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which to choose, any advice please?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Gebbly, Apr 1, 2005.

  1. Gebbly

    Gebbly
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    Hi all,
    You've probably all got bored of these sorts of postings but I'll give it a shot :D I stumbled across this forum and thought I'd ask for some advice as the postings I've read indicate quite a wide range of devices have been used by people here. I'm after a dvd recorder but there appears to be quite a range to choose from. On top of this, magazine reviews never seem to be consistent in their opinions. (I read 1 review that loved the lite-on 5045 so i started to investigate and then found reviews and feedback from users who had had many problems).

    I'm after a DVD-Recorder (obviously) but am having trouble finding one that matches my requirements. My main criteria for the device are :

    high quality picture and sound - (most important, dont want cheap if picture is garbage)
    progressive scan
    compatible with as many recording formats as possible but -r/-rw compulsory
    HDD - Would like to be able to record upto about 20hours at high quality so guessing I dont need a huge disk, 80GB maybe?
    Not sure of the functionality necessary but I would like to be able to record several films to the hard disc then edit them removing the adverts and record each film to a seperate disc

    Has anyone got any suggestions for devices I should investigate? I was looking at Sony's HX900 for a bit but I think I would be paying for a larger hard disk than I needed so something of similar quality but a bit cheaper would be nice. Also finding one is proving near impossible.

    As an afterthought, has anyone ever heard of a dvdrecorder that could also handle divx?

    thanks for any input
     
  2. Pete M

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    Hi there

    I know the feeling I have for some months now been considering the Panasonic DMR-E85 then along comes the DMR-EH50 which to me looks and specwise to be a far better choice.

    Prices are about £325 - £350 from a number of online sites so if you shop around you could get a good deal. I do not know if this is outside your budget but I am definately leaning towards this unit.

    Wish you luck

    PeteM
     
  3. phelings

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    Sony HDD recorders lack vital editing features on the HDD so avoid them until the new range is out,but its doubtful anything will beat the upcoming Panny range for a while
     
  4. Gebbly

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    After doing further searches including reading everything I could on the hx900 on this forum I veered away from it. Partly due to the advice about them lacking editing features and partly due to quite a few people postings problems with them which surprised me, thought sony would be extremely reliable.

    Looked around a bit more and decided I liked the panny eh50 and started to search for any info. (didnt find too much)

    Wandered into a local stereo specialists at the weekend and had a chat with one of the co-owners. They didnt seem to rate the panasonics from an image and sound quality point of view. They were quite happy to order in the panasonic if thats what I would like but they advised looking at the pioneer range if picture/sound quality was one of the major factors for me.

    Anyone had any experience with the pioneer range, good or bad?
     
  5. TopDog

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    Ive got the Pioneer 520, a good machine on the whole. Its a little fussy about the disks it uses, tending to prefer the cheaper ones (fine by me). One thing it does not do is auto finalise dvds once they ar transefered from the HD, a small issue, which require manual intervention, but a little bit of a pain if your clearing off the HD in one session. I would buy again, if the 720 was cheaper Id go for that as the HD is bigger and Im lasy about writing the DVDs. Great choice 8/10.
     
  6. eddyad

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    I'm happy with Pioneer 420 bought last year.
    I don't see a problem with no auto-finalise. Its absence means you are less likely inadvertently to finalise a DVD that you may want to add to later.

    But if I was buying now, I'd wait for digital tuner (Freeview) machines to appear.
    It is said that manufacturers are slow on this because UK digital TV is not a 'universal standard'. But there are multiple PALs and France uses SECAM, so I think (uncharitably?) that's it's more related to getting as many analogue machines sold as possible, so we are all candidates for replacements that much sooner.
    A quick Google search indicates that the DVB-T standard used in the UK does conform with the systems now being rolled out across Europe.
    Also, all the manufactures of UK TVs now supply sets with digital tuners, so I assume the same tuner technology would do, with the support of the timer facilities.
    Sorry I've drifted a bit off subject :)
     
  7. phelings

    phelings
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    Apart from +RW which requires no finalising,I don't believe any machine offers an auto finalising function,certainly not the Panasonic I used to own.
    Across these forums you will see many ,seemingly reliable threads and posts that claim Panasonic offer the highest picture quality of any dvd recorders.
    I have a Pioneer 420 ,had a Pioneer 5100,and previously owned a Philips recorder and a Panasonic HDD/DVDR and I have recently conducted thorough tests on a range of Sky recordings made with all these machines over the past almost 3 years.
    I have to say that the discs recorded on the Pioneer are the poorest(although still excellent).The Philips pictures were noticeably better.The Panasonic were very slightly better than the Philips,and this was an old Panasonic without high speed copying so it involved rate conversion too.
    I would suspect that the dealers you are talking too will have a Pioneer account and may have to make special arrangements to get a Panny in.
    While Panasonic's(now ended) reliance on RAM was always a thorn in the side,and operationally there were a couple of annoying things,poor quality is not something ever aimed at panasonic recorders.
    I would get the new HDD/DVDR(with -RW) when it comes out
     
  8. Gebbly

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    Thats handy feedback regarding panasonics comparisons phelings, I'll have to think about that. I hadnt thought about the possibility of the store having a pioneer account thats a good point. I have to say I was surprised by their ascersion that pioneers offered far better quality than panasonics after I had been reading users feedback here favouring panasonics.

