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Which DVD recorder in plain english

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by help_please, Jun 25, 2004.

  1. help_please

    help_please
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    Help.... I wanted to get Sky Plus, but live in a flat with shared dish so have started to think about a Hard Disc/DVD recorder instead. The Panasonic DMR E85H is about my price range, but all the reviews I read are so complex they're actually putting me off - I barely know an RGB (?) connection from a SCART lead. Can someone give some straightforward guidance on the following please?

    1) Would it be a fairly acceptable alternative to Sky+?
    2) Is it as easy to set up as a normal VCR without help, because I can just about manage that (currently I have PS2/XBox/VHS & Sky sorted altho have to swop a scart lead over each time I use a games console)
    3) How simple is it to programme to record specific programmes/ a whole series?
    4) Are DVDs made on it likely to play okay on my £40 DVD player in the bedroom?

    I want something that is easy to record on to, holds plenty of programmes which are then easy to access quickly and that can make DVDs of things I want to keep like good football matches.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. jarwyn

    jarwyn
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    Hi

    I dont profess to be knowledgable in this area at all, so I can only tell you what I know. I recently bought a Philips DVD Recorder and so far its been great. It has a few niggly little things but I live with those.

    To answer your question, the biggest drawback with DVD recorders IMO is that (depending on your quality setting) you can only get about 4 hrs of recording onto a Disk. Its about the same as a normal VHS tape I guess.

    In hindsight, I think I would have been better going for a Hard Disk recorder or a Tivo. Having said that, I have NTL so I was unsure whether the Hard disk recorder or Tivo would have been compatible with the NTL Set top box. I tried to find out but came up against a terchnological brick wall each time!

    There is also a lot of confusion about disk formats (i.e. +RW or -RW) I went for +RW as it works in my PC and its fine for what I need. These recorded DVDs play OK in my cheapo DVD in the bedroom ;-)

    Hope that is of some help.
     
  3. help_please

    help_please
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    Thanks. That is why I fancy one with a hard disk i think. Any more feedback would be very welcome.

    My other potential is to get Sky+ and just use it as a hard disk recorder, without the capability of recording one programme while watching another. But I'd quite like to be free of the Sky "tentacles"!
     
  4. jarwyn

    jarwyn
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    OK - Here goes. I thought long and hard before buying the Philips. I read lots of post - some saying the Panasonic was best, others saying Philips. I came to the conclusion that they are all much of a muchness and just took the decision based on other philips products I'd had before.

    On the whole I am quite happy with it. The niggly thing is to do with when you put a disk in the machine, even if its a blank ... it takes ages to read it and if you're watching the TV at the time then you 'lose' the picture as the DVD goes into 'menu' mode (sort of thing) to tell you what's on the Disk. Then I then have to press the TV button on the remote to get the TV picture back on the TV. I would much rather it behaved more like the VHS tape whereby you put the disk in but it does nothing until you ask it to read the disk.

    As far as programming it is concerned, mine has PDC so you can use those numbers out of the TV listings to record (haven't tried this yet tho' so not sure how good it is). You can also enter the timings manually, just like on a Video - although again on mine, when I go back to the timer settings menu to check it ... it seems to overwrite the entry. So you have to enter it and then trust that you've set it properly. NB. It may be that I am going the wrong way about checking the timer settings (not unheard of) since the manual is particularly poor.

    In terms of Sky+ I don't know since as I said, I have NTL. If I didnt have NTL then I would definately go for Sky+ (from what I've heard of it). But I'm a bit confused by your post ... do you have Sky already or are you saying that because of the shared dish you cant have Sky?

    What channels are you able to receive and which ones are you wanting to record from? If you just want to record the terrestial (ITV/BBC/CH4) then a DVD recorder is probably right for you. If you are going to be recording off Sky then Sky+ would be my choice!

    Let me know if you need any further info.
     
  5. Kevo

    Kevo
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    For serious timeshifting the current DVD recorders just don't cut it.
    Like Jarwyn says you'll only get the same length as a tape, approx 4hrs and the quality at this level is quite poor. Not even as good as SVHS.

    Unless dual layered or blu-ray recording takes off then hard disk is the way to go.

    Even so the ever increasing larger capacities of hard disks may still win people over DVD based systems.
     
  6. help_please

    help_please
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    Jarwyn - I already have Sky but they told me Sky+ needs an extra feed from the dish, which is not possible as I live in flats. Effectively, if I took up their service, I would just get a hard disc recorder. That's why I think it would be best to buy a stand alone HD with DVD.

    Kevo - interested to hear your thoughts on the combined HD/DVD systems like the Panasonic DMRE85 - particularly in relation to my questions at the top. Ta.
     
  7. Kevo

    Kevo
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    Incidentally, I have the Pan E100 which is 80gigHD/DVD Ram recorder.
    But I like to archive stuff, hence the DVD recorder.

    The Pan E85 will be ideal for you.

    Very easy to set up and use.

    RGB will give you the best quality recording from a digital stb, so I recommend you go for one that has RGB. Not all have.

    You will be able to archive stuff to DVD-R and these should play on practically most (90% ?) DVD players.

    Also, consider a DVD (Firewire) socket if you have or likely to get a digital camcorder.
    This will allow for recording a perfect digital copy of your tapes.
    Not sure if the E85 has this.

    Phew, just glad to be back on the regular forums and take some respite from the Euro 2004 section and all the heated debate that's going on there :)
     
  8. jarwyn

    jarwyn
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    Didn't know about the Sky+ needing an extra feed... worth knowing! Yes - you're probably right to go for a HD/DVD recorder then ... and the Panasonic one you mentioned seems to get good reviews. :thumbsup:

    BTW ... you could always buy a SCART expansion cable for your XBox & PS/2 problem ... ;)
     
  9. help_please

    help_please
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    Didn't know there were SCART expansion cables so cheers for that tip. I'll look out for one. And thanks Kevo.... very tempted now, my credit card is calling me....
     
  10. GlennTheBaker

    GlennTheBaker
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    Another thing that no-one else appears to have mentioned is that you can't use the Sky + box as a hard disc recorder without either paying the £10 per month Sky + subscription or by subscribing to 2 or more premium channels with Sky. If you don't do either the box just works like a normal Sky digibox.
     
  11. help_please

    help_please
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    Very good point about Sky. At the moment I take the premium channels but who knows in the future?

    I guess you can think about these things forever so, instead, I've taken the plunge and am pretty happy with the prospect! True, I can't tape one Sky channel and watch another but I'd very rarely want to. Recording programmes won't be quite as easy but I manage it ok with a video recorder. No more tapes cluttering things up, DVDs to keep of big events, and hopefully the chance to make basic edits of my home videos...... it all sounds good... cheers all :D
     

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