Sony Vs Panny - which has Analogue AND Freeview tuners?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by blackkj, Sep 21, 2005.

  1. blackkj

    blackkj
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    At present (and for the foreseeable future) Freeview reception is only partial where I live - ITV/CH4 Mux is simply unreceivable.
    The other muxes are fine.

    So a box with Both Analogue and DTT tuners is important for me - to allow me to see Most of "freeview", and still see ITV/CH4 - without being driven to a multibox solution.

    Do any of the Panny DMERH60D or Sony HXD-710/910 have this - or are they freeview only (as the Sony HX500 was I understand).

    Anyone know the score for certain on these machines?

    Thanks

    Kev
     
  2. jamba

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    The Panny EH60D has got both analogue and DTT tuners.
     
  3. nikyzf

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    The Sony model names have a "D" (for digital) if they have Freeview. The HX510 has an analogue tuner only; the HXD710 and HXD910 are Freeview. I assume the latter 2 have analogue tuners as well but can't confirm that.
     
  4. HelenS

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    As I understand it, the Sony HXD710 and HXD910 are Freeview ONLY - this was stated in a recent test of the HXD910 that I read - but if it's incorrect I am sure Sony owners will tell us. The Panasonic EH60D is DEFINITELY Freeview AND analogue - I can be sure of this as I have one. And very nice it is too.

    Incidentally, regarding a criticism often levelled at Panasonics: on this model, you don't have to remember to put it into timer mode (that is the usual criticism made), unless you had switched it into standby. Unlike previous Panasonics I've used, it will put itself into timer mode (with a polite advance (1 minute) warning, giving the choice of saying OK or cancelling it) when it is in use. If you don't respond, it goes into timer mode anyway. I like that feature.
     
  5. nikyzf

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    I asked on another forum and the answer was as you say: Freeview only, no analogue tuner on the Sony HXD710 and HXD910.
     
  6. blackkj

    blackkj
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    I guess if the Sony really is Freeview only, then the Panny is my only choice if I want one box and want to have ITV and CH4 (which I do).

    Glad to hear you like the Panny,

    Do you use both tuners? Is it "easy" to swap recording between them?

    any other niggles or points of interest?

    Cheers
    K
     
  7. HMHB

    HMHB
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    I have discounted the Sony machines from my list as you can't add padding on to the recording times, it will only record for the length of time specified in the EPG (as reported by Rasczak in a recent review)
     
  8. gobstopper

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    Don't take this as gospel, because I'm still looking into this myself. But from what I have read the Panny has both tuners, but you can only use one of them.

    I guess its for those people who want Freeview at some point but don't have the ability to receive a Freeview signal. During the setup process the box looks to see if it can pick up Freeview channel and if it can't it falls-back to using the analogue tuner instead.
     
  9. ROYOLD

    ROYOLD
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    On initial setup the Panasonic DMR-ES20D (the one without the HDD).
    Looks for both the freeview channels and the analogue channels and loads both. By default it shows the freeview channels but the analogue channels can be selected if necessary by keying in the channels 901 for BBC1, 902 for BBC2 etcetera. I know because I have tried this. Presume the other freeview Panasonics are the same.
     
  10. HelenS

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    As Royold says, the EH60D (which I have) is the same as the ES20D - mine is set up to receive both Freeview and analogue, and the tuning interface is unified so that it "feels" like it's all one tuner that happens to be able to do both types of reception. The Freeview channels get priority, having 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc. for the BBC1, BBC2, ITV, C4 and 5 signals on Freeview respectively, whereas the analogue versions are 901, 902, 903, 904, 905. But it's nicely set out so that if you're in the Freeview EPG and you move backwards/downwards on the channel selector from 1, you're instantly on 905, or whatever the highest number you have analogue on happens to be. The EPG changes to "No data available" for the analogue channels of course, without disturbing the content of the Freeview ones.

    The Freeview channels have the added benefit of the typical EPG-linked setting of the timer - just hit enter on a programme which is not actually on now, but in the future, and you are popped into the standard Panasonic timer programming screen, already loaded with the details of that programme, where you can tinker with the start time, stop time and all other settings as you please (the same as what happens after entering a VideoPlus number for an analogue channel). A programme set in the timer shows up with a T in the Freeview EPG as well, whilst both digital and analogue programmed events show together in the "Programme Check" timer screen. Pressing enter on a programme in the Freeview EPG which is currently showing changes channel to that one for live viewing on TV as you might expect.

