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Discussion on Rons review of Philips DVD recorder (1 Viewer)

Ken Chan

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you mentioned recording the LD in the Standard Play mode. This was said to give DVD quality results. Did you try recording anything in the High Quality mode, and if so, what were your results. I'm assuming the HQ mode is for recording sources with a resolution higher than DVD.
It's not the resolution -- which would never be any better than DVD (720x480 for NTSC) -- but the bitrate allotted to the encoding. You can think of HQ as Superbit, near maximum bitrate, while SP is "regular" DVD -- or near regular. Quality roughly equivalent to a two-hour 4:3 movie with only one 2.0 DD soundtrack and no subtitles or extra angles on a single layer (although there aren't many new discs like that nowadays, I suppose).

By the way, has anyone gotten the Hidden Chapter feature (p. 48 of the manual) to work on playback? I see the chapters marked as hidden, but the playback plays 'em anyway. The ability to add chapters to the recording after the fact is cool, but it only seems to work on the +RW player. On a regular player (the Sony I tried), the disc played, but there were no chapter stops.

//Ken
 

Eugene Hsieh

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I would never invest
in any recorder that uses the RAM format for
recording as I suspect that format is the
least likely to survive the format wars.
I'm not sure about that statement - I think it's still too early to say. You should remember that the physical and technical characteristics of DVD-RAM media is superior to both DVD-RW and DVD+RW. DVD-RAM media has the rewritability of 100X that of both DVD-RW and DVD+RW, and thus it's probably the best suited format for data applications on PCs. And, for these reasons it is well suited for a VCR replacement when one wishes to reuse the same discs over and over again on a daily basis.
However, we all know that DVD-RAM does not enjoy wide compatibility with DVD-ROM drives and set top players. Nonetheless, these set top recorders have DVD-R recordability anyway, and although both DVD-RW and DVD+RW have almost 2/3rds compatibility overall with set top players, IMO this is insufficient - the only reasonable level of compatibility is DVD+R or DVD-R. And remember, this "format war" is not the same thing as VHS vs. beta. Your DVD+R and DVD-R discs will continue to play fine in most current and future DVD players. Thus I think it's premature to exclude recorders like Panasonic's, especially since the HTForum members and others seem to like it so much, for various reasons. Indeed, the Toshiba RD-X2 DVD-RAM/-R recorder with 80 GB hard drive has just been announced, and judging by the specs, it seems like a fine machine.
By the way, regarding DVD-RAM compatibility: As you already know, excellent progressive scan DVD players like the Panasonic RP91 already support DVD-RAM playback, and there are now common DVD-ROM drives (priced similarly to the competition) like the Toshiba SD-M1612 which support DVD-RAM reading. The number of these drives (and possibly set top players) will increase, especially if the new Link Removed specification (which ensures DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM compatibility) becomes more widely used. I suspect it will get support not only from companies like Toshiba and Panasonic, but also from companies like Hitachi, LG, and Samsung, etc.
I don't have a set top DVD recorder myself, mainly because I don't have much need for one, and thus I cannot justify spending the dough at this point. However, if you are looking for a machine, you should not exclude any of the technologies at this point, as long as the machine supports DVD-R or DVD+R. This includes the Philips, Panasonic, Toshiba, Pioneer, etc. Ie. I think there's nothing wrong with waiting if you can, but if you need a machine now, then buy the machine that suits the your needs now based on specs and features, not potential future compatibility 5 years down the line. In 5 years the machines will be cheap as borscht, and who knows, we may be using Blu-Ray anyway. And like I said, your DVD+R or DVD-R will still work.
Oh and for those who are interested, there is some more general info about the three formats in the link in my sig.
Eugene
 

CraigL

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Ron...

I have one big question. Say you transfer all your home movies to a TV...what happens if you want to make ANOTHER copy of that DVD. You're going to have the same generational loss that you will have with VHS no? Won't your recorder then have to re-encode everything that it originally did? There's no way of getting an exact copy of that is there...save going to the original master (whatever that may be).

