Standalone dvd recorder first impressions...

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Richard, Dec 22, 2006.

  1. Richard

    Richard Guest

    Borrowed one off a mate to have a go at moving old VHS to dvd since my
    vhs player has finally died, and isnt getting replaced.

    Its a panasonic dmr-es30v.

    What a joke it is.

    The thing on the front says VHS, with PAL and NTSC underneath it.

    To any normal person that means that it does pal, and ntsc - in fact it
    does pal OR ntsc. There is a menu option to change it. If its on pal and
    I put a tape with ntsc into it, then it has the bottom 1/5th of the
    screen just full of flickering crap. If I put in a pal tape when its set
    to ntsc, it misses the bottom of the picture.

    SO if the tape has both on it, you cant dub it in one session.

    Not that it matters, because the manual clearly says (this is a C&P)

    This unit cannot record to discs containing both PAL and NTSC signals.
    Play of discs recorded with both PAL and NTSC on another unit is
    not guaranteed.

    Great, so I cant put all my floyd VHS dub's onto one disc... Grrr..

    Gets better, as a dvd player, its useless too, since the setting of pal
    or ntsc makes it convert to that standard, there is no auto option, so
    unless you feel like changing it between discs, you get that pal 60
    rubbish, or even worse, ntsc-50.

    It has progressive out on some component sockets, but I have it in by
    the computer so cant test how badly effected those are by this braindead
    handling of multiple systems.

    My friend originally got it for his mother to use, with the buttons on
    the front that are vhs->dvd and dvd<-vhs, it looked ideal for her to use.

    Except that trying to explain to her, who has always just put discs in
    to play what the ntsc and pal settings are for is like explaining to a
    deaf man how to tune a piano. Then there is the hastle of having to
    finalize the discs before they are any use anywhere else at all.

    So anyway, I have finally grouped all my tapes together into a pile that
    is pal, and a pile that is in ntsc, something that I thought we were
    about 10 years past having to do. I slap in my ntsc version of delacite
    sound of thunder, navigate the laggy to hell menu and set it to ntsc
    (Which means that displaying normal tv becomes impossible), and a blank
    4.7 gig dvd-r, set it to SP, and press DUB.

    Time will tell what the resulting dvd's look like, and I think that the
    quality will be just fine, but what a DIRE user interface this thing
    has. The menus are so slow that they make sky's ones look amazing, its
    so bad that you dont know if its actually recieved the remote command,
    which if you press them too quickly for it, then its very likly to miss.

    Oh, and there is no way to use its automatic dubbing modes when playing
    the vhs out thru its RCA sockets, thru a piece of "nessacary equipment"
    and then back into the AV inputs. it switches over to the internal
    connection when pressing the dub button, so you get the warnings about
    copy protected recording not being permitted. Bloody brilliant.
    Richard, Dec 22, 2006
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  2. Combination VCR and DVD recorder, no hard drive?

    Didn't you already have a VCR or two? I still have one functioning one, so I
    preferred to go for a DVD recorder with hard drive--a Pioneer DVR-520H,
    getting on to two years old now.
    The one functioning VCR I still have is an old Philips VR-1010. It can
    record and play both PAL and NTSC, and doesn't need explicit setting for
    the playback mode.
    I wouldn't be surprised if that's stated in the DVD-Video spec somewhere. My
    Pioneer can collect both PAL and NTSC recordings on its hard drive, but
    I've never tried putting a combination of them on a DVD--never needed to,
    since I tend to put related content on each disc.
    Sounds like it's designed to cope with really ancient TVs. I mean really
    ancient, since my 16-year-old Sony can cope with both PAL and NTSC.

    That's normal. "Finalize" means you're not going to add any more to the
    disc. By the way, non-finalized formats vary between different
    recorders--you can't use one written in one brand of recorder in a
    different brand.
    You should be able to select different quality settings. For my Pioneer, I
    prefer to collect everything initially on the hard drive in "High"
    (maximum) quality, then downconvert from there when I save to DVD. With
    source material from VHS tape, I think you can get away with squeezing over
    3 hours on a single-layer DVD.
    Yup, my Pioneer enforces that, too. Some other brands have a secret code
    sequence you enter through the remote to turn this off.
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 23, 2006
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  3. Richard

    ~misfit~ Guest

    [Crossposted to, where it really belongs.] :)
    I had occaision to replace a DVD recorder recently and, while I would've
    liked a HDD recorder, I find them still out of my price-range.

    Instead I bought a Panasonic DMR-ES15. They're all over the place ATM for

    I'm pleased with it. It records to R and RW, + and -, as well as RAM. The
    interface is good, intuative and responsive. I record broadcast material in
    LP mode, 4 hours to a DVD+/-RW and the quality is indistiguisable from the

    The only two things I can fault it with are:

    1) It is region-locked and apparently uncrackable

    2) It plays DivX and XviD files but only off DVD-R or CD-R/RW. I'm used to
    burning my downloaded files to _rewriteable_ DVDs and then watching them on
    TV. Can't do that with this machine, a real shame. (Also, all my archived
    Xvids are on DVD+R, also unplayable on this machine).

    All-in-all I'd give it a 7.5/10. I'm happy with the purchase.

    I'll have to hang on to my Pioneer DV-383 (with Gufiak's firmware) for
    playing Xvid on DVD rewritable and DVDs that are from other regions. Shame
    the one machine wouldn't do everything. That would be too easy though huh?

