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Next message Tricky posted on Wednesday, 14 September, 2005 - 12:34 pm
Well, the DVD/HDD recorder I ordered from amazon (see the Last Night.... thread) has arrived. Haven't even plugged it in yet. A quick look at the instructions (yes, I RTFM, sometimes) shows of couple of additional features I hadn't expected. It WILL record +R discs as well as +RW, and it has some basic video editing features. The remote looks complicated.

Plays back the usual assortment of cd/dvd video/audio formats. Most dvd players these days are multi-format, so playback shouldn't be a problem anyway. Built-in TV tuner (it IS supposed to REPLACE a VCR). More connectors on the back than you care to name (including camcorder).

On/Off protection on a "per disk" basis for RW discs so you can't accidentally delete them - an excellent feature. R disc finalisation (i.e HARD copy).

Copy from HDD to DVD. Doesn't say anything about the other way round - presumably so that you can't hire a film, copy it to the HDD then make multiple copies for your mates (easily circumvented!).

Somthing called VPS/PDC which automatically compensates for cocked-up TV schedules (yeah, sure! Would YOU have trusted it with Last Night of the Proms?).

Timeshift recording. Dolby. Password. Security with password on a "per disk" basis ....to disable the playing of discs that are unsuitable for children..... German/English instructions. (English at the back of the manual.)

My son's out of bed now and "LOOKING" at it. If it can survive him.....

(The petrol crisis isn't my fault. I "panic bought" mine on saturday.)
Next message Bill D posted on Wednesday, 14 September, 2005 - 01:58 pm
PDC isn't used by BBC1.
Next message Tricky posted on Thursday, 15 September, 2005 - 02:35 pm
Bill D, thanks for doing the research. My scepticism about VPS/PDC has gone from 95% to 100%. Unless every broadcaster does it, it's a useless feature.

More about this recorder:- Formats the RW disks (as it should). Can format the HD if necessary.

I recorded 2 hours on the HD then copied it all to a RW in "standard mode" (there's a HQ mode as well). It was hard to see any difference between both recordings and the "live" broadcast. Put the RW disk to the PC - and it played happily with windows media player. A look with explorer showed the files and file structure without a hitch. It records in the standard dvd structure i.e. VOB files, but there's plenty of free software out there that can convert these to mpeg format if needed. There's a "make compatible" function to make the disk playable in any RW player (untested - yet).

The editing functions are limited to giving recordings a title, so if you want a dvd with custom menus and chapters you still need a PC.

The remote can be annoying. You have to "double-click" some of the buttons. This isn't mentioned in the manual.

My son managed to make it freeze once (hitting buttons at random in rapid succession) - I said he was good at this, didn't I ?. A switch off/on cured this.

It's looking good. Playback quality IS as good as what you put in, and easily transferred. (I'll have to get used to the remote though!!).

Richard, I can heartily recommend DVD/HDD recorders as the ultimate replacement for the VCR !!!
Next message Bill D posted on Thursday, 15 September, 2005 - 04:36 pm
PDC is fine (usually) for the other four channels, on my VCR anyway.

I don't understand why BBC2 has it but not BBC1.
Next message Tricky posted on Friday, 16 September, 2005 - 09:16 pm
There could be problems with the various freeview channels (Bid-Up TV is NOT a problem!). With ITV2, BBC3, BBC4, and other new channels being added, it could end up as a real "standards" mess.

I haven't got round to looking at PDC properly yet - before now, I didn't know it existed! More work!
Next message Tricky posted on Sunday, 18 September, 2005 - 12:20 am
This recorder gets more interesting by the minute.

Because the RW disks are written with the normal DVD file structure, if you're not interested in a fancy menu, all you have to do is use a PC to copy the RW disk to a -R disk which will play on any DVD player.

As easy as that ? Yes!
Next message Tricky posted on Sunday, 18 September, 2005 - 10:56 am
It's remarkably quiet too, considering it has a hard disk in it. Quieter than a VCR. Doesn't use/need cooling fans like a PC.

Larger than expected footprint, but only needs 3-4 inches of height for air circulation.

The leads from the SCART plugs point right at the aerial co-ax leads, so a little tweaking is needed to get them all in.
Next message Tricky posted on Monday, 26 September, 2005 - 01:35 pm
Hmmm.... I'll have to take back some of my comments regarding the quality of the Bremen concert DVD too. The video playback on this is much sharper and other "issues" such as slight flickering have disappeared. The age difference between this and my semi-retired DVD player is only a few months, plus it's a Panasonic! Just goes to show....
Next message Myke  posted on Wednesday, 05 October, 2005 - 05:02 pm
I use a Panasonic HS2 (40gig) at work, and have a Panasonic EB95 at home (160gig). I can't fault either of them, and have transferred my entire vhs collection to dvd. A couple of folders beats a wall full of tapes any time!