This is what annoys me about DVD recordables.
 

Wookie Groomer

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Shawn
I never mentioned piracy, other people did. My interest in technology includes video AND AUDIO. If a unit does not provide digital audio then it is of no use to me. That interest has absolutely nothing to do with piracy.

I want to record my Star Wars laserdisc's to DVD, so now I have the film on a disc, but I have to resort to Dolby Prologic instead of the discrete 5.1 I had before. I would rather not go through the hassle to trade one feature for another. Seems like a waste of technology and another means for the studios to control our entertainment.

I have for years been able to transfer my home videos to CD at full VHS resolution so other than "quantity" the DVD recordable still does not offer anything to the consumer.

I'll wait till they get it right.
 

Eugene Hsieh

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I have one big question. Say you transfer all your home movies to a TV...what happens if you want to make ANOTHER copy of that DVD. You're going to have the same generational loss that you will have with VHS no? Won't your recorder then have to re-encode everything that it originally did? There's no way of getting an exact copy of that is there...save going to the original master (whatever that may be).

This is what annoys me about DVD recordables.
Not sure what you're asking, but you sound like you just want to make copies of your own non-commercial DVDs.

If you have a computer DVD burner, you can make exact copies. No generational loss. The burners are in the US$300-400+ (DVD-R) to US$400+ (DVD+R) range at the moment.
 

Wayne Bundrick

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A DVD recorder having digital audio input would also need to have a sample rate converter if it is going to record PCM from laserdisc, because laserdisc is 44.1K and DVD is 48K. Trying to record Dolby Digital 5.1 from laserdisc would be even more complicated.
But something that appears to have been overlooked is that the DVD recorder does have a digital input: there's a DV I-Link input on the front panel.
 

Wookie Groomer

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Wayne
Good catch. I totaly overlooked the 48kHz DVD spec. I see that would significantly increase the price of the unit to provide an internal converter.
Oh well.... :)
 

CraigL

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If you have a computer DVD burner, you can make exact copies. No generational loss. The burners are in the US$300-400+ (DVD-R) to US$400+ (DVD+R) range at the moment.
OK fine...but what about those people who CANNOT afford something like this right now along WITH the stand-alone unit? Or don't have the computer capacity for this? Seems like it's a one-time only record feature. :frowning:
 

Gary Kellerman

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Ron; One heck of a written report by you,Jack and the others that lent their assistance to you. If I had the "bread", I would defintely get a recorder for essentially the two reasons you mentioned but more important to me would be to transfer my VHS home videos onto this format. Most of these I possess contain "linear stereo" sound surprisingly of rather excellent quality due to the stereo microphone I used from Radio Shack some years back that cost $20, but gave rather "broadcast like" sound on the Sylvania-Panasonic linear stereo portables I still possess. I also do not know the condition of my 8mm and super 8mm film library, but if I could not do the transfer, I would want parts of that on a DVD better than video tape. Perhaps others feel the same way who have such libraries. I still possess a working Pioneer CLD-M90 LD player. There is little I would transfer from what LDs I have which would most likely be some segments to demonstrate passive matrix and Dolby Surround decoding.

There is only one THING about having your personal home videos whether on tape,dvd or hardrive that has nothing to do with electronics but has plenty to do with the psyche. It is one thing to see news broadcasts and shows of people say like John F. Kennedy that were videotaped and who are no longer with us. My personal tapes contain people who are no longer with us too, but these are people that I was friends with or relatives that I loved. Sometimes it can be very hard to want to pick up that tape to view because you personally shot it and the picture and most defintely the recorded sound seems like it was made yesterday. It can feel rather "creepy". In the movie O GOD, BOOK 2, the little girl who sees god(George Burns) asks questions relating to tragedies(I do not recall exactly what she asked}. God answers, FOR EVERY TOP, THERE IS A BOTTOM. It sometimes takes guts and fortitude to watch those memories.
 

