new purchase soon!! need to get up to speed on whats happening on dvd recorder front

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by brendank, Feb 21, 2004.

  1. brendank

    brendank
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    hi all

    finally ready to purchase dvd recorder, i have deliberately avoided all articles,discussions and forums relating to this for the past six months as i did not want to get distracted or swayed towards any particular model before i had the funds in place.

    so now i am hoping that you guys could bring me up to date on what has been happening, what is new in the market and what is being planned.

    basically what models i should be considering. my budget is up to £900

    my needs are for recording from tv the usual cornation street stuff, girlfriend said no statelite/sky allowed (a sesnsible compromise on my behalf as perfect excuse for going down to pub)
    so sky option not on the cards.

    looking forward to your replies

    cheers

    :confused: :) ;)
     
  2. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    With a budget on this scale you should only really consider a HDD/DVDR combo! These machines are highly flexible in that they offer huge HDD for timeshifting, offer accurate editting abilities, ability to dub recordings (editted or not) to DVD-R etc.

    As your doubtless aware the DVDR market is split with three re-writeable formats and two write-once formats. However, what has become very clear over the last year is that DVD-R (one of the write-once types) is pretty much the defacto standard in that it has the highest compatibility with existing DVD players and is the most widely supported write-once media in PC DVD burners and set-tops (as it is used by DVD-RAM and DVD-RW machines). And when you buy a HDD/DVDR combo the actual re-writeable media is somewhat irrelevant - especialyl as DVD-Rs can be purchased for as cheap as 50p each!

    The best DVDR/HDD combo you can get at the moment is the Panasonic E100. Details here:
    http://www.rgbdirect.co.uk/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=1901
    ....and here:
    http://www.avland.co.uk/panasonic/dmre100/index.htm
    This machine is best for a number of reasons. Firstly it has RGB input - I know you don't have Sky but if you have/are considering Freeview then your Digibox will output in RGB. To record in best quality you will need RGB input - and, out of HDD/DVDR combos, only the Panasonic E100 and Panasonic HS2 have that.

    Other benefits the E100 brings are iLink (if you have a digital camcorder), PC/SD card slot (for digital cameras), DVD-Audio playback etc. You can read the specs for yourself and decide if the features are of a benefit to you.

    Below this model things become less clear! There is the Panasonic HS2 available - similar in many respects to the E100 but cannot play MP3s, WMAs and only has a 40GB HDD (9hrs at top quality). Still a top machine if your on a budget:
    http://www.rgbdirect.co.uk/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=1657

    The two other HDD/DVDR combos of note are the Pioneer 5100 and the Toshiba RX3. Both are marred by the fact they do not have RGB in - and thus the ability to make the best possible recordings are not available. Nevertheless they both bring features.

    The Pioneer 5100 has many of the features of the top-of-range E100 (bar the RGB input) although has no PC/SD Card slot. It does however write to DVD-RW (as opposed to DVD-RAM on all the other machines) which may be useful to you if you want to play recordings in an 'upstairs' DVD player. It also offers a 'two-way' iLink (which is of more benefit on a standalone) but is worth mentioing anyway. It also offers a backup ability of your own home-made DVDs:
    http://www.avland.co.uk/pioneer/dvr5100/index.htm
    One point to make about the Pioneer 5100 though - by all accounts it has a very poor internal tuner - so if you were planning to record from the machines own tuner instead of a Sky/Freeview box then you should preview the 5100 before you consider purchase.

    The Toshiba RX3 is perfect if your on a tight budget. It offers a 60GB HDD and does have a few features related to dubbing that could be of benefit. It's limitations are no RGB input, no iLink and no PC/SD Card slot:
    http://www.home-entertainment.toshiba.co.uk/consumer/home.nsf
    (and click on Recordable DVD)

    There are some new machines on the horizon - the Panasonic E85 for example and two new models from JVC.
    The upcoming Panasonic E85 looks a good machine - it offers an 80GB HDD, progressive scan but no PC/SD Card slot or iLink:
    http://www.avland.co.uk/panasonic/dmre85/dmr-e85h.htm

    The two new JVC models are the DR-MH20 sporting an 80GB HDD and the DR-MH30 sporting a 160GB HDD. Only limited information on them yet but expect the same/similar features as on the JVC DR-M1 standalone, i.e. iLink, animated menus, mp3/jepg playback etc. They will be limited by a lack of RGB in again though :(

    Anyway - I hope that brief dit was what you were after ;) Personally if not on a budget I would choose the Panasonic E100.
     
