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  1. Member
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    I've used a Sony RDR-HX750 for 6 years, and as the DVD burner unit is starting to fail, I am looking for a replacement. There seems to be various used RDRs out there but I wonder which models have the same software as the 750.

    I've tried many recorders but IMO they are all inferior to the 750. So I am thinking that other models in the same series may use the same software for features; editing, recording, burning, etc.
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  2. Member
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    This is what I mean with software: What creates these menus and features. If for example the HX900 or 850 has the same menus, functions and options as these screenshots, I assume they're of similar, if not identical software.
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  3. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    There are no current Sony recorders you can still purchase new that have this interface. This software was developed by Pioneer and adopted by Sony when they began co-producing their recorders with Pioneer. This continued until late 2008, when Pioneer was rocked by financial troubles and ceased mfrg DVD/HDD recorders completely. Sony DVD/HDD models made after 2009 were OEM'd by Samsung and are not in the same league.

    If you like this recorder interface, it was used in all Sony DVD/HDD model series between RDR-HXx50 and RDR-HXx90. For example, your own RDR-HX750, followed by 770, 780 and 790. Or RDR-HX950, 970, 980, 990. Perhaps you can find one second-hand?

    As an alternative, you could look for second-hand Pioneer DVD/HDD recorders that employed the same software and Sony burner. These would be the Pioneer DVR-540, 543, and 640 of 2006, the DVR-450, 550, and 650 of 2007, and the DVR-460, 560, 660, and LX-70 of 2008. The Pioneers have nearly the same user interface but with earth tones instead of blues, and should be able to interchange unfinalized and RW discs with your Sony. The Sony burner version used in these Pioneers can also play and record DVD-RAM media.

    Another option might be to bring your 750 to a Sony repair center and have them fit a new replacement burner. This will cost approx $300 (US) but would essentially give you a nearly-new recorder (assuming your HDD still works well). Sony no longer does this repair in North America but it may still be available in Sweden.
    Last edited by orsetto; 3rd Jul 2014 at 11:57.
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    Wow, that's great info, Orsetto! Exactly what I needed. Thanks a million!

    I am trying to get a used recorder, but only if it has this software. I've been through 6 recorders and none of them were as good as this one software-wise.
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  5. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    I was looking for which thread might be most appropriate to post this in -- even an older one, but one in which orsetto had been involved -- and this seemed to fit the bill.

    Those initial screens reminded me a bit more of the Magnavox 2160 I had for awhile but hardly ever used -- up until an electrical surge ruined it -- rather than any of my Pioneer models. Anyway, that Magnavox has gone to a landfill, as I was not up for trying to fix it. The reason it had hardly been used was that the Pioneer UI totally spoiled me, and the Magnavox's seemed severely wanting in comparison. The Pioneer DVDR user interface was just the nicest one I ever saw, and had the advantage of having become second nature. I still use a DVDR regularly, in two locations, and regard it as an absolutely essential piece of equipment. To that end, I salted away an extra, unused 460 while they could still be had, but so far have not needed to put in into service. My 640s and other 460 just kept on working, exhibiting a much greater durability than that ill-fated Magnavox. May that continue.

    Across several years of DVDR use, I wondered about the Sony RDR-HX models, some of which orsetto had praised. I considered picking one up used, but they seldom turned up on eBay, to the best of my observation. The immediate spur for this post was that -- coincidentally -- my search query returned a slew of hits this morning, albeit with some "Say WHAT ?!!" pricing, even eclipsing in some cases the periodic $1K used Pioneer units from Canada. Take a look:


    http://www.ebay.com/itm/SONY-RDR-HX750-DVR-DVD-RECORDER-160GB-HDD-HDMI-PVR/20121041085...50385450&rt=nc


    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sony-RDR-HX900-DVD-recorder-remote/121606760079?_trksid=p20476...10410858&rt=nc


    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sony-RDR-HX900-DVD-recorder-remote/121606760079?_trksid=p20476...10410858&rt=nc


    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sony-RDR-HX900-DVD-recorder-remote/121606760079?_trksid=p20476...10410858&rt=nc


    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sony-RDR-HX750-160GB-DVD-Recorder-HDMI-1080p-FREE-SHIPPING/271...3D181706225671


    This list may not be exhaustive, either. I know the 750 was a real Sony (designed by Pioneer), but am unsure about the 900 -- whether it instead belonged to the later Samsung era ?

