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  1. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Most DVD Rrecorders have a fatal flaw !!! Sometimes SEVERAL fatal flaws.

    The following list is of DVD recorders: the flaws, the fixes, and other pertinent information. While this list does not include every single recorder made worldwide, it does include the most popular and most readily available units (found in most retail and electronics stores). While it is USA-centric, more "foreign" models will be added as needed (note: if you are a PAL or NTSC JAPAN user, IRE errors will not apply to your country's native video format).

    Some things to remember, in general, about DVD recorders:
    (1) There is no "holy grail firmware fix" for most errors. It is often a hardware or mechanical issue to deal with. (2) Another issue is TBCs (timebase correctors) and how they function. Know that most "TBCs" are misnomers, and are really just TBC-like circuits (frame synchronizers, temporal filters, etc).

    Apex
    Issue: Power supply parts explode. Often just creates "electronics stink" of burnt boards. Kills machine. Can ruin the drives/boards. Has been known to start fires. Tends to ONLY happen when turning it off/on, or timer turns it off/on.
    How common is it? It infects pretty much every single Apex unit, though it may be contained more to the DRX-9000 model. Because the Digitrex variations (R4) use another PSU, those are not affected.
    Can it be fixed? Yes and no. Apex does NOT fix it correctly. There is an indepedent Apex repairman online known as ArizonaSteve that fixes them. He has a site, and sometime sells his kits on eBay.
    Will it break again? If Apex fixes it, yes it will break again. They replace it with more of the same faulty parts. ArizoneSteve uses new parts, so it should not fail again (tests have gone very well).

    Centrios
    Issue: Random resets.
    Quality and build seems to be very similar to Sanyo -- mediocre/grainy video quality -- likely a clone.

    Coby
    No available information at this time.
    Do not mistake this to mean "it has no errors".

    Daewoo
    No available information at this time.
    Do not mistake this to mean "it has no errors".

    Cyberhome
    Issue: (1) Mainboards fail. (2) Power supply gives out. (3) Tray refuses to eject.
    How common is it? (1) Very common. (2) Not so common, but you hear about it. (3) Very common. In fact, many have been known to be inoperable right out of the box.
    Can it be fixed? (1) Yes. (2) Yes. (3) Yes.
    Will it break again? (1) Yes. (2) Yes. (3) Yes. In all three cases, the parts are replaced by more of the same ones.

    Daytek
    See LiteOn.

    Digitrex
    See Apex.

    Ellion
    No available information at this time.
    Do not mistake this to mean "it has no errors".

    Emerson
    Issue: Macroblocks in 4-hour mode.
    How common is it? Limitation of the unit.
    Can it be fixed? No.
    Will it break again? N/A

    Gateway
    See LiteOn.

    Go.Video
    GoVideo rebrands other machines. Varies by model.
    A number of them are LG clones.

    ILO
    See LiteOn for the "04" models.
    See Cyberhome for the "05" models.

    JVC
    Issue: "Loading" error on DR-M10 and DR-M1V. Power supply related. See this thread and this thread for more info. Easy to avoid for most people (enable POWER SAVE mode).
    How common is it? It only affects a relatively small percentage of machines (JVC techs have verified this several times). It mostly affects the DR-M10 units, and even then, mostly units manufactured in mid 2004. While both NTSC and PAL units exhibit this problem, it seems to affect USA NTSC models the most. The new DR-M100 and HDD units do not seem to have this problem.
    Can it be fixed? Yes. Take it to JVC center, will be done for free.
    Will it break again? No. They use a totally different part which is better rated to fix the power issue.
    Related myths: (1) JVC is "too light". That is simply not true. (2) JVC has a TBC. It does not, regardless of what the Japanese pamphlets say.

    Kreisen
    See Ellion.

    LG
    No available information at this time.
    Do not mistake this to mean "it has no errors".

