible under those circumstances to watch anything from Sky simultaneoulsly.
but not really a problem as this is my second Sky box that I use as my "sanctuary" from the kids to watch the stuff I record while I'm elsewhere.

Time to start playing with all the editing functions and getting a ear-bashing from the missus for always watchning TV!

Cheers and Thanks again

Thanks for the feedback.

Good luck with your machine.
 
To make Ext Link recordings, as mentioned in the previous post, you will need to change the setting to Ext Link 2 Mode.

Once that is done, the EX85, when set to Ext link mode, will record whenever the Skybox turns on.

This sounds curious, I hav't seen a need for EXTLink, Can you explain what benefit this gives, will it help with unattended recordings from SKy on different channels?
 

Gavtech

Administrator
This sounds curious, I hav't seen a need for EXTLink, Can you explain what benefit this gives, will it help with unattended recordings from SKy on different channels?

Yes - Indeed it will

The benefit of it [ as described in post 2 above ] is that you only need to programme one device [ the skybox] to set a series of timed recordings [ which can be on different channels.. using the sky EPG.
There is no need to programme the EX75 / 85.

The EX75 / 85 will record whenever the skybox turns on and selects its channel at the according time.

For this to apply EXT link mode 2 must be selected in settings [ and can be so permanently ] and then the EX75/85 must be left in EXT Link Standby Mode by pushing the Ext Link button , either on the remote, or the button behind the front door.
 

Jaded

Standard Member
Hi folks. Re:- DMRex85, Is this machine able to record one freeview channel whilst at the same time feeding a different freeview channel to the TV?

I apologise if I'm supposed to start a new thread, but this thread seemed perfect for my question.
T I A
J
 

Gavtech

Administrator
Hi folks. Re:- DMRex85, Is this machine able to record one freeview channel whilst at the same time feeding a different freeview channel to the TV?

No - I am afraid this is not possible.

You can feedthrough another input to the TV that is incoming on its AV2 scart, such as a skybox, whilst it is recording a freeview channel.
If you want to see how then see post no 3 on this thread:

http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=418727

To be able to watch another freeview channel whilst one is being recorded then you must have a minimum of two digital tuners somewhere in your system .. and the EX85 only has one.
 

mykl1971

Novice Member
To get the best out of your system it is necessary to connect everything by RGB which will give you the better recording quality and also better viewing quality.

The EX85 is equipped with RGB Pass-through which makes this all possible. It will allow you to watch a different channnel from the Skybox whilst the EX85 is recording from it's internal tuner.


Sky boxes have two scarts but it only outputs RGB on the 'TV' scart outlet.

So your connection route should be:

Skybox TV scart to EX85 AV2

EX85 AV1 to the AV1 scart on the TV [ RGB in]

On the EX85 Goto : Functions / To others / Setup / Connections:

Set AV1 to output RGB1

Set AV2 to intake RGB


The EX85 will pass through RGB when it is off, when in timer standby, ordinary standby and when doing a timed recording from it's internal tuner.... and when the EX85 is on , it will pass it through when AV2 is selected on the device itself..

Note that if you do manual recordings, the EX85 does not pass through RGB [ unless AV2 is selected] because it is effectively 'ON' in this mode, and you will not be able to see sky in this mode.

To make Ext Link recordings, as mentioned in the previous post, you will need to change the setting to Ext Link 2 Mode.

Once that is done, the EX85, when set to Ext link mode, will record whenever the Skybox turns on.

Gavtech - just found this thread and having bought an EX75 last night I'm going to try this setup when I get home from work.

Just a wee question though - I have a Grundig Sky Digibox (not Sky+) - if I add a few programmes to its EPG, do I need to switch it to Standby in order for it to turn on and communicate with the EX75 or does it need to be left in On status ? (is this machine capable of switching itself on from standby ?)

Hope that makes some sense :)
 

zappo

Active Member
EXT link activates pin 19 on the scart and tells the attached device (the ex-75) to record. If you do not have Sky Plus this is a sensible option as you can set EXT LINK on the Pany on and off as you wish.

If I were in your position I would leave EXT link OFF unless I was going out and wanted it to record whatever was on SKY.

Then I would setup any programmes on the EPG, put the Sky box in Standby and set EXT LINK on the Pany to ON.

The Sky box needs to be in standby because by turning it on you activate pin 19 and that tells the Pany (assuming EXT Link is ON) to record.
 

DGP999

Standard Member
Hi Experts
I'm seriously thinking about buying an EX75. I use the NTL Samsung box not SKY, and having read the above marvellous thread, would I be able to do similar recording setups?

I have a JVC 27" with HDMI TV.

Derek
 

Gavtech

Administrator
Hi Experts
I'm seriously thinking about buying an EX75. I use the NTL Samsung box not SKY, and having read the above marvellous thread, would I be able to do similar recording setups?

I have a JVC 27" with HDMI TV.

Derek

As I understand it, NTL boxes are virtually the same as Skyboxes in terms of scart implementations... so your configuration will work in exactly the same way.

