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Panasonic E-85 and New Generation recorders coming April/May. Any reviews yet?


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#1 of 34 OFFLINE   Ryan Wishton

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Posted April 24 2004 - 11:14 AM

Are there any reviews of the 2004 Panasonic DVD recorder models yet?

There were 4 different models announced...

I sold my E-80 as soon as I found out about the new models.

The E-85 is the new model of the E-80. It has an EPG (Electronic Programming Guide), 12X-32X recording speed at Hi Speed Dubbing, supposedly better recording, and has a 120 GB Harddrive. It is said to be able to record 1 hour of programming in only 5 minutes on DVD-R.

I am awaiting this. I loved the E-80, but the thing was way too slow.

There is also another new model coming that combines a DVD Recorder with a VCR.

Any reviews yet???

#2 of 34 OFFLINE   Ryan Wishton

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Posted April 24 2004 - 11:20 AM

Here you go... I found the Press release...

Here is a press release concerning the new model E85H:

PANASONIC AFFIRMS INDUSTRY-LEADING POSITION
WITH GLOBAL LAUNCH OF NEW DIGA LINE OF DVD RECORDERS

Select Models add EPG To Already Feature-Rich Products
That Let You Make Your Own DVDs


LAS VEGAS, Nev. (January 7, 2004)— Building on its technological strengths and leading market position in recordable DVD products, Panasonic introduces four new DVD recorders to its popular DIGAÔ line. Two of the models, DMR-E85H and DMR-E65 feature the TV Guide On ScreenÒ (TVGOS) Electronic Programming Guide (EPG), while the DMR-E75 marks the debut of a dual DVD Recorder/VHS deck to the Panasonic DIGA family. Continuing its innovative approach to DVD recorders the 2004 DIGA line marks Panasonic’s fifth generation of DVD recorders. The top-of-the line DMR-E85H, with a built-in 120 GB hard drive, can record 284 hours* of programming on its hard disk drive. The DMR-E55 completes the DIGA line. This year’s DIGA models feature a new Direct Navigator that simplifies the process of previewing recorded programs. All DIGA DVD recorders support recordable DVD-RAM and DVD-R1, and will also play back DVD-Video, music CDs, video CDs and CD-R/CD-RW2, and MP3 formatted discs. Panasonic estimates that by 2005 there will be 6.5 million DVD recorders in the marketplace and the DIGA line is positioned in a leadership role.

The DMR-E85H builds upon the success of the DMR-E80H – the number one selling unit in the industry3. The DMR-E85H features a built-in 120 GB hard drive and can also record onto DVD-RAM and DVD-R discs. It is ideal for compiling personal movie libraries or for archiving, preserving, cataloging and enjoying favorite videos. In order to make programming easier, the DMR-E85H adds the TV Guide On Screen EPG to the feature mix. “We are always listening to the comments of the consumer,” said Alberto Reggiani, Panasonic’s national marketing manager for DVD. “Panasonic was the first to incorporate a built-in hard disk drive, giving consumers greater flexibility and longer recording time. Now, in order to make the DVD recording experience easier for the end-user, we added the EPG and increased the transfer speed.”

One touch of a button is all it takes to record data from the DMR-E85H's hard disk drive to a DVD-RAM or DVD-R4 disc at high speeds5. Recording goes at a quick 12x normal speed to a DVD-RAM disc or 24x normal speed to DVD-R6 (both in EP mode). For example, a one-hour program can be recorded to DVD-RAM in just 5 minutes or to DVD-R in just 2.5 minutes. It has an MSRP** of $799.95

Model DMR-E65 carries an MSRP** of $599.95 and includes SD and PCMCIA slots, enabling faster, easier networking and file sharing between the DVD recorder and other devices, such as personal computers, digital still and video cameras. The DMR-E65 also features the TV Guide On Screen EPG.

The DMR-E55 has an MSRP** of $449.95 and, like all of the DIGA models, records onto both DVD-RAM and DVD-R discs. The entire DIGA line increases the DVD-RAM recording time to 16 hours in the EP mode on a 9.4 GB double-sided disc (from 12 hours last year).

