Objective recommendations for DVD recording?

Discussion in 'Digital TV & Video Players & Recorders' started by dr_mabuse, Jun 12, 2002.

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  1. dr_mabuse

    dr_mabuse
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    Can anyone offer thoughts on which of the four (?) recordable dvd machines available now would best suit a project to transfer VHS titles to DVD? This is really all I want the machine for at the moment, so masses of gadgets and features other than this (and to be able to record from Sky occasionally) would not be required.
    I have about twenty five commercial VHS tapes that I would like to transfer, for playback through both the machine they are recorded on, and a separate Toshiba 510, at the best quality I can.
    Most of the tapes I have are around the two hour plus mark, so I believe that this will mean I can't use the highest or even the second highest bitrate recording level on all the machines that use fixed duration recording (Phillips and Pioneer).
    I believe that the DMR-E20 uses a variable bit rate recording system that enables you to tell it how much time you wish to record on disc, and it sets bitrate to match your requirement to the disc size. Would this be a better option for me given (for instance) a two hour fifteen minute movie?
    Oh I almost forgot - what will I have to do to defeat the copy protection that commercial vhs titles have on them?

    Any help or opinion would really be appreciated.

    dr_mabuse
     
  2. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    I can only give advise on what I have - which is the DMRE20 - which I am extremely happy with. I got mine to 'archive' my TV recordings from VHS and for that it works very well.

    However I should point out that like the DVD+RW and DVD-RW machines the DMRE20 also has set recording periods of one hour (perfect), two hours (extremely good), four hours (normal VHS) or six hours (absolutely dire). My 'archive' consists mainly of TV series (normally 45 mins to 1 hour) so this has not been a problem for me. The Pioneer has more recording durations than the other players so maybe this would be your best bet.

    I have only done short test recordings with commercial tapes but I have never encountered any problems copying them to the DMRE20. I did however invest in a (cheap) device that stabilises the picture and eliminates colour bleeding which is hooked between the VCR and DVD Recorder.
     
  3. dr_mabuse

    dr_mabuse
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    Thanks Rasczak

    Am I completely wrong about the variable bit rate feature on the DMR? If it doesn't exist, I am stuck with the same problem as outlined before - either two hour or four, with loss of quality.

    dr_mabuse
     
  4. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Yes I'm afraid the choice is between two or four on the DMRE20. The DMRE30 will soon enter the market - maybe that will have more recording modes.
     
  5. DaveP

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    dr_mabuse

    You are NOT wrong about the Variable Bit Rate on the DMR-E20.

    This does work very very well but only on timed recordings. Ths is not a problem as I use it all the time for recordings over one hour.

    Just program the box to record for the duration of the tape you are transferring and press play on the tape deck as soon as the DMRE20 begins to record.

    The pictures are excellent.

    DaveP
     
  6. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    I had no idea that this feature existed! Does that mean you can record, say, 2hrs 30 mins onto a 4.7 GB disk without having to resort to the 4hr mode?

    Time to dig up the manual I think...
     
  7. dr_mabuse

    dr_mabuse
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    DaveP
    Thanks for convincing me that I haven't gone mad - I knew I had read somewhere that this function existed. Have you transferred VHS footage to DVD on your deck that is over two hours? I would be interested to know your opinions on the results.
    Do you have the VHS directly connected to the DMR via Scart? I ask this because I am wondering what the device Rasczak refers to above is all about?

    Thanks again

    dr_mabuse

    PS
    Is your DMR multi region enabled? (Can this de done?)
    What is your opinion of it as a playback device? I currently have a Toshiba 510 and really like it but if I am going to spend £700 or so on the DMR I would probably need to sell the 510 to part finance it.
     
  8. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    I use a Copymate I purchased from Lektropacks. This sits between my JVC S-VHS VCR and the DMRE20. I found when I hooked up the devices directly there was a certain amount of picture flashing (in composite not S-Video mode). The Copymate eliminated all this and I considered it a worthwhile investment considering I have about 80 recordings I want to transfer to DVD-R.
     
  9. DaveP

    DaveP
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    Rasczak

    You've probably read the manual by now but yes it makes the whole thing very flexible. One and a half hour films archived from my Sky+ are barely any different in quality to the original.

    dr_mabuse

    I havent tried any of the copy protected tapes like Disney but standard tapes have transferred fine. If you buy the copymate or something similar you will no doubt be able to backup your DVDs too!

    Recordings of about two and a half hours seem fine, not as good as you get with one hour but not much different than the two hour mode. I transferred the Longest Day to DVD-R the other day and that is about three hours long, I wasn't too happy with that quality, a bit too grainy for my liking so I cut it onto two disks of an hour and a half each! I don't think it likes doing black and white though!

    The box I have is not multi-region, I could have had this but it cost a lot more! Apparently you need a hardware modification to get this working.

    The picture is superb on pre-recorded DVD's, as good as my Sony NS700. I think there is a fair size buffer on the drive so you barely notice level changes.

    The only gripe is that it apparently doesnt record RGB sources. I say apparently because when I record from the Sky+ the picture is so good it is hard to believe that it doesnt!

    DaveP
     
  10. philipb

    philipb
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    The FR mode on the E20 is really excellent. I have put 3+ hours of a movie onto DVD-R with no discernible loss of quality over the 2 hr mode. The only drawback is you have to remember that the machine waits for 30 seconds after it switches on before commencing recording; just cue in the start of the tape and you should be OK.

    As a test I put the whole of the 4 hours and 15 minutes or so of the party at the palace concert onto a RAM disc using FR mode and the quality was very good. Obviously the more you squeeze on the lower the quality, but it was clearly superior to the fixed 4 hour mode.
     
  11. gringottsdirect

    gringottsdirect
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    dr_mabuse,
    I used the DMR-E20 for a while, the Flexible Recording mode works well, the RAM aspect gives PVR functionality.
    "The Picture Quality Improvement Function used during recording an analogue source (i.e. a VCR ) uses TBC and Y/C separation technology along with noise reduction systems to produce surprisingly clear results even when recording from old tapes."
    I never copied commercial VHS but old off-air recordings transferred well.

    I now have a Philips DVDR985 which adds RGB input with a slight benefit when copying from Tivo /Skyplus+. Couldn't say VHS copies will benefit.
    If I were buying now, the Pioneer looks best, the price is rumoured to be re-aligned for Autumn.
    I believe Panasonic U.K. themselves won't see any more E20s, they will have to wait for replacements due this August.
    Discounted E20 should make you happy.
     
  12. dr_mabuse

    dr_mabuse
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    gringottsdirect

    Thanks for your response - I wish I could find an E20 discounted!Price guide UK and pricerunner still list it as £700 plus (or they did last time I swept for prices).

    Why would you opt for the Pioneer if it doesn't have the variable record rate? (bearing in mind the original stated project of tranferring vhs movies).

    I can see why the RGB input on your Phillips would be useful, however.

    cheers

    dr_mabuse

    PS
    How about selling your E20 now!
     
  13. gringottsdirect

    gringottsdirect
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    dr_mabuse,
    Pioneer has "best-rate" - same I think.
    I prefer Pioneer to Philips, that's all really, not very scientific...
     

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