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Panasonic DMR-20

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Ekko Star, Apr 13, 2002.

  1. Ekko Star

    Ekko Star
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    Have finally decided to go for it ! I have been waiting for the price of these things to come down to a reasonable level before I took the plunge.

    I went to a local dealer who after haggling gave it to me for £720 with 5 DVDRam discs and a few DVD r's. It was too good to turn down.

    Still a lot of money but considering top end SVHS players used to cost nearly £500, I think it is money well spent.

    I have read the forums and concerns of which format is going to take off but I have never known Panasonic to support any dud formats. Philips on the other hand, well... I also looked into the Pioneer but the fact that recording time on DVDr's was not that great in top quality counted against it for me.

    What won it for me with the Panny was it looks and feels superb quality. It has the time slip facility which the others haven't. The ram medium is flexible for my recording purposes and the fact I can burn to compatible DVDr's when I need to archive permanently.

    I will keep you posted on how I get on !!
     
  2. zoot

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    Nice deal, tho i been told by Techtronics that Panasonic ship this model as region 2 only. Is your R 2 ??

    Is it easy to hack to region free ?.....or is it a tech only job

    By the way, where did you get your Pana from ????????

    QUOTE FROM TECHTRONICS EMAIL:
    Dear Sir

    Thank you for your email.

    It comes from Panasonic UK as a R2 unit only.

    Multiregion upgrades are peformed by our own engineers.

    Panasonic, Sony, etc (ie the major manufacturers) do not supply multiregion machines as this would be against their contractual obligations to the DVD forum which license the MPEG2 technology.

    Chris
     
  3. malcom

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    Hi Ekko Star

    You got a good deal there!!

    I too have recently treated myself to the E20. The picture quality and RAM editing is something once had you just don't want to be without.

    With mine there were only three RAM discs and no DVD-Rs.
    I recently tried some cheap DVD-R discs (Datasafe) and had total failure. None would record for more then two minutes before shutting the machine down. The short time that they recorded would not play back either.

    Have you purchase any replacement DVD-R discs yet, that work!!
    If so I would be interested in knowing the type and supplier. Regards. Malcom.
     
  4. Ekko Star

    Ekko Star
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    @ zoot

    Mine is R2, although I hear you can get it modified to all region quite easily. Most recent Panasonic DVD players use a simple software hack off a disc. Not sure if this applies to the DMR-20 as well.

    @ Malcolm

    Yes I am chuffed with the deal, the machine itself is going anywhere from around £749 upwards at the moment. I had seen it advertised for as low as £689 recently, but that supplier didn't seem to have any stock and claimed it was a misprint.

    Anyhow my local dealer who I know well was prepared to let the machine go for £720, and with a lot of arm twisting the 5pack of Panny DVD-RAMS came with it. Though I must admit he kept murmuring "I must be mad as I left".....now he knows how I've felt like on many an occasion !

    I have burnt one DVD-R & it worked perfectly first time. Played in my machines a modified Sony 525 and a LV55, no problems at all. The discs are not branded, he gave me them straight off a spindle of a 100 that he had. I will find out for you where he got them from. But I have been told a lot of cheap discs eg Princo work fine.

    As for the machine itself, I have to say it is stunning. The results are astonishing, and the only mode which I found unsatisfactory for my liking was the EP 6-12hr.

    Editing and functions are so simple and straightforward it really is a doddle. Erasing unwanted material and being able to partial erase down to frame level within a matter of seconds says a lot of this machine.

    I haven't tried my DV Cam with it yet (the weekend has just about run out), but needless to say I doubt I will be disappointed.

    About the only thing that I found disappointing was that the onscreen channel labelling is almost Black & White. Come on Panasonic !!

    For those of you hanging on to see which of the formats wins the war IMHO this one is a sure fire winner. None of the other formats offers what this machine does overall or even come close.

    Time-shifting machine this one certainly is. In the space of two days it's made me wonder how I managed without this sort of quality. True sign of a class product.

    I can see why Panasonic went down the DVD-RAM path. Throw in DVD-R compatibility and as they say "the sum of the parts is greater than the whole"

    Worth every penny, 10/10 and you won't ever be going back to get a refund.
     
