Panasonic DMR-EH50

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by gavan, Apr 22, 2005.

  1. gavan

    gavan
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    Continuing my search for a new DVD Recorder I've come across the DMR-EH50 and it looks pretty impressive. It seems to have just about all the specifications I want....

    Can anyone who has one post their opinions on it? I've seen the other thread on ghosting but I'm hoping that's down to a defective unit rather than a generic design flaw.

    Some things I'm particularly interested in: Does it record the 'widescreen' flag and does it have any sort of digibox control?

    cheers,

    Gav
     
  2. AVmaster

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    Good choice.
    It does have Digibox control via the External Link feature and it will record the WSS signal but only onto DVD-RAM.
     
  3. cheekymonkey

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    gavan

    Overall I find this a great little machine, particularly for under £350.

    Build Quality seems excellent - it feels and looks well built and this goes to the remote control although the 'jog wheel' does not work as well as it was designed and is the only flimsy part of the set up.

    Picture Quality is excellent both from playing DVDs and the hard drive replay. (I haven't experienced any ghosting as mentioned in shaggy's separate post) The improved quality of LP recording is good enough for recording 'everyday' TV programmes but for me I record the majority in SP as there is so much space on the Hard Drive that it would be daft not to!

    Ease of Use is a big plus and is very intuitive - my only gripe is that when you bring up the 'Navigate' screen the colours (grey and white) are not the clearest combination and make a simple job a little harder but not sufficiently so to upset me.

    Formats - Now that it plays the majority of formats of 'blank' DVD it has moved itself into the mainstream although unless dubbing programmes, the HDD does make life so easy that I have yet to use the DVD recording capability for this purpose.

    The 1 sec start is a Godsend - remembering at the last minute or realising an interesting TV programme is on does not get spoilt by missing valuable seconds.

    If I was rating this (bearing in mind my limited exposure to DVD players and TVs apart from my own) I would score

    Picture Quality - 9/10
    Build Quality - 9/10
    Flexibility - 8/10
    Ease of Use - 8/10
    Value for Money - 9/10

    I'd be interested also to see other owner's opinion in comparison/addition to the above.
     
  4. Stuart P

    Stuart P
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    hi cheekymonkey - can i ask where u purchased yours from, how much & would you recommend the company (delivery / communication etc)

    thanks

    stuart
     
  5. cheekymonkey

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    Stuart

    I was lucky with mine - I bought it from my local shop@Panasonic store and managed to get a deal by buying a TV at the same time.

    I got the DVD Player for £320 as part of this deal and they multi regioned it for 'free' and threw in a pack of Panasonic DVD-Rs as well.

    I'd certainly recommend trying out your local dealers rather than just the web stores and the big players. There is no substitute for a small company trying to drive their sales and know their margins........best of luck
     
  6. sinclair

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    I recently had 2 extensive dems of this machine and it looks the business, I was very impressed with ease of use and picture quality. Re. the ghosting issue, the dvd replay I saw was fine so it's most likely either a one-off glitch or a tuning/setup issue as others have stated. It can be controlled by a digibox but neither shop could confirm if I could do this and get an RGB signal. Sorry don't know about the widescreen flag on the EH50.

    Having recently demo'd Pioneer, Panasonic and Toshiba at this price point IMO none of them now are duff and I can't imagine anyone coming from VHS, with realistic expectations, being anything less than extremely happy and impressed with any of the current crop. Good luck in your search.
     
  7. llg

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    yes the DMREH50 is a very good machine. it is far superear top the model last year the DMRE85. the three main differences are as follows.

    1-multi format-now records onto dvd-ram,dvd-rw,dvd-r,dvd+r
    2-lp recording mode now has same 500 horizontal lines as sp recording mode.
    3-start up times reduced-now able to start recording within a second if machine is switched on, 5 seconds if machine is swicthed off.
     
  8. LFC4ever

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    I can't get sky plus so need sky digibox control - I have an e85 and was thinking of changing it but the only box that seems to offer comprehensive digibox control is the Pioneer 920 which is 900 pounds.......can someone explain exactly how this box conrols and changes the sky channels please ?
     
  9. sinclair

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    When you refer to "this box" I'm unclear if you're referring to the 920H or the EH50.

    I gather that the EH50 uses smartlink which takes it's cue from the Sky planner, but as I've said above I haven't been able to find out if you have to lose RGB with this or not; maybe someone else can clarify this.