  3. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    If all you want is an option to timeshift Corrie etc then you might be better off getting just a HDD recorder such as the Pace twin (Freeview tuner x2 included) or the far, far better TiVo (no digital, only analogue single tuner).
    TiVo will cost around £200 plus a further £200 for lifetime sub or £10 per month. You can upgrade the disk to 2x 120Gb or more to give over 80 hours of recording at best quality and this will just cost the price of the disks as it is a doddle to do as long as you know how to plug disk into a PC. If in a years time you want to sell it you are almost guarenteed to get at least what you paid for it back, you wont do that with any DVD recorder.

    Of course if you do want to make permenent copies of Corrie ( :confused: ) then a DVD recorder will be the better option.

    Mark.
     
  4. kenfowler3966

    kenfowler3966
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    I would say that if you haven't a digital source to record from such as sky or cable,(possibly freeview but I don't know how good that is), then a dvd harddrive recorder is a waste of money.
    You won't get any widescreen reception so any dvd's you record will be at 4:3 and relatively poor quality. When you do eventually join the digital revolution and buy a widescreen tv(I assume you don't have one as there is no point with analogue only reception), you will not be happy with the recordings you have made and won't view them again.

    I am a convert with a hs2, sky, widescreen tv etc, but in your situation I would stick with the video and not waste the money.

    I can't see the logic in spending £850 and not be able to use it to its potential, and if you just want to time shift coronation street, sky+ at £250 plus the monthly subsription seems much more sensible.
     
  5. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    I have alot of time for Tivo - I wish it had been more successful in the UK and I wish even more we were getting the Pioneer 810. But we're not and, IMHO, any standalone HDD unit is flawed if someone wants to archive recordings. There are perfect if your certain you don't want to archive anything, ever. But if you do want to archive and record something on, say, a Tivo then you still need to get a DVD recorder and you will be subjecting the picture to Digital>Analogue>Digital>Analogue>Digital (assuming it came from a digital source to start with). Not ideal. And if you then decide you want to properly editting out the adverts, you still need to buy a seperate HDD/DVDR combo.

    Didn't he say he didn't want/could have Sky? Whatever IMHO a HDD/DVDR combo is just as useful if you don't have Sky as it offers Sky+ functionality (in the sense of being able to Timeslip) on normal TV. Whatever with a £900 budget he can have a E100 and a Freeview digibox and get an excellent multi-channel setup. And given that Digital Terrestial TV is of a better PQ than Sky I would suggest he would be getting the very most from a HDD/DVDR combo.
     
  6. brendank

    brendank
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    lots of responses guys many thanks:clap:

    i was dreading the thought of having to go research everything and find out which format was winning etc etc but apparently not:)


    Rasczak yes this is so, i know the sky+ option is probably the most convenient option but my girlfriend would not tolerate football invading her tv screen on such a level, cant wait for champions league to start up again:p :p

    MarkE19 im based in ireland and the digital tv revolution has not quite hit our screens yet mind you i will check to see if any of the freeview/tive options actually work here

    kenfowler3966 this is a valid point i do have a widescreen tv and yes i agree it is not being used to its full potential but i would want some degree of future proofing built into my dvd recorder purchase as sometime down the road things may change.

    so this brings us back to DVDR/HDD combo as suggested by Rasczak


    is this the the concensus wisdom on the forum with the budget i have. what about sony have they got poor feedback here.

    should i buy now or wait another couple of months and see if something better is in the pipeline??:smoke:

    is reliability an issue with DVDR/HDD combo

    once again thanks guys for your input and suggestions:clap: :clap:
    :) :)
     
  7. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    There is always something better in the pipeline :) Seriously although alot of new machines are proposed the core functionality isn't going to change drastically.

    Not at all - thier machines are very good. They just don't have any HDD based machines out yet (two such models are coming in the Winter).