    And, to tie this thread in with
    http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/274929-Sony-RDR-HX725-Hard-drive-replacement/page2

    I'm also wondering if there might not be some possible finessing of the 160Gb. HDD limit here ? Remember that regular seller on eBay who has been offering the Pioneer DVDR enhancement kits for a couple years now ? He claims to provide special 500 Gb. or 1 Tb. formatted replacement HDDs whose capacity will all be seen and be usable in certain Pio DVDR models. So, I would be curious to talk to him about the Sony RDR models, were I an owner of one.
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  6. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    Seeker47,

    The screen caps posted above of the Sony RDR-HX750 interface need to be put in context. Bear in mind both the Sony and Pioneer variations permit some degree of customizing: the first image (of the HDD navigation screen), which you feel looks more like a Magnavox interface, reflects such customization. You and I prefer the default "more GUI" HDD view, which shows four titles at a time with index pic to the left of each title. OP TheNorwegian has his screen switched to 8-up view with only the highlighted title's index pic appearing at bottom. If OP had his Sony 750 set to default four-up view, it would look almost exactly like our Pioneer interface. Overall, the only noticeable difference between the Sony and Pioneer interface is the color scheme: Sony opted for mostly blue, Pioneer went for tan and grey. Otherwise, you can barely tell the 2006-2008 models apart. There is a very VERY slight difference in the timer and editing screens (trivial stuff like placement of the "replace record" icon that nobody ever uses anyway).

    Re those recent eBay links you asked about: the RDR-HX750 is the same unit TheNorwegian screencapped above (albeit a North American version in this case). The RDR-HX900 is a much older circa-2004/2005 model that predates the Sony/Pioneer co-production series. The HX-900 uses the older Sony-exclusive interface. It is a somewhat sought-after cult model due to its particular way of encoding video: it veers toward oversharpening, which some people perceive as "superior detail." But it was burdened with the typical (for that era) horrendously unreliable Sony burner that would get locked in "dirty disc" error mode soon after purchase. Those who love the HX-900 REALLY love it, and are willing to pay thru the nose for a functional example (at this point mostly to finalize their stash of unfinalized DVD-Rs). But much like the infamous Toshiba XS series, no one in their right mind (who didn't already own one) would risk buying it second hand today.

    Re upgrading the HDD capacity in the Sonys: this is a messy proposition, with difficulty varying from model to model. Some can be forced to recognize larger capacity simply by clipping a capacitor on their motherboard, while others require tricky firmware tampering in "service mode" to make them believe they are a higher-end model. Tampering with the "model setting mode" further splits into two camps: units which accept a fairly simple identity modification, and units that require a bizarro-world shift to a different region, different language, a voodoo chant, and some reverse-engineered secret sauce apparently known only to those hucksters in Hong Kong who seem to have a never-ending supply of "new old stock" hot-rodded Sony and Pioneer recorders listed on eBay.
    Last edited by orsetto; 4th Apr 2015 at 13:02.
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  7. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Thanks for that reply, orsetto.

    As to the HDD capacity issue -- at least for some of the later Pioneer models -- it was not just the HK-based importers of multi-region units who seem to have mastered that voodoo. Aren't you overlooking the Canadians (?), specifically this fellow

    http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Pioneer-DVR-450-550-650-460-560-660-540-640-HDD-Hard-Drive-Upgr...:SS:SS:US:3160

    but also perhaps utilized in these recently for sale


    http://www.ebay.ca/itm/171746011210


    http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Pioneer-DVD-Hard-Drive-Recorder-WOW-500-GB-DVR-540-H-Upgraded-t...46011210&rt=nc


    While it may not be directly applicable to the Sony branch, or other than certain Pio DVDR models, if the upgrade kit vendor has indeed reduced this to a re-useable formatting image, doesn't that suggest a solution a lot less exotic than "voodoo" ? (I would presume that one still needs the special service remote, or its doppelganger . . . but then I believe he is selling that also, as part of the kit.)
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  8. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    If you look closely at the fine print in that listing by the service kit seller, he does mention only the EIDE-based models (like Pioneer 540-543-640 and earlier) can freely use any size HDD. He does specify the later SATA models require the additional hack of using an HDD image from a unit that has been previously hacked using the HK methods. Sort of a chicken-and-egg scenario: the actual "HK hack" is still shrouded in mystery to the point it is easier to recycle an image of an HDD from a pre-hacked unit. Not sure how this eBay vendor manages that aspect: presumably you need to send him the exact same 500GB HDD make/model and he images it for you. Not very flexible.