    LiteOn
    Issue: (1) Random jitter in the image, randomly while viewing or recording. (2) Green tint, randomly when playing and/or recordings. (3) Mono tuners, not stereo. The stereo is only using RCA audio (red/white wires). (4) Overheating.
    How common is it? (1) Random, yet very common. Tends to happen more on 1163 or later firmwares. Note: that is a USA R1 number, other region firmware numbers vary slightly. This seems to be a problem more on 5001, 5005 and 5006 units. Or ones using those mainboards. (2) This issues seems to infect only the newest LiteOn models (like 5045, 5007) and ILO models. It is about as random as the jitter, not everybody sees it. (3) While there may be a couple stereo models, most are mono. (4) Very common, especially on the models that have no fans, no heatsinks, and no air vents, or combination thereof.
    Can it be fixed? (1) Yes. Downgrade to 1143 or older firmwares. The work-around is to hit SOURCE a couple times to cycle back to it. This can also be caused by overheating. (2) Recent firmware upgrades are reported to correct this problem. But since the nature of the error is random, this fix is unlikely to fix every unit exhibiting this problem. Try it, and cross your fingers. (3) No. This is the hardware of the tuner. It is dual-channel mono, so it's not like you'll only get audio from one speaker. Since many tv shows are mono, especially anything syndicated, this will not be noticed by most people. (4) Yes, with some custom work. Simply removing the cover will provide decent air to keep the unit from failing. Further work yields even better results, such as -A- drilling holes in the side of the case (remove the cover, do not drill into the unit while it is assembled), -B- cutting a RAM heatskink in half with a hacksaw and using thermal tape to attach it to the LSI chip, -C- installing a small fast fan to blow air across the motherboard, and out of the drilled vent holes. This will also correct most jitter issues, if the fan blows LOTS of cool air across the heatsink. This setup may be slightly noisy, but no worse than a computer, ceiling fan or air conditioner, which most people have running anyway. Some of the oldest firmware is also known to run hotter on the chips, too much code activity going on in them.
    Will it break again? This question is moot for the first 3 issues, seeing as how none of them can be fixed. Just work-arounds, hopeful patches, or hardware limitations. For (4), this fixes the cooling issue permanently, and often corrects the jitter issue most of the time.
    Related myths: The drive model affects the jitter or heat. This is simply not true. The drive model has no effect on any of the LiteOn flaws.

    Magnavox
    See Philips.

    Malata
    No available information at this time.
    Do not mistake this to mean "it has no errors".

    Maxent
    No available information at this time.
    Do not mistake this to mean "it has no errors".

    Memorex
    No available information at this time.
    Do not mistake this to mean "it has no errors".
    Unit has subpar video quality.

    Mustek
    No available information at this time.
    Do not mistake this to mean "it has no errors".

    Panasonic
    Issues: (1) Macroblocks in images, especially at anything longer than 2-2 hours. (2) On early units, IRE was incorrect, meaning the image was far too bright and colors desaturated. This is usually not seen on the recorder (used as the player), but is VERY apparent when played on ANY other DVD player. (3) On recent units, luma is overpowering, causing image to shift slightly green and a shade too dark. This is very obviously an attempt to correct the IRE issues, but was overly agressive. (4) AC3 Dolby Digital audio files are imperfect, often corrupt, sometimes causing computer editing to be near-impossible (audio sync errors). (5) HDD units are known to fail, or have U99 errors. (6) Authoring errors can cause discs to not play or copy.
    How common is it? (1) Very common. It infects every Panasonic machine. (2) The E10, E20 and E30 are the only units with this error. (3) All units AFTER the E30 have IRE "fixed" but this error has taken it's place. (4) Common enough to be wary of. It may be a certain combination of recording mode and media type that causes this. (5) Very common on the E80 and E85 units. (6) Very common, infecting a large majority of units, maybe all of them.
    Can it be fixed? (1) No. This is the craptacular in-house Panasonic hardware encoder chipset, and they seem to like it that way. (2) No. (3) No. This is some potential that it can be fixed in theory, but only Panasonic techs would know if it were possible. This has not happened, and probably never will. (4) Unknown. The error is not persistent enough to be identified as of yet. The work-around is to edit the video in Womble MPEG Video Wizard and let the software re-encode all the audio to MP2 format. You can convert it back to AC3 later if needed. (5) Yes, sort of. There is a work-around. The "split title" function can help avoid the problem, sometimes. Panasonic can also replace entirely dead drives at the service centers. (6) Yes, sort of. There is a work-around. re-author the disc on the PC. DVD Shrink and TDA are two methods that work fast and effective.
    Will it break again? Does not apply to (1), (2), (3), (4) and (6). For (5), yes. Panasonic will replace it with more of the same faulty parts. There are many complaints of repeated failures.
    Related myths: (1) Panasonic has "deeper colors". That is simply not true. It is a visual distortion caused from being slightly too dark, which gives false illusion of "deeper" colors. (2) The TBC improves quality. DVD recorder TBCs are so weak they may as well not exist.