    The reason I recommended a HDD/DVDR combo is because a standalone DVD recorder, of any flavour has limitations. If you want to edit your recordings you have to record in VR mode which is incompatible with most existing DVD players. If you want to share recordings you have to record in Video mode (or get Philips +RW system) but then you can't edit. And above all the capacity of DVDRs is 4.7GB - enough for an evenings timeshifting but, if you can afford it, the larger capacity of a HDD is better. Don't get me wrong - standalone are fine and there are some excellent models out there. And if you are prepared to buy a PC DVD burner as well as the standalone you can get the same effect as going down the HDD/DVDR combo route. But if you can push the budget get a HDD/DVDR combo - it's the easiest most user friendly method IMHO.

    All the models quoted have had good reviews and have many happy users. It is the Philips budget standalone DVD+RW machines that have had the reliability problems you have probably heard about.
     
  8. bobbles

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    If you can not have sky I would go for a good quality freeview box (perhaps with the top up so you can get sky1 etc) and a HDD/DVDR

    However, I do completely disagree that the E100 is the best on the market. IMHO the Pioneer 5100 has many advantages and is an all round better DVDR.

    You would need to buy a freeview box with outputs s-video.
     
  9. kenfowler3966

    kenfowler3966
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    Just because you have sky doesn't mean the house is invaded with football. Personally I do not waste my time with it and only subscride to the sky family pack.
    This is a good option as I get the analogue channels in digital widescreen, plus a reasonable selection of other channels, a number of which I like without bothering with paying extra for sports channels, or the film channels. If you are happy with the sport available on analogue, I can't see why your girlfriend could object as you would get no more football than you do now in the future. You would though get the bennefit??? of corrie in widescreen, on the tv you already own.

    My personal choice was sky(not+) and a hs2 and I find this extremely versatile, and I set up virtually all the regular programs I want to watch in the digibox epg using autoview and link, and set the hs2 up to weekly record each programme. I can then watch everything at my convenience and not the broadcasters, without having to watch any of the ads, or pay the extra monthly sub to sky for sky+
     
  10. brendank

    brendank
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    ;) ;)

    perhaps i should invite you round for dinner kenfowler3966 sounds like a pretty persuasive case you have their:)

    your set up is ideal i must say kenfowler3966

    bobbles do you have any links to reviews of this recorder

    Rasczak yeah i think your right it does seem to offer the best potential/flexibility/useability. what about future proofing do you know if they can be upgraded

    once again thanks guys
    :) :)
     
  11. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    You can details of that recorder from the link in my original post. I disagree with Bobbles though - the lack of RGB in is a serious omission that prevents you from capitalsing on the quality of picture available from set-tops (an omission Pioneer is aware of as they are now working on the Pioneer 5100 v2). As I say there is also the issue that it has a pretty dire internal tuner - a factor that would seriously affect your enjoyment of the recorder if your planning to use it much. As always with these things it's a matter of opinion - everyone's going to have different views but, as an example, Home Cinema Choice rate the E100 as Number 1 in their top 5 DVD Recorders whereas the 5100 is third. I agree with this as the MPEG4 recording, DVD-Audio and RGB input clearly make it the machine to beat.

    None of the HDD/DVDR combos can really be upgraded - all the companies see their future models as offering larger HDD to persaude you to buy a new machine. If you could just replace it yourself they wouldn't get rich :rolleyes:
     
  12. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    Just to let you know the STB contoller in the Bvis3 (i thik you own) will contorl Sky+ as part of the SAT function.
     
  13. brendank

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    thanks hornydragon

    i dont have sky though girlfriend dead set against it, would be neat for the beovision 3 and the same remote though;) maybe after kenfowler3966 visits and has a talk with my girlfriend we will get it;) ;) . do you know off hand whether the bang olufsen dvd controller will be able to operate the panny?

    yes i agree also the internal tuner would worry me also Rasczak

    typical you would think they would offer some sort of modular approach especially in a developing product like this. even some of the bigger a/v amplifier/receiver manufacturers are moving in this direction.

    cheers
     
  14. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Yes I agree. It's a shame there isn't a 'official upgrade pack' with a new HDD and a CD with new Firmware on it. It would be good if the machines were actually designed with a modular upgrade ability, i.e. using the PC Card slots to add an upgrade such as WiFi. You could even have something like a TivO Card that would provide the additional memory/circuitry for the TV Guide and enable the machine to act as a TivO - again ideal for high end users without putting potential purchasers off buying the machine due to a subsription/buying features they don't want etc. It would also make the 'base unit' cheaper whilst offering high end users features. Perhaps this will happen one day - but not for the current machines.
     
