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Panasonic, JVC or Toshiba ?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by dan-london, Apr 29, 2005.

  1. dan-london

    dan-london
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    I'm trying to decide on which DVD recorder with HDD to buy, and the advice of the various experts using this forum would be very much appreciated.

    I'm planning to spend about £300-£350, and it would appear that the best models in the this price bracket are:

    A) Panasonic DMR E95
    B) Toshiba RDXS34
    C) JVC DR MH30

    So I'm looking for your opinions . . .

    Priorities for me are:

    1) Ease of finding previously recorded programmes. It would be preferable if the title of the programme is automatically added when recording programmes. (I have a basic freeview box, and a normal analogue arial.)

    2) Quality of DVD playback and recording.

    3) I need to be able to make copies of my director's showreel. I have a Sony VX2000 that I'd like to hook up so that I can make DVD copies of my showreel that are currently on miniDV tapes. So DV in/out (iLink?) would be good, and it would be nice if it's possible to make the showreel home page look half decent with images created on my computer. I've only ever had a standard VHS recorder, so any advice would be appreciated on this subject.

    So which of the 3 do you think would be best? Or is there a preferable machine in the price range?

    Thanks very much for you help. I look forward to hearing varied opinions and debate!

    Dan
     
  2. redsox_mark

    redsox_mark
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    JVC DR MH30 doesn't have RGB in, the others do. This impacts the quality of your recording from Freeview.

    The Panasonic and the Toshiba are very similar. 3 advantages of the XS34 over the E95:

    1. XS34 can record to DVD-RW, E95 can not. (Useful if you want to put something on a disk to play on another player, then reuse the disc).

    2. XS34 has a IR "dongle" which can control many set top boxes (e.g. I control my Sony Freeview box with it). So you can have the recorder tune to the right channel to record at the right time.

    3. XS34 records the widescreen flag when dubbing to DVD-Video. This allows TVs to do automatic aspect switching. This is also important if you make a widescreen recording you want to watch later on a 4:3 TV (stops it being "squished").

    I went for the XS32 (XS34 didn't exist yet) mainly for the above reasons.

    Advantages of the E95 over the XS34:

    - 3 hour recording at full resolution, vs. 2:20

    - Possibly easier to learn? I didn't have any trouble with the Toshiba, but in general it seems it has a steeper learning curve than the Panasonic.

    - Maybe less fussy with media... at least the XS32 with older firmware versions as fussy. I haven't seen the same reports of the XS34 being fussy about the brand of media.

    I think they are both good machines.

    Mark
     
  3. dan-london

    dan-london
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    Thanks Mark!

    The panasonic doesn't appear to have an i-Link in, and that might put it out of the game for me. (The Toshiba does.)

    Do any of them have Guide Plus, and if so, what is it ?!

    Also, how do you rate the Lite-On LVW-5045 by comparison?

    Dan
     
  4. redsox_mark

    redsox_mark
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    The Panasonic E95 does have DV-in (the new EH50 does not however).
    Guide Plus is some programme guide; no I don't think they do.
    I can't comment on the Lite-on, other than generally they are not considered as high quality as the others you are considering.

    Mark
     
  5. Rasczak

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    Dan,

    For DVD Recorder buying advice have a look at the 'Which DVD Recorder?' link in my signature. As Redsox_mark points out you'd be wise to avoid the JVC models if you want to record from Sky, Freeview or Cable.
     
  6. dan-london

    dan-london
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    Thanks to both of you. I have bought the Toshiba RDXS 34. I'm looking forward to it arriving!

    Now I'm just trying to figure out which receiver to get.
    I'm thinking either the Cambridge Azur 540R or the Pioneer VSX-D814. I'm tending toward the Cambridge Azur at the moment. (I'll be plugging in the DVD HDD player, an iPod, and a record player.) Will the Toshiba play audio CDs at a decent level of quality?

    Thank for all your help,

    Dan
     
  7. dan-london

    dan-london
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    I bought and RDXS34 last week, and when I was setting it up last week I discovered a flicker. When watching the Freeview channels through the DVD player they flickered. Not a blatant flicker, but a pulsating one that was sufficiently annoying that it made the quality inferior to a normal analogue signal.

    The freeview channels are fine when connected to the TV, but when watching them on the AV channel of the DVD recorder there was the flicker.

    So I spoke to the customer services department of RGB direct who I bought it from, and they referred me to Toshiba. They listened to the description of the problem, and told me to turn off the machine and when we discovered that with the machine off I couldn't view the freeview channels, the Toshiba guy advised me that there was a fault with my SCART socket and that I should sent it back to RGB. . . . which I did.