    Philips
    Issue: (1) The image quality is grainy. (2) The unit is also known to have various mechanical failures, such a refusing to power on or image freezing while playing or recording.
    How common is it? Pretty common, affects a large number of units.
    Can it be fixed? (1) No. The image quality is part of the inferior Philips MPEG chipset. This will likely never change. (2) Some of the mechanical issues can be fixed by Philips.
    Will it break again? (1) N/A. (2) Yes, it will likely break again. Philips does not fix them permanently.
    Myths: Firmware "fixes all this". That is simply not true.

    Pioneer
    Issue: Picture drop-out from VHS sources.
    How common is it? You will hear about it, but not many people ever see it. The PAL units seem to garner far more complaints that the NTSC ones. It does not seem to be an issue in the newest Pioneer units that started to surface in summer 2005.
    Can it be fixed? Unknown. While it seems plausible that a firmware fix could correct it, that has yet to happen.
    Will it break again? N/A.

    RCA
    No available information at this time.
    Do not mistake this to mean "it has no errors".

    Samsung
    No available information at this time.
    Do not mistake this to mean "it has no errors".
    NOTE! Some Samsung units are merely Panasonic clones.

    Sanyo
    Issue: When stopping a recording, the drive may lockup and lose recording (no IFO or other disc structure is completed).
    How common is it? Common enough to be heard about, but not likely wide-scale.
    Can it be fixed? Yes. The newest firmware upgrade from Sanyo fixes this. It is available online at their site.
    Will it break again? No. Firmware corrects it.

    Sensory Science
    See Go.Video.

    Sharp
    No available information at this time.
    Do not mistake this to mean "it has no errors".

    Sony
    Issue: Bad drives. The Sony burners give out relatively easy, much like the computer ones (they are actually the same drives).
    How common is it? This is very common. An educated guess of about half of all units is probably pretty accurate (lots of returns on this model, lots of user complaints on the drive inside).
    Can it be fixed? Yes. New drives can be put in by Sony, or you can do a custom job with a non-Sony drive (results may vary).
    Will it break again? Yes, if Sony does it. A custom job, using a good burner like Pioneer, will probably not die, at least not prematurely like the stock drives.

    Toshiba
    Issue: IRE errors, causing image to be too bright and washed out colors.
    How common is it? Affects all units, flaw of the unit. Some people claim to not see it, but this is likely due to having a bad IRE on players and using the recorder as the player.
    Can it be fixed? No, hardware error.
    Will it break again? N/A

    Zenith
    See LG.

    (template)
    Issue:
    How common is it?
    Can it be fixed?
    Will it break again?

