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Philips Dvdr - 980 Recorder, Help Needed For Newbie !!

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Yummy Fur, May 28, 2003.

  1. Yummy Fur

    Yummy Fur
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    Hi, I was just wondering if any of you good folk out there help me, as I’m totally new to the world of DVD recorders.

    Firstly, I have just bought (for £244) a Philips DVDR – 980 machine. I have a week or so to try the machine out and make sure I’m fully satisfied with it. If not, I can take it back for a full refund. My primary aim is to archive old VHS tapes. Timeshifting TV and transferring camcorder footage are secondary considerations, but will probably be done at some time in the future.

    So a few questions –

    1) I know it’s not a current model, but is it a good purchase? I see that for only £100 more there are other alternatives online – should I be looking at any other machine? I am aware that the 980 lacks both a HDD and firewire input – would most of you consider these essential features? If you think I should replace the 980 with another machine, then which one and why?

    2) I know that Philips DVD recorders have come in for a lot of stick concerning various problems and reliability issues. Is the 980 such a ‘rogue’ machine? Does it have ‘issues’ –are there any 980 owners out there with tales to tell?

    3) The machine as purchased is Region 2 only. Is there any simple hack to multi region it? Or does that require hardware modification?

    4) I have various DVD players & TV’s, including a Pioneer DV 606 (first gen US machine) Pioneer 909 (first gen DVD player & LD combi) and a couple of cheapie DVD machines, a Mico Classica 20 and a Cyberhome CH-DVD 400.

    I have made one recording from VHS onto a blank DVD+R disc. The cheap DVD players play the recording back perfectly. The Pioneer 606 DOES play back the disc, but provides me with what appears to be a 4:3 image in the middle of the 32” (wide)screen. This image cannot be zoomed or stretched out to fill the screen, although changing picture modes does alter the shape of the ‘box’ very slightly. Trying one of the cheaper players, on this TV and all is fine – the image fills the screen, so it appears to be the player. However I have played another DVD+R disc (recording machine, whether PC or standalone is unknown) and this DOES play OK on this DVD & TV combination –no aspect ratio problem at all !!! Any ideas? I could understand the disc not playing at all, but can’t understand why it does play the disc but with this 4:3 aspect ratio !! – Am I missing something painfully simple ?

    Oh, playing the disc I recorded on the 980 back on my Pioneer 909 Combi won’t work, the machine does not want to know, despite the fact that it’s essentially the very same DVD machine as the 606…..

    Finally, if it’s of any help, I borrowed a DVD-R disc, which again played on the cheaper machines without problems, DID play on the 606 but not on the 909…..

    Sorry for so many different questions and many thanks for your help !! :)

    Yummy Fur
     
  2. Arthur Dent

    Arthur Dent
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    Have you tried the dvdplusrw.org forum re the Philips DVDR980 ?
     
  3. Yummy Fur

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    Thanks for your prompt reply Arthur ! No, I have not --but will now that I know about it :D

    Cheers!

    Yummy Fur
     
  4. ferris57

    ferris57
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    Ok, I don't have a philips recorder but did look into them quite a bit so I'll try and help.

    The price was pretty good. Firewire only really important if you plan on using a firewire compatible video camera. HDD very handy, but depends if you are looking for tivo style recording/edititing and subsequent burning of tv programs to dvd. I am part of the -r/ram brigade so personally I would recomend a -r/ram player for a bit extra (something like the panasonic e50), but it is totally up to you and your preferences (for a whole list of arguements just do a search for panasonic e30 or -r). The 980 is perfectly fine though as a simple dvd recorder. .

    All philips machines are and do Im afraid but the extent of these issues is uncertain. Many owners have had problems many haven't. (Not much help I know!)

    No there is indeed a handset hack, it may or may not require a one for all remote as well as the origional remote I honestly can't remember, but there deffinately is one. It may also depend on which firmware your 980 has I believe. www.vcdhelp.com has the hack listed.

    Aspect ratio depends on the output aspect setting of the source machine and the display settings of the player/tv. All must be 16.9 if you want widescreen. As your ecording played in widescreen on your cheaper players I can only assume the recording was made in widescreen. Therefore the problem lies in your Pioneer 606. Check the Pioneer 606 is set to output 16:9 as default and not auto. This should solve it.

    As for the player not playing the dvd+r disc, well thats just the way it goes. Some players will play dvdr some won't. Looks like the 909 doesn't :(
     
  5. Yummy Fur

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    Hi Ferris, thanks for your prompt and comprehensive reply :smashin:

    I've just followed up Arthurs advice and have been reading various posts at dvdplusrw.org . To be honest, they've nearly succeeded in scaring me into taking the machine back and getting a Panny instead :eek: - are there any happy philips DVD recorder owners out there?

    Ah, yes - I know about the aspect ratio settings on my Pioneer 606 and TV. What I don't understand, is why it will play another +R disc OK, without the settings being altered ?

    Yummy Fur
     
  6. ferris57

    ferris57
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    My mistake, I just skimmed your post and missed that first time round.

    That is weird, to be honest Im not really sure why that would be. The other disc may be made on a p.c and therefore may be anamorphic which may explain the difference, but why your own recording plays in widescreen on your cheaper players but not the pioneer doesn't add up. Could it be that your recording was not actually widescreen, but your cheaper players simply stretch the image more than your pioneer? Im just guessing now, sorry I can't be of more help.
     
  7. Yummy Fur

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    Thanks ferris ! Think this is going to be one of those awkward ones :rolleyes: I'm not sure that it is do with the amount of 'stretch' applied by the DVD player - on the Pioneer 606 the recording occupies only about a third of the width of the screen ie huge borders at the side ! Plus the TV is incapable of zooming this out, making me suspect that it's something to do with the way it's been recorded :confused:

    Oh, I'm still reading about Philips DVD recorders else where - seems like ongoing tales of woe all round :(

    Cheers !


