Purchase help wanted: Pioneer 630 vs. Sony 910



Hi everyone from Spain!

I'm going to buy my first DVD-HDD recorder and would like to get the best available with 250 Gb (my budget is euro 700-800). After extensive research I've concluded that Pioneer DVR-630H and Sony RDR-HX910 are both good candidates (Spanish-Continental versions, with only analogic tuner and connections).

I've read positive reviews (both in English and Spanish) about both machines, what makes the decision even more difficult. They are virtually equally priced, and personally don't have any brand preference between Pioneer and Sony (…well, regarding design I’d like to get a black-coloured model, but that’s impossible with the imposed silver fashion!).

I've even downloaded the user manuals and had a careful look at them (120+ pages each), and even thus haven't been able to make up my mind.

Basically I see a few pros and cons of each model, the most relevant are perhaps:

- Sony records on both + and – media, but Pioneer only records on – media. My question: does this fact make Sony more compatible around? (especially with older DVD players).

- Pioneer optimizes recording quality on discs (5 min. intervals at higher quality modes), buy Sony “jumps” to lower quality and leaves lots of unused space of disks (30 min. quality intervals at higher quality modes). My question: are similarly-lengthed Sony recordings on DVDs really worse than Pioneer ones, assuming best quality available on a single disc? For example, for a 70 min. recording Sony would use HSP mode (90 min./4.7 Gb), leaving 20 min. of blank disc space; Pioneer, on the other hand, would use level MN 30 (70 min./4.7 Gb), using up the whole disk (and thus in theory getting a better quality, but is this quality really better in the bottom-line?).

- Sony has both optical and coaxial digital output, whereas Pioneer just has optical (but this is not a big issue for me since I haven’t got any digital sound system yet).

In conclusion, my main priority is picture quality, especially at higher quality recording modes (I won’t use the lower ones). I also want a good analogue tuner, so I get the best possible antenna signal (any differences here between Sony and Pioneer?). Additional info: my display is a CRT, 32-inch 16:9 Loewe Aventos.

I’ll mostly use the HDD, and will keep selected recordings on DVDs (with the higher quality modes and after editing within the HDD basically to erase commercials). I also want to transfer my extensive collection of mini DV camcorder tapes to DVDs (and hope they will be read by my friends and family DVD players, some of them oldies). And of course I might also transfer an extensive VHS collection (though I guess the quality issue is not the point here since VHS quality is quite lower than the higher modes of any DVD recorder).

- Any other pros and cons of either model?

- Any good or bad experiences with either machine?

- Any clear recommendations to get one or the other?

Please help me!!!! So many thanks!!!!


Active Member
yes, these are two very good models, I'm mostly waiting for the jan sales!! :)

the sony has great 'auto-chaptering' and HQ modes, but for me the big down side is that transfers to DVD won't have thumbnails!!

the pioneer has choice - it has various backgrounds, with 3 to 6 thumbnails per screen (page 60 of the manual )

I wouldnt worry too much about + and - media - there are a lot of fanboys for this, it depends if you want a 'average' deck, that supports a format that is now actually the *same price* as the other.... :rolleyes:

there is a forum, but it has mostly lost interest ...... http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=243650
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