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DVR DVD combo - questions
Old 05-01-2008, 11:04 PM   #1
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DVR DVD combo - questions

Hey gang...

There is a lot of knowledge here I want to tap...

I bought a crap DVD recorder from Wally World a year or so ago... but did not use it much since I used my VCR... well, the VCR crapped out and guess what... so has the DVD recorder....

SO... I am thinking of buying a better model and also get one with a HDD (maybe 80 gig for 100 hours)... the ones I saw at Wally today were $200 for 80 gig and $300 for 160 gig... both have HD tuners, which is a nice feature that I will need soon anyhow...

What are some of your recommendations... does anyone know of a good sale?
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Old 05-02-2008, 09:12 AM   #2
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I, too, am interested in this issue. I have put off purchasing a DVR/DVD Recorder because of... well, confusion actually.

I am currently considering three models:

Panasonic DMR-EZ28K
Official Panasonic DMR-EZ28K thread - AVS Forum

Panasonic DMR-EH75V
Panasonic DMR-EH75V - DVD recorder / VCR combo with 80GB HDD Video Players and Recorder reviews - CNET Reviews

Philips DVDR3576H
Philips DVDR3575H/37 and DVDR3576H/37 Features, Setup and Operation - AVS Forum
DVDR3576H/37 - Hard Disk/DVD Recorder - Players and recorders - DVD and home theater - Philips

I am leaning towards the Philips but finding a source is problematic... it is not widely available yet.

In any event, I could certainly benefit from other's opinions.
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Old 05-02-2008, 09:43 AM   #3
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We have the Panasonic DMR E85H, and it's worked fine for years. It can record up to 50 hours (IIRC) on the 120 Gig hard drive, and we rarely run out of space -- usually only when we go away on a trip.

We use it to record news, Leno, Conan, and a few regular programs. For some rare shows, we keep episodes that we like. For example, we like Two and a Half Men, so if there's an episode we think we'll want to watch again, we leave it on the hard drive until we've accumulated four episodes. Then we copy those to a DVD and delete them from the hard drive.

It gets all program info from the cable.
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Old 05-02-2008, 10:08 AM   #4
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I am surprised no one has mentioned Tivo. From all the on-air time it gets from the TV stars, I thought everyone except me had one...

(New verb: I tivoed it.)
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Old 05-02-2008, 11:31 AM   #5
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Check out avsforum.com forums for user experiences with HD DVR and their interaction with HD Tvs. You might also consider a PS3 or xbox.
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Old 05-02-2008, 12:46 PM   #6
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I have the Philips DVD/DVR (I think it's the 3575H). At the time it was the only DVD recorder with a hard-drive and digital tuner. I bought it because I needed a DVD player, and wanted to replace my old Pansonic Replay (like a TiVo) that still works, but doesn't have a digital tuner.

I've been mostly happy with it, though it has some annoying flaws. The one that gets me is you can only sort the recorded shows by date (not, for example, by title, or by day of week). This makes it difficult to find how many episodes of "Dinasaur King" your son has recorded so you can delete a few. In all there is significantly more "hassle factor" with the Panasonic than a TiVo, but it will get the job done (and will do some things TiVo won't like record your home movies). I am not a videophile, so while I think the picture and sound are perfectly good - others may disagree.

I bought the Panasonic VCR/DVD (no HDD) with digital tuner first, but ended up returning it. After a week I missed the HDD too much, and was unhappy about a few other things, but I don't remember what they were.
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Old 05-02-2008, 01:22 PM   #7
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It's very nice to be able to copy videos to DVD for long term keeping or mailing to friends.
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Old 05-02-2008, 10:46 PM   #8
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OK...

Went to Sam's and bought the Philips DVDR 3576H for about $250... I will hook it up tomorrow and see how it works...

Thanks for the links and such... from what I was seeing, this was one of the few that was at the top of my list...


As to someone's question... I do not want to PAY Tivo to keep track of everything I record...
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Old 05-03-2008, 11:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
It's very nice to be able to copy videos to DVD for long term keeping or mailing to friends.
Tivo comes with a USB port so our friends just use their computer's DVD burner. Plus they can set recordings over the internet in case they are unexpectedly late at work. Plus if it has extra disk space, it will record things it thinks you want based on your recording habits.