You could connect via HDMI but I question whether it would actually give you much benefit.
 

Gavtech

Administrator
Gavtech - just found this thread and having bought an EX75 last night I'm going to try this setup when I get home from work.

Just a wee question though - I have a Grundig Sky Digibox (not Sky+) - if I add a few programmes to its EPG, do I need to switch it to Standby in order for it to turn on and communicate with the EX75 or does it need to be left in On status ? (is this machine capable of switching itself on from standby ?)

Zappo has given you all the necessary information above.

A few additional notes. -

Yes the skybox MUST be switched to standby or as soon as the EX75 is switch to Ext Link mode it would otherwise start recording immediately, for the reasons Zappo gave.

Ext link mode effectively relinquishes all control of the machine to the Skybox. When it is in this mode you have no control over it at all. [ EXT LINK will be shown in the display to indicate it is in this mode ]

It is a 'Dumb' mode... It has no way of knowing when all the recordings are complete so it will remain in that mode until you take it out.

To have any control of the machine you must take it out of Ext link mode.
 

mykl1971

Novice Member
One for Gavtech possibly.

I've hooked up my EX75 following your guide earlier in the thread. Worked great but these past couple of days something strange has been happening.

After I make recordings using the Ext L function, when I go into Direct Navigator and then play the recordings there is sound but no picture !! Just blackness.

However, if I set the timer on the EX75 and record programmes by this method then there's sound and picture !?

Any ideas ??

Thanks in advance
 

Gavtech

Administrator
After I make recordings using the Ext L function, when I go into Direct Navigator and then play the recordings there is sound but no picture !! Just blackness.

Arg!

This is a known problem which occurs on some skyboxes [ If not all - I don't know ] I've never been able to get to the bottom of this because I have never used a skybox or had access to one.

As I understand it, it is likely that your first recording works OK ... but when the Skybox switches into standby and then back out for the next recording, it disables , or rather does not output RGB on it's TV scart anymore - with the result that you get no picture coming into the EX75 as it is configured to accept RGB.
I suspect this is almost a deliberate spoiler as cable / sat companies basically do not want you to copy or record anything and grudgingly provide the facilities to do so.

Whether this can be remedied I know not... and I am sure it is very frustrating.

I presume the box must still output in composite, so you could 'reduce' to that input... but that is scarcely satisfactory.

A number of people have reported this problem but I have never been able to determine if it affects ALL users or just some.
It may be that users WOULD have the problem but rarely record more than one programme on timer so never discover it.

I have no other obvious remedies at the moment.

Hopefully this post will generate some responses. It would be nice to get this one nailed down once and for all.

So everyone who uses this method of recording from an STB - Can you post about your timer experiences please.
 

zimbo000

Active Member
I have recently had some bad experiences using Autoview on a Panasonic branded Sky STB (connected to an EX95), namely that Autoview has not recorded the programme - I ended up with a black screen as per a previous poster (I did not ascertain whether sound had recorded, on seeing the black screen throughout the recording in Direct Navigator I just deleted it).

I do use EXT LINK, but programme the EX95 to record via AV2, plus I programme the STB. (Gavtech - we had a previous discussion on the topic of connecting up these units a month or so back, as per your previous post in this thread, but I choose to wire up differently.)

The non-record issue is to do with the Autoview function on Sky boxes. As I had programmed the EX95, I knew that was OK but still ended up with a black screen for an hour... :mad:

In searching through the Sky forum on this board (and on Digital Spy) it appears the problem is this: Autoview is flaky and a number of posters reported that they stopped using it. If they want to record, they just turn on the STB to the required channel. Of course, this is no use if you want to setup 2 or more Autoview sessions on the STB.

The problem appears to be this: the STB turns itself on at the time set in/by the EPG; the broadcaster then starts transmitting the programme, sometimes(especially on Sky) a minute or so after the EPG start time; when the programme actually starts a signal is sent out to identify it to the STB (one poster said this is similar to PDC on VCRs); apparently until it gets the 'start' signal the STB does not send a picture to the TV; BUT, if the broadcaster is very late starting the programme then obviously the STB is just sitting there waiting for a signal that there is a 'live' programme showing - which it isn't yet - and apparently if the STB does not receive notice of a live programme within 2-3 minutes of the Autoview start time, then the STB will turn itself off.... and you get a black screen recorded on your HDD/DVD/VCR. :thumbsdow

I had this happen 3 times over the past month on Sky One at 10 PM on a Monday night - Autoview & EX95 programmed correctly, black screen recording when checked the following day. It was this repeated occurence at the same time each week, and the fact that I had a successful recording from Sky in between, that led me to do some digging around.

Personally, I have now stopped using Autoview, I just switch the STB on in advance and stop anyone else using it before the recording... :)

I'd interested if anyone can confirm or deny the explanation I found on other forums, but it seemed to make sense - unfortunately!
 

zimbo000

Active Member
Ext link mode effectively relinquishes all control of the machine to the Skybox. When it is in this mode you have no control over it at all. [ EXT LINK will be shown in the display to indicate it is in this mode ]

...snip...