    Today the RGB service department told me that they'd spent 3 hours looking at the machine and could not find evidence of the fault. They saw no flicker. They also told me that in order to watch freeview on the AV channel while the DVD player was off I was supposed to press an AV button on the remote control. So apparently Toshiba were wrong about that.

    But the fact remains that there was a flicker, and I don't know why, and I'm sure it will still be there because they would be returning the same machine, and RGB can't even see it. I'm not insane!

    Can anyone think of any settings that I ought to have played with in order to get rid of this flicker? Neither RGB or Toshiba could think of any. I don't know whether or not to get my money back and order a Panasonic E95 from somewhere else.

    Your advice would be much appreciated!

    Dan
     
  8. redsox_mark

    redsox_mark
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    I haven't seen flicker (with the XS32), and I can't think of any settings which would help. As you have now discovered, to watch Freeview with the recorder off you need to select the "Sat Moni" button.

    Do you get the same flicker in both modes - i.e. recorder off and Sat Moni on, and recorder on (and Sat Moni) off? If it only happens with the recorder on/Sat Moni off, then it would point to something in the recorder. If it happens in both modes, then I'd suspect something else - as the XS34 isn't doing anything to the signal when it is off. Maybe some interferance on the SCART between the XS34 and the TV? Is it a high quality SCART, is it near any power supply, etc.

    Mark
     
  9. dan-london

    dan-london
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    Yeah. Good quality SCARTS that were in correctly, and near a power supply.

    I'm not sure whether or not it happened in both modes. I discovered the flicker and immediately (in HDD mode) asked for advice and trusted Toshiba when they suggested that there was a SCART socket problem. But now the service department of RGB don't seem to agree.

    So I'm very confused. I really want to figure it out because the functional advantages of the Toshiba seem to be significant.

    Dan
     
  10. sinclair

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    I could be wrong, but I think when Mark asked if it was near a power supply he was wondering if any of your equipment or cabling could be affected by some crosstalk from a nearby power supply. If memory serves me, this would usually manifest as marginal ghosting or flicking. That aside it sounds like a right pain which is unique to either your machine or setup. It might be worth telling RGB that you're willing to have it back on the proviso that if there's any immediate reoccurence that they will replace it instantly or refund your money. If it is still misbehaving you should check out what Mark said about switching the Satmon on and off; this will identify if it's the XS34 or not. As you can see from these forums no model of DVD recorder, old or new is immune from problems and whether one has problems or not is often simply down to the luck of the draw, firmware glitches or in some frustrating cases failure to read the manual.
    I hope that you get it sorted.
     
  11. dan-london

    dan-london
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    Thanks Sinclair.

    I do have 3 4-way adapters in two sockets, so maybe I should try putting the DVD recorder in it's own power socket. (It is next to my hi-fi, video player, freeview box, a table lamp, an iPod so there are various things near to each other.) The only thing that suggests to me that this is not the cause is that the flicking only happens when watching freeview channels through the DVD recorder. It does not happen when watching analogue channels through the DVD recorder. And there is no flicking when watching the freeview channels plugged directly into the TV. So, it appears to be a more specific problem than power. But I could be wrong.

    Unfortunately RGB have already said that if I return the machine I'll have to pay delivery costs (which seems rather unfair.) Also, they're sending back exactly the same machine so I don't see any reason why it shouldn't do exactly the same thing.

    Still uncertain whether to get it back and try correcting the problem again, or to pay £25 to return it. I hate this kind of situation.
     
  12. redsox_mark

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    Yes, I was wondering if it was electrical interferance. If the analogue is OK, then you are right it probably isn't, at least not on the SCART between the TV and the XS34. It could be though on the SCART between the Freeview and the XS34 (the analogue wouldn't be impacted by this). Or it could be something totally different...

    A tough call for you at this point.

    Mark
     
  13. dan-london

    dan-london
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    But with the same SCART plugged into my VHS player there is no flickering. The SCART lead (which is good quality) has been performing well for months with my VHS player!

    I really don't want to have to go all the way to RGB in Ilford with my Freeview box to demonstrate the problem to them because it will take an hour and a half each way. So depressing . . .
     
  14. sinclair

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    One of the reasons I got my XS34 from RGB is that if it does go t*ts up in debatable circs then I can jump in the car and drive it 2 hours to them. I think it would be more satisfying to swallow the journey, get there early and get it sorted one way or another, otherwise it might turn into a palaver. If they do see the fault and are decent about it then you can take away a replacement or something different and get to see if it works ok in the shop. Touch wood, mine has been superb, so it's not a "feature" of the XS34.

