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PC or DVD recorder

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by jackpot, Dec 29, 2004.

  1. jackpot

    jackpot
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    I'm new to all this but am in a quandry about whether to buy a Sony Vaio RZ504 PC or a sony 900 DVD recorder.
    I'm wanting to record off the TV, copy VHS to DVD all via the hard drive. I dont know whether the functionality would be better on the stand alone RDVD. If anyone has had experience with the PC side of things then your views would be welcome. FYI the Pc comes with a 250 gig harddrive
    thanks
     
  2. laser

    laser
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    If you are going to do a lot of timeshifting from TV (terrestial, Freeview, Sky) then a set top recorder is much more practical and probably a lot more reliable and quieter.

    Do you plan to leave the PC in the main living room next to the TV?

    If your primary use is going to be archive VHS and camcorder footage and carry out lots for editing which needs to be frame specific a PC is probably the way forward but I would think seriously about using a tower PC for regular use. If you are going to buy the PC anyway see how it goes but if the option is one or the other then I would go for a set top recorder just for ease of use.
     
  3. jackpot

    jackpot
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    From what i understand of the PC, its in 2 units. The PC is seperate from the Media center. So the PC would be in one room and the media center next to the TV. The PC is now discontinued so its difficult getting information on it although some internet sites still stock it.

    On your point about editing, if i was to get the RDVD then what i have in mind is transferring video camera and VHS to the harddrive, getting rid of the rubbish, copying the remains to a DVD, transferring this to PC to do fine editing and add music etc then copying back to DVD.
    Dont know if this would work or just a long winded way of doing something that could be done simpler
     
  4. laser

    laser
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    Hi

    Totally the long winded way of doing it. You will also loose quality as you'll end up re-encoding MPEG2 material when you edit on the PC. However you may have to do this unless your PC can capture analogue footage from VHS/camcorder.

    If your PC and camcorder has firewire then capture using the digital connection. I presume your PC has IE1394/firewire connector.

    Can you capture analogue footage from VHS straight to your PC? If not then you would have to use the method yuo described unless you bought an anlogue capture card for your PC.

    The easiest and quickest way to capture is to:

    1. Connect VHS/camcorder via firewire/analogue to PC.
    2. Capture using AVI
    3. Edit and add music
    4. Create your menus and chapters
    5. Output to DVD using editing software

    You can use software such as Pinnacle Studio 9 or Ulead. There's stacks of cheap editing software to use. You may allready have a package?
     
  5. dmpoole

    dmpoole
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    I was capturing on the PC for years until I bought a Philips DVDR890 a few years ago. It was like a dream come true and the Holy Grail of getting your videos etc onto DVD in great quality. I ended up buying a Philips DVDR75 and the two machines are still going strong. About two months ago I decided on a HD DVD recorder and came on these forums for advice. I too wanted the Sony 900 but was quickly put off by its awful editing facilities. Do a search for it on these forums and you won't find much good about it. I opted for a Pioneer DVR-420H and its excellent. The editing is first class and I don't regret buying it for one second.

    As an example I recorded 4 hours of Little Britain on BBC3 in one big file. The next day I divided it up into the eight episodes and set about deleting the adverts out. I then gave each episode a new thumbnail, its own name and put a chapter mark every 5 mins. I then put all eight episodes into a list and burned them to a DVD which took 8 minutes. On finalisation I was able to add a menu which took 1 minute to do.
     
  6. jackpot

    jackpot
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    But what advantage did you find moving away from PC? after all all the editing you can do on your pioneer i assume you can do on a PC?

    I'm thinking that my video camera will connect to PC using iLink, the TV ariel will coonect into the PC to record on the Harddrive and the Video will connect directly to PC to record on the harddrive.
    Once on the harddrive i can edit video camera footage using proper editing software, for TV recordings I can erase sections, title, rearrange etc
    So unless i am missing something I really cant see the benefit of stand alone RDVD
     
  7. dmpoole

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    I can only tell you how excited I was when I got my first DVD recorder. It is a fact that PC editing with a program like Pinnacle Studio 9 will give you more control over how you edit. You will be able to put titles where you want, add music and delete scenes to your hearts content. For me it was very time consuming and I had no need for advanced editing so the Pioneer DVR420H is perfect for my needs. My mate has the same Pioneer as me but he still works with Pinnacle 9 because he likes the control. And of course you've got a PC that can become the centre of a home entertainment system. You could also with the right software, use the PC has a TV HD recorder with time shift capabilities. If you haven't already got a PC then thats the way to go but don't buy the Sony 900 DVD recorder.
     
  8. jackpot

    jackpot
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    Other than not liking the sony's editing capabilities what else do you not like about it?
    And your mate who uses the PC to edit, is it mostly video camera stuff he edits on the Pc?
     
