Panasonic E95 vs Sony HX1000 vs Pioneer

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Bilal, Sep 12, 2004.

  1. Bilal

    Bilal
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    Hello. I hope someone can help with any opinion. I'm almost tired of waiting now, so have decided to purchase a HD DVD recorder.

    I'm choosing between Panasonic E95, Sony hx1000, and the equivalent Pioneer (5100)? I will use it mainly for recording and archiving TV (eg Sports), for archiving old home VHS recordings, and camcorder recordings.

    Having taken a look, they seem hard to choose between! Any advice is welcome and appreciated.

    Thank you
    Bilal
     
  2. Nelviticus

    Nelviticus
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    I went for the E95. As they all have their foibles I think it's best to base your decision on which machine will irritate you the least, so I'll tell you what I dislike about the E95, worst first:

    1. Can't pause live TV, despite the fact that it's capable of it. You have to hit record, play, pause to do the job that pause should do by itself.
    2. You have to put it into timer mode for timed recordings to work. Completely pointless and infuriating.
    3. No "record for half an hour" button, so if you're watching something and have to go out you either have to do some silly timer jiggery-pokery or just let it record away and fill up your HD.
    4. Slow to start up, and although it's happy to pass through sound & video when it's switched off it briefly (about five seconds) cuts them both off when you turn it on and it does its inital self-check.
    5. The front panel lights are very bright even on dim.

    There are loads of things that are good about it, such as excellent recording quality and good-looking menus. I really like it but not as much as I thought I would.

    Regards

    Nelviticus
     
  3. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    The Sony HX1000 isn't here yet so it's hard to really offer a opinion on it. The Pioneer equivalent of the Panasonic E95 is the Pioneer 720. Both are excellent machines and you'll be happy with either, but the Panasonic is slightly ahead.

    Over and above the Pioneer the Panasonic offers PC and SD Card slots (if you have a Digital Camera and want to copy JPEGs to your HDD/DVD-RAM) and 2-channel DVD-Audio support. Connections wise it has component and progressive scan. Crucially it also offers a fifth generation MPEG encoder that can record upto 3hrs of footage per DVD at full resolution.

    The Pioneer 720 has features the Panasonic doesn't have: it offers recording onto DVD-RW - ideal if you want to play recordings in (e.g.) upstairs DVD players - but otherwise you'll probably end up using DVD-R more anyway. It also offers a Disk Backup function (strictly for your own disks - it won't work with other disks).

    In summary then the Panasonic offers better all round recording quality and better connectivity. Have you thought of the Toshiba RDXS32? It has a smaller HDD (80GB as opposed to 160GB) but has loads more recording options than the Panasonic/Pioneer although (like the Pioneer) only offers 2hrs 20mins full resolution recording.
     
  4. Bilal

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    Thank you so much for your feed back and help, much apprceiated, that's good information. Its definitely a battle between the Panasonic and the Sony now.

    I understand that the HX1000 is indeed on sale, and is within £50 of the Panasonic. Do you know anything or have any advice on choosing between the Sony and Panasonic?

    Thank you again
    Bilal
     
  5. Thrutch

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    If you have checked the specs and both models have the inputs and outputs you want have you decided if you want DVD-RAM or DVD+RW/-RW for the re-recordable DVD format ?

    Also the Sony has a HQ+ recording mode, which write to the disk at 15mbps which is higher than most commercial DVDs, supposably good for transferring DV camcorder footage ?
     
  6. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    The re-writeable medium isn't really an issue on HDD/DVDR combos. If your planning to archive you'll use DVD-R and ditto if you plan to lend a recording to a friend (DVD-R is somwhat more compatible than DVD-RW). Re-writeable media is only really used as HDD overspill - and DVD-RAM has a slight advantage there as you can get caddied media and it doesn't need finalising. If you want to regularly timeshift and play on an upstairs DVD player (for example) then DVD-RW has it's benefits.

    The thing that goes against the Sony is a lack of Flexible Record - you stuck with the recording modes and thus the resolution drop of the 2hr (!) mode. In it's favour though it has 2Pass re-encoding and (the mentioned) HQ+ mode.
     
