Which DVD Format To Replace VHS Video

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Klippie, Apr 12, 2003.

  1. Klippie

    Klippie
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    Hi everyone,

    I feel I am in a bit of a catch-22 situation here as I need to replace an old ropy vhs video with one of these new shiny dvd recorders. The thing is which format to choose, here is what I need.

    1. It has to be easy as a vhs video to use.

    2. I need to record on a re-writable disk from Sky and use the disk to play on a Philips 963 in another room for projector duties.

    3. It has to be very reliable.

    4. Cheap disks as I record quite a bit of telly.

    5. High qaulity pictures but also giving 4 hours recording time.

    I have done a search here on AV and come to the conclusion that the machine I need does not exist yet.

    I really like the look of the Panasonic E50 but my 963 will not play dvd-ram.

    The Philips machines are a no go area as some of the posts here tell of major problems with reliability and disk reading. I e-mailed Philips to try and find out when the new DVDR75+80 will be released but they could give me no dates ( 963 all over again ).

    The only hope I can see is the new Sony multi format machine but at £700+ its twice the price of the E50 and I suspect it will not be twice the machine.

    It looks like I will have to sit on the fence for a while yet and wait to see what happens.

    Your thoughts would be most welcome so please fire away.....

    Thanks
    Klippie.
     
  2. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Klippie,

    Looking at your requirements the best option (given that you didn't rule out spending £700 on the Sony) is the Panasonic HS2. This is a DVDR with HDD that will enable you to record onto the HDD in the highest quality mode and then dub the required TV to DVD-R for watching on your Philips. I know you said you want to record on rewriteable disks but given DVD-Rs can be picked up for £1 each they really can be viewed as disposable media.

    The HS2 also satisfies your needs for a machine that is simple to use (IMHO all current DVDRs are simple to use), is very reliable and, due to it's Flexible Recording Mode, gives very high quality pictures. The only disadvantage is it's price - around £800 - but worth every penny IMHO.

    You next best option, and I'm sure some Philips DVDR owners will disagree here, is to sell the Philips 963 and purchase an E50 as your DVDR and one of the cheap RAM playing Panasonic players. As RAM disks are alot more flexible than +RW or -RW (as they are like mini HDD) and have a much longer disk life (100,000 rewrites).

    A Third option is to purchase Pioneer's DVDR which records to DVD-RW and DVD-R. This has the advantage of being able to use DVD-RW (a rewriteable media) in 'compatibility mode' which means it will probably play in your 963* (generally if a +RW will a DVD-RW will). You would also have the advantage of being able to use it in VR mode. The disadvantage is that Pioneer's DVDR is not really priced at a competitive level at the moment.

    * = Having referred to www.vcdhelp.com it seems DVD-RW (in either mode) will not play in your Philips 963 so you might want to disregard this last option. Of course replacing the 963 with a player that CAN handle DVD-RW would make this an option again!
     
  3. PhilipL

    PhilipL
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    Hi

    If you can wait just a few more months, Pioneer are launching a new line of DVD Recorders with Hard-drives. While the functionality will be simliar to the HS2, you do get the option to write to DVD-RW from the hard-drive which will play in most DVD players. With DVD-RAM you would need a DVD-RAM player of course.

    http://www.avland.co.uk/pioneer/dvr001/index.htm
    http://www.avland.co.uk/pioneer/dvr002/index.htm

    Currently the Pioneer 7000 is a fine machine for time-shifting (all be it expensive but it is virtually solid metal!) but for making compatible discs it is long in the tooth now. The maximum recording time is 2 hours for a compatible disc (on DVD-RW or DVD-R). The other option with the 7000 if prices drop on this model due to newer ones in the coming months, you could get yourself a decent bargain on it. It may then be worth buying one along with a new DVD player that supports DVD-RW in its Video Recording mode. These players are more readily available than DVD-RAM ones with most Pioneer and Sony DVD players supporting these discs.

    You get some important benefits this way: You can edit and record in VBR up to 6 hours. The best bit and most often overlooked is the resolution. DVD-RW in the Video Recording mode has two extra resolutions above standard DVD Video to give better quality recordings at extended times. Rather than dropping from full to half DVD resolution, it has 2 intermediate ones which will make a big difference on a large screen.

