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Panny E85 or Tosh RDXS-32 - Help?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by L00py^, Oct 23, 2004.

  1. L00py^

    L00py^
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    Hi bit of a DVD newbie, I am planning to buy a Tosh 36ZP48 telly and either a Panny E85 or Tosh RDXS-32 DVD recorder. I have read alot of the previous threads and had "probably" decided on the E85, but not so sure now as the Tosh has RAM/RW. Currently I do not own a normal DVD player, though may purchase a 2nd one later, so RW might be better option. :rolleyes:

    I believe both have component input and progressive scan which the Tosh 36ZP48 unit can support. The 36ZP48 has digital audio inputs, do both of these DVD recorders support that?

    Reading the other reports, the general comments are the E85 records slighty better than the XS-32. But the XS-32 playback quality is better. So if I record on DVD disc the best quality possible on both, which picture would be best on playback? At this quality, how much programme time would it take to fill a DVD disc on each unit?

    Can someone please comment on the different recording modes and times of both units, with reference to copying onto RAM(pan/tosh) or DW(tosh) and R(pan/tosh) discs.

    On a previous forum board, the following comments was made:-

    The Panasonic E85 has no iLink but offers the best all-round recording quality (including 3hrs full resolution as opposed to 2hrs 20mins on the Toshiba/Pioneer).

    Which disc is that recording onto please?

    Also what are the approx cost of the following discs:-

    1. R
    2. RW
    3. RAM

    Thanks in advance folks. :hiya:
     
  2. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    The cost, as you would expect, varies depending on the brand and quality of disks you use. You can pickup DVD-Rs for £0.30 each if you shop around - but I wouldn't recommend them for long term archiving!

    You'll find that with either the Toshiba or the Panasonic you'll end up using DVD-R more than the others - the whole point of a HDD/DVDR combo is to edit on the HDD and then dub to highly compatible media (i.e. DVD-R).

    You won't use DVD-RAM much at all - only for extra space HDD fill up or transferring recordings to a PC - so you would only realistically ever need one or two of those disks anyway.

    You can get an idea of the price range of media from online stores.

    Certainly if you think you may want an 'upstairs' DVD player then getting the Toshiba with it's DVD-RW support maybe a wise move. That said if you don't already have a second DVD player than buying a DVD-RAM compatible one - such as the Panasonic S27 - isn't going to be a serious problem. The advantage of DVD-RAM is that it doesn't need finalising before playback: that is not a big thing but it is something that makes life a little more user friendly. You would be keeping your options open though by opting for the Toshiba though.

    Both DVD recorders have Digital Audio output. And the 36ZP48 has both Optical & Coaxial audio inputs so you are sorted whichever model you get.

    This applies to all recordings onto any DVDR (DVD-RAM/-RW/-R) as well as onto the HDD. Depending on what recording mode you use then the Recorder will either use full resolution (720/704 x 576) or half resolution (352 x 576/288). The Panasonic allows you to get more per disk before it switches to reduced resolution.

    All in all the choice between the Toshiba and Panasonic is quite straight-forward. The Panasonic offers the better recording quality of the two and is also very easy to use. The Toshiba can't quite match the Panny for recording quality but makes up for it by offering iLink, slightly better DVD playback, more authoring options (ability to choose menu backgrounds for example and numerous options that can be tweaked) and DVD-RW. Whichever recorder you get though will serve you well - they are both fantastic machines.
     
  3. L00py^

    L00py^
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    Thanks again, what's i-Link allow yer to do please?
     
  4. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    It's for connection of a Digital Camcorder.
     
  5. L00py^

    L00py^
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    So if I say want to record a 3 hour film from HDD to a DVD at the highest recording quality, then if:-

    1. For the Pan E85, I could record to either a 4.7 GB RAM or -R disc.
    2. and for the Tosh XS-32 as it can only record say 2hrs 20mins on a 4.7 GB disc, I would have to purchase a 9.4 GB double sided RAM disc?

    Is RAM format the only type which supports double sided-discs?
     
  6. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    No it's doesn't quite work like this. You can record a 3 hour movie to DVD-R or DVD-RAM on either machine - however on the Toshiba it will be half the resolution of the Panasonic unless you span it across 2 disks.

    Whatever disk you use be it a dual sided DVD-RAM or a DVD-R the limit is still 4.7GB per recording session (even for 9.4GB DVD-RAMs). The new 8.5GB dual layer DVDRs you may have heard of are not yet supported on set-top DVD recorders.
     
  7. L00py^

    L00py^
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    Rasczak,

    On a review on the panny E85 the reveiwer mentions, four pre-set recording modes. XP(1 hour per removable disc), SP(2 hours), LP(4 hours) and EP(6 or 8 hours, depending on menu setting).