Panasonic’s DMR-E75V is the company’s first dual deck DVD video recorder/VHS recorder in the United States market, combining the features and benefits of the two technologies. “Our research has shown that one of the major uses of DVD recorders by consumers is the transfer of VHS tapes to the more durable, higher picture quality DVD format,” added Reggiani. “With that in mind, we developed the dual deck unit, giving users the ability to easily dub their home movies and recorded VHS tapes onto either a DVD-RAM or DVD-R disc, and from a DVD disc back to a VHS tape. The dual deck also includes one touch dubbing, another feature geared to make the process truly consumer friendly. The consumer also has the option of watching VHS tapes or DVDs on a space saving combination product.” The unit has a MSRP** of $599.95.

The 2004 DIGA line continues many of the features that have contributed to Panasonic’s number one position in the market, including Time SlipÔ, Chasing Playback, Simultaneous Record & Play, One Touch Two-Way Dubbing, and Relief Recording (on the hard disk drive models). The Time Slipä feature allows viewers to replay a scene recorded 30 seconds earlier without disrupting the recording process, simply by touching a button on the remote. With Chasing Playback, users can also view the recorded portion of a live program, from the beginning, while continuing to record that program until its completion. Simultaneous Record & Play lets users view a previously recorded program on a DVD-RAM disc or the hard disk drive while simultaneously recording a different program. Relief Recording automatically checks the remaining disc space when recording onto a DVD-RAM or DVD-R disc. If there’s not enough space, the DIGA video recorder shifts the recording to the hard drive. PVR functions such as Time Slip, Chasing Playback and Simultaneous Record & Play are available when using either the hard disk drive or DVD-RAM.

All of the Panasonic DIGA DVD Video Recorders are also Progressive Scan7 players, which ensures optimum picture quality when viewing DVD movies. A thumbnail display of contents is also possible for recording to a DVD-RAM or DVD-R4 disc. Since each scene is displayed with a thumbnail image, it’s easy for users to select the sequence of scenes they want to playback.

The DVD video recording technology used in the DIGA DVD Video Recorders complies with the DVD-RAM recording formats standardized by the DVD Forum. DVD-RAM provides a single format for computer and video-based applications. The format offers high storage capacity on removable media, high-speed data transmission, exceptional picture and sound quality, fast random-access memory, and rewritability up to 100,000 times.



About Panasonic
Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company, Division of Matsushita Electric Corporation of America, markets a broad line of digital and other consumer electronics products. Based in Secaucus, N.J., Matsushita Electric Corporation of America is the principal North American subsidiary of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (NYSE: MC) and the hub of Panasonic's U.S. marketing, sales, service and R&D operations. Additional information on Matsushita Electric Corporation of America and Panasonic is available at www.panasonic.com. Additional company information for journalists is available at www.panasonic.com/pressroom or through the company’s toll-free fax-back system at 888-734-7490.



Model
Features Availability
MSRP**

DMR-E85H
TV Guide On Screen EPG; 120 GB built-in hard drive; Time Slip; Chasing Playback; Simultaneous Record & Playback; 32x High-speed recording from hard drive to DVD-R; 24x high-speed recording from hard disk to RAM; Supports DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD-Video, music CDs, video CDs, CD-R/CD-RW, MP3 and DVD-Audio
May, 2004
$799.95

DMR-E65
TV Guide On Screen EPG; Time Slip; Chasing Playback; Simultaneous Record & Playback; SD and PCMCIA Memory Card slots; Records onto DVD-RAM and DVD-R discs; Supports DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD-Video, music CDs, video CDs, CD-R/CD-RW, MP3 and DVD-Audio
June, 2004
$599.95

DMR-E55
Records onto DVD-RAM and DVD-R discs; Time Slip; Chasing Playback; Simultaneous Record & Playback; Supports DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD-Video, music CDs, video CDs, CD-R/CD-RW, MP3 and DVD-Audio
April, 2004
$449.95

DMR-E75V
Dual deck DVD video recorder/VHS recorder; One touch 2-way dubbing; Time Slip; Chasing Playback; Simultaneous Record & Playback; Supports DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD-Video, music CDs, video CDs, CD-R/CD-RW, MP3 and DVD-Audio
May, 2004
$599.95

#3 of 34 OFFLINE   Fritz Jung

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Posted April 25 2004 - 12:45 AM

Purched an E85 two weeks ago (660 at BestBuy), it's my first DVD 'set top' recorder.

