DVD recorder questions

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Matt_Vaudrin, Oct 24, 2005.

  1. Matt_Vaudrin

    Matt_Vaudrin Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi, you guys have helped me out before, and here I am again.

    I currently have a small tv with front AV jacks and basic cable. I use two VCR's, one hooked through the back of the tv, one to the front AV jacks, to record 2 things some nights.

    Lately I've been having problems with the second VCR, and would like to replace it with a DVD recorder, but I have some questions about them.

    1. How many hours can you get on a standard DVD? I've heard 2 hours, 4 hours, even 8 hours, which is right??

    2. Are there DVD's that you can use again and again, like you can with a VHS tape?? for recording something, watching it, and recording over it the next night.

    3. Is there a way to take things I have on VHS tapes and transfer them to DVD's. I currently have about 50 VHS tapes of various shows that I would like to save, so I want to put them on DVD. Is there a way to do that??

    4. I also wanted to try to copy some of my old VHS movies onto DVD's, not to sell or anything, just for my own use. can I do that, is it illegal??

    5. what's the difference between a DVD-R and a DVD-RW??

    I think that's all for now, but I may add more questions later, after I get responses to these.


    Matt
     
  2. Elizabeth S

    Elizabeth S Producer

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    1. How many hours can you get on a standard DVD? I've heard 2 hours, 4 hours, even 8 hours, which is right??

    I find about 2 to 3 hours is the best compromise on fit/quality. Depending on the user, you may find 4-hour quality acceptable for something you just want to watch and erase. (I think you can fit up to 6 hours, but have not tried, as I think the quality will be very poor.) I REALLY recommend a hard-drive recorder if it's within your budget, though. It's WONDERFUL! You can easily fit about 30 hours of decent quality video on a 80GB hard drive and select to play from thumbnails. (And you don't have to go searching for which DVD it's on, much like searching for the right VHS tape.)

    2. Are there DVD's that you can use again and again, like you can with a VHS tape?? for recording something, watching it, and recording over it the next night.

    Yes, the +RW and -RWs are re-writeable to do just that.

    3. Is there a way to take things I have on VHS tapes and transfer them to DVD's. I currently have about 50 VHS tapes of various shows that I would like to save, so I want to put them on DVD. Is there a way to do that??

    Yes, you should be able to transfer by using video/audio outs on your VCR connected to the corresponding "ins" on your DVD recorder. It's much better to have a hard-drive on your DVD recorder to allow you to edit out any unwanted commercials and material before burning to a final -R or +R DVD. You also wouldn't have to "babysit" the process to get the exact start/end you want -- any excess can be trimmed off later.

    4. I also wanted to try to copy some of my old VHS movies onto DVD's, not to sell or anything, just for my own use. can I do that, is it illegal??

    Yes, but you may encounter copy protection depending on the tape.

    5. what's the difference between a DVD-R and a DVD-RW??

    -R is write once; -RWs can be recorded, erased, and used again.

    I think that's all for now, but I may add more questions later, after I get responses to these.

    Matt, I made the transition from VHS to DVD recorders about 1-1/2 years ago and it's GREAT! I have 3 DVD recorders now (to handle all the time conflicts). It's hard to believe now that I managed all the timeshifting before with VCRs! And it's great fun making compilation DVDs (such as highlights from basketball games, music performances from talk shows, etc.)
     
  3. Matt_Vaudrin

    Matt_Vaudrin Stunt Coordinator

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    I have one more question.

    Lets say I have a movie or tv show on VHS tape and the quality isn't very good. If I copy it to DVD, will the quality improve or will it stay the same??

    I don't want to waste time copying things to later find out that the quality is just as bad.


    Thanks
     
  4. PatH

    PatH Second Unit

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    For Elizabth S.

    Please dip over to the AudioVisual Sources forum and read my "Looking for . . ." post. I ask you to do this since you so kindly helped Matt and may be the only one here willing to help me as well. Thanks for your time.

    PatH
     
  5. Elizabeth S

    Elizabeth S Producer

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    Matt,

    Generally, I would not expect an improvement in the picture quality over the original VHS -- putting it on a better media now can't overcome poor original source material. However, I HAVE read that Panasonic recorders apparently have the best TBC (time base correction) and Noise Reduction to make the most pleasing results (I imagine by essentially "smoothing out" some of the noise).

    Pat,

    Sent you an e-mail with some suggestion links.
     
  6. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    I stumbled on this thread. I'm in the same boat as Matt, as far as wanting to transfer my VHS tapes to DVD via a recorder. I was going to do this with my computer, but I would probably have to spend just as much. My question is:

    How sophisticated is the editing from the hard drive?