My wife has also found the benefits of 'time-slip' recording and watching of the same item simultaneously. E.g:- timer recordings of 'Waking the Dead' on BBC1 Sunday and Monday nights. On Monday evening begin watching Sunday's episode, but this overlaps and the Monday episode starts recording. Finish watching Sunday's prog, then go and start watching Monday's prog from the start whilst it's still recording the rest of the episode. That feature alone wins hands down!

Richer Sounds will do you a good deal too. Mine cost me £370, but found it cheaper within a week, and they refunded the difference.
Next message Tricky  posted on Wednesday, 05 October, 2005 - 06:03 pm
Nice feature is that, Myke, especially as it keeps the wife happy :-)

I tried googling for the EB95 - you mentioned it in another thread - but didn't get a relevant hit. The stores around here didn't have it either, which is why I eventually went for the Ellion from Amazon.

Off Topic - I went into B&Q yesterday for some satellite (aerial - CT100) cable to get the best possible TV reception quality for recordings and transmission throughout the house (replacing the standard coax) and saw the almost unbelievable – a pallet full of Bush remote control set-top DVD players for sale at £19 (yes - nineteen) each! Talk about a cheap Christmas present...

Another Off Topic. I've been using Ulead video studio for a while to edit/correct recordings, and been frustrated by its inability to crop then adequately resize clips to remove any sync lines and black borders from VHS transfers, and still "fill the screen" properly.
I've just discovered that by manoeuvring and resizing a clip in the editor, in such a way that the drag-handles end up “outside” of the visible editable area, I can do just that - in one operation. (no automatic scrolling for the Ulead programmers!) Easy if you know how, but not mentioned in the manual. (Sigh). Maybe I won't buy Adobe Premier for Christmas after all....
Next message Tricky posted on Sunday, 09 October, 2005 - 10:27 pm
CT100 satellite cable: If you've still got ordinary co-ax aerial cable going to your TV and recording gear, do yourself a big favour and change it to satellite cable. I've just installed a 40+ foot run of this stuff to a TV at the furthest flung reaches of my house. Not a snowy picture in sight - even with an analogue channel 5 signal. Recording quality's cracking! (Wish I'd done this before I decorated)
Next message Tricky posted on Wednesday, 16 November, 2005 - 09:24 am
I've just discovered that you can also upload DVDs to the hard disk, effectively making this a DVD duplicator. Hmmmm....
Next message Myke  posted on Friday, 16 December, 2005 - 09:25 am
Ah, that's if Macrovision protection has been turned off!!! You must be lucky with your Ellion unit as my Panasonics are Macro enabled. Still I prefer PC use for that purpose, and along with licensed software it must be something to do with stripping out all the useless soundtracks, and subtitles, yet still keeping a digitally perfect archive of the disks which I buy of course!
Next message Tricky  posted on Saturday, 17 December, 2005 - 01:20 am
You're wrong Myke - I'm NOT that lucky. Just checked - it will only upload DVD’s created on itself. Even discs made on my PC won't upload, probably because it doesn't recognise the menu structure. A look with the PC at a complex DVD it created shows a non-standard directory which presumably holds menu info (I haven't looked too far into it - it works!) as well as the usual VIDEO_TS & AUDIO_TS directories. Doesn’t stop the discs playing in other players. There doesn't seem to be anything to stop you recording protected content from another DVD player or VHS recorder (done both via SCART) through it’s array of inputs, but any original DVD menu structure gets lost, and VHS tapes have never had a menu. So (in theory of course!) you could copy to HDD...

As a feature, it could be useful to someone who doesn't have a PC with a DVD recorder who wanted to duplicate home recordings. For the rest of us, the PC has to be the tool of choice for, erm, backing up our investments - possibly in different formats. Shame on anyone for thinking I would use this feature otherwise - that's what PCs' are for . (Not that I ever would, of course... Play.com’s cheap enough!)

I don't know about the Panasonic, but the menu this creates is pretty basic - and chapters are a fantasy. As you say, final DVD creation is best done on a PC, and there's lots of software out there to let anyone, erm, create media for home use.

Macrovision, CSS, region encoding and even DRM haven't stopped anyone yet. Apparently, by law, we're not allowed to mention the circumvention methods - so I won't. It's a bit silly of the entertainment industry really; everything made recently seems to be rehashes of 20+ years old content. Titanic, King Kong.... Even Star Trek's Borg were copied from Dr Who's Cybermen. Is it just me or does anyone else feel they're watching the same things over and over with different titles, actors and a bit of CGI? (If Hollywood goes bankrupt it’s because they’re making cr*p) The only really original stuff (Apart from JW at the Proms!) I’ve seen recently was “Lexx” – and that was made in Canada!

Mmmmmmmmm – Hotta... (Christmas Booze)
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