    All the new machines from Pioneer will do 6 hours, as can Philips, Panasonic and Sony recorders. The quality of 6 hours is very questionable for large screens, even 3 hours is pushing it!

    You can currently get some good prices on the Philips machines, but I would not recommend them, build quality is terrible and they are going wrong by the thousands.

    Regards

    Philip
     
  4. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    DVD-RAM support and DVD-RW in VR mode have similar support on the basis that they use a similar file structure. To say one has more support than another is wrong. All new Panasonic players will now support both, Toshiba is introducing compatibility with RAM later this year which offsets Sony's support of -RW only. JVC have announced 'plans' to support both 'soon' as have Pioneer.

    The Flexible Bitrate on the Panasonic/Toshiba RAM models is superior to the Pioneers 32 settings (as it can be tailored to the exact minute) but it is a world apart from the limited settings available on +RW.

    Given the requirements Klippie stated then I would still say the HS2 is his best option (as the 963 doesn't support -RW and so he will need to record to DVD-R which are cheap enough not to matter). Failing that an E50 and a Panasonic RAM playable player would present a top solution, enabling him to use rewriteable media for under £550 (slightly less if he sells the 963).

    Waiting for the Pioneer/HDD combo would probably not bring that many benefits given that he would still need a new DVD player to play the re-writeable media. Of course when it is released it will offer the same benefits as the HS2 with regard to writing everything to cheap DVD-Rs.
     
  5. PhilipL

    PhilipL
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    Hi

    This is true, the system is the same, however I have never heard of a Panasonic DVD-RAM capable player playing DVD-RW in VR mode, they should of course, but likely for political or licensing reasons they haven't. It doesn't state support for playing DVD-RW even in the specs. If this is changing that is brilliant for owners of either format. However at this time DVD-RW in VR mode is better supported but that isn't great in itself. In addition DVD-RW in VR mode is supported on all computer DVDs for playback, but DVD-RAM would require a DVD-RAM capable drive.

    The 32 settings on the Pioneer allow recording adjustments in 5 or 10 minute intervals, the poor time accuracy of VBR means that this adjustment is plenty sufficent to fill a disc, you can not really get it more accurate than that as VBR varies in recording time. The Pioneer also supports flexible recording using the timer as first models of the Panasonic had, which people used to get "flexible recording".

    However think about it. The Pioneer allows you to choose a setting based on 32 adjustments, giving a total recording time within about 5 or 10 minutes of what you want. The Panasonics simply work back the other way, dial in a time and they will chose a setting based on the same 32 options which are part of the VR format. While owners may think they have flexible recording to the exact minute they dial, this is just using the same 32 time segments to get a best match, which is as close as you can get given the lack of accuracy in VBR recordings.

    No this isn't the case, he would not then need a new player. You would simply record what you want to the hard-disc. For anything needing to be watched elsewhere, you take a DVD-RW disc, record to it using the DVD Video (not VR mode) from the hard-drive, DVD Video mode on new models now support upto 6 hours in VBR. He can then watch the disc on the existing player, and afterwards re-use the disc.

    While DVD-R may be cheap enough, it is wasteful to just record to DVD-R the once then basically throw it out. The other problem is you may want just a 30 minute soap copied across and needing the disc finalised before it will play elsewhere makes it unusuable to add any more. At least with DVD-RW you could unfinalise it and add more or completely erase it for re-use.

    The Panasonic machines are a fine option I am not denying that, but given the arrival this year of Pioneer DVD-RW machines that will even support "time-slip" on DVD-RW, they are a good alternative to DVD-RAM with the benefit of dirt cheap DVD-RW media that can if you want be recorded in a way to play on most DVD Players.

    Just putting across other options.

    Regards

    Philip
     
  6. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    And quite right too. The DVD-RW format will be hopefully see off the woefully inadequate and unreliable +RW format by offering the same benefit (compatibility) whilst offering many of the features that should be standard with a digital format.

    However he is interested in a solution - and the ones I have proposed are available now. As stated there are no benefits to him waiting for the Pioneer HDD/DVDR - a machine we know very little about yet.