    My plan is to dump a tape onto the hard drive, cut out all the stuff I don't want, and than burn it. Can you add chapter stops anywhere you like? Can you get screen grabs, or import .jpgs for menues?

    Does anyone have any suggestions for models? I want one that well play dvd+-R and DL, as well as divx (basically everything!)
     
  7. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    Oh, one other question I forgot. Can I record a VHS tape to the hard drive while using the player to watch a DVD?
     
  8. Elizabeth S

    Elizabeth S Producer

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    Yes, you can on my Toshiba and Pioneers (and I would imagine all hard drive recorders.) You could actually even record to the hard drive while watching something else on the hard drive.

    There aren't too many recorders out there that have both + and - capability. I think the new Pioneers have DL capability, though the discs are still rather cost prohibitive.
     
  9. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    Wow! Thanks for the quick response Elizabeth![​IMG]

    The thumbnail chapters thing isn't a huge priority for me, I'm just used to downloading wall papers and such for the few discs I've burned on my laptop. I t is nice to learn that some of these players have that ability.

    The player I was looking at was an LG model that had a 250gig HD, dvd+,-, RW and DL compatible, and could play JPG, MP3, and DIVX discs. It sounded like the best of all worlds, but I've read some reviews that say the hard drive is clunky. [​IMG] So I guess I'll continue to wait for a more reliable brand, although that Toshiba your talking about looks pretty sweet.

    Do any of the recorders currently use DIVX for the disc creation? I'm not to familiar with it, I've just heard guys talking about it in burning 10 hr DVD's.
     
  10. wally

    wally Second Unit

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    Great info Elizabeth.

    I’ve got the Tosh xs34 and love it. I’ve yet to burn VHS material to the HD and then to a DVD, but I’m very happy with the results using the FireWire input with a DV camcorder. The editing is easy as Elizabeth says, simply drop chapter marks around the unwanted content, and delete it prior to burning. You can name the chapters, reorder them, etc. Not as robust as doing it on a computer, but more than adequate for my needs.
     
  11. Elizabeth S

    Elizabeth S Producer

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    Russell, sorry, I'm not familiar with recorders and DIVX. I couldn't imagine that much crammed on a DVD looking very good, though!

    I had not heard of that LG model and just searched for some info. I found a user review, which if accurate, had what seems like a peculiar trait of the machine. It said that burning to disc could be done at high speed with no reencoding if maintaining the original quality of your recording. HOWEVER, if you make ANY edits at all to trim the original recording, you will have to burn to disc in real time. This is very strange and is the first time I've heard of editing affecting the burning speed. It would be a great time-consuming inconvenience!

    I think that these recorders are still relatively new, and none of them are quite "perfect" yet in incorporating all the useful features. (There's actually great debate over my Toshiba XS-32 and whether a black-level bug exists and if it's even noticeable to most people -- but that's another can of worms.) I'm really glad I purchased my recorders, though, as they have been invaluable in making my time-shifting easy. (I prefer it to TIVO, as it makes archiving shows an easier one-step process.)

    Good luck with everyone's quest! [​IMG]
     
  12. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    Supposedly, using the DIVX codecs on computer allows you to comprese a huge amount of video onto a DVD, with out loss of quality. I haven't seen it myself, and kind of have my doubts as well.

    Thanks again for your insite Elizabeth, it's been very helpful. I guess I have one last questions for, if you've tried this.

    Pretty near all of the VHS tapes I plan to transfer are recorded at SLP/EP (6hrs of tape). I'm wondering, how does this look, and about how much can you put on a DVD without worsening the quality? Does SLP stuff suffer from more artifacts due to compresion? I'd be happy to have it look basically the same, and willing to get less on a disc than on tape (3-4 hours on DVD, as opposed to 6-8 hours on a tape, DVD media is cheap enough.)
     
  13. Elizabeth S

    Elizabeth S Producer

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    Russell,

    Unfortunately, most of my VHS stuff was also recorded at SLP, which I regret in hindsight. They don't look very good today (some were on tapes which were used over and over, as I didn't always know what I might eventually want to keep). I would record only about 2:15 onto a DVD in this situation, also. While I haven't transferred too many things, a cursory look seemed to indicate it pretty much kept the quality of the original. I do only have a 27" TV at present, so shortcomings may not be as glaringly obvious. You could experiment with fitting more on a disc and see if it's still acceptable to you. (If I recall correctly, the Pioneer even lets you "sample" how something might look, depending on which bitrate you choose.)
     

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