Philips 890 Dvd Recorder

Andy30

Active Member
Has anyone got any opinions on this player good or bad?
I'm thinking of replaceing my dvd & vhs with this unit.
I'm not sure wether to get this or just a dvd player for a budget of £400.
I've had some views from another forum but like to cover all bases.
Thanks for looking

Andy
 

Andy30

Active Member
they were talking about the 880 but as the 890 is the next model up I thought it would apply the same.

Got the 880 which is basically the same except it doesn't have 6 hour recording (very poor quality anyway from what others report) and the firewire port for a camcorder - and about £100 cheaper. Picture quality is excellent and recording is a snap, tho' it has lots of more advanced functions if you want them. Very pleased with it and it's in the same price range as you are looking at - £450 or less. No regrets at all.
 

encaser

Member
Yes, it's a new size Philips introduced for ths generation.
 

Nyquil Driver

Standard Member
It's not worth worrying about the 6hr mode as it's basically a low-res artifact-ridden proposition anyway... I defy anyone to come up with a reason why such a mode would be desirable- I understand the convenience of having something on disc, but when the quality is noticeably worse than VHS it's no good for archiving IMO. If recording time is the main concern, then longer durations (and better results) can be attained with a long-play S-VHS deck (hell, even a regular VHS deck!).

Anyway (and moaning aside!), I'm very happy with mine overall- not least because of the sheer compatibility of the +R/RW standard. I've finalised numerous DVD+R's and have lent them out to a large variety of people... The only machines that wouldn't play them were an old LG and the even older Wharfie 750 (and even then I think it was the reflective media causing problems rather than the content). In all, 7 out of 9 machines played the discs without incident.

Getting back to picture quality/recording times though, I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed by the lack of flexibility. Of course, the HQ and SP/SP+ modes are very good indeed (HQ is fantastic), but when you consider that the highest setting only allows 60 minutes of recording, the practical uses seem limited. I think most owners exclusively use the SP/SP+ modes (SP+ allows 2hrs 30mins) as it's a sensible compromise of quality and length. I'm certainly happy using these modes myself as the quality is good enough for any available input and (more importantly) good enough to keep indefinitely. I've transferred most of my video collection using the SP mode and I'm more than happy with the results.

One other thing... I do feel obliged to warn potential buyers about the unreliability of the format... I wouldn't want to put anyone off exactly, but a recordable DVD unit isn't a replacement for a Video recorder (not right now anyway). I've had all kinds of error messages and teething troubles, which, although not unusual for a new format (and never anything major), is totally inexcusable when timer-programmed shows aren't recorded!. I've been let down on several occasions by my machine and that's why I now routinely set the timer for the DVD and VCR at the same time (so I have the video as a back-up system). BTW- it's not the videoplus system that fails on the decks, or any kind of timer failing, it's always because of 'disc errors' or data problems. For example, if the recorder senses a problem with the disc (while recording the first show in the timer line-up), it might not even attempt to record the rest!.

So, although it's impressive in most respects (and great for showing off!), I'd only recommend buying one to use alongside a video recorder.
 

michaelab

Active Member
I got my 890 yesterday so I haven't had a great deal of time to play with it yet but so far I'm very pleased. Nothing to complain about yet.

Check out the DVDPlusRW.org forum where loads of people have bought the 890 and so far I think everyone's been well impressed with it.

The 880 is identical in every respect except it doesn't have the i-Link input and, apparently, no 6hr rec mode allthough most people agree that the 6hr mode is useless anyway.

About the 'disc errors' causing recording problems: I obviously haven't had time do much recording yet but I suspect that these problems could all be avoided by using high quality branded media. I haven't heard anyone on the DVDPlusRW.org forums mention any kind of problems like this. My VCR has gone up to the attic to rot!

There's also a straightforward multi-region hack using a 'OneForAll' or other similar remote control (which is all the shops advertising 'multiregion' versions of the 880/890 are doing anyway).

