Rookie looking for Help - any thoughts on Sony RDR-GX7?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Adam_D_Brown, Feb 16, 2005.

  1. Adam_D_Brown

    Adam_D_Brown Auditioning

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    Hi everyone,

    I've been reading a lot of the posts in the other threads on this site...VERY helpful!

    I'm a first-time DVDR buyer. I was originally looking into my cable company's offering for it's TiVo-like features to record TV shows on a hard drive on my cable box (I have a Comcast HD box). I was also looking at TiVo's. My primary concern with these 2 options is that I can't dump what I record onto DVD once I record a show (is that true or am I mis-informed)?

    So I want to be able to use the DVDR as a glorified VCR to record shows. I also want to be able to copy my old VHS tapes onto DVD.

    Has anyone heard anything good/bad about the Sony RDR-GX7? Would I have a problem integrating it with my current home theatre setup (Samsung 50" HD Plasma, Comcast HD cable service, Samsung HT-DS660T 500W 5.2-Ch Rear-Reflecting Home Theatre System)?

    Looking forward to seeing everyone's responses.

    Take care,
    Adam
     
  2. Elizabeth S

    Elizabeth S Producer

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    Adam,

    I personally do not have any first-hand experience with the Sony RDR-GX7. However, I did a lot of pondering and researching before I bought my Pioneer 420 and Toshiba XS-32. I primarily use them in lieu of my VCR for record/view/erase as well as editing commercials out of favorites and archiving them to DVD.

    Sony has yet to make a DVD recorder with the features I'm looking for. First, the GX7 does not have a hard drive, and I highly, highly recommend one. While you could burn shows straight to DVD on the GX7, you cannot edit out commercials, just hide them (still using up disc space). With hd models becoming quite reasonable in price, it is well worth the money. While Sony's HX-900 is their first model with a hard drive, the lack of a "divide" feature automatically eliminates it for me. They also seem to be limited to about 5 or 6 basic recording modes, unlike the Toshiba and Pioneer which offer you 32 steps.

    Not trying to dissuade you from the Sony, and others here may have great experiences with them. Just a few points of note to consider. [​IMG]

    Your setup sounds VERY nice! Any recorder should be able to be incorporated smoothly in there!

    P.S. Pioneer and Toshiba have new models coming out in March - May. I'm hoping one of them will fit my 3rd recorder requirements (yes, I love TV!) Oh, and there are many Panasonic lovers, but the RAM limitation previously kept me away. However, their next models will have -RW capability.
     
  3. Adam_D_Brown

    Adam_D_Brown Auditioning

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    Aloha Elizabeth!

    Thanks for the reply. I'm glad you mentioned the lack of a hard drive on the GX7. After reading some more reviews, I realize that's something that's going to be a show-stopper for me.

    I'm leaning towards the Pioneer since reading your post. Do you have any opinion on the differences between the 420 and the 520?

    Also, have you had any issues with the Toshiba you own as far as being being unable to playback DVDs on other machines, or experiencing the "black-level" bug?

    Mahalo!
    Adam
     
  4. Elizabeth S

    Elizabeth S Producer

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    Adam,

    The Pioneer 520 is the same as the 420 except for the addition of a DV-in. (They even share the same manual.) The only place I've heard of which carried the 420 was Costco, but they seem to have cleared out their stock.

    No, I have not encountered any player compatibility problems with the Toshiba
    -Rs I have made. The black-level issue is still a question mark for me. I admit there were a couple of instances when I noted a washed-out appearance to the menu on the DVD I had created when played on another machine. However, it has been inconsistent, and I still can't quite put my finger on when it occurs. Most times, I don't notice any kind of problem. This topic is really hotly debated on various forums, and I don't know why some people experience it and others don't. Definitely a YMMV kind of scenario. I found the Toshiba not as user-friendly as the Pioneer at first, but I have grown accustomed to it. It does allow you to "tweak" more options than the Pioneer (including the ability to create chapter thumbnails in addition to title thumbnails).

    Overall, I find the tuner in the Toshiba better than the Pioneer on "weaker" stations. Also, I originally thought there was a problem with my cable signal, but I think there is a problem spot in the Pioneer tuner from around channel 35 to 45. It seems to introduce a "herringbone pattern" effect into those channels. I had purchased a second 420 just to verify, and this one was more prominent, so I'll eventually be returning it. I did hear another owner mention this on another forum as well.

    I find the Toshiba is very finicky about media, however. Although it is supposed to take 4X -RW media, it doesn't like the Ridata's that the Pioneer happily takes. It also didn't like Memorex -RWs (I think these were 2X). Luckily, I found some Maxells which it likes. It has been compatible with the various -Rs I've tried, though.

    On the topic of recording old VHS to DVD, some people have experienced "black out" problems with the Pioneer. If the tape is crinkled or doesn't track properly, it may "black out" on the recording, rather than record the problem picture. I have not encountered this problem with my VHS, though.

    There seems to be positives and negatives to most recorders, but perhaps if you have a store with a good return policy, you should just "jump in" and see how it works for you. In the 8 months or so since I bought the 1st recorder, it's made my TV viewing so much easier and organized. The "chase play" option is so great for watching something almost live, but having the ability to skip all the commercials.
     

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