  9. JamesL

    JamesL
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    The Sony models are excellent machines - certainly the core recording quality is superior in many respects many other HDD DVD recorders (the Pioneer models included). Also the editting, whilst not upto the highest standards set by Panasonic/Toshiba, is far superior to what is available on (for example) a Philips machine. Lack of divide is an issue - but it's one you can generally workaround.
     
  10. dmpoole

    dmpoole
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    I can't remember now. I read loads of posts on these forums about them and they aren't received very well. This might be one of the threads that put me right off - http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=155468&highlight=sony+hx900

    Yes it is mostly camcorder stuff he edits.
     
  11. jackpot

    jackpot
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    First and foremost im after quality of recording but do you know if once youve recorded on the HDD of the recorder you can transfer it the PC for frame by frame editing without loss of quality, then transfer back on a DVD for playing in the DVDR
     
  12. dmpoole

    dmpoole
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    I have done this in a roundabout way. For ages I looked for a program that could edit VOB files and no doubt theres one out there now. I used simple tools to cut the VOB's (VOB Cutter) and to put them back together (IFO Edit) but I wasn't able to put titles on or extra sound. The standalone does all this anyway.

    I just did a quick Google and came up with this - http://www.marcpeters.co.uk/edit-vob-mpeg.html

    I've just had a little experiment with one of my fave programs called Ulead DVD Moviefactory and you can import DVD video into that and edit it. And of course you can turn it into a DVD. However you can add a DVD menu to it but you can't add titles to frames etc so its easier to do on the standalone.
     
  13. jackpot

    jackpot
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    thanks for that but now your moving into territory which confuses the hell out of me with VOB. IFO etc.
    Think I need to go educate myself with some techie stuff
     
  14. dmpoole

    dmpoole
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    Very simple - the raw files on any DVD disk are IFO, BUP and VOB files. The VOB files are the movie files and the IFO and BUP files contain all the data that makes up how the menu will look etc (or something like that). You will find all these files on the DVD movie disk in a directory called VIDEO_TS and there will also be an empty directory called AUDIO_TS. When you make a DVD with your Movie Making program it will make all these files for you. Some programs will tell you to put your blank disk in to burn.

    You will also find that the files on a standalone DVD recorder are also like the above (well they are on the Philips).
     
  15. hutchingsp

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    I'm in a similar-ish situation, not quite confident a standalone will do everything I want but not sure I want the hassle of editing/encoding on a computer (Mac in this case).

    I'm leaning towards the Pioneer 720. It's not the cheapest but it seems to offer pretty much everything, massive HDD, high speed transfer from HDD to DVD, ability to edit out ads and trim start/end overrun, and (the bit I think I like) it has DV-Out, which as I understand it means you can connect it to a PC/Mac over Firewire and use iMovie/Windows Movie Maker to capture the output.

    Can anyone confirm that's how the DV-Out works?

    Or you could obviously rip the DVDs that you create onto your computer but I think that would be more longwinded to get them into an editable format.

    Paul
     
  16. jackpot

    jackpot
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    Thanks dmpoole for the lesson. I can feel its the start of a long road!
    and thanks for the link to the Sony 900 forum. I wont be getting the sony

    On Hutchinsp point which i like the sound of but i can't see why a custome built PC sitting next to the TV which holds the HDD, software for capturing, editing, burning, timeshift etc so you can do all that stuff using the TV etc but then with a wireless network so you can access the PC from other rooms to use Excel etc whilst someone is using the PC to watch DVD's
     
  17. hutchingsp

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    Really there's no reason that you can't do it, it's just whether you want the hassle or not.

    The thing that's nice about HDD/DVD standalone recorders is that they all copy to DVD in realtime (or faster if dubbing from HDD to DVD).

    With a PC you can import the video and edit it, but then to burn a couple of hours to a DVD in my experience you have to walk away and leave it for several hours, if not longer, during which time you can't really use it to do anything else as the processor and disk will be hard at work.

    I think because of the workload you'd struggle to record anything whilst recording a DVD whereas most of the standalone machine seem to let you dub and record something to the HDD at the same time (not 100% sure on that, it's a bif manual!).

    Also generally (not always) the PC will be noiser, which you may or may not be bothered about.

    I'd like to think I've done quite a bit of homework on this as I don't intend wasting my money, and it seems both ways there are compromises, but the best compromise I can see is buying something like the Pioneer which seems to allow you to do both.