Eugene Hsieh

Supporting Actor
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OK fine...but what about those people who CANNOT afford something like this right now along WITH the stand-alone unit? Or don't have the computer capacity for this? Seems like it's a one-time only record feature.
True, but you can't have everything. ;) Anyways, I don't see this as a necessary feature for a standalone. If you MUST have the ability to make bit for bit copies, then I don't think it's unreasonable to require additional equipment to do it. And remember, the prices will eventually drop. I paid CAD$500 for my first 1X CD-ROM drive, and CAD$300 for my first 4X CD burner. Currently 32X burners are CAD$160. Similarly, 1X DVD-R burners were outrageously expensive before, but now they're "only" US$300. Burn your discs now, and in a year or two when the burners are cheaper you can start distributing your discs. Just remember, just a few years ago this would have been impossible so I think we're doing well.
 

Paul O

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I recently bought the Panasonic and LOVE IT! DVD RAM is fantastic with prices for the 9.4GB Disc's down to about $11 and 4.7 under $6 and since i rarely need to provide copies to someone else its fine for me for recording TV shows. I considered the Philips when it came out but there were too many ancedotal stories of poor picture quality and basically Philips released a lemon into the market prior to the current model which doesnt sit well with me.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Paul,

Congrats on your purchase.

I can assure you, however, that the Philips
985 is no lemon, and that picture quality is
as good as it gets.

They got it right with their second generation
player.
 

TheoGB

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The ability to add chapters to the recording after the fact is cool, but it only seems to work on the +RW player. On a regular player (the Sony I tried), the disc played, but there were no chapter stops.
Ken, I wonder if this is like multi-sessioning audio CDs. I know that my Adaptec software suggested that some CD players would be able to read more than one audio session added to a CDR.
In reality I have never found ANY CD player that does this. Only my CDR will read beyond the first session on a CD. If I'm understanding you correctly I'd guess that DVD+R is the same thing - you can keep adding sessions but a standalone player will only see the first session...:frowning:
 

Michael St. Clair

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This thread is good, it will be interesting to see a LOT of threads about DVD recorders in the upcoming months. I suspect any thread comparing multiple models and going into all of the features would look like one of the huge 'Buffy' threads in the TV area.
Ron is absolutely right, research is a must when spending large sums of money in this territory. There are lots of issues. Here are some more that come to my mind. For many people, some of these may not be a consideration at all due to their own personal needs.
Obsolesence. Just because most current players play both DVD-R/W and DVD+RW doesn't mean that obsolescence is not an issue, as if any one format fails in the marketplace, the users of that format may find blank media harder to find and/or much more expensive in the future. It is a shame there are 3+ competing formats and no recorder that does them all.
Media price. In the here and now, DVD+RW media of a given grade costs about double that of what DVD-R media costs. If you have a lot of laserdiscs and/or tapes to archive, you could find media price being a very substantial portion of your costs. I'm assuming that +RW media will continue to decline in price, but I'm not sure how much is due to market issues, manufacturing issues, or the fact that Sony/Philips charges a per-unit royalty on +RW (something that the DVD Consortium does not do for DVD-R; they just charge a flat licence fee).
External doubler abilities. These (the Philips and other upcoming) players have a bonus feature which has been a holy grail to some; the ability (all the time, not just when recording) to perform quality DCDi doubling to external sources. No need to use a pricey iScan to double your LD, cable, satellite and so on any more! But, the Philips (purportedly) does realtime MPEG encoding and decoding before passing the output. Will this compromise the quality in the slightest? Will the de-sync the picture too much from external 5.1 audio sources that you may not want to pass through the player? And I'm not even sure about how this will work in other upcoming players). But for some of us, this is a feature we will want to really check out.
PVR-like functionality. Currently, the Panasonic recorders have a 'Time-Slip' function that lets you watch/navigate a recording while it is still being recorded. For those of us who want to time-shift with these recorders, this is a great feature.
Hard drives. Pansonic and Toshiba have units coming with hard drives, and this has huge potential. Being able to time-shift and manually record external sources and then edit to your heart's content on the hard drive before burning (multiple?) copies is just too good. A hard drive is a completely logical, intuitive addition to a DVD recorder.
I got use of a demo loaner of a DMR-E20 (Panasonic) and I have been absolutely thrilled with the functionality, the price of the media ($2 Optodisc DVD-Rs rule), and the stellar picture quality. But I still won't buy it. I'm determined to buy a player this year, but I won't buy one without a hard drive, so it looks like I'm waiting until Fall at least. The hard drive is my criteria, other members likely have their own sets of criteria. 2002 is sure looking like a good year for recordable DVD!
 