I was impressed. The Tivo cost $99 but does require a subscription and an internet connection. YMMV
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Old 05-03-2008, 12:50 PM   #10
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OK... first review out of the box...

I plugged it in and got this awful buzzing sound... I was hoping it would 'go away' when it finished scanning... but NO....

Since I read about this with a few people... I said.... 'Da#%'.... got to take it back...

But, decided to play with it a little and I looked and had plugged in the S Video and the yellow video... took out the yellow and the buzzing went away!! WHEW....

Now.. it is working without a buzz... and I can get a bunch of the digital channels... but the first negatives...

The aspect ratio is strange... a normal 4:3 in digital is the normal picture but just smaller... black bars on all 4 sides... I changed to 4:3 pan and scan and it was now normal for them... but bad for the wide screen... and it is not quick to change...


Scanning channels is SLOW... I mean real slow IMO... it takes at least one second to actually change the channel and then is scans for the signal... and sometimes it takes 3 to 5 seconds to get a picture... very disappointing...

And the worst is that there are missing channels or some that freeze up... now... I know I do not have a great antenna... and live in the fringe... but let's hope this is not the norm...

I also have to go through and throw out a bunch of junk channels.. heck the religious ones have 3 or 4 each!!!

I did a quick check of the 'pause' and it seemed to work OK... but will do more on it later...

Still trying to see how to schedule things...
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Old 05-03-2008, 02:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
OK... first review out of the box...
Oh! I do hope it gets better. This machine is still at the top of my list. So much so that I was even considering a run to join Sam's Club this afternoon... guess I'll put THAT off.
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Old 05-03-2008, 03:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
The aspect ratio is strange... a normal 4:3 in digital is the normal picture but just smaller... black bars on all 4 sides... I changed to 4:3 pan and scan and it was now normal for them... but bad for the wide screen... and it is not quick to change...

Scanning channels is SLOW... I mean real slow IMO...

And the worst is that there are missing channels or some that freeze up... now... I know I do not have a great antenna... and live in the fringe... but let's hope this is not the norm...
It is far from perfect.

Some of these issues may be with the digital broadcast and not the unit. For example, many digital channels do broadcast "double letterboxed" with black bars all around. IMO this should be a capital offence, however it is common. Once you've recorded something that way I would really like to see a "zoom" feature that cuts it out on all sides, but even switching the Philips aspect ratio doesn't help you after the recording. I have a 16:9 TV so the unit may not work as well with a 4:3 TV.

I've also noticed the slow chanel change issue with both TiVo, the Philips, and the Panasonic. I almost always watch recorded shows now, so it doesn't bother me any more.

I rarely have any problems with reception and I'm about 25 miles from the transmitter. I had to try a few different antennas, but have had good luck with the Terk TDTVA.

I'd be interested if you find something better. The perfect solution doesn't seem to be out there yet. I thought hard about recording on my PC, but the hassle factor there was just too much for me.
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Old 05-03-2008, 05:03 PM   #13
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Oh! I do hope it gets better. This machine is still at the top of my list. So much so that I was even considering a run to join Sam's Club this afternoon... guess I'll put THAT off.
Ron.... as Bongo said, there is not anything perfect yet... I think this is the best that you can get right now...

I would be interested in someone who has the digital to analog box... does it take a bit of time to surf?? My TV without the digital is like no lag at all... as fast as you can hit the button the next picture is there... but if this is a 'digital thing'... well, have to live with it...

I have not yet recorded or watched anything... and yes, it probably IS the channel that is doing the 'double letterbox'... but WHY

I don't want to pay for a new TV yet... I have a very nice 36 tube... and am happy with the picture... don't have cable or sat...

I live about 33 miles from the towers.... I looked and I need a 'green' antenna to bring in the stations I get nothing... I guess I have a yellow...

AntennaWeb


I am using rabbit ears with a booster... the antenna I put in the attic never did that well and the rabbit did good enough for me...