Michael.
 

wellsi

Active Member
Originally posted by Nyquil Driver
One other thing... I do feel obliged to warn potential buyers about the unreliability of the format... I wouldn't want to put anyone off exactly, but a recordable DVD unit isn't a replacement for a Video recorder (not right now anyway). I've had all kinds of error messages and teething troubles, which, although not unusual for a new format (and never anything major), is totally inexcusable when timer-programmed shows aren't recorded!. I've been let down on several occasions by my machine and that's why I now routinely set the timer for the DVD and VCR at the same time (so I have the video as a back-up system).

I'd only recommend buying one to use alongside a video recorder.

Could it be your media that's causing these errors. My Panasonic DMR-E20 has totally replaced my VCR. In the 7 months of ownership, I have not once lost a programme I set to record, and this has been using RAM discs, or the cheapest (under £1) dvd-r media I can find. My vcr is now only for playing back old tapes to convert to dvd.

Your other point re 6hr mode; that's the same for dvd-r; ie a bit mushy at times; but surely it's a great mode for rewritable discs (or RAM discs in my case) when you just want timeslip your TV by a bit, without keeping it permantly.

Ian's 2 pence worth...
 

michaelab

Active Member
Regarding the 6hr (EP+) mode on the Philips DVDR 880 and 890: I've played around with it a little this morning and I was very pleasantly surprised.

After what I'd heard I'd assumed it was bordering on un-useable but there's really nothing wrong with it given the extra time it gives you. OK, if you look hard you can see a bit of MPEG blockiness and there's bit more noise but IMO it's still far better than VHS LP and perfectly OK for timeshifting, esp. if you really need the 6 hours.

One thing worth mentioning about all Philips DVDRs is that when using them as tuners they are still doing the MPEG encoding / decoding so the quality of the tuner output depends on what recording mode the machine is set to. Having said that the tuner on my 890 is superb and I get far better quality pictures from it that from my TV (see my other thread about it) so I now always use it as my tuner.

Michael.
 

Nyquil Driver

Standard Member
Wellsi- glad to hear your Panny is so efficient!. I almost bought one myself, but it was considerably more expensive than the Philips at the time and compatibility with other decks was my only real concern...

Yes, the disc problems are almost always caused by the media being used, but not necessarily because of the brand. It's the simple fact that +RW discs are used over and over again and so are more prone to inadvertent damage. It only takes one fingerprint to compromise the discs surface and any kind of moisture/dust could potentially halt recording... Of course, extra care and a larger amount of discs would greatly minimise those particular risks, but there are other triggers for errors (like the deck overheating and power supply fluctuations). So I agree that the media plays a big part in whether the recording is successful or not, but the fact remains that recording onto DVD is less reliable than video tape (as VCR's aren't affected by any of the issues previously mentioned)...

DVDPlusRW.org certainly has had its fair share of threads about data errors though, in fact when I first started visiting there they talked of little else!. The regulars have basically come to terms with what is and isn't prudent where recording is concerned, so there's nothing left to say. If you perform a search you'll find hundreds of posts about disc/data errors.

I'd say the success rate is about 95% for me overall, as I rarely have problems with supervised recordings. I think if you put in a brand new DVD+R, record straight away (and then edit carefully) there's almost zero chance of failure. I think I'm just bitter about those times when I missed unrepeated programmes!....
 

wellsi

Active Member
That's very interesting.
Panasonic have always maintained that the key to their RAM discs being good for a 100,000 recordings lies in their protective caddy. However, all RAM discs now come in a removeable caddy, or no caddy at all.
Currently, I've not had a single RAM fail at any time; but then I've tended to keep them in their caddies. I have had a couple of Bulkpaq dvd-rs fail, one of which had no scratches at all...

I've avoided the dvd+orgy sites as they seem to spend too much time trying to promote +r over -r (to the point of making blatent mistruths, like dvd-rs needing 16 minutes to finalise etc).

It's clear to me that there is little problem in the compatibility stakes of both +rs and -rs...

Ce la vie...
 

michaelab

Active Member
AFAIK no-one does the 890 multiregion AND RCE. Even Techtronics, who's multiregion mods (with chips) have all the bells and whistles, say their 890 mod doesn't do RCE.

I suspect that they haven't done a chip for it yet and are just doing the remote control mod (which does everything except RCE) - and charging you extra for it! Having said that their prices are consistently among the lowest. I've never bought from them though - some people here reckon their customer service is cr*p.

Michael.
 

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