    Is this the recorder changing the resolution automatically or something totally different, as you mention maximum full resolution (720/704 x 576) and a recording time of 3 hours per disc. Can you explain in "simple" terms just for me :smashin:
     
  8. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    The Panasonic range has a number of set recording modes:
    XP = 1hr recording time per 4.7GB
    SP = 2hr recording time per 4.7GB
    LP = 4hr recording time per 4.7GB
    EP = 6hr/8hr recording time per 4.7GB

    It also has Flexible Record: this allows you to dial in a recording time per 4.7GB. E.g. you dial in 93mins and that is how much recording time you can have per 4.7GB. Hence the reference to upto 3hrs at full resolution is referring to use of XP, SP or FR (at times upto 180mins) modes.

    To complicate things further on the default settings the recorder will change the resolution automatically even on SP or FR (61mins - 180mins) on some scenes. However you won't notice as these are all low activity scenes and this is a 'good thing' as it allows more data to be available for the high activity scenes. Thus when we talk of dropping the resolution we are referring to the universal reduction to the low resolution which happens around the 180min mark on the Panasonic. :lesson:

    All clear now? :D
     
  9. L00py^

    L00py^
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    hehe, clearist :rolleyes:

    So if I pick XP mode and a 1hr recording time, will the resolution be (720/704 x 576) or higher then, ie. what is the advantage of picking this say over the standard 3 hour resolution option?
     
  10. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    I'm going to try explaining this a different way - if it is too basic and I'm teaching you to suck eggs then please forgive me.

    The quality of your recording is determined by the data rate. This is affected by two things:

    - Resolution: either full resolution (720/704 x 576) or half resolution (352 x 576/288) is used - but it is always one of those two resolutions because that is what is specified as 'legal' by the DVD Forum. The latter requires significantly less data than the former but means that the picture is softer and not quite so clear.

    - Bitrate: This is the amount of information used to 'draw' a frame. The higher the bitrate the more detail can be captured per frame and the better the recording looks. A low bitrate can be detected by blocking.

    To ensure the highest possible quality recording you always want to maximise the data rate (i.e. you want the high resolution and highest bitrate). However using the maximium allowed data rate (9.8MBits/S) then the capacity on a 4.7GB DVDR is only going to be one hour. Hence using a DVD recorder is a trade off between recording capacity and recording quality.

    How this translates to Panasonic recording modes is as follows:
    XP = Data rate of approx. 9.8MBits/S, Always Full Resolution = 1 hour per disk/4.7GB
    SP = Data rate of approx. 5MBits/S, Mostly Full Resolution = 2 hour per disk/4.7GB
    LP = Data rate of approx. 2.4MBits/S, Always Low Resolution = 4 hour per disk/4.7GB
    EP = Data rate of as low as 1.2MBits/S, Always Low Resolution = upto 8 hour per disk/4.7GB

    ...and for Flexible Record:
    Settings Under 1hr = Data rate of approx. 9.8MBits/S, Always Full Resolution
    Settings Under 3hrs = Data rate of between 9.8MBits/S and 3.4MBits/S, Mostly Full Resolution
    Settings Over 3hrs = Data rate of 3.3MBits/S or under, Always Low Resolution

    Now the Toshiba is slightly more complicated although it works on exactly the same basis. The Toshiba only has two 'fixed' recording modes:
    SP = Data rate of approx. 5MBits/S, Mostly Full Resolution = 2 hour per disk/4.7GB
    LP = Data rate of approx. 2.4MBits/S, Always Low Resolution = 4 hour per disk/4.7GB

    ...and the machine also has the equivalent of Flexible Record (called 'Auto' on the Toshiba) where it uses the remaining space on a disk. The only difference is the resolution drop occurs at a high bitrate which translates at the 2 hour 20min mark. The Toshiba also has a 'Manual' mode which allows you to 'create' a fixed recording mode at your required data rate. Again resolution changes/bitrate change dependant on the settings.

    The Brief Summary Of Everything Typed Above
    Basically what you need to know is that when recording you should try and avoid the resolution drop and use a datarate suitable for the length of programme your archiving. There is no 3 hour mode to use (except for FR): you just have to use sensible application of the recording modes/FR based on the length of what you are recording.

    Right! Have you got all that? There will be a closed book, written test at the end of the week! :laugh:
     
  11. HMHB

    HMHB
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    That is a very useful post for me too Rasczak as I've just ordered an E85 and will be transfering lots of old VHS tapes to DVD.
    Thanks :thumbsup:
     
  12. L00py^

    L00py^
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    Thanks m8, makes more sense now, did not realise it was two variables which determined picture quality/recording time.

    So I guess its Pan E85 3 hours recording time vs Tosh RW format, head or tails I guess :clown:
     
  13. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Glad to be of help.
     
  14. L00py^

    L00py^
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    I've decided on the Tosh and RW format capability :thumbsup:
     
  15. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Good to hear you've made a decision! ;)
     
  16. Bob H2

    Bob H2
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    I have the Toshiba and use the RW format most of the time as I copy sports programs for my daughter to play on her home machine. Makes much more sense to use a re-writable than a writable disk.

    For my own use I save to HD usually at SP.

    Have not yet used the Ram disk which comes with the machine - shame Ram is not more widely read by standalone and PC DVD-Rom machines.

    Think you will like the Toshiba.
     

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