During the 80's I amased one of the most extensive rock and roll video collections around... encompassing some 900 tapes... it's been my dream to finally convert these - the E85 came out just in time for me.

Thoughts?

1. The editing and 'manual' are gangly in design but I am getting things happening pretty quickly
2. Not sure how much improved this is over the E80
3. Not sure I'd want one of these without the HD -
4. converting tapes by recording them at LP was horrible. quickly learned to do them at SP (LP doesn't seem to work for fast dubbing)
5. Dubbed 2 hours from HD to dvd-r in 15 minutes... Finalize in 2 -- I think this is because I just grabbed a spindle of 4x blanks...
6. Adding names and copy to the discs is a nightmare. It's kind of like creating one of those dyno labels... steering the cursor to one letter at a time... I choose a sharpie for the disc face instead.
7. Since I have to have this in my office for months of dubbing I haven't taken advantage of the timer recording but can't wait to wrap that up and get this in the living room.

All in all I am pretty excited that I finally have one of these things... and am starting to work up a grove for this massive xfer ... I was under the impression that VHS tapes only lasted 10-15 years but to my surprise tapes that ARE literally 24 years old are playing quite well.

I look forward in sharing info with others that own the e80 and the e85

Fritz Jung

#4 of 34 OFFLINE   alan halvorson

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Posted April 25 2004 - 12:59 AM

I own the E80, I'd like the E85, but I don't know if I want to take another hit when the next great thing comes down the pike next year (maybe, hopefully, dual-layer recording ability). I sure fell sad for anyone who purchased the E100 at a much higher cost than the E80 as the E85 seems to be an enhanced E100 at a much lower price.

I do like the E80 for timer recording. But, as Fritz says, the naming system stinks to higher than hog heaven. I've gotten pretty fast entering names, but come on Panasonic! There's this thing called a keyboard that's been around for years. Why not simply add a keyboard interface? You don't have to include a keyboard - who doesn't have a spare lying around and they're pretty cheap if you don't? I just want the capability to use one.
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- Napoleon XIV

#5 of 34 OFFLINE   Fritz Jung

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Posted April 25 2004 - 01:49 AM

My Gods Alan... Anyone that quotes that obscure Napoleon XIV single in their sig is my kinda guy (and I'll bet you know what the 'b' side was as well Alan? )

I salivated over the e80 but just didn't have the cash... YES, I am sure that the dual dense machines will be out before the year is out, but damn I really needed to 'get into the game'

Questions for the e80(ish) users.

Is it me or are the lp and beyond speeds useless?

I find it easier to use chapter split to make the edit points and then go back and remove the junk chapters... It's too bad you can't use 'edit' to 'shorten' AND set chapter edit points.

Does anyone know what type of HD these things have in them? Can we replace them?

So are there 8x and faster blanks avaiable? Are they expensive?

'Cut frustration'... When I cut a chapter by sterring in at the frame level it seems that on play back it starts about 1/4 of second AFTER my cut... any tips ?

All in all I am thrilled to get this conversion going and actually enjoying the rediscover of some amazing musical video performaces... I am cherry picking from the oldest VHS... and figure I will trash about 3/4's of the collection due to time and the reality and much is and will be coming out on DVD.

Fritz Jung

#6 of 34 OFFLINE   Ryan Wishton

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Posted April 25 2004 - 02:54 PM

DVD+ I believe will be the first format to be dual layer and I believe that will start with computer drives first. Read this somewhere.

No one really knows for sure which format will win. Maybe they both will, but I doubt it. It's sort of like VHS vs. Beta right now.

What I plan on doing is just buying a new recorder each year and selling it right when the next generation is announced and right before prices start to plummet.

This way I can always have whats new and better for a minimal cost. At least until the prices come down to a mainstream level and everyone buys them.

I actually used the Harddrive more than the recorder on the E-80 (I dont have a Tivo), so that feature is a must for me.

I imagine I would be very disappointed right now if I was someone who bought a first generation DVD recorder.