    Somebody somewhere pulled off the original capacity hack in the first place, so obviously there is a way to do it that doesn't involve access to a pre-hacked unit. But I've yet to find a coherent post anywhere that explicitly explains the steps in a way that consistently applies across multiple similar models. There's always some important "gotcha" that they hold back on. I've had lengthy debates with guys on several Pioneer/Sony sites who swear "anyone can do it" but are shady/cagey about crucial details, while directing owners try incomplete firmware tampering that I would strongly advise against. Those who "know" what the full HK hack involves seem keen on keeping it somewhat of a secret, perhaps because it can still be monetized. Either that, or it apparently can't be explained properly in a forum post.

    At this point it may not matter anymore. The HDD nav interface on these units can barely manage the factory-installed 160 or 250 GB capacity, so 500GB would be pushing it and 1 TB would be ridiculous. Plus these machines have crude-to-nonfunctional HDD maintenance systems: losing 500 or 1000GB of videos to a trivial bad sector error would be a killer.

    I think more than anything else, its a psychological issue: it just rankles some people to install a large replacement HDD when their old one fails, only to have the unit recognize a fraction of it. Glass half-empty, I guess. Myself, I look at it as glass half-full: I'm just happy we can throw any random SATA drive in to keep our units running at original capacity. Owners of Panasonic and Toshiba recorders have a much harder time with HDD replacement- they need very specific types of HDD, and if you make a mistake and want to put your original HDD back theres a real danger of it being erased without your consent.
    Last edited by orsetto; 11th Apr 2015 at 08:44.
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  9. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    If you look closely at the fine print in that listing by the service kit seller, he does mention only the EIDE-based models (like Pioneer 540-543-640 and earlier) can freely use any size HDD. He does specify the later SATA models require the additional hack of using an HDD image from a unit that has been previously hacked using the HK methods. Sort of a chicken-and-egg scenario: the actual "HK hack" is still shrouded in mystery to the point it is easier to recycle an image of an HDD from a pre-hacked unit. Not sure how this eBay vendor manages that aspect: presumably you need to send him the exact same 500GB HDD make/model and he images it for you. Not very flexible.

    Somebody somewhere pulled off the original capacity hack in the first place, so obviously there is a way to do it that doesn't involve access to a pre-hacked unit. But I've yet to find a coherent post anywhere that explicitly explains the steps in a way that consistently applies across multiple similar models. There's always some important "gotcha" that they hold back on. I've had lengthy debates with guys on several Pioneer/Sony sites who swear "anyone can do it" but are shady/cagey about crucial details, while directing owners try incomplete firmware tampering that I would strongly advise against. Those who "know" what the full HK hack involves seem keen on keeping it somewhat of a secret, perhaps because it can still be monetized. Either that, or it apparently can't be explained properly in a forum post.

    At this point it may not matter anymore. The HDD nav interface on these units can barely manage the factory-installed 160 or 250 GB capacity, so 500GB would be pushing it and 1 TB would be ridiculous. Plus these machines have crude-to-nonfunctional HDD maintenance systems: losing 500 or 1000GB of videos to a trivial bad sector error would be a killer.

    I think more than anything else, its a psychological issue: it just rankles some people to install a large replacement HDD when their old one fails, only to have the unit recognize a fraction of it. Glass half-empty, I guess. Myself, I look at it as glass half-full: I'm just happy we can throw any random SATA drive in to keep our units running at original capacity. Owners of Panasonic and Toshiba recorders have a much harder time with HDD replacement- they need very specific types of HDD, and if you make a mistake and want to put your original HDD back theres a real danger of it being erased without your consent.
    O.K., you've convinced me this is not worth doing strictly on a capacity basis. And thanks for that info.

    A couple other question that are going to veer off-topic, but I don't have a better place to raise them:

    Other than that short-lived and obscure Polaroid unit (model 2001 ?), can you cite any recorders that offered Component IN ?

    I don't think I ever knew how to Undo / Remove a created Chapter Point on the Pioneers -- in the course of the editing, if I changed my mind -- and was reluctant to do trial and error experimentation, in an effort to find out.
    (It occurs to me that the answer probably applies to the Sonys as well, so it's not entirely OT.)
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  10. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post
    O.K., you've convinced me this is not worth doing strictly on a capacity basis. And thanks for that info.