To have any control of the machine you must take it out of Ext link mode.

Gavtech - you may recall a previous discussion on this topic. I tested my EX95 and found that Direct Navigator DOES still work when in EXT LINK mode. Nothing else does however, but you can still watch stuff off the HDD.

http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=458307, post #10
 

mykl1971

Novice Member
Folks, thanks for your replies - I'm glad my new DVD recorder isn't going wonky after all :)

The "autoview" function seemed a great idea at first, but the way some shows run over their time, it could become a bit frustrating missing the end of something.

I think I'll just stick to the old tried and trusted method :)

Again, thanks for your help.
 

Gavtech

Administrator
I'd interested if anyone can confirm or deny the explanation I found on other forums, but it seemed to make sense - unfortunately!

Hi Zimbo.

Thanks for this comprehensive posting.

It does seem a plausible explanation for the behaviour, and gives the impression of being substantiated by someone who has directly observed it occurring live.

I like the fact that it feels closer to a full account for the behaviour... but I still have some nagging doubts as a result of former posters mentioning, apparently authoritatively, that the RGB signal was absent. Obviously it would be too in the scenario you describe... so that is a useless ambivalence :suicide: :) ... but tacitly implicit in that report is the idea that the composite output is still present.

Do you know if this problem only applies to the TV socket / RGB output / Mode 2 Ext link configuration.... or is the Composite / VCR socket / Ext Link Mode 1 configuration similarly affected by this problem?
 

Gavtech

Administrator
Gavtech - you may recall a previous discussion on this topic. I tested my EX95 and found that Direct Navigator DOES still work when in EXT LINK mode. Nothing else does however, but you can still watch stuff off the HDD.

http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=458307, post #10

Thanks also for this useful piece of information.

Good news I think... and makes sense of course.

EDIT - Having just re-visited that thread you cited, I have no idea why I did not recall that you had already told me this! D'oh :eek:
 

zimbo000

Active Member
Do you know if this problem only applies to the TV socket / RGB output / Mode 2 Ext link configuration.... or is the Composite / VCR socket / Ext Link Mode 1 configuration similarly affected by this problem?

Don't know I'm afraid. I connect my STB "VCR SCART" to the EX95 "AV2 (EXT)" and record from the STB that way, so I've only ever used Mode 2 (I watch from the EX95 via HDMI2, and from the STB via TV SCART into AV1 on the TV).

If the explanation re. Autoview I posted is correct, there's no definitive way of testing this because you are relying/waiting on the satellite broadcaster to start a transmission late - and other than my experiences with Nip/Tuck over the past weeks (the Sky One Monday at 10 PM programme), it seems almost impossible to predict when Autoview will screw up.

The reality is that Autoview works - in my experience - about 95% of the time. The problem is - and a statement of the obvious here! - I think most people record a programme because you actually want to watch it, and when it doesn't record because Autoview messes up, it causes gnashing of teeth and pulling out of hair... :mad: so I'd rather play on the safe side these days and not use Autoview at all if possible.

NB. One poster I read suggested programming Autoview to switch on for the programme before the one you want to watch (and perhaps the one you do), but it seems uncertain what happens i.e. someone thought Autoview switches off almost immediately after a recording, others that it did so a certain time after the first programme finished, and someone else said even this wouldn't work because if the second programme was late the STB is smart (stupid?) enough to realise there's nothing there (whether programmed or not) and still might switch itself off. In summary - no one appears to know the definitive answer on how Autoview works, so you take your chances, or not! If anyone does know, please enlighten us.... :lease:
 

Gavtech

Administrator
The problem appears to be this: the STB turns itself on at the time set in/by the EPG; the broadcaster then starts transmitting the programme, sometimes(especially on Sky) a minute or so after the EPG start time; when the programme actually starts a signal is sent out to identify it to the STB (one poster said this is similar to PDC on VCRs); apparently until it gets the 'start' signal the STB does not send a picture to the TV; BUT, if the broadcaster is very late starting the programme then obviously the STB is just sitting there waiting for a signal that there is a 'live' programme showing - which it isn't yet - and apparently if the STB does not receive notice of a live programme within 2-3 minutes of the Autoview start time, then the STB will turn itself off.... and you get a black screen recorded on your HDD/DVD/VCR. :thumbsdow

Nagging again :)

Do you know if anyone has made an issue of this with the Box manufacturers?

...or has anyone compiled a list of boxes that suffer from this problem and boxes that don't [ or do they all? ]

I'm thinking of fixes here.
It would seem that if the above is indeed what is happening then simply increasing the timeout period would remedy this problem, which I would have thought was a relatively simple tweak of the software ... Admittedly it would involve a number of manufacturers and it would involve them in download / transmission expenses.... but even though this is a non core function these devices are not performing as they should.

Zimbo - Perhaps you could direct me to the areas where this issue has been raised.

Unfortunately, links to what are referred to as 'competing forums' are against this forums rules [ I take an extremely dim view of that ... It almost made me leave this forum for good] ....so perhaps you could PM me thanks.
 

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