    Paul
     
  18. jackpot

    jackpot
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    Good points and i'm going to track down some reviews of the pioneer.
    I just think that the PC would be more flexible in the long run especially with technology changing so fast. I would prob end up spending a £1k or so on it to ensure the best quality parts which would then give me a decent PC to do video camera editing on as well. If I can guarantee the quality of the end result for VHS and TV recording being the same as a DVDR i'm going to be hard pushed to be convinced about going down the DVDR route although your points about the length of time to dub to DVD are food for thought. Cheers
     
  19. dmpoole

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    I've just built this system over christmas and it is a seriously excellent machine for video capture and editing (as well as everything else) -

    Intel Pentium 4 560 "LGA775 Prescott" 3.6GHz (800FSB) with HT Technology
    GeIL 1GB (2x512MB) PC5300 667MHz Value DDR2 Dual Channel Kit
    Asus P5AD2 Premium 925X (LGA775) PCI-Express Motherboard
    CoolerMaster Centurion 2 Case
    Enermax Noisetaker 600W ATX2.0 PSU
    Western Digital Raptor 36.7GB 10,000RPM SATA 8MB Cache (for my boot drive)
    Samsung SpinPoint P SP1614C 160GB SATA 8MB Cache
    Asus Extreme AX300/TD ATI Radeon X300 128MB DDR TV-Out/DVI (PCI-Express)
    Audigy 2 ZX Platinum Soundcard

    The parts cost a tad over a £1000. In about two weeks I'll add another 1 gig of memory.
     
  20. jackpot

    jackpot
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    wow something just flew over my head.
    I guess thats something that i would want but although you use your pioneer to record TV etc would your PC spec be up to the same quality as your pioneer for TV/Video capture.
    Does it do all the time shift stuff as well?
     
  21. dmpoole

    dmpoole
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    You would need a dedicated capture device like an All In Wonder Pro to be able to timeshift TV programs. The Firewire port on the PC would be good enough to capture the camcorder signal. It was my thought that capturing through a firewire port would not degrade the signal because you are capturing binary code but my mate reckons there is a drop in quality.
     
  22. jackpot

    jackpot
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    Is that a noticeable drop in quality or something that is picked up in computer tests?
    What would be the alternative if not firewire?
    Also the DVD writers in PCs can they do progressive scan? (think thats the right terminlogy)
     
  23. dmpoole

    dmpoole
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    He can visually see the difference.
    There isn't really an alternative to firewire. The composite inputs will definitely give a drop in quality.
    I don't know about the progressive scan question. I've just looked a few up and none of them mention it.

    I'll ring my mate and get more details. You'll have to bear with me because I sing in a rock band and I'm just getting ready for our gig tonight.
     
  24. jackpot

    jackpot
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    ok nice one cheers.
    Could you also ask if there are DVD for PC that have flexible recording modes like in the panasonics
    Bit shocked at the fire wire problem
    Happy rocking
     
  25. SDHoward

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    With a PC you can do almost what you want, just depends on how much you want to spend, the main advantages are, you can upgrade your hard drive, have a dual layer burner.. and later blue ray or whatever without having to totally replace you machine.
    You can also play back almost any format, share stuff across a network etc..

    Get yourself a card with hardware mpeg 2 encoding and you can do everything realtime.

    Get dual freeview or analogue tuners for even more versatitlity.

    You should also be able to get the pc to switch itself on and off properly for timer recodings with the right motherboard/software setup.

    Some things to look at
    eveshams media centre
    http://www.evesham.com/PCs/Info.asp?e=AC716BC5-1C20-4511-9409-4711D5C5FDAB

    or (if the link doesn't work)
    http://www.evesham.com
    and then
    Home > Media Centers > emedia series

    or
    Watford electronic media experience

    http://www.savastore.com/productinfo/product.aspx?catalog_name=Savastore&product_id=10278945&pid=44

    or(if the link doesn't work)
    http://www.savastore.com
    and search for media experience

    and there are probably others

    on the software side

    On the software side you may find this interesting

    http://www.mythtv.org/

    Anyway

    Make sure you have a motherboard with a bios wake up facility

    http://www.malloc.de/tools/wakeup_clock.html

    and you don’t have to leave it on all the time.
     
  26. jackpot

    jackpot
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    Excellant stuff
    Definately like the idea of replacing bits as they become outdated but I must harp back to the quality question.
    Is the quality of recording as good in PC based DVD writers as DVDR machines or is it dependant on what DVD writer i end up getting?
     
  27. SDHoward

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    The quailty will depend on the quality of your (freeview tuner/ analog tuner etc) and on how good your mpeg 2 / mpeg 4 etc encoder is.

    Your dvd writer won't effect the quality of the recordings at all, about the only thing it may effect is how good the compatablility of the recordings will be with other machines.

    I've managed excellent quality recordings with my ancient matrox mjpeg card, but I have no experience of newer cards, however it probably depends on how much you want to spend.
     

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