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  1. Member
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    I'm looking for a HDD DVD recorder. I was hoping for something with a family-friendly user interface, but I don't want to sacrifice PQ much to get it.

    I am interested in the LiteOn 5045 because it uses the Easy Guider. I have a LiteOn 5005 stand-alone and find that the Easy Guider is super easy to use, it can play almost anything, and there is an easy hack for mfr firmware updates to defeat macrovision and make the unit region-free. However, I have found that a big drawback to the 5005 is a more washed-out (less contrast) image. For example, I compared the PQ of the 5005 to that of the Panasonic DMRES40VS that I picked up from Costco this week using 2-hr mode from the same source tape. The picture from the ES40V was surprisingly more satisfying to watch than the one from the 5005. Because of this, I'm less inclined to go with the 5045.

    So, how do hard drive models from JVC, Panasonic, Pioneer, Sony, Toshiba, and ??? compare to each other? FWIW, I don't care to use RAM discs.

    Do any of them have a pretty inconvenient/tough user interface?
    Are any of them missing any significant basic features?
    Do any of them have noticeably less pleasing PQ at 2-hour recording speed?

    Thank you for sharing your experience!

    Tim
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  2. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    JVC has no noticeable loss at 2-hour. It's a clean picture with zero artifacts (or close enough, for the anal nitpickers out there). Even if the source is less than perfect, the various LSI/JVC filters will clean it up.

    Pioneer has a nice clean image too, assuming you feed it good source.

    Sony reminds me a lot of the CCE encoder. It is really good, but it sometimes has minor mosquito noise around objects in the video. Not bad, but could be better.

    Toshiba also has a clean image quality, but the IRE is notoriously off. I've never been able to test these extensively to see if anything can address or sidestep the issue. I can say I've seen good Toshiba discs, and the IRE was close to correct.

    Panasonic has a crappy in-house encoder chipset in almost all of their models (ES20 excluded apparently). While the 4-hour is well known for spewing out blocky video, the 2-hour is often known to produce a "splotchy" video. Things like gradients or solid colors don't really form blocks, but tend to posterize pretty bad. If you want to see this sort of effect on your computer, load a really colorful image in your browser, and then drop the graphics card setting to 256 colors. That's an exaggerated look at the issue, but it'll give you an idea of what the Panasonic does, though to a lesser degree.

    All of the models you mention have an equally difficult user interface. The only interface I consider "easy" would be a LiteOn. The JVC is not all too hard. Honestly, just read the book (RTFM!) and they'd all be about the same to use. Panasonic and Philips have a problems of burying too many submenus, so you'd want to watch those a little more carefully.
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  3. Member
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    I should correct something.
    Originally Posted by tluxon
    I have found that a big drawback to the 5005 is a more washed-out (less contrast) image... The picture from the ES40V was surprisingly more satisfying to watch than the one from the 5005...
    I think I must have been influenced by the lighting in the room and the position of the viewing window last night because I looked at it again pretty closely today and I could hardly tell the difference. Perhaps the 5045 wouldn't be that poor a choice after all.

    I'm intrigued by the network-ability of the Toshiba RD-XS54. Anybody got experience with that one?
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    ...Toshiba also has a clean image quality, but the IRE is notoriously off. I've never been able to test these extensively to see if anything can address or sidestep the issue. I can say I've seen good Toshiba discs, and the IRE was close to correct...
    How can I tell which manufacturers properly encode the IRE of NTSC material and which ones don't?

    I've read that LiteOn is one of the manufacturers who don't make the required 7.5 IRE adjustment on encoding. On the other hand, I was under the impression that Toshiba facilitates proper adjustment but doesn't have the right default settings. If I wanted to spring for the networkable XS54, will I get better encoding results than with the LiteOn 5045?

    It seems there are a lot of Panasonic users on this board. Why do so many choose the Panasonic over the JVC, which is supposedly superior?
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  5. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    The way you tell is to analyze the video in an editor, assuming you can eliminate all user error every step of the way. That's difficult for some people. It's complex, and there are whole threads here dedicated to it.

    Toshiba is a machine I've not extensively tested, so most of my input on these is from others. But we're talking experienced folks, usually people that know more than myself, not Joe Bob Customer. The reports are the IRE is wrong, settings or not.

    LiteOn is fine. The levels can range from model to model, and are seemingly firmware specific. I've not looked into it because I've never seen a problem. The firmware fixes were usually for fixing video that was too green or too light. One of my LiteOn units does video perfectly, one has the IRE off a little bit, but not much. Most machines are actually off a bit, a few even chose middle ground, neither 0 nor 7.5.