    Happy happy, joy joy.
    ~misfit~, Dec 23, 2006
  4. Panasonic DVD recorders are pretty simplistic in their ability to handle
    multiple formats. My Pioneer players have PAL/NTSC/Auto options, and
    adjust the colour signal as appropriate based on this setting. I set
    this to 'Auto', but on the Panasonic recorder I set it to 'PAL' because
    there is no auto. This would annoy me because most of my DVDs are NTSC,
    if not for the fact that I have a dedicated player, making this a
    non-issue. I only use the DVD recorder to play content I recorded from
    TV, which is of course PAL.

    My advice to anyone is to buy a Pioneer DVD player, and use that for
    playing DVDs. Just use the recorder for handling your recorded content
    and nothing more.
    This is correct. PAL and NTSC cannot co-exist on a DVD. All PAL DVD
    players can handle NTSC, but NTSC DVD players are not required to handle

    This is a problem with all DVD recorders. I chose Panasonic because of
    support for DVD-RAM, which does not have this issue. A DVD drive for the
    PC with DVD-RAM read/write support costs about $70, and the format is
    much more reliable than DVD-R, making it much better for transfering
    I record in SP mode, and don't do any conversion. This is a constant bit
    rate, and can be re-muxed and placed on a DVD as-is, without any
    additional quality loss.

    To do this I use DVD-RAM to copy to the PC, MPEG Video Wizard to edit,
    and ImageTool to create an ISO to burn using whatever DVD writing
    software I happen to find in the Start Menu first.
    This really needs to go to the Commerce Commission, as none of the
    sellers disclose this limitation in their products, yet they market them
    as being a complete replacement for analogue VCRs which do not enforce
    this (even on newer models than many DVD recorders).

    The Other Guy
    The Other Guy, Dec 23, 2006
  5. Richard

    Philip Guest

    Have a look at this

    Scroll down and you'll see their discussion of this machine.

    Personally I would favor the return of hanging, drawing and quartering
    for the directors of any company that supports the loathsome region-code
    system, but in the absence of such remedies we need to move to help

    Incidentally and while you are at it, you might care to write to Judith
    Tizard MP to complain that her new copyright bill does not allow
    unlocking of region codes, and thereby deprives us of all the stuff we
    really want from Regions 1 (US & Canada) and 2 (UK and Europe and,
    oddly, South Africa) and condemns New Zealand to share instead the rich
    cultural heritage of our Region 4 co-citizens in the Falkland Islands,
    Peru, Chile and Uruguay.

    It's an MPAA ramp and we should kick against it while we can.

    Philip, Dec 23, 2006
  6. Richard

    Steven Ellis Guest

    Go so fed up trying to find the perfect DVD Recorder with HD I gave up
    and create myPVR.

    Steven Ellis, Dec 23, 2006
  7. Richard

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Interesting. Most sites I found during my albeit brief search the other day
    said that it wasn't possible to make it multi-region either through IR
    service remote of firmware flash. The only way to get it multi-region was to
    buy a multi-region version, which are available online.

    I notice that site says "This upgrade solution is suitable only for R2 DVD
    players sold in the UK and EU". Perhaps it wouldn't work on the ones we get.

    ~misfit~, Dec 23, 2006
  8. Richard

    Richard Guest

    ~misfit~ wrote:

    I dont know if the es30v is multizone since i have no zone 1 discs here
    to test, but it does sort the output out automatically when fed a pal
    disc when set to ntsc..

    The damn thing locks out the stop key when doing a protected operation
    even, which is a joke, and pressing stop when putting the disc in wont
    stop it before it goes to the main title so its not looking good for RCE
    discs if I can't set the region.

    Im gonna call panasonic when they are back and see if there is a way to
    unlock the controls all the time and sort out the system problems. I am
    not too concerned about the region thing since anything I get nowdays
    thats not local is all region anyway.
    Richard, Dec 24, 2006
  9. Richard

    Richard Guest

    Well if you set the dvd to record from av, and then feed the combo
    output to the macrovision stripper, then feed that back into one of the
    av inputs it will work, but it keeps changing the combo output back to
    the dvd player, when you dick with the menus, so you end up with the
    video in a feedback loop which looks crazy since its got the timebase
    corrector in there. Essentially I have to record on the dvd, then play
    the vhs so that it switches back. to the vhs output, which will then go
    into the av in, to the dvd recorder and then to the tv. All that after
    changing the standard to be correct in the menu naturally. Changing
    anything on the dvd side means it changes back and you get the last
    image fading away like some bad 60's scifi effect.

    Im beginning to think that the transonic hdd/dvdr at the warehouse is
    looking like a better option all the time.

    I cant even choose where the trackbreaks go when recording a dvd-r, it
    just sticks them randomly when finalizing.

    In case you cant tell, I am thourogy underwhelmed with this unit. I have
    not felt such disappoinment in crappy hard to use crippledness then
    since the time I bought a sony minidisc.
    Richard, Dec 24, 2006
  10. ....

    Too much work if I just want to reliably record a broadcast where the
    no-record bit might have been 'accidentally' set.
    I have a Panasonic DMR-E500H. This unit had a RRP of approximately
    $3,500 when new, but due to poor sales was available for half that. Had
    I not got this at a reduced price, I would have been extremely
    disappointed. It is slow to start recording, lacks some of the editing
    features of other Panasonic models, has the same issues mentioned
    previously with NTSC/PAL output. The 400GB hard drive is the main bonus
    here, but unfortunately I can't get MPEG2 video off using the built-in
    networking. Video can be played across the network if you have two of
    these, so it theoretically it should be possible to pull it off.

    Overall, I'm happy with the unit at the price I paid, but there are
    still many aspects of the product that could be improved. Panasonic in
    NZ had of course never made any firmware updates available for it.

    The Other Guy
    The Other Guy, Dec 25, 2006
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