Panasonic DMR-E50 vs Philips DVD-R70 DVD Recorders. Faulty 16:9 recording aspect ratio?

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by metn41, Aug 1, 2003.

  1. metn41

    metn41 Guest


    First of all, apologies for cross-posting, but I'm trying to reach as
    many owners of the above models as possible.

    I'm thinking about buying a DVD Recorder. I don't need a HDD or
    Firewire input and I'm looking at a price tag of £400 maximum, so I've
    pretty much narrowed it down to either the Panasonic DMR-E50 or the
    Philips DVD-R70. I've searched all through the net, read reviews on
    both, and downloaded and read both of the manuals, but I still can't
    find any answers to my questions. I'd be grateful if owners of the
    above two can answer the following:-

    1. On page 11 of the Panasonic manual, it states under the DVD-RAM
    section that "Picture aspect ratios, regular 4:3 or widescreen 16:9
    are recorded as they are received."

    But under the DVD-R section on the same page it states: "The video is
    recorded in a 4:3 aspect ratio irrespective of the signal input."

    Can anyone here who owns this machine confirm this by recording a
    short anamorphic widescreen programme onto DVD-R, or checking some
    you've already recorded that you know without doubt were broadcast in
    anamorphic widescreen? Is it recorded as a widescreen picture (which
    it should be) or does the player really letterbox it into a 4:3 frame
    before recording like it says in the manual, and also hints at on:-

    I know the above site is obviously biased towards the +RW format, but
    it states:-

    "Usually, all recordings made with a DVD+RW video recorder have a
    screen aspect ratio of 4:3. When you record video from an anamorphic
    widescreen source (such as a DV camcorder recording made in "16:9
    Wide" mode, or a 16:9 enhanced DVD), it will be recorded as such in
    anamorphic format on the disc. The recorder will include an extra flag
    in the video stream that will allow the recorder to signal the TV to
    swith to "widescreen" mode when playing back the disc.

    Keep in mind however that this is a DVD+RW "special feature", that is
    not defined by the DVD-Video specification. "

    Effectively meaning that this "special feature" is not common to DVD-R
    (and thus the Panasonic DMR-E50). Does the Philips record widescreen
    programmes properly onto DVD+R, and can any Philips owners of this
    confirm this? It says absolutely nothing in the Philips manual about

    This is the biggest issue for me so far. I'm not going to buy a DVD
    Recorder if it can't record widescreen programmes in widescreen on
    DVD-R discs!

    2. According to the manual, the Panasonic appears to have a fan. Is
    this noisy? What about the noise level of the Philips? What's the seek
    noise like on the Panasonic when it is doing a timeslip on DVD-RAM
    (simultaneous play & record)?

    3. Can both of these machines edit out adverts on DVD-R / DVD+R as
    well, ie, can chapters be added and "hidden" on write-once discs, or
    is editing strictly limited to rewritable discs only?

    4. What's compatibility like with other players (particularly +RW
    discs on the Philips)?

    5. Does the Panasonic have a "zoom" feature like the Philips? It isn't
    mentioned in the manual.

    6. What's the picture quality like on both machines in various modes?
    Is it noticeable worse when recompressing?

    7. What's the pre and post processing like on the Panasonic, and does
    the Philips have this as well? It doesn't seem to be as I haven't
    found it mentioned anywhere in the Philips manual or marketing

    So correct me if I'm wrong (I hope I am regarding W/S recordings), but
    my choice is between:-

    Panasonic DMR-E50:-

    Which has an excellent "timeslip" feature, pre and post processing,
    but may be unable to keep anamorphic widescreen programmes as
    anamorphic widescreen on DVD-R discs.

    Or the Philips DVD-R70:-

    Which doesn't seem to have any "timeslip" feature or pre / post
    processing, but possibly can keep anamorphic widescreen programmes as
    anamorphic widescreen (although the manual says absolutely nothing at
    all about it.)

    Any help will be greatly appreciated on this matter. The only real way
    to be sure is to ask someone who has the recorder in front of them who
    can personally verify it.


    metn41, Aug 1, 2003
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  2. metn41

    Damien Thorn Guest

    My 'Panny' definitly records the anamorphic image fine and does not
    letterbox it.
    Damien Thorn, Aug 1, 2003
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  3. metn41

    metn41 Guest

    Is that just on DVD-RAM's or do DVD-R's also record it perfectly and
    maintain its "anamorphicness"? If both of them do then I'm sold! I
    just want to be absolutely certain first :)

    Many thanks, Damien. This is my biggest concern.

    metn41, Aug 1, 2003
  4. metn41

    Damien Thorn Guest

    it does it perfectly on both DVDR and RAM the only downside is that when
    finalising a DVDR - it loses the widescreen switching signal that 'pings' my
    16:9 TV so I have to do it manually. The aspect ratio is fine though.

