I have been out of the loop for a while, so I am really not sure what the quality machines are out there. I think I need to replace my Panasonic DMR-EZ28. I went to record something and the video was black and white and scrolling from right to left. The source of my recording is a DirecTV box. I'm guessing the inputs went bad, because the dvd recorder menu displayed fine, but the source feed behind it had the problems. I have checked the DirecTV box with multiple cables and on another TV, and had no problems, so I am sure it is the recorder. Anybody have an idea if this problem is fixable?
If not what are some good dvd recorder options out there right now? I would like to stay in the $100-200 range if possible. Thank you all in advance for any help/advice you may have.
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You ABSOLUTELY HAVE to tell us what country you live in or we are completely and utterly wasting our time trying to answer your post. You mention $100-200 so you're probably in North America, but you need to confirm that.
The video issue you describe seems to be a PAL<->NTSC mismatch issue, which seems really odd since you're recording from DirecTV, but maybe the recorder is just so broken that it did this and it just sounds like a PAL<->NTSC mismatch when it's not. If you don't understand that, don't worry. It's not necessary that you understand that.
Assuming you are in North America, the situation is quite grim for DVD recorders. Nobody wants them. Magnavox is the ONLY choice you have for new ones unless you want to roll the dice on used or unopened older models from other manufacturers. WalMart has an exclusive deal on the Magnavox DVD recorders. They usually have 2 or maybe 3 models at any given time. Unfortunately what always happens is that rumors start spreading that Magnavox is getting out of the market, which causes WalMart to double the price or worse on their stock, the remaining stock sells out quickly as desperate buyers rush to snap up the "last ones". This always followed by announcement from Magnaovox that gosh, they have reconsidered and they guess they can keep making them a while longer, which stops the frenzy and drives the prices down again. Prices vary depending on if you need a hard drive to record to or are OK with only recording straight to DVD and whether the "OMG! DVD recorders are vanishing!" bs frenzy is going on at a given time or not. This price raising -> panic buying -> Magnavox calms the masses -> price drops
cycle has been repeated for many years now.
I have no idea if anything can be done to repair your current recorder. You should probably contact Panasonic and find out where to take it for repairs. Repairing it or even looking at it probably won't be inexpensive.
These models are the only DVD recorders currently manufactured for the US market.
None of the above has all the same features as a Panasonic, and the picture will probably look a bit different, maybe slightly darker. There is no flexible recording mode, they record at 352x480 resolution in LP mode, and they can't use DVD RAM discs. The Magnavox hard drive models are nice to record something to watch later and then erase, although you can record direct to DVD if you choose or dub to a DVD from the hard drive. (I have an earlier model Magnavox HDD recorder.) They have tuners too, if you want to record from an antenna. The Toshiba models have no tuners.
Panasonic (and everyone else other than Toshiba and Magnavox) stopped making DVD recorders for the US market about 4 years ago. A few places sell Panasonics made for Europe which record NTSC video input as NTSC, and play NTSC discs as NTSC. This is the only model close to your budget. The tuner won't work in N. America, and there is no manufacturer warranty because it was made for sale somewhere else. The seller might offer some kind of warranty program.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 25th Apr 2014 at 08:01.
As jman98 said, if you live in N. America, especially the US, things are very grim AFA DVD recorders. Panasonics last new model was '08 with the EZ-28 which was sold for several years after(also it's tunerless twin the EA-18 and combos EZ-48v and tunerless twin EA-38v). As was said basically the only decent DVDR left is the Magnavoxes w/HDD and even those probably aren't what you are looking for. Unless you want to go used there basically isn't much choice left.
If you were willing to wait until they got one and even at that you'd have to bump your price range to $300 then I'd suggest a international Panasonic EH-59. Occasionally they are available at B&H Photo out of NY for ~$270 and I've purchased several and they work very well but they haven't had one for a few months and no guarantee when they will be getting one again. They are customer returns and generally like new(new ones are currently ~$400). They contain NO US tuner(which is why I believe people end up returning them) but they do make great line input recorders and record in both NTSC(our system) or PAL(Europe and such). They are universal voltage and frequency so they plug in just fine here with the little adapter they come with.
The EZ-28 made very good recordings(I have one) but they tend to be a bit buggy and I'd guess yours is near the end of it's life. It may be possible to have it repaired but I wouldn't suggest it, for the $200 or so it would probably cost I'd put that towards a EH-59 or even a international Panasonic.
edit: UQ gave you some nice links and also spoke of the ES-18 and while I don't have one I guess it would be a option. It should be very similar to your EZ-28 but will lack a N. American tuner. I personally would wait for a used EH-59 which is a much more flexible machine, especially if you could get one for <$50 more than a ES-18. Anyway here a link to a new EH-59 which is probably out of your price range.
Last edited by jjeff; 25th Apr 2014 at 08:00. Reason: added edit
My dad has a Toshiba and they are fussy and frustrating to use. I honestly don't know if they are still being made or if what is being sold is just unopened extras made years ago. If you want to go with Toshiba for some reason, they work best with Verbatim media. My dad has had good results with Verbatim DVD+RW discs (he doesn't keep what he records beyond what it takes for him to watch it, so he only uses RW discs). They supposedly support DVD-RW but I've personally found that to be iffy and VERY difficult to get working, even with good Verbatim discs. As pointed out, Toshiba's models have no tuner so you need to have a cable box of some kind that you can manually set to the desired channel you want to record.
If I had to buy one now, I would buy Magnavox, but that's not exactly at a breakthrough price, is it?
Thank you everyone for the great responses. I do live in the United States, and I had no idea that the DVD recorder market has got this bad.
The price range I gave was not firm, but from everyone's suggestions it look like I'll have to expand it since there is no longer any price competition between companies.
So, on a side note, what method do most people use to save stuff to watch 2-3 years or more down the line? Is everyone recording to hard drive through CPU? I am a amateur video hobbyist that has built a great collection of stuff that I want to watch later on in life, is it time to re-think my "archive" strategy?
It is possible to record the output from a satellite receiver or cable box to a PC's hard drive using a compatible PC capture device with Windows Media Center or other software, although the cost of doing that is not often less expensive than buying a DVD recorder of some kind. However, if you are considering the possibility of transferring the recordings stored on a DVD recorder's hard drive directly to a PC's hard drive, you can't do it. Recordings can only be copied to a PC after dubbing to DVD because they are stored as encrypted files on the hard drive.