Panasonic v Pioneer

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by dezb, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. dezb

    dezb
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    New poster here... I'm trying to choose between the Panasonic DMR-EX75 and the Pioneer DVR-540HX and thought I might be able to get some views here. It is to replace a Sony HX900, as I need better editing facilities.

    I'm swaying towards the Pioneer because of the genre function for recordings, the frame level editing, the TV Guide looks better and I think it's a nicer looking unit. However, the Panasonic has HDMI and quickstart.
    Can I have views on these features please? Is quickstart just for recording? Does it mean leaving the unit on standby (or similar)?

    Any other info to make up my mind would be great.
     
  2. carcher

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    I prefere the pioneer DVR-540HX as it plays divx movies too, and the panasonic does not.

    However the Pioneer DVR-545HX is due out in october, and will have HDMI, DV-Input and a new Video Quality Enhancer. It will also have a USB host to allow uploading of jpeg images.

    I was going to get the Pioneer 440 or 540, but have decided to wait a couple of months to see what the 545 is like, and if if drives the price of the 440 / 540 down.
     
  3. dezb

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    Thanks for the info Carcher. I think I'll do the same, wait for the new model. Do you know if it has a bigger disk?
     
  4. bradavon78

    bradavon78
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    The 540 can play DivX. Which I've found very useful.
     
  5. marillionfan

    marillionfan
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    Same dilemma here, it's the reason I've registered (after lurking for probably more than a year).

    For me, the Panasonic is currently winning - I get the impression it's faster, quieter, it's definitely slimmer, and (unlike many folk it seems) I prefer the appearance. I've no need for DIVX or camera connectivity so they're not an issue. The main thing I'd like to understand better, when comparing the two, is the difference in their handling of 16:9 material when recording.

    I've seen comments that the Panasonic doesn't record the 16:9 flag when burning to disc; that doesn't seem too much of a problem (even my old TV has a widescreen mode). What concerns me more is the comment on page 65 of the manual that states "Programmes in 16:9 format are recorded in 4:3 format. 16:9 format is used to record to RAM." Can an EX75 (or EX85) owner tell me what Panasonic mean by that?

    For the Pioneer, the table on page 8 of its manual, which shows "some specific compatibility differences between the different disc types" puts a tick for "16:9 and 4:3 program recording" against only HDD, DVD-R(VR), DVD-RW(VR) and DVD-RAM. If these are the only discs that it will record 16:9 onto, should I be worried when page 57 claims that many standard DVD players aren't compatible with VR mode discs?

    Or maybe I needn't worry about this and should just get on with handing over the cash. But then do I want the EX75 or the EX85?;)

    Thanks
    Rob
     
  6. TobyW

    TobyW
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    It depends what exactly you want to do with it.

    I have a Panny E85 and a Pioneer 540, and I have also recently tested a new Panasonic. Here are my personal opinions, although other people may disagree.

    In favour of Panasonic:-

    1. For editing, the Panasonic wins by far. It's dead easy, and the remote control operations are simple and intuitive. By comparison, the Pioneer's editing is tedious and lengthy, and exacerbated by the remote's crazy layout.

    2. The Panasonic is bedroom-friendly, being silent and dark when recording overnight. The Pioneer has audible fan noise, and it lights up like a Christmas tree for a timer recording.

    In favour of Pioneer:-

    3. The Pioneer lets you choose an intermediate recording quality, regardless of the recording duration. I find that MN12 (the longest full-res setting, equivalent to 3.5 hours on a disk) is almost as good as SP (2hrs) and I use it all the time. On a Panny you have to choose between SP (2-hr) and LP (4-hr) for full res, but I found the LP a bit disappointing.

    4. If you set a timer recording on a Pioneer, you know it really will record, whereas on the Panasonic you have to remember to put it in "timer" mode.

    5. The old E85 takes an annoying half-minute start-up time, so now there is a "1-second quickstart". However according to the manual I looked at, this doesn't work if the machine is configured for low-power standby. The Pioneer 540 starts up immediately at the press of the button just like a VCR would.

    6. The new Panny wouldn't play my VCD's, SVCD's etc. with my old holiday movies. The Pioneer has no such limitations.

    7. I tried to load jpeg's but the new Panny only recognised them from the disk's root directory, and displaying them was a disaster. My Pioneer 540 is an Australian version (DIFFERENT TO UK) and it searches the whole disk or USB device and presents a directory structure of all the jpeg's. Unlike the Panny, the 540 has a several-picture memory cache to speed up navigation.

    (Unlike the current UK version, the Aussie 540 already has DV input and two USB's that accept camera, printer, keyboard, USB stick etc.)

    Summary: It's horses for courses!
     
  7. carcher

    carcher
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    The 545 will also have a 160gb disc.
     
  8. knotpc

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    TobyW,
    Nice comparison:smashin: .

    Regards
    knotpc
     
  9. dezb

    dezb
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    Excellent info guys, thanks a lot. I'm still swaying towards the Pioneer, and with HDMI I think the 545 will be the one I go for.
    I'm also thinking I'll get my local AV supplier to demo both machines to see which user interface I prefer.
     
  10. carcher

    carcher
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    my thoughts also
     
  11. JGR

    JGR
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    I am a Panny EX75 owner but am trying to not let this cloud my judgement. What Hi-fi
    Mag September has a group test which includes both the Panny and the Pio, the Panny comes out top with 5 stars and the Pio with 3 stars, they even rate the Toshiba RD-85DT higher with 4 stars.

    To summarise the "Panny's DVD performance and the quality of its Freeview tuner and, consequently, the excellence of its recordings are why we rate this recorder so highly". "Its as a straight DVD player that the Panny most forcefully makes it case. Simply put, it's an excellent player for the money - even before you take into account the Freeview tuner, large hard disc and the rest".

    Hope this helps,

    John....
     
  12. TobyW

    TobyW
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    A tiny correction to my above remarks: my Pioneer is actually an Aussie 530 not Aussie 540. Identical, except the Aussie 540 works with all media types.
     
  13. nialli

    nialli
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    Small correction here: the Panny put's itself into Timer mode when you put in a recording's details, unlike previous models.

    With regard to 16:9 recordings: if your source is broadcast 16:9, all that information is recorded (and copied) regardless of what disc type you ultimately burn to. The thing that is not recorded is the widescreen tag (unless you're copying to DVD-RAM or the HDD), so you then have to adjust the aspect using your TV or PC's controls.

    Instant start up - my EX-75 starts up instantly from stand-by - even faster than a VCR or my cable box.

    And the picture quality with the EX-75 is pretty awesome, though the Freeview tuner isn't as good on some channels as I had hoped, though I think this is down to the broadcasters and the fact I'm blowing it up to a fair sized screen.
     

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