    The 920H contains GuidePlus programme guide http://www.europe.guideplus.com/En/our_service/howitworks.html, like the Sky planner and then uses an IR dongle like the XS34 to change the digibox. The dongle is a less elegant solution than the smartlink but is reliable, definitely allows RGB and means that you don't get a Sky banner at the top of each recording. The 920H sounds great and seems to tick all the boxes but fairly expensive against the rapid development of this market.
     
  10. AVmaster

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    One other newbie feature is the ability to playback JPEG CD's.

    The External Link feature is available on ALL Panasonic DVD recorders as they ALL support Q-Link (similar to Smart Link). This allows the DVD recorders to be connected via SCART and enables the SKY Program Planner to activate the recording controls on the DVD recorder. The only problem is that the DVD recorder will need connecting to the VCR SCART output of the SKY box which allows only Composite and S-Video outputs unless the TV SCART output on the SKY box also sends out the External Link signal.
     
  11. gavan

    gavan
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    I just sourced a black one that's codefree at a good price from a dealer who promises stock next week. Looking forward to making the switch to HD/DVD recording from VHS. To be honest, I doubt I'll use the DVD archiving very much ... I'm much more likely to use the HD for time shifting and only occasionally burning something worth keeping to DVD (or to give to friends).

    Gav
     
  12. LFC4ever

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    Hi
    I have the E85 and a Panasonic Sky Digibox - I can't find in the manual how to use the Q link function to automatically start recording using SKy planner, either thru the RGB output or otherwise.I also had bought an IR device( attached to a scart lead) which plugged into the Digibox and was supposed to start the recording on the e85 - that never worked so the q link option is ideal.
    Thanks for your help
     
  13. sinclair

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    I don't think that the failure of the IR dongle you got should have any bearing on the efficacy of the Pioneer's dongle, but before you splash out on any new machine, have another try with your E85 as I can't see how the Qlink would be that difficult to set up. This thread might be useful http://forum.digitalspy.co.uk/board/showthread.php?t=209014.
     
  14. AVmaster

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    Don't forget to check that the setting for the AV2 connection on the DVD recorder is set to External Link 1 though.
     
  15. bonzobanana

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    You forgot to mention 8x high speed writing instead of 4x and the SD card slot. However I have to say that I am very happy with the E85 and don't consider it inferior to the H50. I thought about paying more for one when I recently got the E85 but there was nothing on the H50 that justified the extra expense for me and prefer the look and build quality of the E85.

    Generally the review scores don't seem as high for the H50 as the E85 and the E85 was a lot more expensive when it came out.

    Also the H50 seems to follow the tradition of making everything cheaper as it has a fairly low grade psu unit in it that can't do a true standby mode. This is a common feature of the low cost chinese dvd players that consume almost as much power in standby as being used.

    Lastly the 12bit interpolating colour gradience upgrade over the E85 is done with no upgrade in processing speed. They both share 54mhz DAC stages. You would normally expect this to be upgraded to 108mhz or more to create full 12bit colour interpolation without cutting back on picture enhancing algorithms. This probably won't effect interlace images but 54mhz for a 12bit DAC over progressive is very weak. Obviously this has no effect on recordings though as the 12bit interpolating is just for enhancing playback. I can understand why Panasonic have done this as 12bit interpolation is more important for plasma, lcd and digitally processed CRTs (100hz/progressive) as they have more limited colours and 12bit interpolation prevents colour stepping effects. However it can cause a general softening of contrast and detail on traditional 50hz sets especially 32" models.
     
  16. Stuart P

    Stuart P
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    the eh-50 does have the superior 500 line lp recording mode....something i believe does not appear in other machines available today, even the e85.

    stuart
     
  17. phelings

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    Does anyone know whether the irritating problem with HDD Flexible Record has been corrected.
    In case you are unaware;previous Panny ranges would not allow you to record on the HDD at a set level for longer than that given time.So if you wanted to record at 2h10 level for 3 hours you could not do it.Copying a Sky+ session over including ads and padding is a problem as the Panny range ignored the fact that the recording would need to be edited.
    Is the new range different?
     
