need advice for panny e80hs

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Terry Clements, Dec 6, 2003.

  1. Terry Clements

    Terry Clements Auditioning

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    Greetings all,
    I have finally decided that it's time to invest in a recorder, and I've decided on the Panny E80 for it's hard drive. Actually, this will be my first DVD unit ever! So, I have some questions for those who now have this unit:1. How would you rate the learning curve for this model? 2. Have you had compatibility problems playing your recordings on other players? 3. Is resolution a big problem beyond 2 hour speed?

    In regard to the first question, I will reprint part of a review from a user on Circuit City's site, "The unit is easy to use - almost all functions are OSD (on-Screen Display)driven. The manual is well written and detailed.
    You can get over 100 hours recording time on the hard drive at LP. There are 4 recording speeds total. Quality at LP looks like a VCR quality tape. At standard play you can get about 35 hours record time. In this mode, video is virtually indistinguishable from the original video source. Picture on commercial DVD's is great, and the unit will play back in progressive scan 480p if you have a TV which supports it.
    Recording and playing back material is easy. The unit supports VCR+ for those of you who are less technically inclined. You can add titles on the programs you record. You can make playlists. You can edit out show material you don't want..like commercials if you want to archive your favorite TV shows recorded from commercial TV. Copying a program from the HDD to a DVD-R is a snap with the OSD but like most other recorders, you must finalize the DVD in order for it to play on other DVD players. Finalizing (an option selected on the OSD) a DVD-R effectively turns the DVD-R into a DVD Video, which can be read by about 90% of all DVD players made in the last 3 years. Dubbing is done at a maximum 1-2x speed depending on the sources. This means you can make dvd's from any non-protected/copyrighted source - like copying a video tape you have to DVD.
    This unit pretty much has it all. I've had it a week, and it performs every function that I wanted in a recorder very well. In fact, I can't think of one option I'd add to this unit, unless it's the ability to write/read DVD+R/RW, and maybe a digital optical input.
    That's enough talk. I've been an electronics junkie for many years and suffice it to say this unit is a great purchase if you're in the market for a DVD."

    This person is obviously pleased with the model, but he also says that he's been into electronics for years. So, I would appreciate the opinions of those who now have this unit as to it's average learning curve and ease of use, especially for a novice like myself.

    In regard to the second question, I would like to have feedback on the issue of compatability of recordings with this model. Another reviewer on the same page had this to say, "Low compatibility of discs-still a problem
    This is the fourth generation Panasonic DVD Recorder and they have made a machine that offers the very best features on the market. You can record to HD and then dub to disc. This unit can now record in a DVD-R mode for hi-speed dub to DVD-R. Panasonic is the only maker to offer the Flex Record which allows one to record a movie that is 135 minutes long at full DVD resolution. It simply allows you to set the length from 1 to 6 hours to match the recording to the minute and not waste any bits on the disc. This is a great feature. Other makers give you 2 and 3 hour settings with a big quality drop off between the two. The major flaw with this unit as it has been with prior generations, is the discs this unit produces have trouble in stand alone players. Most players recognize the discs and call up the menu but an hour into a DVD, it begins to lock up and freeze and block up and in many cases shuts down. This seems to be the case regardless of disc manufacturer. This even happens when playing some of the DVD-Rs back in the recorder itself. This has to be a limitation with the Panasonic units as this is far less of a problem with DVD-Rs from Pioneer and Sony recorders. Panasonic offers far more features than the Philips, which uses DVD+Rs, but the DVD+R is far more reliable in stand alone players. Given that disc compatibility is the most important thing in recording, it is impossible to really recommend any of the Panasonic line of recorders at this time."

    So, have any Panny E80 users had compatibility problems? If so, were your experiences as bad as those described above? I would appreciate all feedback.

    In regard to the third question, what about recording speed and resolution? Among the VHS tapes that I would like to convert to DVD, many are compilations at 4 and 8 hour lengths. I recorded the individual segments at SP and then duped them onto the compilation tape. Would I be able to record a 4 hour tape at 4 hour speed without noticeable loss of quality, or would I need to stick with 2 hours at a time? Again, all feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    Terry Clements
     
  2. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    I've owned the E80 for several months now and couldn't be more pleased. The learning curve is very short, although the manual is no great shakes in explaining things. You should be able to get through it well enough. One thing - to be able to use "High Speed" dubbing, you must set DVD Compatibility to "ON" before recording to HDD.

    I've only tried my recorded discs on a couple players, a JVC and a several-years-old Sony, with perfect results.

    I've never recorded anything beyond 2 hours long. Be aware, that at about the 2 hr. 20 mn. mark, the machine switches to the next lowest quality level.

    I nearly always use the FR recording mode. The great thing about this mode over all the others, aside from maximizing the bit rate for the chosen recording time, is that recording stops after the recording time is reached. I record mainly laser discs; FR mode allows me to start recording and then go away (or, too often, fall asleep) without the possiblity that I will fill the entire disc because I'm not there to stop the recording.

    There are some features I would like added or changed - adding title name is pretty clunky (Panasonic, Pioneer and others - there is this thing called a keyboard that's been around for years - get with the program) but overall I'd say it's a well thought out machine. I would, however, spring for the E100 if I were to buy a recorder today, simply because of the much faster dubbing speeds.
     
  3. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  4. Terry Clements

    Terry Clements Auditioning

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    Thanks for the info Alan. Hearing that you "couldn't be more pleased" with the unit makes it sound very promising.
    And Michael, sorry about a redundant post, but I'm very new to board posting and didn't know that I could use the search feature like that. Now that I do, I will most certainly use it.
     
  5. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    I have also owned a Panny E80 for a few months. The unit has a few quirks that Alan mentioned, but once you figure them out the player is fairly easy to use.

    I have played back recordings on my Panasonic RP-91, portable Toshiba SD-P2000 and Sony DVD-S300 (a five year old player) without any problems, so compatibility has not been an issue.

    As Alan suggested, I would avoid any recordings over about 2:20, since the video quality really drops around that point. The flexible recording (FR) mode, though, works very well in allowing you to get the maximum video quality possible for different length recordings (as long as they are less than 2:20).
     
  6. Terry Clements

    Terry Clements Auditioning

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    Thanks for the input Scott. The E80 is looking like a good choice.
     

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