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Which First DVD Recorder is best ????

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by ledders, Aug 23, 2004.

  1. ledders

    ledders
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    Hi
    I am a newbie to forum and want to buy my first dvd recorder , I have a Sony DAV-S500 connected to my Sony tv, I also have Sony Sky digibox,I have done some research and panasonic E55/E65 and Sony GX3 get good reports, but I read a report on Philips R80 which appealed to me especially the guide plus function, I would appreciate any comments/suggestions, but my question regards Philips R80 is : philips recorder is +R would I be able to play recorded DVDs on or through my Sony DAV-S500 which is mutiregioned but I believe is -R format???


    Regards John
     
  2. Rasczak

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    First things first I would strongly suggest you stay away from Philips DVD Recorders. Reliability issues aside (and there are significant reliability issues with the Philips range as a whole and the DVDR80 - a recent What Video magazine had a special Tech Help on this recorder alone!) there is also the fact that the machines lack the core DVD Recorder features seen in virtually every other major brand DVD recorder. DVD+R disks will probably play on your Sony DAV-S500.

    The Panasonic E55 is arguably the best specified budget DVD recorder at the moment. It offers progressive scan, component output, timeslip, chasing playback, editting, playlists etc for a little over £200. Highly recommended. Note though that DVD-RAM (the re-writeable media it uses) will not play on your Sony DAV-S500. The machine also writes to DVD-R which WILL play on your Sony though.

    Another good machine (and available at budget prices now the new range is on the verge of being announced) although not quite as highly specified as the Panasonic E55 (no progressive scan, timeslip etc) but it is multi-format (DVD-RW, DVD+RW and DVD-R) and all three disk types will work in your Sony DAV-S500 provided you record in 'Video' mode on DVD-RW. So a good choice if you want to stay 'all Sony' or if you want to play your daily timeshifted recordings in other DVD players.
     
  3. DRGL

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    The Panasonic's are great,easy to use,great picture quality,DVD-RAM is a great format,a lot of new DVD players will play DVD RAM,but ask yourself how many times do you record things to lend to others? Prob. not that often......
     
  4. Rob20

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    Personally I don't think it's worth buying a dvd recorder without a HDD. Then you can just record onto -r disks at 30p a time or less. Unless you don't make that many recordings and therefore the £2 a rasm disc is a negligable cost and therefore a HDD isn't that important.
     
  5. Rasczak

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    Rob, to a extent I agree with you - and the market is going the way of HDD/DVDR combos. However currently the cheapest HDD/DVDR is around £400 whereas a Panasonic E55 costs around £200 so if your on a budget it certainly is worth a non-HDD model. If you don't do much timeshifting, are prepared to use a PC to convert to DVD-R (if applicable) and just really want a VCR replacement then a standalone is fine.
     
  6. ledders

    ledders
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    Rasczak/Rob/All
    I dont have money to through away, but I usually when buying try to get a combination of value /quality, therefore if justified ,spending more to get the the right system is ok by me, the HDD option I have thought about but has not been explained/justified to me.pardon my ignorance but can you explain this and timeshifting/PC converting mentioned above , basicly I am saying spending a little more to try and make system a little future proof has always been the way I approach purchases of this nature.
     
  7. Rasczak

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    DVD recorders (at least the decent ones) use a recording mode on re-writeable disks called Video Recording (VR) mode which offers great features such as editting, timeslip, chasing playback and non-linear playlists but which is largely incompatible with existing DVD players as the file structure is very different to that you find on a commercial DVD.

    What a HDD/DVDR offers is VR recording on the HDD with all the benefits that brings but also have the option to dub to DVD-R (and sometimes DVD-RW) in 'Video' format which will play on almost all DVD players. Therefore they enable you to make editted recordings that play on other DVD players (as well as offering massive, high quality timeshifting abilities). They also tend to offer better 'authoring options', i.e. specifying thumbnail images, defining chapter points etc on your DVD-R.

    If you want to go down this route consider:
    - Panasonic E85
    - Panasonic E95
    - Pioneer 420
    - Pioneer 520
    - Toshiba RDXS32
    The Toshiba gets my vote because it offers the most features but the Panasonics are also worth consideration as they offer the overall best quality recording and have a very simple user interface.

    Ultimately if you can afford it you should consider a HDD/DVDR combo as the functionality they offer is considerably greater than a standalone IMHO.
     
  8. RJW2

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    Ledders,

    Have you considered getting Sky+ and then a non-HDD recorder? Those who hate Sky+ don't shout as I have a Pioneer 420 and Telewest and have to say I am quite happy with both, but having the dual tuners of Sky+ would be a big advantage.
     
  9. Rasczak

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    Sky+ and HDD/DVDR combos are machines for entirely different purposes. Sky+ is the ultimate Sky timeshifter, HDD/DVDR enable you to make editted recordings that play on other DVD players.

    Of course the ideal pairing is Sky+ and a HDD/DVDR combo. However you can quite happily reduce that to Sky+ and a standalone DVD recorder if you intend to use a PC for authoring, aren't worried about compatibility of recordings or don't want to edit/re-arrange recordings. But even then if you can push the budget I'd still say get a HDD/DVDR combo.
     
  10. Jerrysimon

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    It's a really hard choice to make :suicide:

    After much help and advice here I have finally got a Panasonic E55 today having spent an age deliberating over this and the Toshiba RDXS32.

    The Toshiba looks really nice and the HDD is a BIG bonus, but for me it was not readily available unless you buy mail order/internet and I would also want a 3 year maintenance warranty with that HDD, which put it up at around £460. I got the E55 from Richard Sounds locally for £219 as they matched their add in a recent mag :)

    I have also got myself an LG 4120B for my PC (£59 OEM) which reads and writes just about every DVD media including DVD RAM. This way I can do any fancy editing on my PC.

    Intially I was looking at a direct replacement for my VCR and was considering the low end Philips, LiteOn and LG £150-£170 jobs. I started looking about a months ago when the Panasonic E55 was in Currys and Argos at £300!!

    At the end of the day my budget was limited to around £200 ish. Having waited a month or so I think now I have exceeded just replacing the VCR with a much more versatile setup including the bonus of Time Slip :clap:

    I can certainly see though the benefit of just hitting record and not worrying about finding a disc if you have a HDD on board. But as always you pays your money you takes your choice :zonked:

    Regards

    Jerry
     
  11. Rasczak

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    Jerrysimon, the Panasonic E55 and the LG4120 burner is a very good combination. Be sure to checkout the PC Guide thread if you need/want advice on how to achieve conversion from DVD-RAM to DVD-R.
     
  12. Jerrysimon

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    Rasczak thanks very much and for your help this last week! I have bookmarked your PC Guide Thread ta.

    I have played around a little on my PC with a RAM disk but noticed the software you recommend complains when the recording is a mix of 4:3 and 16:9 wide screen format ? the 4:3 bit was recorded before the film Magnolia came on. I guess I could edit it on my Panny first and then bring it back to the PC to burn onto a DVD -R ?

    Then again maybe I should read your guide further as it's probably covered in there lol

    Regards

    Jerry
     
  13. Rasczak

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    By default your Panasonic E55 records using an advanced VBR changing the resolution from high to low during scenes of low activity. To import into TMPG Enc Author you need to lock this: goto Functions/Setup/Picture Settings and set 'Hybrid VBR Resolution' to 'Fixed'.
     

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