DVD Recorder suggestions and RGB in/out?

Posted by: Paul Hutchings on 26 December 2004

I think I'm going to treat myself to a DVD recorder, I've been meaning to do so for ages but it seems prices right now are about low enough to not feel too gutted when something better comes along in three months time.

I already have Sky+, so what I really want is to be able to watch DVDs (multi-region would be ideal) and record either direct off Sky as I'm watching, or set it going overnight using Skys copy feature. Bog standard stuff I'd hope.

RGB input and output is a requirement, no point losing quality.
Don't care about +/- so long as I can watch them.
A"usable in the dark" remote would be nice, I don't want 7x15 rows of similar sized buttons.
Being able to edit out adverts after recording would be nice but not essential.

So far I'm thinking Pioneer 220 or Panasonic E55, I'm tending to lean towards the Pioneer, but I'm not really sure why, just seems a little "newer" than the Panny?

cheers,
Paul
Posted on: 27 December 2004 by Paul Hutchings
Well so far widescreen switching is the biggest unknown.

Does anyone here have a Pioneer DVD recorder?

A Sky+ box will do automatic aspect switching when connected to the TV via RGB scart. I'd like to think that if this output were daisy-chained through a DVD recorder over RGB that I'd still get the automatic change in aspect ratio when watching Sky, but I've heard mixed reports.

The few shops that are open today that sell these things are typically useless.

regards,
Paul
Posted on: 28 December 2004 by Fozz
Paul I bought the toshiba Dvr3 combi VCR and
DVD recorder, mainly because it had DV in for my video camera. Like you I found websites and sales staff totally blank on connection scenarios. The Sky+ digibox has only one sacrt output that is RGB and I found daisy chaining it to the TV via the recorder a none-starter, 1 a reduction in quality even with top quality scarts and 2 passing through of macrovision encoded films on sky can evidently be a problem.

in the end I connected sky+ to TV direct and to record films from the sky+ I use a dedicated fly lead of s-video plus chord co phonos to carry the audio. This way is a great way of doing things because sound on the recorded DVD is much much better with a very slight reduiction in video quality. As sky compress the life out of their video anyway I dont think you will really notice the reduction in quality over an RGB record.

The Toshiba is a great machine too so all in all I am happy. Its sad that you have to buy the box and then fiddle around for several hours with various daisy chains and connections to work out the best compromise.

best of luck

Gary
Posted on: 28 December 2004 by Paul Hutchings
It's all bollocks basically, that's what I've concluded after spending a few hours doing as much homework/digging as possible.

Seems there's no simple way to take a Sky+ box and record from it with minimal quality loss without worrying about loss of widescreen switching, or loss of picture quality from RGB passthrough or something.. bloody nightmare.

My mum's been thinking of replacing her TV lately and I see JVC are doing a very sensible thing and putting 2 RGB scarts on even their cheapest widescreen sets.

At the moment the Pioneer 420 seems top of my list, basically because it has a HDD so you can edit adverts and stuff before burning to DVD.

Not sure about the Toshiba machines, though they do seem to offer the best connectivity.

I have to say I can really notice the difference with Sky+ between RGB and composite so keeping RGB throughout the chain is important to me.

It wouldn't be so bad but you have the ridiculous situation where I can order a machine online from Currys or Richer Sounds at a "special web price", and if it's not suitable I can return it under the DSR, but if find myself stood in one of their stores having chosen to go there to look at a prospective purchase, they won't sell it me at the same price, or take it back for a refund if it doesn't do what I want, despite the fact that they sell the bastard things and don't know how they work Mad

Sorry but it really winds me up.

regards,
Paul
Posted on: 29 December 2004 by Fozz
For me it was the combi that was important too for now. I have previously had panasonic one that cost a packet and broke down just one month out of warranty(typical) and would not eject DVDs with some error code. I was well pleased to get back to toshiba. The technical support via helpline is much better too. Gary.
Posted on: 29 December 2004 by Paul Hutchings
Went out today, thinking very foolishly that the shops might have quietened down a bit.

Basically nobody has them on demo, nobody knows anything about them, but they'll all sell me one.

So balls to it, I'm going to do more homework and when I make my mind up I shall buy it online and take full advantage of the distance selling regulations so that I can return it if it doesn't do exactly what I want.

cheers,
Paul
Posted on: 29 December 2004 by Jonathan
Paul,

I was at my parents over xmas and was able to see their Panasonic E55 in action. Seems to work well - they record things for me onto DVD-R and the time slip function onto DVD Ram worked too.