    And I think your right eddyad I might wait a little while. As I understand it manufacturers will be releasing their new products in about a month or so. If nothing else I understand the new pioneers will likely have HDMI or progressive scan which they have lacked in the past.

    Eddyad does the 420 have progressive scan? up until today I thought pioneers didnt have prog scan and material had suggested they would just give their new players HDMI instead but then I came across http://***********/5jydn which says the 520H has prog scan, is this correct??

    phelong you mention a new recorder from panasonic in the works, you dont have a serial number or anything do you? so I could do some research. Were you referring to the EH50? (which *finally* has support for more formats)
     
  9. sinclair

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    I'm kind of in the same boat but have narrowed it down to the EH50 and XS34. Since neither are in the shops I had demos of the XS32 and E95 at the weekend and thought that the picture from both was excellent and pretty much identical. The bloke in the Panasonic shop confirmed that they should have 2 maybe 3 in by the end of this week but said that they are in very short supply in UK as they usually get 15 or so of new models. He said that the multi format and the quick starup are the main improvements. Here's what I don't get though. He talked about the Panny being able to record to +rw which is gives a lot more features when recording straight to DVD; if you've a 160gb HD like the XS34 why would you ever want to do this? Is there some other benefit?

    Also when I pressed record on the XS32 it started pretty much immediately and when I watched back it had started bang on. When i mentioned this to the Panny guy he said the quick start issue was from standby. Why would you leave the machine on standby? Is there any downside to leaving it on ready to use, like your laptop or mobile phone?

    The XS was no looker, the remote seeemed really crappy and I can't believe for a minute that the IR wand thing actually works, so if there is any killer reason to go Panny that I'm missing I'd be grateful for the heads up. Otherwise with the large HD, DV in, editing, prog scan and great price what has the Tosh got against it?

    Also what's the benefit of having a single built in FV tuner over and external?

    Thanks for any help
     
  10. cheekymonkey

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    Gebbly

    Two of the new models are the EH50 (out now) and the EH60 (due September)

    The key difference between the two is that the 60 has 160GB HDD (compared to 80GB) and it also has a freeview decoder built in.My local Panasonic dealer didn't know the price as it was still TBC but thought it would be the "right side" of £500.

    I bought the EH50 with a view to upgrading to the EH60 later when the prices have settled down.

    Still not had chance to really play with it but first impressions are very good.
    Quality - excellent build/materials through to picture reproduction
    Ease of Use - Good set up options and has intuative menus
    Quick Start - that 1 sec. start up does make a difference when recording although it still takes 30 sec or so when watching a DVD

    Hope this helps

    Sinclair - The Panny cannot record to +R/+RW only -R/-RW although it can now play them back. Also, if it helps, the unit in my opinion looks a lot smarter than the old E85/E95 which in themselves were OK and also the remote is pretty good.
     
  11. sinclair

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    Cheers for that CM. I can see why you went for the EH50 as it's clearly a great player and you were going for an all Panasonic system.

    If you already had a new non-Panasonic TV is there anything fro your research that makes the EH50 more appealing than the XS34? This stuff is all alien to me and I just don't understand the advantage of +rw compatibility or keeping the player on standby necessitating a quick startup from the off. The EH50 certainly looks the business beside the XS32, though I haven't seen if the XS34 has had a cosmetic.
     
  12. cheekymonkey

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    Sinclair

    I don't think the +/- debate is a major issue although it is important.

    The Toshiba has the ability to record to disc and/or hard drive and gives you great flexibility as such. I believe (others correct me if I am wrong) that the ability to play different format discs is only useful if you swap discs with friends and/or edit/author discs on your PC which may be a different format?

    You sound very much as though the XS34 is the one for you and it does have that massive 160GB HDD.

    I can't comment on the Toshiba range from a reliability point of view but one of my considerations in getting the Panasonic (TV & DVD) was that they have a history of reliability.

    As for the standby point - this is a personal preference - out of habit I switch off my TV / DVD / Video when not in use as there has never been an issue for me in doing so. There should not be an issue in leaving the DVD player on all the time as long as you ensure adequate ventilation to prevent over heating.

    With a built in FV tuner there is a marginal improvement in signal quality (don't think I could tell) due to there being less connections in the system and thus signal degradation. For me it was simpler than that - I wanted a "clean" system and with enough space under the TV to add the AV Receiver that I am currently eyeing up (Denon 2805) and my CD Player.

    With the EH60 I would have 2 FV boxes and this would then allow me to record 1 FV Channel whilst watching another FV channel. This would be the same if you had a set top box now and went for the EH60.