  5. Ekko Star

    Ekko Star
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    Forgot to say. The machine comes with 3, 4.7Gb RAMS as standard in the box. I was lucky enough to get a box of 5 on top as well !
     
  6. zoot

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    If only we knew where you got your Pana .........
     
  7. malcom

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    Ekko Star

    Hi. I will be glad to know the type of discs you were given. As a matter of interest the "Datasafe" DVD-R discs that I tried are actually Princo according to the supplier. I am waiting now for a verbatin disc to try and also a rather expensive Panasonic DVD-R disc. I need to check if the problem is with the media or my particular machine. Regards. Malcom.
     
  8. philipb

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    Malcolm

    The E20 won't take cheapo unbranded DVD-R discs. Anything rated at x2 or above should work fine.
     
  9. wellsi

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    Hi there guys;
    This isn't really true, as I have ONLY used cheapo (ie £1.49 Vivastars) dvd-r and every single one has worked perfectly.

    I totally agree with Ekko's points; the quality is fantastic, and with the Forum agreeing future DVD-Multi to include dvd-RAM reading on all machines, the benefits of RAM should be here to stay.

    I was told the machine cannot be made multi region, which is a pain as I have many region 4 discs. Any offers of advice on that one?

    Cheers,

    Ian in London
     
  10. DaveP

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    I seem to remember that Techtronics were offering two versions of this a little while ago. The price difference then for the multi-region was over £100, nearer £130 I think!

    Their site currently puts the price at TBA. They may be worth contacting if you are prepared to pay that much for mult-region.

    DaveP
     
  11. malcom

    malcom
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    Just tried a verbatim disc (not exactly cheap though) Recorded fine but won't play back in my DVD-ROM drive which is about a couple of years old. Malcom
     
  12. DaveP

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    Malcolm, did you finalise it?

    DaveP
     
  13. malcom

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    Hi DaveP

    Yes, I did finalize it. The software is Power DVD. I get the message "No disc in drive D" . Regards Malcom.
     
  14. malcom

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    Hi wellsi

    Could you give me a link to your supplier of vivastars dvd-r media please. Regards. malcom.
     
  15. niccam

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    Hi everybody first time here, like ekko star I've been watching the Panasonic DMRE20 but still need some questions answered before buying
    1. GOING FROM SVHS TO DVD WHATS THE QUALITY LIKE FOR 3 HOURS ( 3rd mode of recording )?
    2. CAN YOU ADD CHAPTER MARKERS SO YOU CAN JUMP TO A CERTAIN PLACE ON THE DVD?
    3. FROM SVHS TO DVD CAN YOU USE THE RECORDED DVD AS A MASTER TO MAKE MORE DVD COPIES? AND WITHOUT LOST OF QUALITY ON THE PICTURE
    4. GOOD QUALITY OF DVD-R WHATS THE CHEAPEST?

    Thanks for any answers to the above questions and RGBDIRECT does it at £ 685 + postage
    EMPIREDIRECT DOES IT FOR approx £720+postage, 6dvd-ram + 3 dvd-ram different size (time)
     
  16. philipb

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    Niccam

    1. 3 hours in EP mode can be OK, depends on source material. I would say about equal to S-VHS. Far better to use FR mode which you can do on a timed recording. Basically you tell the E20 how long the clip lasts and it uses a combination of VBR (with an image enhancement algorithm) which stretches the recording to fit the disc space. I have put 3 hour movies onto DVD this way, from a recording on a TIVO hard disk, and the quality is excellent.

    2. Yes. The E20 adds chapters when you finalise the disc.

    3. No, if you mean what I think you mean. You could pop the disc into another player and record extra copies onto the E20 via s-video or scart. You cannot produce multiple copies just on the E20.

    4. You need to shop around. I only use the likes of TDK, Pioneer, etc. They can be had over the internet for about £6 each, but shop around.
     
  17. gringottsdirect

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    Panasonic DMR-E30, out soon @ £599 ish, pretty much same as DMR-E20 but component video out with Progressive Scan.
    Too late for me, Philips DVDR985 with RGB component video input happily copying my old F1 tapes from 1984 onwards, up to Monaco 1985 so far.
    Mansell, Senna, Piquet, Prost, James Hunt and Murray, worth getting a DVD recorder as an excuse to watch them again.
    I can't wait to re-live 1992...
     