    He WOULD still need a new DVD player to run the rewriteable media as the Philips 963 is unable to read DVD-RW fullstop (see VCDHELP) regardless of what format it is burnt onto the disk.

    The first will be the HS3 which will play DVD-RW in all its modes but not record to it, i.e. so it can be badged as 'DVD Multi'.

    When recording on a DVD-RAM the VBR works in a very different way to this. It initial encodes everything in XP mode an re-encodes scenes as required to make space for the new material that is being recorded. This can be done due to the randon access nature of RAM as opposed to -RW. That's why when you refer to adverts for the E50 etc they will always say that it will always find space on the disk rather than just erase the programmes as on +RW. Accordingly the Panasonic's have a VBR accuracy of around 30 seconds.

    The process for recording to DVD-R is similar to what you describe unless using the HS2 when all the calculation is done prior to the data being burnt on the disk (as it will be with the Pioneer DVDR/HDD combo).
     
  7. PhilipL

    PhilipL
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    Hi

    I do not think it actually does this?. Surely it merely sets a VBR bit recording rate based on the remaining time. It doesn't record in XP and then re-encode. I guess you can easily try this by setting it to 6 hours using the flexible recording setting and then record 10 minutes of footage. If what you are saying is true you will have 10 minutes of XP footage (the differences should be noticable from the 6 hour mode) as it hasn't needed to be re-encoded to a lower rate to make extra room for just 10 minutes.

    About time new models will support DVD-RW in VR mode. The daft thing is for adding this support to all previous models would have taken very little effort and is probably no more than just turning a flag to ON in the firmware. The recorder already has the firmware to work with the DVD-VR logical and application layer, it will have no problem reading DVD-RW in VR mode. Simply politics or licensing issues have prevented this up to now.

    DVD-RW supports Random Access like DVD-RAM and will support Time-Slip in newer models, the only reason it hasn't upto now is that it has only been rated 1 speed.

    I agree, and this is exactly the way DVD-RW works. +RW could work in the same way also and offer time-slip as it runs at x2.4 speed but Philips decided they wanted to make a restricted but compatible discs for marketing reasons.

    Well if he needs a new DVD Player anyway (as it doesn't play any RW discs) then the HS2 would be a good solution and their is no reason to wait for any other models.

    Either way it avoids +RW which like others have pointed out, is a very backward system and is nothing more than a faster version of VHS tape, something you, I and many others want to leave behind :)

    Regards

    Philip
     
  8. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    It does do this - perhaps you should read up on the topic more before universally claiming it doesn't as every E20/30/50 owner on this board knows it does. :mad:

    The maximum recording length is 6 hours so lets rework your example to say something was recorded in 4 hour mode. If you then press record on the disk it will record the programme in the same quality as the original programme making space on the disk.

    You don't even have to refer to the reviews to verify this - just look at one of the Panasonic E50 adverts - "The random access format automatically finds recording space on a disk, maximising storage and making sure you don;t record over existing material". These adverts are in What Video Widescreen Entertainment, Home Cinema Choice, DVD Review and many, many others!

    I agree with this - the more products that support more media the more irrelevant +RW (my current pet hate) will become.
     
  9. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Although, as with all fast drives, this will require a 'spin up time' which will make it less effective than the single speed required by DVD-RAM which can handle double the info of single speed DVD-RW. Pioneer are yet to announce that their DVDR/HDD combo WILL actually feature timeslip on DVD-RW. Admittedly if it has the much mooted 160GB drive this will be of limited importance anyway!
     
  10. PhilipL

    PhilipL
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    I agree with this, as what this is saying is DVD-RAM is non-linear, the same as DVD-RW. If space is freed at the beginning and freed at the end, it can be re-used seemlessly, just like Mini-Disc does. It maximises space as you can delete several add breaks and get the remaining time added back, as during the next recording the DVD-RAM simply skips and fills in the fragmented areas. DVD-RW does the same thing, +RW doesn't.

    The DVD-RAM system doesn't re-compress already existing video on the DVD-RAM to make space, it might seem that way, but this is what you implied would happen.

