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Old 03-19-07, 10:49 PM   #1
calhoun07
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Educate me on DVD Recorders

I figured it's time to ditch the old VCR. I see DVD recorders all the time for reasonable prices, often under a hundred dollars.

First off, I am not all that interested in burning TV shows to DVD for long term use (I haven't had much luck with DVD-Rs over long term use that I've gotten from other people to begin with...) so I am wondering how exactly do they work?

Can you hook them up while keeping your main DVD player as the one you watch your movies from (since I have a region free player, this is a concern of mine). I basically just want the same set up I have now with my TV, DVD player and VCR, only swapping out my VCR for a DVD recorder, and where I can watch video from my DVD recorder on channel 3 and still be able to hit the video button for the DVD player.

Second, do you have to burn the shows to a disc to watch them? Or can you watch them from a hard drive? For 98% of the time, I'd be satisfied with watching them from the hard drive and deleting the files later on. So I am kind of wondering if DVD recorders work basically as DVRs you get from your cable company, only with the added ability to burn the programs onto DVD if you choose to keep them.

And finally, if I do get a recorder, what are the best brands of recordable DVDs to use? I've gotten a handful in the past from other people and they play fine when they are new but it seems the older they get the more apt they are to just crapping out, and not playing at all and pixelating really bad.
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Old 03-19-07, 11:32 PM   #2
emoxley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calhoun07
Can you hook them up while keeping your main DVD player as the one you watch your movies from (since I have a region free player, this is a concern of mine). I basically just want the same set up I have now with my TV, DVD player and VCR, only swapping out my VCR for a DVD recorder, and where I can watch video from my DVD recorder on channel 3 and still be able to hit the video button for the DVD player.
Yes. Since you won't be using the digital output for audio, just hook it up to the same inputs and outputs your vcr is using.

Quote:
Second, do you have to burn the shows to a disc to watch them? Or can you watch them from a hard drive? For 98% of the time, I'd be satisfied with watching them from the hard drive and deleting the files later on. So I am kind of wondering if DVD recorders work basically as DVRs you get from your cable company, only with the added ability to burn the programs onto DVD if you choose to keep them.
Yes, you can watch them from the HD, and erase them later.

Quote:
And finally, if I do get a recorder, what are the best brands of recordable DVDs to use? I've gotten a handful in the past from other people and they play fine when they are new but it seems the older they get the more apt they are to just crapping out, and not playing at all and pixelating really bad.
Sounds like you were using Memorex, TDK, or some store brand of media. If you'll use Verbatim, Sony, or Maxell (make sure Sony and Maxell discs are made in Japan), you should be pretty well off. Verbatim are the only Taiwan made discs, that you want. It will say where they're made, on the package, usually near the barcode.
Good luck!
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Old 03-20-07, 05:34 PM   #3
calhoun07
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Originally Posted by emoxley
Yes, you can watch them from the HD, and erase them later.
Do all DVD recorders use this feature? I am looking at a couple that have a DVD recorder and a VCR in the same unit (as I have tapes to transfer and tapes that I don't have on DVD) Do DVD recorders vary in hard drive space?
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Old 03-20-07, 05:48 PM   #4
rw2516
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calhoun07
Do all DVD recorders use this feature? I am looking at a couple that have a DVD recorder and a VCR in the same unit (as I have tapes to transfer and tapes that I don't have on DVD) Do DVD recorders vary in hard drive space?
Different models will have different HD space. I use Panasonic which offer an 80GB and a 160GB. The one with built in vcr is an 80GB. 80GB is equivilant to @ 18hrs(XP mode), 36hrs(SP mode) up to around 140hrs in XLP. Recorders with a HD have a couple hundred dollars added to the price tag over those that don't. Don't plan on trying to copy a pre-recorded tapes to DVDR as the recorder will detect the macrovision and block copying.
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Old 03-20-07, 06:17 PM   #5
calhoun07
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Originally Posted by rw2516
Different models will have different HD space. I use Panasonic which offer an 80GB and a 160GB. The one with built in vcr is an 80GB. 80GB is equivilant to @ 18hrs(XP mode), 36hrs(SP mode) up to around 140hrs in XLP. Recorders with a HD have a couple hundred dollars added to the price tag over those that don't. Don't plan on trying to copy a pre-recorded tapes to DVDR as the recorder will detect the macrovision and block copying.
Well, most of the video tapes I have are not store bought. I only have three video tapes I am confident will never see the light of day on DVD that I would like to make personal back up copies of, but I guess if I can't...

So basically the cheap end models are out? I was looking at a Emerson DVD recorder/VCR combo for about $90.00. At that price, what you're saying is it doesn't have a HD.
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Old 03-21-07, 08:27 PM   #6
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I've gone through many DVD recorders...Philips, Rca, Cyberhome....the only one that never malfunctioned or crapped out was the one that I have now ..Panny DMRES30V DVD/VCR combo. No HD in it....got it for around $300 about 2 years ago ...Could probably get the model with the HD in it now for that price. Pioneer also makes good DVD recorders. I'd stay away from Emerson.
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Old 03-22-07, 12:02 AM   #7
calhoun07
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JZ1276
I'd stay away from Emerson.
The only reason I was considering them is because when we I was a kid, my mom had a VCR from them that lasted quite a while. Of course, I think the DVD recorder I was looking at doesn't have much of a hard drive, at least it didn't really list it in the catalogue I saw it in.

I will check out the Pioneers, though. Thanks for the tip!
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Old 03-22-07, 01:14 AM   #8
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OP, you may not have as much time as you think to make your selection. The availability of DVD recorders with hard drives from ALL manufacturers is drying up. The Panasonic DMR-EH55 is nowhere to be found. The Pioneer 640 is a figament of the imagination. Sony - nada. Supposedly there are a few Toshibas out there, but I'm not a fan and haven't checked. Check the South American river website if you don't beleive me.

Moreover, as far as I know, NONE of these manufacturers have announced a new 2007 unit with hard drive. All of this has to do with some weird interpretation of a federal regulation that went into effect on 3/1/07 which prohibits the sale of DVD recorders with an NTSC (non-digital) tuner and/or without an ATSC tuner.

The only model that seems to be readily available -- for now -- is the Panasonic EH75VS, which also has an 80 gig HDD and a VHS drive. To find that one you should search the city in a circuitous manner. If you can find any of these in your local stores, don't wait.
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Old 03-22-07, 09:59 PM   #9
calhoun07
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I wasn't really looking to spend $500.00. It surprises me those with hard drives go for that much....an 80gig hard drive is not expensive at all by itself.

So what about the lower end models? If they don't have a hard drive, how do you record to DVD?
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Old 03-22-07, 11:57 PM   #10
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Through a wire.

The $200 Panasonic line is excellent, whatever the currently available model number is. If you can get them for less than $200, be happy.
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