Advice needed: DVD-R/-RW or DVD+R/+RW recorder?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Jean Weitzmann, Oct 21, 2004.

  1. Jean Weitzmann

    Jean Weitzmann Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi all,

    I'm looking at buying a DVD Recorder.

    I am debating between the new Tivo + DVD-R units:
    * HUMAX DRT800
    * TOSHIBA RS-TX20
    (or the older PIONEER DVR-810H now that the pixelation bugs seems to have been fixed)
    All those units record to DVD-R-RW.

    I am also looking at the new PHILLIPS DVDR740/17 (the only DVD recorder that records 5.1 Audio from the Digital Input)(it also has component video inputs).
    This unit records to DVD+R/+RW.

    (there are also a few cheap DVD PAL/NTSC recorders that only record DVD+R/+RW)


    My main DVD Player is an "old" modified SONY S7700 model (PAL/NTSC, Region Free, RGBHV outputs at 720p).

    How do I know whether it will read recorded DVD-R/RW or DVD+R/RW media from the units above?

    I also have a Toshiba SD6200 player in another room. How do I find ot about which recordable media it will read?

    Thanks in advance,
    JW
     
  2. Jean Weitzmann

    Jean Weitzmann Stunt Coordinator

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    I forgot to mention: the reason why I am looking at the Tivo+DVD-R combo units is that in the room where I would use it, I have:
    * a 32" EDTV (which has only one 480p component input)
    * a Toshiba SD6200 progressive DVD player (connected to the 480p component input)
    * an early Tivo-1 unit (since 2000) (connected to an S-Video input)

    If I understand correctly, all 3 Tivo+DVD-R units have a progressive component output that I could use for both DVD and Tivo playback and thus get a better Tivo picture.

    (plus Tivo agreed to transfer my lifetime service to the new Tivo-2 unit and there's currently a $100 rebate on any of those units!)

    JW
     
  3. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    I assume you don't care about editing capability since you're oriented toward TIVO. But give it some consideration anyway as TIVO disables commercial editing. You may well be able to edit using a manual record and not the TIVO however.

    DVD-R and DVD+R are almost interchangeable now in terms of play. Of course legacy players may be more picky. For nearly absolute certainty go with a +R but I have encountered 0 problems using DVD-R burned on my RD-XS32 with any number of older players both computer and standalone.
     
  4. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    This is doubtful. Actually, a Tivo/DVD-R is likely going to be worse at the lower quality settings. The progressive component output doesn't really help you that much since it's not encoding from a component source. The extra color res component affords is already lost before it even gets into the Tivo. It only really helps for DVD & HDTV. Progressive scan doesn't help either since that just means line doubling in the Tivo rather than in the TV. Furthermore, the DVD-R/Tivo units are constrained to use DVD compatible MPEG formats. At the lower bitrate settings, the standalones are able to to trade off resolution for fewer compression artifacts, the DVD can't.

    I'm not a huge fan of the Tivo/DVD-R units because they lack any sort of editing ability on the DVD-R side. Other DVD-R/hard drive combos are better IMO. It depends on your application, what exactly are you going to be saving to DVD? If it's home movies I'd say get a different model. If it's TV shows, I suppose Tivo is OK, but personally I'd rather wait & buy the commercial DVD. The Tivo/DVD-R is only worth it if you routinely want to save shows that are not likely to come out for purchase.
     
  5. Jean Weitzmann

    Jean Weitzmann Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Paul and Stephen, you are correct:
    The thing that bothers me about those units is that you can't edit (commercials, for instance) before copying from HD to DVD.

    So.... since I already have the Tivo Lifetime service transfer, I'm thinking, maybe I should rather get the Toshiba SDH-400 Tivo + DVD player combo, with component interlaced/progressive output) and a SA DVD recorder (or DVD-R + HD for editing), if possible with component inputs for the best transfers.

    Opinions, please!

    I'm still interested in the Phillips DVDR740/17 (has component input and 5.1 digital audio input), but it doesn't have a HD.
    I also saw the cheap Yamakawa 628 DVD recorder which has component inputs too for less than $200.

    Opinions?

    Or can you recommend a good DVD recorder with hard drive (but no service) that allows editing before burning to DVD?

    Thanks,
    JW
     
  6. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Jean,

    I use 2 Toshibas...the non HDD D-KR2 and the Toshiba RD-XS32 w/80GB HDD. The XS32 unit was a later manufacture dated June 04 with the latest firmware ZL11 and a serial number in the 246xxxxx series. It has been tested and verified that earlier models with the ZL10 firmware had a problem with Black level when discs burned on the XS32 were played on other units/players. Glad to report mine has no Black level Bug after having burned over 100 -R's already in a little over 1 month. They have all been tested/viewed on a number of non-Toshiba players.

    This is a great DVR with a superb menu system and layout. It has an outstanding feature set and delivers excellent perfomance but does not provide component input. The remote has the typical Toshiba hidden panel to access certain features which can be awkward but it is very comprehensive.

    I think your idea of combining the two units is a sound one. The SDH-400 is a good choice for TIVO functionality with decent storage capacity and keeps the costs down with the very reasonable deals I've seen on this unit. Of course you could always edit the TIVO content to RAM with a simpler, less expensive second machine like D-KR2 but that would necessitate 2 hour SP recorded content at the maximum with any decent archival quality. Not very practical...so I agree an HDD unit is virtually mandatory.

    Good Luck in your choices.
     

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