  18. wellsi

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    Hi guys...

    Got the £1.49 Vivastar dvd-r from Refresh Computers:

    http://www.refreshcomputers.com/index.html

    under Shop / Peripherals / Media / DVD-R.
    I emailed them for a couple to be posted by Royal Mail to allow testing, then ordered 50 a few days later, as they have a hefty £10 courier flat fee. They each come in a plastic sleeve, but the shop also sells DVD and CD cases for around 18p each...

    Niccam, in answer to your questions:
    1: Qulaity modes are XP (1 hr), SP (2 hr), LP (4 hr), EP (6 hr).
    1 and 2 hr modes are great; 4 hr is, IMHO, like standard VHS and 6 Hr is just mushy. For Simpsons etc, I use 4 hr; for good films, I use 2 hr. There is no 3 hr option, although you can use a flexy option that automatically chooses the best of the above options with the given disc space remaining when a timer recording is being made.

    2: All the main editing features like entering chapters, partial erasing of programmes and the V cool time slip whilst recording are only available on RAM; DVD-R simply auto inserts chapters every 6 minutes or so (although a new chapter starts when ever you press pause, and a new programme starts when you press stop then record). DVD-R also allows you to "erase" unwanted programmes (not chapters) by simply deleting them from the TOC, ie you don't actually get the disc space back.

    3: I don't think I fully understand the question here; I have a second dvd player hooked up and can do direct dvd to dvd-r recording where the original is not copy protected. (Most films are, however, and you get the succinct "You are not allowed to copy this material" message)

    4: See top of this message; all have worked fine, finalised fine and worked on my other dvd player no problems.

    Hope this all helps...

    Cheers,

    Ian in London
     
  19. Ekko Star

    Ekko Star
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    does anyone know how to enable DV out on this machine ?
     
  20. Ekko Star

    Ekko Star
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    @niccam

    1) I don't think you will find "quality" an issue with this machine

    2) yes very flexible to enter markers et al

    3) Yes you can make one DVD master from any existing SVHS that you have. Your master DVD will not be write protected, so you can input this another DVD player and make multiple copies that way on the DMR. I have also been able to copy an original DVD in this way but my Sony 525 is macro disabled so I have no problems defeating protection. HOWEVER when you say "no loss of quality" on your first generation DVD there won't be much, and as long as you use the master you will be fine. Further down the line if you make copies of copies etc etc then there will be. This is because each copy will be subject to digital -analogue -digital conversion each time you do this. The DMR does not have digital output which would enable you to make a "perfect" clone. Also without digital outputs you lose 5.1 and DD.

    The DMR does though have a DV (firewire) input which would be capable of carrying a pure digital signal. This though is only Input enabled on the machine as standard. I myself am trying to get this enabled for Output as well (software) like you can do with Camcorders for example. Once I have this it becomes a whole different story.

    4) From about £1.50 upwards.
     
  21. Ekko Star

    Ekko Star
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    @ gringottsdirect

    I have also seen US versions of the DMR-E20 with component outputs.

    The next version of this new UK DMR I have been told will be around August. I was told that would be nearer the £1000 mark.

    World cup is a coming and I just couldn't wait that long !!

    Plus I have usually found in my experience earlier generic models tend to be more robust and better built than there later counterparts. The feature count goes up and the price comes down.....but something has to give in the equation and it usually is build quality

    You only have to look at what happened to VCR's and the amount of "cheap plastic" there is nowadays.
     