    Have they not charged you already for sending it back to them?
     
  15. dan-london

    dan-london
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    They've not charged me for sending it back yet. They say that if I keep it I won't have to pay anything. You're probably right about the journey. I'll have to juggle time.

    Dan
     
  16. dan-london

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    I was returned my recorder by RGB since they did not believe there was anything wrong with it. The flicker is still there when the recorder is on and SAT MONI is off. It goes when SAT MONI is turned on. But unfortunately, I can't record my Freeview channels with SAT MONI on, so the flicker is present when I record them. Surely this is a fault with the machine?

    Dan
     
  17. knotpc

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    Hi Dan,

    Not quite the same problem, but the path to go down.

    Please look at my earlier post at http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1300166#post1300166

    and follow the thread, The retailer will change the machine but only on the say so of Toshiba. :beer:
     
  18. redsox_mark

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    Yes - if it is fine with Sat Moni on and problem with it off, then that rules out any problems with cables, connectors, etc. The only difference is with Sat Moni off, the video is being processed by the recorder. So it must be causing the flicker.

    Mark
     
  19. dan-london

    dan-london
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    Thanks to everyone.

    Toshiba have given me a reference number to guarantee that RGBdirect will exchange it for me since they are sure there is an internal problem. As a result RGBdirect have agreed. So I have to wait for their courier for the 4th time, and then wait for them to deliver the new one on a 5th day. For the record, I've not been very impressed with RGB's customer service. Toshiba said that they ought to have exchanged it the first time Toshiba told me that there was a fault!

    Dan
     
  20. phancey

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    I had a problem with RGBDirect Customer Service initially too. They sold me a MultiRegion that wasn't a multiregion. I don't have any non-Region 2 discs so it was only when my niece came round 3 months later that I found out it wasn't multiregion. RGB said I should have found the fault within 28 days for them to pay for returning it. I said that with a bit of kit this complex and an instruction manual this big, it would be unreasonable to test all permutations of functionality within 28 days!

    They didn't budge. My girlfriend phoned up and tried again - got someone very rude and obnoxious. Finally she tried for a 3rd time but spoke to Sales dept - got on very well with a lady there who was very helpful and arranged pickup. They fixed it and returned within a week. As usual it depends on specific people you speak to but next time I would go to the Sales dept first.
     
  21. dan-london

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    I thought I should let all readers that after much hassle I've discovered that in actual fact it is an issue of compatibility with my freeview box.

    I was sent a new RDXS34 and still had the same problem. So I borrowed a friend's freeview box and discovered that the problem did not exhibit itself when using his through the DVD recorder.

    So . . .

    The Thomson DTI 550 is not compatible with the Toshiba RDXS34
    The Humax F2 Fox T is.

    Toshiba claim that there are not issues of compatibility with the RDXS34 and Freeview boxes. But they're wrong.
     
  22. whatdoiknow

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    Beware of RGB I wouldn't trust them as far as I could throw them.
     
  23. skyscaper

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    Why do you say that? I was considering buying from them - at the Ilford store, about 15 mins drive from me.
     
  24. Rasczak

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    I've used RGB dozens of times and always found them to offer an excellent and efficient service. That said I have never had to return anything to them which seems to be where several forum members have had 'issues'. Still there are plenty of other decent online retailers!
     
  25. whatdoiknow

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    A couple of years ago I bought a JVC S-VHS VCR/HDD for nearly £600, it turned out to be faulty so I had to send it back at my expense, they first said they couldn't find a fault (it had faulty sound on VHS playback) they then said it was OK and returned it to me except the one they sent me back wasn't mine.

    How did I know because someone had made some recordings on the HDD of the Bill dated before I had even bought the original it also wouldn't accept a composite AV signal, they picked it up and said that the reason it wouldn't accept a composite signal was that it had been set up to accept an SVHS signal, fair enough I said but it still isn't my machine. This they wouldn't accept in fact one of the tw*ts was virtually calling me a liar, it wasn't until I mentioned taking legal action that they sent me a new one.

    I found their manners absolutely appalling, they may sell stuff cheap but if you have any problems with it I hope you don't have the same experience as I did.

    Martin
    :thumbsdow
     
  26. billandhelen

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    I have an Echostar Freeview box and the signal through my Tosh RDXS34 is much worse than when we switch the Freeview off. Your post makes me wonder whether I have a compatibility issue too.

    What type of Freeview boxes do other RDXS34 users use?
     

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