#7 of 34 OFFLINE   Brian Co

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Posted April 25 2004 - 05:35 PM

After browsing through the manual at a local BB, it appears the E-85's main advantages over the E-80 are significant, however, considering the list on this new unit is $699 and I was able to haggle a Circut City manager down to $365 for an E-80, I'll be waiting a bit before upgrading. What I was able to discern is the following: 4X burns (Using appropriate Media), Larger HDD (120 Gig), thumbnail image creation on menus and FINALLY, the ability to transfer finalized DVD-R's back to the HDD (My most wanted feature). The E-85, unlike the E-80, can also dub/edit to disk and record to the HDD at the same time.
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#8 of 34 OFFLINE   DanHaya

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Posted April 26 2004 - 03:27 AM

Hmmm...it looks like the E-85 is going to be my choice, but I will probably keep my Explorer 8000 DVR to record my weekly favorites (the ones I won't be archiving) because it its dual tuner feature.

What I'll probably do is hook it up to another tv in my house in order to record the programs I want to save as well as to convert my VHS tapes.

#9 of 34 OFFLINE   Ryan Wishton

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Posted April 26 2004 - 03:52 AM

Circuit City allows haggling over prices?

I had no idea they allowed this. I couldnt even imagine all those pushy salesman would allow it.

Best Buy would just laugh in your face.

I do know someone one time who was asked to leave a Walmart when he tried to talk the cashiers into lowering the price for him on a television.

#10 of 34 OFFLINE   Brian Co

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Posted April 26 2004 - 07:18 AM

I wouldn't say they typically allow haggling, however, as the E-80 is on clearance and the salesman was unwilling to work with me I asked for the manager. He put up some mild resistance at first, but in the end, I got the price I wanted.
What exactly is rotten in Denmark?

#11 of 34 OFFLINE   Jeffrey Taylor

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Posted April 28 2004 - 04:55 AM

On significant purchases I've generally found CC willing to negotiatiate. You usually have to push hard and get past the salesman.
Jeff

#12 of 34 OFFLINE   Ryan Wishton

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Posted April 28 2004 - 11:58 PM

I was able to find the E-85 for $525.

I received $450 for my old E-80.

So, my out of pocket expense was $75 to upgrade. Not too bad I guess. I am looking forward to receiving the new player.

#13 of 34 OFFLINE   alan halvorson

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Posted April 29 2004 - 02:41 AM

Ryan: Where did you find the E85 for $525? I'm guessing from some online retailer. More importantly, how did you get $450 for your E80? That's impressive.
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They're coming to take me away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa To the funny farm. Where life is beautiful all the time and I'll be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats and they're coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!!!!
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#14 of 34 OFFLINE   Ryan Wishton

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Posted April 29 2004 - 12:05 PM

Alan,

1. Ebay

2. Ebay

I had a pretty successful auction for a used player. Some people get more (upper 400's and low 500's), but those players are mostly new and sealed. Auctions for used players seem to normally go (high 300's/low 400's), so I did get kind of lucky. I was able to get $450 there for my old player which I didnt think was bad at all for a player I used for 8 or so months. I paid $539 from Amazon last summer.

I bought the new model for $525 from Ebay from an online company. I was a little nervous about purchasing something like this from Ebay. The player is brand new and factory sealed. But, they had impressive feedback and are also covered under Paypal's buyer protection plan for $500. So, I am protected for $500 incase the players a lemon or if something goes wrong during shipping. The player is also insured during shipping seperately as well.

The player does come with Panasonics warranty. I will then extend the warranty under my credit card.

I heard on another forum (maybe it was here in another thread) that Best Buy charges $199 for an extended warranty for this? If so, thats crazy. A 1/3 of what the player is worth.

So, I thought I would just take the shot. The very worst thing that could happen is that I would be out $25. And for such a great deal compared to Best Buy, Circuit City, etc., I thought I would take the shot.

#15 of 34 OFFLINE   Fritz Jung

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Posted April 29 2004 - 01:05 PM

Ryan,

Wow that is a good deal...

I paid 660 a few weeks back, but didn't really shop it, in fact I couldn't even find it listed IN STOCK in any key reseller on the net... three did list it as out of stock... Best buy down the street DID have it and I jumped at it...