    What I like about the EH60D: apart from obvious things like having a massive hard drive and the convenience it gives, I also appreciate the picture quality (both analogue, digital and recorded), it's very quiet, it starts up rapidly (except when meeting a recorded DVD for the first time in its career, when it scans and memorises it rather thoroughly), the on-machine display is big, clear and bright (but can be dimmed in the menu), the timer programming is easy and flexible, it DOESN'T have to be put into timer mode when it is powered up, as it will ask a minute before the timer event if you want it to go ahead, and if you don't remember to answer, it does it anyway (it does need to be put into timer mode if it's in standby). I like that when actually timer recording, it can be awoken for playback use or even monitoring of the recording programme. It is also (to my eyes) very handsome, being slender and having an appealing semi-mirrored finish to the display and DVD flap strip, with a cobalt-blue LED strip over the SD reader (only when powered up, and then only when not set to dimmed displays). Dubbing from HDD to DVD-RAM or vice versa is quiet, fast and allows HDD recording and playback to be used alongside it. Dubbing to DVD-R etc. is generally done in realtime, unless you planned the HDD recording in advance to be capable of being quickly dubbed to non DVD-RAM discs; however, then the recording will be in 4:3 (including on the HDD) with a few other limitations. LP mode is very sharp and clear (it has full resolution like XP and SP in this range for the first time) though compression shows up in really busy fast moving scenes (say wildlife stuff with grassy bushes and teams of vets trying to catch an animal close up, that sort of thing). Of course you don't get that showing up in XP and SP though. I like the ability to switch between the typical slightly slow six-thumbnail Direct Navigator found on DVD-only Panasonics like my previous E55 and a faster 9-entry table which only shows a thumbnail for the selected recording, and also the choice of two styles of EPG - either one with the channels down the side and the programme names arrayed in a horizontal series (similar to the Sony VTX-D800U box), or else in a format which shows one channel at a time with the channel name at the top and the list of its programmes, timewise, down the rest of the screen - I find that easier to understand, personally. Your preference in each case is remembered, but it's easy to switch between - another press of the relevant button in each case toggles the mode. As well as straight DVDs (of course) it can play DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD-RW (including VR mode ones), DVD+R and DVD+RW (and CDs, MP3 recordings and JPGs including via the SD card slot). It can record to DVD-RAM with all the frills, DVD-R, DVD-RW (NOT in VR mode though) and DVD+R (not +RW).

    Complaints? Not many. It runs quite hot when in standby (particularly if the timer's on), though only with the Quick Start feature enabled. However, this should be kept on as it's slow to start up without it and can lose the EPG information when it goes into standby. It often doesn't remember a "Profile" (preset selection of only your favourite channels to show in the EPG etc.), especially if you selected it from the EPG. It sticks better if you select it from the "info" screen whilst watching the programme. There are four profile slots - it doesn't lose your settings, just can forget that you selected a particular profile rather than the default - so you just select it again. Picture quality on analogue and Freeview are good, though the latter MIGHT be slightly more sensitive to disturbance than our Sony VTX-D800U box, resulting in a momentary freeze of the picture occasionally. However, I live in one of those areas that isn't supposed to get any Freeview coverage at all, yet it picks up everything (and the Sony occasionally gets bursts of mosaics too). I might *say* the Panasonic shows glitches more, but the truth is it's so much easier to use that I watch Freeview all the time thanks to it, whereas the Sony only got occasional use as I got on with the interface less well. So they could actually be similar. Certainly both have excellent Freeview picture quality.

    I hope that helps, sorry it's long. Feel free to ask for clarification of anything, though I'm not a "power user" of this - we use a 28 inch Sony widescreen TV, and don't have any need for the iLink facilities (no camcorder) and don't need to do much dubbing of recordings to DVD, except to play back on the old E55 in another room if required.
     
  11. gobstopper

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    ROYOLD & HelenS - Thank you both for putting me right on the tuner business. I am happy to discover that it does use both tuners :thumbsup:
     
  12. ROYOLD

    ROYOLD
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    HelenS - What a truly marvellous review. I think you should send that to Panasonic. They may give you a DMR500.
     
  13. InsideInfo

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    :thumbsup:
    Hi,

    Thanks for a really helpful report. Can you please confirm as the panny has two tuners, whether it can it record two different programs at the same time and can it play something back simultaneously from the HDD or DVD?

    Thanks again,

    Paul
     
  14. HelenS

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    In a way the Panny has two tuners, since it can receive both Freeview and analogue TV, but they act in unison as one tuner, so it can't record two programmes at once. This limitation (if it is one for you) is actually the case with all HDD/DVD recorders at present, including the Sonys (which are analogue only or Freeview only, according to the model). On the other hand, having both types of reception is currently unique to Panasonic and it does make for a nice, uniform user interface. Of course there are several HDD-only twin-tuner PVRs (but do check, as not all of them give the full flexibility you might expect, from what I have read).