  7. OARDVD

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    Are you sure about this? :confused: Panasonic recorders usually have 'One Touch Recording' which works like this: During recording, each time you press the Record button on the main unit the recording time increments from 30 mins, to 60 mins, to 90 mins, etc.
     
  8. Jerrysimon

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    Certainly that is the case with the E55 and E85 (very nice simple feature).

    Jerry
     
  9. Bilal

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    Wow, you guys think of everything. I'm going to print out the specs and cross check them. I'm not an advanced recorder user, but I am very keen to get

    - best quality recording (for this price). This is because I want to preserve some old home footage in as good a quality as possible
    - a usable hdd for recording tv when I'm not there

    the Sony sounds like the best proposition, but the 2hr drop is a minus, and previously I've felt that with Sony you pay a premium for the name (by the way, I bought a sony VHS about 9 years ago, used it a lot (recorded at least 80% of the f1 grand prix on it), and somehow it still works fine)!

    also, having heard so many good things at work, it seems that sky+ is an inevitable purchase in addition to the hdd/dvdr (oh dear)!

    Thank you again for the help
     
  10. mrwul

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    Hello to you, I would recommend you to buy the Pioneer DVR 720H-S.
    In fact, after reading German testreports, being wellknown to be really thorough I have concluded that Pioneer's 720 slightly outperforms the E95.
    Specifically where it goes for sound.
    The Pioneer does not have progressive scan. However, to render the same
    picture quality, the Panasonic has to switch into Progressive Scan mode.
    Pioneer is very, very silent: I can't here the HD running, whereas at some
    points it has been reported that the HD of the E95 can be heard (though very softly).
    E95: DVD-RAM - Pioneer : more commonly used -R/RW.
    Personally I wud recommend to buy the Pioneer, also because it is very userfriendly.
    Last thing: it is nice machine to look at, only 6cm high.
    Regret I cannot judge the Sony.
    Good luck!

    brgds
    -
     
  11. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    I wouldn't. If you want features such as those offered by the 720 you might as well go one step better and get a Toshiba RDXS32. More authoring options, multi-format and full set-top control make it the better option by far. Although both the Toshiba and Pioneer are limited by a 2hr 20min full resolution recording limit (Panasonic does 3hrs).

    If ease of use is important then the Panasonic is considerably better than the Pioneer as well. Connectivity on both the Toshiba and Panasonic models also is noticeably better than the Pioneer.
     
  12. Nelviticus

    Nelviticus
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    Hmm, the 95 must have this too then - thanks for pointing it out! One less thing on my gripe list. I have read the manual but there's quite a lot there to take in.

    Don't expect a hard disc recorder to last that long. Hard drive warranties from most manufacturers have been getting shorter and shorter in recent years as the discs get faster and faster. Most mfrs only give a 1-year warranty on their drives nowadays. At least they're easy to replace though, you just open the machine up and plug in a new one.

    Regards

    Nelviticus
     
  13. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    That may be the case for Freeview HDD recorders but that isn't the case for many HDD/DVDRs - you'll find on most you have to mirror the drive (on a PC) before inserting the new drive.
     
  14. Bilal

    Bilal
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    I'm surprised I've managed to keep the Sony so long, I switched to another Sony, then to a JVC, but the original Sony still works fine, so I put it in another room (its the only black one I have) and it still works fine. I dont mind how long the DVDR lasts so long as I can archive my home movies at a good quality.

    Back to the DVD recorder, it looks as though whether I get the Sony or Panasonic, it will be a good machine, so I'll flip a coin to decide. Thanks for the help.

    Bilal
     
  15. CLH

    CLH
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    Don't underestimate how big a minus that is.
     
  16. Bilal

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    I assume this means that on the Sony, after 2hrs, the machine reverts to a low quality mode, and the 2Pass re-encoding and (the mentioned) HQ+ mode does not come in to play.