    Last updated:March 19th 2009 (mini update)
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  2. Just a note about the Panasonics. Even though they say they have a TBC, it is a frame synchronizer. This info came from their engineering dept. I noticed a the JVC combo unit ( I do not recall the model number, price was about $350 ) also says it has a frame synchronizer right on the outside of box.
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  3. Member lumis's Avatar
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    good to see pioneer isnt on that list, but i didnt figure it would be.. yeah the machines eventually die, but they last a long time and fight to the bitter end.. go pick yourself up a dv-270 ($60 at wally world)..

    hopefully pioneer will come out with their mpeg4 dvd player soon (in north america)..

    to pioneer: make another dvd player exactly like the dv-270, but add mpeg4 support.. you dont have to reinvent the wheel here.. and if you would, make a region/macro hack easy on us :P
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  4. The Problems should be listed as they come in from user's.

    You cant set the Law/Myths.

    You should List the Problems that come from User input.
    Many Of these Myths that you List,People have had these problems.
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  5. Member ann coates's Avatar
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    The Pioneers actually have a black out bug. At least my Pioneer 520 does and others have complained about it as well on the AVS forum:

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=519685
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  6. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by canadateck
    The Problems should be listed as they come in from user's. You cant set the Law/Myths. You should List the Problems that come from User input. Many Of these Myths that you List,People have had these problems.
    - I can and will add myths. Myths are "fake flaws".
    - This is based heavily on personal research, and backed up by mountains of user complaints. Many submitted to me in the past year, others from verifiable sources.
    - Not every single "user comment" can be added, as some users have bad luck, are stupid, etc. Some people's complaints are totally invalid. You need only look at the REVIEWS section of this site to see idiots in action. Inversely, some people refuse to acknowledge flaws. I don't have any such bias one way or the other (I don't care that much). If it was my way, every machine would be 100% all the time.
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  7. I hear ya,and do agree there is some bad reviews.

    So people having had "the JVC is "too light". That is simply not true."


    This problem can also be backed up by mountains of user complaints.

    I like the idea, But I think its flawed when one person holds the key to say this is a Myth and this is Fact.
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  8. Perhaps this would work better if it were done like Consumer Reports does its reports on automobiles. Gathering and categorizing the frequency of reported problems. Every report does not have to be accurate but the average would still be statistically meaningful.
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  9. DVD Ninja budz's Avatar
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    I have a Pioneer 220-S recorder that doesn't have PICTURE DROP OUT FROM VHS SOURCES. I guess others have had that problem. I've been using mine for about 2 weeks now with no problems so far. I've done VHS & LASERDISC to the 220-S recorder and with no problems so far. I even use a cheapo SONY VHS machine. The video quality is great and for the price of the 220-S it's money well spent for my budget.
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  10. LiteOn (ILO DVDR04):

    The Green Tint issue has been solved on the DVDR04 (liteon) and soon to be fixed on the HD unit.

    ILO-GUY
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  11. Member Marvingj's Avatar
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    Cyberhome 1500, 1530 have Tray problem & Circuit Board problem, Great picture similar to apex. Firmware upgrade no good.

    Gateway 230-r great little performer, but is mono. Who needs that.

    Sansui is good performer, but has choppy picture after 4 hours.

    Panasonic E-55 has macroblocks.

    JVC had Loading Problems. But seem to be fix now

    Pioneer Super performer No Problem as of yet.

    Have all the following items, Just my experiences,....
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  12. Banned
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    I think the JVC problem is a little more widespread and a major problem to cope with on a new purchase, this alone would prevent me from trusting their products.
    Overall their reputation grade "B" at best.
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  13. Member lumis's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by budz
    I have a Pioneer 220-S recorder that doesn't have PICTURE DROP OUT FROM VHS SOURCES. I guess others have had that problem. I've been using mine for about 2 weeks now with no problems so far. I've done VHS & LASERDISC to the 220-S recorder and with no problems so far. I even use a cheapo SONY VHS machine. The video quality is great and for the price of the 220-S it's money well spent for my budget.
    gotta agree with him there.. i've been using this machine to capture crappy vhs tapes, a couple of LD's & tons of tv (even crappy AOTA).. never had a "black bug" or picture drop out.. i even once did a horribly damaged copy of "young doctors in love" for a friend.. i tried explaining to him that he should just buy the dvd, but he just didnt understand.. but i did get to see some boobs in the movie (merry christmas), so it was okay :P
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  14. I wanted to offer some specific information that I have experienced regarding the video jitter scenario described on the Liteon boxes. I have a December 2004 manufactured LVW-5005 that is running the updated (1098) firmware and drive updates. In addition, I have applied the "updates" offered by Mr. Wizard version 1.4b. The machine works very well except for the aforementioned video jitter. My experience has been very repeatable, however.