    Panasonic gets users from a combination of precedent, coverage and bullshit.
    - The precedent was they were the first DVD recorder.
    - The coverage is how they had a Panasonic DVD recorder stuffed in every store that sold anything ever remotely video.
    - The bullshit is all the marketing garbage they give people, about how their tech is superior. Some of it is downright magical, such as telling you 4-hour 720x480 is better than 4-hour at 352x480 (which has TWICE the bitrate allocation .. TWICE!!).
    - There's also a lot of folks that are impressed by errors or imagination. Things like "more detail" or "better color".

    Because of this, most Joe Bob Consumers bought a Panasonic and thought it was the best thing ever. These people rarely care about quality anyway. Panasonic machines are based on an old chip, at least 5 years outdated now. The ES10 was their attempt at a better chip, but it sucked. The ES20 has switched to an LSI, but the machine is still plagued by stupidity (such as LP Full D1).
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  6. [ tluxon ]

    Your first choice was a LiteOn 5045. It was not a poor choice

    STICK WITH IT

    The unit is a very good one, has a 160gb HDD, can be hacked and is non compliant

    Best of all It can be purchased for under $300.00. No Tax/Free Ship

    http://www.3gplaza.com/estore/control/Computer3G/productdetails?id=35669&srccode=SP
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  7. [ tluxon ]

    If uou don't like the above link. WalMart on line has the RHD04 which is a LiteOn product, but has a 80gb HDD and is not a + or - disk unit. [+ only] most will use a + disk anywy [NOTE THE 04 NOT THE 05] I do not believe it is avail at local stores.

    http://www.walmart.com/catalog/search-ng.gsp?search_constraint=0&search_query=ilo+reco...&Continue.y=12

    I have one and wouldn't part with it
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  8. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    I've not even seen a "05" with hard drive, I don't think they make any. Just 3-4 days ago, while at Walmart, I peaked at the huge pallet of ILO's with HDD and they were all 04's.
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    The LiteOn doesn't have a multi-unit remote, so that might not be my first choice.

    I really think I'd like to get a JVC DR-MH30S because of the way the live buffer works. Anybody know where/when to get the best price on it?
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  10. [lordsmurf]

    To my knowledge there are no ilo05 with HDD. [at this time]

    In a recent trip through Washington, Oregon and northern Calif. I stoped at a lot of WalMart's , none had a RHD04 only one had a R04 that didn't work at full price.
    Some report like you that there are 04's at stores but I think most are in the eastern part of the country but than there are a lot of WalMart stores I didn't stop at.
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  11. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tluxon
    I really think I'd like to get a JVC DR-MH30S because of the way the live buffer works. Anybody know where/when to get the best price on it?
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?A=details&Q=&is=REG&O=productlist&kw=J...de=cii_5784816

    You cannot go wrong with B&H, great service.
    Several price comparison sites show it to be cheapest by far.
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  12. You did not mention why you want a hdd recorder, but the MH30 has one peculiarity. If you edit on the hdd, it will re-encode that video when it is transferred to dvd. This is not true of other hdd recorders.
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  13. [ trhouse ]

    I believe that there are recorders rhat will encode a transfered video. The ilo HD04 [Will Not]
    The units that I am aware of do not encode to the Max bit rate like a PC with Decrypter,Shrink, etc. My ilo RHD04 will be as close as most recorders with a encode option if I use the Just Fit and timer options. I find that the slight difference in bit rate is not like using a PC. In the real world Its almost impossible to see a difference.
    Thats at LP 3 hr and maybe EP But than if I shrink it that much the PC route is just as bad
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  14. If I understand you correctly, we are not talking about the same process. I am referring to video that does fit and does not need to be re-encoded to fit. For example, a one GB file will fit on a dvd, but if this file is on the hdd and is edited, the MH30 will re-encode it when transferring to dvd. This does not happen with other hdd drive recorders I have used.

    I only bring it up because an owner of a MH30 noticed the hdd playback has better quality than the dvd created from a real-time transfer which means re-encoding. If no edits are made, the MH30 can transfer in high speed mode which results in a dvd with the same quality as hdd playback.
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  15. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    That sounds unusual, has this been confirmed? Or is it some user report?
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    Yes, I just found out about that aspect of the MH30S from a guy over on the AVSForum earlier today. It just about strikes the MH30S off my list. I want the HDD, but I want the high speed HDD->DVD dubbing with no re-encoding as well.

    So far every HDD recorder I've looked at seems to have something about it I had hoped to avoid. It's taking longer than I figured on to become familiar enough with these units to decide which liability(ies) I can live with.

