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DVD Recorder Recommendation Please

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5 replies to this topic

#1 of 6 OFFLINE   revel



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Posted December 26 2010 - 09:40 AM

Procrastinator finally wants to purchase a DVD recorder (new).  Figure that a combination unit with VHS would be the right approach, as primary use would be to archive family VHS tapes as well as other recorded VHS material not available on commercial DVD disks.  Certainly would use for some time-shifting and downloading from DVR of broadcast material which does not get issued commercially. Essentially interested in quality of product, though current TV is not high-def -- but will be eventually (says the procrastinator).  Not afraid of "some" technical difficulty in setup or operation. Would also note that am a long-time Mac user, but have not used the computer to transfer/burn disks. All recommendations greatly appreciated. Bob

#2 of 6 OFFLINE   Philip Hamm

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Posted December 26 2010 - 01:02 PM

I've had good experience with my Panasonic brand DVD Recorder.  It has a built in analog tuner and a built in ASTC tuner for HD over-the-air broadcasts.  I've recorded some nice stuff on it, including Ken Burns documentaries.  I've never used the line or firewire input for anything.
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#3 of 6 OFFLINE   Elizabeth S

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Posted December 26 2010 - 02:22 PM

I have had Toshiba and Pioneer DVD recorders with hard drives for several years.  I thought the hard drive models were extinct but recently found out Magnavox makes 2 models sold through WalMart.  Although your primary use may be transferring from VHS tapes and a both-in-one seems appealing, not enough can be said about the many advantages of having a hard drive.  I imagine it would be an easy task to connect your VHS player to the Magnavox, transfer a ton of stuff onto the 500GB hard drive, then take your time editing them and burning to disc.  Without a hard drive, I think it would be difficult to delete unwanted segments from the VHS recording to  burn to disc.

There is a 513 and 515 model, but the latter is much more feature rich and worth it.  They have digital tuners, so I'm able to pick up the unscrambled digital channels for the first time on a recorder.  Much nicer quality when viewing -- even though it does not record in high def, just the source being such makes the quality very nice.

There is an ultra-informative thread on the Magnavox recorder lines at AVS forum which helped me out a lot:


I have only owned the Magnavox for about 10 days but am very pleased with it so far.  I mainly use the unit for time shifting (I don't have a DVR).  I have practiced editing on it, but have not burned any discs at all yet.  It is not as user-friendly in several ways as the Pioneer and Toshiba, but it's the only game in town with a HD and I'm happy to have it.

#4 of 6 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted February 07 2011 - 05:46 PM

I didn't know there were units out there that are DVD recorders AND have a hard drive. I thought they were one or the other. Does that mean you can record to DVD and/or to the hard drive? Thanks.

#5 of 6 OFFLINE   Grateful1



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Posted February 07 2011 - 10:08 PM

I have the Toshiba DR430 and am very happy with it overall. It's just a DVD recorder though.

#6 of 6 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted February 09 2011 - 12:11 AM

Originally Posted by Jim Mcc 

I didn't know there were units out there that are DVD recorders AND have a hard drive. I thought they were one or the other. Does that mean you can record to DVD and/or to the hard drive? Thanks.

I have an older Panasonic DVD recorder with a built-in hard drive. The advantage of the hard drive is you can first record your source material to the drive, then edit the material to cut out commercials or other unwanted footage. Then you can high speed dub one or more copies to a blank DVD-R.

Units with the proper built-in tuners also allow you to use the device as a poor man's DVR. I used to do this until Comcast stopped broadcasting analog signals on cable -- my recorder only has an analog tuner, and I do not want to pay for an external tuner for the unit.

If you purchase a combo VHS/DVD recorder, keep in mind that you will not be able to internally dub most commercial VHS tapes due to MacroVision protection on the tape. There are ways around this (which we cannot mention here), but it usually involves running the signal through an external device, so you would need either (1) another VCR to use as the source, or (2) the ability for the combo unit to send the VCR signal out through an external A/V output.

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