    Is this the case with the HD and DVD? I'm surprised because the Sony (HX1000) apparently has a much larger HD than the Panasonic.

    Thank you
     
  17. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Bilal,

    Forgive the lecture nature of this post but I sense from your post you may appreciate a full description.

    DVD recorders, whether they have a HDD or not, all have 'recording modes' which allow you to trade recorded picture quality for longer recording times. The reason for this is because the 4.7GB of DVDRs is actually not very much. To achieve the space/quality compromise DVD recorders modify two elements: Bitrate and Resolution.

    Altering The Bitrate
    The bitrate is the amount of data given to each frame. The higher the bitrate the better the picture quality. The maximum allowed is 9.8MBits/S, the minimum allowed is 1.4MBits/S. Obviously though the higher the bitrate the more space on the HDD or DVD is being used.

    Altering The Resolution
    The second change they can make to save space is resolution. 'Full Resolution' is (for PAL) 720/704 x 576. The length of time a DVD recorder can record in full resolution depends upon the quality of it's MPEG encoder. For example:
    - LG upto 4 hours
    - Panasonic and Thompson upto 3 hours
    - Philips 2 hours 30mins
    - Pioneer and Toshiba around 2 hours 20mins
    - Sony 2 hours
    Recording modes after this time use 'Half Resolution' which is 352 x 576/288 and thus clearly uses less space on the disk.

    No - because on a HDD/DVDR combo you can record onto the HDD in best quality mode (9.8Mbits/S and 720 x 576) until you run out of space - you'll be using around 4.7GB of space per hour (the recording capacity of a DVDR). The "3hrs full resolution recording" you see people bang on about is if you are recording to DVDR (or when you dub to DVDR on a HDD/DVDR combo).

    For example: you buy the Sony HX1000. You record a 2hr 30min film to the HDD in HQ mode (9.8Mbits/S and 720 x 576). When watched on the HDD it is full resolution and high bitrate. However if dubbed to DVDR it needs to be re-encoded as the film size of that film is going to be around 11GB (as opposed to 4.7GB for a DVDR). This is where the 2pass re-encoding comes into play on the Sony - it assists with the re-encoding to ensure less artifacts (errors) are introduced during the re-encoding. However it will not do anything for the resolution. Your dubbed film will be at half the resolution it was on the HDD - on a Panasonic it would still be at full resolution (although the re-encode process is inferior as it only uses single pass - but the PQ on the Panny would still be better due to matching the originals resolution).

    The HQ+ is a setting at 15MBits/S that isn't DVD compatible but gives better than DVD pictures onto the HDD.
     
  18. Maximumbaz

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    I wish I'd known about all this before buying the Sony RDRHX900, I guess I should have read this forum first. The Sony's lack of flexible record mode and its inability to create a playlist on the HDD make it a pretty poor alternative to the Panasonic and Pioneer recorders. I was blinded by its ability to use "+" and "-" discs. The fan is far too noisy as well.

    Can DVD's that have been recorded using this "flexible" recording be played in other DVD players?
     
  19. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Yes of course - they are just like commercial DVD Videos that use an average bitrate appropriate to the length of the programme.

    It's a factor against the Sony but that doesn't mean for a second that you haven't brought an excellent DVD recorder. You have a good machine that will make excellent recordings - enjoy it for what it is!
     
  20. Bilal

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    Rasczak -
    Thank you very much for the much needed information. This forum reminds me of the spirit of the web in the early days, very helpful, generous, educational and democratic.

    Your last post has explained the logic of DVD recorders to me, and I think it has given me the missing link in deciding which m/c I'll invest in to preserve my old family home video footage from 25 years ago.

    Thanks again
    Bilal
     
  21. Bilal

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    so if I understand correctly, a solution (for getting best quality DVDRs on the Sony) would be to keep your home movie files to 2hrs, and then record to DVD at the appropriate fixed rate/quality, hence avoiding the 2hr drop. Am I right?

    Thank you
    Bilal
     
  22. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Yes - as long as you don't put more than 2 hours per DVD you will avoid the resolution drop.
     

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