    Hope this helps you a little bit.
    Damien Thorn, Aug 1, 2003
  5. metn41

    Clem Dye Guest

    <snip -long post deleted>

    A lot of questions, all of which I can't really answer, expect the
    widescreen issue. I have a Philips DVDR880. This records widescreen from
    my Nokia Freeview box without an issue on DVD+RW discs and plays pack in
    the same way. My Yamaha DVD player (a Philips clone) plays back a
    widescreen recording as widescreen. However, my Cyrus DVD player doesn't
    see the widescreen flag and I need to switch things manually. I can't
    comment on DVD+R. I've taken a look at the manual for the '70 and it
    seems very similar to the older 880. If I'm right, then the drive should
    be pretty quiet on operation. Quality-wise, I always use SP. Other
    posters in the NG have commented that SP+ is pretty comparable. Frankly,
    I'm not interested in the quality drop below SP+.


    Clem Dye, Aug 1, 2003
  6. metn41

    Justin Cole Guest

    Remember that "anamorphic widescreen" is always in a standard 4:3 frame
    anyway... (Stored compressed horizontally)

    It's only the TV that does the uncompression with the display mode. You can
    record anamorphic widescreen with *ANY* recorder - even a 15 year old VHS

    The problem you will have is with auto-switching on the TV - you may have to
    manually change the aspect setting.

    Justin Cole, Aug 1, 2003
  7. metn41

    Fred Glaser Guest

    Hi Clem
    I also have the 880. Have you ever used the Sat Record function of the
    DVDR880 and got it to record an RGB signal successfully from your digi box?
    Fred Glaser, Aug 1, 2003
  8. metn41

    metn41 Guest

    Yes, I understand that. The trouble is, if I wanted to watch it (or
    lend it to someone) using a 4:3 TV, it would come out looking
    horizontally squashed and there'd be no way of correcting it since:-

    a). The DVD player playing it would mistakenly think that it's a 4:3
    picture that doesn't need letterboxing and for most DVD players it's
    impossible to forcibly letterbox a programme flagged as 4:3
    fullscreen, and

    b). Most 4:3 TV's (especially older ones) do not have a button to
    change the aspect ratio. So the DVD player would not stretch it, and
    most 4:3 TV's would be unable to correct for it. Everyone would appear
    tall and thin in the same way that they do when 4:3 users accidently
    select 16:9 mode on their DVD player.

    If possible, I'd rather get the aspect ratio right during recording so

    a). It would play back on a Widescreen TV without needing manual
    aspect changing, and

    b). It could be viewed correctly on a 4:3 TV (eg, in the bedroom or
    lent to another family member or friend who doesn't yet have a
    widescreen set). I know some modern 4:3 TV's have a letterbox feature
    to correct for this, but the vast majority (including mine) don't.

    Thanks to all who replied to my original post. I know how anamorphic
    widescreen works, it's just that the way it was worded in the manual
    (and the lack of clarification elsewhere) led me to believe that "The
    video is recorded in a 4:3 aspect ratio irrespective of the signal
    input" may well have meant that the recorder letterboxed the 16:9
    source (like DVD players do when connected to a 4:3 TV) BEFORE
    recording, storing the black bars as part of the picture so that it
    would appear correctly on a 4:3 TV. Thanks to all of your helpful
    posts, I now know that's not the case, but is merely a case of not
    storing the W/S "flag" properly.

    Thanks again,

    metn41, Aug 1, 2003
  9. metn41

    Clem Dye Guest


    You know, I haven't! I'm going to check the manual right now!!! Ta for
    the heads-up.

    Clem Dye, Aug 2, 2003
  10. metn41

    Stephen Reed Guest

    Stephen Reed, Aug 2, 2003
  11. metn41

    raven Guest

    I own this model and have been wrestling with this issue for sometime. I
    contacted tech support at Panasonic Canada for some insight into this and
    they responded with "The DMR-E80 will only record in full frame (4.3 aspect
    ratio) video regardless of the source aspect ratio to DVD-R" . They
    recommended using DVD-RAM disks to record any broadcast widescreen
    programming, then transfer it to a pc hard drive and manually change the
    ..vob file to .mpg extension for editing in DVD authoring software.
    Apparently, the E50 records video in the mpeg format, but uses the .vob file
    extension for storage on the RAM disk.

    I personally haven't attempt to record on a DVD-R disk yet as I really don't
    want to waste a disk. I'm not sure whether you can do multi-session
    recordings with a DVD-R disk without finalizing the disk.
    raven, Aug 2, 2003
  12. metn41

    Buckaroo Guest

    Then you shouldn't respond, since you have no background on this issue. The
    previous posts are correct on the poor wording in the Pana 50 manual.
    Buckaroo, Aug 5, 2003
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