    So far I don't want the LiteOn 5045 because it doesn't have a multi-unit remote. Besides, I already have the LVW-5005 for when I need a region-free, disabled macrovision, recorder. Next, the JVC doesn't have a program guide and any dubbing from the HDD to the DVD is re-encoded and in real time.

    Are there things I might consider deficiencies about Toshiba, Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, etc. that should keep the JVC in the running?
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  17. Member FulciLives's Avatar
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    My Pioneer DVD recorder (the DVR-531H-s) will only re-encode from HDD to DVD if you do FRAME ACCURATE EDITING. If you do NON-FRAME ACCURATE EDITING you get GOP EDITING and it will not RE-ENCODE when going from HDD to DVD unless it is too big to fit OR you used the XP+ mode (which uses a non-standard DVD bitrate of 15,000kbps).

    I would think the JVC works the same.

    - John "FulciLives" Coleman
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  18. [ trhouse ]

    Are you saying that if I take a one gb file that is on a DVD and take out 100 kb with edit that your machine will than encode it to the full capacity of the disk.
    If it does or not, that in some way your machine will create a file that will be better and have greater resolution than the original file
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  19. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tluxon
    Yes, I just found out about that aspect of the MH30S from a guy over on the AVSForum earlier today. ?
    I would still not consider that a reliable source. The simple fact is most people do not understand something, or make the wrong choices in selecting options, or simply keep default options .... in other words, they don't know what the hell they're doing .... and end up blaming the hardware or software.

    Technological faux pas.

    While not impossible, I have a hard time believing a DVD recorder would always force you to re-encode video like that. I know somebody that owns a 30H, I'll have to ask him about that. Seeing as how he hasn't complained to me to date, I doubt it's true.
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    Those links tell me the user didn't know what he/she was doing!

    I have the DR-MH20S (same as the 30 but smaller hard disk) and if editing means trimming a recording, then editing and subsequently high-speed dubbing to a -R/-RW does not reencode a thing.

    It's obvious that if you "high-speed dub" a 4-hr XP or SP recording to a 4.38GB disc the machine is forced to reencode, because you can't physically cram that much data on a single-layer disc.

    If you high-speed dub a recording that is <=4.38GB you're all set, otherwise how would I be burning full -RW discs in 29 minutes if the JVC were reencoding it?
    Sorry, I had to go see about a girl
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    Well, another concern is that the video in the buffer apparently can only save to the HDD in real time, indicating to me that it's being re-encoded, not to mention that it's not a simple moving of the data stream. In contrast, my Comcast Motorola 6412 does an instant "dump" of the buffer to the show guide within seconds of hitting the RECORD button.

    Perhaps it's as lordsmurf suggests, and certain quality settings drive the behavior of what happens when you "dump" part of the buffer to a saved show. I hope so, but I'd really like to know for sure without having to buy it to find out.
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  22. midnightsun,

    Since you have an MH20, is this comment wrong?

    "Oh, and high speed dub does work on this unit but the DISC must be in VR mode or DVD-RAM. With video mode it just runs at 1X no matter what the quality it was recorder at or what speed the disc is."

    It would be good to clear this up.

    tluxon,

    What is this buffer to which you refer?
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  23. [ lordsmurf ]

    Quote
    I would still not consider that a reliable source. The simple fact is most people do not understand something, or make the wrong choices in selecting options, or simply keep default options .... in other words, they don't know what the hell they're doing .... and end up blaming the hardware or software.
    ==============================================
    ==============================================

    Truer Words Were Never Spoken

    My RHD04 can be a very cranky, pain in the ass machine.
    Some have said and I quote "The 04 is a piece of junk'
    Every time there is a screw up, wiich is now very seldom, I can trace the problem to Myself.

    There is equip available that will enhance a damaged oriqinal.
    This equip is in the mega buck range and far, far out of my price range or really necessary.

    In my kitchen there is a dish that says "A Closed Mouth Gathers No Foot"
    Many of us could follow that advice

    My iloRHD04 or the 05MU1 [for non copy protect] do a very good job within the set mode SP,LP, [bit rate], program length, disk capacity, etc.

    That in spite of Buffers Shumfers, etc
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  24. Member
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    Originally Posted by trhouse
    What is this buffer to which you refer?
    A DVR is always recording and showing you the recorded stream on a slight delay (calling it "live"). This is so at any time you wish, you can pause and rewind to see content that has already gone by. This recorded stream is called the buffer. How far back you can rewind depends on how much free space is on the disk and what quality the "buffer" is recorded at. Some manufacturers restrict how far you can go back by limitiing the buffer size, while others will save everything from the last channel change as long as free space is available. My understanding is that the MH30S is most impressive in that it has a buffer of 3 hours and it doesn't even matter if channels have been changed or not. I've seen reports of someone watching several half-hour shows on multiple channels without actually "recording" them, then rewinding the "buffer" and recording however much of it they wanted to keep to the hard drive. The problem is that apparently the MH30S can only "record" the "buffer" to a saved file in real time. The contrast is that most DVRs I know of copy the "buffer" stream to a saved file almost instantaneously once the RECORD button has been pressed.
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  25. I think I see what you are referring to now. The DVR describes as a buffer an area of the hdd where current captured video resides. The "record" function saves the video in the buffer to a file.

