Please help choosing DVD recorder for 250

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by chiyoaiki, Jul 3, 2004.

  1. chiyoaiki

    chiyoaiki
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    I am looking to buy my first DVD recorder. I have been reading this forum and a few others but still undecided as to which DVD recorder is the best for around 250 pound.

    Initially, I was thinking of getting Panasonic E55 but have heard that JVC DMR10 offers a better recording quality. Is it true? How about other bands such as Pioneer, Toshiba, Phillips, etc.?

    As a newbie, I don't always understand all the technical terms that were mentions. Please can someone give me the direct comparisions between the models in this price range? How would you rank them in terms of quality, reliability, etc.? What are their pros and cons?

    Is -RW important, as E55 doesn't have it?
    Does JVC DMR10 have RGB?

    Which model would you recommend me getting? My primarily aim is to convert VHS to digital (but may want to connect to SKY in the future - so RGB is a plus). Where is the best place to buy from?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    No that's not true. The JVC DMR10 is a good machine but lacks RGB input which means that, for Sky Digital/Freeview recordings, you cannot record in the best picture quality. Accordingly the machine is at a disadvantage.

    This depends on whether or not you want to play your day to day DVD recordings on another DVD player. DVD-RW (Video Mode) will play on most DVD players whereas DVD-RAM or DVD-RW (VR Mode) will not. However DVD-RAM or DVD-RW (VR Mode) give you features such as Timeslip, editting and playlists.

    Note that all DVD-RAM or DVD-RW machines also have DVD-R recording which is the most compatible DVD format. This would obviously suit you for your VHS archivings.

    Models you might want to look at:

    Panasonic E55
    http://www.rgbdirect.co.uk/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=2402
    The best machine out of the three in a price versus features comparison. Only records to DVD-RAM and DVD-R though so if you do want to play your day to day recordings on another DVD player then you might prefer one of the other models. The Panny offers progressive scan output - and you can use this when watching the tuner - which effectively gives Sky (etc) a free quality boost. Obviously your TV needs to support PS to benefit from this.

    Pioneer 220
    http://www.avland.co.uk/pioneer/dvr220/dvr220.htm
    Slightly more expensive the Panasonic E55 and with less features as well (no progressive scan for example). However records to DVD-RW (Video and VR modes) - do note though to use features such as Timeslip etc your recordings will be equally as incompatible as those the DVD-RAMs from the Panasonic.

    Sony GX3
    http://www.rgbdirect.co.uk/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=1894
    A multi-format recording in that it records to DVD-RW (Video and VR modes), DVD-R and DVD+RW. The latter is a bit unnecessary as to get the most out of the machine you need to use DVD-RW disks. This recorder is expensive for what it is (just outside your price range) but offers a very good picture.
     
  3. chiyoaiki

    chiyoaiki
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    Thanks for your reply and advice. As I said, my main aim is to convert VHS to digital, does RGB input play any advantage in that? Between all models, which will give the best quality for that purpose? How would you rank the quality for converting VHS to digital given by Panasonic E55, Pioneer 220 and JVC DMR10?

    As JVC DMR10 lacks RGB input, so its quality for recording from SKY will be less than Panasonoc E55 and Pioneer 220. Is my understanding correct? How the quality when recording from SKY between Panasonic E55 and Pioneer 220 compared?

    If JVC DMR10 is at an disadvantage for not having RGB input, why is it received so much praises from dvdrhelp.com, and is said to be the best right now? What is its advantages?

    Sorry for asking so many questions.

    Thanks.
     
  4. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    No - none whatsoever. VHS machines cannot output RGB - normally only composite or (if it is an S-VCR) S-Video.

    The thing to remember with VHS is that it is a noisy analogue source. Therefore you want/need to use high bitrates to avoid digital artifacts. Each of the machines I listed deals with this in a slightly different way:

    Aside from it's normal recording modes, the Panasonic E55 has a mode called "Flexible Record" - this enables you to enter the length of the VHS recording, i.e. 123 minutes, and it will maximise the bitrate which is ideal for archiving.

    The Pioneer 220 has a similar setup - it uses 32 different recording settings (increasing in recording length in intervals of about 10 minutes) - which is good enough.

    The Sony does not have this feature - it just has 1hr, 1hr 30min, 2hr, 3hr, 4hr and 6hr modes. In worst case scenerio then if you had a VHS tape that was 1 minute longer than 2hrs you would have to use the 3hr mode which means a reduction in recording resolution and a marked quality drop.

    All three machines have Time Base Correctors which is also important in VHS archiving.

    The JVC is a good DVD recorder - it is multi-format (DVD-RAM, DVD-RW (VR and Video) and DVD-R), it has iLink (for digital camcorders) and it has all the features we have come to expect from DVD recorders. However you have to remember that dvdrhelp.com is a worldwide site: and only Europe uses RGB Scart to connect it's stuff - everywhere else uses Component. Thus the RGB issue is not an issue elsewhere! The lack of RGB input is a serious disadvantage here as, however good the DVD recorder, it cannot match the likes of Panasonic and Pioneer for recording from Freeview/Sky. In your original post you suggested you might use your DVDR for this: in which case you would be at a serious disadvantage pciture quality wise.