    A couple other question that are going to veer off-topic, but I don't have a better place to raise them:

    Other than that short-lived and obscure Polaroid unit (model 2001 ?), can you cite any recorders that offered Component IN ?
    In the early days, a number of DVD-only (no HDD) models did have component inputs. Unfortunately none were reliable: all were riddled with bugs and durability issues, so few are still functional today. I'm sure there were others, but aside from that peculiar Polaroid the only ones I ever saw were various Philips and Sony models. Both brands had a horrendous burner rep at that time (2003-2004). The component inputs may have made it into a couple of early Philips HDD models, but I've never seen one. Twelve years ago, most brands typically sold two identical models: one with HDD, one without (and often a third lower-grade DVD/VHS combo model that was outsourced to an OEM).

    These old half-dead units are still useful as component>s-video converters, even if their burners don't work. In pass-thru mode, their performance is often better than the expensive aftermarket converters. I keep trying to steal my brother-in-law's ancient Philips for this purpose: he never uses it, having long ago replaced it with TiVO and a Magnavox 513.

    I don't think I ever knew how to Undo / Remove a created Chapter Point on the Pioneers -- in the course of the editing, if I changed my mind -- and was reluctant to do trial and error experimentation, in an effort to find out. (It occurs to me that the answer probably applies to the Sonys as well, so it's not entirely OT.)
    Its fairly simple, but functionality varies somewhat depending which version of the remote you have (and whether you're talking about the pre- or post- 2005 recorders). The basic process is the same: when in the chapter edit window, pause the video and use the remote chapter < or > button (NOT the central arrow keys) to jump to the chapter point you want to remove. Then use the remotes down arrow key to highlight the "combine" option on the little menu to the left of the video timeline. Press the remote Enter/Select key, and the chapter point selected will be removed (or more accurately, per the little menu, the chapters before and after that point will be recombined to form a single larger chapter). As a long-time recorder owner yourself, seeker47, you probably already know that "auto" chapter points created where material has been previously edited out (i.e. commercials deleted) are an exception that cannot be removed- they are permanent (since they mark the spot where the video has been knit back together after the edit). You can only undo or remove chapter points you have manually added to an unbroken/unedited section of the recording (i.e., in between the commercial breaks you edited out).
    Last edited by orsetto; 17th Jun 2015 at 16:07.
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  11. Member
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    I have a few, now very old, HDD recorders with components inputs.

    Sony 715
    Sony 900
    Phillips HDRW 720

    As orsetto mentions, they are/were very picky at media compatibility and durability.
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  12. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post

    These old half-dead units are still useful as component>s-video converters, even if their burners don't work. In pass-thru mode, their performance is often better than the expensive aftermarket converters. I keep trying to steal my brother-in-law's ancient Philips for this purpose: he never uses it, having long ago replaced it with TiVO and a Magnavox 513.
    At one time, I may have had a Lite-On (or some other brand / model that was direct-to-disk recording only, no HDD, but which had component IN), which may have been purchased largely for that reason. I'll have to look around to see if I disposed of it or not. As I detailed in a different thread, some apparent changes at DirecTV have me scrambling to address a debilitating service glitch that is now occurring when I try to use the Pioneer DVDR. It may be necessary to revise the setup, with always attached View-HD splitter + a Leunking HDMI-to-S-Video in the chain -- unless I can find a better alternative to the latter.

    I don't think I ever knew how to Undo / Remove a created Chapter Point on the Pioneers -- in the course of the editing, if I changed my mind -- and was reluctant to do trial and error experimentation, in an effort to find out. (It occurs to me that the answer probably applies to the Sonys as well, so it's not entirely OT.)
    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Its fairly simple, but functionality varies somewhat depending which version of the remote you have (and whether you're talking about the pre- or post- 2005 recorders). The basic process is the same: when in the chapter edit window, pause the video and use the remote chapter < or > button (NOT the central arrow keys) to jump to the chapter point you want to remove. Then use the remotes down arrow key to highlight the "combine" option on the little menu to the left of the video timeline. Press the remote Enter/Select key, and the chapter point selected will be removed (or more accurately, per the little menu, the chapters before and after that point will be recombined to form a single larger chapter). As a long-time recorder owner yourself, seeker47, you probably already know that "auto" chapter points created where material has been previously edited out (i.e. commercials deleted) are an exception that cannot be removed- they are permanent (since they mark the spot where the video has been knit back together after the edit). You can only undo or remove chapter points you have manually added to an unbroken/unedited section of the recording (i.e., in between the commercial breaks you edited out).
    Thanks very much for that info. I'm saving this in hardcopy for reference.
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