  15. bobbles

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    I have the tosh xs30 and an E30. I have never used the Pioneer 5100 I am just going by its features and what I have read.

    The HCC argument is a poor one as all the mags have different views as to what they think is the 'best'.

    The lack of RGB input is not important. As soon as you record beyond a length of XP the difference is insignificant.

    On a side by side comparison of my E30 and Tosh recording quality the tosh wins hands down. I realise Panasonic may have improved things for the E100.

    I personally would rather have a HDD -RW recorder than a HDD -RAM. RAM on a HDD is pointless, I have hardly ever used it. However, I would have used -RW on numerous occasions to lend to friends.

    There is also the question of price. AV land (the first i checked) have the E100 for £900 the Tosh can be bought for 469. At that price differential it would be complete insanity to buy the E100. However, I thought you could get the E100 for mid £700.


    Brendank,

    if you can, get sky+ it is the muts nuts; it really is. Just promise faithfully not to subscribe to the sports channels. Tell her about all the shopping channels to persuade her.
     
  16. bobbles

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    Although Sony products are generally overpriced you may want to wait for this beast

    HX10
     
  17. Rasczak

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    Indeed they have. The E30, like the E20, had at best average DVD playback. The E100 is effectively 2 generations later and is based on the same core as the S75 DVD player - a model that was generally well received for PQ.

    Of course - it's all subjective. But apart from having DVD-RW as opposed to DVD-RAM (either of which is a subjective benefit or disadvantage depending on how you look at it) then in all respects the E100 is better bar perhaps the 2 way iLink - which isn't the benefit on a HDD/DVDR combo that it is on a standalone.

    You can indeed get the E100 for around £700 - AvLand aren't really competitive. But they provide lots of details and are thus handy to link to.

    I have to strongly disagree with that! Whether watching on my Plasma or Projector the RGB picture is a brighter, more detailed and vibrant picture regardless of what I do with the settings. I don't record much out of XP or SP but I'm yet to see a S-Video picture match it.

    Why not just lend a DVD-R? Have a spindle of cheap disposable DVD-Rs at your finger-tips for such occasions! Offers better compatibility as well. Unless your lending hundreds of recordings surely this isn't that much of an issue?

    That is going to be a good recorder (it's rumoured the UK version MIGHT have the Guideplus EPG as well) but the HDD for Europe is unlikely to be 250GB :( As always we Europeans dip-out on these things. It's not out until September - and by then there will be new HDD/DVDR combos from Sony, Panasonic (E200), JVC, Sharp and possibly the 5100 v2 from Pioneer. And I can guarentee by September there will be a better machine on the horizon - you can wait forever if you hold on!
     
  18. troymcclure

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    Rasczak,

    You're better informed than the Sony staff at the Bristol show yesterday. I asked about the HX10. The 1st guy told me Japanese market only - NOT being introduced in the UK. Disbelieving him I asked his colleague who told me it IS coming to the UK but no-one knows when. Neither apologised for the 1st statement being in error.

    How many people are buying Panasonics/Pioneers with smaller hard disks than they want because of disinformation from Sony. The staff at the Sony Centre in Totenham Court Road had never heard of it but that didn't suprise me.

    troy
     
  19. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Doubtless they are only briefed on the models available now/in the immediate future. A variant of the model certainly IS coming to the UK this year. Whether we get both a small HDD model and a large HDD model remains to be seen, as does the specifics of the models principally HDD size (I'll be amazed if we get a 250GB drive!).
     
  20. bobbles

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    i only have a 32" crt :( so i can not comment on plasma / projector

    side by side recordings E30 vs Tosh the tosh produces much better pq (IMO) at the 4hr rate. This is my usual archive rate.

    the sony one does look a monster
     
  21. bobbles

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    I have a Panasonic S35 and I must say the playback on it was far superior than that of the E30. As the E100 is the same as the S75 the playback must be very decent.
     
  22. hornydragon

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    DVD controler wont operate any Panny recorders that i am aware of, it will control a coupple of Panny DVD players. YOur best of speaking to your local B&O dealer or B&O UK Technical.
     
  23. kenfowler3966

    kenfowler3966
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    Some thing that I read somewhere, but may not apply to the area in Ireland that you live is that the dvd recorders designed for the uk market can not tune in all the channels available there, as some are vhf still? If this is the case, it is something you need to bear in mind
     

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