    For example, you record 30 minutes in the 1 hour XP rate. This leaves you with 50% free disc space. This is a further 30 minutes in the 1 hour recording rate, and would be 1 hour in the two hour recording rate.

    Now say you want to add 2 hours worth of recording in that free space. When you dial in 2 hours into the recorder using the flexible recording, it isn't setting a 2 hour recording rate, it would if the whole disc was blank but it isn't, remember it is 50% used already. So the Panasonic says, "What recording rate should I use to get 2 hours on half a disc?" Answer, the 4 hour recording rate. So I can understand why you might think the first 30 minutes is being recompressed, but it isn't. In total you end up with 2 hours 30 minutes. The first 30 minutes are in XP mode, the remaining 2 hours are in the 4 hour recording rate.

    Regards

    Philip
     
  11. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    PhilipL,

    I don't know how many times you intend to argue black is blue. The manual says it records in the way I describe, Panasonic say it records in this way, the Home Cinema Magazines says it records in this way - only you, whom I assume does not own one, says it doesn't.

    Running a simple test - recording 30 minutes using FR reveals a file size of 2100MBs (pretty much as you expect). Recording exactly the same thing again but stopping the recording after 10 minutes reveals a file size of around 1200MBs. A further test on any FR recorded programme is to run a bitrate count on the disk. Goto the low bitrate scenes in WinDVD or similar and you will see the low bitrate co-incides with still moments on the screen - this can only happen by re-encoding previous files.

    Klippie, I must apologise - we have rather hijacked your thread. I fully stand by my suggestions made in the earlier posts. Your best option is the HS2, followed by E50/new Panny player followed by the Pioneer. Obviously PhilipL would have you wait for the Pioneer DVDR/HDD although this will not offer any benefit over the already available HS2 (as DVD-RW will not play on your Philips 963).
     
  12. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    PhilipL,

    If you refer to the latest issue of What Video Widescreen Entertainment you will find a large article on DVDRs including a comparison of the features of DVD-RW and DVD-RAM. You will also find an explanation of how the FR mode works on RAM in either this mag or the latest Home Cinema Choice (they are both at work at the moment so can't check).
     
  13. Duncan Harvey

    Duncan Harvey
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    I'd be interested to hear more about this, as it had always been my impression that, given the recording time, the recorder analysed the remaining space and then calculated a fixed bit rate to use all of this space by the time that the recording was scheduled to finish.

    To be horrible simplistic

    Eg - If 60 mins = a bit rate of 10, then 90 mins would average a bit rate of 6.7

    This to me seems the logical way of using an FR system - ie where all of the recording "looks the same" as opposed to suddenly seeing the picture deteriorate as it goes into a really low bit rate to fit the last bit onto the disc.

    Any on line resources to genuinely find out?
     
  14. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    This is how it works for DVD-R (which obviously has no rewrite ability) other than the simple frame-by-frame comparison that occurs during the buffering stage (as it does in +RW and -RW) as well.

    The whole point of RAM (Random Access Memory) is to be able to use the whole thing as a large buffer. It is no where near as effective as non-realtime MPEG2 encoders that run on your PC but is significantly better than a fixed bitrate approach.

    But the whole point of a VBR is that you DO NOT see this. If you use a fixed bitrate then for a fast action sequence (or wispy smoke etc) then the picture would suddenly deteriorate (just look at an MPEG clip on a PC if you doubt this). The Random access nature of the RAM disk though, coupled with a sustained access speed of twice that of the other formats allows a scene to be recorded and then instantly re-encoded to use the minimum bitrate WITHOUT LOSS OF QUALITY.

    This is why Panasonic, Toshiba and JVC all went for RAM rather than DVD-RW.
     
  15. PhilipL

    PhilipL
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    I appreciate this is way off-topic but may be interesting for someone.

    Yes this is VBR, variable bit rate, it is done in realtime and doesn't require a buffer to DVD-RAM.

    I really think we are mis-understanding each other here. I understand what you are saying and meaning, and think you are confusing Flexible Recording with VBR.