    Hdd recorders obviously only record when the "record" function is set and stop saves the current recording to a new title much like the "record" function of the DVR.

    The only real-time events that occur with a hdd recorder are capturing such as from the tuner, S-video, and composite inputs or some transfers from hdd to dvd and dvd to hdd.

    For example, my Pioneer 531H transfers real-time for dvd-video to hdd and hdd to dvd-video if a frame accurate edit is made. It does high speed transfers of dvd VR mode disks to hdd and hdd to dvd-video if the edits are GOP level.

    I tend to pay a lot of attention to how these processes work because I have a lot of non commercial dvd-video which I would have liked to high speed transfer to hdd for compilation but I cannot with this machine. Guess I am looking around a bit like yourself. The MH30 manual on Don Pedro's thread does not describe these processes well.
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  26. Member rhegedus's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Pioneer has a nice clean image too, assuming you feed it good source.
    Yep.

    I used to record to HD at max quality transfer to DVD at 1hr/disk for importing to PC, edit, apply Virtual Dub filters and re-encode with TMPGEnc and author with TDA - total time about 8-10 hours.

    Then I tried the Pioneers in built re-encoding. For a 2 hour disk the quality is just the same as with VirtualDub/TMPGEnc but is real time and therefore only 2 hours.

    I found this out after nearly two years.

    We live and learn......... slowly
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  27. Member FulciLives's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rhegedus
    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Pioneer has a nice clean image too, assuming you feed it good source.
    Yep.

    I used to record to HD at max quality transfer to DVD at 1hr/disk for importing to PC, edit, apply Virtual Dub filters and re-encode with TMPGEnc and author with TDA - total time about 8-10 hours.

    Then I tried the Pioneers in built re-encoding. For a 2 hour disk the quality is just the same as with VirtualDub/TMPGEnc but is real time and therefore only 2 hours.

    I found this out after nearly two years.

    We live and learn......... slowly
    I pretty much use the SP (2 hour) mode now and just trim the end and start and leave the commercials. No time to do all that editing LOL

    Only time I edit commercials is with 2 hour TV shows. I record those at XP+ and do frame accurate editing then use the OPTIMAL RECORDING MODE to make it fit on a DVD-RW (I still like to re-author with TMPGEnc DVD Author).

    - John "FulciLives" Coleman
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  28. It is not easy to make an informed decision about hdd recorders. Look at the total number of ways to transfer between hdd and dvd on the Pioneer 531H.

    No edits or GOP level edits

    hdd -> dvd-video ( fast )
    hdd -> dvd VR mode ( fast )

    Frame accurate edits

    hdd -> dvd-video ( real-time )
    hdd -> dvd VR mode ( fast )

    and reverse

    dvd-video -> hdd ( real-time )
    dvd VR mode -> hdd ( fast )

    Regarding the MH30. Those AVSForum comments like,

    1. You can fast transfer hdd to dvd in VR mode
    2. You cannot transfer hdd to dvd fast mode if you edit
    3. Midnightsun chiming in with yes you can edit and tranfer hdd to dvd in high speed mode

    These answers can all be true. Person 1 is the only one specifying the mode of transfer. If person 2 is using video mode and person 3 VR mode, then all the statements are consistent. The problem is that person 1 did not say if any edits were done and persons 2, 3 did not specify the mode of transfer. Confiusing enough?

    In my case, I am doing a large family project. I would like to get my nephew who is not computer savvy involved by letting him use the hdd recorder to make compilations from about 600 non commercial dvd-video mode disks. It would be great if he could do the following,

    dvd-video -> hdd, edit at GOP level or frame accurate -> dvd-video without incurring any re-encoding or real-time transfers.
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  29. Member
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    Originally Posted by trhouse
    Hdd recorders obviously only record when the "record" function is set and stop saves the current recording to a new title much like the "record" function of the DVR.
    Well, that's pretty much why I started a thread over on the more active AVS Forum titled,
    Live buffers on HDD DVD recorders - is it automatic or do they have to be told?
    . I was under the impression from several of the answers that the MH30S (at least) does keep a live buffer always running. Do you know that to not be the case?
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