I will however go for the next model up that has a built in hard disk.

Cheers

JR
Posted on: 29 December 2004 by Stuart M
My experience of DVD Recorders/Editing.

What I wanted to do was transfer my videos to DVD and then edit the video and menus to make a home DVD.

For recordable DVD youíve ĖRW, +RW and ĖRAM. As far as I can see DVD-RAM as a recorder only system seems to be the best, but few DVD players and support DVD-RAM. For editing DVD ĖRW seems to be the best. But for compatibility with DVD players then write once DVD-R has the highest.

My first recorder First one was a Philips DVDR 890 this worked well for 9 months but then started having problems with pre-recorded disks when reading the second layer. This was repaired but after 6 few months later the same problem occurred. Luckily I had a Richer Sounds 3 year warranty and ended up with a cash refund this was used to buy a DVDR 80 this has worked well for 14 months but now again having problems with pre recorded disks.

So what Iíve found out in my 2 year experiment with recordable DVDs

1. The menus are pants that the DVD recorders generate; you will need to make your own.
2. DVD-RAM has little PC support and is not compatible with most DVD players.
3. If you want to send DVDs to others then DVD-R is most compatible.
4. Donít but cheap media if you want it to last.
5. Write to re-writeable DVD first then when you know it works burn to DVD-R to keep.
6. For home use Ulead DVD Moviefactory V3 DiscCreator was the best I found (I went through 4)
7. For MPEG editing there are many out there but Womble MPEG VCR was the best I found as it was frame accurate. (I didnít buy it as I had a licence for Ulead Video Studio and did what I needed in the free trial, will when I have my next project).
8. You will still need shareware tools such as DVD decryptor to rip things from the DVDs made on your recorder.
9. Itís simple to start with but rapidly you will need to know more about how DVDs are put together (www.doom9.org) may help
10. It takes longer than you think.

Hope that helps
Posted on: 29 December 2004 by Don Atkinson
So what Iíve found out in my 2 year experiment with recordable DVDs

1. The menus are pants that the DVD recorders generate; you will need to make your own.
2. DVD-RAM has little PC support and is not compatible with most DVD players.
3. If you want to send DVDs to others then DVD-R is most compatible.
4. Donít but cheap media if you want it to last.
5. Write to re-writeable DVD first then when you know it works burn to DVD-R to keep.
6. For home use Ulead DVD Moviefactory V3 DiscCreator was the best I found (I went through 4)
7. For MPEG editing there are many out there but Womble MPEG VCR was the best I found as it was frame accurate. (I didnít buy it as I had a licence for Ulead Video Studio and did what I needed in the free trial, will when I have my next project).
8. You will still need shareware tools such as DVD decryptor to rip things from the DVDs made on your recorder.
9. Itís simple to start with but rapidly you will need to know more about how DVDs are put together (www.doom9.org) may help
10. It takes longer than you think.

Yikes!!!!.....

Sssoooooooo......

My 15 year-old Panasonic sVHS video recorder, where I can lay down an edited home-made holiday movie, with original sound plus background music (fading in and fading out) is so "out-of-date". It takes me about an hour to produce about 2 mins of finished movie. Most movies comprise 4sec to 10sec edited "shots" ie about 10 "scenes" per minute. Yes, that's about a day's work for a 15 minute movie!!!

i presume that if I buy a half-decent dvd recorder with a HDD i can simply copy the whole 6x60 minute holiday tapes onto the HDD, "index" those scenes that i want, number them in the correct sequence, and copy them onto a dvd +rw (just to check its what I really want) make a few simple corrections, add a background sound-track (from cd of course - perfect copy forever!!!!!) then copy to dvd +r......and post off to friends in both UK and Canada.......all in an hour.

Which machine do you recommend ???? and will it play standard dvds almost as well as a dvd5??

or am i being somewhat niaeve??????

cheers

Don

PS sod it, I knew there was "something" wromg. It should have been dvd -r. This new-fangled technology is just ssoooo confusing.....if only I were 28 years old again......
Posted on: 30 December 2004 by Paul Hutchings
I believe you can do most of that, but not the sound overlay.

The whole thing is a minefield, I would suggest reading the forums on

AVForums and downloading and reading the user manuals for the Pioneer and Toshiba machines that can be downloaded from their websites. Sadly even the manuals don't seem to cover everything the machines can or can't do.

As for the quality of playback, I have read that most DVD recorders will play commercial DVDs at the same sort of quality as a budget/midrange player.

cheers,
Paul