When I move... I will probably splurge and get cable and high speed internet... but for now I am still in the stone age...
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Old 05-03-2008, 07:06 PM   #14
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Oh! Last September, I took the digital plunge and got rid of all of my analog equipment. I now have two wide screen sets -- a 42 inch and a 27 inch. I have a thirty five year old antennae on the roof that picks up about fifteen local stations with crystal clear pictures. I noticed when watching analog stations that sometimes it has what you are talking about -- the black bars around the picture. Both of my sets can compensate for that situation and now it is set to automatically adjust so I had forgotten about that.

That pause between channels must be a digital thing. Both of my sets take what seems an extra (very) long time during channel switching. (I, apparently, have gotten used to that because I had to go and check.)

So... now I am encouraged again. <chuckle>
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Old 05-04-2008, 03:04 AM   #15
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Started to read the book... they say it can take up to 7 seconds to change channels!!!! HOLY S... What is channel surfer supposed to do

OK, recorded a couple of programs tonight, but have not yet looked at them... using the old analog because the digital on the channel was not good yet...

BUT, I had thought I had read that this system had the TV guide attached somehow... but did not see any mention of it anywhere and do not see anything.... so, I must have been reading about another unit... to bad.. I would have loved to have something to pick from on screen... I do not know how the shows get a title... more reading and more experimenting...

I do think that I will be somewhat happy in the end... but I am surprised they design them the way they do when some things seem so 'easy'...
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Old 05-04-2008, 06:51 AM   #16
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they say it can take up to 7 seconds to change channels!!!!

BUT, I had thought I had read that this system had the TV guide attached somehow... but did not see any mention of it anywhere and do not see anything....
The "tv guide" is only available within digitally broadcast signals. Furthermore, it is provided by the television station so it isn't exactly consistent. Page 22 of the DVDR 3576H manual shows an example. Or perhaps it is interpreted by the receiving device -- one of our TVs has this feature, the other doesn't. Anyway, it is not available in analog form.

Yes, 7 seconds does seem to be excessive. I wonder if that truly happens or if it is just Philips' way of lowering expectations. Hmmmm.
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:03 AM   #17
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The "tv guide" is only available within digitally broadcast signals. Furthermore, it is provided by the television station so it isn't exactly consistent. Page 22 of the DVDR 3576H manual shows an example. Or perhaps it is interpreted by the receiving device -- one of our TVs has this feature, the other doesn't. Anyway, it is not available in analog form.

Yes, 7 seconds does seem to be excessive. I wonder if that truly happens or if it is just Philips' way of lowering expectations. Hmmmm.
Thanks... I will read up on it...

I have not seen any 7 second changes... but some have been close to 5... I think it is a CYA...

I will have to go read up on the system on the other forum... looks like it will be what I was looking for in the end.. once I learn to live with its quirks...
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:14 AM   #18
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looks like it will be what I was looking for in the end..
Me, too.
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Old 05-04-2008, 11:59 AM   #19
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Started to read the book... they say it can take up to 7 seconds to change channels!!!! HOLY S... What is channel surfer supposed to do
...

I do think that I will be somewhat happy in the end... but I am surprised they design them the way they do when some things seem so 'easy'...
I don't know for certain - but I suspect that in a fringe signal area, it will take longer for the TV to 'acquire' the signal. I'm also about 35 miles from the transmitters - I have an attic mounted antenna and it works fine (I have not timed the station changes on the HDTV, but it def can be a 'few ' seconds at times.

You said you were using rabbit ears - I'd bet that you just barely get enough signal, and that may be adding to the delays. I'd also bet that if your attic mount is aimed properly, and you have good, clean cable runs, no splitters (us a distribution amp), you will be happy. My cable routing is far from optimal, and it works perfectly for every HDTV that we can reasonably expect to pick up; a few analog stations are marginal.

The trouble with simplicity is this - these things are really being marketed and subsidized by the cable/sat companies, and they include the program guides. W/O a subsidy, the boxes are expensive, so consumer demand was low (sticker shock from upfront cost, even though TCO would be lower - don't get me started), so there also just is not much demand to make them work well stand-alone.

I hate cable companies, and they screw me like this even when I don't buy their 'services' - argggggghhhhh!


-ERD50
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Old 05-04-2008, 01:09 PM   #20
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You could test ERD50's hypothesis (slow channel switching is due to poor signal), by noticing whether it's faster to change to some channels versus to others.
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