Looking to buy a DVD Recorder

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Don, Dec 21, 2004.

  1. Don

    Don Second Unit

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    any suggestions as. to what to buy or avoid getting. i'll like to stay away from possibly buying a Lemon. or one that should be improved on.
     
  2. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    First think about what kind of recording you want to do.

    Will you want to edit content? If so you will want DVD-RAM at the minimum...but also a hard disk model would be better.

    I have both types and use the non-HDD one only for back-up and when there is conflicting programming at the same time. In such cases I burn either DVD-RW or DVD-RAM so I can edit what I don't want to keep. But most of my recording is done on the recorder with the HDD and it is a Godsend. Things can pile up at times but if it gets too full/out of control there is always the format option. I've reformatted mine twice already in a short period of time.

    Will you want to circulate burned DVD's to friends and family? Will you want a machine with internal VHS to DVD dubbing?

    There's tons of stuff to consider before purchasing or before anyone could reasonably offer up a suggestion which might apply to your situation.
     
  3. Don

    Don Second Unit

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    i'll mainly be using it for personal use. but as soon as people find out i'm sure they'll be asking for me to record this or that. if the vhs dubbing means that i can put vhs onto dvd i'll have to say yes then. i'm not sure what i'm supposed to look for or might need. i know nothing about the hard drives etc. if someone can post some info on it i'll appreciate it.
     
  4. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Hi Don,

    Things to consider:

    Commercial VHS to DVD dubbing may or may not work depending on macrovision. If the tape is non-commercial there is no problem.

    I have dubbed any number of commercial tapes to DVD but my setup uses a standalone VCR sending input to the DVD recorder...in cases where the macrovision makes dubbing difficult I simply insert a 'video enhancer' in the line and no more problem. This may or may not be possible with a VHS/DVD combo unit. It largely depends on the inputs/outputs for each side of the unit.

    Panasonic, Sharp, JVC etc. all have combo models...Check their websites. I believe there is a JVC unit which has all three in one---VHS, DVD, and HDD recorder.

    Many people prefer the convenience of the combo units for simplicity and space saving reasons, etc. I generally prefer to keep components separate.

    What you might want to know is this: a standalone DVD recorder has a USEFUL time limit on recordings of a little over 2 hours (the limitation of a standard SINGLE LAYER disc recorded at SP (standard play...bitrate of 4.6-5.0 depending on machine). Of course the best quality will be achieved with the highest bitrate setting, generally 9.2 but that limit is one hour, again per single layer disc. While most machines are capable of burns at lesser bitrates than the 2 hour SP, anything lower erodes quality. A commercial DVD is usually recorded at the best bitrate possible and is usually DOUBLE LAYER.

    With a Hard drive you are able to control the process much more fully. As I stated previously, I have both types of recorders (both Toshibas) and cannot foresee ever buying another recorder without a hard drive. Depending on manufacturer, you can dub to DVD or to the HDD and even from DVD back to HDD. Editing of content and preparation of DVD's before burning is so much easier with a hard drive.

    Panny's are highly thought of on most forums...Also Pioneer.
    I love my Tosh XS32 but never recommend it because of the "black level bug". If unfamiliar with this, do a search on the term...it will save time. I have never seen any problems with discs recorded using my XS32 on a wide array of non-Toshiba players both computer and standalone but someone elses mileage may vary.

    Be aware that if you now have or plan to incorporate TIVO in the future you will not be able to edit any content for commercials.
     
  5. PatH

    PatH Second Unit

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    Paul:

    Not Don here, but I am interested in this, so I subscribed.
    Please explain the last sentence regarding editing content for commercials on a TIVO. I know what that is, but very little else. Thanks!

    PatH
     
  6. Don

    Don Second Unit

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    Paul and PatH Thank you. Pat i hope we both learn from this. i'm thinking of getting a Cheap Panasonic DVD Recorder. i also want a single player not a double unit. and is there a player/recorder with a built in dolby digital Decoder that has a optic and 2 channel hook up. i already have a vcr so no need to buy a new one. i also have a Denon avr-3200 receiver that needs the 2 channel hook up. P.S. Merry Christmas [​IMG]
     
  7. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Don,

    If you know what you want then go for it. A single disc recorder unit places some demands on the person doing the recording. If it does not incorporate RAM (fortunately I believe all Pannys do) then editing on the disc is nigh impossible. If you do not care about editing capabilities then such a Panny unit as you described is likely all you will need. Be forewarned, however...an HDD unit will become very attractive in short order as circumstances change.

    Pat,

    What I meant is that any and all recordings taken through TIVO will not allow for editing of content, eg. no commercial deletion, etc. before burning to disc. Some units offer TIVO service but also allow for manual recordings not TIVO based automation. In such cases editing capabiliity should be possible but not guaranteed due to machine differences and implementation...research thoroughly.
     
  8. PatH

    PatH Second Unit

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    Paul:

    Why in the world would anyone want a TIVO they couldn't edit?

    PatH
     
  9. Don

    Don Second Unit

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    Paul the Reason why i want the Panasonic. is because its a name brand. i don't trust the other no name brands because their new. to me it would be like buying a yugo when you should buy a pontiac over it. all i'm looking for is a decent name brand and something that is reliable but i do need it to have a built in dolby digital decoder so my receiver don't mess up.
     
  10. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Pat,

    TIVO is so popular because of the simplicity. It changes the way folks watch TV. But for DVD recording it is a poor source because of the built-in protections for commercial material.

    Don,

    As long as the unit has optical or coax output you should be fine. Philips is supposedly bringing some units with 5.1 inputs to the US but like much of their products they rarely deliver on time.
     
  11. Bill Will

    Bill Will Screenwriter

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    Do the HD you rent from the Cable Companies let you edit out the Commercials so you can then dump them to the DVD Recorder? Thanks.
     
  12. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Hi Bill,

    I think it varies from service provider to service provider. Single disc recorders are limited which is why I always recommend a unit with HDD. Many folks with PVR's from various providers still see the need for standalone Recorders with hard drives, if only for the editing capabilities.

    Personally I don't like the movement toward greater control and copy protection among service providers and source channels such as HBO, etc. Buying/renting/leasing one of these provider units if not a risk today may well become one tomorrow.

    Caveat Emptor.
     

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