  22. niccam

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    Thanks everybody for your help, going back to the point about svhs to dvd this is what I want to do but need to know whats the picture quality like
    Start off on SVHS, edit to SVHS as master ( because of audio dub and speciel effects ) then transfer to DVD ( DMRE20 ) and use this as my master for either to copy to DVD or VHS hoping to use the LP mode because of my 3 hour svhs master tape but if have to will cut it down to the 2 hour mode on the DMRE20
    Has anybody any experience on the way I want to do it ?
    Thank you
     
  23. gringottsdirect

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    Ekko Star,
    I totally agree with you about the build quality of the DMR-E20, it is likely that the DMR-E30 won't be as good. If it is available in Germany for 800 Euros right now, then I'm sure the internals will be specified to hit the price point. The extra features wouldn't interest me either. I only use my machine for copying my VHS tapes, much as I copied my audio cassettes onto Minidisc.
    I had a DMR-E20 for a short period before having the Philips, the RAM idea was fantastic for using the machine as a VCR, just like a hard drive recorder.
    The RGB input of the Philips is a slight benefit when recording off my ITV Digital box or my Skyplus+, but the Panasonic is more user friendly.
    The price of the mainstream DVD Recorders by August is more likely to be £599 ish, but like you say they won't be so solidly made and we can't wait forever.
     
  24. wellsi

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    Philip,

    I thought the FR mode simply chose the appropriate standard speed (either XP,SP,LP,EP) to fit the disc. This is not the case?

    Cheers,
     
  25. wellsi

    wellsi
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    Well, here are the specs for the new DMR - E30 ;
    http://www.avland.co.uk/panasonic/dmre30/index.htm

    New TM feature to start recording live TV from 30 seconds ago (clever), but no DV input (bad, as that wipes out the DV camera owning market in one go...). They expect it to be around £500 - £600 around August. Nicer, less cluttered remote too.

    Cheers
     
  26. lbeck

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    I've found a source of inexpensive DVD-Rs at Circuit City http://www.circuitcity.com/ewebIMa/...sories&category=Video:+Discs,+Tapes,+and+Care

    the mfgr site is http://sticertified.com/dvd.html

    Has anyone tried these in the E20? I've heard here and elsewhere that "cheap. unlabled disks won't work." This is inexpensive, but "cheap" has a quality connotation. Maybe they're just a good value.

    Thanks. Just found this forum, but I may be chiming in from time-to-time given that it seems to have a good number of E20 users.
     
  27. philipb

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    Ian

    As I understand it the fixed modes are CBR, FR is VBR. If you record say 3 hours in the LP mode there is a big chunk of the disc unused. Do it in FR mode using timed recording and the dark used bit of the disc goes right out to the edge. The quality is also much better. Upto 3 hours using FR is as good as SP, not quite as good as XP, and clearly better than LP. EP is crap.
     
  28. gringottsdirect

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    wellsi,
    Well spotted, at least the weight issue is resolved, 3.7kg for DMR-E30 against 5.6kg for DMR-E20.

    Confucius,
    The differences between the DVDR1000 and the DVDR985 are:
    985 is cheaper
    985 hasn't the opening front panel
    985 hasn't the track skip/fast wind buttons on panel front
    985 hasn't the nicer aluminium remote
    985 is 3kg lighter
    985 is 3mm less high
    985 is a lighter shade of silver

    985 has a monitor button on panel front

    Both will allow NTSC recording and Manual Chapter Marker insertion.
     
  29. wellsi

    wellsi
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    Thanks for the info Philip; I'll try out that sort of recording...

    IBeck; you'll find many of the links here refer to UK websites as many of the users are in the UK; we get stung by customs and excise badly when we order stuff in from outside the EU.
    As previously mentioned in this thread, the DMR-E20 copes wonderfully with the cheapo (not a reflection on quality) unlabelled Vivastar dvd-r discs at £1.50. Best thing is to order a couple; try them out, then order a load.
    Cheers for the info guys,
     
  30. lbeck

    lbeck
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    Thanks, Ian. I'll try to limit my questions/comments to "universal" items. I know that there are differences in the E20 marketed in Europe and the US model. I was disappointed to find (before my purchase) that the US model doesn't have the IEEE 1394 support, but not enough to sway me towards the more expensive competition that does.

    Your advice on try small then order big is good. Last night I picked up a Maxell 4.7 GB DVD-RAM with cartridge for $12.95 and an STI DVD-R for $4.95. The Maxell works great. Haven't tried the DVD-R yet.

    I'll keep my eye out for the Vivastar brand.

    Thanks again for your response.

    ***********

    Lee in North Carolina
     

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