    I think you need to look at the two side by side and make your decision on the look and feel of them - it will be the aesthetics of the player and remote coupled with your individual likes/dislikes and ability to live with the unit that will swing it for you.

    Best of Luck!
     
  13. Mike@#36

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    The problem with waiting for the next 'thing' is that you never get around to actually buying anything. I've just come to terms with that after several months. Just as you decide on a machine someone announces a new model with new facilities etc. Currently this happens every 3 months.

    I've decided not to worry about freeview (Can't get it where I live anyway) as it is not scheduled to be a problem for another 7-8 years by which time there will be new models available. Plus I will need to be looking at a new TV anyway.

    I am currently waiting for an E95 to arrive as this seems to have all that I will need or use. Also I've given up worrying about picture quality as I suspect that in reality there is little to judge between them, even with a 36" widescreen!
     
  14. sinclair

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    Cheers for that CM & Mike
    I'm rubbish and so have decided to wait until they're in the shops in the next week or two and see which one takes my fancy.
     
  15. Gebbly

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    Mike I know what you mean, I've seen people go through the same dilemma with computer components :)
    I think I like the EH50 but will just check out the xs34 as I have seen it mentioned a few times recently. Does anyone know where I can get a full spec so I can compare the 2 devices?
     
  16. cheekymonkey

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  17. Gebbly

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    Just doing some reading on the xs34 and came across a posting by Barzo saying

    "...The Panny records 16.9 material in 4.3 mode on DVD-R discs - the Tosh allows you to specify the mode (unless you use a bitrate of 1.4Mbps)..."

    This is a slight concern for me. Has anyone else come across this? Or found a way to get the panasonic models (like the eh50) to record 16.9 to 16.9 on disc? If not this may tilt my decision.
     
  18. khaverblad

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    Regarding image quality, I've found some test streams recorded for Pioneer 520 and Panasonic 85 on a Japanese site and in highest bitrate there was really no difference. But, going from there and further down in bitrate the Panasonic gave a better result. In the two lowest recording modes I found the Pioneer really bad compared with the Panasonic.

    When it comes to digital video broadcasts (DVB) just remember that there are different signal types DVB-C (cable), DVB-T (terrest) and DVB-CI (Common Interface) that is encrypted. So as for me I getting my tv-signal currently today as analog but my cable provider also offers DVB-C. But, If I went and bought a TV or a DVD recorder with freeview decoder I would still need a DVB-C box.... Worth thinking about, if there is really need to wait for the DVD units with freeview decoders. Using cable... well, don't wait.. as far what my cable provider confirmed.
     
  19. TopDog

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    Khaverblad, very good point. Regarding the Standby issue, I find it difficult to believe that some people leave their units turned on all the time (including PC/Laptops) not only does this use more electricity and thus cost more, but more importantly what about the environment? I know we are talking minimal consumption, but even so multiplied by millions of users, this is still an impact, almost as bad as people sitting in parked cars with the engine running - Why?
     
  20. epwc

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    Just wondered, is it possible to buy an EH50 and then put a larger HD in it?
     
  21. Mike@#36

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    In short yes it is. No more complex than exchanging a HD in a PC - HOWEVER you loose your warranty by opening the case !. If desparate to do this it would be worth waiting for the warranty to run out first.
     
  22. epwc

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    Thanks Mike
     
  23. DRAMBO

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    I have had my Panasonic DMR-ES10 for over 2 weeks. The ES10 is the same as the EH50 minus the SD card reader & 80GB hard drive. I agree with most of your comments except:

    The new panasonics can record on DVD+R discs but not +RW. However, it can playback DVD-RW (VR & video mode), DVD+RW as well as DVD-RAM,
    DVD-R & DVD+R.

    It takes no more than 12 seconds after you've placed a pre-recorded DVD in the disc tray for playback to begin (i.e. from when you press the "Open/Close" button). The same process takes 15 seconds for a DVD-RAM disc & 22 seconds for DVD-R disc.

    If the disc is already loaded & power is off (standby), when you press the "play" button playback of a DVD-RAM disc playback begins in 8 seconds. Times for pre-recorded DVDs & DVD-R discs are unchanged.

    Press the "PROG/CHECK" from power off (standby) and the timer recording page displays within 3 seconds.

    Overall reponse times are a vast impovement on previous models and better than most other recorders on the market. The 1 second quick start for recording is the world's fastest.
    :thumbsup:
     
  24. khaverblad

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    How is the recording in LP mode?
     
  25. redsox_mark

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    This is an issue relating to setting of the widescreen flag. It is a problem only if you want to watch the recording on a 4:3 TV, in this case the picture will look squashed. If you watch on a 16:9 TV it will be OK, though you will manually have to set the screen setting to 16:9.

    I do record widescreen programmes and my wife watches them later on a 4:3 TV, so this is important to me (I have the XS32). Also someone asked about the dongle which changes channel, that works fine.

    Mark
     

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