    For recording from VHS the JVC is on level playing with the Panasonic/Pioneer - although I would rate it above both as it is multi-format, has progressive scan, iLink, library and other nifty features. But, IMHO, it is not worth taking the (huge) quality hit on Sky/Freeview recordings.
     
  5. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    chiyoaiki, it would be remiss of me not to point out the following machines:

    JVC DRMV1
    http://www.rgbdirect.co.uk/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=2564

    Panasonic E75
    http://www.rgbdirect.co.uk/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=2581

    Both are VHS/DVD Recorder combos. Personally I do not recommend going down this route becuase (generally) you can always hand pick better units seperately. Also such combos won't let you dub copy-protected tapes.

    However, in their favour, JVC/Panasonic are producers of the best VHS machines at the moment by quite some margin. And, secondly, dubbing between them is straight-forward.
     
  6. HMHB

    HMHB
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    A couple of questions from me if I may
    1) Would it be easier to convert VHS to DVD if the unit had a hard disk as well ? (ie Panny E85) Does this make editing out adverts etc easier ?
    2) Have there been any reviews of the new Pioneer recorders yet ?
     
  7. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Yes - without a doubt - infact Panasonic are releasing a HDD/DVDR/VHS combo next year! A HDD/DVDR setup with a seperate VCR/SVCR is an excellent combination - obviously I didn't recommend that here as chiyoaiki set a budget of £250.

    The top of the range Pioneer 720 was reviewed in the current What Video magazine - it got a good review although they criticised it for lack of component/progressive scan. To summerise:

    Pioneer DVDR-720H
    - Rated 4/5
    - HIGHS: Hard Disk Capacity (80GB), Flexible Dubbing, Superb Recording Quality
    - LOWS: Full resolution DVDs only 2hrs 20m, No Component Output, No User definable DVD thumbnails.

    That issue also has reviews of the Panasonic E55, Thompson DTH8005 and Toshiba RD-XS32SB if your interested.
     
  8. chiyoaiki

    chiyoaiki
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    I think I will be getting Panasonic E55 soon :) . However, there are some other facts, I am interested to find out before I am making my final decision.

    Does JVC have a feature similar to these? If so, is it like one on PAnasonic, Pioneer or Sony?

    Does JVC have Time Base Correctors? What are the features that JVC has that Panasonic doesn't have, and vice versa?

    From avsforum.com
    Is it true?

    Thanks for all your helps.
     
  9. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    I'm getting the feeling you really, really want the JVC :) Nothing wrong with that - it is a good machine.

    It has a system like the Pioneer but uses intervals of about 5mins.

    Yes - as one of the links with specifications on stated ;)

    Major features the JVC has that the Panasonic doesn't:
    - DVD-RW Recording (VR and Video modes)
    - DVD Library with Thumbnails
    - iLink (for digital camcorders)

    Major features the Panasonic E55 has that the JVC doesn't:
    - RGB Input
    - DVD Audio (2 Channel Playback)
    - Chasing Playback (1.3x playback speed allowing you to 'catch up')

    Well as I have already said once AVS Forums is primarily US based! Their JVC DMR10 is totally different from ours - their's has component input! However, whilst PQ is always subjective, I would be wary of anyone who says the 2hrs of MPEG2 recording at 4.9MBits/S from an analogue source is "even better" than source quality...

    As I have already said the JVC will match the Panasonic or Pioneer models for recording from VHS. It will also be an excellent DVD recorder for analogue recording. However if you do opt for Sky or Freeview at a later date you will have to accept a quality hit on recording: S-Video is not as good as RGB. If your happy for that then the JVC is a good, well specified machine.
     
  10. phelings

    phelings
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    The Pioneer 720 has 160Gb HDD,not 80
     
  11. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Yes - apologies for that.

    Good to see you back Phelings!
     
  12. sfc

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    That has got to be b*locks.

    I know PQ is subjective - but any dvd recorder at 4 hours is going to be recording at reduced resolution (certainly in PAL) - so there is no way that it can be equal to the full resolution 2 hour panny recording.

    By definition the bitrate of a 2 hour mode is double that of a 4 hour mode. No mpeg chip is good enough to fit the same amount of detail into half the amount of space that every other recorder needs.
     
  13. chiyoaiki

    chiyoaiki
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    No, I'm planning to get Panasonic E55 even as soon as tomorrow :) . In fact, I would have bought Panasonic already if I didn't go into dvdrhelp.com where several members seem to put Panasonic quality down. As it is not everyday that I can buy a DVD recorder, I would like to make sure that I make a right decision.

    Sorry to bother you so much.

    Thanks again for your help.
     
  14. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    No problem - always happy to help.
     
  15. wozwebs

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    Just bought an E55 today and am well chuffed so far. Had a JVC previously on test and it couldn't do RGB. Thumbs up from me
     

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