    This is what goes on:

    Variable Bit Rate uses a maximum, average and minimum setting. The higher the setting the better any fast moving image will be.

    XP mode does this: Maximum ~9Mbits/sec, Average ~9Mbits/sec, Minimum ~9Mbits/sec. The average is the important number here really. One hours worth of recording is around 9Mbits/sec, so the encoders average target rate is 9Mbits/sec. The minimum is also set at 9Mbits/sec. The maximum is 9Mbits/sec as that is the highest it can be for DVD (well video is 9.8 but this keeps it simple). The minimum is set so even if you have slow moving footage that could be encoded lower, it still gets encoded at ~9Mbits/sec. Why do this? Why not make the minimum lower so you end up with more time on easy to encode footage? You could, but that might mean one day you record something on XP and get 1 hour 20 minutes, then the next day you try and record 1 hour 20 and lose the last 20 minutes! Not very friendly when you are recording stuff in real-time. So it is artificially set if you like to always give you around 1hour, in effect it is not Variable Bit Rate at all bit Constant Bit Rate (CBR.)

    When you record 30 minutes at the XP rate, you have used up half the disc, that is fixed, that video is not going to be re encoded. If you test the bit rate, you will see that it never really falls a lot, as the minimum is set high and the average rate is set at 9Mbits/sec. To achieve an average of 9Mbits/sec, the whole thing is recorded at that rate.

    Now when you come along and set flexible recording on the remaining half a disc, lets say for one hour, you cannot fit 1 hour on using 9Mbits/sec, as there is only 30 minutes of space left at that recording rate.

    To fit this on the recorder says, okay I need a bit rate now of 4.5Mbits/sec (half that of before to get double the remain time). The minimum will be set lower maybe 2Mbits/sec. Now VBR steps in (not Flexible Recording as that just sets a bit rate), because if you can save bits on easy to encode scenes, then the opposite is true, you can use what you save on easy scenes to use on more complex to encode scenes. So the maximum is set say at 7Mbits/sec. Why not 9Mbits/sec? Well averages are at work here. You could set the maximum to 9Mbits/sec, but then to get an average and so reach the required recording time, for each second encoded at 9Mbits/sec (4.5 above the average of 4.5) you would need to have a second in time where you can get that back, that is the average 4.5 minus 4.5Mbits to get back, this equals 1 second at 0 bit rate. Even black video is not 0 bit rate!

    So you see, even before you start you will never get the same quality as at XP, close, but not the same. Yes the resolution is the same, but the actual quality isn't. For a start the bit rate will not reach as high as the XP mode, and secondly if there are few scenes in which to save bits, then the encoder cannot allocate more to fast moving scenes.

    Another issue with real-time encoders is the fact they are real-time. Take a contrived example. 10 minutes of fast moving hard to encode video followed by 10 minutes of just a black screen needing little bit rate to encode.

    The encoder is aiming to fit two hours onto a DVD, so that is a maximum bit rate of 7Mbits/sec, average of 4.5Mbits/sec, minimum of 2Mbits/sec. When the encoder starts encoding the fast action footage, it will allocate 7Mbits/sec. However after a few seconds, alarm bells start ringing. The encoder realises that if it keeps encoding at such a high rate, 2 hours are not going to fit on the disc, more like an hour and a half! So it throttles down the bit rate to 4.5Mbits/sec and the fast action footage gets some artefacts, bit rate starvation. Because the encoder is real-time, it cannot know that in 9mins 55 seconds time it will have nothing to encode, so it could easily encode the first 10 minutes at 7Mbits/sec as it will save the all the extra in remaining 10 minutes.

    This is one of the reasons commercial DVDs (or computer encoding) are better quality at lower bit rates, as the VBR is 2 pass or may times more. The whole video can be studied before it is recorded to allocate the best bit rate. In which case the above example would have seen the first 10 minutes recorded at 7Mbits/sec and the last 10 minutes at 0.2Mbits/sec.

    What you seem to have implied is that the already recorded footage on the DVD-RAM from previous sessions is re-encoded to make space for the newly arriving video. This is not the case, the newly arriving video is compressed more to fit the remaining space, using VBR to try and give the best quality it can. Anything previously recorded is left untouched, which it should be, otherwise you would think you recorded something in a high setting mode, only to find later it had degraded because mum came along and recorded an omnibus edition of Brookside!