  18. bonzobanana

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    Its a fair point but only if the reviews come back saying its got a superior LP mode will it be justified. I don't know how the E85 fares in this regard. You can however record four hours of LP mode and bung it on a dvd-r that any dvd player can play. I copied some old vhs cassettes to dvd-r in this way and played them on my Kiss DP-450 at 800x600 onto my AE100 projector and was very impressed on how little the vhs image had deterioted. It was really quite impressive. I suppose its a similar situation to ntsc and pal where the pal dvd has a superior resolution but the ntsc dvd has a superior higher bitrate. They both have their advantages. I'd assume the LP mode on the EH50 would try to minimise compression of foreground information but heavily compress background information. I've checked the resolution of the EH85's LP mode and its 352x576. I don't know how the EH50's would compare. Would it be 702x576? They claim over 500 lines of recording so maybe it will be the same resolution of 352x576 but of those 576 lines the EH50 records all of them where as perhaps the E85 interpolates some of them. Whatever the technique it can only be a small improvement or even retro step as there has been no miracles with regard mpeg encoding and you simply can't store a load more information in the same space and still be complaint with mpeg2. On the E85 I think you have to turn off certain optimisations if you want to use high speed dubbing to disc later anyway. Not that I can tell much difference between them.

    I think we can all be agreed though that the Panasonic's offer exceptional quality with regard the tv tuner and video capturing capabilities. These machines seem incredibly well engineered with regard signal levels and the sheer quality of what they can record. Compared to the cheap chinese brand models like Liteons they just work much, much better. I've been incredibly impressed with mine. A truly stunning bit of kit. So whatever your Panasonic be it E85, E95, EH50 etc I don't think you'll go far wrong.
     
  19. chappies

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    One small point - I assume the EH50 will pass through an RGB signal when in standby. Would be grateful if someone could confirm.
     
  20. Stuart McLean

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    Yes it does.
     
  21. chappies

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    Thanks for that
     
  22. podgerodge

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    Hi

    Can anyone confirm whether on the EH50 you can watch a previously recorded program on the hard drive while recording another on the hard drive. I got a copy of the manual and it is unclear on this subject preferring to say you can play on hdd while recording on dvd...

    Also, does it have fast playback 1.5 with audio??

    Thanks!
     
  23. podgerodge

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    Sorry, one more question as well as the above ones!

    The manual says it supports PAL B,G,H but not I - is this a mistake?!
     
  24. Rasczak

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    Yes you can. Whilst recording on the HDD you can:
    - Watch any previously recorded programme on the HDD
    - Watch any DVD recorded or commercial
    - Watch any part of the programme you actually recording
     
  25. TobyW

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    Probably not a mistake, because PAL D,I,M,N all have different sound carrier frequencies compared to PAL B,G,H. The tuner would need a switchable sound frequency, which would add a layer to its complexity and cost.
     
  26. AVmaster

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    I couldn't have answered it better myself
     
  27. podgerodge

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    Groan!

    But the UK model is PAL I right? I'm in Ireland and my only concern is to get a PAL I machine that also has a VHF tuner for Irish cable channels. Does anyone have access to the UK manual to confirm the tuner has both UHF and VHF?

    Thanks!
     
  28. TobyW

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    Here in Australia it's PAL B vhf/uhf, and my Aus version of the E85 does have continuous coverage from 45 MHz upwards.

    But I wonder which manual you looked at, because as you've pointed out, Ireland and UK are both PAL I.

    The UK version of E50 has "Channel Coverage PAL-l, UHF Ch21-68", so it looks like you will be out of luck. (Go to http://www.panasonic.co.uk and follow the links to the EH50 description.)
     
  29. podgerodge

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    I've seen the UK site now - is it possible that the UK site just didn't bother mentioning VHF as it didn't apply to the UK audience? It would seem mad that the UK version had a UHF only tuner, and that they then went and installed a UHF/VHF tuner for Ireland (we use UHF21-68 as well).

    Any ideas - anyone with the UK model that could check the specification as detailed in the actual UK manual - I had the European manual pdf.

    Cheers

    By the way, a local shop has confirmed that the model will be available in Ireland next week - at Eur619 - approx £415 - as opposed to the £295 in the UK. So you can see why I would prefer to source it on the Internet!! Still torn between this and the Toshiba XS34 though.
     
  30. blacks04

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    I've had the E50 for about 2 years now and I am now looking to upgrade. Something that annoys me about the E50 is that it does not tell you how much time is left when playing a movie. Does the EH50 have this facility ? (like every other DVD player on the planet !).
     

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