Eugene Hsieh

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I got use of a demo loaner of a DMR-E20 (Panasonic) and I have been absolutely thrilled with the functionality, the price of the media ($2 Optodisc DVD-Rs rule), and the stellar picture quality. But I still won't buy it. I'm determined to buy a player this year, but I won't buy one without a hard drive, so it looks like I'm waiting until Fall at least. The hard drive is my criteria, other members likely have their own sets of criteria. 2002 is sure looking like a good year for recordable DVD!
Hmmm... I've heard mixed reviews on the $2 Optodisc DVD-Rs. Then again, they're supposed to be better than the Princo DVD-Rs and so far the single Princo disc I've tried on my Panasonic LF-D311 worked fine. I'm actually more interested in the Panasonic hardware because of the DVD-RAM function. (I have DVD-R and DVD-RAM read capabilities in my Mac and my two PCs.)
 

Michael St. Clair

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Hmmm... I've heard mixed reviews on the $2 Optodisc DVD-Rs. Then again, they're supposed to be better than the Princo DVD-Rs and so far the single Princo disc I've tried on my Panasonic LF-D311 worked fine. I'm actually more interested in the Panasonic hardware because of the DVD-RAM function. (I have DVD-R and DVD-RAM read capabilities in my Mac and my two PCs.)
I've had mixed success with $2 Optodiscs on a DVR-A03 burner at work, but 100% success recording them on the DMR-E20 (and to test I read them in various DVD players and DVD-ROM drives).
Conversely, I've had no success with $1.65 Princos on the DMR-E20, and mixed success with the DVR-A03 (they burn fine, but standalone players stutter).
$5 Apples work on everything and play on everything.
As long as Optodiscs keep working for me 100%, I am sticking with them for home recording.
Of course the thing to watch for is that different media brands switch suppliers/manufacturers. Even Apple has switched from Pioneer to, I think, TDK. Of course the latter is still a premium, Pioneer-certified 2X media.
 

Michael St. Clair

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P.S. I did not know that Apple is using TDK media. Hmm...
I don't know that for a fact, but somebody in a knowledgeable forum (maybe AVS) reported recently that he had noticed (by examining manufacturer/lot/serial markings on the hub) that Apple had switched to somebody else, and I think it was TDK and that they still burned at 2X on a Pioneer.
And some, not all, batches of Optodisc DVD-Rs allegedly burn at 2X on a Pioneer. And if that is the case, some Optodiscs are made by one of the following: Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Mitsui, Pioneer, TDK, Taiyo-Yuden, or Matsushita. Those are the only manufacturer's whose media will burn at 2X on a Pioneer (the firmware restricts this).
 

Steve Phillips

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I have the Philips DVDR985 and love it. Excellent quality, and the erasable discs have played in every player I have tried except one (a very cheap APEX unit from 1999) as well as DVD-ROM drives.

No finalizing, no compliated manual, my Grandma could use this thing without reading the instructions.

Also, the Philips units play back DVD-R and DVD-RW as well as the DVD+R and DVD+RWs. This feature, along with the fact that the DVD+R and DVD+RWs you burn in it can play on most DVD players, make it the best bet out there, IMHO.

As for Sony and Philips being against the world; remember that Hewlitt Packard is a big supporter of DVD+RW and recently Microsoft came on board as well and will be making sure all PCs will soon be compatible.
 

Brian W.

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Can someone post a link to Ron's review? It appears to be broken on the home page -- there doesn't even seem to be a link there, where it says "Click here to read Ron's review." Thanks.
 

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