    DVD-RAM doesn't use the RAM disc as a buffer for VBR, it uses internal memory to buffer video and encode it. It can hold several seconds worth in memory and that helps VBR encode as accurately as it can.

    I think what has happened is you have confused Flexible Recording with Variable Bit Rate, the two are completely different. You do not need VBR for Flexible Recording, and Flexible Recording doesn't need VBR to work. VBR is at its simplest a more efficient compression method. Flexible recording rate just takes the guesswork out of what recording mode you should use. For example on the Panasonic Sitting between the user selectable recording rates are another 32 or so intermediate settings that are hidden from you. Flexible recording on the Panasonic just chooses one of those hidden settings based on the time you want.

    Example XP mode uses VBR of Max 9, Avg 9, Min 9 around 1 hour
    Hidden setting 1 sets VBR of Max9 Avg 8 Min 7 around 1 hour 10
    Hidden setting 2 sets VBR of Max8 Avg 7 Min 6 around 1 hour 15
    Etc....

    The Pioneer 7000 gives a user interface to those hidden settings rather than asking for a time to be entered. But the result is the same; you can get almost the exact time you need to fill a disc and can use a higher bit rate instead of leaving a chunk unrecorded.

    The Philips machines lack all those hidden settings, hence they have no Flexible Recording, because they have no settings to finally adjust the time as it just steps down in big chunks, but they still record in VBR.

    So I agree with you, DVD-RAM and DVD-RW are miles better than +RW for utilising space and can give a better recording.

    All the recorders use Variable Bit Rate for encoding the video.

    Yes DVD-RAM 2 speed. However how can this work as you say when you are using Time-Slip? As that would need x3 speed, a read - recompress - then a write to put it back then another write for the new video? The VBR judgement is all done in memory, it simply isn't efficent or practical to do this using DVD-RAM as a temporary buffer. The overheads in first encoding it using XP mode, then writing it, then reading it back, un-encoding it to pass it back through the encoder, then recompressing it then re-writing it back, all in real-time while it compresses another stream and possibly time slipping as well?

    The reason these companies went for that format is that they have patents in DVD-RAM, it was their invention.

    Regards

    Philip
     
  16. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    PhilipL,

    There is no point in us arguing endlessly over this. As you point out its way off topic from what the original poster asked. I refer you again to the latest issues of HCC and What Video both of which confirm everything I have already stated and explain how it is done.

    No x3 is not required as the drive is fast enough at 1x to be able to do this. Again the latest issue of "What Video" has all the transfer rates of the media listed in a table.
     
  17. PhilipL

    PhilipL
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    Hi

    I do know what I am talking about I can assure you. If you are not willing to learn then that is a shame. While I have spent time explaining what I mean, you have not bothered to try and expand on what you mean to make your point clear.

    I will check out the articles you refer to and see where the mis-understanding might have come about.

    You do not understand, the drive at x1 speed IS NOT fast enough to do two things at once let alone 3! One speed DVD-RAM is the same as one speed DVD-RW! It is approx 11Mbits/sec at one speed. At that speed timeslip isn't possible as XP mode with overheads is around 10.5Mbits/sec. So DVD-RAM must run at x2 speed in order to achieve timeslip, it would need x3 speed in order to achieve what you are suggesting. To say it can do this at x1 speed just confirms your lack of understanding.

    I am sorry you were not willing to learn.

    Regards

    Philip
     
  18. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    I am not willing to get into an argument when you have clearly not used the machine in question.

    I am quite willing to "learn" but, given that I have now been playing with MPEG2 compression for the the best part of five years and have a large number of PC tools available to me to be able to modify, anaylse and edit my recordings. In addition I have had a variety of set top machines (including the Philips DVDR1000, E20, E30 and HS2) the output of which is/has been fed into my PC to be finetuned.

    Your blantant belief that VR Mode DVD-RW is AS versatile as DVD-RAM (which IMHO is why you seem to think DVD-RAM is so limited) is wrong. I don't need to justify this any further as it is all spelt out in the current issue of What Video Widescreen Entertainment.