    Yummy Fur
     
  8. ferris57

    ferris57
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    Yeah, I was all set on a philips recorder a few months back. They were the cheapest and easiest to get hold of and the multiregion hack was apealing! In the end I bought a panny e30 after seeing all the horror stories over at the +rw board. I must say I was really happy with it. Never missed a beat and had a real feel of quality. Sold it last month though because I was never using it! typical ;) spent longer researching it than I had it in the end :)
     
  9. Yummy Fur

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    Ferris, was your Panny easy to use ? - any drawbacks that you were aware of ?

    Yummy Fur

    PS. I'm still waiting for hordes of happy Philips owners to jump in and tell me how great their machines are :rolleyes:
     
  10. thfccambs

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    I have had a philips 890 since january and love it.I have had no problems at all with my 890.:D
     
  11. Yummy Fur

    Yummy Fur
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    hunts1uk said-

    Great ! :clap: Will await more feedback (good or bad !) before deciding. Right off to bed to dream of DVD Recorders :D

    Cheers!

    Yummy Fur
     
  12. ferris57

    ferris57
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    Yeah it was pretty easy, had a quick flick through the instruction booklet first though (which is unusual for me ;)...im too impatient :)) simply because there were so many features! but it really was as simple as a vhs if you wanted it to be. The best thing about ram is that there is no fiddling about trying to find a gap on a tape. You just hit record and it automatically records from the end of any other recordings (no chance of taping over something accidentally or wasting any time fast forwarding tapes in a mad panic to record something!)

    As far as drawback, the only thing I can think of was that dvd-ram disks aren't compatible with any dvd player you or your friends/family are likely to currently own (apart from a few newer models made by panasonic), but I only used these for recordings I planned to use myself so I wasn't fussed! I can see how others may see this as a drawback though.

    Oh, and it takes bloody ages to switch the recorder on! it comes on (slowly) and then checks the disk (slowly) and finally settles down to allow recording or playing. Probably 30 secs in totall, which can be a pain if the machine is off and you suddenly want to record something instantly! but it's only when you get used to how quick you can record something when its on that you'll notice the delay when its off ;)
     
  13. Arthur Dent

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    Just for the record Yummy Fur, mine's a Philips 890 as well, bought last October. A couple of intermittent minor niggles, but now hopefully sorted for good following firmware upgrade to latest for that machine.

    Cheers.
     
  14. jimmyboy

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    Wow thats cheap- where did you buy that machine from? (Not keen on a phillips but at that price...)?
     
  15. TommyVecetti

    TommyVecetti
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    More than happy with my panasonic E30. Decided to give the Phillips machines a wide berth after hearing all the stories.
     
  16. malcom

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    Yummy Fur. If your prime aim is to archive VHS like me...Then you will have probably come across threads on the + forum about owners complaining about the Philips machines shutting down when a low quality tape is being recorded. So beware and take that into consideration.

    As a Panny owner I can say that you can throw any quality VHS recording at the RAM/DVD-R format and it won't blink. The Panny machines are superb for VHS archiving. Also the panny has a seamless playback option so there are no pauses in the picture at edit point as there would be on any Philips machine.
    There is a slight dip in sound which is of no consequence.

    Bargains don't always turn out to be bargains. Good luck with your research and eventual choice. Malcom.
     
  17. Yummy Fur

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    Thank you all for your replies :smashin:

    I'm still pondering what to do next :confused: but pleased to hear from a couple of happy Philips owners :D

    Arthur, I have read a little bit about this firmware upgrade. Is this to cure problems or just improve the functionality/performance of the machine ?

    Jimmyboy, I got the machine from a local dealer - it's a one off at that price I'm afraid :(

    Malcolm, thanks for your comments. I've also read about Philips machines not enjoying recording from a poor quality source. I can't say that I understand this at all. Not matter how grainy and fuzzy the incoming picture the DVD recorder should just see an incoming signal irrespective of how good or bad it may look. If the tape is so degraded that the 'sync pulses' are affected I would expect the VCR to have problems in replaying the tape. Or am I yet again missing something here :confused: One of the things that I have recorded onto the one +R disc I have done so far, is something that was copied from VHS to Betamax and back to VHS! So the disc is a 4th generation copy and the machine seemed to cope with that......

    Once again thank you all for your comments -- any more feedback would be welcome. I'm going to play around with the 980 over the next few days and come to a decision - hopefully ! :D

    Cheers!


    Yummy Fur
     
  18. malcom

    malcom
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    I may be corrected here. But my understanding is that the Panny machines have "Proper" TBC circuitry and the Philips apparently does not. I have read this somewhere but cannot find the info again. If I do I will update.....
     
  19. Arthur Dent

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  20. Yummy Fur

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    Thanks Malcolm and Arthur for your replies :smashin:

    Cheers !


    Yummy Fur
     
  21. Serpico

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    My 980 started giving a 'no disk' message when I inserted the odd prerecorded disk, then it wouldn't recognise the odd blank disk either, and when I took it in for repair last week it wouldn't play anything.
     
  22. Yummy Fur

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    Sorry to hear that Serpico :( Can I ask how long you had the machine ? Had you recorded many DVD-R's and played back many DVD's ? Any other niggles with it ?

    Cheers !

    Yummy Fur
     
  23. TommyVecetti

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    I heard that most Phillips models tend to start going wrong after 5-6 months, from what I've read.
     
  24. Yummy Fur

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    Er, thanks Tommy ! :D I was kind of hoping that they would play up/expire fairly quickly after purchase (if it was going to do it all ;) ) .... seems as if there is no way of telling whether you have a good one or a bad one :(


    Yummy Fur
     

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