Extended warranty? Nah... They will continue to come down and odds are if it goes south, I'll just pick up another.

Ebay? Damn... Why didn't I check that... My wife cruises ebay 3 hours a day.

RYAN after to beat on the '85 a bit DO tell what you like as compared to your E80.

Fritz

#16 of 34 OFFLINE   Ryan Wishton

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Posted April 29 2004 - 01:17 PM

Fritz,

I agree about the extended warranty from stores. It's crazy. Paying a 1/3 of the price for a warranty when the player wont even be worth half of what it is by the time the warranty's over.

I opted for the extended warranty under my credit card because Panasonics is only 90 days and I only paid $29 for a year.

I would never pay something like $199 for a warranty on a $600 item.

Be careful though about Ebay. Some sellers offer no protection and some dont even offer shipping insurance.

There were 2 people like this selling the 85 and had higher bids. Go figure. I bought mine on a Buy it now as soon as it was listed so got a cheaper price.

Only reason I even considered buying an item such as this from Ebay is because they were covered under the buyer protection program and are sending the item insured.

If they were covered by nothing, I wouldnt have purchased an expensive item like this from there.

#17 of 34 OFFLINE   Ryan Wishton

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Posted April 29 2004 - 01:33 PM

Fritz,

Also, yes the LP and EP speeds are basically useless IMO as well. XP. SP, and that flexibility mode are the only 3 options I would use.

This is not so much the players fault though. The DVD's just cant hold it. Set top players also arent so good for compression yet either.

I did make a 3 and 1/2 hour DVD on my computer using compression sofware and the quality was just as good as 2 hour mode on the Panasonic.

#18 of 34 OFFLINE   Rick P

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Posted May 03 2004 - 10:30 AM

Beware the E85 if you plan on using the IR Blaster with your DBS receiver...

.. you can't.

No matter the lit says "IR Blaster to control Cable/Sat box"

No matter the manual says "IR Blaster to control Cable/Sat box".

It will only control cable boxes (and this is straight from the mount of a Panasonic [higher than CSR Drone] rep).

TV Guide does that part of the software, and since they don't support getting the EPG guide data from sat.. they didn't include the codes in the IR Database. Even tho you find ECHOSTAR and HUGHES listed, they won't do anything. (NOTE: one person said he got it working with a Hughes receiver.. lucky fluke).

That plus the manual timer recording is a cluster, you have to crawl thru the TV Guide interface to set a timer recording.

There are some really NICE improvements in the UI for the E85 and some very useful other features (dubbing while recording or playing back)..

But mine is going back to Best Buy in about an hour.... I'll stay with my E80.

#19 of 34 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted May 04 2004 - 02:29 AM

Quote:
Is it me or are the lp and beyond speeds useless?

No, it's not just you. I use XP, SP and FR (up to about 2:20) exclusively with my E80. The other two modes look terrible.

If I could upgrade to the E85 for $75 like Ryan did, I would do it. However, I'm not an Ebay user so I doubt I could convince anyone to spend $450 on an obsolete E80. Therefore, I'll just hang onto my E80 and wait a few more generations before upgrading. The increased dubbing speed is the only real advantage of the E85 over the E80 for me, and it's not worth the cost to me.

#20 of 34 OFFLINE   Ryan Wishton

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Posted May 07 2004 - 03:22 AM

Got the E-85. Havent done much yet, but here are my thoughts. It's a good item, but I do have a few problems.

I hate that they took off the open/close button off the remote. I dont know why they would do this? I dont like to keep pressing the button on the actual player. I dont really like using buttons on the actual player. A remote is a lot easier to replace incase a button breaks, wears out, etc.

The Tv guide feature should be a nice feature (It is on my cable box, my ex satellite box, and was very easy to use), but instead causes annoyance. Many channels dont show up, if the channel doesnt show up you are basically screwed if you want to easily record something, having to leave the player off for hours to download the guide, etc. It's also a pain to work around this guide to set regular timers.

No option to shut this guide off. It's more annoying to me than pleasing. At least give me the option to shut it off and just use the machine like the E-80.

The player to me seems a tad slower than the E-80. I dont know why.

Now, dont get me wrong. It's a great player with some very nice added features. I just dont know why they took a step backwards in a few areas.