    I have the 5005 connected to a SVHS JVC VCR which is in turn connected to my receiver. This allows me to select input of my choice as the record output from the receiver to the 5005. Generally, this is either my Tivo DVR or my DVD player. I have the VCR in line so that I could likewise record to the 5005 from the VCR or to the VCR from one of my other sources. Recording from either DVD or Tivo DVR works flawlessly and the video transfer is fantastic.

    Herein lies the problem. If I try to record from a VHS tape, the video jitter is consistent both in viewing the source through the 5005 and recording it. Macrovision is not supposed to be an issue because I am not trying to record copy protected material and of course because of the additional firmware update referenced above. When I stop the VCR, the video reverts to the pass through source but now with the video jitter. If I follow the workaround of cycling through the input sources, it will go away. This takes place on all inputs, not just the rear S-video that I primarly use.

    This is very disturbing because one primary purpose of this box is to burn our favorite VHS tapes to DVD.

    Any additional information would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
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  15. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by zshepherd
    I wanted to offer some specific information that I have experienced regarding the video jitter scenario described on the Liteon boxes. .....The machine works very well except for the aforementioned video jitter. My experience has been very repeatable, however..........Any additional information would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks!
    Go read the first post again. I have added issue (4) to the LiteOn list, which covers overheating problems, which often directly relates to the jitter issues.

    Good luck! This fixed my LiteOn 5001, and has helped many other people too.
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  16. Thanks very much for the prompt reply! I may try the fan and the air exit holes first. I'm curious, though. Do you have any thoughts as to why I only experience the jitter on the VCR source? I've had no trouble whatsoever when using the pass through sources from my receiver that are going through the VCR to the 5005. This prompted my initial concern that maybe this was some residual MV issue since it was specific to the VCR source.

    Thanks again for this response and for compiling the overall list. This will be very helpful for people because choosing the right recorder is much more complex than people realize because all of the various quirks.

    Regards,

    Zane
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  17. Member rkr1958's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    ... more to be added shortly ... this is a work in progess
    I almost afraid to ask ... but I didn't see my model listed, Humax DRT800, which comes with a 80-GB harddrive and a DVD-RW drive. So far, I've been very happy with mine with one exception ... it has no zoom feature.
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  18. While I have limited experience with dvdrecorders, i helped set up one and got the past the learning curve, i would be very reluctant to put much faith in what is written here as long as it's primarily Lord Smurf's opinion.
    I do have years of experience with the Canopus100 box and AMD based computers, both of which are consistently trashed by Lord Smurf. My experience has shown me he's just dead wrong and seems to be unwilling to let the facts get in the way of a good opinion. I just wouldn't be willing to trust him not to let the same thing to happen in his dvd recorder brand preference. Nyah Levi
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  19. My Sony RDR-GX7 drive has not failed since I have had the machine. And, I use it regularly. So, 100% non-failure in a sample size of 1.

    Estimating that 50% of all thse drives are or will be bad, with no data to back that up, seems to be a stretch.
    "As you ramble on through life, brother, whatever be your goal - keep your eye upon the doughnut and not upon the hole."
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  20. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by nelson133
    While I have limited experience with dvdrecorders, ..... as it's primarily Lord Smurf's opinion.
    Not at all. This is merely a summarized list of errors. And since you have admitted this is not your area of expertise, I fail to see how you can make any kind of comment in this direction.