    On the other hand, yes, it can play back from the HDD or a DVD-RAM at the same time as it is recording to either (anything an HDD can do, so can a DVD-RAM, just to a much smaller capacity!). You can play a commercial DVD video at the same time as the HDD records too (simultaneous record and playback is usually possible with any make of HDD recorder).

    Hope that helps...
     
  15. IanS

    IanS
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    HelenS - thanks, that has helped me as well. A first-rate review :)
     
  16. Joe Pineapples

    Joe Pineapples
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    Helen S

    can the pana record to the HDD, from two sources at once? - eg, from its own digital tuner, and say a skydigital box?.

    thanks

    joe
     
  17. ROYOLD

    ROYOLD
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    I do not think that any dvd recorder can record from two sources at the same time.
    Simply because you have to select the input source prior to recording and none of them give you two choices.
     
  18. InsideInfo

    InsideInfo
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    Thanks Helen S,

    You confirmed what I thought might be the case. It seems that to be able to record two things at the same time you need a PVR but as they cannot record from an external source (Sky or cable - in my case cable) and have no long term storage ability (DVD), there actually isn't a machine available which does all of these things yet.

    If anyone knows differently please let us know!!

    Thanks again Helen.

    Paul
     
  19. Rob_J

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    You could always use a pc with two or more tuner cards inside or external.
     
  20. unguru

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    does the panny output the freeview signal over the component connection or the RGB?
    Cheers
     
  21. seany_mor

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    So, do all Panasonic recorders have this dual tuner feature? Or is it restricted to more recent or top of the range machines? Do any of the DMRE500 variants have this for example?
     
  22. HelenS

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    It's a feature of just two models in the new (current) range so far - the EH60D with 200GB HDD and DVD recorder, and the ES20D which is a no-HDD model, just a DVD recorder. The other enhancement to all models in this current range (i.e. ES10 DVD recorder, EH50 DVD/HDD recorder and the EH80V DVD/HDD/VHS recorder, all of which have analogue tuners) is that they now record and play back more formats than the previous range - it used to be only DVD-RAM and DVD-R officially - now you can also record to DVD-RW and DVD+R, and additionally to these, play back DVD+RW and VR-mode DVD-RW. They also start up quicker, and record LP mode on HDD and/or DVD in full resolution instead of half-res as previously (cleverer compression).
     
  23. HelenS

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    As far as I know. I certainly have mine recording in RGB and also outputting either recordings or its Freeview tuner in RGB to the TV. You can set it to component if desired instead, of course.
     
  24. RohanM

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    Both. Also agree with Helen S that it is quieter and quicker than previous Panny DVDRs.

    Mind you, judging from the THX Optimiser set-up I ran from the Star Wars Clone Wars DVD (the output is brighter than the FreeView STB I used to run), the black levels do not go far enough to show the 'THX backdrop', and there isn't a 'cinema' mode/similar to enhance it. But it's fine for the TX-22 LCD I run it through (second telly).

    I picked up the DMRES20 from Costco yesterday for approx 184GBP (£20 off plus £25 voucher) :smashin:
     
  25. IanUK

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    The DMREH60D sounds pretty good, I'm tempted to get one, I wonder why it doesn't record on +RW's (but does on +R) - he says looking at a stack of +RW discs :(

    Has anyone tried an +RW - does it just not recognise it ?
     
  26. ROYOLD

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    There was a recent posting regarding finalising a disc and it was unsure whether the Panasonic machine had recognised a +RW disc as a +R. Unresolved. Personally I believe most Panasonic owners use DVD-RAM discs. Better quality, better pic and last far longer than RW discs.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD-RAM

    I am more impressed with the ES20D recorder each time I use it. The freeview
    output is very, very good.
     
  27. HelenS

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    I second that. Haven't been able to try out DVD+RW discs since I don't have any at present, just a few DVD+R and DVD-RW and -R. However, as Royold says, DVD-RAM isn't all that much more expensive and you can do so much more with it - everything you can with the HDD basically, just on a (very) much smaller capacity. So I basically only need non-RAM discs for when I want to lend a recording to someone who I know doesn't have a player capable of taking DVD-RAM.
     
  28. IanUK

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    Thanks for the replies, I'm currently sending back a Liteon 5045 to amazon for a refund (I know I know..) and am looking at the Panasonic to replace it, I bought a stack of DVD+RW's and was hoping it would be able to use them being as it can use +R, but I guess buying some DVD-Ram would be a better idea.
     
  29. Burntboots

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    A question about the EPG. Is it possible to get the programme information from the EPG? It only seems to provide the title of the programme. I've tried pressing the information button on the remote but nothing happens (however programme information is shown when looking at what's on 'now and next'.
     
  30. ROYOLD

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    You press the "i" button on the remote twice to bring up more detailed info on the programme.
     

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