    I'm afraid it is. The E20, E30, HS2 and E50 all have 1x speed drives. So does my PC. Only now are we starting to see 2x DVD-RAM drives the first of which will be on the HS3. Again it's all explained in the current issue of What Video Widescreen Entertainment. One speed DVD-RAM is in excess of 22MBits/Sec - again this figure is quoted in WVWE.

    This post, lest you forget, started with someone asking for advice. By suggesting he waits for the HDD/DVD-RW combo you are offering BAD advice by anyones book. There can be no advantage to this whatsoever as:

    1) His 963 cannot play DVD-RW according to VCDHelp.
    2) DVD-RW has hardly got off to a good start in the UK.
    3) Pioneer aren't really that competitive with their pricing.
     
  19. Klippie

    Klippie
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    Hi all,

    Thanks for all the advice, I had not bargained for a which format is better debate but if you cannot say what you feel then what the hell.

    The most important thing to me is a recording must play on my Philips 963, after all the trouble getting one in the first place I will not be selling it.

    I have been reading up on the different formats to see which one gives me the best options unfortunately its the DVD+RW but the only machines that record in this format are the Philips and the soon to be released Sony.

    If only Philips could get of of this bloody habit of releasing half finished machines and give us top quality reliable players they would shift them by the bucket full........rant over.

    It looks like I will have to wait and see if Philips new machines are a giant leap forward in the reliability stakes or if Sony bring out much cheaper multi format machines. If push comes to shove I will buy a Panasonic E50 as I feel it is a good machine and just forget about playing disks on my 963, but this is the last option.

    Klippie.
     
  20. PhilipL

    PhilipL
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    Hi

    I agree it is not an easy decision. +RW looks good on paper (although has limitations in what you can do but that is the cost of compatibility with older equipment), but unfortunately Philips seems to be having a problem delivering!

    You could argue if Philips is not able to make their format reliable then who can!

    However I doubt very much that Sony would bring out a machine to support +RW if they were not sure it works. However at this time it is not clear if +RW has the same, all be it limited editing options as the Philips machines. Sony's information on their Japanese sight only promote the fact it doesn't require finalising as +RW's benefit over DVD-RW when recorded in its compatible mode. Whereas Philips machines allow you to add chapters, divide and hide clips, it could be Sony has removed these features in order to bring stability to the +RW format. If they have then all you get is the ability to use +RW in the same way you can with DVD-RW but minus the few minutes it takes to finalise. In which case you may as well not have +RW at all, so its inclusion is just for marketing reasons to attract sales from people who see this DVD recording mess as a BETA v VHS battle.

    Until someone has one to use to confirm how it operates with +RW, I would say it is dangerous to assume you will get all the features advertised on the Philips machines with a dollop of extra reliability from Sony.

    Regards

    Philip
     
  21. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Yes, sorry about that.

    Fair enough. In that case the Sony does sound like the machine for you as it will give you DVD-RW for editting and DVD+RW for playing on your 963. Note though if it is priced at around £750 (AvLand Price) meaning you could probably buy a Panasonic E50 (for reliable, edittable recordings on RAM disks) AND a Philips 880 (for re-recording them on DVD+RW disks) for the slightly less!

    The alternative is to purchase a DVD+RW machine only. Personally I don't recommend this at all for reasons stated numerous times before. However if you do think this is a worthwhile option then there is the Yamaha DXR-1:
    http://www.avland.co.uk/yamaha/drx1/index.htm
    Again fairly expensive but well built by all accounts. Alternatively the Philips 1000 MkII (which seems to have been removed from AvLands site at the moment) probably has a better build quality than the cheap DVDRs.

    Ultimately, given your key requirement that rewriteable disks play on the 963 then I think the Sony is your best choice provided you can get it at a good price.
     
  22. PhilipL

    PhilipL
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    Hi (Rasczak check your Private Messages)

    I agree with Rasczak, but note that the Yamaha is OEM'd from Philips and has a striking resemblance to the first generation models!

    Buyer beware ;-)

    Regards

    Philip
     

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