    Again, these are ALL backed up by extensive lists of tests, user complaints, etc. This is a simplified/edited list of errors, so people are not just lost, guessing, or weeding through piles of reviews, posts, google search, etc. Anybody that has researched these machines, and not going off THEIR ONE MACHINE and THEIR ONE EXPERIENCE will see this is truly representative of the bigger picture.

    A very disturbing and unpleasant picture, I might add. The fact that consumers have to deal with so many crappy machines is almost disgusting.
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  21. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by zshepherd
    Thanks very much for the prompt reply! I may try the fan and the air exit holes first. I'm curious, though. Do you have any thoughts as to why I only experience the jitter on the VCR source? I've had no trouble whatsoever when using the pass through sources from my receiver that are going through the VCR to the 5005. This prompted my initial concern that maybe this was some residual MV issue since it was specific to the VCR source.

    Thanks again for this response and for compiling the overall list. This will be very helpful for people because choosing the right recorder is much more complex than people realize because all of the various quirks.

    Regards,

    Zane
    I see jitter mostly from S-VHS-ET personally, and then cable signal from tuner next. Rarely at any other time, from any other connection.

    I finally gave in to suggestions from others online and propped open the lid and boosted the fan speed to max last week. Before that, I had heatsink, fan on medium, lid closed with drilled holes. The new changes have allowed for less jitter.

    At the time, I was doing 13 VHS transfers. They jittered nonstop prior to propping the lid and boosting fan speed. After the changes, I was able to do all 13 in a row, over a 3-day period. Zero problems, very nice.

    So, I think that answers your question. Yes, doing all that has resulted in a very marked improvement here, for VHS sources.

    My exact setup is JVC 3800 -> SIMA SED-CM -> LITEON 5001

    The SIMA was mostly so I could drop colors to pure B&W on the B&W tapes. I use the SIMA just in general, because it seems to stabilize the signal slightly, which is great.

    This custom job "voids your warranty" but since LiteOn cannot fix it anyway, the warranty is totally worthless in my eyes. Some toolshop engineering is what fixed my machine, so break out the powertools! Drill and hacksaw, and under $25-30 in parts from a computer parts store (like Fry's).

    The heatsink on the LSI is probably one of the most important things to be done. Don't skip that one. The chip is super hot and needs heat dispersion. Desperately.
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  22. Philips
    Issue: (1) The image quality is grainy.
    I never read complains about a grainy picture at Philips DVD recorders before. Only about a too soft picture due to too much noise filtering. "Grainy" doesn't sounds for me as an MPEG coding problem. More as an analog problem like recording from a weak analog antenna signal or via a cheap and not properly shielded SCART cable. Are you sure the input signal was O.K.?
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  23. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    You can record a perfect signal with the unit, and it spits out a grainy image. Yes. Major flaw.
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    Lordsmurf, I've been thinking about getting a stand alone dvd recorder can you one recommend one?
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    Originally Posted by tb33
    Lordsmurf, I've been thinking about getting a stand alone dvd recorder can you one recommend one?
    I'm not lordsmurf but you could get a PIONEER 220-S standalone dvd recorder. I just got one that's about 3 weeks old now and have not had any problems with it. I've done vhs & laserdisc to dvd with the PIONEER 220-S. Great video quality that fits my budget.
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  26. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tb33
    Lordsmurf, I've been thinking about getting a stand alone dvd recorder can you one recommend one?
    JVC and Pioneer are my two top preferences.
    Followed by LiteOn, Sanyo, LG and Emerson.
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    Thanks.
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    Lordsmurf
    thank you very much for your efforts on this topic
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    Thanks Budz. I spotted the Pioneer 220-S at walmart for about $198.00. It's tops on my list. After your review of it, I think I'll pick it up today.
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    No reviews of the new Sony? Not enough $$ to buy one to test out and return? What will happen when the new Blu-Ray units are out? Probably no reviews from this site...
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